Monday, January 30, 2012

Foundation and Empire Group Read Discussion, Part 1

I’m still in the middle of the Science Fiction Experience and I decided to join along with the second group read, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings, of Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov.

In the first book, Foundation, Hari Seldon predicted the slow collapse of the Galactic Empire and the years of barbarism that it would bring. Seldon proposed to establish the Foundation on two opposite ends of the galaxy. Their goal was to work on an encyclopedia to preserve the knowledge of the Empire. So instead of 30,000 years of barbarism, between the breakdown of the first Galactic Empire and the stronger second that would follow, the work of the Foundation would reduce that time to 1,000 years.

We saw in the first book the Foundation faced with 3 different crisis that threatened their lively hood. Each crisis was overcome with determination, and without resorting to violence, by two men, Salvor Hardin and Hober Mallow. But the challenges they faced were against fringe kingdoms, that had broken away from the Galactic Empire, each stronger than the Foundation, with strength in numbers and natural resources. But weak in terms of being out of reach from the core of the Galactic Empire and having lost all knowledge of nuclear power and how to apply it to their economy.

Now, in the second book, Foundation and Empire, the Galactic Empire is ready to reclaim those fringe kingdoms they lost three centuries ago. Commanding the fleet is an ambitious general, Bel Riose, who has his sights not only on the fringe kingdoms, but the Foundation itself.

Following are discussion questions and my answers. There will be spoilers so carry on at your own risk.

1. In the opening chapters of Foundation and Empire we get to see things from the Imperial side. What are your thoughts on this part of the book? Were you surprised to find parts of the Galactic Empire that still seemed to be thriving?

I was not surprised the Galactic Empire was still thriving. It was the planets on the fringes they lost control of. As quickly as they descended into their “barbarous” state, it didn’t seem like they affected the core of the Galactic Empire all that much.

2. The examination of psychohistory continues in this book. What are your thoughts about the statement that was made: "Seldon's laws help those who help themselves" in light of our previous discussions about Seldon, his predictions, and the interaction of the individuals that we are exposed to in the story?

In Foundation, it was individuals (Hardin, Mallow) who were helping themselves but also trying to help the Foundation. I’ve always been of the opinion that Seldon knew there would be individuals who would act on their own that would help steer the Foundation out of a crisis.

3. How do you feel about Devers, Barr and Bel Riose? Did you like this section of the book and/or these characters? Was there anything about their stories that stood out to you, entertained you, annoyed you?

I did like it, up until the war was over and Devers and Barr basically did nothing. That was a bit of a letdown for me. I was expecting them to have more impact. I thought they’d be important. They did give us the first taste of action in this book with their escape from Trantor.

4. Perhaps continuing from Question 2, do you agree or disagree, and what are your thoughts on, Barr's devotion to Seldon and his belief that the "dead hand of Seldon" was guiding the events that led up to Riose's undoing.

The Foundation was definitely in the middle of a crisis and although previous crisis were solved without bloodshed, this one was still resolved in a similar manner of playing people against each other. Seldon could not foresee events but I’m sure through psychohistory he knew it was a matter of these individuals stepping up and making a critical decision. But in this case we had paranoia at work, with the Emperor recalling Bel Riose and having him tried and executed. This turn of events ended up helping end a war the Foundation would not have been able to win.

5. Did you think I was lying to you when I said in previous conversations that there are more female characters in books 2 and 3, LOL, since we didn't get to Bayta until near the end of this portion of the read?

I was hoping you weren’t. And I’m glad we finally have a female character that has appeared in more than one scene.

6. We haven't spent much time with them yet, but talk about your initial impressions of Toran and Bayta.

I don’t know about these two yet. They look upon each other as if they just acquired something valuable. I get the feeling they are trying to give the impression that they only married for convenience; a very profitable arrangement that works in both their favors. But the looks they give each other might suggest deeper feelings. I’m not quite sure what to make of it yet.

I’m really enjoying this second book despite the fact we spent a good portion of the book with characters that ended up not doing very much. But it was with these characters we were introduced to some action and a wild escape from Trantor, the central seat of the Galactic Empire. Part one of this group read stopped with Bayta and Toran, newlyweds on vacation on Kalgan to discover who the Mule is. I’m intrigued because I want to know who the Mule is too so onward I go!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Drama: An Actor's Education by John Lithgow

I wrote in a previous post that throughout phases of my life, I practically grew up with John Lithgow through Footloose, 3rd Rock From The Sun and Dexter. I’ve seen plenty of other movies he’s been in and always admired him as an actor. When I saw this book I knew I had to read it. This is my first memoir I’ve ever read and of all the books out there, this was the one I chose and I'm so glad I did.

I loved the way the book started though it was rather sad. John Lithgow is caring for his parents, his father especially who had just gone through a major surgery and this once energetic man, so full of life, has seemed to lost the will to live. John begins reading from an old book that was a family favorite. It begins to awaken his father; he begins to laugh. It’s the power of storytelling at work. It was then I too was hooked.

We then go back to John Lithgow’s first performance and there we learn about his journey, the ups and down of one of my favorite story tellers around as he perfected his craft. It’s a fond retrospective with moments of disappointment and regret (as most would be I would think) that I found inspiring. There are moments that make you smile or feel giddy when he mentions actors, who, like him, were struggling to make a name for themselves but you know how their careers turn out (Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep). There's even a bit of an edge-of-your-seat anticipation as you await that moment when his film career really takes off.

There were also some moments where he felt conceited, very full of himself. But then I thought, well, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with knowing what you’re good at? Why can’t you brag about your achievements? He earned it, he worked hard. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of what you've accomplished.

I’m not an actor and I don’t plan to be one but as an aspiring writer I found something in this: a storyteller will continue to tell stories, no matter what. And don't give up!

Overall this was a great reading experience for my first memoir. I was surprised how engaged I was reading about someone else's life. I'm so used to reading about big explosions, great escapes, worlds being conquered. It was nice to step away from all that and read about something real; something that actually happened. I guarantee, this will not be the only memoir or non-fiction book I read.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New On The Shelf: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, But Nothing Blue

Just three days shy of a month and I’ve already acquired a nice stack of goodies. As if I needed more books piled up everywhere (of course I do!). I know I already had a good group of books lined up for the Science Fiction Experience but a trip to a used book store just gave me more options. And of course I had to make room for some very special DVDs that I just couldn’t live without!

The Something Old

The Gammage Cup, The Whisper of Glocken and The Firelings by Carol Kendall

My sister sent these to me earlier this month. They were late Christmas presents. These are like her woobie books. She discovered them at the school library while looking for more Nancy Drew books to read. The Firelings was a book I was on the hunt for so I was super excited to see she had sent me a copy. And I really love the cover of the book! The Gammage Cup is a Newberry Honor Book for 1960. Its sequel is The Whisper of Glocken, which this copy happens to be an old first edition, library book. Venessa has lost interest in Redwall (Boo!) so I’m thinking we could try The Gammage Cup since it’s shorter and more suited for her age.

Satin Slippers #3: Stars In Her Eyes by Elizabeth Bernard
Legacy by James H. Schmitz
In Enemy Hands by David Weber
The New Doctor Who Adventures: Iceberg by David Banks

Over the weekend I went to The Book Shelf. I went looking for a copy of Captain Blood and Needle by Hal Clement but they were not there. But I couldn’t leave empty handed! So I browsed to see what they had and I ended up with a good group of books I believe. I don’t know much about them though. The covers caught my eye and the summaries on the back sounded interesting. I thought they’d make good options for the Science Fiction Experience and I liked them for being female-centric. There were two books I ended up not getting. I’m starting to regret it now. The Book Shelf wasn't open today. But they will be tomorrow!

You might be wondering about that random Satin Slippers: Stars In Her Eyes. I got it for nostalgia. I read these books compulsively as a freshman in High School and somehow convinced my English teacher that I couldn’t find anything on the required reading list so was able to turn in a book report for one of these books. I had always wanted to take ballet lessons when I was young, but since we couldn't afford them I could at least read about it. I’m afraid to read them again though and realize they were not all that great!

The Something New

Bring It On
Mean Girls

I consider these three movies my Holy Trinity of Chick Flicks. I’m not one for the overly romantic-type movies (The Notebook, Valentine’s Day, Dear John, etc). Give me sassy and hilarious and I’m good. And I almost died when I saw Clueless and Mean Girls packaged together! Perfection!

Something Borrowed

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

These three came from the library. The Asimov books will be for the Science Fiction Experience Group Reads. Ender’s Game is intended to be for the Science Fiction Experience too and I’ve also been eyeing this book for a long time. It’s been on a list of books to pick up that I carry around with me at all times. I finally decided to just borrow it from the library for now (they didn’t have a copy at The Book Shelf).

But Nothing Blue…

Actually, I hope to acquire something blue with the trip back to The Book Shelf. One of the books I left behind has a blue cover! I’m going to need all the luck I can get with the end of the world coming, right?!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I’d Like To Introduce You To Another Captain…

Now that I’ve finally finished a Captain Alatriste book as a blogger, I get to introduce you to him officially. I included a short review here for the third book, The Sun Over Breda. But just as Captain Blood got his real first post, it is now Captain Diego Alatriste’s turn.

Now who is Captain Diego Alatriste? He is a Spanish soldier/sword for hire living in 17th century Madrid. Not really a Captain, it’s a title that has been attached to him out of respect as a career soldier. He’s accompanied by Íñigo Balboa, a teenager throughout the series, who has been left in the care of the Captain after the death of his father, a good friend of Alatriste’s. The books are a series of adventures, told in the first person by an older Íñigo, as he recounts his early years with the Captain. The series is written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, a former war journalist turned full time author. It’s his experience as a war journalist that he’s able to bring to life 17th century Spain with its court intrigue, drama, sword fights, pirates and bloody sieges.

I started the Captain Alatriste series about 5-6 years ago. I don’t remember how I discovered the first book, titled Captain Alatriste, but I picked it out because I had read The Three Musketeers (and loved it) and it was in that same genre. Captain Alatriste was a fun read and it led me to go out and get the next, Purity of Blood, another good read. There was then a 2-3 year gap between the first two books and the third, The Sun Over Breda. After finishing The Sun Over Breda, it seemed the honeymoon had ended with Captain Alatriste. But The King’s Gold has won me back.

It was a much more enjoyable read than The Sun Over Breda, which is surprising since I like stories of battlefields and soldiers and sieges (hence my obsession several years ago when I went on a reading rampage of The Sharpe novels). But The Sun Over Breda had too many interruptions of the main storyline with Íñigo’s musings of his life that was to come. In The King’s Gold, there was less interruptions of the storyline with background info and side stories. One thing I did like in The Sun Over Breda was that it introduced a more detached narrator when Íñigo was not involved, and we got to see Alatriste on a separate mission that involved a bloody fight in some tunnels during the siege of Breda. It was strange then, being so used to Íñigo’s voice in book one and two. In The King’s Gold it was introduced again and I liked it. It gave me a tiny peek into the mind of Diego Alatriste; to see what makes him tick. I liked it and hope to see more of that when I read The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet, the fifth book in the series.

Another fun thing about The King’s Gold and the other books in the series, despite the fact it often interrupts the narrative, is the history lesson. It may go overboard with the descriptions and you want it to hurry along so you can get to the action but you get a real sense of what it was like in 17th century Spain. Arturo Pérez-Reverte paints a picture with the sights and sounds that make you feel like you are there. The books are not necessarily heavy on plot, which is probably why there are so many interruptions from Íñigo, but it’s more about the adventure and sword fights that I’ve found enjoyable with this series.

And now you’re probably thinking, Well, Sarah, this wasn’t much of a review but it’s the best thing I’ve EVER READ (stop, you’re making me blush!) and I'll go read the Captain Alatriste books now, but what’s going on with the Science Fiction Experience?

Well, if you must know...

I did read Foundation by Isaac Asimov! And I’m getting set to start the next book in the series, Foundation and Empire, for the next group read. I’m on page 82 of Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. I had two false starts with The Difference Engine and Count to a Trillion. I’ve been hoarding some book reviews so I’m getting them out of the way this month and plan to devote February to my Sci-Fi Experience reviews. That is if I get to read more beyond the group read books because there’s this little show called Doctor Who that has completely taken over my life these past three weeks and I’ll explain further in February about WHYILOVEITSOMUCHANDDON’TCARETHATIT’STAKENOVERMYLIFE!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Foundation Group Read Discussion Part 2

Here we are, the last group read discussion for Foundation by Isaac Asimov. These questions cover Part 3, Chapter 4 to the end. Group read questions are in bold and my answers follow. There will be mild spoilers if you have not read the book.

Salvor Hardin was the first character in the book that we got to spend any significant time with. What are your thoughts on the grande finale of his plotting, scheming and maneuvering to get the Foundation through to the next Seldon crisis?

Seldon put a lot of faith in the next generation to carry out his plan. I understand why the book is called Foundation. Seldon built a strong foundation from the beginning in order to accomplish his vision. It seems wrong, all the scheming and plotting but it’s all done for the survival of the Foundation and to prevent war and so far the Foundation has been able to prosper and grow without fighting or being taken over by their stronger neighbors.

What are your thoughts on the way in which control/manipulation to achieve Foundation ends began to shift with The Traders?

Although it was all part of the grand scheme, it was also a natural progression as society begins to advance on its own. Without the Foundation's manipulation it would have happened though not as quickly as it has. And I like that it’s starting to steer away from the religious aspect of control over technology.

One of the interesting things about Seldon's psychohistory is how much one man can actually affect it. In Foundation we see characters like Hardin and Mallow as key figures for positioning things just right to work towards Seldon's later predictions. Do you see this as a contradiction to what Seldon said about psychohistory at the beginning of our story or part of an overall plan? Discuss.

Just as Seldon took initiative to set things in motion to establish the Foundation, I do believe he knew that there would be others like him who would understand his vision for the Foundation. And it would take these two extraordinary men, Hardin and Mallow, to set things in motion to accomplish that overall plan.

Did you see similarities or differences between the way in which Salvador Hardin and Hober Mallow operated and what are your thoughts about this final section of Foundation? Would you have been content as a reader back then with how everything played out?

Hardin and Mallow both had similar situations where the Foundation was threatened and with clever maneuvering they had to work their way out of it in mostly non-violent ways, the result being a stronger Foundation. The differences, from what I can tell, Hardin took control through a coup and turned the other kingdoms against each other, where Mallow did so proving his innocence during a trial, very similar to Seldon had to go through.

I enjoyed the way events played out so I think I would have been content if I had read this years ago too.

Has your concept/thoughts of what Seldon was trying to do changed at all since the book began?

Not really. I was questioning his motives to begin with, whether he truly was trying to establish the Foundation for the good of the Galactic Empire. I’m really leaning towards him establishing his own galaxy wide empire that would be built upon the foundation he established and he’s counting on his Foundation to not make the same mistakes as the Galactic Empire.

Any final thoughts on the story as a whole, its structure, what it did or did not accomplish, how it worked for you, etc?

I enjoyed it and I liked the reveal that Mallow had been set up and was able to prove it. I read the debate on the info dump in the conversations from last week’s group read discussion. It did get a bit wordy in that way near the end with the trial. After reading something like Zone One, which had little dialogue, I was nice to have the characters speaking to each other and events unfolding through their actions, instead of it all happening in their heads.

I’m glad I participated in this group read. So far with the Science Fiction Experience this is the only book I’ve enjoyed. I got about thirty pages into The Difference Engine and Count to a Trillion before giving up. A gratuitous boob grab and techno babble with some grammar mistakes (intentional or bad editing?) were the deal breakers with both. I just have to say that Foundation had just enough science and technology that it wasn’t overwhelming, political intrigue to make it interesting and it moved at a nice quick pace. And since I enjoyed Foundation I will be participating in the next group read coming up for Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov, the second book in the series.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

O Captains! My Captains! I fear there is only one for me...

... the glorious Captain Blood!

Well, maybe not everyone is, but I certainly am! I've dropped bread crumbs here and here partially explaining why I love this book so much. After reading it a second time I realized this book needed its own blog post so here we go!

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini is the story of Peter Blood; a physician who gets caught up in the rebellion against King James II and is sentenced to be sold into slavery for attending to an injured rebel. He is then bought by Colonel Bishop, a plantation owner in Barbados. When it’s discovered Peter is a physician, he is lent out to attend to prominent officials of the island and becomes the Governor’s favorite. He’s allowed some limited freedom to wander the island where he chit chats with the Colonel's niece, Arabella Bishop, and you can tell they totally have the hots for each other but they’re too polite about it but they are so perfect for each other and you’re ready to plan their wedding ceremony for them. Then Peter Blood escapes with some other slaves while Spanish ships attack the town and that's when it gets good because they then hijack the attacking ship! And Dr. Peter Blood becomes Captain Blood:

and he's clever, dangerous and along with his crew of former slaves, they totally pirate the hell out of the Caribbean!

One of the reasons I love this book so much is the writing. Let me show you some of my favorite excerpts:

“A doctor – you?” Scorn of that lie – as he conceived it – rang in the heavy, hectoring voice.

“Medicinae baccalaureus,” said Mr. Blood.

“Don’t fling your French at me, man,” snapped Hobart. “Speak English?”

Mr. Blood’s smile annoyed him.

“I am a physician practicing my calling in the town of Bridgewater.”

The Captain sneered. “Which you reached by way of Lyme Regis in the following of your bastard Duke.”

It was Mr. Blood’s turn to sneer. “If your wit were as big as your voice, my dear, it’s the great man you’d be by this.”

For a moment the dragoon was speechless. The colour deepened in his face.

“You may find me great enough to hang you.”

“Faith, yes. Ye’ve the look and the manners of a hangman. But if you practice your trade on my patient here, you may be putting a rope round your own neck. He’s not the kind you may string up and no questions asked. He has the right to trial, and the right to trial by his peers.”

And another one:

And he swung away again, leaving her faint and trembling in the arms of her anguished mother. His men stood, grinning, awaiting orders, the two prisoners now fast pinioned.

“Take them away. Let Cornet Drake have charge of them.” His smouldering eye again sought the cowering girl. “I’ll stay awhile – to search out this place. There may be other rebels hidden here.” As an afterthought, he added: “And take this fellow with you.” He pointed to Mr. Blood. “Bestir!”

Mr. Blood started out of his musings. He had been considering that in his case of instruments there was a lancet with which he might perform on Captain Hobart a beneficial operation. Beneficial, that is, to humanity.

And one more:

It came to Mr. Blood, as he trudged forward under the laden apple-trees on that fragrant, delicious July morning, that man – as he had long suspected – was the vilest work of God, and that only a fool would set himself up as a healer of a species that was best exterminated.

Sorry, can’t help myself:

It was not until two months later – on the 19th of September, if you must have the actual date – that Peter Blood was brought to trial, upon a charge of high treason. We know that he was not guilty of this; but we need not doubt that he was quite capable of it by the time he was indicted. Those two months of inhuman, unspeakable imprisonment had moved his mind to a cold and deadly hatred of King James and his representatives.

Who writes like this now?!

But what makes this story so great is that despite being driven into piracy to escape his enslavement, Captain Blood has a moral code he follows. There are only certain ships they will attack and he will not harm innocents. All he really wants is to be a good person and would love more than anything to return to his home country to his quiet life that was unjustly taken from him. It's an adventure, a love story and it's full of wit, action and you really care for the characters. It has everything I look for in a good story.

Another reason this book is so wonderful to me is that I discovered it on my own. I had not read any other reviews for it; it didn’t come up as a recommendation on Amazon or from anyone else. I don’t know how else I would have found this book if I hadn’t just typed in “pirates” at Project Gutenberg. There's this magical feeling you get when you find that book that seems to just leap into your hands when you’re not specifically looking for it. I’ve only had that happen once before and it was with Redwall. Just something I happened across and will forever be with me.

This book was so much better the second time. I have officially woobified it and decided Captain Peter Blood will now be my blog mascot.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Foundation Group Read Discussion Part 1

Here we go! The first group read discussion of Foundation by Isaac Asimov and the first post for the Science Fiction Experience. These are questions for the first half of the book, Part 1 through Part 3, Chapter 4. Remember there will be spoilers! Though at this point in the book they are minor. Below are the group read discussion questions in bold and my answers. Let's get started!

For the purpose of satisfying curiosity, is this your first time reading Foundation or have you read it before?

First time!

For those reading Foundation for the first time, what expectations did you have going in and has it met them or surprised you in any way?

I had no expectations. I hadn’t even done any research online about the story. I went in completely ignorant and willing to let it surprise or disappoint me.

I will say Asimov has always intimidated me. Most Sci-Fi books in general have always intimidated me. I usually stuck with the Star Wars EU since I was already familiar with the story of the Republic and the Empire. I had branched out slightly with The Forever War, Battlefield Earth and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (a book I forgot to mention I had read) and enjoyed them but hadn’t moved beyond them. I always felt the technical side would go over my head or it would just be so technical I would not be able to connect with the characters.

What are your thoughts about the structure of the novel thus far? (I am referring to the brief glimpses of different parts of the history of the Foundation with big time gaps between events in the novel)

I like it. I find it interesting to see how the results of the events have shaped the future from one generation to the next and how much has changed.

What are your initial thoughts on the field of psychohistory?

Predicting the future through psychology is interesting but scary. I can see guessing future events based on the past may be possible and helpful to learn from our ancestors mistakes. But it could lead to someone actually manipulating things so it does happen, instead of letting history happen naturally. So you have to wonder, if Hari Seldon did not predict the fall of the Galactic Empire in the first place in order to establish the Foundation, would the Empire even fall? Did it let things deteriorate knowing it would reestablish itself in the future because Seldon predicted it?

What, if anything, is holding your interest thus far, what are you enjoying about Foundation?

Salvor Hardin I found fascinating; seeing him as a young man then thirty years later to see how he has changed. Also learning the true purpose of the Foundation and that there’s still more to be revealed. I also enjoy the political maneuvering and manipulation of the kingdoms that have broken away from the Galactic Empire.

What, if anything, are you not enjoying about Foundation?

So far I’m really enjoying it so I don’t have anything negative to say.

You may have covered this in answering the other questions, but if not, what are your thoughts/feelings about the Galactic Empire. Is it a practical thing to have a galaxy spanning government? Can you imagine such a thing and do you think it would work?

Ha, I keep thinking of Star Wars and how it never seemed to work, whether it was the Old and New Republic or the Empire. Even in our own history when you look at the British Empire and the U.S.S.R. I think it’s been proven that such a thing won’t work.

What are your thoughts on Hardin's creation of a religious system in which to house scientific ideas and technology while keeping the users of that science and technology in the dark?

This troubled me. It made me think of the Dark Ages, after the fall of the Roman Empire. To go from such enlightenment then to fall back onto superstitions beliefs ruled by religion is just unfortunate. But there must be a reason for it and for the Foundation, it was for their survival. I wonder how much longer it can go on for though, especially when space travel is still possible and was possible even before the Galactic Empire began to fall.

I am really enjoying Foundation so far. I find myself engaged with the characters even though they do not stick around for long as we jump thirty to fifty years after the Foundation has been established. Now I'm off to read what others thought of the first part. If you've read Foundation and would like to join in the discussion, share your thoughts here in the comments or see what others have are talking about here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

So what does 2012 promise?

Other than the end of the world?

Lets find out! First, I'll start with some upcoming movies that have grabbed my attention:

John Carter (March): Hm, it’s got Andrew Stanton directing. To me that’s the only thing going for it. I’m questionable of the source material (having not been able to get through it yet) and the trailer didn’t inspire me.

The Hunger Games (March): I found the trailer way more intense then when I read the actual book!

Bullet to the Head (April): I just like the title.

The Avengers (May): Marvel superheroes, Joss Whedon, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Agent Coulson, Tom Hiddleston… do I really need to go on?

Men in Black 3 (May): This is a tough one. I liked the first one, saw the second but remember absolutely nothing about it. Which means it sucked. This one is questionable but Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will be there with Josh Brolin, so….?

Snow White and the Huntsman (June): Have you seen the trailer?! Charlize is beautiful and hello, Hemi!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (June): Now we’re talking!

Brave (June): It’s Pixar so it has to be good, right (*looks sideways at Cars and Cars2*)? Honestly I was excited about this one when I saw the first teaser trailer. Then I saw the first full length trailer and was, well, a bit underwhelmed by it. Is this a case of an X-Men: First Class, where the trailer does not do the movie justice?

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (June): I just put this on the list because Channing Tatum makes me laugh. My husband and I watched Step Up and he just mumbled his way through the movie. Is he still a mumbler? And can I say, Hello! to The Rock. Sorry, I mean Dwayne Johnson (yeah, whatever, THE. ROCK. You can’t make us forget!). BRUCE!!!!!

The Amazing Spiderman (July): *Sigh* Toby McGuire’s Spiderman isn’t even cold in his grave yet! I know the third one wasn’t that great, but COME ON!

The Dark Knight Rises (July): See here. And if this happens:


The Expendables 2 (August): BRUCE!!!!! But I hated the first one. But Chuck Norris is in this one too!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (November): WAIT A MINUTE! How did this get here?! I’m SO NOT looking forward to this. SPOILER: Bella is a vampire and her succubus kid is still imprinted with Jacob and seriously, NOTHING HAPPENS.

World War Z (December 12): I’ve been going through a zombie phase lately (Ashes, Zone One, The Walking Dead...) so this could be good. Plus Brad Pitt! And by the time this movie comes out I would have read the book and I can sit there and say, “That’s not what happened in the book!”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (DECEMBER 14th): You can read about what I think of this movie here.

The Great Gatsby (December): I already gave my opinion on this and I think its self explanatory that I’d really like to see this.

Django Unchained (December): It’s a WESTERN (YES!). Directed by Quentin Tarantino (YES!). It has Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx (YES!). Wait a minute. Let’s back up here a minute. Quentin Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio? This hasn’t happened yet? What have they been waiting for? And it’s about time!

I probably won’t get the chance to see most of these until they're on DVD. My Top 5 to see in the theater will have to be: The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit. If I don’t I will never forgive myself. But I’m sure I’ll find a way.

Also, let’s not forget the return of The Walking Dead on February 12 or GAME OF THRONES in April!

I wanted to include some new books that I’m looking forward to this year, but I couldn’t find a list of upcoming releases that wasn’t just YA. There was this list but I’m bad about judging books by their cover and so I judged and nothing caught my eye and I was too lazy to read what they were about.

But I have LOTS of books at home that are in dire need of reading. So, even though I vow never to stop buying books (Best New Year’s Resolution, no?), one of my resolutions will be to read as many of the books that I already own.

And on the writing front this year, my resolution will be to …
  • Continue working on the second draft of my Nanowrimo story
  • Develop another story idea I have (IT’S VERY TOP SECRET AS IN I only have a half page of notes so far…)
  • Working out a timeline for a civil war story that’s been kicking around in my head since High School!
So before the world ends on December 21, 2012, which movies or books would you like to read/watch? And do you think the world will end with a bang or a whimper? Good luck! And maybe I’ll see you on the other side or in another dimension or, since December 22nd is a Saturday, out watching a good movie. But if the world does end, at least I would have seen The Hobbit!

But there's hope!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The 2012 Science Fiction Experience

It’s the beginning of a new year and with it brings another reading challenge!

I had a good time with the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings that I’m going to participate in this next one:

The 2012 Science Fiction Experience!

I really like the idea for this one. It’s to be an experience. There are no levels or number of books you’re going to commit to reading. It’s very flexible. It’s about experiencing science fiction throughout January and February and it can be in any form: movie, TV and books (even non-fiction).

I’m excited about this because my Sci-Fi reading is very pathetic (movies and TV I think I’ve covered well). Off the top of my head the only Sci-Fi reading I've done is a handful of Star Wars Expanded Universe (Timothy Zahn’s, Thrawn trilogy being the best), The Forever War and Battlefield Earth (and no, I’m not a Scientologist! And despite L. Ron Hubbard’s “philosophy” staining the book it’s actually a fun read. A VERY long read but still fun.).

Here is my very flexible list of Sci-Fi reading:

Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (currently reading)
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
*Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
*Earthbound by Joe Haldeman
*Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright

*-Would require a purchase (But I’m fine with that. Yes, I know they’re probably at the library but well, I WANT I WANT I WANT)

I’ll also throw in some Sci-Fi movie watching and I’ll be working my way through the Doctor Who series.

I will also be participating in a group read of Foundation by Isaac Asimov. So on January 9th and the 16th I’ll be posting some answers to questions that will be emailed to those participating. Please read along as well if you want!

If anyone is interested, whether you want to join in the discussion or see what others are reading and watching, there will be a review site. There, throughout January and February, other bloggers will be posting links sharing what they’ve been reading and watching throughout the Experience. You can read more about the Science Fiction Experience here.

You don’t have to be a blogger to join in. So let’s have fun! That’s what this experience is all about!