May 23 2019

Heard while walking

Rosemary Kirstein

Like apparently everyone else in the universe, I’m trying to walk more.

I prefer to walk in the woods, but when I do, I never listen to podcasts, or radio, or audiobooks.   I’m in the woods!  I want to either be there, present for the experience, or set my mind free to ramble, and possibly come up with tales or essays or explorations of ideas.

But that’s only when I’m able to walk alone.  If I’m on a trail where there are other people around —  I just can’t be that free.  There’s too much distraction.  Also, my face tends to mirror what I’m thinking — I just can’t help it.   So, I do prefer solitude for my walks.

Alas: with my beloved Sleeping Giant State Park still completely shut down a full year after the four surprise tornadoes that shredded it, all I’m left with are the smaller, more populated walking opportunities.

And that’s when I need something else to occupy my mind while walking.

There’s music, of course.  But also wonderful podcasts, great audiobooks, and even live radio.

I’ve kept up with Welcome to Night Vale, naturally — and I’m glad that it seems to be back on track after waffling around uncentered for most of the current season.

And lately I’ve been listening to Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast, which really stretches my brain.  Currently, I’m in the middle of a two-hour episode where Harris interviews Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist and Nobel Prize winner, who wrote Thinking, Fast and Slow.  I have the book, but in many ways the interview is more interesting, a wide-ranging conversation between two pals who are also blazingly smart.

I’ve also been listening, for the second time, to Janis Ian’s autobiography Society’s Child. 

Society's Child: My Autobiography by [Ian, Janis]

As an old folkie myself, Ian’s autobiography is of particular interest to me.   She does the reading herself, and it’s so intimate, to hear her own voice, right in your ear, sharing her stories with you.   Also: each chapter begins with a quote from one of her songs, and in the print version, you just read the quoted lyrics; but in the audiobook, she picks up her guitar and sings and plays it for you.  Lovely.

And I’ve just finished listening to Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky which was excellent, and thoroughly involving.  It’s a story one can get lost in — and that’s not something everyone can pull off.

All the Birds in the Sky by [Anders, Charlie Jane]

Anders has  a very good hand with prose, too, and her characters are clear and multi-layered.  She’s a writer whose star seems to be rising, as well, and good for her!  This is the only thing of hers I’ve read so far, and  I do wish I’d read it sooner — it’s been on my radar for a while, but so have so many other things.

Another of my go-to guys when I’m walking is Colin McEnroe.  He has a local radio show on WNPR, but of course everything is also a podcast these days, so one can listen to any of the episodes, at any time, anywhere.  The other day he had a show about Sol LeWitt, a very famous conceptual artist of whom I was only tangentally aware before hearing the show.  But during the course of the show, McEnroe played a short clip of Benedict Cumberbatch reading a letter that LeWitt wrote to another artist, Eva Hesse — and that sent me off to YouTube when I got to my office, to track down the full version.

(WARNING: contains salty language.   So what!  Get over it.)

I’m always fascinated by artists who are supremely devoted to their art — even if it’s art I don’t particularly like.  In fact, it’s easier to clearly see the beauty of that devotion, when you’re not swept away by how much you like the artwork itself.  Am I making sense?  Makes sense to me.

And I’m going to take LeWitt’s admonition to “stop thinking” to mean stop overthinking, a failing to which we writers are particularly prone.  Stop obsessing on all the peripheral aspects — and just think of the work!

In other news:

Of course you’ve heard that the Nebula Awards were handed out recently.  In case you haven’t, Tor.com is always a good source for SF/F news.     So is File 770 — and they have pictures of the ceremony and the winners.   I actually have a copy of Best Novel winner Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars on my To Read Real Soon Now stack.

The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by [Kowal, Mary Robinette]

I’m definitely overloaded with Stuff to Read…

 


Feb 23 2016

News about people who are not me. Plus: Neb Noms.

Rosemary

A little late reporting on this, but an interesting thing  took place over on the Crooked Timber blog: an online seminar on Jo Walton’s books, specifically the Thessaly series (The Just City, and The Philosopher Kings, with Necessity coming in July).   Pop over there to read interesting writers writing interesting essays about the books (I found Ada Palmer’s contribution particularly illuminating).

And over at Tor.com, you can read some free fiction from pal and fellow Fabulous Genrette Delia Sherman, as she puts a steampunk twist on Holmesiana.  Delia is currently rambling around Europe with her wife, author Ellen Kushner, leaving us to gaze at the lovely photos they are posting of Amsterdam, Brussels, and Venice.  (I’m going to make it back to Amsterdam one of these days…)

And the Nebula Award nominations just came out!

Novel:

Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

Novella:

Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
“The Bone Swans of Amandale,” C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
“The New Mother,” Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” Usman T. Malik (Tor.com 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
“Waters of Versailles,” Kelly Robson (Tor.com 6/10/15)

Novelette:

“Rattlesnakes and Men,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead,” Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds,” Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
“The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society,” Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
“The Deepwater Bride,” Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
“Our Lady of the Open Road,” Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story:

“Madeleine,” Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
“Cat Pictures Please,” Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
“Damage,” David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
“When Your Child Strays From God,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
“Today I Am Paul,” Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)

As a card-carrying member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, I get to vote, so I’d better catch up on my reading!

Hm.  As soon as I catch up on my writing, that is…


May 19 2013

Emerging briefly to mention the Nebs.

Rosemary

I’ve got another 3-day weekend, so I’ve hunkered down to try to accomplish some actual writing and related writing-related dog-work.  Thus: not much to say at the moment, here.

However, the Nebula Awards have just been announced.   So, just in case mine is the only blog you read, here are the winners:

NOVEL2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

NOVELLA: After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon)

NOVELLETTE: “Close Encounters” by Andy Duncan (The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories)

SHORT STORY: “Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)

RAY BRADBURY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC PRESENTATION: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (director),  Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Abilar (writers), (Journeyman/Cinereach/Court 13/Fox Searchlight)

ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY BOOK: Fair Coin, E.C. Myers (Pyr)

2011 DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD: Gene Wolfe

The SFWA website has more detail.

And so does Tor.com (one of my favorite sites for keeping up with sf &f news of all sorts.)

One of these days, I’ll actually have the time and money to attend the ceremony….