logisticslad: (Default)
Went to the SF Book Club meeting, which I haven't been to in quite a while. It's now held in Main Point Books in Wayne, which is a welcoming and cozy venue. We discussed Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett, and everyone there had enjoyed it. We found it fascinating to see elements of their later works within it.

Part of what motivated me to go was my annoyance at Barnes & Noble removing their new book sections and simply shelving them within their categories. Since I mainly went there to find new books, I now have far less reason to shop with them as opposed to independent book stores or online.


Feb. 19th, 2009 12:14 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
I'm having a bout of synchronicity regarding New Orleans:

1) Top Chef just had part one of the finale in Nw Orleans and showed lots of footage of places that I recognized, plus Emeril was the guest judge.

2) I'm currently reading Dragon's Wild by Robert Asprin, and the characters just went to live in the French Quarter.

3) The cafeteria just offered their version of a Chicken Po'Boy for lunch today, which I just ate (it was only reminiscent of an actual po'boy but I was definitely in the mood for it).

I've really enjoyed my visits there and I haven't been back since the disaster. My annual Neuroscience conference hasn't been there for awhile, but is scheduled to return in 2012. Hmm, can I wait that long...?
logisticslad: (Default)
I finally finished reading Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and I highly recommend it! It's a retelling of the fairy tale of The Six Swans, where six brothers are turned into swans by their wicked stepmother, and their sister must break the curse by sewing them each a shirt out of nettles and remaining silent the entire time. In this version, it is set in Celtic Ireland and the sister, Sorcha, is a wonderful character who passes many tests of endurance to achieve her goal. The writing is equisite and lyrical. The novel feels very feminist and feminine at the same time, as Sorcha's life as a young woman is revealed. Complications ensue as she falls in love with a Briton, but her encounters with the Fey Folk help set everything on course for a reasonably happy ending. It turns out that this is the first of a trilogy, but it is a complete story in and of itself. We had just done this book in my SF Book Club and it was very well received, even by the folks who don't particularly enjoy fantasy. This was because of the quality of the writing and the strength of the characters. I'm delighted to have discovered this author and look forward to reading more by her!
logisticslad: (Default)
Robert Asprin, author of the wonderful MythAdventures books and Thieves World, which popularized the 'shared world' concept of writing SF collections, died yesterday. He will be missed.

logisticslad: (bella)
Top 11 Lesbian/Bi moments in F&SF - How cool is that?

logisticslad: (Default)
Just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I am very impressed.

I'll withhold my review until more people have read it.


Jul. 21st, 2007 06:12 pm
logisticslad: (wolvie)
I did battle with the jungle growing in the backyard this afternoon. After mowing it into submission, I went to work on the strangling vines and in the process of removing them was stung by a wasp. Ouch! Fortunately, I am not allergic to them, but my wrist did swell up where I was stung. I took an antihistamine and decided that that was enough for today.

I had accidentally broken the cool tumbler with Japanese characters on it that I use as my cats' upstairs water dish, so I stopped by BloodBath&Beyond in order to see if I could find a replacement. Alas, the one they had in the equivalent style was much too small to serve as a water dish. Next stop is Linens&Things. The cats seem to be wondering why I've taken their beloved water away...

Did half an hour on the elliptical at the gym and felt tired but good about it. Then ran some errands with my gym buddy including stopping by Benjamin Moore paints to select a nice royal blue color for the trim in the bathroom (Note that I've been working on this bathroom since I moved in almost 4 years ago, so there is obviously no rush in my mind to complete it - however each step I take toward finishing it feels good to accomplish). I found several possibilities, so I took some paint chips home to see what it will look like under the actual lighting conditions of the bathroom. This may motivate me to finally remove the painter's tape that's been up for over 6 months :-)

On our way through Chestnut Hill, we noticed lots of kids and adults dressed up as wizards and a number of outdoor displays. It looked like everyone was having a lot of fun, so we smiled and waved as we drove by.

My dear friends P&L have loaned me their newly arrived copy of Harry Potter (since they are each in the midst of rereading the series and don't expect to be done htis week). Woo-hoo! I know what I'll be doing tonight!!!
logisticslad: (nermal)
I was wiped out today from the changes in the weather affecting my sinuses. I couldn't concentrate on much at work and so spent most of my day meeting with my staff and students about their work. Then I came home and crashed in front of the TV. I vegged with the latest episodes of SYTYCD and Top Chef and I finished rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I had wanted to see how things had been changed to make the movie, and I must say, I agree with every single departure from the book). My cats have been very snuggly with me tonight (I think that they found an old catnip toy that still had some oomph left in it).

In their honor, I found a new icon. I've named it "Nermal" :-)
logisticslad: (totoro)
50 best SF/F books meme passed on by [profile] frstythesnowman

This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science fiction book Club. Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished, and put an asterisk* beside the ones you loved.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien*
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert*
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein*
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin*
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley*
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M.Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov

14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester

20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey*
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card*
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman*
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling*
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin*
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny*
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven

40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks

49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

An interesting selection. I think some of these are more influential than actually good, but I suppose that fits their criterion of "significant."
logisticslad: (Default)
I recently read Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom YA fantasy series and very much enjoyed it. The story focuses on a teenage boy named Arthur who is dying of asthma and inherits a magical key that not only keeps him alive but provides him with his destiny. There are seven keys each controlled by a being who has domain over a day of the week. Each of these beings has been corrupted by one of the Severn Deadly Sins and it is up to the seven fragments of the Will of the Architect (representing the Seven Virtues) to help Arthur set things right. The first book is about Mister Monday who is afflicted with Sloth and opposed by Vigor. The second book is about Grim Tuesday who is afflicted with Greed and opposed by Prudence. The third book is about Drowned Wednesday who is afflicted with Gluttony and opposed by Faith. I don't actually remember what the remaining sins and virtues are, but I look forward to reading about them in the upcoming books. Arthur is an interesting character and is very grounded in our real world despite his magical adventures. Actually the real world in this series is a bit of an alternate world from ours, but it works. His adoptive family is filled with nonstandard characters, who have yet to play a major role in the series, but I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. The magic in the books is interesting and makes sense given the structure of the world. And while the story pattern is similar throughout the books, there is enough variation to keep it engaging and satisfying. I'd certainly recommend them.
logisticslad: (Default)
What have I read?
These are the 25 most popular scifi books at What Should I Read Next?
I liked it!I didn't like it!I want to read it!
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Neuromancer - William Gibson
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Dune - Frank Herbert
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Princess Bride - William Goldman
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde
Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
The Stand - Stephen King
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein
The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett
Take the 'What have I read?' test now!
Eight different categories to try!
Buy your books at Amazon US or Amazon UK

What have I read?
These are the 25 most popular kids books at What Should I Read Next?
I liked it!I didn't like it!I want to read it!
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White, Garth Williams
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Sabriel - Garth Nix
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Watership Down - Richard Adams
Eragon - Christopher Paolini
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The Once and Future King - T.H. White
Abhorsen - Garth Nix
Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle, Keith Scaife
The Witches - Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake
Time Quartet - Madeleine L'Engle
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
A Little Princess: The Story of Sara Crewe - Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett, Robin Lawrie
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L.Frank Baum
Take the 'What have I read?' test now!
Eight different categories to try!
Buy your books at Amazon US or Amazon UK

logisticslad: (Default)
I've been taking a few days off this week in order to try to restore myself from all the energy drained out of me by dealing with the students and end of year decisions and appeals. Unfortunately, it cannot be a true vacation as I am preparing to administer the Qualifying exams on M and T. However, I have been doing some relaxing things. I started it off by getting a massage at Massageworks (thanks to [profile] jenn_girl and [profile] puzzld1 for the recommend. Not surprisingly, I had a whole lot of tension in my back and it was mostly beaten into submission. I was sore the next day, but it felt great! I made an apppointment to return next month and it definitely fits into my overall plan to be kinder to myself and to be on better terms with my body.

I've been watching trash TV and catching up on the yard work and some reading. I'm currently reading an SF series by Karen Traviss, the first of which is called City of Pearl. We discussed it in my SF bookclub and it got mixed responses that averaged to a B+. It's her first novel, and it suffers a bit from some common first novel problems like too many coincidences and too many ideas. But the characters were fresh, well drawn, and emotionally real. It's about a mission to a lost human religious colony that turns into all kinds of first contact with aliens and political intrigue. The main aliens turn out to be ecology preservationists and so the novel talks a lot about environment, vegetarianism, biotechnology, and religious philosophy. I liked it enough to buy the two sequels and am reading them now. The second novel seems to be a bit more streamlined and picks up where the other left off.
logisticslad: (marge)
I had a morning of meetings today followed by a short trip to Temple University for the Philly Society for Neuroscience meeting. Actually, it turned out to be a slightly longer trip than expected as I got a bit lost hunting down the building that housed the event. I served as a judge for the poster session. Two of my students entered and did very well (tying for second - a bit of a shame since we only gave out one prize for first). I told them that I was very proud of them and better yet, my Dept Chair had come and got to see how well they compared to students from other local programs. He and I had a nice talk about having the Dept financially support one of my students which would be fantastic for her and a solid endorsement of my mentoring capacity! We stayed for the guest speaker and the fun presentation of how Brain Awareness Week at the Franklin Institute went this year. That's when neuroscientists and students do demonstrations about the brain and the senses for 6-12 year olds. It looked like it was a blast this year. I had done it awhile ago and I have to remember that I would love to volunteer for that again. It was a very energizing meeting and it is always fun to see what people around the area are doing.

This evening was my SF book club meeting at Borders in Bryn Mawr. We discussed Octavia Butler's novel Wild Seed as a tribute to her recent passing. Since the facilitator couldn't make it, I ran the meeting (still in my suit from the afternoon conference, so I looked very professorial). We talked about how Butler specifically made her characters Black, which was novel for 1980, when it was originally published. It's about a pair of immortal psychics with very different value systems and it explores the theme (which is present in many of her works) of how someone can willingly submit to enslavement and control by someone else. It is heavy on character interplay and thematic discussion, but low on plot. I liked it a lot and most of the group enjoyed it, too. It is still in print and has something to say about how things are today.

I got home and vegged by watching American Idol. They were singing the American standards, which they did very well and I had perfect vegging complete with purring cat. Then I checked my email and discovered that the paper that had been rejected by one journal as being not that interesting to them was enthusiastically and rapidly accepted by the second journal with only minor edits (we had resubmitted it only three weeks ago). This is an important paper for both my student, who is trying to graduate, and myself as it will help establish me as a researcher in this particular field which should help with the grants. What a difference the choice of journal can make!

Thanks to [profile] puzzld1 for the new icon!!!
logisticslad: (Default)
The man who sold the moon
You belong in The Man Who Sold The Moon. You are a

dreamer. People don't understand you your

calling, and often get in your way.

Frontiers call to you, and you will breathe

your last breath as you gaze back from a

distant horizon.

Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
brought to you by Quizilla

I don't remember ever reading this one. Anyone recall what it is about?


logisticslad: (Default)

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