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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

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:

* * *

* 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.

* * *

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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Always.

Self-portrait as Stormtrooper

Today’s quote: “We’re more complex than you think.

Open the blast doors! Open the blast doors!

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Tor.com has put together a selection of its short fiction from 2016. If you’re interested in an e-book of same (rather than reading the material online) it’s available free for the next few days.

We are very excited to offer a free download of the 2016 edition of Some of the Best from Tor.com, an anthology of 25 of our favorite short stories and novelettes from the last year. Readers worldwide can download the ebook for free by signing up for the Tor.com Publishing newsletter from midnight EST on January 10th until 11:59 P.M. EST on January 17th.

Free fiction. Mmm, tasty.

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I had a post in mind for today that I thought would be cool but, sadly, it’s not ready. Rather than go with something that’s not right, I’m setting it aside until I can do a good job or come up with something better. So in the end, what did I choose as Today’s Thing I Like? Popcorn:)

Here’s an excerpt from the family cookbook to tell you why.

Popcorn
My whole family can make this with their eyes closed, but Dad really deserves credit for setting new and higher standards for butter and salt consumption. He is blessed with a genetic tolerance for such unhealthy behavior; his blood pressure and cholesterol levels are lower than mine.

For years he’d head to the kitchen after dinner, and a few minutes later I’d hear pop pop! as hot oil turned the first kernels inside out. A few minutes more and we’d be piled on the couch with huge bowls of popcorn and masses of paper towels.

There was no television in the house growing up but at some point we acquired a copy of Star Wars and a video monitor. This was back before Blockbusters popped up down the street (or closed down, for that matter), and there were certainly no DVD players.

The tape was black and white and we watched it on a Beta machine. (Don’t remember Beta? That’s funny, no one else does either.) My brother and I watched that tape until it died, literally came apart from use. To this day I can still reel off an annoying amount of dialog and get excited when I see Star Wars in color. What could be better than a cold drink, a hot bowl of popcorn, and reciting C3PO’s lines with people you love?

 

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