Paul walked into my office and held up the lemon so that I could read the message marked on its plastic surface: “SGA!! not SGU!!”. And so it begins.
“It’s part of the fan campaign protesting the cancellation of the show,”I enlightened him.
“Yeah, I figured.” He set the lemon down on my desk. “But why are they sending ME lemons? Why would I cancel a series I was showrunning?”
I shrugged. Thankfully, no lemons for me. Instead, I received an awesome stuffed Venom compliments of Shawna (Thanks, Shawna). And more books!
Speaking of which – with August behind us, it’s again time for me to list my favorite reads of the month. I realized that doing a monthly Top 5 was a little ambitious now that I’m no longer on hiatus, so I’ve scaled back to a monthly Top 3:
The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant and Other Stories, Jeffrey Ford
Much like The Empire of Ice Cream, the former book of the month club selection that introduced me to author Jeffrey Ford, The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant and Other Stories offers up a collection of tales both far-ranging and delightfully inventive. Ford juggles fantasy, science fiction, horror, and variations thereof with skillful aplomb. In “Floating in Lindrethool“, a door-to-door salesman falls in love with one of the jar-bound brains he is selling. “Exo-Skeleton Town” focuses on an alien world obsessed with classic movies, a planet frequented by humans who sport exo-suits in the form of silver screen greats. “Creation” spins elements of Frankenstein and Creationism in a poignant exploration of a young boy’s relationship with his father. A highly imaginative, often humorous collection with a lot of heart.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
This book came highly recommended by the person who gave it to me two years ago and yet it has sat on my bookshelf since, partly because at 1000+ pages (despite the fact that it is broken up into three volumes) it’s an incredibly foreboding read, and partly because of the few people I know who have attempted to read it ultimately gave up on the book. Two volumes and I‘m honestly surprised. This a terrific novel that, while occasionally meandering in its plotting, delivers an endlessly entertaining tale of the awkward Mr. Norrell, England’s first practical magician in recent memory, and his upstart apprentice Jonathan Strange. It reads like a 19th century account complete with faux footnotes in its depiction of 1808 London, the Napoleonic Wars, and its engaging discussion of the history of magic. Endearing in its subtlety and balls-out hilarious.
Sideways in Crime, edited by Lou Anders
Editor Lou Anders assembles a little over a dozen contributions on the theme of alternative history and crime in this interesting mix of stories. As is the case with most anthologies, some of the selections resonate more than others. Stand-outs for me were Mary Rosenblum’s “Sacrifice”, Paul Di Filippo’s “Murder in Geektopia”, and John Counrtenay Grimwood’s “Chicago”. Although I preferred the more wide-open possibilities found in Ander’s Fast Forward anthologies (I was struck by how many of the stories in this collection touched on contemporized Aztec culture, Sherlock Holmes, and French-controlled Louisiana), Sideways in Crime proved an entertaining read in its own right.
With Whispers set to air this Friday night, I thought I’d say a few words about of one of the actors I’ve yet to mention with regard to the episode. Darren Dolinski plays the role of Mirellus, the mysterious local with a secret or two about a certain abandoned village. Darren won the role on the strength of a great audition, but what we didn’t know when we hired him was that this was to be his first time in front of the camera. Needless to say, his transition from stage to screen was flawless as he delivered a terrific performance.
Hey, great news! I’ve successfully shamed director Will Waring into agreeing to come by and do a guest blog for us! I’ll start gathering questions for Will on Saturday as I’m sure you’ll have plenty of Whispers-related-what-the-heck-were-you-thinking questions for him.
Today’s video: The Weird Food Purchase of the Day = Duc Tung! Duc Tung!