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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

So yesterday we were looking for something to watch post-Valentine’s Day dinner, and it got me thinking about my favorite movies for the holidays.* I’m a pretty average person from a particular time and place (here, now) who is also a sci-fi /action movie lover with a high tolerance for pew pew. 

This is my current list:

  • Christmas: Die Hard (sorry, It’s a Wonderful Life, you know it’s true)
  • Valentine’s Day: Deadpool (I stand by this 110%!)
  • Easter: Life of Brian
  • Independence Day: This entry pretty much writes itself.
  • Labor Day: Office Space9 to 5The Proposal
  • Halloween: Ever since my father took us to see The Amityville Horror I am Not Ok with truly scary movies, so let’s go with The Sixth SensePractical Magic, and Addam’s Family
  • Thanksgiving: Hmm. Planes, Trains And Automobiles? Or Star Wars. Because Star Wars goes with everything!

Feel free to argue:)

And if you’re interested in learning more about writing screenplays (a fairly specialized incarnation of the craft), check out Go Into The Story for extensive blog posts, free screenplay download linksThe Black List, and (much, much) more.

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* This is not the same thing as actual “holiday movies,” as you’ll soon see.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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I am a (very) sporadic diary/record/idea keeper, and the things I write often take the form of notes scribbled on the backs of envelopes or random drafts scattered around my hard drive. This file popped up as I was searching for something else, and I had fun revisiting my first thoughts about Harry Potter. Let’s hear it for the power of magic imagination:)

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March 15, 2000

A few days ago I started reading the Harry Potter books. Started by a single mother in a café on the back of a napkin, these books are the biggest thing since the Lord of the Rings, and written for the same audience – children and their parents. While the author description emphasizes Rowling’s financial need, I would bet that she was also in need of a creative outlet. How often have I done something similar, just to spend time in a world of my own making?

Reading these books, I’m reminded of the value of such stories. Tales of good versus evil are what kids need to frame their worlds, but adults need very much to be reminded of the difference as well, perhaps more so. They make me remember reading at night with my family, breathlessly listening for the fate of hobbits in their battle against a seemingly invincible foe. This, despite the fact that we’d all read the series many times before. Or the way we watched Star Wars (the original, thank you) over and over again on a black and white screen, until the tape wore out. We knew the words by heart, but the story never failed to inspire.

Books for adults often present complex situations and ideas in worlds painted an uncertain grey. But for me, what Harry Potter and others like him give us may be more useful in the end – challenges, yes, but also humor, a sense of wonder and triumph, and in the end, the understanding that lines need to be drawn against evil, and that we can all work towards good.

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Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

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Maximum Dragon

Mr Man needed some distancing and max occupancy signs, so I had a little fun. Here are a few examples:

Moose, yes, dragon, yes, cat, heck yes, but two dinosaurs in one lab? What was I thinking?

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Goodbye to All That

Someone referred to 2020 as “the year with 13 months” and I thought that all too on point. Thankfully, the future is starting to look brighter. As a way to say (hopefully, finally) goodbye to our very own annus horribilus, I thought you might enjoy a little game to (literally, figuratively) put it all behind you.

Plus, it’s Saturday, and it’s nice to take time for a little fun if you can.

The 2020 Game is an online side-scroller, where you control a character using computer arrow keys, running and jumping through such fun 2020 events as Australian bush fires, the stock market crash, U.S. elections and of course, Covid-19.

And hopefully that’s the last I have to say about 2020. Goodbye, and good riddance!

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An interactive, customizable blackout poetry site? Yes, please!

Blackout Poetry Maker

Click the words you want to keep, then “black out.”

Have fun!

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Everyone likes a catchy tune. You do, I do, and drunken sailors do too. I don’t TikTok but apparently I do sea shanty.

I ran across an article on how sea shanties are trending right now (I found it while looking for perkier Viking songs than those in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, personally, but this trend is wide and deep). 

The tunes are earworms extraordinaire but what really caught my attention was the life of the songs. Sea shanties are old, but (thank you, internet!) it took hardly any time at all for people to morph the original into something new and collaborative. Where it started:

Where we are (no doubt this is still in progress!):

Cool, right?* And good luck getting that out of your head;)

For more on the history of this song and others like it, check out this piece from The Guardian, The true story behind the viral TikTok sea shanty hit, including this insightful bit on why a centuries-old singing tradition is striking a chord now:

“My guess is that the Covid lockdowns have put millions of young [people] into a similar situation that young whalers were in 200 years ago: confined for the foreseeable future, often far from home, running out of necessities, always in risk of sudden death, and spending long hours with no communal activities to cheer them up.”

Should you wish to dive deeper (ha!), here’s a collection of other sea shanties:

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* And how about a shoutout to the unacknowledged hero of this song, the whale! 😉

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Between politics and the pandemic, we’re at a low point. Will things get better from here? I hope so, of course, and I hope that writers and other artists will be part of helping people image a better future.

With that in mind, today I want to share a book brought to you by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Take Us to a Better Place

Take Us To A Better Place: Stories is a collection of 10 short stories that grapple with the deeply human issues that influence our health, from immigration, climate change, and gentrification, to cultural identity, family connection and access to health care.”

The goal of the book and associated conversation guide is to encourage ideas and debate on the challenges of our current system, and what it will take to build a better, healthier future. Also, good stories.

I love that they decided to communicate these ideas via fiction.

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It’s free and available as an ebook or audiobook (I downloaded mine from Amazon but alternative download sites and languages are available). It also features some great writers (I discovered it while looking for other works by Martha Wells of Murderbot fame, but the table of contents is impressive all around).

Enjoy!

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Funny because it’s true! 🙂

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Looking for new reading material? Good news! The Nebula Award finalists have been announced, so it’s time to pad those To Read lists, people. Here is the complete list, some with links to reviews, previews, and full text where available (and I felt like it:).

What looks interesting to you?

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2018 Nebula Award Finalists
Novel
The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor) [review]
The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
Blackfish City, Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)
Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Witchmark, C.L. Polk (Tor.com Publishing)
Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga) [review]

Novella
Fire Ant, Jonathan P. Brazee (Semper Fi) [preview]
The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing) [review]
The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean) [preview and review]
Alice Payne Arrives, Kate Heartfield (Tor.com Publishing) [excerpt]
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing) [review and review]
Artificial Condition, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing) [excerpt]

Novelette
“The Only Harmless Great Thing”, Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections”, Tina Connolly (Tor.com 7/11/18)
“An Agent of Utopia”, Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births”, José Pablo Iriarte (Lightspeed 1/18)
The Rule of Three”, Lawrence M. Schoen (Future Science Fiction Digest 12/18)
“Messenger”, Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and R.R. Virdi (Expanding Universe, Volume 4)

Short Story
“Interview for the End of the World”, Rhett C. Bruno (Bridge Across the Stars)
The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”, Phenderson Djèlí Clark (Fireside 2/18)
“Going Dark”, Richard Fox (Backblast Area Clear)
“And Yet”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny 3-4/18)
A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”, Alix E. Harrow (Apex 2/6/18)
The Court Magician”, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 1/18)

Game Writing
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Charlie Brooker (House of Tomorrow & Netflix)
The Road to Canterbury, Kate Heartfield (Choice of Games)
God of War, Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog, Orion Walker, and Adam Dolin (Santa Monica Studio/Sony/Interactive Entertainment)
Rent-A-Vice, Natalia Theodoridou (Choice of Games)
The Martian Job, M. Darusha Wehm (Choice of Games)

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy”, Written by: Megan Amram
Black Panther, Written by: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
A Quiet Place, Screenplay by: John Krasinski and Bryan Woods & Scott Beck
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Screenplay by: Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
Dirty Computer, Written by: Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning
Sorry to Bother You, Written by: Boots Riley

The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt; Macmillan)
Aru Shah and the End of Time, Roshani Chokshi (Rick Riordan Presents)
A Light in the Dark, A.K. DuBoff (BDL)
Tess of the Road, Rachel Hartman (Random House)
Dread Nation, Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword, Henry Lien (Henry Holt)

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Let’s see if embedding my Goodreads list works here… Why yes, I believe it does. If the list isn’t showing for you, find it here.

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2018 Nebula Finalists (Many, Anyway!)

The Rule of Three
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
A Light in the Dark
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
Fire Ant
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
And Yet
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
Alice Payne Arrives
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
The Only Harmless Great Thing
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
Tess of the Road
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
Children of Blood and Bone
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach
tagged:
to-read and 2018-nebula-finalists
Aru Shah and the End of Time
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
The Tea Master and the Detective
tagged:
to-read, in-progress, on-hiatus, and 2018-nebula-finalists
Dread Nation
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
Blackfish City
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists and to-read
The Poppy War
tagged:
to-read and 2018-nebula-finalists
Artificial Condition
it was amazing
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists
Witchmark
tagged:
2018-nebula-finalists

 

goodreads.com

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In case you missed it this weekend, the winners of the 2016 Nebula Awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy have been announced.

While none of the winners for best novel, novella, novelette or short story are available to all, check out the list. Some nominees are still free to read. Examples include:

Enjoy!

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