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I've updated my two journals, Livejournal and Dreamwidth; basically making them one journal, updating the info in my bio and also choosing a new journal title: Raised By Rats.  I don't have any rats right now, but I want to acknowledge all they've done for me :-)  

I hadn't realised I never filled in profile bio info on DW but anyway, it's there now.  Or people can ask me stuff :-)  

I'm on holiday at the moment; decided to take a few days after the long weekend to just chill and do things I never seem to get to on work days.  Like last night I went to book club; a club run by Stefen of Stefen's Books in Perth.  We discussed Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, which I have to admit I read on Kindle as I am trying to keep my book spending (and any spending) way down until after I go to Finland in August.  Most of my reads so far this year have been from the library, with two Kindle purchases only.  

Anyway, The Affinities was such that I was glad I didn't spend full actual book price on it.  The writing style was passive, the protagonist rather forgettable and the premise of a scientific method to create what are basically fraternities - for only some of the population - is dubious.  Yes, it would be wonderful to be part of a group who absolutely understood you, but the idea of creating new exclusivities struck me, and some of the book club, as designed to fail.  The phrase "A class theme with a B class author" resonated through the evening.  I like Wilson, have several of his books including Darwinia and Julian Comstock, but I think he missed the mark on this one.

I added an account of visiting M but then my comp froze and I lost it.  M was on best behaviour, but memory is increasingly crap.  At least M now seems to be aware of it.
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 Yesterday I attended a public forum of writers, librarians and others at WA’s State Library, organised by Writing WA, to put their case and present a petition to three Western Australian politicians, with the WA State Election set for 11 March 2017.  The politicians were from government, shadow ministry and the Greens.  Writing WA wrote that the forum was:

To enable members of the writing sector and wider community to hear from the Liberal, National, Labor and Greens Parties regarding their policies concerning writing in particular, and its place in arts policy more broadly. 

http://www.writingwa.org/writing-matters/

F
or those not informed on Western Australian politics:  Liberal is our conservative/private sector party.  Their guy wore a suit on a 37^C day with horrendous humidity.  Labor is the party seen as representing the labour movement.  Greens is pretty much the same as Greens anywhere.  Environmental concerns and social change.  Please don't jump on me for my definitions.  These are only broad sketches for the assistance of any readers who don't live here.

Neither of the actual Ministers for the Arts were present.  The State Government [Liberal] has the Hon. John H.D. Day as Minister for Health; Culture and the Arts.  He was represented by the Hon. Mark Mischin, Attorney General; Minister for Commerce.  This probably explains why he kept talking about KPI.  I could not remember what this stood for and had to look it up afterwards.  Google told me it was this:

Short for key performance indicator.

"by setting KPIs the company enables the team to make smart business decisions about the direction of all current projects"

It hurt my brain to try to think about writers centres and supporting writers in these terms.

Labor did a bit better, in my opinion, fronting with Dr Bill Leadbetter, an historian and Labor candidate for Hasluck.  Majorly into the Roman Empire, which for me is a win J and actually better than if the actual Minister had attended.  This is the Hon. Michelle Roberts MLA.  Look at her swag of portfolios, with the Arts coming in last.  Despite what Dr Leadbetter said about her passion for books and reading, it’s hard to believe she’s got much time to consider either.  She’s the Manager of Opposition Business; Shadow Minister for Police; Road Safety; Crime Prevention; Culture and the Arts.

Third was the Hon. Lynn MacLaren MLC, of the Greens.  Much though I like the Greens, all Lynn could really do was agree that writers were a necessary part of a creative society and promise to raise the questions which were asked, though being a burr in Parliament is certainly a necessary task, in my opinion.

I got rather lost in the talk about numbers and dollars and how much funding was actually being offered as against what was needed, and whether the Premiers Book Awards needed to be every year or every two years for the sake of funding.  It boiled down to “We’re already doing a great deal and we don’t think more is actually required” or “If we get elected to government, we will throw money at this, this and this.” 

A sitting government has the advantage; the connections and the inside information, plus the key to the treasury.  An opposition government does not, which leaves them open to accusations of “You can’t say that, because you don’t know these figures.”  That could be true;  they won’t know for sure if and until they’re actually elected.  So all I could really glean from the speeches was that all of them know there are these people here, who are anxious for more support and who will fight to keep what they have.  The pollies have been reminded that writers are out here, both by the packed theatre and by the petition which was given to all of them at the end.

The forum was being recorded, but it’s probably too soon for it to appear online.  That would have been at least three hours of transcribing there [my day job] but I’ll try to locate it and update it to this post.  Part of my reason for writing this is to see how well I could do on a couple of hours work, fairly soon after I went to the actual event. 

 

 

 

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 I haven't read a lot of recent Stephen King; have rather lost track of the recent ones, but one of the latest I did like was the title that's a date I can never remember without looking: 11.22.63.  I guess somebody into the history of the Kennedy assassination would know it better.  I loved that book;  have my own actual paper copy, and just the other day realised that a television version had been made, produced by J.J. Abrams, no less.

I've begun to watch it and it seems really good, and even better, it's from the local library, which I'm continuing to use to keep my entertainment costs down.  Most of the Stephen King works seem to translate well to the screen and I have hopes for this one.  I'm wondering if he'll do his usual cameo role somewhere along the line!

I've managed to keep my Kindle purchases down since the start of the year; only one, which is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I got that because it looked interesting and was on a list of genre works supposed to cheer one up, which I rather need at the moment.  Really enjoyed it and got a lot of the '80s references in it, which is a nice change from trying to figure out the decade we're currently in.
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 Now that I've decided to go to Helsinki, Finland, for the Worldcon this year, I have to make sure I can pay for it and not be totally broke afterwards.  So I am doing my periodic entertainment of working out ways to save money.

Read more... )
There's not much to report in RL; back at work, doing okay so far.   It's still pretty quiet, no frantic pleas for overtime (just when I would have taken it, too!)  and quite a few people are still on leave, or going on leave.  I still haven't managed to get off the anti-ds (shrug, may try again later).   Did lose another couple of kilos and the rest is firming up some, more muscle definition which I am very happy about, but why do I have to have hairs up my nose?

Supernatural is back and I watched the re-start episode on Friday with a couple of fan friends, on a really nice big screen TV.  It wasn't a bad episode, but I was doing a lot of "why didn't they do that?" or "That was too easy," in my head.  I think I've been affected by the very realistic violence of SOA, which I'm not enjoying as much as I was for the first few seasons, but am persevering because there's only one more season to watch.  I think they should do a SOA/Walking Dead crossover; it's the natural progression!

I see in the news that there is a move in California for secession.  I would have said this was crazy and never happen, but then, this time last year I still thought the reason they want to secede would never happen!  Scary shit.  Hang in there, everyone I know in America.  Just....hold on.


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I was disconnected again last night; still on an hour's wait plus for a call back, but fortunately it connected again about half an hour ago.  Definitely Iinet's prob, which I seriously hope they can fix sooooon and that I don't get another major drop out.  Needed to go out anyway, despite another hot day, to buy a new phone cable - wasn't causing the problem but very old and mouse-chomped, so preemptive maintenance - and hit the library to stop me buying more ebooks.  I'm also waiting for a book to come in from Book Depository.  It's called One Year Later, sequel to One Second Later by William Forstchen; one of the best 'emp attack destroys civilisation" books I ever read.  He's coauthored books with Newt Gingrich, who provided the foreword for the first novel.

I've mostly been on rereads so far this year, all 10 days of it, except for Joshua Guess's This Broken Veil, a zombie apoc with real characters!  I reread Simon Scarrow's Under the Eagle, which may possibly have been before New Year, and then the Timerider series by his brother Alex, who also borrows Simon's Roman military characters for one of those books :-)  It had been sufficiently long that I couldn't quite recall the ending of the Timerider series, so they could stand a reread.  So today, new books:  J.D. Robb's Apprentice in Death and a thing called The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello, which seems to feature Rasputin and also a modern day threat from a buried source of the 1918 flu in Antarctica.  Being a thriller and not an apocalypse novel, I can predict that the reawoken virus won't destroy the world, but one can hope :-)

This being summer; Perth is hot and crowded, particularly with children, since they haven't been safely locked up yet, so I headed home soon as I finished the cable shopping and library and rations gathering.

Good news; read a post by Mark Sheppard yesterday announcing that Supernatural had been renewed for a 13th season. 
For possible Supernatural season 12 spoilers )
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I'm a little on the phobic side about phone calls, but today had to make one of the worst; a call to my Internet service provider to ask wtf? I had been trying for several hours to get online without success, so there was no alternative.

Their stated delay before calling back was one hour; it was more like three before they finally did, and then they made me jump through idiot hoops. Yes, it's plugged into the wall. No, I cannot get online. How am I supposed to tell you invoice details when those are online? If I had another modem, I'd be using that, not beating my head against a wall as I talk to you. The whole emphasis was that it must be my equipment failing. I asked directly in the end and then the minion admitted that iinet did have issues and that those could have caused my difficulties.

Once "something" was done and I could get online, I realised the difficulties were widespread, and more than iinet were saying. Reading the comments was more helpful. I especially appreciated the person who suggested that the II in iinet should stand for "intermittent internet" because that's what I've been dealing with for months. Today was just the icing on the cake. It's a pity; they used to be a very good service.

Probably wasn't the best time for them to send me an email requesting customer service feedback . . .
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Cleaning up the back yard is pretty well endless, with two large trees in the throes of "bark season" - Australian trees drop all their bark in the summer and start again - and all the smaller plants doing their best to help. One is the "widow maker" lemon scented eucalypt and the other a rose eucalypt, or similar name; Eucalyptus Grandii. Fortunately I like gardening :-) So today was much pruning and raking, from around 5.30 pm to nearly 7pm when the sun was low enough. I had tossed out some elderly bread (still ok but dry), so the ravens were lurking, waiting for me to get out of the way so they can go get it and wash it in the bird bath. They've finished raising their chicks - I think there were two - in their nest at the top of the grandii and turfed them off to join the gangs of teenaged ravens who hang around the train station.

Who am I?

Jan. 5th, 2017 02:11 pm
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WHO AM I?

For the benefit of the new friends I’ve gained via St Aurafina’s friending meme and anyone else on my flist who doesn’t want to admit that they can’t remember who I am and why they friended me….

My name is Alex and I live in Perth, Western Australia. We’re the world’s most isolated capital city and people in other parts of Australia sometimes bitch about being transferred here for work.

This is put together from my profile on LJ, where I’ve been blogging since 2004. There I’m ratfan. I got rid of my DW journal a couple of years ago in an intense fit of depression and rather than sort through the electronic paperwork to get the name back, I just added another “t” to the ratt. About the depression; well, I’ve been on Lexapro on and off for about 12 years and I think I’m stuck with it. I tried lowering the dose this holidays and it didn’t work too well, so I’m going to give up on that. Better living through chemistry.

My day job is audio transcribing for our State and Federal courts, which means I learn a whole lot of stuff I am absolutely forbidden from using in writing.  I've got a good grip on libel legislation.  I blog/bitch about my job, my mother, conventions, roleplay and boardgaming, gardening, books;  anything that comes to mind, really.  No partner or kids.  Working on my fitness at the moment, though my low sugar/low salt diet got blown out of the water this New Year's and I discovered you could actually suffer a sugar hangover.

I'm a pet owner [sadly have no rats, here at the beginning of 2017. Probably will get more...]

science fiction fan

writer [original and fan.  Have written in Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Supernatural; currently huge fan and would-be minion of Crowley, King of Hell].


gamer [GURPS, V&V, online Scrabble via Facebook]


reader


transgender person [Prefer he/him pronouns but some people can’t get used to it and honestly, I hate making people uncomfortable, so it's not an issue].


My most recent creation is Nightsiders, a collection of stories set in a future Perth abandoned when climate change becomes too severe to tolerate in Western Australia. I'm writing a novel in this world. I may be writing it for some time as it stalled last year. At the moment, for my own amusement, I’m inflicting the zombie apocalypse on my beloved city. There will be a scene in Parliament with poli-zombies led by Premier Basket Case. Do you think the real Premier Barnett will notice?


I don't watch a lot of live television but have adopted Netflix. My growing list of favourites includes Supernatural, The Walking Dead, The West Wing, Jessica Jones, Fringe, Helix, Lost Girl, I Zombie, Sons of Anarchy, The OA. Netflix is my friend. Happy to receive recommendations.

I got a camera last year and went mad with photos, which can be viewed at
https://plus.google.com/collection/cbFrlB

If this link doesn’t work properly, let me know. My computer operation ability sometimes cuts out on me.  There's only a couple there so far as I remembered my other collections weren't public and I needed to begin another one!

This journal is dedicated to my pet rats past and present. This is one diary you guys can't gnaw!

This original LJ line is a bit outdated since I lost my beloved Barnaby on 10 December ’16 and for the sake of my finances, am waiting a few months until summer eases. I don’t use anything like the amount of electricity on airconditioning that I do when I have rats.

Anyway, nice to meet you and may there be much journal writing and friendship this year.

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 http://ratfan.livejournal.com/341597.html

 This book is the sequel to Autumn and above is the link to the review I did for that, since I haven’t much new to say about this one.  I hoped for more, is the gist of it.  As indicated, it takes place in a large, nameless British city and features various people who start off on their own, surviving an apocalypse which came about when a lightning fast disease struck down most of humanity.

The resulting ‘undead’ are referred to as “the bodies” and they kill by sheer pressure of numbers and random violence as their aggression increases.  They don’t actively hunt and eat the living, which probably isn’t an awful lot of comfort when you're being steamrollered by a horde of them.

 It felt like I was waiting for most of the book for the whingey survivors to actually do something.  They literally sat around and ate whatever junk food they could find, waiting for somebody else to take control and arguing with one another.  This is no survival of the fittest; survival by accidental luck would be more like it.  One survivor, a sales clerk, was so annoying and whiny that I felt a sense of relief when he died in a particularly stupid manner.

There’s a military base at the edge of the city with a population of soldiers who aren’t immune, but survived because they were sent down into it at the outbreak.  They don’t seem to know what to do either and they wait for somebody…you got it.  One soldier on a scouting mission finds out he is immune from the plague that still lives in the air, by a freak and horrible accident, and while not exactly a leader, he is, finally, the catalyst for the survivors to move together.  These include Michael and Emma from the first book, though I don’t think it’s essential to read that, as at least the first half of this book is almost a duplicate of that, with different characters in a bigger metropolis. 

 I’m not sure I’ll bother continuing with this series, which has several more books in it.  Three and four are titled, respectively,  Autumn Purification and Autumn Disintegration, which sounds like more whingeing and despair to me.  The first one begins with the surviving survivors still stuck in the military bunker to which they fled, leaving their city to hundreds of thousands of mindless walking corpses.  Zompoc British style.

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You can feel the difference when it's a major holiday and not an ordinary weekend.  Very little traffic movement, vehicular or human, so one could for the moment imagine that a pandemic had wiped out all one's neighbours, or the zombie apocalypse had struck and all the zombies had headed downtown.  It's wrong to say "no such luck," isn't it?

It was not early when I woke up, or should say, woke up for the last time before emerging.  This was fine.  Eventually got online and chatted with the most excellent Gillian Polack for a couple of hours, as is our tradition on this day.  Then some reading over lunch, when I finished Mary Robinette Kowal's Ghost Talkers, a short, but complete novel - meaning I don't think it's a series but not sure - about the efforts of the Spirit Corps in the Great War.  It's lightweight and fairly fast paced and in the moment, so not much about the characters' past.  It's alternate/fantasy history, with a really intriguing kicker.  Can't do better than to quote the inside jacket blurb, so here it is:

Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London . . . is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.  Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

There is a dashing British intelligence officer.  There are cads.  There are spies and dangerous journeys in France.  The heroine is very much a product of her time and class, to the extent that while she is upset on behalf of her West Indian friend in the corps that this friend cannot enter the troops' hospitality room because she is black, she does wonder uneasily how she would feel if she had not ever met a person of colour herself.  

I find this more realistic than to have a protagonist, as many authors do, who thinks very politically correctly (for our time), which may suit the sensibilities of some modern readers, but quite unlikely against the backdrop of their own time and place.  This made me think of Naomi Novik's alternate Napoleonic era Temeraire series, where there are only women riders because a certain breed of dragon won't partner with men.

Once I finished this book, I crashed out for awhile on my bed because well, it was there, the weather was warm and I wanted to let the sun get a bit less fierce before I went outside again.  This was to take a half hour walk with a swim in the river happening in the middle.  This evening, I took in a couple of episodes of The OA, which has a very slow start, but already showing some unique and intriguing ideas and characters, including the first trans boy character I ever saw on TV who's played by, well, a trans boy, Ian Alexander.  There's much more to it than that and so far it's reminding me a fair bit of Stranger Things.  Potential there.

And the peace persists outside;  truly a miracle.
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Well, for the next three weeks I am on leave.  This is the last time for awhile that I'll feel this tired because I've been working for somebody else all day.  The city is hot, frantic and chockers with people, but I stood it long enough to go get some books from Stefen's Books to keep me going over the next few days.  Under the Eagle, Simon Scarrow, Autumn [The City] by David Moody and Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal.  Haven't read anything by her yet, but this book looks really interesting.

I'm close to the end of my year of blogging everything I read [well, except for fanfic].  Next year I think it'll be just those I decide are really worth it.  

Imagine the hatch on a doomsday bunker closing with a resounding clang.  That's my place until this city calms down again and returns to what we're pleased to call normal in the new year.

I also finally got to see Rogue One, so am officially spoilerproof.
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This book, released in 2015,  is absolutely beautiful; both for its story, the quality of the writing and its physical appearance, which goes very nicely with the contents; a backdrop of desert browns and oranges against the silver lettering of the title and the young woman in long 1880s-style skirts approaching across the landscape.

 It is alternate history and myth woven together, creating a fascinating world I would rather like to live in.  If I had to categorise it, probably I would call it coming of age.  The focus on a teenaged protagonist and the clear, easy reading language, make it suitable for young people as well as for adults.

Isobel was indentured as a baby, to a being whom his people call “the boss” and whom outsiders call “the devil.”  He runs a saloon in the town of Flood, and from it, the land called the Territory.  If people want to stay within this land he claims west of the Missisippi, they must make a bargain with him.  At the beginning of the story, Isobel is about to turn sixteen and it is her time to make the deal.

In true coming of age style, the protagonist must learn and grow in order to become strong enough for their destiny;  in this case, Isobel’s agreement to work for her boss as his ‘Left Hand’.  She leaves the town and takes to the road, mentored by a rider called Gabriel, who has made his own bargain with the devil. 

The present story about powerful magical threats to the Territory is engrossing enough, making it clear that whoever and whatever the boss really is, he’s not omnipotent.  I found the backstory just as intriguing and spent a lot of time wondering about him and his people, particularly Marie, who works as his “Right Hand” within the town of Flood.  Neither of them are exactly human but I couldn’t place them securely in any mythos.  This devil is true to his word and protective of his people, and the word is he runs the only honest gaming tables in the West.

Nor could I be sure just when in time – and being an alternate world, perhaps this was intentional – the story takes place.  The intruding Spanish monks who show up make me think 1700s, but the scenario of the wild west and the settlers protected by the boss’s riders, who seem a blend of the law, messengers and magical aid, seem to suggest later on.  My knowledge of early American history is admittedly a bit patchy and strongly influenced by works such as Deadwood and Paint Your Wagon

The story of Silver on the Road is fairly slow moving and the reader is mostly limited to what Isobel discovers, and her thoughts about those discoveries, with some story devoted to Gabriel, though his own mystery remains, and so does that of the boss, with only small glimpses of what they may possibly be.  This is only the first book in a trilogy.  Some reviews I read criticised the book’s pace but I had no problem with it;  I wanted to remain within the world.  I can most definitely recommend it to any reader, whether they’re into fantasy specifically or not.

 

 

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Two books I need to review, sitting on my desk:

Rachel Caine's Paper And Fire, second in the Great Library series. For anybody still outraged about the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria, an alternate world where it survived and comes to rule the world.  I found it in the huge Brisbane Dymocks store, which was packed with shoppers that Sunday.  I had meant to check out the various other bookshops in Brisbane, particularly Pulp Fiction, but they were closed.

Also a book I picked up almost by accident at Stefen's Books, since the two I had been considering were not in the shop. Silver on the Road, by Laura Anne Gilman; another alternate world/magic exists story which is rather hard to classify, taking place in what the book's characters call the Devil's West.  The Devil himself runs a saloon, well, what else would he do in the American old west, or a version of it?  Perfect place to make bargains with his people.  Isobel has been living under his roof since she was a small child.  Now, at sixteen, it is time for her to choose her bargain.

 Anyway, I want to think about these two a bit more before I write a proper review, but they were very enjoyable.  Silver is quite possibly the better book.

In a week's time I go on leave and will then have time to consider books and do some proper writing, though I'm still going with the Nano novel, which did not get completed or even up to 50,000 words in November, but I sort of suspected that might happen.  November and December are killer months in the gulag.  I'm tired with the sort of weariness that has built up over the year and doesn't fade with a couple of days off.  People keep asking what I'm doing for Christmas, but since I will have been on leave only one day when that rolls around, the answer is still nothing.  

My mother is going to visit my brother and his family and presumably they'll do the whole Christmas thing.  Me, I'll wait till New Year's and the party I'll be heading to then.  That's the real celebration.
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 Sad day. I got back from an excellent and exhausting weekend in Brisbane to find that my beloved pet rat Barnaby had unexpectedly died. He was in the care of a fellow rat owner, who was as shattered as I was. Barnaby was elderly but had not shown any signs apart from general creakiness. So now I am ratless. 

The above was my Facebook post and I'm too whacked right now to write much more.  The Christmas party with the gulag's head office was actually quite enjoyable, though too noisy to talk properly with anyone, and I toured Brisbane on the Saturday extremely thoroughly.  I have to say that the Qantas aircraft that do the Perth-Brisbane run are too damn small.  There was a constant bottleneck between the staff and passengers and the seat space was so narrow that I kept getting prodded in the ribs by the guy sitting next to me on the way back.  Also, peeps, making out it's my fault because I won't eat either your fish curry mess or your pumpkin-splattered vegetarian goo is not going to make me particularly fond of you.

 Getting back to find out that Barnaby had passed was rotten and I still feel this emptiness inside and start talking to the empty cage, which is truly pathetic.

Once I'm okay and make it to a day off/enough sleep, I'll post some more about Brisbane and some of the photos I took.  I took lots.


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This series is both books and television.  I encountered it backwards, as in the series appeared on Netflix and had enough decent recommendations for me to take a look.  It was very confusing at the start, because a lot happens in a short time and the action flips between three sets of characters on Earth, on Ceres Station and in space on a succession of ships. [And no, I will not try to say that last bit aloud].

A few episodes in I discovered the books and in short order became hooked.  In my opinion, this is very good science fiction, with believable science (at least to me).  It is character driven but with a fascinating universe around them.  There is the ancient story of war and politics between Earthborn, Marsborn and Belters, the people who have lived and worked for generations in the asteroid belts.  There are intriguing characters.  Humans have evolved to some degree.  There is no longer any sort of fuss made about what relationships people choose to have.  But they still pick fights with one another about real estate and business interests, and they still talk about "them" and "us."  

Read more... )
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 Crosstalk by Connie Willis

Reinventing Australia by Hugh Mckay

Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Daughter of Eden by Chris Beckett

I began this year faithfully blogging about everything I've read, but admit it's become a bit of a chore lately.  With some books all I manage to do is note that they were read.  With these four; two were bought on Kindle, one rescued from the wild* and one bought as an actual book from Stefen's Books; my favourite genre bookshop in Perth.  One of my resolutions for this year was to do better about patronising local business where I could.  With books, sometimes I can't because I don't have unlimited money, but I do where possible.  Now, can people guess which book came from which origin? :-)

Crosstalk is my most recent read and it was very hard to set it down and do anything else when I'd started it.  My interest was sparked when I read a comment by somebody that they had enjoyed it as much as they had Blackout and All Clear, although the two stories were completely different.  Since I had enjoyed the latter two enough to buy them in hardback and read them several times each so far, I thought I might well agree with this person.  Also I've enjoyed all of her books read so far, particularly the details of the characters' lives and the web of people and interactions around them which form those lives.  So I'm not going to spoiler this one at all.  Read it.

Reinventing Australia is written by a psychologist, Hugh Mackay, who according to the back blurb, "Has spent more than 35 years studying the attitudes and behaviour of the Australian community."  Since the book was written in 1993 and concerns the early '90s, it's now more of a history book than anything, which I read with an attitude of "let's see what he got right and which trends actually did develop into what we're seeing now."  It's quite readable, though I wouldn't say I had any trouble setting it down.  I did in fact read it around the other three books on my recent list and that worked quite well.

Brotherhood in Death is around the 42nd book in the series featuring police homicide detective Eve Dallas in 2060s New York, so going through the backstory would take awhile.  Like the others, it's an enjoyable read, containing some memorably unpleasant characters, and the obligatory steamy sex scenes between Eve and her gorgeous billionare husband, which one can skip with absolutely no loss of the story.

Daughter of Eden, after reading the above, is definitely a case of "let's try something completely different."  It's the third in Beckett's series about a culture which arose on the sunless world of Eden, which gets its warmth and minimal light from organisms known as "trees."  After a spacecraft crash lands on it, three of the occupants decide to try to get back to Earth, while the other two stay on the planet to wait for rescue.  And they wait.  This is the backstory of the first book and again, I don't want to spoil that for people.  It's called Dark Eden and I think I blogged about it earlier on LJ; will find if anyone is interested.  It's the story of a culture that developed from only two people and the storytelling tradition that their children continued, based on what the two castaways were able to pass down to their four daughters and one son, who in turn tell the origin stories to their own children.  Among these is the 'Secret story' told by Angela Young, the female astronaut, which she tells her daughters to pass down only to those girls whom they feel can keep a secret.  It begins "Watch out for men who want to turn everything into a story that's all about them.... "

With that degree of inbreeding, you're going to have problems, never mind the difficulties of survival on the planet itself.  I think Beckett handles these reasonably well, considering we've never actually seen what happens in humans where the inbreeding continues for many generations.  The ancient royal families of Egypt and to a lesser extent, Europe in general, come to mind, but even that was not done to this extent.  One of the two founders' was related to somebody with a harelip, so the condition of "batfaces" is prevalent, as is that of "clawfeet" and mental retardation.

The first book takes place when there are 500-odd people still living in the one place where the spacecraft crashed.  The second, Mother of Eden, happens some five generations later (from memory) when the Family have been forced to spread out....and discovered religious conflict.  This one takes place about ten years after that, in a time where the stories are forced to change.  I'm not sure if there's another one but would buy it if there is. 





* Found in the wild means it was among a few dozen books set out on top of a table that was part of the recent local "Bring Out Your Dead" major rubbish collection.









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 Some recent reads:  The Dead Room – Stephanie Erickson.  I had hopes for this one; the story of a surviving colony 300 years in the future, that does not know why the rest of the world isn’t there any more.  The writing was not very good and I have no idea where the “best selling author” hype came from.  You have a viewpoint character which at one point (not specified because major spoiler) is replaced as viewpoint by another character, which was quite mystifying.  More bookstuff )

 

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 I’m feeling quite good at the moment.  It’s spring here in Perth and flowers everywhere.  The rain was so good over winter that everything in the garden has gone crazy.  When I check the weather stats, I see that this is in fact a (previously) normal winter, but that we haven’t had one like this for at least five years.

Yesterday was really warm, today not so much, but still really good.  It encourages one to get outside and do some gardening.  I also went for a walk/jog again and was able to do more jogging than last time.  I’m wearing shorts for the first time this season!

I’m working only three days a week at the moment and using the extra time to exercise.  I’m sure this won’t last and I will need to save a bit more over the coming months, but it’s good to have a bit of a break at the moment.  It’s good for one’s general well being and this is at the forefront of my mind right now. 

I’ve begun moves to organise a trip to Helsinki, Finland, next year, to attend the Worldcon.  At first the costs seemed insurmountable, but taken one thing at a time, not so bad.  I had believed I would have to move house, but that problem has, if not gone away, at least receded as my landlords got back in contact and we were able to re-establish our friendship.  I’m not the only one with depression problems, for sure.

I therefore contacted the hotel I wanted to stay at to book a room, only to find that their Worldcon block had already been used up!  They did, however, offer me a deal not much more expensive, so I took it, wanting the option of a nice hotel close by Messukeskus (sp?) the centre where the Con will take place.   In doing this, I encountered an odd problem, i.e. my computer did not accept the hotel’s email as valid!  It was certainly valid; there it was on the Worldcon site and I could contact them by it.  But not by “reply” to an email.  So I had to create a new email, type in the address again and cut and paste the information, so that there were the previous emails for them to refer to.  Seems Finland doesn’t exist, according to my system.

I had considered the room share option but decided to go ahead on my own anyway.  I like my own space and am also not sure whether my friends are definitely going.  As to that, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t cost anything to make this booking and if I leave it, I may not have the option of this hotel at all.  Bookings can be changed if need be.

My rat Barnaby is doing well, following the sad passing of his brother Dario.  Until the warm weather arrived, he barricaded himself into his plastic castle with newspaper, but this is situation normal for this beastie.  He’s not really interested in humans unless they have food, in which case he snatches the food and carries it off to storage.  I’ve cuddled him under much rodent protest.  He doesn’t really believe me when I tell him he’s a pet rat and that’s his job.

Tomorrow, Supernatural begins its 12th season and I’m going over to a fellow fan’s house after work to watch it with her.  I'm looking forward to that.

I have no immediate plans for the next few weeks.  Hopefully I can catch up with the odd friend at some point.

 

 

Dario

Oct. 6th, 2016 12:00 pm
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My little guy Dario is very unwell now. I'd noticed signs of his slowing down this past week or so and yesterday he demonstrated the clingy behaviour/aimless running about which is bad news to a rat owner. Dario is approximately two years and three months old, as near as I can guess, which is an elderly rat, and he has advanced mycoplasmosis. He's been through all the antibiotics and basically we're now in palliative care mode. He has his brother Barnaby with him, at least. Barnaby isn't a terribly social rat; his focus is on home design [newspaper, newspaper and more newspaper] so if there has to be just one rat for awhile, he's the best one. He's too elderly and cranky himself for new company at this stage, and in any case I had resolved not to get more rats for awhile. This is a very difficult stage for a rat owner, but rats are so engaging and intelligent that they're hard to resist, even knowing the health problems and short lifespans.

Anyway, I now need to do everything one handed - trying to rig a sort of sling here - because I'm clutching a rat. See above for clingy.
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