Busy

Work has gone from a place where i will get some time during the day to check in on stuff on the internet, too a state of AHHHHHH!

Of course there are still some quite moments, like now, when i am waiting for a phonecall from someone to confirm a backup has run, which once it has run its course will trigger a whole new round of AHHHH! (yes it is less than this mornings AHHHHHH).

This is all of course my excuse for a lack of update.

 

i should point out that before i was finsihed this, the phone call came….oh well

 

[Review] I am not a serial killer

 I am NOT a serial killer I first encountered Dan Wells as one of the voices on the Writing Excuses Podcast. He certainly knew his stuff, and a strong sense of humour, so i resolved to pick up his book the next chance i got.

This chance came about last week, when i found it in Chapters Books 2nd hand section. It also skipped past my too be read pile.

The story is very simple, its about a young man, John Cleaver, who knows he is a sociopath, or at least once he is 18 he will be giving that diagnosis by his therapist, whom he sees each week. He has had an interest in serial killers since he was eight years old, and he knows that if he isn’t careful he could easily end up as a serial killer.

This is something he does not want to do, so he has establised rules about interacting with people. My favourite one was that when he considered hurting someone, he would say something nice to him.

He lives in a nice small town where nothing ever happens, that is until something shows up killing people and stealing body parts.  John gets interested in this, and through part luck part plan he ends up finding out that the killer is a demon, and that he must somehow stop him, as no one would believe him that there is a demon in town.

I really enjoyed the book, and had difficulty putting it down. It is told in a very personal style, First person past tense, though in the early chapters there are many refences to what is to come.

I do recomend this book, and i shall be putting the sequels onto my buy list.

The 2013 Hugos

As a current attending member of the 2013 Worldcon I not only get to attend the Convention in Texas this year, i also get to vote on the ballot when it is released, I also get to nominate works to it. Voting in the Hugos for 2013 is available to all members of the convention, supporting or attending, you might want to consider getting a supporting membership, i think it is currently $60.

I have picked a couple of books for the Novel category, but my reading of 2012 books was limited, as I am still trying to catch up with all the awesome books since about 2005! I shall probably do a review of this one before i am finished.

Movies wise, or “Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form” as it is known in Hugo land, I will be going with Wreck-It-Ralph, Dredd,  and John Carter. I am looking at adding Iron Skies, but I am not sure if it qualifies.

The Short form, I am looking at an episode of Conntinuum, (End Times, ) an Episode of Eureka (Just Another Day, ) The Disney Short film “The Paper man”. I am also looking at Blood and Chrome, though the eligibility of that is something i need to check, as I am not sure all the episodes were available before the start of 2013.

Best related is still pretty open for me, I mean clearly a vote for Writing Excuses is on the cards.

I am thinking of Nominating something from the Not Literally Girls, Though that may actually fall into best presentation Short form,  However i am not sure they would do as well as they should in the “Doctor Who” category. If I leave an empty slot in Short form, then the administrator might move my nomination around if they judge that it should be on the short form

However beyond that I have no idea, but I was sure that there were a few things I wanted to add to the list!

I don’t read enough in the Shorter fiction or in the Fan works to feel comfortable nominating in those categories, so i shall be leaving them alone, though i will look at them when the voting comes around.

So i am still researching this, but am down to what the last week and a bit to make a decision…

[Review] Old Mans War

booksSo a book club in Dublin that I am looking at joining was this month reading The name of the Wind by Patrick Roftuss, and John Scalizi’ Old mans war. Having already read The Name of the wind back in 2011, i really only needed to read this to be ready for the book club.

The book is simply a tale of an old man, who chooses to enlist in the space army to be rejuvenated and get a new lease on life in the colonies after his term of service.

There are some very interesting elements in the book. For example the old people who sign up to join this army have no idea how they will be rejuvenated, however they are perfectly willing to do so, as the chance of dying in the ten years after they could enlist apparently runs in the very high likelihood.

So at first the book is asking, would you jump for a lifeboat, if you didn’t know how it worked?

After it is explained how it is done we get a short training montage, and then off to see the war in action.

I have often heard this work been described as very similar to a Heinlein story been told in a modern way by a modern author. I can defiantly see a lot of elements that would remind me of that. The training montage is similar to a lot of things in Starship Troopers, also our hero is in the Heinlein mould. He is someone who gets things done, thinks about his actions but when the time comes knows which way to jump.

I loved a lot of the technology within the book with things like the Skip Drive FTL technology been very interesting, though the explanation of how the it works gives me a headache. I suspect that in universe it is a concept that really is badly explained by the english language, and would be better if you could get the maths. I won’t try to explain it here, but it is a variant of an FTL transit system I don’t think I have encountered before.

Another interesting idea is the BrainPal. A computer in your head, that can send and receive messages, and will learn to respond to your wants and needs before you can articulate them. I admit that i want one.

The big problem I have with the book, is that there is no real reason to keep how the rejuvenation will be done a secret. At least none that is explained within the book. Also the disparate technology level between Earth and the CDF makes little sense, why keep a major source of what could be a production centre so behind the tech curve that they can’t help, even while you fight what seems like a total war!

The book itself was Hugo nominated in 2006 and the Author won the John W. Campbell award for new writers.

I have gotten the second book in the series, and look forward to reading it.

[Review] The Treachery of Beautiful Things

The Treachery of Beautiful Things_I have owned a copy of The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long for a while, however it has lanquished on my To be read pile since i got it at the Book Launch. When i managed to get a bit of momentum into reading recently, I took this off of my To be read pile and dived right in.

The story opens with the disappearance of our heroines brother. He is kidnapped by the trees, she is the only witness to this crime..

Then years later, after years of wondering where he was, and therapy for what she had seen, she hears a pipe player, who sounds so much like her brother, that she must investigate. So begins a fun adventure in a land of fairytale.

The land the other side of the edge seems like our own, but in truth is a place filled with magic, where you cannot trust anyone to be what you see. It is a place where the politics of who you follow and who you can trust are not at all obvious.

The story is steeped in English fairytale legends, however I don’t think you need to be familiar with the source material. The characters are all introduced, and no real reference is made to their legend, except that which is explained in the story. While knowledge of Oberon, Titania, or Puck might add depth to the story it is not necessary in order to enjoy it.

I really suggest you go out and read this book. It is unlikely to disappoint you.

Though you may never look at the trees around you the same ever again!

 

update

So a busy few weeks in work, however its looking like we are reaching the end of most of it. Various projects will be completed and placed live over the next few weeks, and then i can get back to the more relaxed development fun.

In other news, we recently got some additional chairs in the sittingroom, one of which is just perfect to curl up and read on. So i have found myself starting to scratch the very top of my To be Read pile. hopefully i ccan get rid of the backlog by the end of the year. of course by that stage a lot of new books will be added to it. However some of these books have been in the pile since October 2010,  I think!

I remember the days when i would get and read a new book in a day, maybe two if it was particularly long. of course that was in the days when i would spend twelve hours doing security work, which invloved sitting at a desk, and doing the occasional patrol around the site.

i got through many books during that time, and it was the proximaty to the local library that saved me from spending all the money i earned working on buying books. A good fantasy triology would last maybe four days, so i would have had to buy a lot of books otherwise.

i think i shoul probably chuck up a review or two of the books i have read.

Money

I have plans to spend a lot of money this year.

I have plans for three international Conventions, a friends wedding, and as many local conventions i can get to.

This is not cheap. Last year i tried three international conventions, and was effectively insolvent by November. It took me until Late januray to sort out my solvency, by in the traditonal way of relevarging my debts, to pay them back over a longer period at a lower interest rate!

However this requires me to be much more careful and plan how i intend to spend my money. To that end i have set up arrangements to spread cost of bills, car insurance, car tax and a few other things out over the rest of the year. This means a set amount out of each paycheck will go to pay these thigns. hence allowing me to be sure that no bills are not covered in the amount i have left in my current account.

This is all very boring really, but its stuff like this that will mean that i can probably afford to travel and to save!

[Review] Wreck-It-Ralph

So I went to see Wreck-It-Ralph at the weekend. I had heard about this movie back when it was released in the US, but had to wait for an Irish release before I could see it.

It was well worth the wait.

The basic concept of the Movie is very similar to Toy Story, and many other movies with a similar concept, what exactly do computer game characters do when there is no one around to watch them.

The plot is quite simple, about a person seen as been evil by all around him, trying to prove that he can be a good guy.

The simple plot description of course does not even come close to describing the joy that exists in this movie. Sure there the shout out moments when famous game characters make an appearance (Sonic, Street fighter 2 and so on) but these references are more for the adults in the audience than the kids, and so the movie depends more on the original characters that we encounter than any others.

The main character is Wreck-it-Ralph, who was thrown out of his home so an apartment block could be built, and so tries  to destroy that block. After 30 years of the same thing, he gets bored with living in the dump, and wants to prove that he is good enough to live in the apartment building with everyone else.

I don’t want to go to much into this movie, as while i believe you can enjoy it knowing things, there are certain moments of Joy that just had me laughing.

In general i think the best parts of the movie are:

  •  The world building in this was really well done, the world and its history are sometimes built with a deft touch and others just pushed in your face. Both ways work, and make sense for the different elements that are introduced in this way.
  • The characters are well realised and defined. oh and are great fun.
  • The self-awareness of the characters, they know they are in games, and they know what could happen if they stop playing for the people.
  • The “in” jokes. They are there adding an extra layer, but if you miss the joke that’s ok as it is never important to the plot

This film is probably going to remain one of my favourite films for a long time, I have already bought the soundtrack, and have gotten the iOS game for it as well, which is quite addictive.

In the end the message of the film is all about accepting who you are, and finding happiness in the differences between you and other people. Which is, I think, a good message in any movie.

This movie will be on my Hugo nomination Form for best dramatic performance, Long Form.

Break

I took a few days away from the internet. Well it is more correct to say i took time away from everything except Facebook and Twitter, because they are always with me.

I also took friday off of work, and spent a lot of the weekend doing little tasks, and tidying things away. I also went with housemate to pick some “new” 2nd hand furniture. We got an incredibly ugly two seater and an ugly one seater for a very good price, including delivary, which should be this afternoon, all going well.

So last night we started to relayout the room for the new furniture, and i suspect that will be lots of moving of couches over the next while!

I also got together with my friend the Graphic Designer, who has done the Octocon posters over the last few years, to layout my thoughts on this years poster. I am hoping that this year the design will be a little bit more fun!

There was als0 pancake making fun, as New housemate practiced her pancake making, as it was a new pan and hob for her. Practice went well, anad i had some very nice pancakes.

So i really didn’t get much done on my weekend off, but that was always the plan, well i was hoping to get my mothers computer fixed, but the part has not arrived for that, so it shall have to wait.

 

Performance

As part of my job i need to do a planning document setting out my goals for the year, and then at the end of the year we get assessed on how we carried out those goals. All pretty standard, and I wouldn’t bother talking about it, except that I am currently doing it.

It’s not hard, except making sure that the goals are achievable. In previous years I was forced to put goals on that i had no real way of actually making sure that they happened or that were so big that there was no way that it could be carried out in a single year. That i got as much done of that goal as i did actually surprised my boss who insisted that it be there.

I don’t think he gets how this thing is supposed to work!

Anyway I might as well take this chance to also look at my goals for my “Fannish” life this year. I suppose a few might be a good idea:

  1. I want to blog about all the conventions I am an attendee at.
  2. I want to Go to more panel items at conventions.
  3. I want to scan in some of the archive material that I have.

They seem like achievable goals, of course there is no actual performance indicators there to say how well I have achieved them, and I think that I will leave it like that.

I mean if I can’t write a single blog post about each of Eastercon, Eurocon, and Worldcon, then I am doing something VERY wrong!