Review: They’d Rather Be Right

I’ve shared in the past about my quest to read all the Hugo Award winners for best novel.  Welp, I recently checked out and read They’d Rather Be Right by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley – the second winner of the award back in 1955.

They’d Rather Be Right was a short science fiction classic.  The premise was incredibly clever, though I was confused by the main characters motivations – why did Joe care about Bosssy?  Was he only trying to make someone like him?  What made him think Bossy could do that?  How did he figure so many things out that other characters couldn’t?

Lots of questions.  But for me at least, those hardly made reading They’d Rather Be Right less enjoyable.  I know that many others haven’t had the same experience – some have even called this work by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley the worst Hugo Award winning novel in the history of the award.  Many of the critiques I’ve read say that Clifton and Riley were lazy – they didn’t do the work to make the science in the story believable.

I guess I see where they’re coming from.  As hard sci-fi They’d Rather Be Right doesn’t do it for me.  But as soft science fiction: I loved it.  The simple idea that a person’s pride is their downfall, that someone’s need to be right is what prevents progress, is so good and done very well in this work.  I also enjoyed the commentary on social classes and on scientific responsibility.

Other than that, all I have to say is it was a quick read, and there many of the characters were endearing.  Could it be better?  Yes.  Did I enjoy it?  Yes.  Did I love the questions it asked?  DEFINITELY YES.

Birthday Books

Somehow I missed my birthday.  Not in real life; plenty of celebrating happened.  But in blog-life, I just kind of skipped over it.

So, three weeks late, I want to share with you the books that I got for my birthday:

  • Sabriel by Garth Nix
  • Lirael by Garth Nix
  • Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  • Love, Lies, and Clones by Joynell Schultz
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

My husband, being the book-loving, intentional, and thoughtful man that he is, has been looking for the Old Kingdom boxed set for months, and he finally found it.  I’ve mentioned these books to him a time or two (I read them when I was younger and loved them), and he’s been planning on getting them for me ever since.  I can’t wait to read them again!

Also, I have a tradition with the 10-year-old girl that I mentor: on the Wednesday between our birthdays, we go to a used book store and each pick out a book to buy.  She just discovered The Series of Unfortunate Events, and happily picked out book 1.  I found a compilation of old science fiction short stories.  🙂  I love this tradition, and I hope we continue it for years to come.

Do you have any fun birthday traditions?

Review: My Enemy, My Ally

I love Romulans.  Maybe someday I’ll share all the reasons why with you.  But for now, just know that I love Romulans.  Unfortunately, though, Romulans are – in my opinion – under-utilized in the Star Trek series and books.  So when I stumbled upon the Rihannsu series (by googling “Star Trek books about Romulans”), I had to get my hands on it.  The fact that it was written by Diane Duane (who also wrote the So You Want to Be a Wizard series, which I loved when I was younger) was a huge plus, too!

After searching for a long time, my husband and I finally found most of the series at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore (aka my heaven on earth – seriously, if you’re in the Twin Cities, check it out).  I just finished reading book one this week, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

My Enemy, My Ally started off a little weak for me – mostly because it started off from the Romulan perspective.  Now, that in itself isn’t a bad thing; it’s a pretty typical literary device to kick off a story with a short scene featuring the antagonist.  My issue with this, though, was that the dialogue (and even some of the inner monologue) was in Romulan.

I don’t read Romulan; unlike Klingon, there’s not a movement to learn the fictional language.  It’s not a huge deal to include a language that I don’t read – as long as it’s minimal and really easy to understand given the context.  But it wasn’t.  I was really confused by the first chapter, and the inclusion of so much of an unreadable language really bogged it down.  I almost put the book away and started a different one.

But.  I’m glad I didn’t.  After that first chapter, the book got SO MUCH BETTER.  Duane did a great job of giving us a believable insight into this other Trek culture that hasn’t been amply explored.  I got just what I wanted – more screen-time with Romulans.

The plot was exciting and suspenseful, and I was very unsure of who to trust and who to believe.  The characters from The Original Series seemed very consistent with what we’ve seen elsewhere, and while it was still fun and playful at times, the writing wasn’t too campy like some of the other Trek novels I’ve read.

Overall, I was very pleased with My Enemy, My Ally, and I’m looking forward to reading book two of the series: The Romulan Way.

Review: Children of the Mind

Welp, through lots and lots of tears, I finished the Ender Saga.  There are still plenty of books in the Enderverse, but the story doesn’t continue after this one… so far.  Orson Scott Card has said that he’ll connect back to the Ender Saga with Shadows Alive, but as far as I’ve heard, there’s no date on that.

Children of the Mind blew me away.  I loved each and every storyline, though some more than others for sure.  It was a great next step and conclusion to (most of) what was set up in the rest of the series, and while Xenocide was very similar to Speaker for the DeadChildren was incredibly different – in great ways.

As usual, I don’t want to spoil too much — but to completely share my thoughts, I’m going to have to spoil some things.  So here are my non-spoiling thoughts:

Children of the Mind explored some fascinating topics, just like the other books in the series.  It dove into guilt, self-perception, souls, politics, and love.  And when I say dove in, I mean head-first, no holds barred, giving-it-all-you’ve-got dove.  It was thought-provoking, challenging, and made me uncomfortable in all the best ways.

Here’s your warning though: if you haven’t read it and don’t want things to be spoiled, quit reading right now.

 

Here’s another warning for good measure: there are some spoilers below.

 

Ok.  My conscience is clear.

 

More thoughts: I absolutely LOVED Young Val.  I drank up every single word of the scenes that she was in, whether she was interacting with Miro, wrestling with Jane, or being awkward around Old Val (who I also love fiercely).

I thought that Ender being split between his own body, Young Val, and Peter was awesome, and the fact that he had to end up entirely in Peter was genius.  The Jane/Young Val combo was stellar.  And of course, being the Novinha fan that I am, seeing her wrestle with letting Ender go shook me to the core.

And one last thought: I NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE DESCOLADORES.

Which is why I really hope that Shadows Alive comes out soon and that it tells me more about them.

 

After finishing Children of the Mind, I turned to my husband and told him that Speaker for the Dead was PROBABLY still my favorite book.  He was shocked, I was shocked, and I’m still pretty uncertain.  All I know for now is that Children was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Per usual, I’m a little late to the game on this one.  But hey, I didn’t read past The Prisoner of Azkaban until I was 22…  So at least I’m not THAT late.

I really enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  It was a fun adventure featuring the next generation of Hogwarts students, which was refreshing in a way.  We got to meet new characters, as well as spend a bit of time with the old beloved ones (and those we hated, too…).

The plot itself was a touch unbelievable at times, but hey, I’d say the same for all 7 HP books.  It didn’t make it any less enjoyable for me, and while some of the things that happened were a bit unlikely from my perspective, I also didn’t see any gaping plot holes.  Though maybe some did?  Now I’m curious, but I’m fighting the urge to google that.

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much away, but let me just say that as far as characters go I LOVED Scorpius, Albus was ok, and Harry was annoying (but he was in all of the other books, too, so it was consistent).

It was fun to see how the wizarding world had evolved after 25ish years, both for the good and the bad.

And just as a warning: there were some definite big-emotion moments for me.  I’m not saying tears, but I’m not not saying tears either.  I’ll just leave it at that.

Have you read Cursed Child yet?  If so what did you think?

Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

From September 2015 to September 2016, I spent every other Sunday evening helping to teach a class at my church.  A group of 10 of us set out to read and discuss the entire Bible in a year.  It was both challenging and eye-opening, and we ate a lot of snacks and got into a lot of arguments – two of my favorite things.

During that experience, I really struggled with how women are talked about and treated in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament.  It’s something that I talked about with my class and other friends as well.  Once the class was over, I still didn’t feel like my thoughts had been resolved, and I didn’t see others really wrestling in the same way  I was.

Until I found A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.

In this book, RHE sets out to follow the commands and emulate the exhortations of the Bible regarding woman – all of them that are within her power, anyway.  She changes the way she dresses, the way she communicates with her husband, the way she makes the decisions, the types of food she buys and eats, and so much more.

Evans has received a lot of criticism for this project, particularly from Evangelical Christians who claim that she was practicing poor interpretation and application of the Bible.  But here’s my take on it.

Rachel Held Evans took a subject that was incredibly raw and real and dove right in.  She didn’t stray from the difficult parts of the Bible that so many people ignore.  She chewed on them, tried to apply the principles of them to today, and tried to really get a sincere understanding of what the Bible has to say about women: something that I don’t see anyone else doing in that same way, but I think desperately needs to be done.

Evans made me laugh out loud, she made me cry multiple times, and I’ve found myself continuing to come back to many of her thoughts as I think through what it means to be a woman in the church and a woman in this world in general.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood was refreshing, challenging, and encouraging and a very accessible and easy read for anyone who’s thought about the disconnect between what many Christians say they believe about woman and how they actually treat them.  And for those who haven’t thought about that disconnect: this book might be even more eye-opening for you.

New Year, New Goals

It’s 2017!  Huzzah!  I’m nearly 3 weeks late on that – sorry, friends.

 

I wanted to share a few of my goals for reading and writing (and blogging) for this upcoming year.  You know, give you all something to look forward to.

My Goals for 2017

Writing

  • Send out more queries for Bombshell
  • Finish first round revisions for The Legend of Elliot Major
  • Send The Legend of Elliot Major to my writing group for feedback
  • Finish second revisions on The Legend of Elliot Major
  • Finish the first draft of Novodah’s Myth

Reading

  • Read 52 books this year
  • Read 6 more Hugo Award winning novels

Blogging

  • Review each of the books I read
  • Post on my blog at least 4 times per month

 

There you have it!  I know that last goal is a definite decrease from my blogging this past year.  But I really want to focus more of my time and energy and writing and revising.  So, while I’ll keep you updated on my reading and writing journeys, it may be less frequent.  Just trying to manage your expectations.

 

What are some of your goals for 2017?