Aug 18, 2017 Posted by: Daniel

My plan to blog more frequently didn't really work out all that well. It took nearly two months to get back to it. Still I'm not ready to give up just yet. Here comes a new installment in the what I have been reading series. I'm still trying very hard to not practise Tsunduku - the act of buying a book with no intention of reading it. Or indeed buying books and not reading them. Thus I am currently buying very few books and instead trying to plow through the ones I've got.

I realised that last time I did the order wonky, so I correct it here and will stick to this order for all future posts. This is chronological order, so the most recently finished book is at the top.

Aurealis 86

I found this in the archive on the Kindle. I don't know what happened, I may have sent it to the wrong Kindle or something. Either way, I had an unread Aurealis so I set to read it. It had only two stories as it was quite an old edition. It is interesting how quickly you get used to the new way of things. The first one 'The pottering' was an easy enough read. It felt like the story didn't really go anywhere, as in, nothing really happened. It was easy to read but nothing stayed with me. It was followed by a somewhat longer story called 'The Smoky sea'. As the author said 'it wears its inspiration on its sleeve'. It is very clear where the imitation comes from but it was not just a blatant re-telling of a well known story it was interesting and funny. After the two stories was the usual set of articles and reviews. Nothing about them stood out this time. They were interesting as usual but as with the reviews of the stories writing about them you almost end up writing the same length as the article, so I refrain from that.

His Dark Empire

By: M.R. Forbes
A friend of mine recommended me to read 'Tears of Blood' which is a series of three (now four) books. The books were on sale years (?) ago so I bought them and I finished the first book in the series. The book is fantasy, about a girl that has 'the curse' which is what we call magic. Anyone using magic ends up bleeding tears of blood from their eyes. The story is compelling and an easy read. The chapters are short which is great as you have plenty of natural places to stop your reading. The books are probably aimed at a slightly younger audience, or maybe I am too experienced in general. I picked many of the plot beats early on and thus didn't feel very surprised when they were revealed to be true. The story does not hang on them though, so it didn't ruin the story. I am glad I read it. I will finish the series, I am likely to inter-space it with a few other bits of prose as I want to finish His Dark materials before The Book of Dust comes out. It may be a tall order but I'll give it a shot.

Aurealis 102

Last in my stack of unread issues for this time. It kicked off with 'The Great House Thrippet, Season 246, Episode 12'. It was a re-spin on the '[Truman show]', It had few surprises in it, it was not a re-telling of the Truman show it had different plot points and events, but it felt very much inspired by the old movie. It was followed by 'The Planck Harvest'. This story didn't really appeal to me, I don't know if it was sci-fi or fantasy or something in-between. It was about an old man living on, well, the edge of reality, the edge of forever. It was easy to read but not a story for me. The story section ended with 'Pretty Little Ones'. It was a horror story. I'm not a fan of horror. The story felt ok, but I think my dislike for the genre limited my enjoyment. It was followed by the usual collection of articles and reviews. I always find stuff I want to read when I read through the review section and/or articles and this time was no different. I know, though, that even if I bought the books in question I would not get around to reading them within the next couple of years, so it is better to not read them and just keep them on my 'wish list'.

Aurealis 101

Having taken my time to read both [pro git] and The Prince and the Pauper I had several Aurealis issues piled up. It is a very good problem to have, they always bring joy. After massive issue 100 we are back to the usual 3 stories plus various articles. The issue kicked off with 'A Cold Heart'. It was a good magical realism story. It had dragons and witches and dragon slayers. Coupled with a strong female lead it was a good fast paced read. It didn't really have any huge surprises but a good read nonetheless. It was followed by a hard sci-fi story called 'Carbon Copy'. It was a story about taking identity theft to it's absolute point. Fairly short, felt like the ending suffered a bit, but not too bad at all. The main stories ended with 'A Perfect Assassin'. Again this was a fantasy story. It was middle length (as far as Aurealis stories goes). The story followed two characters where the method of the assassin was unknown. It was good, the character balance was good, the chemistry good. It was not really my usual type of story but it was still good. With the main fiction out of the way the way we turned to the collection of articles. The main takeaway article for me was the 'Dissecting SF: Too Much Gun' which took a look of the use of weapons in sci-fi. It was interesting and I found myself largely agreeing. The gist was that in good sf the weaponry is a prop and not the main item of the story.

The prince and the pauper

by Mark Twain,
This is a classic piece of literature. I am fairly certain I've read bits and pieces of it throughout my years in school. It is a good read. It is classic for a reason. It follows the lives of the prince and the pauper as they swap roles as a jest that turns out to not go as planned. It is enjoyable and even to this day the language has aged well and is easy to read. It deserves the status as a classic and I am happy to recommend it to anyone who wants to read something that is less mainstream and from an era that is now long gone.

Aurealis 100

The magic 100th issue. It is quite impressive for any publication to reach 100 issues. I maintain that they do keep their quality up. This issue was a massive issue. It had once editorial from each of the three editors. It had stories from authors that were in the original first issue all those years ago. It kicked off with 'The Cavity' which was an interesting sci-fi piece about, well, a cavity found in the mantle of the earth. I won't ruin it, but I enjoyed the story. It was written as a series of updates to a wikipedia article which I think enhanced the story telling. Second up was 'Shimmerflowers'. It was a horror/fantasy story. It was good. I can't say much without ruining the story, so I leave it at that. I did enjoy it. It was followed by 'The Mandelbrot bet' which was long step away from the fantasy world of Shimmerflowers. It is a time travelling sci-fi story. It was good, you can tell it was written by someone (Dirk Strasser) that has several books under their belt. It involves a man essentially working out how to time travel. But not the usual soap type story, but more hard sci-fi type story. Following it was 'The Bewitching of Dr Travidian', it was more of a romance story than anything. It was set in the Victorian era. It had a few elements of magic. Overall it was bordering on rude but never stepping over the line. It also had an undercurrent of humour. Even to this day I think of this story on occasion and smile. Still more stories to come, it was a massive issue! Next was 'The Madlock chair'. It was an interesting story about essentially first contact and how easy it is to mess up and cause unintended consequences. It was an easy read, I enjoyed it at the time but the story didn't stay with me. It was followed by 'All we have is us' which was a zombie story. I'm not a huge fan of zombie stories in general, but this story was not focused on the zombie part, they were more an aspect of the environment. The story revolved around a young girl and one of her finds. It was good. I remember the ending felt a bit inconclusive but not terrible. Endings are hard. From zombie stories we went to 'Forest/Trees'. This was more of a hard sci-fi story. It was about nano robots, trees and power (the electrical kind as well as the political kind). It was a good read, albeit I'd say it was a tad too long for the idea. Nonetheless it was worth the time to read it, every word of it. Keeping up with variation it was followed by "Mayfire'. It was a fantasy coming of age story. As always with short stories there is not a whole lot of room to explore all aspects. The story follow a girl that is turning into a woman and without the support of her father struggle with the rituals needed. It was a good story. It is hard to write anything meaningful about short stories as the review is almost certain to give away some important detail. Either way, it was a good read magic, fantastical things yet grounded on things we are used to. That concluded the end of the stories in Aurealis 100. It was followed by a short article about AI and the perils of thereof. The second last piece in the edition (before the usual reviews) was an interview with Dirk Strasser, editor of Aurealis. It was interesting to read. The topic of the interview was the future of Aurealis. The last bit was the usual 'Secret History of Australia' which is amusing to read. I maintain that the quality of Aurealis is really good and that is what has allowed them to go for more than 20 years and hitting that magical 100 issues, the interview covered some of that but also other aspects that you as a subscriber are happily ignorant about.

Pro git

By: Scott Chacon and Ben Straub
I was recommended to read this by another blogger I read . It felt like a good read for someone working on what I work on. The book was ok. It is of course a technical book. It didn't really bring about any news to me, but it was good to get some solid grounding on some of the things. I went in with an open mind reading all the chapters to make sure I had not missed any concepts right from the beginning. The book felt a bit long, to be honest, but I'm glad I persevered. It is a decent book about git.


Category: Writing

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