2017 Check-in

Hello. I’m still here.

2016 was a busy year: among other things, we went to see Hamilton, attended Fantastic Fest again, remodeled the house, and had a baby.

A proper update to follow when I have a chance.

Fantastic Fest recap, part 1

So I went to Fantastic Fest for the first time this year. Yes, first; it’s ridiculous that it’s taken me this long to get to a genre film festival that is practically happening in my backyard, but shit happens, I guess. On the bright side, it appears that I got to it after ticketing and line clusterfuckery from previous years has been straightened out, because the ticketing and “boarding” system is one of the most stress-free systems I’ve encountered in over a decade of going to conventions, conferences, and festivals.

Anyway, we had a very good time and saw some excellent movies, and ate far more Alamo Drafthouse food than is probably good for anyone. I’ve reviewed April and the Extraordinary World and The Witch for Tor.com, and my review of High-Rise should be up soon. Meanwhile I’ll finally put this space to use with some capsule reviews of the other films I saw. If anyone wants to hire me to write proper reviews for any of these…let’s talk.

The rest of the recap:


An update

Well, it’s been long enough since I last did an update here, isn’t it? Organizing my thoughts into something worth writing (never mind worth reading) has not been easy lately, and I seem to have lost the habit.

For now, a quick rundown on things I’ve been enjoying:

  • Max Gladstone’s Choice of the Deathless, which I’ve played through a couple of times now with different variations on the characters and choices.
  • N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Late to the party on this, and wondering why it took me so long. I’ve started now on The Broken Kingdom.
  • The BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. A different beast to the play I saw in London; Mark Lawson has some cogent things to say about that.
  • Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword. Another one where I arrived fifteen minutes late, carrying Starbucks.
  • Season 3 of House of Cards, which while not as good as the first two seasons (and the second wasn’t as good as the first) still had its moments, in particular an arc for Claire Underwood that I enjoyed a lot. (I know a lot of people think it came out of nowhere, but picking back over the events of the previous seasons, going back to “I want to know who lied” in S1, I’m pretty sure there’s a logical through-line there.)
  • Utopia, the bloody, twisted, dazzling UK TV series, not to be confused with the short-lived US reality show. One of the characters has become one of my all-time favorite TV villains, for reasons I can’t go into without massive spoilers, but I’d like to has that out someday.
  • Eurorack synthesizer noodling. Stuff I’ve done is here; stuff that Bruce and I have done together is here.

Also, I have an ask.fm now. It’s very lonely. Go bother it.

It’s William Gibson week! Also, thoughts on spoilers.

Guess I’d better start updating this site, since I’m now including it in my Tor.com author bio.

Anyway, my review of The Peripheral is up now over there—the part that’s safe to read if you’re spoiler-averse. I ended up writing an extra 2000 or so spoiler-rich words on it as well, which will go up later; there was a lot I wanted to say about that book, but I couldn’t do it and avoid spoilers at the same time.

I’m not really the kind of person who screams “OMG SPOILERS” at people, and I do believe that there are statutes of limitations on the things that can be reasonably said to have run out. (Darth Vader, Rosebud, etc.) But I actually feel pretty strongly about not spoiling The Peripheral; not because it has some kind of “he was dead all along” twist at the end, but because Gibson pulls off a rather elegant narrative trick that clicked nicely for me about a quarter of the way in.

Which I guess by some people’s standards is early enough in the book to not count as a spoiler—but to me, one of the great pleasures of reading The Peripheral was arriving at that trick on my own and realizing exactly what he was up to. The slow, deliberate pace of exposition (not just with the abovementioned turn in the narrative, but also with the explanation of an event in The Peripheral‘s future history) is one of the really lovely things about it, and I don’t want to ruin that fun for anyone else.

ETA: And here’s the full spoiler part of the review. Considering how much of what’s in there has already been laid out by reviewers at the Verge, BoingBoing, etc., my scruples on this matter seem slightly quaint … but so be it.