Saturday, July 23, 2011

BioShock: Rapture Review

Just a short post this time. My review of BioShock: Rapture has been posted on SFFWorld, and it's my debut 'published' review. You'll find it here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lesbian SFF Month - A Conclusion

I quite enjoyed it, and I read four really good books. I didn't read Moxyland nor The Windup Girl, the former as I got sidetracked and the latter because what I did read irritated and annoyed me, and I didn't wish to put up with it. Whilst they're only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's out there, I felt the books I chose were beautifully crafted and, in their own ways, really good for those who are confident in their sexuality, or who are trying to come to terms with it.

Overall, I would probably say that The Snow Queen's Shadow (Jim C. Hines) was my favourite of the four, with Ash (Malinda Lo) being my least favourite, but by no means was it poor. Huntress (Also by Malinda Lo) surprised me as I was almost expecting a fairy tale, but was instead greeted by a beautiful coming-of-age-esque story that was touching and emotional. I feel that I've taken something from the four books, and I hope others do too. Here are my reviews for them, all of which are on my Goodreads page.

The Snow Queen's Shadow - Jim C. Hines - Princess #4 - 5/5 Stars; Favourite Read
Honeyed Words - J.A. Pitts - Black Blade/Sarah Beauhall #2 - 4/5 Stars; Favourite Read
Ash - Malinda Lo - Standalone - 4/5 Stars
Huntress - Malinda Lo - Standalone (Prequel to Ash, although mostly unrelated) - 5/5 Stars; Favourite Read

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blogging & Discussions With Authors

This is a topic that's been on my mind a little over the past few months. In this day and age of Twitter, Facespace, Googley Plus, Blogger et al, it's becoming easier and easier to communicate with your favourite authors and learn about their views and feelings on the world. Of course, it can be very interesting and enlightening to see the views of others, let alone those of an author whose blood and tears you enjoy, but can it also be a soul destroying experience?

I would argue that yes, it can be as upsetting as it is enjoyable. The last thing you want when talking to someone whose work you enjoy is them to turn around and effectively call you stupid because you disagree with them on a topic. Almost every author I've seen who blogs about things unrelated to their work seems to me to act as if their view is the One True View, and will happily take any chance to correct you, whether they do so kindly or in a manner you might not like. Many authors are in a position where they can use their blogs to get across their messages, whether they're tackling green issues, those relating to sexual abuse, discussions about their political leanings or otherwise, but that very same position can distance their fans as much as it can encourage them.

So where should one stand? It's important that you take an interest in the views of an author, because it might increase your enjoyment of their books, but it may also highlight fundamental issues with their views. A certain science fiction author is an active member of an anti-homosexual group, and through things I've found on blogs, forums and other forms of communication, I've been thankful for that information as I would not want to support such a person. If you like an author's work, but disagree with their views, should you buy their books second hand? Should you completely ignore them? I generally ignore them as best I can, although I do have one short story/novella by the sci-fi author mentioned above (Which I got in an anthology I bought second hand, so go figure).

I suppose my thoughts are like this. Ignorance might be bliss, but by being ignorant you could be supporting authors with agendas you strongly disagree with. By engaging with authors, you may open your mind to new and interesting view points, but you could be leaving yourself open to opportunities in which you find yourself upset by the author. So maybe the only sensible place to be is to read the blogs and messages of authors you like and whose views you agree with, but draw the line at getting involved?

Any thoughts (Or even just comments) are appreciated!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lesbian SFF Month - Explanation & Reading List

So, I've decided that July is Lesbian SFF Month for me, based on two releases (The Snow Queen's Shadow by Jim C. Hines and Honeyed Words by J.A. Pitts), and it's giving me an excuse to give the genre a little poke. The aim of the month is to read a small selection of books with characters who are lesbian. I'm generally going for books where that character is a major one, but I'm sure a few minor characters may crop up.

I've selected the following books based on them being parts of series I've read upto this point, that I've heard good comments about them, or for the fact they're simply sat on my shelf when I invented this reading month.

1. The Snow Queen's Shadow - Jim C. Hines
This is a book that I'd been looking forward to since last year, once I'd finished the slightly worrying Red Hood's Revenge. I was anticipating it simply because it was another Princess novel, but also because it was closure to a series I belatedly started early last year. In just two books, Jim had become one of my favourite authors, and despite the problems I had with the third book, I was certain this fourth one would prove him to be worthy of that spot.

I have actually already read this book, finishing it just before July started, but I'm counting it as part of this month. I already have a review on my Goodreads page, and I'll link to it later in the month. I will say this, though. It did prove him worthy. It's one of the best books I've read this year.

2. Honeyed Words - J.A. Pitts
Honeyed Words was less anticipated for me than The Snow Queen's Shadow, but once I'd gotten that out of the way I was very excited about getting it. I thoroughly enjoyed Black Blade Blues earlier this year, and Sarah Beauhall (The protagonist) really connected with me for various reasons, hence why I was so excited about this book. As I write this post, the book is sat on my bedside table with about 90 pages left to go... And I only started it last night.

3. Ash - Malinda Lo
An unexpected entry, I'd say. I was researching lesbian SFF for this month, and I came across Ash. It's a retelling of Cinderella, but with a lesbian twist to it. I knew I had to get it based on that alone - I was on a Princess high, I needed more fairy tales and it fitted my month's reading perfectly. I managed to read the book cover to cover in one night (Most of which took two hours of bedtime reading), and I'll be linking my review later.

4. Huntress - Malinda Lo
This is a prequel to Ash, and is the first unread book on this list for me. I'm currently waiting for it to arrive.

5. The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi
I was scheduled to read this last month, but between a bout of the blues and a number of other reads, I never got around to it. I've learned that one of the major characters is a lesbian, however, and as such I'm going to read it this month. I've heard some very mixed things about this book, but we'll see.

6. Moxyland - Lauren Beuekes
I'm not actually sure if this has a prominent lesbian character, if I'm honest. I've heard it does have some sort of LGBT representation, but it's on my shelf and looks like a quick read, so I might as well see for myself.

So that's the list so far. It may expand, the bottom book may fall off, but it should stay fairly consistent, especially when I've read half of them already. We'll see how it goes :)