August 25th, 2007

starwars droids

futbol (aka soccer), all day long

Today was Seeding Tournament day for the girls' rec soccer teams. They were in different locations, so C went with A and I went with E.

A's team was in Under-8 Division 3 (of 7) and went 3-0-1, so there's a chance they could move up. E played goalie in the first game; she wasn't her usual "crazy good goalie" but apparently stopped a lot of shots. She also scored a goal later in the day.

E's team was in the one division (there aren't too many Under-14 teams any more) and went 1-1-2, so they should stay where they are. E had some good ball control playing and scored a goal. I was taping E's games for the coaches and wasn't doing a good job paying video attention so I actually missed her goal (shame on me!). I also give my running commentary stream ("nice pass", "trap the ball", "hustle hustle") and that made it onto the video. I don't think I'll be invited back to tape in the future :-)

C has late night call shift so the kids and I are just hanging out, being on the computers and watching TV. Dinner was Jamba Juice, with a post-tournament Original size per person (usually, we split). Eleanor had some "secret flavor" that all the kids know about.

For me, tonight is magazine comment in the LJ, finish entering notes from SacSpec, and task organization. Also, a generous helping (or two or four) of "snakebite" (lager and cider). This added to some congestion that continues to be painfully nasty, despite blowing large quantities of crud out of my nose this morning, probably means an early bedtime for me (either on the couch or actually in bed).
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bsg gaius

Comment: F&SF July 2007

This was an okay issue of F&SF. A couple nicely done stories that were primarily built around cute hooks ("Cold Comfort" and "Powersuit") and a interesting adventure/alien_contact story with clones ("Daughters of Prime". My favorites were the two remaining stories.\

The novelette "Car 17" by P.E. Cunningham was a well-done, touching story about a small-town police car that could be alive, its (human) partner, and their battle against another haunted car that is running pedestrians down. It's told from the POV of a young boy in the town who saw and heard all the events. It had a friendly feel, a good and touching ending, and hit on the relationship all of us have had with a special car in our life. It also reminded me of my short story "The Blur, Pinky, and Me" (published in American River Literary Review was back in 1997), so I had a little extra affection for "Car 17".

My favorite story was the novella "Stars Seen Through Stone" by Lucius Shepard, the story of a music producer and a young bluesman he finds and "mentors" (in a very minimal sense of the world). Strange events start occuring in their town and everyone's creativity in heightened in one way or another for a while, until the source of the strange "uplift" comes to collect. I liked the literate style (a Lucius Shepard characteristic), the characters, and the interpersonal relationships that developed. I also liked the mysterious, yet understandable, ending. I'll remember this story come Hugos time.
bsg gaius

Comment: Asimov's July 2007

Another solid issue, with a strong cast of big names (Kress, Stableford, Reed, Swanick). It turned out that my favorite stories were actually by the (relative) newbies.

The novelette "The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small" by Chris Robertson was an interesting story, set in in a Asian kingdom (the Celestial Empire). It concerns a political prisoner and a state examiner sent to get information from the prisoner about a mysterious kingdom across the waters. The two form a complicated relationship where each ends up giving the other something to get what they want. I rather liked the setting, the formal writing style, the prickly relationship of the characters, and the end result.

My favorite story was the short story "Bullet Dance" by John Schoffstall. It was about a young girl, the daughter of an ambassador to a foreign country, who learns from ghosts how to "bullet dance" (essentially, dance and dodge bullets). This knowledge comes in use years later when her family is attacked by armed assailants. By all rights, I shouldn't have liked this story because the construction is rather obvious (she's learning to bullet dance, of course she's going to use it). But the main character, the dreamy style of the story and the ever-present emotion made a real impression on me and it ended up as my favorite story of the issue.
bsg gaius

Comment: Analog July/August 2007

A double issue with tons of stories, and several favorites. I do wish ANALOG would put some basic information about the writers, as there were many names I didn't recognize and I'd like to know more about them.

I liked the novelette "The Caves of Ceres" by Joe Schembrie, a old-school style tale of a grizzled miner, a bereaved daughter, a secret inheritance and the attempt to put all the pieces together. It was a classic adventure story with crosses and double-crossed, marauding robots, and non-stop action. A lot of fun.

The short story "Jimmy the Box" by Scott Virtes was a fun quick tale of a vending machine that becomes self-aware and the results that ensue. It was sweet, simple, character-driven, and just plain nice to read.

The novella "Bringing It All Back Home" by Bud Webster was a really enjoyable tale of Bubba, a "good-ol boy" who just happens to have a spaceship (and a self-aware AI named Mike). He is hired by the government to go to the moon and bring back the original lunar lander. It's nothing more than that, but the characters are extremely endearing, the plotline is fun, and it wraps up with an interesting proposition for Bubba. In the end, my favorite story of the issue.
bsg gaius

Comment: F&SF August 2007

Overall, a pretty good issue. I enjoyed all the story to one degree or another, and all had different styles and subjects.

I liked "A Wizard of the Old School" by Chris Willrich, about the wizard Krumwheezle, the thieves Bone and Gaunt, a disease that threatens them all, and their attempts to find a cure. Along the way, they run into issues of the heart and the body, deal with people from the past, perform magic of various forms, and fix everything to the satisfaction of all. Good characters, entertaining plot, well written.

My favorite was "The Mole Cure" by Nancy Farmer, about a man obsessed with the moles on his body who finds a doctor who claims to have a cure. The cure works, but involves some strange incantations that the man discovers only when he stays awake for the cure. It was a suitably creepy yet humorous story, I felt a bond with the main character, and the writing style was both tight and descriptive. My favorite story of the issue, and I could see having it on my Hugo nominations list.
bsg gaius

Comment: "Dogs in the Moonlight" by Jay Lake

I picked up this collection after Jay critiqued a story of mine at Potlatch and then said "hi" and gave me some compliments on the story at Norwescon. It's a collection of 16 stories divided into four sections: Ghosts, Angels, Gods and Aliens.

These stories are all set in South Central Texas and, since I grew up in San Antonio, I am very familiar with the setting. I went to a small private school in San Antonio and played basketball, so we had to travel to the little country/farming towns around San Antonio in order to find opponents who wouldn't beat the poop out of us. I remember driving to many of the places and roads mentioned in the stories.

My favorite stories were "The Oxygen Man" (in a future of very bad air, a young boy makes a deal with the man who brings the family oxygen); "Twilight of the Odd" (a simple, his friends, and a special egg help save their town from marauders during a flood); and "Hitching to Aurora" (a guy driving on a long, lonely road - there's a lot of those in Texas - picks up a very special hitchhiker who helps him when the loan shark comes to call).

There were many other stories that I enjoyed as well (pretty much all of them). I'd definitely recommend the collection.