30 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Wrap-Up Post

It is the end of September and therefore, Terry Pratchett Month has come to a conclusion here at The Eagle's Aerial Perspective.

Throughout the past month, there were book reviews of The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Nation, Good Omens, Mort, Thief of Time, and The Fifth Elephant. There were discussion posts on Humor and Parody, Anthropomorphism, and World Building. There was a movie review of The Color of Magic.

There were old fans who got to comment on their favorites and share their thoughts, and potential new readers got a taste of what Discworld is like. And I'm sure there were newer-ish readers of the series, too, who--like me--love his writing but haven't read all of his books yet.



Terry Pratchett is a master at creating amazing worlds that combine humor and reality at the same time. He turns those little things we don't notice into important details, combines the deadly serious with the funny.

Final note:

At the time when I announced this series of posts, I did not know that Terry Pratchett had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and wants to die an assisted death. As one of the most well-known Fantasy and Humor writers of today, he will be greatly missed by readers.

But there will always be his books, with their trademark humor, lovable characters, and detailed worlds, from the streets of Ankh-Morpork to Great A'Tuin, from the anthropomorphic personification of DEATH to the Monks of History.

Hope you enjoyed this series, everyone! Thank you all for coming by and reading/commenting on the Terry Pratchett Month posts. I know I had a lot of fun in September.


In fact, I'm thinking I might do this again sometime, not necessarily for Terry Pratchett, but perhaps for another author who's written a series of novels . . . what do you think of the idea, bloggers?


(And an aside: I'm still taking questions as part of my 800 Followers Celebration, so if you've got any of them, please ask away!)


-----The Golden Eagle

28 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Book Review: The Fifth Elephant



Title: The Fifth Elephant
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2000
Page Count (paperback): 370
Cover Rating: 3 out of 5. They should have made this covers a bit fancier and a little brighter. They're not bad . . . they just don't pop out at you with all the wonders of Discworld.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Summary:


Everyone knows that the world is flat, and supported on the backs of four elephants. But weren't there supposed to be five? Indeed there word. So where is it? . . . 
When duty calls, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork constabulary answers. Even when he doesn't want to. He's been "invited" to attend a royal function as both detective and diplomat. The one role he relishes; the other requires, well, ruby tights. Of course were cops (even those clad in tights) go, alas, crime follows. An attempted assassination and a theft soon lead to a desperate chase from the low halls of Discworld royalty to the legendary fat mines of Uberwald, where lard is found in underground seams along with tusks and teeth and other precious ivory artifacts. It's up to the dauntless Vimes--bothered as usual by a familiar cast of Discworld inhabitants (you know, trolls, dwarfs, werewolves, vampires and such)--to solve the puzzle of the missing pachyderm. Which of course he does. After all, solving mysteries is his job.


My Thoughts: This was the first Discworld book I read, the second novel by Terry Pratchett, after Nation. I decided to read The Fifth Elephant because of the title, and the tone of the summary: I do love a character with attitude. Sam Vimes has it, too; he's one of the more amusing characters in the series, not just because of the crazy situations he ends up in, but because of the dialogue between him and other characters as well. He's still one of my top favorites. In addition, the supporting characters in this book are hilarious, from Lady Sybil to Colon to Corporal Nobby Nobbs.

Other: References, some violence.

Verdict: With great characters, a fast-moving plot, and an excellent setting, The Fifth Elephant is a Discworld book I recommend.

Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:
Book Review: The Color of Magic
Book Review: The Light Fantastic
Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories
Book Review: Nation
Discussion Post: Anthropomorphism
Book Review: Good Omens
Movie Review: The Color of Magic

Book Review: Mort
Discussion Post: World Building Through A Series of Books: How And Why It Works

Book Review: Thief of Time


-----The Golden Eagle

27 September, 2011

The Imago Has Finally Been Found—Or Not (Second Campaigner Challenge)

Jing strolled along the skyway, three hundred feet above the stifling masses. The city was an unending cacophony of sound, a ceaseless barrage of sights—and the smells, from the miasma of the poorest neighborhoods to the perfumed compounds of the rich, were enough to make your head spin.
   Coming from a backwater where time seemed to oscitate and nothing changed, Jing felt he had more of a right to be bowled over by the city than anyone else, to find it overwhelming. Yet the more he explored its corners, watched the city-goers—even spoke to them—he felt there was a lacuna.
   In his hometown you knew everything there was to know, both present and past, and it oppressed him; here, all you passed were strangers and unknowns.
   Jing stopped and leaned against the side rail, pressing his head to the clear glass. He stared at the city below.
   The synchronicity of the aerocars, buses, pedestrians—it all felt orchestrated by some grand designer who’d decided spontaneity was evil.
   The city had energy, but no soul, and nothing it did mirrored his own mind.
   He straightened.
   So.
   Off it was to yet another city, in another galaxy, for another try.

**********

About this challenge:
Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
  • include the word "imago" in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!


My piece is exactly 200 words, includes all four random words, has "imago" in the title, and I referenced a mirror. Also, the character's name--Jing--means mirror in Mandarin Chinese.


What do you think? If you enjoyed this piece, I would greatly appreciate it if you went over to THIS POST and clicked "like" for my entry, #137 in the linky list.



-----The Golden Eagle

26 September, 2011

A Celebration-Worthy 800+ FOLLOWERS!

I have reached 804 Followers!

I'd like to give you all a big THANK YOU for following The Eagle's Aerial Perspective and supporting its blog author--and that, of course, also goes for everyone who reads my posts, comments, and interacts here on this site.

As older readers of this blog know, I always link to the most recent people to follow, so here we go:

Amy Jarecki
Emma Pass
Angela Orlowski Peart
Eve.E
CathyVon
Rebecca Emin
Rai29
Lisie Silva
Cat von Hassel-Davies
Lenny Lee
Amplified Art
inluvwithwords
Tekaran Lady
Shanona Ryder
Melissa Dean
Daina Rustin
Shiraz Akhtar
Julie Coulter Bellon
Shirley Wells
Gaia
Terry Tibke
Mary
K. T. Hanna
Suz Korb
Cortney
Niiganab
Cat
MyTricksterGod
Claire Lachance
Juliemybird
Francesca Zappia
Michael Haynes
Connie Keller
Tara Tyler
Holly Vance
Lola X
Tanyakschua
Gail Shepherd
Leigh Ann
Jeigh
Saba
Holly L'Oiseau
Randy Lindsay
Cynthia Lee
WB Terrien
Catherine A. Winn
Jennifer Groepl
Ryann Kerekes
Heather Arundel
Lindy
K. M. Walton
Avery Marsh
Jessica
Lindsay Currie
Shelley Koon
Jenny Morris
Giles Hash
Elschneid
Julie Fedderson
Brianna
Casey Morris
Lady Gwen
D. Ann Graham
Bluestocking
MG Higgins
Roger Eschbacher
Kathleen
Jen
Amanda Leigh Cowley
Raquel Byrnes
Katie Gates
M.C.
Cassandra
Jake Henegan
Doralynn Kennedy
D.A Pitts
Julie Tuovi Hansen
Anita Grace Howard
Angie Paxton
Claudia Del Balso
Carrie Butler
Chris Allinotte
Nina-Pelletier Powers
Stephanie Jefferson
Avais Moriwa
Yvonne Osborne
C D Meetens
Marlena Cassidy
Hilary Wagner
Andy
Ricardo Roehe
Lexie
Brenda Sills
SP Sipal
Cristina
Sarah Pearson

And you can view everyone else by clicking HERE for followers 600-700, HERE for 500-600, and HERE for 1-500.

***If I got your name wrong, if you'd prefer I linked to something else, or if I don't have your link, please comment to let me know.***

**********

Now, you're probably wondering what I meant by celebration. I'm afraid I can't offer anything like giveaways, and I already do buttons/headers for free for anyone who asks, so I decided to open up a little Q&A session. I never really "introduced" myself to Campaigners, and for Campaigners and non-Campaigners alike, I thought some of you might like to know a bit more about me, or The Eagle's Aerial Perspective. I did this for 400 Followers and it seemed to work out well.


So for the rest of the week until next Monday I will be taking questions. I will answer them one week from today.



They can be about anything. Feel free to be random, ask what's right off the top of your head, bring up something you'd wondered in the back of your mind. And you can always come back during any time this week if something occurs to you later.

Have fun coming up with questions! I look forward to answering them. :)

(I know. Not a spectacular celebration, exactly. However, it's something I can do at the moment.)

**********

And once again, thank you for reading this blog.


-----The Golden Eagle

25 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Book Review: Thief of Time



Title: Thief of Time
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2001
Page Count: 324
Cover Rating: 3.8 out of five. I cannot find a good resolution image of the cover that's on the library copy, but anyway, the yellow and purple are a little strange but go together okay. The cover I really like is the Australian one.
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

Everybody wants more time, which is why on Discworld its management is entrusted to the experts: the venerable Monks of History, who store it and pump it from where it's wasted, like underwater (after all, how much time does a codfish really need?) to places like cities, where harried citizens are forever lamenting "Oh where does the time go?"
   And while everyone always talks about slowing down, one clever soul is about to stop. Stop time, that is. For good. Going against everything known (and the nine tenths of everything that remains unknown) a young horologist has been commissioned to build the world's first truly accurate clock. It falls to History Monk Lu-Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd to find the timepiece and stop it before it starts. For if the Perfect Clock starts ticking, Time--as we know it--will stop. And then the trouble will really begin.


My Thoughts: Out of the 6 Discworld books I've read (of the whole 37 in the series . . .), this one ranks at the top.

First, because Susan Sto Helit is one of my favorite characters, as are Lobsang Ludd and DEATH, other major figures in this novel. Second, because I love stories that play on time and paradoxes. Third, because I thought it was particularly funny, even more so than other Discworld books, which I've always found amusing.

Other: None.

Verdict: The best novel in the Discworld series I have read so far, I highly recommend Thief of Time.

Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:
Book Review: The Color of Magic
Book Review: The Light Fantastic
Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories
Book Review: Nation
Discussion Post: Anthropomorphism
Book Review: Good Omens
Movie Review: The Color of Magic

Book Review: Mort
Discussion Post: World Building Through A Series of Books: How And Why It Works


-----The Golden Eagle

23 September, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation Blogfest!


Guess what. I signed up for another blogfest, this one hosted by Michael Di Gesu at In Time . . ., whose blog you should definitely hop over and check out because it's awesome.

The objective?

"I want you to write a 300-500 word composition to what YOU did on your Summer vacation. Now for those of you who haven't had a vacation in years, I understand, but you can still join in the fun and post on what projects you worked on this summer.
Pictures are a must! I had posted dozens of my pics for all of you to visit gorgeous Canada with me. Let's relax and have a bit of fun. It could be about a great BBQ you had on the Fourth of July. Any memorable moment that took place over the summer."

So here's what I did on my summer vacation:

(Though I don't really get a summer vacation, per se. I'm homeschooled year-round, always have been, which I actually find is rather fun--I'd get bored if I didn't have stuff assigned.)

1. I went to my first dance competition.

I've been to Nutcracker auditions in the past, but hadn't competed in something outside of the dance studio before. So it was new for me, and I had fun. There were an awful lot of people there--hundreds of numbers, hundreds of people (though a lot of dancers had multiple dances, so there were quite as many there might have been). Everyone I knew placed, but what I really got out of it was the experience of being at an event like that. :) The studio is going again next year, and then I will be doing a pointe solo (cue nervousness). Yes, I do mean pointe as in ballet with shiny pink shoes and ribbons.



2. I started a new Science Fiction/Young Adult/Adventure novel.

I made a lot of progress during the summer. I'm still a few thousand words behind, but I plan on making that up this weekend and part of next week (if I manage to stick to the schedule), and then really moving into the home stretch during October.



3. I started building a website.

Just a summer project I decided to start, mostly because I wanted to find out about the nuts and bolts behind websites and play around with graphics. (My dislike of certain browsers *ahem* has increased with the knowledge that some follow World Wide Web Consortium (W3) HTML/XHTML/CSS rules and others do not.) No, I still am not going to tell you what the website's about. Though I do plan on posting on it once it's up.



4. Worried about flooding.

We ended up with a flooded basement. It wasn't that bad comparatively, but the furnace (which is huge and has oil in it) got lifted up and wedged into a corner . . . so it wasn't an insignificant amount of water.

5. Other miscellaneous stuff:

To end on a positive note, I randomly won a Barnes & Noble gift card from my library for writing book reviews. I pounced the second I learned they only wanted you to review things--after all, I do it already. As I was writing this post, what I ordered was delivered by UPS. Hooray!

And that was pretty much my summer . . .

What happened at your end? Anything noteworthy occur?


-----The Golden Eagle

22 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: World Building Through A Series of Books: How And Why It Works

If there's one distinctive thing about the Discworld series--beyond Terry Pratchett's humor--it's that no matter which characters happen to be the main ones for a particular novel, the setting is the same. One flat world on the backs of four elephants, who are in turn standing on the shell of an enormous turtle called Great A'Tuin.

There is no particular reason why a majority or all of an author's books can't be set in the same world, over a variety of genres and/or age groups, with a collection of different characters. However, there are some features which make exploring the same place much more intriguing than if it had been left with only a single novel, that not all books have.

1. The existence of unexplored regions.

Rehashing the same places with different characters is interesting enough, but when they travel off someplace  mentioned in previous stories that remained relatively unknown, then it really adds a new dimension.

Example: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. The Fellowship followed a different path than Bilbo Baggins, encountered different creatures, and existed setting that may as well have been a separate world--except for the knowledge of locations linked to the previous story. This can also be done by setting a story in a different time. Example: The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. A different landscape and people, many years apart, but the same continent.



2. Different cultures.

There must be a range of characters (people or other beings, as it may be) that, like the setting, are put into the background for some stories but brought out in others. Again, it's much more interesting when you see another side to something that was less well-known before.

Example: Fire and Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Fire is the companion novel to Graceling, set a little while before Graceling begins, on the other side of the mountains. A very different kind of magic and people, but with connections to each other culturally that only the reader notices.

3. The world must be big enough.

This relates closely to #1. If, say, you set your novel on a small set of islands, you are limiting yourself to that range. And while an archipelago can be excellent for a slave uprising (Example: Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce), there is a limit to how much you can pack onto it.

Same if you pick a setting that is too closely like good old real life--unless you happen to write Literary Fiction (which, for the record, I think is awesome) that doesn't leave much to the SF/F-style world building I'm talking about here. Once you've explored it once, then you must leave world building doors open if you want to go further. It's much like writing the second book in a series: if there isn't any opening, trying to continue it will just feel like a pointless extra (Example: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare).



How about you? Do you agree or disagree with the points I've made? What do you think are important elements of writing in the same world, for more than one book or series? Do you have a favorite cross-book world?


-----The Golden Eagle

21 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Book Review: Mort



Title: Mort
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 1987
Page Count (paperback): 243
Cover Rating: 3 out of 5. Again, compared to the original UK covers, this one is kind of boring, though it does match the story. (See the other one HERE.)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary (from Goodreads):
In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can't refuse — especially since being, well, dead isn't compulsory.As Death's apprentice, he'll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won't need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he'd ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.


My Thoughts: I'd really been looking forward to this book, since I knew it was the first that featured DEATH as a main character. It certainly put a new face (beyond the grinning-skull one) onto this anthropomorphic personification, and I loved Mort, the boy who becomes his apprentice. Through him, you get an inside look at the world of DEATH, from his house to his cook to the hourglasses, or life-timers. The other characters were quirky and funny, ranging from the princess who everyone acts as if is dead to the magician who has the job of making sure people remember she's alive. The plot jumped all over the place, crossing realities and moving fast.


Other: According to some sites I found after noticing a reference on Wikipedia, Disney is making an animated movie out of Mort, with John Musker and Ron Clements directing (I've never heard of them before, or at least the names don't ring a bell, but apparently they did The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, and The Princess and the Frog).

They had better get it right, or this will be one irritated Terry Pratchett fan.

(What do you think? Do you look forward to a movie of Mort, or dread it?)


Verdict: Yet another humorous take on death from Terry Pratchett, Mort is an excellent story of a boy who becomes the apprentice of the ultimate reality. Recommended.


Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:
Book Review: The Color of Magic
Book Review: The Light Fantastic
Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories
Book Review: Nation
Discussion Post: Anthropomorphism
Book Review: Good Omens
Movie Review: The Color of Magic


-----The Golden Eagle

20 September, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (54)

Time for another Teaser Tuesday, everyone! Now that you've all decided to hate me for my movie choices from yesterday, let's get back to the usual.

This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules for participating:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from The Best of the Best: Volume 2: 20 Years of the Best Short Science Fiction Novels, edited by Gardner Dozois--again. Because it's taking me extremely long to get through this anthology. (I don't know why, but I tend to struggle with SF collections, despite the fact I often like the stories and writers.)


Fidel announced he was going to school tomorrow, and Mrs. Joplin told him no, he could link to E-class as usual, and Fidel claimed he could not concentrate at home, and Mrs. Joplin said he was trying to get out of his chores. While they were arguing, Tree nudged my leg and shot me a let's leave look.
-p. 187, "Mr. Boy" by James Patrick Kelly

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Have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle

19 September, 2011

The Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting yet another blogfest, this time directed toward the worst movies you've ever seen.


Now, I try to avoid awful (or awful-sounding) movies. I can give you a whole chart of horrible books but it took me some thought to come up with even a short list of films. I can happily say I haven't seen a truly bad movie in a while.

Here we go!

The Secret of NIMH
The book is wonderful. The movie, rather sadly, tears up the science in the book and puts in all this magic and mysticism and turns the characters into stereotypes. It's horrible.



The Last Unicorn
I've never read the book, but I do hope it's better than the movie. This one is just weird, mostly because of the characters (there's a female tree who tries to throttle the magician in an, er, unorthodox way, an alcoholic skeleton, and lots of monsters). I have to say, it's an interesting plot, though. Unicorn chases down Red Bull to save unicorn-kind, falls in love, chases Red Bull into sea, becomes the only unicorn to know love and regret. End of story.




Twilight
Sparkly vampires are even worse onscreen. Really, what is the attraction? At least there were werewolves in New Moon . . . haven't bothered with Eclipse.


I, Robot
Sigh. One of Isaac Asimov's most famous books, and what happens? They throw in a character that doesn't exist, bits of the original plot, and stand the entire movie on logic that's shaky compared to Asimov's stories.




Honorable Mention:
Beowulf
This one gets only an Honorable Mention because I didn't bother watching it (yes, I'm cheating a bit), though we did take it out of the library. I was terribly disappointed to find out what they'd done to the classic story--especially because the screenplay was written by Neil Gaiman, one of my all-time favorite authors. Come on, now! Beowulf as the father of the dragon? The king as the father of Grendel? Ack.



**********

What about you? Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Which movies do you think are the worst ever?


-----The Golden Eagle

18 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Movie Review: The Color of Magic





Title: The Color of Magic
Genre: Fantasy/Humor
Released (North America): 2009
Length: 197 minutes
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cast: David Jason, Sean Astin, Tim Curry

My Thoughts: First off, I loved seeing Terry Pratchett in the opening scene as Astrozoologist #2. At first I didn't know why I recognized the man with the white beard and glasses, but then it clicked. I know who that person is!

But as for the rest of the movie? I don't often laugh at things onscreen, but I did several times during The Color of Magic. It stuck fairly well to the original plot of The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic (it's divided into two episodes), though they cut out a lot of the details and completely left out the Temple of Bel-Shamharoth, which I thought was too bad. That was one thing that bothered me: they left out so many characters and details, just glossing over some of the interesting (or just the funny) bits. Like, for example, there is no card game with Death, they omitted the gods, there are less heroes, and the Wyrmberg was just in-and-out compared to the book.

Nevertheless, the movie was quite enjoyable. It was awesome seeing the Discworld come to life, and I love the cast. Sean Astin was perfect for Twoflower (you know, Samwise Gamgee from LOTR?), David Jason was a great Rincewind (despite the fact I hadn't pictured him in my head as being that old), and Tim Curry was a perfectly disturbing, conniving wizard (though they did expand his part from the book-Trymon).

Other: Some violence (tavern brawl/swordfights/usual Fantasy) and mild swearing (there is one instance where it sounds like something worse than it is--when they're first introduced to Cohen the Barbarian's lack of teeth. You probably know what I'm referring to, if you've read the book.)

Verdict: A great adaptation of Terry Pratchett's The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic.





Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:

Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories
Book Review: Nation
Discussion Post: Anthropomorphism
Book Review: Good Omens


-----The Golden Eagle

17 September, 2011

Awards! And Tags! Hurray!

In the past couple of weeks, I've been awarded and tagged several times . . . and since today was a day when I didn't (miracle, I'm telling you) have a scheduled post, I figured it was time I posted them. :)

First, the 7x7 Link Award!


This one was awarded to me by Siv Maria at Been there, done that. and M Pax at Wistful Nebulae. Many thanks to both of them!

For this one, I have to list the Most Beautiful, Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, and the Most Pride worthy of my posts. Oh, this is going to be difficult . . .

Most Beautiful: A-Z Blogging Challenge: N Stands For: Nebulae
For the pictures. (None of them are mine, of course.)

Most Helpful: How To: Beaming Someone Up Into A Spaceship
All right, all right. So that wasn't what was meant. Maybe this one, then:
How To: Writing
What, you say? That's not really helpful either? Well fine. Here's a serious one:
Do You Have To Like The Setting To Enjoy A Book?

Most Popular: A-Z Blogging Challenge: W Stands For: Water
814 pageviews. The one with the most comments, though, was this one:
First Campaigner Challenge: 200 Word Flash Fiction
. . . with 87 Things People Wanted to Say.

Most Surprisingly Successful: Awards, Deck The Halls, Eclipse, Arctic Dinos, Congress, Christmas
33 comments, but it's my third most-viewed post of all-time. I haven't the slightest idea why.

Most Underrated: It Would Be A Stretch To Call Them Beautiful . . .
5 comments (2 of them mine), on a post about some fascinating birds (I might even go as far to say they're some of my . . . well, if not favorites, then I'm at least quite fond of them).

Most Controversial: In Which We Interrupt The Usual Posting Schedule To Rant About Politics
Just after Gabriel Giffords was shot. I was steamed. So I posted about it.

Most Pride Worthy: The Copenhagen Interpretation vs. The Many Worlds Interpretation
Two words: Quantum Physics.


Emily Rose at mist of the blossom rain awarded me the Lovely Blogger Award. Thank you, Emily!


. . . and technically, I'm supposed to list seven things about myself. But I was also tagged, so I'm going to combine the two into one.

Speaking of which, Susan Kane at thecontemplativecat and WB Terrien tagged me with the meme that's been floating about the blogosphere: listing 10 random things about yourself.

So, here I go:

1. I love fall. The smell in the air, the slight chill, the orange leaves, the start of a new school year. I'm looking forward to September 23. (And Michael Di Gesu's blogfest is another plus, of course.)

2. I have the urge to write a book with the title All the Shades of Gray. With a gray cover, of course.

3. I love cinnamon. Especially the smell, but it's wonderful on things like bread. Cinnamon raisin bagels are lovely.

4. I strongly dislike mint. Strongly. Which makes it difficult when in the dental aisle at the store, because most of the products are Mint. Or Peppermint. Or Cool Mint. Or Fresh Mint. Blech.

5. I'm finding a lot of discrepancies in my writing, for some reason. It's not something I usually do, but I keep coming across sections where I've said one thing at the beginning and wrote the rest like I said something else. For example, this morning, I'd mentioned the character had a breeze on their face as they were moving, but then continued with the character being in an enclosed truck. With all the windows up. (And no sunroof or anything, either . . . :P)

6. I plan to watch The Color of Magic for Terry Pratchett Month tonight and review it tomorrow for the scheduled post. It's rather long (I think it says 197 minutes on the back) but I've been reading some positive reviews of it . . .

7. I have never sent a text message in my life. And I don't intend on changing that anytime soon.

8. My website is coming along nicely. (You probably figured I'd forgotten about that, didn't you? I haven't mentioned it in over a month on my blog, I believe.)

9. I like cold much more than I do heat. For me, crunching through the snow is way more appealing than strolling down a hot, sunny beach.

10. I love my library.

Now, for who I am going to tag and award. I decided to try something a little different this time, just to see. (Don't panic yet.)

Here's the idea: for those commenters who land on a Fibonacci number (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233) consider yourself awarded. Or tagged. Whichever you please. (Basically, you can take any award, both awards, just the tag, a tag and an award, or all three. And can you tell I love the Fibonacci sequence?)

You can panic now.

Or not.

Hope you're all having a great weekend!


-----The Golden Eagle

16 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Book Review: Good Omens



Title: Good Omens
Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Genre: Adult/Fantasy

Published: 1990
Page Count: 369
Cover Rating:
 4 out of 5. I like this cover. Though I can't figure out it out. I got one copy from the library that's all black, the one I got on hold is all white, and I guess both are supposed to be set next to each other, since the words at the bottom "The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch" line up. Maybe it's supposed to get you to buy a second copy? Okay, probably not.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary (from Goodreads):

There is a distinct hint of Armageddon in the air. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded, thankfully, in 1655, before she blew up her entire village and all its inhabitants, who had gathered to watch her burn), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their mighty hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witch-finders are getting ready to fight the good fight, armed with awkwardly antiquated instructions and stick pins. Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring . . . Right. Everything appears to be going according to the Divine Plan. 
    Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon--each of whom have lived among Earth's mortals for many millennia and has grown rather fond of the lifestyle--are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. If Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they've got to find and kill the Antichrist (which is a shame, as he's a really nice kid). There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him . . .

My Thoughts: This one is not entirely Terry Pratchett, but it has enough of his characteristic quirky style (along with being quite funny and co-written with another great writer) that I thought it deserved a mention. Good Omens is not the first Armageddon story, but it's the best I've read. The cast of characters is an eclectic, surprising mix of angels, demons, Horsemen, and practically every other kind of being, the plot moves fast and takes many turns, and, of course, the writing is excellent. For some reason it took me a while to get into it, but farther on I really wanted to know what happened.

Other: Thematic elements, language, some sex, violence.

Verdict: A humorous, original take on the end of the world, Good Omens is very entertaining and worth the read. Recommended.

Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:

Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories
Book Review: Nation
Discussion Post: Anthropomorphism


-----The Golden Eagle

15 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism definition (from The Free Dictionary):


Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena.


The most famous representation of natural phenomena from Terry Pratchett's  Discworld being, naturally, DEATH. Who speaks in SMALL CAPS (they are so exclusive that Blogger even refuses to let me use them), carries a scythe, and according to some sounds like the slamming lids of coffins, despite having no vocal cords.


DEATH is not the only character made out of something abstract. There are many gods and goddesses, such as the goddess of Things That Stick in Drawers, the god Fate, the god of Avalanches, and The Goddess Who Must Not Be Named (also known as Lady Luck), to name a few of the many that exist in Discworld.





Many other authors have made characters out of the abstract. For example, Markus Zusak's The Book Thief was told through the perspective of death. Tamora Pierce's novels, set in the Tortall universe, often have the characters dealing directly with gods and goddesses who represent different aspects of life.


Have you ever created a character out of something like death or another natural (or unnatural) phenomenon in your own stories? Do you think it has an important effect on the culture or feelings of the characters in a story if they believe in such gods/goddesses?


What is your favorite personification, from Discworld or another series/novel?


Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:


Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories
Book Review: Nation




-----The Golden Eagle

14 September, 2011

Talli Roland's Watching Willow Watts Launch Party!

Today is the day for the "If I Could Be Anyone, I'd Be . . ." Party, to celebrate the release of Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland.

I had trouble deciding who I would be. There are plenty of fascinating people in the world, but I'm not sure I'd actually want to be many of them, since many have difficult lives, despite all the positive things they've done. But I finally decided on . . .


. . . Lisa Randall. Theoretical physicist, expert on cosmology and particle physics, first tenured woman at the physics department of Princeton University, first female tenured theoretical physicist at both Harvard and MIT, one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2007, writer of Warped Passages which was one of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2005, and composer. Has worked on supersymmetry, the Standard Model, cosmic inflation, baryogenesis, general relativity, and current research focused on the Large Hadron Collider and dark matter.

Have I mentioned I love physics?

Sources:
http://www.physics.harvard.edu/people/facpages/randall.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Randall

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Where you can purchase Watching Willow Watts:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/qdGe2K
Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/n5UPFB

So, who would you be, if you could be anyone?


-----The Golden Eagle

13 September, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (53)

Time for another Teaser Tuesday! This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories, by Diana Wynne Jones.


This particular craze started as a Hand-Made craze. About the beginning of the summer holidays, Mother suddenly decided that they were going to do without things which were made in factories. "We are going to use," she declared, "things which are made by people who loved every stitch and nail as they made them."
   This meant that there was suddenly almost no furniture in the house, except the Persian rug in the living room and the stool Paul had made in Woodwork.

-from "The Fluffy Pink Toadstool", p. 109

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Got a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle

12 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Book Review: Nation



Title: Nation
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Young Adult

Published: 2008
Page Count: 367
Cover Rating:
 3.5 out of 5. It's not a bad cover. I just don't think it really captures the feel of the book. This one, with the blue theme, is much better.
Rating: 4.2 out of 5

Summary (from Goodreads):

Thirteen-year-old Mau has almost completed the initiation rite of his Pacific island culture. Only one part of the ritual remains, but Mau worries that he will never be able to complete it. A devastating tsunami has wiped out his entire island, leaving only Mau and the British governor's daughters as survivors. Of course, what follows is far more poignant than any quiet South Pacific ceremony.

My Thoughts: This is the only Young Adult Terry Pratchett book I've read. It was, in fact, the first Terry Pratchett book I read, and I'm glad I did, not just because it led me to tracking down his Adult Discworld books. The two main characters, Mau and Daphne--whose given name is Ermintrude--are excellent. As with all of his books, Nation is laced with humor and reality, with a great plot and what I thought was exactly the right ending; even though it was sad.

Other: Other than a few references, there's nothing I can recall.

Verdict: Nation is not my all-time favorite Terry Pratchett book, but it is a highly enjoyable YA novel. Definitely recommended.

Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:

Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories

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Yes, I know. I have gone off track from the Terry Pratchett Month schedule I set up, but I realized only a few days ago the review would have fallen on 9/11, and I wanted to have only a tribute post on the anniversary.

Also, I mentioned I would be posting a movie review of The Color of Magic this week, but the holds from the library did not come in on the expected Saturday, hence no movie.

In addition, Talli Roland's book birthday is this Wednesday, on another book review date, so I think I might move the review to Friday, just so I'm not posting twice in one day again as I ended up doing for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Plus, because of said holds, I do not have the novel I was hoping to be in the midst of reading.

This was all because of a lack of depth of planning.

Me: fail.

Just wanted to let you bloggers know I shall do my best to keep up with the schedule from now on. Library holds permitting and all.


-----The Golden Eagle

11 September, 2011

Ten Years On

Four passenger jets were hijacked on September 11, 2001, 9/11/01.

American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower at 08:46. United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower at 09:03. American Airlines Flight 77 reached the Pentagon at 09:37. United Airlines Flight 93 did not succeed and crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03, for its passengers tried to regain control of the plane as it headed for Washington D.C.



The South Tower collapsed after burning for 59 minutes. The North Tower collapsed after 102 minutes, and 7 World Trade Center fell after it was damaged by debris and consequent fires.

2,996 people died on 9/11. All were civilians, except for 55 military personnel at the Pentagon.



It has changed things. The United States of America is not exactly the same country it was before the attacks, and I think it is impossible to return. It opened up a new set of thinking in this country, and in other nations, that perhaps we are not so safe.

Because of 9/11, there have been a series of changes, from the beginning of two wars to the attitude toward Muslims.

But it has been ten years. Whether the events following the attacks were for better or for worse, and whether or not we are any safer today: the USA should not forget 9/11.

To mark those locations where the four planes crashed, several memorials have been set.

There are now two reflection pools in the footprints of the North and South Towers, a memorial called Reflecting Absence. Surrounding them are the names of those who died.



At the Pentagon, 184 benches face the building, and there is a memorial where Flight 77 crashed inside.



A memorial for Flight 93 is planned, the current design called Crescent of Embrace.

And at this moment, One World Trade Center is being built, expected to be finished by 2013.





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-----The Golden Eagle

09 September, 2011

The First Campaigner Challenge: 200 Word Flash Fiction

The First Challenge in Rachael Harrie's Third Platform-Building Campaign has arrived!

Well, okay, it arrived on Monday, but entries can be submitted until today, Friday. I just didn't have space for it this earlier in the week.

So, what is the challenge?

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


I love challenges. And yes, mine is EXACTLY 200 words!

Mission: Alpha


The door swung open and Jim tumbled out.
   Head over heels! Heels over head! Keep turning and don’t stop to look, he told himself—
   —or Captain’ll whip you one and you’ll be shamed in front of all your mates—
   Got to focus.
   Jim felt the g-force as he fell, the sky and earth spinning light and dark, air resistance dragging on his body.
   Timer almost to zero—
   Deploy glider! Press the button, Jim!
   HISS!
   Jim gripped handlebars that snapped in front of him, soared up, up, up.
   Heard shouting through the com: “Got a grip, Jimmy?”
   “I got it, man.”
   “Good!  ‘Cause we’re in for a doozy.”
   Isn’t it always that way?
   Jim wouldn’t take an alternative. Nothing beat the plunge from hovercraft to ground on missions. Missions that were—technically—top-secret operations headed by the lead negotiator, the woman trying to keep humanity alive.
   Since aliens wanted it eliminated.
   “Ready, Jimmy? We’re goin’ down in three . . .”
   Jim readied his glider’s engines.
   “. . . two . . . one!”
   Above, the hovercraft rose as its operatives disappeared into the mountains. The pilot realized he’d left it open—Captain’d be mad—and the door swung shut.





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What do you think? If you really like it, and feel it's worth mention, I'd love it if you went over to the Linky List and clicked "like" below my entry. I'm under the name Golden Eagle, number 367.


And if you have posted your entry, please mention it! I want to read yours.


-----The Golden Eagle

08 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: On Humorous and Parodic Stories

***My Insecure Writer's Support Group post is below, in case you're here from the linky list.***

I wrote a post some time ago called Humor In Writing, in which I covered the three main areas where author can use humor: characters and dialogue, plot, and prose. One of the more interesting (and amusing) things about Terry Pratchett's writing is the fact he combines all three. But there's also the element of parody in his books--I'll admit I don't recognize all the references to other material, but even at a glance it's obvious he's poking fun at the traditional Fantasy that takes itself seriously.

Most books have at least one lighter side to them, whether it's in the form of the joker relative or friend, circumstances and plot twists, or the writer's third person snark. Terry Pratchett, on the other hand, incorporates the eccentric (or just plain barmy) characters, outrageous events that manage to seem inevitable, along with a host of descriptions and comments outside of plot and characters.



Parody isn't seen quite so often. Probably because it's easy to offend people if you parody something, and probably because to do so just the right touch has to be used; otherwise it's too repetitive and unoriginal. It's easy to ridicule something else--but harder to make the attempt not come off as trite.

What do you think of humor and parody? Do you like it when an author uses it in all of the story elements, or do you prefer more seriousness? Do you enjoy parody, or are they not worth the time? Who or what's your favorite humor author or book?

Other Terry Pratchett month posts:


-----The Golden Eagle

07 September, 2011

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

***In case you are looking for today's book review for Terry Pratchett Month, please see below post!***

As you've probably heard or seen or read somewhere, Alex J. Cavanaugh has started the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Now, I almost didn't sign up for it. Reasons?

1. I've got Terry Pratchett Month (co-hosted by me and Deepali at Evolving Books), the Third Writer's Platform-Building Campaign (which I shall be posting my entry for on Friday!), Alex's Worst Movies Ever Blogfest later this month, and other miscellaneous things that pop up now and then. I'm posting twice today for the first time since 2010 (I used to do it all the time . . . be glad I don't anymore :P) and it was just going to be a lot of content.

2. I wasn't sure what exactly I would post on. I don't have much writing experience, and I haven't gone through the mill at all compared to some of you (amazing) bloggers. My submissions stand at zero, as do rejections, and writing and being published is not the goal I've been trying to achieve for years and years (only for the past couple/one and a half or so have I seriously considered the idea I might see my book on the shelf).

But I decided I would post anyway. And part of the above paragraph would be a nice opener, I just realized.

Because I haven't submitted anything or received rejections, or even handed my writing over to a beta reader or critique partner. Which is a bit of a source of insecurity for me, since I don't know if my writing is good or bad, or if I should chuck it completely and try something else since my style just doesn't work.

Then again, sending my work off to people I don't know really well (I read so many posts on finding CPs/BRs online) and having it read by new eyes is also a source of insecurity. For while it is a small risk at having my work plagiarized or stolen, or otherwise distastefully handled, it all comes down the people factor:

As far as I understand how it works, you don't know the person at the other end of the line. It's a leap of faith that they'll be reasonable and honest and offer good feedback.

And I don't really like leaps of faith. Especially when it comes to things that are close to me (like my writing), and things that are uncertain (people) and things that are of personal concern (Internet security).

So I have to ask you:

How do you feel about sending your work off to someone you don't know beforehand?

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*****If I disappear and don't get around to your posts, it's probably because we lost electricity again or something. It's been raining steadily all day long, and there's some serious flooding outside (in fact, the neighbors' yards are covered in water right now which makes me even more glad the house is on a small hill). They're even saying it could get worse, so . . . I might be absentee. I'll do my best to catch up later.*****


-----The Golden Eagle