And so August has come to an end. Below the cut all the things I read/played this past month that wasn’t online fiction! Of which I read tons to try and catch up only to fall behind again. >> You’ll get a proper goals post later as I am tired and still need to write it up. This just required checking it over to make sure I didn’t forget anything. Yay being organised enough to add it all!
What I’ve Read
Beyond Binary edited by Brit Mandelo: I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this anthology. There’s a lot I like about it and I’m happy to recommend it to people interested in stories featuring QUILTBAG characters and protagonists. But, as an asexual reader, I was sorely disappointed to find that the asexual-oriented stories in this anthology followed its theme instead of its spirit. (Short version: The asexual-oriented stories make me feel excluded precisely because I’m asexual, even as/though I acknowledge that they capture valid experiences, others may feel differently, and one of them was by far my favourite story from the whole anthology.) I hope there’ll be another anthology that addresses my concerns along with the ones Mandelo expressed in the introduction!
Captive Girl by Jennifer Pelland: A terribly uncomfortable read for me, but also a thought-provoking one. Pelland’s work seems to accomplish that for me. It’s not a story I can see myself revisiting, but it’s one I’m grateful to have read for the way it made me think.
Cast in Moonlight by Michelle Sagara: I picked this up as an introduction to the main series and I am intrigued. It’s a little rough in places (I don’t normally feel the need to backtrack looking for whole paragraphs I accidentally skipped over) and I feel another round of polish and reworking would have made it stronger, but it’s a solid read all the same. It did what I bought it to do and I’m looking forward to when I get to start on the series as a whole.
Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King: I wish there’d been a bit more detail in some parts of the book as I felt I often lacked the background necessary to fill in what King had left out and I could have enjoyed it a lot more than I ultimately did. I loved the way King mixes up written and oral storytelling and blends mythologies together. I’m not sure the way it all comes together in the end worked for me, but that’s probably more because postmodernism/magical realism doesn’t quite mesh with me in general anyway.
Madam Fate by Marcia Douglas: I… don’t know what to say about this book. I do know that I didn’t get as much out of it as I could, in large part because to do so I’d have to reread it several times and more slowly than I’m comfortable doing. (If that doesn’t really make sense, think of it as almost 260-paged prose poem with every word and image and association carefully chosen and deserving of reflection.) It’s magical realism and it’s utterly gorgeous. Difficult and liable to make people bounce off it if they don’t want to invest the time and energy to get to the heart of it, but beautiful and worth the effort, even if, like me, you only scratch at the very surface before moving on.
Namma by Kate Karko: I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to talk about this. I’m certainly not qualified to talk about accuracy in any way, but I did like this. I wish it’d had more details of day-to-day living and a deeper exploration of the differences in worldview, but perhaps that’s just me. It’s heart-breaking in places and heart-warming in others.
The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry: Not at all what I was expecting. Interesting and Fry has come closer than anyone to explaining metre in a way that I actually understand (from a technical angle; I make no comment on my understanding from a practical angle), but the book and I never really clicked. It’s a decent-to-good introduction to various forms, but it just felt like something was lacking to make it stand out for me.
A Rosary of Stones and Thorns by M.C.A. Hogarth: I think this is easily the most torn I’ve ever been on one of Hogarth’s works. Parts of this resonate very deeply with me and parts of it don’t and I struggle with finding the words. Both of those parts are deeply personal to me and don’t reflect on the book as a whole, which I do want to recommend to people because it’s lovely. It’s very gentle and kind. I believe Hogarth has used the word ‘sincere’ to describe it and it’s that too. It’s a very honest story. I wouldn’t recommend starting to explore
What I’m in the Middle of Reading
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler: So far, I am not clicking with this story to the point where I’m worried I’m avoiding it, but I do want to give it a fair try. I’ve read both Kindred and Fledgling before and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I could do without Doro’s pov, though. I really, really could. I’d probably struggle less if I didn’t have to read Doro’s pov.
What I’ve Played
(Okay, I think, technically, to be accurate, this section should be “What I’ve Been Playing”, but hey. Tune in next month to see if I go ahead and make that chance! Meanwhile, opinions welcome and encouraged.)
The Bard’s Tale: The 2004 remake that is. We did not click. I was expecting that to some extent, what with the male protagonist and the whole — Well, here, have a link to a trailer and see for yourself. I was hoping the parodying and the humour would sit better than it’s actually sitting, but it’s not. I do like the way it keeps breaking the fourth wall, though, but I had serious doubts whether I want to return to it, which is usually a very bad sign with me. (And I actually wanted/got it for the original trilogy anyhow. Which I haven’t taken much of a stab at yet since I died within five minutes of setting up a party. Old games require you to actually read the manual. I forgot that bit.)
Heroes Chronicles 4: Clash of the Dragons: I am total fail at the Heroes franchise and, I admit, I’m only playing these for the storyline rather than the gameplay. Growing up, I never got a chance to play the Chronicles releases and, along with M&M1 and 2, they’re the only games in the story line pre-HoMM4/M&M9 that I haven’t played through at least once. So I’m actually treating this more as interactive fiction than a game at present. ^-^; (If you look it up and find it sounds interesting, do yourself a favour and buy HoMM3 complete with expansion packs instead; Chronicles is a pared down version of the HoMM3 engine. So far, I’d only recommend it if you’re a completionist.)
UFO: Aftermath: YES! I bested it! (Granted, it was on easy, but still.) I ACTUALLY BESTED A STRATEGY GAME ALL BY MYSELF. That was tough, though. I think the developers and I have a different interpretation of ‘easy’. But I got there and I triumphed and it was good and fun and awesome and now I will attempt to never play it again because oh the frustration of some of those missions.