Challenge Update: Week 9 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + a Supanova Saturday

Aloha my adroit, articulate Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 9th update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy where unlike the last couple of updates, the non-challenge related stuff is more plentiful and exciting than the actual update since I went to Supanova on Saturday!

But first I’ll get the official business out-of-the-way:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince my last update I have mainly been reading my challenge books here and there and haven’t finished or started anything, but even if it’s a fairly standard update, I’ll still utilise the MNL (Mighty Numbered List):

  1. I have been reading  I Am Legend by Richard Matheson quite a bit this week as it is a good lunch break/commute book and a very interesting story besides. While in essence it is a vampire novel (or more broadly a blend of horror and sci-fi) it is unlike any vampire novel I’ve encountered, and with the post-apocalyptic setting and the large hordes of unrelenting vamps, it feels much more like a zombie book. This paired with the introspective narration, which feels intimate despite being third person, the development of the main character (or sole character really besides ones in flashbacks and the dead) and Matheson’s engaging writing, makes this a book I am really loving. I’m about halfway through at the moment, but have been savouring it a little so I may or may not finish by the next update.i am legend
  2. I have also been reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess a lot this week, and I am loving it just as much, even though it is pretty darn twisted and the invented language means each bit needs more concentration than the average read. I’m also about half-way through but as it’s a much smaller book the odds of me finishing it by the next update are a little better.a clockwork orange
  3. Lastly, despite my fun-filled weekend and hectic work week I did manage to read a story from The Living Dead zombie anthology last night, and it was a really good one! The story I read was “Bobby Conroy comes back from the dead” by popular author Joe Hill (whose full-length novels I have yet to read, but I loved the beginning of his comic series, Locke & Key) and was not so much about real zombies, but movie zombies, and one movie of the genre in particular – George A. Romero‘s Dawn of the Dead. It follows a down-on-his-luck actor/comedian who has moved back to his hometown and is surprised to see an old high-school flame on the set of the film where they are both zombie extras. It’s partly a “what-if” breed of love story, but mainly, and at Joe Hill’s own admission in the description preceding the tale, it is a love letter to the iconic film. This is clear from the wonderful descriptions of Romero and special effect make-up artist Tom Savini and the general passion in Hill’s words as he writes about what is obviously a pivotal film from his youth and a great inspiration. more than anything this story made me further lament that I have never seen Dawn of the Dead (Romero fans please don’t lynch me!) and I must rectify this in the near future!A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

The list of contenders remains the same with just three to go:

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto the other challenge which was pretty poor unfortunately:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeSince on the weekend I had Supanova followed by birthday celebrations for another close friend and then work and TV distracting me for the rest of the week, I did not come even close to my quota:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending0 pages (0 chapters)

Pages remaining: 64

Brisingr:

Brisingr13 Pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 276

Total:

13 Pages

Pages remaining: 341

This is a pretty ironic effort considering my prediction for The Sending last update, but even though I didn’t suffer temporary blindness, dyslexia or spontaneously combusting books (still hurts even to imagine that..) I had plenty of other distractions besides.

I did intend to read much more over the week but as Saturday’s celebrations went into the wee hours, Sunday was a R & R day and then Sunday-Wednesday nights were dedicated to VIT (Very Important Television, which in this case was the finale of Orphan Black on Tuesday, and a terrible reality show called House Rules which Sarah and I have inexplicably become obsessed with despite our usual disdain for reality TV. I blame my mother 😛 ) I only managed to read yesterday afternoon/evening. Since I had started The Unwritten vol # 4: Leviathan earlier in the week I wanted to finish that first, so 13 pages of Brisingr was all I could manage before snooze time. I was going to read a tiny bit of The Sending also before I went to the land of nod but since I’m so near the end I knew it would be hard to stop once I got going, so best to leave it until another day.

Since this weekend I just have standing Friday night plans and nothing else scheduled I should be able to get some solid reading time in, but I’m not making predictions this time 😛

As I said above I also read The Unwritten: Leviathan (The Unwritten, Volume # 4) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist, colourist), Vince LockeAl Davison (colourists) and Yuko Shimizu (cover artist), which had been sitting on my pile for a few weeks unread, and like the volumes before I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to the next volume.

unwritten 4

I also realised early in the week that a comic I borrowed from the library – The Walking Dead Volume #1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman (creator, writer), Tony Moore (creator, artist) and Cliff Rathburn (colourist) – was overdue and I couldn’t renew it because it was on hold for someone else, so I bypassed the usual random choosing and put it aside as my next read. I haven’t gotten to it yet but as I received a txt from the library today reminding me (oooo technological!) I will get to it ASAP!

walking dead vol 1Since I didn’t pick randomly I thought it only fair to pick another one to replace The Unwritten, which turned out to be a trade paperback I bought pretty recently –  Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Daniel Vozzo (colourist) and James Jean (cover artist) – and a funny coincidence since Fables was advertised at the back of The Unwritten!

fables 2

I also picked four more comics from my Free Comic Book Day haul – Defend Comics; Zombie Tramp; Finding Gossamyr/The Last Mountain; and Magika/The First Daughter (which for some reason isn’t listed under the comics on the Free Comic Book Day site).

 

Now that the update business is done and dusted I can tell you a little about Supanova! 😀

Sarah and I had already planned to go one day over the weekend, and to meet our friend Scott – who is an avid con-goer – to have lunch, but then our friends Nay and Amber expressed interest because they are fans of Jon Heder who was a guest. Since it was Amber’s birthday on the Saturday and Jon Heder also had signings that day, it seemed a no-brainer to go to the con and then re-convene at my house for celebrations after.

As this year Supanova moved venues from Claremont Showgrounds to the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (where other cons like Oz Comic-con and Wai-Con are held) and Nay and Amber had never been to a con before, we weren’t sure what to expect, but besides being pretty darn packed I think it was well organised and mostly we all had a ball!

We started by sitting in on a bit of the cosplay competition, which was suitably awe-inspiring and a great introduction to the con universe for the girls, before wandering through to the exhibitor area to look at, and possibly buy, pretty things. This area was particularly crowded so we just did a little circuit before heading out for lunch, where we met Scott and ogled all the exciting things he had gotten signed. Amber was nervous to meet Jon Heder but after some encouragement from the rest of us she joined the line with her print from the Napoleon Dynamite animated series, while we watched proudly from the sidelines. She emerged a few minutes later, grinning from ear to ear and later proclaimed it was the best birthday yet, which is awesome 🙂

We finished with a more studied perusal of goods, and each of us bought a couple of treasures. I managed to find a beautiful fox ring to replace one I use to wear every day until its poor tail snapped off, and a couple of comics which I have heard great things about – Sex Criminals Volume # 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction (creator, writer),  Chip Zdarsky (creator, writer), Becka Kinzie and Christopher Sebela (colourists); and Revival Volume # 1: You’re Among Friends by Tim Seeley (creator, writer) and Mike Norton (creator, artist):

supanova comics

I also bagged an awesome Cheshire Cat necklace when Sarah picked it out of a lucky dip, realised it was Alice related and so really should be for yours truly, then I did a lucky dip which she liked more so we swapped 😛 For some stupid reason I didn’t take a pic of my jewellery so if I remember I’ll share that next week.

The cosplayers were in fine form with some of the best I’ve seen, and I managed to get pics of some of my favourites, including a fabulous Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games, Death and Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman from The Sandman series, and Tank Girl!

Supanova collage

This was only a taste of some of the cosplay – I got a few more pics and there were plenty more I never got close enough too, and plenty more again which I didn’t see in person, however Funk’s House of Geekery did two great cosplay round-ups from the event which are definitely worth a look – Supanova Perth 2014: cosplay roundup day 1 and Supanova Perth 2014: cosplay roundup day 2.

I think that’s a good place to round-up my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂

Since I had Supanova and other excitement to talk about this time I won’t do a whole bunch of videos and GIFs, but I can’t resist sharing this scene from the Orphan Black finale:

Tune in for the next update and in the meantime possibly some Notable Quotables or other such fun, but until then:

dinah waving

 

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Challenges Update #8 – A Super(nova) book haul and some more Poe!

Hello my weird and wonderful Bookbaggers!

Since my last update I have finished a book and comic and chose new ones, been gifted an interesting comic present, received an exciting couple of parcels filled with a certain series that I’ve been loving this year, and gone to the Supanova Pop Culture Expo here in Perth where I bought almost exclusively books and graphic novels (surprise, surprise).

But first my Comic Companions activity:

comiccompanions-badge

Because the last Comic Companion I chose – Clive Barker Omnibus (collecting The Thief of Always The Great and Secret Show ; and Seduth) – is longer than previous offerings (at 400+ pages) it took me longer than one or two reading sessions.

As I said last time I started by reading just The Thief of Alwayswhich was excellent. Then later in the week I read The Great and Secret Show (over two or three session since it made up the bulk of the omnibus) and I was very impressed! I read the book it was based on (of the same name) many, many years ago when I first got into Clive Barker, and I couldn’t remember much of it, so I was pleasantly surprised when as I went through the graphic novel adaptation it started to come back to me in a fantastically visual way! I was also amazed that the  writers were able to adapt a really long book (my copy has 698 thin bible-like pages covered in smallish font and out of my Barker collection is only beaten by its neighbour, Imajica, at over 1000 even more bible-y pages) into a graphic novel without seriously cutting down the plot. Bravo! I then finished it off by reading Seduth on Friday afternoon, which was an excellent, creepy, gory, trippy and artfully illustrated original comic written by Barker. Even if the two adaptations were rubbish (which they were far from!) the omnibus would’ve been worth it just for Seduth.

CliveBarker_Omnibus

Besides the  Clive Barker Omnibus, I also devoured The Rescue (The Guardians of Ga’Hoole # 3) by Kathryn Lasky 

the rescue

over the last two weeks (which was a rollicking ride setting up even more action and plot development in the books to come) so this weekend I was able to choose a new book and graphic novel out of the jar.

Jar-full-o-books-june-july

Once again I let Sarah choose the slips out of the jar. Since I have quite a few books under the red category (books borrowed from others) and people may want them back at some point, I got her to choose one of these which was:

World war z - Jar O' Books

World War Z by Max Brooks, “an oral history of the Zombie war” which my workmate, Scott lent to me and is the basis for the new Zombie blockbuster of the same name. I started it last night, and already its fascinating and promises to be a great zombie book 😀

For the accompanying Comic Companion Sarah picked:

Nevermore - Jar O' Books

 Nevermore by Edgar Allan Poe , Ian EdgintonJamie DelanoJohn Reppion, and Leah Moore (writers) and D’IsraeliJames (Jim) FletcherJohn McCreaShane Oakley and Steve Pugh (artists), which I borrowed from my work early on in the challenge. Last night I read the first 3 stories (The Raven; The Pit and the Pendulum; and The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar) and enjoyed the simple, but effective, black ink-work and how the tales (2 of which I read in Tales of Mystery and Imagination, plus The Raven, which I was very familiar with previously) were adapted into modern settings and experiences. I look forward to the other 6 tales (The Murders in the Rue Morgue; The Fall of the House of Usher; The Black Cat; The Oval Portrait; The Tell-Tale Heart; and The Masque of the Red Death) which were all included in Tales of Mystery and Imagination and were among some of my favourites.

It seems, in fact that my adventures with Poe did not end with the challenge because recently I also received a surprise gift from Scott:

Batman Nevermore

All 5 volumes of a comic called Batman: Nevermore in which Batman (probably my favourite superhero) is in the world of Poe, Baltimore in the late 1800s! Scott, knowing of my Batman favouritism (as we often discuss comics, films and other nerdy fun) and my recent readings of Poe was culling his comic collection and thought that rather than donating them or throwing them away he should see if I was interested (good thinking Scott!). I have already added them to the Jar O’ Books (as a set since they’re single comics, not large volumes of a graphic novel) and I’m excited to read them at some point (as is my brother, another Scott, who is also a fan of Poe and Batman).

Around the same time I received two parcels from Book Depository which contained a series I recently bought:

downside ghosts

Sorry the pic’s a bit crappy – It’s from my phone and I couldn’t get a better one since I’ve now lent two of them to Sarah 😛

I’m so pleased to now own all 5 of the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane because I loved the first 3 books (so much so that I tracked down 2 and 3 via State Library interlibrary loans) and could not find the next one anywhere! Luckily they were available on Book Depository for 7 and a bit dollars each 😀 ❤ I of course immediately added Book 4 Sacrificial Magic, to the  Jar O’ Books so fingers-crossed I’ll get to read it soon (otherwise I might have to cheat my own system :P)

Lastly I put even more strain on my bookshelf (and bank account) when I went to Supanova on Sunday. I knew I was going to get at least 1 book (Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff  because  he was there to sign it and I had recently started reading his hilarious blog namely this great post, The hittable reflex, about people perusing his book at conventions) and was expecting to maybe buy a new addition (or two) to the Comic Companions horde. What I did not envision was this mighty (and heavy) haul:

Supanova buys

Besides Stormdancer (which I did get signed by Jay 🙂 ) me and Sarah stumbled upon the Ticonderoga Publications stall (which are an Australian independent publisher who specialise in Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror short stories and are regulars at Swancon) and took advantage of their buy 2, get 1 free offer. We both bought The Lady of Situations by local horror author, Stephen Dedmanbut different second choices and free books (because there was a choice of 4 free collections) so we could borrow from each other 🙂

My second choice was The Girl With No Hands by Angela Slatter which was billed as stories which go back to the traditional form of fairytales (which of course intrigued me greatly!) and I picked Fantastic Wonder Stories edited by Russell B. Farr which sounded like more fairytale fun. Sarah bought a collection of vampire stories called Red Dead Heart also edited by Russell B. Farr, and picked Magic Dirt: the best of Sean Williams as her free offering.

As if my bag wasn’t heavy enough with 4 books I then visited the huge Kings Comics stall and bought  Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft , which is an interesting looking graphic novel written by Joe Hill , with art by  Gabriel Rodriguez , colours by Jay Fotos and lettering by Robbie Robbins; and the The Sandman vol # 4: Season of Mists by Neil GaimanUpon purchasing my graphic novels I was given another free thing:

DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels And Chronology 2013

The DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels And Chronology 2013 lists a whole bunch of graphic novels by hero, or type, or creator with short explanations, issue numbers, prices, and the order they’re read in! I looked through it last night and got a lot of new ideas for the Comic Companions challenge so it was certainly a great, and surprising free thingy!

That’s it for now, after possibly exhausting you all with my crazed book buying! I am on term break after the end of this week, which will either mean a couple of weeks of more posting than usual coz I’m bored and I’ll be reading more, or a couple of weeks where I’ll be non-existent because I’m enjoying my relaxing holidays (probably the latter :P), however I have been working on the next installment of The Micro Reviews From Planet Procrastination so that may go up before my break begins.

Until next time I bid all my Bookbaggers:

Happy Reading!