Jan. 5th, 2016

My 2015 recommendations for reading, listening, & viewing; plus, authors' upcoming releases

For those of you who don't follow me regularly, I mostly read older fiction (late nineteenth century to mid twentieth century), historical fiction, historical speculative fiction (historical fantasy, etc.), juvenile fiction, and various types of gay fiction (especially original slash). But sometimes I read other stuff too.


Older writings )
Current fiction )
Blogs )
Podcasts )
Videos/TV/film (no spoilers) )

Do you folks know of any stories etc. to recommend?

Nov. 27th, 2011

Recommended books and videos for 2011

BOOKS

My top pick of the year: Ursula K. Le Guin's Annals of the Western Shore: Gifts (disabilityfic), Voices (warfic), and Powers (slavefic). Three historical fantasy novels about young people struggling to come to terms with the responsibility of their special skills. Special kudos to Kelly Eismann for the terrific cover art. (Though I gather that the third cover had to be changed, after the publishers issued a readers' copy in which the dark-skinned protagonist was depicted on the cover as white. Jeez, don't publishers ever learn?)

See also my Goodreads reviews.


VIDEOS

Game of Thrones (linking to a fan-made trailer that is much better than the official trailer). So much for the theory that, if you're going to translate books to the screen, you can't be faithful to the original. I wasn't sure whether this HBO TV series would live up to the high standards of its main title sequence (which won an Emmy), but I was happy to be proved wrong. The series has gorgeous sets (far too clean for the Middle Ages, but I'll gladly overlook that), wonderful acting (especially by Emmy-winning Peter Dinklage playing Lord Tyrion, as demonstrated in this scene in which he spends time with his prostitute and his personal guard), and is remarkably faithful to George R. R. Martin's medieval fantasy novels. Unfortunately, that means the onscreen violence is brutally graphic. This being America, the reviewers complained instead about the onscreen sex. In fact, that's all that the reviewers seem to want to talk about, but amidst the bloodiness and the bareness, the series depicts fascinating emotional interactions. (See also the terrific episode guide at the amazing fan site Westeros, which gives a detailed comparison between the TV episodes and the corresponding chapters in the novels. The first season is available on disc, and maybe HBO has it available on demand, but I wouldn't know.)

Doctor Who: The Doctor's Wife, scripted by Neil Gaiman. You don't need any prior knowledge of the series; the story is a stand-alone. This episode must have been a major headache for BBC to publicize, because the minute you give the slightest hint of the main storyline, you've plopped down a major spoiler. That's why the clip I link to doesn't reveal the main storyline. All I will say about the main storyline is: This is what happens when fanon becomes canon. The plot is incredibly fanficcy. (Available at iTunes, on disc, and next year at Netflix.)

9/11. A documentary that incorporates the only film footage taken from inside the World Trade Center during the attack. Back in 2002, I heard the acclaim for this movie about a fire department that was the first to respond after the attack, but nine years passed before I got up the courage to watch the documentary (on the week of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, by sheer coincidence). It turned out to a skillfully edited and emotionally moving film about brotherly love. (Available at iTunes and on disc.)

The Age of Stupid. Let me put it this way: One of my novel series has an eco-crisis subplot. By the time I was through watching this film about an archivist from 2055 looking back on the events of today that will affect the future of our world, I wasn't sure whether civilization will last long enough for me to finish my series. A chilling movie. (Available on disc, at iTunes, and for download at the film-makers' site - and they let you choose your price based on whether you're rich or poor!)

Aug. 24th, 2008

Recommended Writings, Films, and Websites: 2007-8

I'd better do this according to school year rather than calendar year, since my eyes won't be in shape to do links-chasing in January. These are works that I discovered or rediscovered during the past year that I was especially impressed by.

Read more... )

May 2017

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