michelel72: (SGA-RodneySam-Reading)
I've been trying to do more non-internet reading lately, as well as checking out more shows now and then. Two recent works have been outside my comfort zone in different ways.

(I've tried to avoid spoilers for the works discussed here.)

'Redemption in Indigo' by Karen Lord ... )

Meanwhile, for probably over a year now I've been reading the "reviews" and many of the comments at the Mark Does Stuff sites. (Without those sites, I might never have discovered the Newsflesh series or Tamora Pierce's books, just for two book examples. I can't read at his posting pace — see my comments about WIPs above — so if a book he's currently processing interests me, I read ahead and then follow his slower pace for the discussions. I don't have the same problem with visual media, fortunately, though re-watching Buffy and Angel as he discovered them for the first time was highly entertaining.)

He recently covered the short anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica )

I don't read or watch much outside my comfort zone of standard English-language narratives. Whedon's trope deconstructions (and similar) are about as adventurous as I tend to get, and I've felt ... disappointed lately by the books and TV series that don't give me the resolution I'm expecting. I've always felt a little bad that my narrative consumption tends to be so culturally "sheltered", but I rarely have the time or energy or knowledge to get into works from other cultures or traditions.

In some cases, there are "other-culture" narratives that are tailored to cater to the inexperienced; I think Redemption in Indigo is one such. But for those that aren't, I think I need the "book club" approach to walk me through it. It's odd; I don't tend to go seeking out communities, for the most part.

But I'm glad when I come across these experiences anyway. The works deserve appreciation on their own merits, and working to appreciate them is good brain exercise.
michelel72: (SGA-Rodney-LaserEyes)
Hey, guys! I wrote almost five thousand words overnight! … And it's all a book review. And lucky you, here it is.

"Homecoming" is the first book in the "Legacy" series, and I'm not sure how I feel about the prospect of more. There were a few bits I actively liked, quite a lot that really annoyed me, and a plenty of average connecting them.

Anyone who has ever had me beta for them can testify to this: I am far better at calling out what doesn't work for me than I am at praising what does (though I've been working on that). So let me make it clear: Despite the volume of negative commentary and the level of vitriol in what follows, I didn't hate this book. (Make no mistake: Neither did I love it. It was, on balance, okay.)

(If anyone new is thinking of asking me to beta … I'm nicer in my actual beta feedback! Mostly! Honest!)

And so we launch. Batten down the hatches, folks, and full spleen ahead! )
Anyway: Other than that? The book's … meh, okay. Not overly annoyed I read it at all; wouldn't bother to read it again.
michelel72: (SGA-John-OhPlz)
I know there's a fan comm to discuss these books, but since there's only one comment on the entry for this book, I can't judge whether it's actually another one of those communities that really only welcome squee. If it is, that's fine; I don't want to harsh anyone's squee, and I have a bad habit of not reading the room until too late, so here in my journal this tepid review will remain.

I'm posting this now so that I can go ahead and read "Homecoming" without forgetting anything here; I'd like to start that with a clean (mental) palate. Anyone who feels moved to comment, please do not spoil me for "Homecoming" or "The Lost".tl;dr: Some nice bits, but too many errors. )
michelel72: (Cat-Gonzo-Out of it)
I'll post some more positive media reactions soon, promise. I even thought about doing one per day for the duration of this week-long vacation (Destination: Living Room!), but part of the point is not holding myself to any deadlines, and I want to do the positive stuff justice. So, coming soon: Chuck! Mumford & Sons! Garcia! Mike Holmes! But for now, a couple of "meh" reactions ... from the "late-alphabet single-character title" division, heh.
Cut for tl;dr spoilers for all of 'V' )
Cut for slightly less tl;dr spoilers for 'Y: The Last Man' )
michelel72: (SGA-Rodney-Skeptical)
I've been trying to read Jo Graham's "Death Game", especially now that "Homecoming" has actually arrived as well, but finding time to read an actual book is nearly impossible. (Over about two weeks I've finally managed to read all seven text-pages of chapter one. Go, me.) But it was the third page that made me stop and say, "Wait, what?" — and the fifth page that made my quibble certain.

Cut for first-chapter minor book spoilers, not really any more than the book teaser, and a vague one for Criminal Minds 2x14-2x15. )

Is it just me, or should any group in these circumstances know far better than to pull this?

I'm also cranky that the book uses "ok" as a word (rather than "OK" or "okay"), but I'm willing to blame that on a copyeditor somewhere along the line. It's cosmetic, not fundamental to the plot or characterization.
michelel72: (SGA-RodneySam-Reading)
I just read a book yesterday. An actual, bound book, for the first time in what may actually be a couple of years (excepting graphic novels). And ... I kinda hated it.

I feel strange about that, because the author seems like a pretty cool guy online, and the book seemed to do exactly what he was aiming for. It just wasn't for me, at all.

There wasn't anyone to root for. No one was likable, at all. The one character who seemed maybe kinda decent turned out to be a jerk in the end. In addition, the main character's driving force was to blunder about and then, very occasionally, turn out to be just that little bit smarter than those around him, enough to figure out a short-term solution. I'm a competence-squeer, and this was anti-competence. The only antihero work I've really appreciated was "The Shield", which did a brilliant job of making me care about its deeply flawed characters. The crowning touch to my dislike of this book was the recurring cruel treatment of animals, which is a major DO NOT WANT for me. (I can get past the death of pets to indicate a truly evil character, but I will resent Anne Tyler forever for killing a (fictional) kitten horrifically just to illustrate that her MC is flighty in "Breathing Lessons".)

That doesn't mean it's a bad book. It's well-written, certainly, and as far as I can tell everything I hated about it was intentional. I'm sure there's an audience for it; I'm just not that audience. The fact that the story would have improved significantly for me with the sudden insertion of "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" at pretty much any point doesn't mean the story is a bad one. I'll even give the author another chance, with a different series, and I won't resent the author if it turns out I don't like that series either.

And then, in a different medium, you have Brad Wright continuing to be LOLarious. I agree that if the show fails, that's not an inherent indictment of its quality. It doesn't prove that the show is high-quality either, though. And it is evidence that what they're producing doesn't have (enough of) an audience.

Blaming "franchise fans" for not slavishly adoring a complete, deliberate subversion of the franchise is infantile. As it happens, I do dislike the showrunners, but I'm not watching the show because everything they advertised about it is something I hate. Everything I've heard about the show in progress, including from folks who like it, has only confirmed that impression. (My dislike for the showrunners just made my uninterest a bonus.) I have nothing against the actors or staff, nor against anyone who does enjoy the show ... but it's a simple fact that not every presentation will win over every person. For Wright to start out by dismissing a subset of franchise fans as irrelevant, only to then turn around and blame them for somehow also having and exercising the power to hurt his show, just makes me laugh at him. He's nearing Colbertesque levels of obliviousness here, except he really seems to mean it. I don't know whether to laugh or weep.

... Laugh. Definitely.
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