Culture Consumption: August 2015

September is here. I’m in denial. Not just because the year is passing faster than my poor little human brain can comprehend, but because the end of August brought the end of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, and I’m so full of FEELS that I can’t focus on much anything else. My brain is happily writing blog posts in honor of the show, to talk about it, the ending, what it means, what the show compares to, and SO MANY THINGS. Whether those posts find life outside of my brain is another story, so in the meantime, here is the Culture Consumption for August.

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Wolves Without Teeth: Thoughts on the 2015 Hugo Winners and the Nominees that Might Have Been

So. The 2015 Hugo Awards were announced last night. I forgot all about it, because I was remembering why I never wanted to work in the food industry again while volunteering at a concession stand at a baseball game to raise money for charity. This morning, I woke up to a thunderstorm, a playful cat, a husband playing Bloodborne, and the Hugo Results.

I have a few links I want to share before I talk about the winners (or lack thereof):

1) Tor.com: Announcing the 2015 Hugo Award Winners: Winners, winners! Read all about it!

2) Tobias S. Buckell: What the alternate Hugo Ballot would likely have been: Toby uses the 2015 Hugo Award Statistics, crosses off all puppy nominees, in order to figure out what the fiction categories MIGHT have looked like without slates informing the ballot. He also has some great thoughts about those nominees, as well as the nominees who were on the puppy ballots and withdrew their nominations.

3) 2015 Hugo Award Statistics: I love looking at this every year, but this year is particularly fascinating. The “what-if” nature of the ballot is endlessly fascinating for me. I would’ve been SO MUCH MORE ENGAGED in this year’s awards if the ballot hadn’t been hijacked by the puppies.

4) Wired.com: Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters: A really great piece that talks about the controversy, the awards ceremony, and what happened after. Kudos to George R.R. Martin for his Hugo Loser’s party.

And now, for my thoughts on some of the winners:

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Culture Consumption: March 2015

It’s that time again! A very accomplished March, if I do say so myself. 🙂

Books

6) Empire of Dust by Jacey Bedford
7) Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
8) Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
9) Prudence by Gail Carriger
10) Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews

Short Fiction

1) No Sooner Met by Seanan McGuire
2) Broken Paper Hearts by Seanan McGuire
3) Sun, Stone, Spear by Carrie Vaughn

Comics

Graphic Novels: none

As for individual issues, I read 37 comics, and it would have been fewer had I not started Vertigo’s iZombie series.

Batgirl #40
Batgirl Endgame #1
Black Widow #16
Coffin Hill #16
Descender #1
iZombie #1
iZombie #2
iZombie #3
iZombie #4
iZombie #5
iZombie #6
iZombie #7
iZombie #8
iZombie #9
iZombie #10
iZombie #11
iZombie #12
iZombie #13
iZombie #14
Jem and The Holograms #1
Lazarus #15
Millennium #2
Ms. Marvel #13
Orphan Black #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #3
Saga #26
Secret Origins #10
Shadow Show #4
Star Wars #3
Star Wars: Darth Vader #2
Star Wars: Darth Vader #3
Star Wars: Princess Leia #1
Star Wars: Princess Leia #2
Supreme Blue Rose #7
The Walking Dead #138
The Walking Dead #139
Wytches #5

Movies

* = repeat viewing

King Arthur *
The Fault in Our Stars
The Running Man
Video Games: The Movie
Young & Beautiful

Television Shows

A note with television: these are the shows I completed in the month of March, not a list of everything on-going that I’m still watching.

Archer Season 5
The Walking Dead Season 5


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2015 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

My Life As A White Trash iZombie

See what I did there?

You may not, if you’re only familiar with Diana Rowland’s book series, starting with My Life as a White Trash Zombie. Or if you’re only familiar with the new show on the CW, iZombie, loosely adapted from the Vertigo comic book series, iZOMBIE.

Or, of course, you may still be clueless, but that’s okay, I’ll explain everything.

wtzb-med
This is the cover to the sequel, which I feel represents the series a tad better than the super-girly pink cover of book one did.

Back when I was still book blogging at Calico Reaction, I ran a book club. Every month, I’d choose a theme and members would vote on books that fit said theme. In August of 2012, the theme was Kick-Assitude, and the book club selection was Diana Rowland’s My Life As A White Trash Zombie. The super-pink cover had originally put me off when the book came out in 2011, but the premise was too good to ignore: a woman who gets turned into a zombie, survives, but has to take a job at the morgue in order to get a steady supply of brains in order to not only stay alive, but look somewhat normal. How cool is that? SUPER COOL. I had a lot of fun reading, and put the sequels on my wishlist for a day I wanted to binge.

Fast forward to now: the CW network just debuted a new show based on a Vertigo comic book series. Female-lead, zombies, humor, looked like fun. But I wanted to read a few reviews before I watched the pilot on Hulu, and here’s what I learned:

A woman gets turned into a zombie, survives, but has to take a job at the morgue in order to get a steady supply of brains in order to stay alive….

….wait, what?

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Promotional image for The CW’s iZombie. Cute, yes?

My first thought was to compare the comic series release date to Rowland’s release date. Both debuted in 2011, so one clearly didn’t copy the other***.

But further digging into the television adaptation revealed this: it’s an adaptation in name only. In the comics, our heroine is a gravedigger.

The brain boggles.

I did some more Googling, but apparently this isn’t a big deal. Sure, there are comments on various sites that talk about the show from people who have read the book and are pointing out the similarities to Rowland’s work, from people who are wondering why they didn’t just adapt her series instead. And I found brief mentions on Rowland’s Facebook that she is aware and that lawyers are involved. Unfortunately, the CW can afford more lawyers than she can.

Now, let’s make one thing clear: I’m not a lawyer and I’m not saying there’s an infringement of copyright. I’m not taking the CW’s side here, mind you. I’m referencing THIS, and it boils down to the fact that ideas can’t be copyrighted, no matter how original they are. There’s also a lot of unknowns here: whether or not Rowland’s book was seen in the writer’s room, whether or not it was obvious they were using it for “inspiration,” whether or not Rowland & Co were shopping the rights and CW was considering the rights and then passed, only to suddenly come out with this show, which on surface appears to be adapted not just from the comic book series of the same name, but also Rowland’s series.

I repeat, there are a LOT of unknowns. This may be more of a Fables vs. Once Upon a Time situation, wherein the concepts are eerily alike at first glance, but ultimately very different in execution, rather than a Gravity vs. Gravity situation, where there is a clear line between sold rights, studios, and how the movie was ultimately produced.

And let’s make another thing clear: the law is WEIRD, and things that seem OBVIOUS aren’t so obvious in court, and verdicts can be frustrating as hell.

So instead of standing on a soapbox and crying that the CW/Rob Thomas have stolen Rowland’s idea — and don’t get me wrong, the similarities, on the surface, make my stomach turn, despite the fact that the genius idea of a zombie working in a morgue is one that I think many people might land on eventually — I’m doing something else.

I’m making sure people in my small spec of the internet are aware.

I’m asking that people who like the idea of zombies working in a morgue to check out Diana Rowland’s work. Because let’s face it, there is CLEAR audience overlap between Rowland’s series and the television show. If you enjoy one, you’re likely going to enjoy the other. I haven’t seen the CW pilot yet, and I suspect I’ll hunker down and do that soon. I may change my mind about the situation: after all, I originally scoffed at the Gravity vs. Gravity situation, because I’d read the book, didn’t care for it, but adored the movie and didn’t see the similarities until they were pointed out to me, until I saw the line from rights sold to the studio to where the final film ended up.

But it just bugs me that so far, no entertainment site has picked up on the similarities. While I’m not entirely sure why I expect them to KNOW, it still irks me to no end. I admit I’m biased, and I’m Team!Rowland, even if this ends up being such a thing where there is no need for teams and both properties can co-exist peacefully and feed off of each other (pun intended) in a good way by boosting each others’ markets.

And that, besides awareness, is the ultimate point of my post. Rowland’s work is fun, so if the below premise sounds entertaining, ignore the all-too-pink cover and give it a go. And then check out the CW series, if only to nitpick the hell out of it. Or vise versa.

wtz_cover_final_med
So. Much. PINK! But seriously, cute cover.

Angel Crawford is a loser.

Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she’s a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who’s been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn’t have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there’s a job waiting for her at the parish morgue–and that it’s an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.

Before she knows it she’s dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey–just when she’s hungriest!

Angel’s going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn’t, she’s dead meat.

Literally.

***Edit: So thanks to some intrepid friends who did more digging than me: the Vertigo comic series, iZOMBIE, actually came out in 2010, practically a full year before Rowland’s My Life As A White Trash Zombie did. Again, I see this as a non-issue and negligible. 1) I don’t contend there’s an issue between the comic series and Rowland’s books. 2) When the comic series debuted, it’s likely Rowland’s book was already at the publisher. 3) Sentient zombies, which both properties feature, isn’t at all the issue for me. Hell, if you want to add sentient zombies, there’s Warm Bodies to throw into the mix. No, my contention is the female lead who’s a sentient zombie AND who works in a morgue in order to get brains, the latter of which isn’t in the comics from what I can tell — but it is in the television adaptation.

Culture Consumption: February 2015

It’s that time again! I would’ve posted these earlier, but I had a super-busy weekend and would’ve forgotten if I hadn’t seen other friends posting their own month-end reading lists. So, here we go for February!

Books

I know, I know… I did horribly this month. That’s okay though. It happens.

5) The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

Short Fiction

None in February

Comics

1) Fairest In All The Land by Bill Willingham (graphic novel)

As for individual issues, I read 39 comics and finally caught up on my TBR pile. WOOT! Now let’s keep it that way.

American Vampire: Second Cycle #6
Batgirl #38
Batgirl #39
Black Widow #14
Black Widow #15
Coffin Hill #15
Copperhead #5
Fairest #30
Fairest #31
Fairest #32
Fairest #33
Harley Quinn: Valentine’s Day Special #1
Lazarus #14
Millennium #1
Ms. Marvel #11
Ms. Marvel #12
Nameless #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #2
Saga #25
Sex Criminals #10
Shadow Show #2
Shadow Show #3
Sleepy Hollow #4
Star Wars #1
Star Wars #2
Star Wars: Darth Vader #1
Supreme Blue Rose #6
The Dying and the Dead #1
The Unwritten: Apocalypse #10
The Unwritten: Apocalypse #11
The Unwritten: Apocalypse #12
The Walking Dead #136
The Walking Dead #137
Thor #2
Thor #3
Thor #4
Thor #5
Wytches #4

Movies

* = repeat viewing

Birdman
Her
Joe
Salinger
The Babadook
The Princess Bride *
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Television Shows

A note with television: these are the shows I completed in the month of February, not a list of everything on-going that I’m still watching.

A to Z Season 1
Agent Carter Season 1
Constantine Season 1
Parks & Recreation Season 7
Sleepy Hollow Season 2
The Americans Season 2


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2015 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

Con Nooga 2015

This past weekend I attended what I consider my very first convention. If you wanted to me REALLY technical, Con Nooga wasn’t my first: I attended Wizard World Chicago back in 2003, but that was a comic con before comic cons got taken over by television and film. Then in 2006, I attended less than 12 hours of Context in Columbus, Ohio: I wanted to meet Gary Braunbeck and take his workshop, and I also got to meet Catherynne M. Valente and get an autographed copy of Labyrinth.

But in terms of attending a full con and going to panels? Con Nooga was my first. And it was a good, safe con to have as my first: not overwhelming, but more than enough to teach me what I need to do and/or pack for my next convention. I’m already eyeing DragonCon in Atlanta this year. Cherie Priest! Carrie Vaughn! YAY!

So what did I learn? How was Con Nooga? Did I get to meet the magical Seanan McGuire? Talk to the legendary Timothy Zahn? Read on to find out!

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