There has been a lot of bad news in my life lately (not for me personally, but for people I love and am close to -- serious health problems, impending operations, the sudden death of my uncle), so it was lovely to open my e-mail the other day and find out some really fantastic news for a change:

Ultraviolet has been nominated for the 2012 Andre Norton Award!

This is the YA division of the Nebula Awards, which are legendary in the SF&F genre, so even being considered for the award is a pretty big deal, let alone actually making the shortlist. I am thrilled and honoured.

Here's the full list of nominees as posted on the official SFWA site:
I have actually not yet read any of these, but I've heard amazing things about all of them. I think I'm going to make it my business to read all the other nominated titles before the awards ceremony.

***

For my fellow writers in the quasi-local area, I have more good news -- I'm going to be presenting a workshop on revision in Waterloo, ON at the end of March:

Poster with details under cut... )

So if you need a pep talk before launching into your own revisions or would appreciate some general tips on how to go about it, this may be the seminar for you! Or just come and say hi and hang out with me and some other writers. Whatever. :)

***

And finally, a vid that has nothing to do with writing but I've been posting it everywhere since I discovered it last night, just because it is so INCREDIBLY CLEVER. And also broke my heart a little.

From the author's introduction at her journal:

In the beginning, there was Sherlock Holmes. And Holmes brought forth the brilliant doctor House, embodied by the lovely Hugh Laurie. Who prior to that in Fortysomething played a slightly less brilliant doctor, Paul Slippery, who begat three sons, the eldest of whom was played by the equally-lovely-if-somewhat-peculiarly-named Benedict Cumberbatch. Who of course grew up to play Sherlock. ... And then my head exploded.

All I can say is, watch. Enjoy. Marvel at the parallels. Surely some of them had to be intentional?!

There has been a lot of bad news in my life lately (not for me personally, but for people I love and am close to -- serious health problems, impending operations, the sudden death of my uncle), so it was lovely to open my e-mail the other day and find out some really fantastic news for a change:

Ultraviolet has been nominated for the 2012 Andre Norton Award!

This is the YA division of the Nebula Awards, which are legendary in the SF&F genre, so even being considered for the award is a pretty big deal, let alone actually making the shortlist. I am thrilled and honoured.

Here's the full list of nominees as posted on the official SFWA site:
I have actually not yet read any of the other books on the list, but I've heard amazing things about all of them. I think I'm going to make it my business to read all the other nominated titles before the awards ceremony.

***

For my fellow writers in the quasi-local area, I have more good news -- I'm going to be presenting a workshop on revision in Waterloo, ON at the end of March: 

Poster with details under cut... )

So if you need a pep talk before launching into your own revisions or would appreciate some general tips on how to go about it, this may be the seminar for you! Or just come and say hi and hang out with me and some other writers. Whatever. :)

***

And finally, a vid that has nothing to do with writing but I've been posting it everywhere since I discovered it last night, just because it is so INCREDIBLY CLEVER. And also broke my heart a little.

From the author's introduction at her journal: 

In the beginning, there was Sherlock Holmes. And Holmes brought forth the brilliant doctor House, embodied by the lovely Hugh Laurie. Who prior to that in Fortysomething played a slightly less brilliant doctor, Paul Slippery, who begat three sons, the eldest of whom was played by the equally-lovely-if-somewhat-peculiarly-named Benedict Cumberbatch. Who of course grew up to play Sherlock. ... And then my head exploded.

All I can say is, watch. Enjoy. Marvel at the parallels. Surely some of them had to be intentional?!

house

Image by monkeyc.net via Flickr

Wow, has it been that long since I did an episode review for this show? I have still been watching House, you know -- long after virtually everybody I knew had given up on it, or nearly so. Right now it is actually the only network show I still watch on a weekly basis (since Doctor Who has gone to specials for the year, and the UK TV season is so short that stuff like Merlin hardly counts).

I also seem to have forgotten to mention at any point in the last two years that I never had a problem with the whole fire-the-old-ducklings-and-replace-them motif. I thought it actually did a lot to keep the show from becoming stale, and although I'm not a big fan of Thirteen by any means I could never work myself up to actively hating her or blaming her and the other Mark II Ducklings for replacing Chase and Cameron.

I even liked the Chase/Cameron thing once it became a proper romance, and don't find myself sorry that House/Cameron didn't work out after all. (Actually I still think House/Cate from Antarctica would have been the best match ever, but you know these long distance relationships...)

But anyway, let's talk about the episode in question )

Amazing how a show so formulaic can keep me interested after five years. It really is the characters -- or I should say one particular character: House, in all his dysfunctional, infinitely strange glory.
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Seldom have I ever been so glad to have one of my predictions proven wrong.

On the other hand, the suspicion I had but didn't elaborate on here, as to the way this particular case would end? I was right about that part.

Just give RSL the Emmy already, people.
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Okay, so I have learned my lesson about using fresh pineapple rings on my cooked ham, because if you leave the rings on overnight to let the juices soak in and then warm the whole thing up again, the ham tastes like it's been partially pre-digested.

EWWWWWW.

In other news, I cannot get this week's House out of my head. I mean, I could have DEFINITELY done without certain parts of it (those of you who've seen the episode will probably have no difficulty guessing what those parts are, and most of them, alas, belong to Lisa Edelstein), and there were the inevitable bits of plot that were far-fetched to the point of absurdity. But Hugh Laurie was brilliant as always, there were some Good Chase Bits, and the foreshadowing was a thing of beauty. Spoilers )

On the other hand, my edits on Knife are going well, the pain in my arms is much better today, and I found some great pictures and made a new Paul icon out of one of them. (And no, I didn't use the mouse. This is what my pen and tablet are for, even though the pen is going wonky and doesn't always behave as it should, thanks to my toddler DROOLING IN IT.)
It has just occurred to me that I never reacted to the South Pole episode of House -- mostly because I somehow contrived to miss it when it first aired (so you can imagine my surprise at the beginning of the next episode when House confronted Wilson about dating you-know-who!). However, I've seen it now and WHOA.

Please tell me there is good House/Cate fic out there somewhere. Because it is totally my new OTP, and if there isn't any I fear I may have to write some myself.

***

Speaking of fandom, I have just discovered Blake's 7. We're only three episodes into S1 so far, but my husband and I are already hooked big-time.

Unsurprisingly for a fan of Sherlock Holmes, Snape, Jack Bristow and Beltanno MacRannoch, I love Avon best (though I'm sure my interest will wane if he doesn't demonstrate a bit more humanity soon). But I'm also surprised by how much I like Blake. I've heard so little about him, I thought he must be kind of a bland and uninteresting character compared to Vila, Cally, and so on. I even had a vague suspicion that he might be a shadowy or absent figure a la Charlie of Charlie's Angels. But in fact he's not only right in the middle of the action, he's pretty cool. I like Jenna, too, and I don't remember hearing anything about her from the B7 fans on my list at all.

The special effects are as bad as anything in Classic Who, but I'm really impressed by the dialogue, scripts and acting so far (well, except for Brian Blessed in ep. 3 gnawing off enormous chunks of scenery and spitting them all over the screen, but that's Brian Blessed). I especially admire the way that B7 captures the banality of evil -- in the first two episodes at least the villains don't sit around cackling and rubbing their hands or being villainous to each other for dramatic effect, they behave and speak like ordinary people who have sunk into evil so gradually they don't even seem to realize it. It's very well done. MOAR PLS.
--
I fail at the promised reviews, I know, I know. Coming soon.
This week's House = best episode of the last two seasons. Also, my love for Kutner is so great it may explode my brain. SF geeks unite!

And now before I head off to NYC for the weekend, because nothing says love like a poll --

[Poll #1135153]

I am so excited about meeting [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63 tonight in person! Not to mention my editor. And my agent. And a bunch of other folks. I just hope I don't end up getting the same thing that kept my five-year-old up all last night, retching pathetically into a margarine tub. That would be... not good. (He's better now, though, so at least I can content myself that it's short-lived.)
Roundup time! I just keep finding links to amazing things so I have to share them with you all.

Firstly, [livejournal.com profile] lainitaylor has a gummi bear. She also has an entire chandelier made of them, if you go to the bottom of the post. But you should congratulate her on her personal gummi bear first, just to be nice. Oh, and she also finished a book.

Secondly, this may come as a surprise to certain people who think they know me (or at least think they know what Those Conservative Evangelical Christian Types are Like), but I am in complete and total agreement with the points that John Green makes in this awesome and funny (yet at the same time very not funny) vlog post about a group of people who are trying to prevent his book Looking For Alaska being taught in schools. A book which I have personally never read, but have decided I need to go out and buy RIGHT NOW, because it sounds awesome. Anyway, how about I just let him explain:



Thirdly, [livejournal.com profile] snickelish pointed to this brief essay by [livejournal.com profile] mrissa explaining something about introverts that many people just don't understand, and it is brilliant and so true that I think you should all read it. It's here.

Fourthly, uh... I've forgotten. Oh yeah! I just watched the new episode of House. Y HELO THAR PRODUCT PLACEMENT BY APPLE. Also, I kinda adore Kutner -- he's such a complete dork.

And now to bed! And now to bed!
I fail at holidays, so I have no timely New Year's post full of resolutions and thoughtful looks back at the year that was, or anything of that sort. I did, however, finish revising Chapter Eight of Knife (although it feels like a bit of a cheat, since I am splitting the original much-too-long chapter into two, so technically I'm only half finished). And that makes me happy, because it means I am still on schedule to get this puppy -- er, faery -- finished and back on my editor's desk by the end of February.

Meanwhile, I have been reading the last four Artemis Fowl books at a frightening pace, which is funny because I really didn't care at all for the premise or the execution when I read the first book, but I did develop a teeny tiny nagging litcrush on Artemis (shut up) and eventually I broke down and decided to find out what happened to him. And now I may kind of ship Artemis/Holly, in a deranged May-December way (yeah, yeah, I know, SHUT UP).

We also watched Amazing Grace on the weekend. Good film, that, and Ioan Gruffydd puts in a highly commendable performance. It even had extra bonus coolness in the form of Nicholas Farrell and Ciaran Hinds, although I was embarrassed to discover during the credits that I was incapable of telling Albert Finney and Michael Gambon apart. (At one point I actually wondered if Gambon were playing both Newton and Fox, but dismissed that as being too stupid.)

Apart from that... there isn't a whole lot else to say. Except that I do have one New Year's resolution after all: I have decided not to harsh anyone else's squee. If you think that you can therefore deduce my opinion of certain recent books, TV shows and/or movies by what I have not posted about them, you may be onto something. (Unless you were thinking about this season of House, which I have in fact been enjoying very much, so there.)

Man, I am boring these days. I apologize to all of you who were expecting actual content.

*skulks away*
Oh, House. You let me down so much last week, and then you turn around and deliver one of the best episodes ever.

*wipes away tear*
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Well, wow. Thanks, Thomas L. Moran, whoever you are. I never realized that I could hate everybody on this show except Foreman, Cuddy, and Chase. But you made it look so easy.

Seriously, I was really trying to give S3 a chance, despite the inconsistencies. But I think this ep hit a new low. Does anybody know what happened to S1 and S2 Cameron's heart? Because I think S3 Cameron needs it. If only I could be sure she's actually the same person, that is. I don't think I've ever seen a show make it more obvious that Cameron no longer has any set characteristics whatsoever and simply changes every week to serve the plot.

Dear Chase: I feel sorry for you, sweetie, I really do. But pity just isn't enough, you know?

Oh, and for the record, I no longer have any particular loyalty to House/Cameron (I'm starting to lean House/Cuddy, if House isn't being a totally unlikeable jerk and Cuddy isn't acting like his mother) and I have nothing against Chase/Cameron if there were any possibility of it becoming real instead of a pathetic farce. Right now, though, I'm feeling pretty anti-shipping all around.

Sigh.

I hope [livejournal.com profile] tightropegirl's episode can pull this show out of the fire, but it looks like that one's a few weeks away. Will I still be there by the time it airs? Stay tuned!
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[livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63 remarked after seeing this week's Heroes ("Distractions") that "maybe I could love Hiro more if he actually crawled out of the TV screen and gave me money. That's about the only way." This is inarguably true.

After watching the same episode myself, I must add that by far my favorite two pairings on this show... )

Moving on to the new House ("Needle in a Haystack"), which I've also just seen -- definitely enjoyed this episode much more than last week's. Nice to see... ) Two thumbs up.

Bleaaargh.

Feb. 1st, 2007 09:44 am
rj_anderson: (House - Full Cast - No Aphrodisiac)
I am sick. Quite, quite sick. Aches, pains, feverishness, headache, shallow cough. I am about to go back to bed.

Last night's House was lame and contrived. Alas.

Despite all the lovely prompts I've been given, I still haven't been able to get my brain to cooperate when it comes to writing new stuff, sorry. However, I found some unpublished House and Wilson banter on my HD and posted it here in response to [livejournal.com profile] mistraltoes's prompt. It's something, I guess.

Now back to bed. With nothing to read. Woe!
Needing something to cheer me up after the horrible train wreck of FBOFW these last few days (Lynn Johnson, you have two days to pull this storyline out of the toilet. I am not optimistic), I turned to my f-list. And [livejournal.com profile] superversive, bless him, came through:

I had already read (or watched) all the really seminal English-language fantasy works of [1977], except for The Sword of Shannara. I have therefore been plodding through that distinctive if not distinguished work. It is actually a very good sort of book to read while one is sick and depressed, because it reconciles one to the brevity of life and makes death a happier prospect than it seemed before. In Heaven there are no such books, and in Hell all books will burn.

He promises to write a more detailed review soon. I confess that after suffering through the first two Shannara books (otherwise known as Brooks Does Tolkien and Brooks Does Donaldson), I am rather looking forward to it.

***

Yesterday I got my brand-new glasses -- lovely pink metallic frames that suit me better than any pair of glasses I've worn in the past ten years. Unfortunately, there was a pinwheel-like smudge in the centre of both lenses, which no amount of rubbing could remove. After suffering through a couple of hours of frustration and eyestrain, I ended up turning around and driving back to the optometrist's to return them. They confessed that they had made a mistake and offered to replace them, but now I have to wait another week to wear my bootiful new eyeglasses with the updated prescription again. Alas.

***

Remember how a couple of weeks ago I mentioned getting migraine auras without the migraine? Well, on the weekend I got the migraine without the aura. My first migraine, and all I can say is OW. I really hope this is an isolated incident, because there's nothing like blinding pain and nausea to put the kibosh on your creative energies.

***

In other news, I watched "Words and Deeds" (House) yesterday and actually quite liked it -- not that it didn't have its logistical flaws, and not that the behavior of all the characters was perfectly consistent with their behavior in the past, but I didn't think it was the Worst Episode Ever, or even close to it.

This is why I have come to the conclusion that I am happier out of fandom than in it. Not that I mind hearing what my closest friends think of the shows and books I enjoy, or discussing our opinions even when we disagree; but on the whole I prefer to make up my own mind about whether I like something or not, and not have it spoiled for me by people insisting that it stinks. I offer a belated bow to [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63, who has long been wiser than I in such matters.

***

Got an e-mail today from Agent #2, telling me she'd received my ms. Thanks to Canada Post's parcel tracking system I knew that already, but it was nice to get a personal note to that effect. She says she's hoping to get to the book by mid-March.

I have a feeling that March is going to be The Month for my writing career, in a lot of ways. Could be good, could be bad, but something is definitely going to happen around that time.

***

And finally, I have tagged all my old entries up to June 2005. Go me!
Thanks to the brilliant and talented [livejournal.com profile] cesario, and no thanks to Canada Post for hanging onto the package for so long --

FANDOM DOLLS ARE LOVE )

Now I just have to find the right place to display them. Thank you thank you thank you, [livejournal.com profile] cesario!

Ham and Wry*

Oct. 4th, 2006 07:39 pm
rj_anderson: (House - House/Cameron - Galatea II)
Well, this was a nice surprise:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I didn't even realize [livejournal.com profile] hc_fanficawards existed until just now, but I'm very pleased and grateful to [livejournal.com profile] chmaresh for nominating Galatea in the "Long" category.

[livejournal.com profile] cesario, you've been nommed as well, in case you didn't know.

And the rest of you (or at least, those who don't run screaming in horror at the thought of House/Cameron in any form) can see the list of nominees and cast your ballot here if you're so inclined.

--
* Not to be confused with the inevitable episode of House where Hugh Laurie's old friend Stephen puts in a guest appearance, which would be Ham and Fry, or the little Welsh town with all the bookshops, which is Hay-on-Wye.

*dies*

Sep. 28th, 2006 12:48 pm
rj_anderson: (House - Wipeout)
Can't... see... laughing too hard... tears running... down my face...

No, not over last night's HOUSE, although it did make me chortle repeatedly. Over this thread, otherwise known as When Crossovers Go Bad (in MSPaint).

I thought Cameron was brilliant, but then I saw Chase and my life was over. O [livejournal.com profile] lydaclunas, where art thou?

Oh, and on a more serious note, there is a rather good Ham* vid over at YouTube, if you like-a the angst: Can't Take It.

--
*I generally hate portmanteau shipping terms, but sometimes they are too amusing to ignore.
Can you tell I've been watching the "Valley Girl" extras from the HOUSE S2 DVDs?

Anyway, look at the shiny pretty thing that is Writely! I've been wanting something like this for ages!

Other super-nifty things include the very exciting news, kindly mailed to me by Hottt Cheryl (do I have the right number of t's? I've lost track of how many she's earned, now), that [livejournal.com profile] naominovik's wonderful (wonderful, wonderful, and did I say, WONDERFUL?) Temeraire books have been optioned by Peter Jackson. In spite of the fact that I hated PJ's LotR, I am enough of an optimist to think he might do a good job with the project.

I was going to write a whole separate entry, maybe over on my otherwise useless Vox blog, reviewing His Majesty's Dragon and [livejournal.com profile] papersky's delightful Tooth and Claw, as they are both fantasy novels about dragons and both strongly influenced by nineteenth-century literature, and much could be said about either of them. However, I would rather give both books my endorsement now, however briefly, than wait for an opportunity to wax eloquent about them that may well never come. So here is my review:

I didn't think books about dragons could get any better than Tooth and Claw, but Temeraire a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon in particular is the most delightful thing to happen to me in a literary sense since I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice (and we all know what came of that). Anyway, both Walton's book and Novik's are superb. If you haven't read them, GO NOW.
Wait, before I forget -- again -- because I have a brain like a broken sieve --

Happy Belated Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] jalara!

Sorry I didn't catch you on the day. I suck at birthdays. :(

Anyway, on to the topic of this post. I've been reading quite a few comments about the House season finale, many of them surprisingly (to me) negative. I realize that not every story is to everyone's taste (and I can certainly think of any number of things about this one that might not have been to people's liking) but some of the reasons that have been given for the dislike strike me as... well, bizarre, to say the least spoilery example #1 ). And even from those who enjoyed the episode I've seen some fairly odd interpretations of events spoilery example #2 ).

Well, far be it from me to tell other people what they must or must not like. However, I do think that this was a well-written, effective episode and a perfectly legitimate season finale -- not as good as "Three Stories", of course, but then what is? -- and many of the objections being made about it are inconsistent, irrational, and/or the result of careless viewing. (Except for the "EW THAT WAS THE GROSSEST PATIENT CASE EVER" objection -- that one I entirely sympathize with.)

But anyway, gross-out factor aside, it was not a bad episode. Here's why: )

I've watched the episode twice now, and while I won't say it's the best thing ever, I think there's enough there for some pretty meaty analysis and speculation, and it hasn't done violence to my understanding of the characters or screwed up the balance of the show, which is all I would really hope for in a season finale.
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Two excellent posts on the pitfalls and triumphs of researching fiction, from [livejournal.com profile] tightropegirl:

How Research Leads to Nihilism (with spoilers for some recent House episodes and, to my delight, an old episode of Doctor Who), and Research, Part Two a.k.a. The Three Big Cheats. It's long (especially the first part), but all of it is worth reading, whether you're a writer doing research, a professional or academic who likes to nitpick shows and books based on your field, or simply an interested viewer who sometimes wonders where scriptwriters get all this stuff.

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