Culture Consumption: July 2016

So Happy August! I bring you the belated Culture Consumption for July, but at least this month, I know where the month went: Speculative Chic! So far, so good, but starting a fanzine meant less time for other things, like…oh, I don’t know…READING. I still managed some movies and television though, so let’s take a look at what July had to offer, shall we?

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Culture Consumption: May 2016

Happy June! May was over in a flash, but that’s because I was working my two SEKRIT PROJECTS. One, you already know about: Calico in Conversation! The other, well, stay tuned…. in the meantime, my brain always needs a break from the day job and SEKRIT PROJECTS, so here’s all the culture I consumed in the month of May!

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This is NOT a Review: Claudia Gray’s BLOODLINE

Bloodline-coverThere’s a weird disconnect, reading this.

Don’t get me wrong: I was REALLY looking forward to it. So much so that when I finished reading my last book (Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories) the Saturday before Bloodline was released, I didn’t start anything new because I wanted to open the box on Tuesday and start reading immediately. I’d heard high praise for this book, and I really didn’t need convincing to give it a go, as I had adored Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars, and couldn’t wait to see some pieces of the story filled in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

So what’s the problem?

I’ve run into this with the comics, even before the Expanded Universe was relegated to the Legends line: the problem for me is that the stories about Han, Luke, and Leia that take place during the original trilogy and all those years after Return of the Jedi?

I’ve read them. It doesn’t matter that it’s no longer canon (or, lately, that it is): I have read so many takes on Han, Luke, and Leia and their lives and thoughts before, during, and after the original trilogy that it’s hard to read anything with fresh eyes. It’s even more disconcerting to now read about the official canon of Han and Leia’s marriage, when I’ve got the EU take firmly lodged in my brain (as well as the EU take on the New Republic, and Luke’s Jedi Academy, so on and so forth). It takes up a lot of real estate, and it’s not something that’s easy to wipe away.

1484724984.01._SX450_SY635_SCLZZZZZZZ_Am I an EU purist? Oh hell no. I’d fallen out of love with the EU long before Disney bought Star Wars, because I got tired of Luke, Han, Leia, and their families never getting peace, of never having a happy ending. I got tired of what felt like soap opera-esque machinations that took place in order for there to be GREAT CONFLICT. I was, in fact, relieved when Disney said they would ignore the EU and make that a Legends canon and start afresh. Star Wars, as a franchise, needed that do-over, and I applauded the decision whole-heartedly.

Yes, that meant saying good-bye to Mara Jade. To Jaina Solo. To other characters I’d known and loved. But it also meant saying good-bye to the machinations that kept them in turmoil, and I could live with that.

I loved The Force Awakens. Wait, let me clarify: I loved the film, but I hated the novelization with a passion.

And you know what?

I read Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath. Loved it. Read Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars. Absolutely freaking adored it.

You know what The Force Awakens, Aftermath, and Lost Stars have in common?

Those aren’t the stories of Han, Luke, and Leia. Yes, the original three play important roles in The Force Awakens, and that’s wonderful. But the two books? Those characters are ancillary, allowing brand new characters to step into the limelight and shine. The Star Wars universe is so very vast, and there are so many stories to tell within it. Those are the stories I haven’t been reading for twenty-plus years. Those are the stories that I find I’m craving now.

aftermath_new.6.red_That doesn’t mean I won’t read the books about Han, Luke, and Leia, even if Bloodline taught me that I miss having the map of the galaxy in the front of the books, with planet names I’ve grown to know and recognize. I miss knowing what the universe feels like on the page, miss having a specific timeline to refer back to (oh, sure we have the START of a timeline in the new books, but it’s not very specific, not like the old one was). I miss knowing exactly where Han, Luke, and Leia were in their lives, even if I disagreed with a particular author’s take on their characters.

I love learning what happened to make the universe into the place it is in The Force Awakens. And as long as the books are as well-written as Gray’s Bloodline, I’m going to keep reading to keep learning more.

But it’s going to be an adjustment. It’ll take time, and probably a lot more books before my brain stops comparing the now official canon to the old one.

As Yoda says, I must unlearn what I have learned.

Culture Consumption: April 2016

Happy May! Good lord, I don’t know where April went. Actually, I kind of do: training to walk (not run) my very first 5k, and then prepping for a Regional Meeting that I was basically hosting. LOTS of stuff on my plate in April, so in some ways, I’m glad it’s over so I can unwind. I did, however, manage to squeeze SOME fun things in, so without further adieu, here’s the Culture Consumption for April!

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Culture Consumption: January 2016

2016 is here, and more to the point, it’s already February. Time flies when you’re having fun, and in my case, that fun is books, movies, television, and comics! Here’s what I managed to consume in January.

25340696Books

When it came to novels, I started 2016 with a bang! January brought some great reading, and some not so great. I’ve committed to being more discerning when I’m reading books, which means if a book isn’t grabbing me early on, then it goes to the DNF pile. In January, I had two DNFs, and I would’ve had three, because the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was terrible. I finished it because I’m a glutton for punishment, and because I’m a Star Wars fan. The two books I actually didn’t finish? Were far better written than Foster’s adaptation, but sadly the texts simply did not engage me.

In the win column, Newman’s Planetfall, Bow’s The Scorpion Rules, and Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp were all compelling reads, as was Duncan’s The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a book I’m still having trouble believing was written by a guy, given how convincing the heroine’s POV was.

January, in short, was a great reading month.

1) Planetfall by Emma Newman
2) Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
3) Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace
4) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
5) The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Did Not Finish:

1) The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins
2) Phoenix Island by John Dixon

Short Fiction

I hadn’t planned on any short fiction in January, but Lee Robins posted a link to a short story of hers published at Daily Science Fiction, and I had to give it a gander. A great read, and I adored the format.

1) “Tin and Mercury, Gilt and Glass” by Lane Robins

26240977Comics

I have a goal of reading one comic book a day in 2016. Now, that’s not always going to work out: I’ll run out of individual issues, or I’ll get sucked into a graphic novel and read more than one chapter, but that’s the goal. January worked out great, as I not only met my goal (for a total of 31 issues), but I read a hardcover collection in addition (Lumberjanes, what an adorable and fun comic!) as well as a giant, over-sized issue collecting Jem and the Holograms covers for the series so far. Well, read is an exaggeration: there was nothing to read there: just lots of pretty covers to look at!

Graphic Novels:

1) Lumberjanes: To the Max Edition: Volume 1 by Shannon Watters

Individual Issues:

Batgirl #46
Clean Room #3
Descender #8
Descender #9
Jacked #1
Jem and the Holograms #10
Jem and the Holograms Covers Treasury Edition
Lucifer #1
Ms. Marvel #2
Orphan Black: Helsinki #2
Red Thorn #2
Sleepy Hollow: Providence #1
Sleepy Hollow: Providence #2
Sleepy Hollow: Providence #3
Sleepy Hollow: Providence #4
Star Wars #12
Star Wars #13
Star Wars #14
Star Wars Annual #1
Star Wars: Chewbacca #4
Star Wars: Chewbacca #5
Star Wars: Darth Vader #12
Star Wars: Darth Vader #13
Star Wars: Darth Vader #14
Star Wars: Darth Vader Annual #1
Star Wars: Death Vader #15
Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #1
Star Wars: Vader Down #1
The Sheriff of Babylon #1
The Twilight Children #3
The Walking Dead #149
The Walking Dead #150

Disney-Pixar-Inside-Out-Movie-PosterMovies

Why yes, I did go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters. Again. I’ve officially seen it twice, which is a woefully small number, but maybe I can correct that before it finishes its theatrical run.

In other news, I finally got to watch Inside Out, which was ADORABLE. The Visit was a nice return to form for M. Night Shyamalan, and the end of Bone Tomahawk freaked me the hell out.

* = repeat viewing

A Perfect Ending
Bone Tomahawk
Cabin in the Woods*
Cop Car
Inside Out
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Star Wars: The Force Awakens* (in theaters)
The Descent*
The Visit
Tropic Thunder*
What We Do In the Shadows*

galavant_612x816Television Shows

I’m addicted to Cheers, to the point I’m letting on-going comedies like The Big Bang Theory and New Girl simply fall by the wayside. It’s a great show. American Horror Story: Hotel wrapped up, and while there were storylines/characters I liked, I still find that American Horror Story: Asylum is the best. But the most fun to be had in January was the second season of Galavant. It delivered on season one’s cliff-hanger and ended in a wonderful way that allows the story to continue if it gets renewed, but is utterly satisfying if it doesn’t. And the songs…. oh, the songs…..

* = repeat viewing

American Horror Story: Hotel
Cheers Season 2
Cheers Season 3
Galavant Season 2


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2016 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

Culture Consumption: December 2015

Good-bye, 2015, and hello, 2016!!!! While 2015 was a better year than 2014, I’m still glad to have it behind me. I may or may not talk about the reasons why in a later post, but what I will talk about are the goodies that were consumed before the year wrapped up. I may also do a separate post of favorites later, but again, we’ll see if the mood strikes.

So, let’s see how I ended the year, shall we?

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Culture Consumption: October 2015

Hello, November. I should celebrate the month, as it brings good food, the transition from fall to winter and an excuse to start digging sweaters out of my closet, but it’s also adding a lot of stress for my brain to marinate in, so boo! No, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year (last year gave me a week-long migraine for my trouble), so I guess I’ll have to spend the time reading. But first, let’s see how October turned out on the entertainment front.

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