I went to my favorite SF con this weekend, CONvergence. As usual, it was fantastic. I was Aeryn Sun for one day, and I think I’ll have to bring the costume back next year.
I also did a panel on Martial Arts for the Working Writer, sitting next to Lyda Morehouse, who is a hoot and a half. I’ll see if I can do more paneling on the same subject next year. It depends on who I can round up to be on it.
I also have been doing a lot of reading. I plunged into a few Cat Valente novellas and came out feeling like I could converse in poetry. Her work is so dense, as though all the colors and emotions and references are all boiled down to their thickest, most complex of reductions. I feel more like I’ve played a movie in my head, rather than read a story.
And to move on to an other still amazing and yet completely different, we have John Scalzi, and my second read by him, Old Man’s War. The first of his books I read was The God Engines, and thus I was resistant to reading anything else by him as a result. Not that I didn’t like TGE – in fact, I loved it intensely. My reticence came from John’s own admission that TGE was like nothing he’d ever written before, and he would likely never write anything like it again. Cue my personal sadface.
At any rate, I finally uncrossed my arms and decided to try one of his other novels once all the hype about Redshirts started hitting my news feed. I felt like I would probably enjoy that book, but I’m a bit of a completist and would prefer to start at the beginning. Thus, Scalzi’s first novel, Old Man’s War.
First, as one might expect, I am well and truly happy that I decided to try OMW. It’s simply fantastic. I enjoy Scalzi’s snarky sense of humor (I wonder if that inability to be serious when nervous is a trait shared by all his main characters.), and the prose flows easily. My best friend called him one of the least poetic writers she’d ever read, and yet she still loves his work. I think I agree, though lack of poetry does not equal lack of imagery. The alien species in particular are described very well, and are wonderfully unearthly. I especially liked the scene in which our main character John Perry is fighting inch-tall fairy-like beings by stomping on them, then has a breakdown. It’s farcical and sobering at the same time, and the tension between the two makes the scene even more affecting.
Beyond a doubt, my favorite bit was when Perry cups a certain cheek (it would spoil too much if I said more) and says “Thank you”. A straight arrow to the heart, for me.
I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of Scalzi’s books in this universe. And also Redshirts, since I’m a geek and my heels are no longer digging in against it.