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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Challenge Update: Week 8 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + A Classical Connection

 Namaste my nifty nexus of Bookbaggers!

Welcome to week 8 of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy which was mostly successful and revealed the first Interesting Book Connection I’ve noticed in a long while 🙂

More about that later, but first:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince my last update I have finished one of my under-200 pages books and chose a new one, so this challenge is definitely getting to the pointy-even-more-deserving-of-a-Mighty-Numbered-List-end:

  1. At the start of the week I finished Bleed by Peter M Ball which I enjoyed immensely right to the end. This is an example of paranormal crime fiction that doesn’t dawdle and yet still doesn’t feel unnaturally fast-paced. It was the perfect length to introduce plenty of character back-story in tantalising dribs and drabs while also developing a stand-alone plot that doesn’t get bogged down in the past. This may be because this is Peter M Ball’s second novella set in the same universe with the same main character (the first being Horn which is also in this challenge) or because so far he has been a short-fiction author so he knows how to write succinctly, but to me this was as well-developed (if not more so) than an installment in a regular length novel series. And as I said before, I loved the protagonist – Miriam Aster – a tough ex-cop turned private detective who drinks gin and smokes cigarettes like its going out of style, can hold her own against deadly Fey creatures and gets some killer one-liners! I look forward to reading Horn also when it gets picked, which should be soon considering the contenders are dwindling 😛Bleed
  2. When I was right at the end of Bleed I asked Semi-Official Chooser Sarah to pre-emptively pick me a new book, and for the occasion for some reason we decided to give my finger-less gloves a makeover and dubbed them the Gloves of Choosing! After donning the Gloves of Choosing Sarah picked me a new slip from the meagre pool that’s left and it was I Am Legend by Richard Matheson 😀 I was excited for this one as my mate Scott raved about it, and the list of famous authors praising it on the cover was impressive (for example Stephen King said Richard Matheson was the author who influenced him the most). I’ve read a few chapters so far at lunch or on my commute and it is indeed fantastic. In fact, its early days but I highly suspect it will be in my Top 10 books of 2014, so it was a great choice by Sarah, and a great recommendation by Scott 🙂 i am legend
  3. I have also been “enjoying” A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess a bit on my commute. I say enjoyed in quotations because I think if you truly enjoy this book then you are pretty messed up, but I have been enjoying it as much as a relatively sane person can enjoy a novel where in the first two chapters the main character and his gang have already harassed and assaulted a man and destroyed his books for no reason; robbed a store, attacking the owners liberally in the process and getting a group of older women to be their alibi; brawled ruthlessly with a rival gang; stolen a car from a drive-in and used it to terrorise a couple canoodling in a park and run over various animals; and finally break into a home for fun, raid the fridge, terrify and abuse the couple within, rip up the husband’s manuscript and gang-rape his wife before flitting off into the night again. This said it is wonderfully written and despite being pretty shocking it will also likely be in my Top 10 of the year.a clockwork orange
  4. Usually I round of my Mighty Numbered List by telling you about a story or two i read out of The Living Dead zombie anthology, however last Saturday I threw a birthday party at my place for a good friend and then on Sunday relaxed with Sarah, my bro, and his mate Jess watching some quality DVDs including Tank Girl, so I didn’t have my usually reading-and-housework Sunday. I did read a bit during the week towards challenges, however I never quite got around to The Living Dead, so alas, no zombie stories to speak of in this update 😦 I also have a big weekend planned this week, but hopefully I’ll still find some time before the next update to revisitzombieland 🙂A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

As I said the contenders are dwindling in this challenge, but here’s what’s left:

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 is also getting quite pointy-ended:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeI didn’t read any of either of my giant reads on Sunday, which felt a tad odd to be honest, however I did read a bit during the week and kind sorta made my quota:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending57 pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 64

Brisingr:

Brisingr47 Pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 290

Total:

104 Pages

Pages remaining: 354

Yes, it did irritate me to no end that I got so close to 50 pages with Brisingr but when I got to the end of the chapter last night it was well past my bedtime, and I knew if I chased that illusive 50-page mark I would read the whole next chapter and be too tired in the morning and reading the first few pages of a chapter seems silly just for a number. As you can see I didn’t finish The Sending this time, but if I don’t finish it by the next update it will only be because something really bizarre happened to prevent me – like a fog enveloping the city causing temporary blindness, or I develop a sudden bout of extreme dyslexia so I can’t read the words on the page, or a fire destroys all my current reads in some freak spontaneous combustion event (ouch – even though that last one was pretty ridiculous, it still hurt even imagining it!).

Now onto my Interesting Book Connection! Part of the reason I love being a Book Polygamist is that occasionally there are coincidental parallels between otherwise unconnected books I’m reading – like a character with the same surname, a specific location, certain animals popping up etc. I think the last time it happened was June last year when two books had characters with the same surname (with a slight spelling variation) which I made the next Adventures in Etymology but I have mentioned others here before, and there are plenty more which haven’t been quite interesting enough to point out. This IBC however (Good thing I checked IBC doesn’t stand for anything else too weird…) was too good to pass up as it was not only a connection between two new reads, but between them and the music I’ve been listening to while reading them.

I mentioned last update that when I started A Clockwork Orange was listening to a Britpop station on the radio app, Pandora, because they didn’t have the movie soundtrack which I initially thought would be fitting. However, with all the new slang to get my head around, and the ultra-violence to boot, I found Britpop too distracting and a bit weird when a happy, lovey-dovey song came on while in the book people were being pummeled.

I then started reading I Am Legend which I didn’t want to be distracted from, so I looked for a classical channel and since A Clockwork Orange was still on my mind I searched for one that was all Beethoven (since In the movie the main character, Alex, is a fan of the composer and in an iconic scene Beethoven ninth symphony is used as part of a “treatment”). As I happily listened to Beethoven while reading about vampires, I reached a point in the book when the main character – Robert Neville – says he is listening to Beethoven’s third, seventh and ninth symphonies since he had a love of classical music from a young age.

While this may not be the best coincidence since Beethoven isn’t exactly unknown, I did enjoy the connection and I am guessing it will pop up more and more as I go through both books.

I reckon that’ll do for now Bookbaggers, so I’ll leave you with a few funny things as always 🙂

Firstly is this video I saw the other day (I know I’m behind the eight ball again but I don’t care :P) which features possibly my favourite voice on YouTube – Zefrank1 of True Facts fame:

Then I saw this hilarious collection of GIFs and videos where cats show they’re not as elegant as they would have us believe. It was shared by a Facebook friend this morning but I can’t find it on YouTube so I’ve shared it on the Book Polygamist page:

And since we’re on a bit of a cat theme, I’ll end with this, because dogs are confused by life too:

perplexed cogiboxer confused by limepuppy-eats-a-lime-gifI know that’s two dogs-trying-limes ones in a row but look at them! They’re so cute and confused!

See ya next time for another exciting challenge update, and possible some junk in between, but until then see ya later from me and Tank Girl:

tank girl