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Messages - JMack

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General Discussion / Re: What's your favorite and least favorite smell?
« on: January 03, 2015, 02:15:31 PM »
Least favorite goes with a story:
My son and I arrive at my brother's house, and our instruction is to boil water for spaghetti so that we can all eat when they return.  I put the pot on the stove, turn on the heat, and David and I get lost in conversation.  Some time later, we hear strange sounds from the kitchen. Of course, I forgot the water.  The pot is heating, pure metal on electric burner.

So, I put a hot mit on the counter and plop the red hot pot onto it.  The mit begins immediately to burn, releasing the flame retardant and heat retardant chemicals into the kitchen.  So out go the mit and the pot into the snow bank in the back yard, but acrid smoke has filled the entire house.  Therefore, every door is thrown wide open and the winter air comes rushing in.

I bought them a new pot.  We ate at a local Italian restaurant.

Worst smell ever.

Best smell: well, the best I'll tell you about: baking bread.

I agree, Arry, I found this to be an immediately comfortable read, and I'm enjoying so far.  I find the self-conscious "Where was I?" type of entries to be a bit artificial, so I'm imagining the narrator as an old woman trying to capture her memories.  But it still raises the question of, if the narrator lives in a world where certain facts are just part of common knowledge and experience, then why is she telling us about them?  Third person provides for this more easily, but, oh well, it's still enjoyable.

It's also interesting to find an advanced technology backdrop going on, and I'll be interested to see where that leads. 

I've never thought of resolutions about reading, but here goes:

Books in '15 I keeep setting aside:
> not really, but I do plan to read the books I purchased in 14 that I haven't yet read, including Mirror Empire, Throne of the Crescent Moon and... believe it or not, A Dance with Dragons.

Do I have a book target?
> Only in the sense that I'd like to keep up with Arry's book club each month.

Any sub-genres?
> Classics from the past, such as Lyonesse, Charwoman's Shadow and re-reading Howard's Conan stories
> And a new genre called: Whatever Elfy and Arry recommend  8)

Writers' Corner / Re: Prompt-Based Writing Group
« on: January 03, 2015, 01:53:27 PM »
Jacob, is this free thing?

General Discussion / Re: What is your favorite time of day?
« on: January 03, 2015, 01:52:04 PM »
Early morning when I have quiet time with no one else around, and bed time when my wife and I are chatting before falling asleep.  Or any time I can get myself into the mood and mode to write.

And following the 'amazing children's movies that aren't just for children', and classifying it in the Alternate History genre, yesterday I watched Pirates, an adventure with scientists.
It is *so* good ;D ;D

(it was my second watching, and I noticed a bunch of stuff I'd missed the first time hehe)

Pirates!  Yes, wonderful movie.  Released here as "Band of Misfits" not "Adventure with Scientists". Do need to see it again.

Let's separate genius from the rest of us (certainly from me).  Genius can get away with much on the strength of the rest.

Barring genius, I rank requirements as:

> Strong, character-driven conflict
> Showing, not telling, through believable action.  Believable here, meaning that cause-effect work on a human level. The writer doesn't put the effect, then show the cause, unless there is a very specific impact desired.
> Prose that works, is grammatically strong, is error free
> Prose that is beautiful or interesting

Now, it all has to be about something really interesting, too.  So maybe that's #1?  But really, almost all of these are necessary except the last.  I can read workmanlike, I can't read beautiful that doesn't meet the rest.

Finished Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. It was good, but I didn't enjoy it much as I hoped I would. For me, it felt like the ambition of the story exceeded the execution. Not that it was bad. I just found myself confused at many points, and it took me a while to connect with the story.

I liked it in general but for me it slowed down to much towards the end.

I had quite the opposite reaction: Ancillary Justice felt quite slow at the beginning, but sped up quite nicely and really delivered for me.  A really strong 3.5 stars in my personal rating.  Ancillary Sword on the other hand was good but not great. A strong 2.5 stars.

I've also been reading the Expanse novels by Corey, which a mix of almost really good and really really good.  And I re-read the entire Vorkosigan series by Bujold in October.  One of my favorite series of all time.  Almost no book below a 4.

[NOV 2014] Joker Month / Re: [Nov 2014] - joker month - Voting Thread
« on: January 01, 2015, 08:32:00 PM »
Congrats, Ancalagon!  There were some really good stories in November.

Just requested from library!

I went on a reading fest in October/November (mainly SciFi - I re-read the entire Vorgosigan series, all 15 books or so - but also October Daye) and then discovered Fantasy-Faction and doing some writing.  Between work and F-F and holidays, very little time for actual reading!

So I ended up starting about 6 books in December and didn't finish a single one  :o
Right now in the middle of Mistborn, which is holding my attention.
Big TBR pile.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings
« on: January 01, 2015, 12:40:58 PM »
It just struck me to say that my icon or avatar or whatever on F-F is a photo of a Helsinki roofline taken at about midnight in July 2013.  One of my favorite photos I've ever done.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings
« on: January 01, 2015, 11:35:44 AM »
Finland!  I love Finland.  My wife and I were there summer 2013, I on business, she along for the ride.  Great people, great place in the summer.  And HARD CIDER in every bar.  Now that's living.  The U.S. is really just discovering hard cider now, and most of the selection is too sweet.

As re: language, it was certainly challenging to get to Porvoo from Helsinki by bus... because we just couldn't figure out that the terminal was on a floor below the mall.  Lots of people in Finland speak English, of course, but none of them were shopping that day.  :P

And re: Ebooks and screens, the iPad is a gift from Olympus and eboooks are not the devil  ;)  And I'm old, so I still love me some paper too.  But eboooks = soooo convenient.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Terry Brooks Shannara
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:09:47 AM »
I remember that was my own reaction to Shannara when it first came out.  I enjoyed it, but it had so many Tolkien rip-offs, er, references.  Mithril comes to mind.  At the time it sort of felt like it invalidated the experience, and I never kept up with the series.  It would be interesting to go back now and see how it works many years later.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings
« on: December 31, 2014, 06:27:56 PM »
Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding any part of the ramble, but just wanted to say that I have started to introduce my mom and her partner, Eva, as "my mom and her wife, Eva".  I actually think that might have bugged my mom, since she's of an older generation (of course) and she continues to study the tax consequences of actually getting married.   :P

Meanwhile, I have no perspective to share on the difficulty of obtaining books.  Maybe we need a book swap program among F-F members!

And I have no perspective on how fortunate it is that I write exclusively in English, considering no other options  ;D

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