January 28, 2012

Four sci-fi novels

Another batch recommended by io9.

Ship Breakers is the first YA novel from Bacigallupi. It's in the same dystopia as Windup Girl and his collection of short stories. It was an engaging read but didn't captivate me intellectually as Windup Girl did (and as, say, the ideas in the YA Uglies books did). Quick, grim, and solid though.

Ready Player One presents another dystopian future with the world's poor finding refuge in a virtual world. The character relationships are at times a little cartoony, but the book is as much a vehicle for 80s pop-culture as for its plot of David v. Goliath. I missed maybe 1/2 the references, but it was still a ripping good yarn.

After the Apocalypse felt like late-era Southern Gothic almost. Moody and directionless and more depressing about the future than the previous two novels because of that directionlessness. The author really handles pacing and descriptions just perfectly. Well done overall. Her first (?) novel, China Mountain Zhang, will probably be on the next stack of books to read.

Embassytown was as virtuosic, both in writing and ideas, as the first Mieville I'd read: The City & The City. He owes much to Lem's alien environments in Eden or Fiasco, and Embassytown shares to some extent Lem's idea that different species may simply be unable to communicate. A fully realized and very distant future.

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posted by sstrader at 3:12 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | tagged io9, ya fiction | permalink | comments (0)

January 22, 2012

Dirty Pair DVDs

The Dirty Pair anime DVD releases are a confusion of re-releases and re-labels. I bought some DVDs and have been trying to figure out what releases I still need to get (without accidentally getting duplicates). Here is what's available (on Amazon) and what they contain of the original shows/movies.

Original series

10-episode OVA series

3 movies

Dirty Pair Flash (an alternate storyline/universe), details on Anime News Network

posted by sstrader at 7:42 PM in Cinema | tagged anime | permalink | comments (0)

January 9, 2012

Prehistory

The photos from a 1980s scifi convention called Westercon have been making the rounds over the last week or so (see io9 and Boing Boing for starters, the io9 comments have people going full-nostalgia, which is an historical document in itself). I started reading Ready Player One a few days ago, and so this sort of sepia-toned craziness is well-timed. It's a history I'm not a part of (I was reading Dune, possibly a second or third time, and collecting Micronauts at the time) but one that I feel tied to. Honestly, I wasn't cool enough to be with these people.

I've been picking through anime to watch on my new Android tablet. Recent viewing history on Netflix and Crunchyroll has been: Corpse Princess, Time of Eve, Pale Cocoon, and Mnemosyne. Star Blazers, recently added to Netflix, has tempted me though I know it won't live up to memories of my obsessive morning viewing before going on my paper route.

With this in mind, an io9 comment about a 1980s anime called Dirty Pair caught my attention. I'd never heard of it. Two YouTube-ripped episodes later--silly, but self-aware--and the complete series plus a 10-episode OVA run is on its way from an Amazon reseller.

posted by sstrader at 9:05 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (1)