Sunday, January 08, 2017

What I'm Reading (and watching) Now

I'm still tragically, dramatically sick, which means I can't do much besides lie on the sofa and whimper. Also blow my nose, emit hacking coughs, and read novels.

(I lie. I'm also writing. Each day I trawl up sufficient energy to write for at least two hours. Then I collapse.)

Anyway, I'm reading a lot. Also binge-watching a lot of Netflix.

Here's what I've been watching:

3%: I saw a short early film about this what feels like years ago now. The first season was great, and now I am desperate for Season Two, which probably won't be out for another year. This is near-future SF, set in Brazil. It's filmed in Portuguese, and I watched it that way, with English subtitles, though I understand you can get it dubbed in English if you like. I liked watched it in Portuguese, though I only understand a little of the original language. Premise: In the near future, 3% of the population lives on an offshore paradise, with advanced healthcare, technology, sufficient food, and so on. 97% live inland, in poverty and squalor. But when the 97% turn 20, they have the chance to compete, to go through a series of tests, and qualify for space on the Offshore paradise. The first season (mostly) concerned the testing. Also a subplot about the Cause, a revolutionary group dedicated to subverting and overthrowing the 3%.

Travelers: Another SF series, on the order of Terminator, about a group of time travelers from (I think?) the 23rd century who jump back into the bodies of 21st century people. They're here to change the future. It's pretty well done, mostly because the ensemble cast are an interesting group.

Also Elementary. I had saved up about six episodes to watch, and I watched them over the course of two days. I love Elementary.

What I've been reading:

Laurie R. King, Dreaming of Spies, Jerusalem Hall. Binge-watching "Elementary" led me back to Laurie King, who writes Sherlock Holmes from the POV of Mary Russell, a young Jewish woman who meets Sherlock when he's forty or so, retired and raising bees. (She's 15 at the time.) They become partners (as in "Elementary"), and many adventures ensue. I'd missed reading the last several, as our local public library, woefully underfunded, had not bought them. But when I checked, it finally had. So yay! (Also I bought one myself.) These are lovely, if you like this sort of thing.

Mark Harris, The Southpaw, It Looked Like Forever. It's hard to explain why I like Mark Harris. I first discovered him by reading his epistolary academic novels, Wake up, Stupid, and Lying in Bed. I'm a sucker for both academic and epistolary novels. But after I'd read these, I read The Southpaw, which is written in the language of a semi-illiterate young baseball player, who is an artist and scholar of baseball, intelligent and essentially uneducated, and went on to read all three other books Harris wrote about about this character, Henry Wiggins. Like The Southpaw, and his academic novels, these are wonderfully entertaining, mostly for their language and the characters.

Tom Gauld, Mooncop. A graphic novel. I like the art in this a lot. A wistful short piece, very spare, about the last few people left on the moon.

Ted Chiang, Arrival. I'd never read Chiang before, but due to the movie he'd been the talk of a number of SF blogs lately, so when I saw this collection (renamed -- it used to be called The Story of Your Life) at the B&N in New Orleans, I picked it up. Not only was the title story as excellent as everyone had been saying (I still haven't seen the movie made from it), the other stories were also good, though in very different ways. Upon finishing the collection, I immediately went out seeking more Chiang fiction. HA HA HA. Apparently this is it, unless you happen to have a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars to spend on rare editions. Of course my local under-funded public library has nothing. Oh, well. Maybe now that he's big news, there will be another re-issue.


Zenmoo said...

Thanks for the Laurie King recommendation- I've just read the first in the series and really enjoyed it.

delagar said...

I love these books! King also writes another series, set in contemporary San Francisco, but I don't like that one as well.