On Reading


Not by any standard would I consider myself the most well-read person around. But, in my circles, I would say that I could hold my own, well, at least with regard to fiction. I’ve been more connected to reading in recent years, more so than I was when I was an adolescent. I was living a different life then, running around with different thoughts. But, regardless of that, here I am,  a responsible reader, and I guess in writing this, I’m trying to find out several things. One is what that means – a responsible reader? After that it’s about the role reading plays in my life. The truth is it takes work. Why do it at all?

Going back early enough, I remember my dad reading to me. Pictures, first, of course. Those were what got me, but it wasn’t long before I was grabbing the books which tended to be heavier on the words than the images. Some titles still come to mind – the basic fairy tales, of course, The Adventures of Frog and Toad, Where the Wild Things Are, and others. He would take me to the library and I would come home with a hefty selection of books, all which I would read by the time we went back the following week. I remember very clearly a period in my youth during which my father and I would close the day by lying in bed together (single parent), each with a night light on our respective sides of the bed, reading. It was just us, quiet and alone, floating amid the winds of our unique literary destination. I would be reading something suitable for me, for where I was in life, for the kind of life I wanted to live. There was one particular series of books (which I haven’t even voiced thirty years, come to think of it) called Dakota King by Jake Mackenzie, an action-packed mystery series for young adults which always had the bad guy get caught in the end with his picture (a real-life mugshot) on the last page. I couldn’t get enough. Once I read the series, I recall spending more and more time looking for when the next book would come out. Then there was that weird period during school when the Scholastic Readers order forms would be passed out. I always thought the books were pretty expensive, and I would usually pass them up. But my dad always made me feel that it was okay to order what I wanted, which I knew wasn’t fully true. Dad, I wanted somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 books. Nah.

My dad always liked westerns, and the only author I recall him reading is Louis L’more. He would go through a ton of those. It wasn’t my thing at the time, but it was his, and that was good enough for me. I liked dragons and time machines and treasure hunts with ghosts. He liked shoot-outs, and tavern gossip, and riding around on horses going after the outlaws. Growing up, I realize that those were simply the stories my parents grew up with. My mom recalls fondly of how there was a clear distinction between the good and the bad back then. The hero wore the white hat and the bad guy (or just “the bad”) wore the black hat. That was it. The hero always saved the girl and there always seemed to be a variation of “riding off into the sunset,” – saving the day.

It was then that I think I sort of came into the idea that each person’s penchant belonged just to that person, and it didn’t have to agree with anyone else. As long as you enjoyed turning the pages and you were into what was in your hands, that really was all that mattered.

Fiction has always been my reading priority. Non-fiction was always there to tell me how the world was, and I just wasn’t interested in that. Firstly because that shit’s boring for the most part, and secondly, how the hell does anyone know what the “real world” is made up of? This is not me making an attempt at bashing non-fiction, nor is my adamant rejection of the genre altogether – no, I’m just saying, in my own way, that it wasn’t my thing.

Once you realize that there’s a way for you to fly, you just want to go ahead and do that. That’s what my mindset was, at least, when it came to fiction, and that all started at an early age. I found out I could fly.

Here’s where I think reading is important, and this is simply my opinion here. There’s nothing I’m going to throw in here which has to do with statistical data or valid case-study proof. This is just me. It’s important for parents to read to their kids so that children understand that limits are a product of the mind. It’s important to believe in possibility – not in what can’t be accomplished, but what can be. It’s important to foster in the mind of a child that she/he can choose what path to take and, though there may be consequences for his/her choice, there may also be great reward. The stories we read to our children, the narratives which they are exposed to will sharply define the manner in which they process their choices in the future. Again, there’s no science there; just my opinion.

Let’s take Where the Wild Things Are for example. We have our protagonist, Max, a kid who dresses up as a beast, creates havoc in his house and is sent to bed. His room unfolds and transforms into a jungle where he meets other similar beasts called “Wild Ones.” He plays with them and is raised to the level of “King of the Wild Ones.” Why not tell our children that it’s okay to break rules once in a while? It’s okay to ask questions and test things out? It will not destroy your relationship with your parents, you will not be punished severely or beaten. In fact, most importantly, you will make a courageous choice and you will learn something. Perhaps many of us may get into the habit as parents of simply telling our kids that they need to infuse their heads with more and more data so that they don’t fall behind in life. This is an idea I not only disagree with, but think is sad. We’re so consumed by giving them more to carry oftentimes, that we fail to allow them to be themselves and explore the outer limits of their own thoughts.

Non-fiction certainly has its merits, and those should be recognized for what they are, primarily education. I’m not counting the textbooks we receive in our high schools. No, those are written for a particular purpose (yes, as are all non-fiction books), and ultimately the knowledge therein is paid for by the state (unless it’s a private school). The beauty of non-fiction comes down to choice, and it’s not a digression I’d like to take too far down the Rabbit Hole. Basically, the freer your society, the more choice you have – ideally. In that understanding, reading of non-fiction is best done with desire. Making a kid read a book about the American Civil War in American History class when the kid really has only a minor interest in Canadian history if anything, is not helping. What I’m getting at here is that non-fiction reading should be done out of desire for it to stick. Yes, an educated populous sounds like a pretty cool idea, but A. (you may be able to tell) I’m really not interested, and B., data and knowledge only comes to the mind easily if people want to learn.

Personally, I’ve never been a big data person. I just don’t care enough about it. How many people really voted in the election, what the percentage of Hungarian speakers in Uganda is, how many World Series the Oakland A’s have won, where the next Super Bowl will take place, or whose research on Second Language Acquisition is the most prominent, etc. does not matter to me. I know what I know for my job and that’s about it. I don’t have any hobbies that really require me to know a lot of data. Some people just want to know stuff to compete with others. This happens in business and politics. When one side comes up with a particular argument, the opposing side has a counter-argument already prepared. That thinking has never been my strong suit. Why do I care if someone else has a different opinion than mine? It just sounds like puerile thinking.

A: I’m right!

B: No, I’m right!

A: No, I’m right!

B: Nah-uh!

A: Ah-huh!

Umm..no.  I’m not going to get into the whys and the why-nots here. I’m saying that you should read non-fiction if that’s your thing. If you love it, then do it. Period.

The truth is no one reads today. By “no one,” I mean much fewer people than in the past. I don’t think that’s simply my opinion; I would say that’s probably statistical. Reading is something that the people of the modern (“technically savvy”) world are not okay with. I mean they do read, but it’s different. They read on screens all day long, and it’s really not reading; it’s more like scanning. It’s sifting through data. Have you noticed how long articles are any more? They’re not. They’re über short. Why? Well, overall our attention spans have shortened. We do more “reading” on our phones than ever before and, it’s absurd the number of daily distractions we have to meander just to keep our focus on one sentence any more. Our phones are going off, everywhere we go, there are other people’s phones. Screens are ubiquitous, and the regular noise of society has graduated from a buzz to a growl, it seems.

Reading quiets the mind, and silence tends to be a scary place for the younger generations of today’s world citizen – those who subsist in the daily pool of noise and Twitter updates. I’m not talking about reading from a screen; I’m talking about reading leisurely from something on paper – a book, a magazine, even a good old-fashioned newspaper. This isn’t me saying that you should sit in a room in total silence. This isn’t full meditation, but in all honesty, I would be inclined to liken it to the activity, and perhaps even say that it can be seen as a type of meditation. It’s one of the few activities of the modern day when it’s just time with yourself. And this can take effort these days. It can take a struggle, a fight, and the enemy are your distractions.

We are inundated with them. In the 70s, the average person would be exposed to somewhere around 500 advertisements a day. That seems like a lot. Imagine 500 people trying to see you something in one day.

No longer.

We are now up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 ads a day (Johnson, 2006). That’s not all. That’s just the number of people knocking on your eye door demanding that you look at them. That number does not reflect all of the times our eye balls seek out our own screens: cell phones, tablets, Kindles, mobile game consoles (PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, etc). This is us (more and more the younger generation) seeking out (sometimes with almost animalistic determination) our screens (KXAN, 2017).

That’s why I mean you have to struggle. You very literally have to fight off every tendency your body has to look, listen, or place your attention elsewhere. It takes a degree of courage sometimes to tell others that you’re reading or that you’re planning to read. You can’t go out; you can’t play; hang at the bar, whatever. Your time is your time, and this is how you’re going to use it.

That’s a different direction that where I’d want to go. Let’s just say that if you’re not a reader, you may want to start it up. Don’t keep your head down as you pass a library or a bookshop and think, Ah, maybe next time. Next time, I’ll totally going inside and then…Then I’m gonna really make the effort to …read. Don’t make it a chore.  Reading should be something you very much look forward to.

Okay, I’m closing here. I hope you find the time and the gift to read to yourself, for yourself, by yourself.

Doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you do it for yourself.

References:

  1. Johnson, C. (2006, September 17). Cutting through advertising clutter. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cutting-through-advertising-clutter/
  2. KXAN. (2017, January 23). Woman stomped to death after fight over cell phone. Retrieved from: http://wspa.com/2017/01/23/women-stomped-to-death-after-fight-over-cell-phone/
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Beta Readers Wanted – SF/F short story


Happy Friday to all.

Wow, is it the end of July already? The time always eludes me. Right when I think I have it, that I can do what I want with it, that it’s all mine, it vanishes.

Today’s a day for planning. For getting rid of the old and getting ready for the new. Even if it’s just the end of the week (in preparation for a new week), the story is the same – ditch the old, bring on the new.

One of those notes for me is to search for beta readers. I’m looking for beta readers for my story tentatively titled “Portal Hunters” (3700 words). If you’re not sure what a beta reader is supposed to do, let’s go on a little detour and find out together.

The Task of a Beta Reader

If you’ve ever heard of any project, any medium (film, game, book, etc.) said to currently be ‘in beta,’ it means roughly that the project is almost ready to go to the public, but it still has some tweaks/bugs it needs to fix. There are still several weeds in the grass, so to speak.

Every author has different criteria for how they want their readers to respond to the piece. Some don’t want negative criticism (which, why?), others want the readers only to focus on one aspect of the story (i.e. dialogue, narrative, plot arc, etc.), while others still just want their readers to tell them why or why they didn’t like it. I prefer the way sci-fi/fantasy author Mary Robinette Kowal sets up her criteria – something like this.

So I ask my readers to tell me:

What bores you.

2.   What confuses you.

3.   What don’t you believe.

4.   What’s cool? (So I don’t accidentally “fix” it.)

One thing I would ask that you DO NOT DO, is say simply, “I liked it,” or “I didn’t like it.” What I’m asking you to do in Beta Reading is to help me. Words like those above, while they may be true, don’t help me. Please tell me WHY you did/didn’t like it, and leave it to me to decide whether I think I should take that criticism.

If you’ve already read the story and have given me feedback, I thank you very much. I must thank my wife, Kerrie, for always asking me to share my stories with her, even though the genre may not be something she’s totally into. She’s always willing to read and help. Thank you.

Here’s How: 

Go to my web site: http://www.lpstribling.com

2. Scroll down to the post that says Portal Hunters Beta.

3. Click on it and enter the Password (below)

4. Start reading and enjoy!

If you’re up for the task and are willing to leave me some feedback, I appreciate it.  The password is below. Thank you and have a productive weekend and a damned fine Friday.

lp

Password:  PortalH

Armada – a letter


ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear Mr. Cline,

Thank you for this book. I don’t know how long it took you or how many times you had to go back and edit, tear, toss out, emit, or rewrite, but however long it took you, you should know that from this reader’s perspective, your work was worth every drop of time you put into it.

You of course know of the old writing adage that (good) writing is rewriting, and from my experience reading this book, you’ve done your share.

I have been reading all my life, sci-fi and fantasy, mainly and have for as long as I can remember, been into all manner of game, movie, and geek lit. There are authors out there who are my heroes, just as there are games out there, movies, short stories, songs, and t.v. shows that have truly captured my imagination and helped me mold the way I see things in the world – the present, the future, myself, and all the possibilities therein.

RPO was one of those. I listened to the audio version, read beautifully by Wheton. What a well-crafted, intensely real story. It was so taken by the characters, the dialogue, the world, that I felt that I was there. Each page, each witty quip not only brought me back to the people, backdrops, and senses of my childhood, but helped me incorporate those memories into a game-tweaked alternate futuristic potential. One in which I got giddy goosebumps about. Thinking about that book now just excites the hell out of me. There are no words – it was bad ass. RPO is a book I’m still telling friends about. I’m almost to the point where, if they haven’t read it, I just figure my relationship with them is meaningless and isn’t worth pursuing.

….okay, that might be a bit harsh, but it was really good!

I had to read Armada. It did NOT disappoint. Loved what you did with game culture and dialogue, bringing all the joys of my childhood geekery again back to the forefront of my mind. Before I read it, my brother told me it was basically Flight of the Navigator.

Nah – didn’t believe it. It wasn’t. Rather it magically incorporated some of the flavors from my youth while opening new kick-ass doors of potential as to where games can take us in the future.

Five stars here isn’t really fair. It’s not a high-enough scale for me. I’m ranking your style and skill of ease of storytelling. You simply write the stories I enjoy reading. RPO and Armada are not to be compared as they are different tales with different packages of conflict and resolution.

I’m gonna stop here. I’ll just leave it as a big thank you. Thank you for the inspiration to continue writing, to continue doing what I’m doing, and to continue loving what I love. The gift you provide to storytelling and the fans of your work is monumental and game-changing, I would say. I would say that, along with Stephenson, you’ve added some delightfully florescent colors to the array of what kinds of sprinkles should rain upon the icing of the cupcake of modern literature.

Thank you, and carry on.

– LP

Post Script: I just finished the book nearly an hour ago and I’ll be going through the the general’s RTA mix forthwith.

View all my reviews

Summer Reads


Not sure if I’ve ever really come down to it and said, “Yes, this book (these books) is going to be read this summer.” I did just check my Goodreads list and found that I actually do read during the summer – cool. So, I thought I’d toss out a little bit about what I’m reading now and what I’m planning to read this summer.

What I’m reading now –

Armada, by Ernest Cline.

armadaIf you know me, you know I’m into all-things video gamey. After going through Ready Player One, I was hooked on digital/video game fiction (Before I go on, if you are into video games, you MUST read Ready Player One). Okay, back at it.

I’m currently reading Armada, by the same author – Ernest Cline. Talked with my brother and he said he looked it up and it’s basically just like The Last Star Fighter
, which I wasn’t sure of at all. I haven’t read it. Here’s the thing with me and reviews – I don’t really read them. I will read them every once in a while, but mostly, as cliché as it may sound, I read books based on their covers. Yep. This one just looked cool and it had to do with video games, and it was written by Cline, so that’s what I’m doing. I am currently about 80 pages in (somewhere around Chapter 5) and It’s great.

This Summer

Just a Geek, by Wil Wheaton.

whetonI have no idea about this book other than it was written by Wesley Crusher. I like Wheaton; don’t know what it is. He did read the audiobook for RPO (above) which I listened to for the first time (which, by the way, I thought was very well done). He is now the host of several different things going on regarding geek culture. He’s on the Geek and Sundry channel often. He was (and still is, I think) the host of Table Top – a show about table-top gaming. I also watched a great role-playing game that he hosted called Titansgrave. I didn’t really get into Star Trek as a kid, but I do remember young Crusher. I watched Stand By Me as well, but didn’t realize it was WW until much later. Who knows. It will be good to have a look at the book and see what Mr. Wheaton has to say.

2. One Piece – Vol. 42.

I believe the most up-to-date volume is 78 and the adventure with Luffy and crew abord the Merry-Go is fascinating. Can’t wait for this to continue.

And that’s where I am.

What are you reading?

The Turnstiles at Station 6


The Turnstiles at Station 6

by  L.P. Stribling

subway

       Grey was the only thing Sarah saw that Monday afternoon as she walked past Jason’s Apothecary, the ghost town’s last active building – at least the last one to reportedly have human activity in it before….the last one to have reports of sightings.

        Her mind came back to the grey of the place. The road, the cracks in the road, the buildings, the sidewalk, the sky, even her reflection as she passed by was grey. The color was there; she knew it was there. But it was still grey. Grey because she couldn’t see the color.

      You shouldn’t be here.

       She knew it. The voice in her head wasn’t usually all that smart. She’d blown it off tons of times before; this time shouldn’t be any different. But she did know she shouldn’t be here.

      You can still go back. Just tell ‘em you spun it.

      No. That would make her a liar. The bet was fair, she lost, and she has to pay the consequence.

     Sarah shook herself out of the dialogue with her mind and looked around the abandoned square of Millton Bend. She felt a chill flitter through her, a feeling which distinguished itself completely from the coolness of the wind upon her face.

     She scanned the buildings of the square, the graffitied brick walls, mottled with chips and  cracks, the windows, some covered with black bags and white tape, others boarded up or outlined with fragmented shards of water-spotted glass. Doors left ajar, entrances overgrown, all of it was one eerie piece of human time straining against being altogether forgotten.

       She had been to Millton Bend once when she was very young. Her cousin Doug had driven her through the town on their way south to visit another relative she didn’t know she had. She wondered where her mom and dad were that she had to have Doug drive her. She remembered the Bend square clearly enough. They had stopped there to look at the bookstore (Doug was a reader), and they crossed the the quadrangle from the car to the store and back, and left. But the beauty of it stayed with Sarah.

     Then, fallout. Bombs, disease, outbreak. She was too young to know the what, but she did remember the when. It was back in 2345, the year she turned ten.

     Her feet fell upon unanswered fluffs of dusty sidewalk as she looked around and reminisced. Even now as she walked through the abandoned town, there still seemed to be beauty, in some weird way.

     The years to follow began to bring the stories. People were leaving, not because they were getting sick, but because but because they were scared.

      People disappeared from their homes and businesses, from restaurants and from their cars. The majority of these scenes were accompanied by large quantities of blood and sometimes torn clothing. Then, not long after, came the sightings, the voices, people hearing the screams of their disappeared family members late in the night, seeing at times glimpses of impish things, silhouettes of short slender bodies and big heads. The activity always came in the night.

     Sarah directed her feet toward the square’s center, the subway underground. Her eyes caught the bold text, black on the faded and cracked white of the outer wall:

WELCOME TO STATION 6

       Sarah’s footsteps slowed, almost stopped, and shook her head. Designated by whatever fucked up numbering system the state incorporated (maybe it was the order in which the stations were built?), Station 6 had become synonymous with ghosts, demons, alien abduction – pick a childhood fear, Station 6 was it.

        Her breath shallowed at seeing the entrance to the station – a wide rectangular subterranean lowering in the earth allowing for three large escalators down to the underground speed train. She had never been here, not down there, but she knew the subway drill. You go down, you get tickets, you go through turnstiles, you wait for train. Basic.

     Knowing how the subway worked wasn’t the reason her hands and forehead felt cooler then from a new misting of sweat then. It was what she had to do, and how very stupid (not ‘stupid’ dumb, but ‘stupid’ insane) it was that her feet trod upon this quadrant of earth at all at that second.

      She turned back around, closed her eyes and exhaled.

      No, no, no, she thought. We’ve already come this far. Her mind tried sifting back through the fragmented reasons for her not to be here.

     Several months after the town was hit with the initial wave of the disappearing and people were still evacuating, a story came about which came to be known as ‘the turnstile hauntings:’ townspeople complain to authorities of sightings of unknown beings entering and exiting Station 6, police from Stachell and Arnison are sent over, flashlights go out, gunfire, all police are found slaughtered except one – huddled in the corner saying the words: “Turnstiles! CLICK-CLICK-CLACK, Turnstiles! Turnstiles! CLICK-CLICK-CLACK!”

      Snap out of it. In and out.

      Sarah shook herself and looked again at the town from inside the quadrangle. She allowed her feet to drag themselves up to and past the entry doors of the subway station. Station 6, she thought. Each town outside of Ellison had a number indicating how many tens of kilometers they were outside of the capital. It made it easier to give a distance to the next stop; at least that was what made the most sense to her. 

      The sign came and went, and with the hollow call of another cold wind upon her skin, She opened the doors of Station 6 and entered.

     The doors closed behind her with an eerie creak – almost as if they were speaking their warnings to her from several months, maybe years, of disuse.

     Just down there. One quick turn, she thought, and I’m done.

     You need to get out of here.

       The voice in her head spoke truth. She knew it was truth, but it had been speaking to her the full four-hour drive down to the abandoned town, and none of the admonishments really stopped her at all. The steps in front of her were half shadowed in a deep dusty coal, while their lighted counterparts weren’t much better off – a musty mildew of luminescence, as though a mild glow hovered from where countless vagrants had pissed. And below, Sarah saw the turnstiles, a dull silver, arms awaiting her spin.

      She quickstepped down the stairs, the hollow clap of her steps making dusty echoes against abandoned walls. A chill of air enveloped her then, as she went down. She didn’t want to think about it. She made a bet, she lost.

      Let’s just get this over with.

     With the steps she took downward, the eerie echo of the police officer in the story – Turnstiles, turnstiles, CLICK-CLICK-CLACK.

      When her feet touched the base level, the air around her was thick and cold. The turnstiles were right in front of her. And beyond them the dark hollow of the subway’s lower level.

      She could hear her every breath. Her heart pumped with heavy and quick thuds within her chest. A chill trickled up her spine and she could almost feel the sweat glands release along where the tingle traveled.

      You shouldn’t be here

       “Shut up,” she said aloud into the haunted air. What would her inner voices have to say to that? Sarah dug into her pocket and removed her cell phone and switched on the video and  tapped the red recording circle.

       “Okay here I am. This is Station 6,” she said as she panned the camera around her. Her voice held something back – something that couldn’t hold back shaking much longer. She showed the long staircase and the door on the entrance level. She ended by bringing the camera back to her face. She exhaled. “A bet’s a bet, right?”

      With a jolt of courage (or was it craziness?) she filmed her hand reaching out to the turnstiles and pulled.

     CLICK-CLICK-CLACK

     She turned and quickstepped back up the steps (in the camera footage, one can hear the nervous increase in her breathing). And as just as she approached the door, she stopped (the camera jerked back to the hollow below, to the turnstiles).

     “Shit,” she cursed.

      Sarah turned back to the steps and, began to leap up two at a time in a nervous panic.

      “I hear something,” she said to herself (also caught on camera).

       She topped the stairs and turned off the camera (in the audio with high volume, there is a distinct clicking sound heard from a distance).

A Wizard of Earthsea – a review


A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1)A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Wizard of Earthsea is one I’ve wanted to read for some time. Had no idea what it was about or what her writing style was like.

I’m glad I read it.

However, as soon as I was in a few pages, I thought to myself, I’ve read this before. And, I kind of had read it before, but not before she wrote it. The story is a bildungsroman – something frequently explored in literary fantasy. My first taste of this was in Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World, the first book of the legendary Wheel of Time series. Another more modern and well-known example is Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. These are stories in which we see the protagonist as a child and we learn how she/he grows into whatever he/she grows into. We, the reader, get to go on this journey with him. Again, this is something that works well in fantasy because of the scope of the story.

The story was interesting, and I had to keep in mind that I didn’t read this in the 1960s, when LeGuin originally published it, which, at the time, would have been groundbreaking in the ways of storytelling, I’m sure. It wasn’t a Tolkien production, but it was something of note within the genre. Even my reading it over 30 years after its publication date, this is something I can see clearly.

I thought the story was fair; it seemed to become a bit too inconsistent for me as to where Ged (the protagonist) was going. He seems to be doing something at (view spoiler) for a bit, and then he goes off and does other stuff. But I didn’t get the reasons as to why he decided the course of action he did.

It was interesting. I’ll say that, and I appreciated it for what it was. It’s understood why LeGuin is counted as one of the originals here.

View all my reviews

Read Them Fairy Tales


gaiman reading

This is quite probably the most inspirational interview I’ve read in quite some time. It’s certainly the most inspirational one I’ve read this year.

It has to do with reading.

I’ve written several posts in the past addressing the issue, but Neil Gaiman tends to give the consistent edge on what I’m trying to deliver. Thanks, Neil.

I won’t drone on in any protracted form here; there’s nothing I can pen in this space which will add any more weight to Gaiman’s already eloquently presented position. I am placing his words here (at least providing the link) because I champion his position with every bit of me there is. Humanity is a magical creature that, comically, does not understand its own power. Reading, as a wizard keeping fresh the spells of his craft, is of the most essential skills of our kind.

Einstein (*as you’ll see in the article) said it best when he mentioned how fairy tales should be used.

Again, my thanks to Neil, and all my fellow writers and readers out there. Your torches are our suns.

-lp

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming?CMP=share_btn_link

Lately


Jesus, when was the last time I put anything here?

It’s been too long.

Well, let’s add some new goings on to an old page.

 

All is beautiful in my world, and that’s really all I’d like to say about that. There are details, of course, but those details don’t need to be listed here. Just know that as far as my health is concerned and how life is treating me, all is copacetic.

The weather is turning cold. Some enjoy that and others don’t. Others still just aren’t all that sure. I like the cold. I like it when it snows, but there’s a second part to that. I like it when it snows….and I don’t have to work. I can hear the critics now.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too!”

(as I’ve said in a prior post,) “What’s the point of having cake if you can’t eat it?” So, yes. I would like to eat the cake that is mine.

Gaming – have been gaming. One session was supposed to happen today, but it just didn’t.

Reading – I’m reading a book called Animus, and I’m about 130 pages in and it’s just not doing it for me. I think I’m a third of the way through the book. The realization has come over me that if I’m that far in and I still don’t have any connection to the story, it might not be for me, which is okay.

It’s okay to put a book down. We’ve talked about this, folks. If you’re just not getting into it, put it down. Now, I will say that you may want to give it a fair shake. Don’t put it down after the first five or ten pages. You have to have some sort of standards. But I would say don’t go past 100 (or what I just did recently – 130) without knowing whether or not you like the book. If you’re really interested, carry on until the end. If you’re not, put it down.

Look, gang, you’re ilfe is short and you just don’t have time to mess with terrible fiction, or at least a book that doesn’t grab you. Put it down, go back to the library and grab something else.

Other than that, life is dandy. Say hello and let me know what you’re up to, dear world.

 

 

Press Start to Play – a review


Press Start to PlayPress Start to Play by Daniel H. Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun one; I’m sorry it took me so long to read. But that was a good thing because it had all the right number of pages to make the book worthwhile, I thought. Ever since I read Ready Player One by Earnest Cline (who also wrote the preface to this book, coincidentally) way back when, I have gotten more and more into video game fiction. For those of you out there who are still perplexed about how this works, it’s the type of fiction that deals with video games as it’s base. That is books about video games. This collection of short stories was novel, even in the genre, I would say. The stories are succinct, for the most part, and (of the 90% that I enjoyed) really thew me for a loop in the end.
The last few stories really bring it home and I think Wilson did a great job on editing this book. There were some solid authors in here (but isn’t that the way the writing goes?), and each story really keeps you wanting to play more (not that that’s what the industry wants). Rihanna Pratchett also had a fabulous story. I really liked Django Wexler’s tale about that dude in Japan.
If you’re into this genre of fiction, this is one I highly recommend.

View all my reviews

Nine Minutes


Sunday night. Where does the time go?

[shakes head] Into the Ether, I guess. No one walking this planet knows, I’m pretty sure. The weekend was a great one – very productive.

I’m reading a book of short stories called Press Start to Play, which I’m enjoying quite nicely with only a hundred pages or so left. It’s a nice addendum to Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline which I read a few years back – video game fiction and the role they play in our lives these days. It’s interesting the way the writing comes through, though. When you think of a stereotypical gamer (or at least when I do), I don’t always think of someone who’s got a really healthy attention span. I say “I don’t always” because I’m not trying to generalize. Many of them do, and are able to read dense books of fiction in a lot shorter time than I read comic books. But some of the stories in this book, although a great book, are using short vocabulary, beginner-level grammar, and written at, something around maybe an 8th or 9th-Grade level.

Commercial, basically. Not all the stories, but some. But hey, this is one of those you just read for the entertainment.

After this I move back into another Murakami book. If you like to read; if you like the way words are put together, and you’ve never read his prose, it’s something you need to do.

Happy Two Weeks to Go.