So the other week I was reading the classic SF novel Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson:
As one might expect, Red Mars is about, yes, Mars, specifically, the human inhabitation and terraforming thereof, beginning with 100 colonists in the year 2026. Hmm. (checks watch) I don’t think we’re going to make it.
So this week—and last week, and the week before that, and the week before that, and for several weeks yet to come—I am reading one of those novels for which the term “doorstopper” was invented: Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace.
A few months ago—before the shelter in place started, but not long before—I started watching The Expanse. This is an adaptation of the science fiction book series of the same name; the first season (mostly) follows the plot of the first book, Leviathan Wakes, which I read last year during my recovery from The Event. I say it “mostly” follows the plot of Leviathan Wakes because it includes characters and subplots I’ve never seen before, which is what’s making me a little reluctant to watch too much of the series just yet, because …
When adaptations are involved, I usually try to read the book before watching the adaptation, so that I can properly position the adaptation somewhere on “the book was better”* spectrum. (By this measure, The Expanse is pretty good.)
So this week I’m continuing my recent spree of reading translated works* with The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu (or Liu Cixin, depending). As you may be able to guess by the author’s name, this is a Chinese science fiction novel.
It’s been quite a while since I reached into my giant pile of rejection letters, so today I spun up random.org and it told me to pick the third letter from the “L” folder. As it turns out, this is a rejection from the magazine The Leading Edge for my short story “Draw”, a science fiction Western, previously excerpted in a Teaser Tuesday.
It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that I watch the Netflix dystopian anthology series Black Mirror regularly, although not frequently, because, seriously, who can stand to binge that much plausible dystopia*? Not me, man. Not me. *shudder*
Anyway, recently I was watching one of the more acclaimed episodes of Black Mirror, “Nosedive”, which is about a woman named Lacie, played by Bryce Dallas Howard (yes, Richie Cunningham’s daughter), who is obsessed with improving her social media ranking. Because, you know, if you don’t have a good enough ranking, you might not be able to get into the apartment complex you want. Or into an exclusive restaurant. Or into the office building where you work. Or … well, you get the idea.
So this week I was reading All the Birds in the Sky, the Nebula and Locus award-winning pre-apocalyptic SF/Fantasy mashup by Charlie Jane Anders, in which a small group of witches goes to war with a small group of techies as each tries to save the world in its own particular idiom, which are, unfortunately, sort of diametrically opposed. Or at least that’s what they think.