pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Lois McMaster Bujold. The Curse of Chalion (re-read)
Lee Falk, Ray Moore. The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies volume 1
Gail Carson Levine. Fairest
Anne McCaffrey. The Ship Who Sang (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. A New Kind of War (e)
John Scalzi. The End of All Things
John Scalzi. The Human Division
Ursula Vernon. Summer in Orcus (e)

In progress
Katherine Addison. The Goblin Emperor (e)
Terry Pratchett. The Last Continent (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books In progress
Pauline Scudamore. Spike

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Anthony Price. A Prospect of Vengeance
pedanther: (cheerful)
We have completed our run of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It had some complicated staging and lighting requirements, and I was worried it wasn't all going to come together in time, but it was working well enough by opening night. (On closing night I felt as if we were stopping just as we were really getting the hang of it, but I always feel that way on closing night regardless.) It would have been nice to get larger audiences, but the people who did come enjoyed it, and that's sometimes all you can ask for in community theatre.

A few days after it closed, I read the original novel for the first time, which I'd decided during rehearsals that I wanted to do for comparison purposes but also that I would leave it until after the show closed so I wouldn't get confused if it turned out to be very different. It did turn out to be quite different, most obviously in the fact that it makes "Who is Mr. Hyde?" the big central mystery in a way that is now impossible. Another striking thing was that in the novel there is a minor character named Enfield who appears in only two scenes and exists mainly to trade exposition with the protagonist about the mysterious Mr. Hyde; in Noah Smith's stage version, Enfield has a greatly expanded part, becoming one of the six main characters and the biggest villain beside Hyde himself.

Next up for the Rep Club is the annual Christmas show, which this year is a vaguely Arthurian bit of business entitled A Knight to Remember. I will not be involved, as I have been in rehearsals or performances continually since March, and I feel the need for a bit of a break. Particularly since I have already been offered a part in the first show for next year.

The first show for next year is to be a musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The director first tried to do it here a couple of years ago, but that didn't work out for various reasons beyond anyone's control, and about half the people who were cast then have subsequently left town. Those of us remaining have been guaranteed parts in the second attempt if we're still interested (which I am), although not necessarily the same parts, because it will depend who auditions to fill the gaps and how the group dynamics shake out.

I've been vaguely pondering directing something again, but have no particular ideas about what.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. This year the music section of the annual performing arts festival, which in previous years has been held over a weekend, was further divided into vocal and intrumental sections and held over two weekends. This came about because last year we had about three days worth of entries crammed into two days, which was stressful for everyone. This year we had three days worth of entries spread out over four days, which was a lot less fraught; we could begin and end each day at a reasonable time and still have time for proper refreshment breaks between sessions, and there was one afternoon in each weekend given over to some very well-attended workshops run by the guest adjudicators. It does mean we need to find two guest adjudicators each year instead of one, but on the other hand it gives us more options in finding them, since we don't need to find one person who's strong on both vocal and instrumental music.


2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde opens in a week. It's coming together pretty well.


3. I have been to the gaming group only once recently, as there have tended to be Jekyll & Hyde rehearsals scheduled against it. One of the X-Wing players, whose usual opponents hadn't made it, saw me wandering around at a loose end and recognised me as someone who occasionally watches them play, so he invited me to have a go. I had control of a small Rebel fleet, versus his swarm of Imperial TIE Fighters. There was an exciting moment during the battle where one of my ships was on a collision course with an asteroid, but I managed the dice rolls that converted it from "ship collides with asteroid, takes damage" to "ship hides on asteroid for a turn, takes no damage". It came down to one Rebel and one TIE fighter, but the TIE fighter won in the end. I enjoyed it okay once I started getting the hang of it, but I don't think I see myself becoming an X-Wing player who owns his own set; way too many little fiddly bits to obtain and keep track of.


4. I have finished playing through the storyline in Lego Jurassic World, and am now exploring the bits of the game that are unlocked as the storyline is completed. It's definitely more fun once the dinosaurs show up. The triceratops is still one of my favourite dinosaurs to play, probably followed by the brontosaurus. Playing as the brontosaurus is strangely relaxing, as it's so large that the camera pulls waaay out to fit it in, and the parts of the game that usually seem so important are reduced to tiny distant things going on down by the dinosaur's feet. The baby velociraptor is also surprisingly good value as a player character. (Then you get into the possibilities afforded by genetic manipulation, such as a tiny compsognathus with a headbutt as powerful as a triceratops or a t-rex's shattering roar.)

One thing that's still bothering me about it involves the distribution of character traits: there's a very large overlap between the sets "character is female", "character has a glass-shattering shriek", and "character is Agile" (can jump high and squeeze through small gaps), in a way that makes Agile often look like a consolation prize for female characters who can't really do much else. To some extent, I suppose this is a result of the game being constrained by the roles given to female characters in the original movies. One thing that can't be blamed on the movies, though, is the way that the game seems to be rubbing it in by using hot pink as the colour code for obstacles that only Agile characters can get past.


5. Fanfic rec: Shadow-Self, a retelling of the False Guinevere legend. In the usual version, King Arthur's wife is secretly replaced partway through his reign by an impostor of identical aspect, her low-born half-sister, who causes a number of problems before the switch is discovered. In this retelling, that's not quite how it goes.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle (e)
L S Lawrence. Horses for King Arthur
Andy Weir. The Martian (e)

In progress
Kim Newman. The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School (e)
Terry Pratchett. Men at Arms (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Anthony Price. The '44 Vintage
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books in progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Carpe Diem (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Wyrd Sisters (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Lundy Bancroft. Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men
Sara Douglass. The Betrayal of Arthur

In progress
Mark Latham. The Political Bubble

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Terry Pratchett. Pyramids
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Agent of Change (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Sourcery (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Carpe Diem (re-read)

In hiatus
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Saltation (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Lundy Bancroft. Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men
Sara Douglass. The Betrayal of Arthur

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Terry Pratchett. Wyrd Sisters
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Terry Pratchett. Mort (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Saltation (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Sourcery (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Daniel Boyarin. The Jewish Gospels
Nigel West. MI5

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Agent of Change
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Local Custom (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress (re-read)
Gail Carson Levine. Ella Enchanted (e) (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Queen

Non-fiction books in progress
Joachim Fest. Plotting Hitler's Death

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Ellen Raskin. The Westing Game
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Maurice Broaddus. King Maker
Frances Hodgson Burnett. A Little Princess
Kelly Sue DeConnick, et al. Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight
Warren Ellis, et al. Global Frequency
Kathryn Immonen, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kevin Shinick, et al. Avenging Spider-Man: The Good, the Green and the Ugly
Chip Kidd, Dave Taylor. Batman: Death by Design
Mike Mignola, John Byrne. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (re-read)
Mike Mignola. Hellboy: Wake the Devil
Mike Mignola. Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and others
Tamora Pierce. Realms of the Gods
Adrian Ramos. Some One to See the Emperor (re-read)
Charles Stross. The Apocalypse Codex
Syd of the Funny Hat. Q de Grace

Non-fiction books in progress
David Fromkin. A Peace to End All Peace

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce. First Test
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Robert Bolt. A Man For All Seasons
Dorothy Hewett. The Man From Mukinupin
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Local Custom (e) (re-read)
Anne McCaffrey. Black Horses for the King
Tamora Pierce. The Emperor Mage (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Peter Macinnis. Mr Darwin's Incredible Shrinking World

In progress
David Fromkin. A Peace to End All Peace

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Maurice Broaddus. King Maker
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. You probably didn't notice, but my computer's been in the shop for over a week, restricting my internet access to what I was able to get at work. (The actual amount of time required to fix it, according to the bill, was less than two hours.) Funnily enough, I hardly missed it. For all its ability to fill up my waking hours, apparently I don't really depend on the internet all that much.

2. It probably also helped that many of my waking hours for the last week that would otherwise require occupation have been taken up with preparations for the National Band Championships, which are being held on this side of the continent (and thus within a reasonable travelling distance of us) this year. We have a Resident Conductor visiting from over east for a few weeks, helping with rehearsals and fixing up our technique, and there have been a bunch of extra rehearsals and workshops to take advantage. He's been picking us up on a lot of little things, the small-but-important details that you miss out on because either your teacher didn't know about them or thought they were too obvious to mention explicitly. Personally, I've been picked up on everything from how I hold my trombone to the size of the mouthpiece to how I breathe. (That last one doesn't sound like much, but honestly it's worth the price of admission all by itself.) I've been feeling a lot of the same sense of discovery I felt when, at the age of 28, somebody finally taught me how to tie shoelaces properly.

3. And now I'm enjoying playing the trombone again, to a degree I haven't felt, except in brief bursts, for a long time. This calls for further thought, because there are other parts of my life that I don't enjoy and that seem like they might profit if I could find a way to get them similar treatment. (And also because there's an area of my life that I do enjoy, where in retrospect it's at least partly because one way and another the opportunities for self-improvement have been available in the last few years.)

4. I have now seen Les Misérables and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Short version: Entertaining enough, but on the whole I'm not entirely sure I approve (though I did like that one scene where the protagonist is given more motivation than in the corresponding scene in the source work).

5. I may be gradually getting the hang of the valuable skill of knowing when to give up on a novel that isn't working for you. Sword at Sunset, Rosemary Sutcliff's retelling of the King Arthur story in historical post-Roman Britain, is not a bad book (and it's got a better grasp of "historical" than the 2004 film that attempted the same thing, not that that's a high bar), but it's not my kind of thing. There's an essay about recommending books I read once, and wish I could find again, that posited several approaches to fiction which each reader prioritises differently. Sword at Sunset is a good book for people who read for Descriptions (of landscapes, historical details, etc.), but I'm one of the readers for whom that sort of thing is what you wade through to get to the good stuff, which for me is Plot and Character. The plot has one handicap in being derived from a familiar story, and another in that the novel is written in Retrospective Regretful (never my favourite form) so that even when the plot goes somewhere new you have a pretty good idea of how it's going to turn out. The characters I didn't find very engaging; I didn't outright say Dorothy J. Heydt's Eight Deadly Words ("I don't care what happens to these people"), but I did say something less snappy to the effect of "Particularly given that I already know what happens to these people, I'm not looking forward to wading through all this prose just to find out the details".
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
John M Ford. The Final Reflection (re-read)
John M Ford. How Much For Just the Planet? (re-read)
PC Hodgell. Honor's Paradox (e)
Sharon Lee. Carousel Tides (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Mouse and Dragon (e) (re-read)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Necessity's Child (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Wild Magic (re-read)
George Bernard Shaw. Caesar and Cleopatra
Patricia Wrightson. The Nargun and the Stars

In progress
Tamora Pierce. Wolf-Speaker (re-read)

Abandoned
Rosemary Sutcliff. Sword at Sunset

Non-fiction books
TA Shippey. The Road to Middle-Earth 2nd ed.

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Peter Macinnis. Mr Darwin's Incredible Shrinking World
pedanther: (Default)
1. I went to Swancon 2012 (Doomcon) last month. I have not yet given up on writing a proper post about that.

2. What I've Been Reading Lately: The Idylls of the Queen, by Phyllis Ann Karr, is a murder mystery set in the court of King Arthur. One of the Knights of the Round Table drops dead at a dinner hosted by Queen Guinevere, a grieving kinsman accuses Guinevere, and it's up to Sir Kay to figure out who really did it and why. In the process of uncovering the murderer's motive, he also solves an earlier murder that everybody thought had been solved already. One of the big strengths of the book is the well-drawn and faceted characters. Which is no mean feat: my enduring impression of the Morte d'Arthur is of a succession of arbitrarily strange events that often left me wondering what on earth any of the people involved thought they were doing; this book offers a fairly convincing set of answers. And Kay's traditional reputation for cowardice and boorishness is here largely due to an entirely understandable tendency to roll his eyes at the ridiculous scrapes his fellow knights always get into when they go questing. I was also particularly impressed by Karr's version of Mordred.

3. I know there's at least one person on my friendslist who'd like to see a picture of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold.

4. Likewise, there's at least one person on my friendslist who does those exchanges where you create an illustration inspired by someone else's fic, or a fic inspired by someone else's illustration, so I thought I'd point this out: in the IF Cover Stories minicomp, artists are being invited to offer images which will be used to inspire interactive fiction games.

5. I wrote the first 4 of these things two weeks ago, put it aside until I thought of a 5th, and my brain promptly checked it off as written. (Almost the same thing as "posted", right?) It should therefore be noted that the art deadline for Cover Stories, mentioned in point 4, is... um... today. Whoops. This is obviously why I usually put off writing posts until just before I post them.
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Bennett Cerf, Roy McKie. Bennett Cerf's Book of Riddles
Marianne de Pierres. Code Noir
Marianne de Pierres. Crash Deluxe
Marianne de Pierres. Nylon Angel
Phyllis Ann Karr. The Idylls of the Queen
Anthony Price. Our Man in Camelot
Brandon Sanderson. The Way of Kings

In progress
Murray Leinster. The Forgotten Planet

Non-fiction books
Declan Donnellan. The Actor and the Target

In progress
Barbara Sher, Barbara Smith. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Verlyn Flieger. Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien's Mythology
pedanther: (Default)
After listening to Frankie Valli's song "Oh, What a Night", it occurred to me that it's crying out to be filked as a tale of chivalry. My first thought was of Lancelot du Lac (possibly with some mention of his interactions with Guinevere); then it occurred to me that, approached from another angle, it could be used to tell the tale of, say, Alanna of Trebond. It all depends what you make of the line "What a lady! What a knight!"
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Ben Aaronovitch. Rivers of London
Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark. Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty
Lois McMaster Bujold. Cryoburn
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: The Cure
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: Dirge
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: One More Time
Peter O'Donnell. Pieces of Modesty
Terry Pratchett. I Shall Wear Midnight

In progress
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace

Non-fiction books
(none)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Naomi Novik. The Tongues of Serpents
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Agatha Christie. Parker Pyne Investigates
Rosemary Kirstein. The Outskirter's Secret
Rosemary Kirstein. The Steerswoman
Aaron Williams. Nodwick: Haulin' Assets
Aaron Williams. PS 238: When Worlds Go Splat!

In progress
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace

Non-fiction books
(none)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
James D Macdonald. The Apocalypse Door
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Louisa May Alcott. Little Women (this edition was only Part the First)
Ludwig Bemelmans. Madeline
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: Gouge Away
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: Spider's Thrash
Antonia Fraser. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (didn't finish)
Neil Gaiman, John Bolton. Harlequin Valentine
William Kotzwinkle. The Fan Man
Anthony Price. October Men
Ethel Turner. Seven Little Australians
Mark Waid, Butch Guice, Mike Perkins. Ruse: Enter the Detective (re-read)
Mark Waid, Scott Beatty, Butch Guice, Paul Ryan, Mike Perkins. Ruse: The Silent Partner (re-read)

In progress
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace

Non-fiction books
Watkin Tench. A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson
Watkin Tench. A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Dorothy Gilman. The Tightrope Walker
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
(anthology). Batman Black and White volume 2
Kurt Busiek, Brent Eric Anderson, Will Blyberg. Astro City: Confession
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time
Warren Ellis, John Cassaday. Planetary: Crossing Worlds
Warren Ellis, John Cassaday. Planetary: The Fourth Man
Warren Ellis, John Cassaday. Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: Lust For Life
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: Lonely City
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: The New Scum
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: Year of the Bastard
John M Ford. The Dragon Waiting
John M Ford. The Princes of the Air
Diana Wynne Jones. Enchanted Glass
Diana Wynne Jones. The Game
Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb. Cabaret
Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Jamie Grant. All Star Superman volume 1
Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Jamie Grant. All Star Superman volume 2
Dennis Palumbo. City Wars
Anthony Price. The Alamut Ambush
Steve Purcell. Sam & Max: Surfin' the Highway
Osamu Tezuka. Astro Boy: Volume 3 (re-read)
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 007 (re-read)
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 008

In progress
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace

Non-fiction books
Russell T Davies, Benjamin Cook. The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter
Paul Dini, Chip Kidd. Batman Animated

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Louisa M Alcott. Little Women
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Raymond Briggs. The Puddleman
John Brunner. The Compleat Traveller in Black
Warren Ellis, Raulo Caceres. Crecy
Warren Ellis, John Cassaday. Planetary: All Over the World and other stories
Warren Ellis, Darrick Robertson. Transmetropolitan: Back on the the Street
Don Freeman. Will's Quill: or, How a Goose Saved Shakespeare
Agatha Christie. Death Comes As the End
Crawford Kilian. Greenmagic
Anthony Price. The Labyrinth Makers
Kathleen Sky. Vulcan!
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 001
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 002
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 003
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 004
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 005
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 006
Naoki Urasawa, et al. Pluto: 007
Aaron Williams. PS 238: Senseless Acts of Tourism! (re-read)
Aaron Williams. PS 238: Daughters, Sons, & Shrink-Ray Guns

In progress
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace

Non-fiction books
(none)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Dennis Palumbo. City Wars

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