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review 2017-03-29 00:22
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers

Once in a while, I come across a book that feels like it was written just for me. A book that makes me feel as if the psychic, precognitive author lives in my head and knows just what I like and when I’d like it.

 

This is one of those books.

 

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is much more about the Long Way than the Angry Planet. It’s episodic, like reading a television series, but I didn’t feel the pace suffered for it. The issues each “episode” focuses on are small in scope. This isn’t a sci-fi epic about a daring crew of space warriors fighting to save the universe from evil. It’s about a hodgepodge crew of ordinary people trying to make a living in a vast, confusing, multi-cultural galaxy. It’s quiet, it’s introspective, and it’s a good 95% world-building and examining individuals and relationships from a variety of perspectives—some alien, some human, all utterly relatable. It’s not going to be everyone’s cuppa, but it was just what I wanted right now.

 

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cuddle with the book and bask in the glow of its perfection.

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text 2017-03-28 15:27
Reading progress update: I've read 143 out of 352 pages.
Last Year - Robert Charles Wilson

Reading this makes me wonder why I've gone so long without picking up one of Robert Charles Wilson's books. I'm really enjoying this one, not the least of which because it's hitting that time travel/alternate history sweet spot dead on. It;s just frustrating to have so much else to do, when all I want is to blow it off and binge through to the end.

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text 2017-03-28 07:23
Digging in the Stars by Katherine Blakeney Book Blitz and Giveaway


Digging in the Stars
Katherine Blakeney
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has just disappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.
Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.
Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents staged by the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant façade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claim the lives of everyone she loves.
TEASERS:
“Please remain seated as we begin our descent into Thror. Welcome, and enjoy your stay.”
The time for action was at hand, and she still didn’t feel ready. The flight felt much shorter than she’d expected.
The girls exchanged bewildered looks across the aisles. Stunned silence. They couldn’t have missed that final announcement. Avoiding Professor P’s gaze, Carter still felt the look of shock the professor shot across the cabin. Once, Carter had seen herself arriving on Thror as a great explorer. Instead, she would be remembered as a half-baked deceiver and kidnapper. The Throrians would have called her a scent-changer.
* * *
Carter had been so close to her goal. She saw that crack with her own eyes, a portal into a lost ancient world, chambers filed with carvings, images that had never been recorded or reproduced. The greatest discovery of this or any other century, waiting less than twenty feet away. Waiting for her. And Conrad had been there first. The moment she thought it, she felt guilty. She was allowing herself to get carried away by archaeological fervor, mentally competing with Conrad, when he might have paid a terrible price for his discovery.
 

Author Bio:
I am an author and independent filmmaker/stop motion animator with a BFA in Stop Motion Animation from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). My thesis focuses on silent film adaptations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic novels, with a special emphasis on psychological and aesthetic representations of the Monster figure. My debut novel, a YA Sci-Fi adventure called Digging in the Stars, is forthcoming with Blaze Publishing on March 28, 2017.
Raised by an Egyptologist mother, I grew up among museums and excavation sites, where I developed an unhealthy fascination with ancient art and mythology. I divide my time between bringing 12”-tall people to life in my studio in Edinburgh, excavating ancient tombs in the Egyptian desert, and researching Gothic literary monsters in silent film. I have worked for more than 10 years as photographer and videographer for the South Asasif Conservation Project, an archaeological expedition in Egypt and I have published numerous articles on film and archaeology.
I write, direct, design, and animate short films and commissioned projects in my studio in Edinburgh, Scotland and have been employed as an animator, screenwriter, modelmaker and art director for studios in Edinburgh, South Korea and Qatar. I have produced commissioned projects for IdeasTap in London, the Arts Trust Scotland and the British Library. My shorts have won competitions and screened at various international festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2015, my short film The Burglar With the Yellow Hand was nominated for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Research in Film Award.

You can find out more about all aspects of my work on my website, http://yorwickcastle.com
My new blog http://KatherineBlakeneyStardigger.blogspot.com is all about Digging in the Stars and my references and inspirations as a writer.

 
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text 2017-03-27 18:20
Reading progress update: I've read 200 out of 301 pages.
The Alchemy of Stone - Ekaterina Sedia

it's funny how much it reminds me of a good Jack Williamson novel--and not just his key robot novel, The Humanoids, but sort of like that combined with Demon Moon, a much different book--because I just bucked up and added a lot of old Williamsons to my Read pile at BookLikes (some were a challenge to search, and add covers to, and sort through editions, etc.). The Alchemy Of Stone does not deal in a lot of action or violence, and is the better for i--that also reminds me a bit of several old Jack Williamson books. anyway, maybe China Mieville and Cherie Priest fans could appreciate Sedia; to me, she does pay quiet tribute to stuff that's even older. I really like this book, and its main character robot.

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text 2017-03-26 23:34
Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 301 pages.
The Alchemy of Stone - Ekaterina Sedia

wow. I already love Mattie, my new favorite mechanical girl, the emancipated alchemist automaton. this Steampunk tale also features characters called Soul-Smokers, and living, stone gargoyles--and I've only just started! I keep putting off the last book in a Fantasy trilogy, but even though I want to get that wrapped up so I can call it done, plus free myself up to new Fantasy and SF series, that twinge of regret I had over ignoring the Canavan book for a little while longer is now gone. so...this seemingly wonderful book starring an artificial girl who knows her potions, a nonfiction book, a couple of Crime & Mystery books, and then Canavan's trilogy wrapper-upper. even in the face of that, I'm already thinking about when I can get to the other Ekaterina Sedia book I have stashed--seeming like a wise investment.

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