Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Review: The Chimes

The ChimesThe Chimes by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Extremely well-performed. The voice actor never slipped into the wrong voice, read with just the amount of drama. The only problem I had was when he was speaking in a ghost voice, at lower volume, but that's because I listen when I'm walking and I had the volume adjusted for the other voices. Otherwise, it was excellent.

Regarding the story, I never read this book in school, so I was unfamiliar with it. It seems wrong to comment on the writing style for a novella written in 1844, and in England, where the language and writing style is so much different than it is in 2016 America, so I won't except to say it's not that difficult to follow.

The major thing to remember is that Dickens was not only a writer, but a social critic. Listen to what he says, and enjoy a moment of gratitude for what we have now, and a sigh for vestiges of social problems that remain.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: The Box Jumper

The Box JumperThe Box Jumper by Lisa Mannetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A dreamy, fascinating story woven around the intersection of magician Harry Houdini, writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the narrator, Leona. As the narrative unfolded, I found myself going back, eager to understand the nuances of the telling. The author's notes at the end put some things in perspective and this is one of those rare books that I'd like to read again someday.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Arisia 2016

Arisia, the first event of the convention year, is a volunteer-run convention that covers all aspects of science fiction and fantasy literature and media. Held at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, it's different from other science fiction conventions in at least two respects: panels and activities run nonstop throughout the night (yes, you can attend a panel or join an event at 2 a.m. if you're still awake) and it has as many lifestyle panels as literature/media/gaming panels.

I'll be attending, both as a fan and as a member of Broad Universe, an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.

The New England Chapter is very active, blessed by short distances and a number of fantasy, science fiction, and horror conventions all within commuting distance. They organize a Broad Universe party table  in the Dealer's Room. (If you're in there, stop on by and say hello.)  

On Sunday, January 17, at 10:00 AM, various members will read from their published works or works in progress in the Adams conference room. (If it's been moved for some reason, look for Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading in the official program.) I'll be reading from "The Fortune Teller," a short story that was published in Snowbound: With Zombies in September.

Some of the Broad Universe members (from the New England chapter and elsewhere) who will be reading include:

Connie Wilkins
Elaine Isaak
Lisa Evans
Morven Westfield (me)
Randee Dawn
Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert
Trisha Wooldridge