ellestra: (cosima)
Today in bizarre American date writing system is 3.14 which makes it Pi Day (3.1416 is a rounding of Pi). It's a day to celebrate it, admire its many graphical representations, write "pi-kus" and "piems". Happy Pi Day.

Today ExoMars mission has successfully launched. It's an European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos mission to hunt for signs of alien life on the Red Planet. The mission’s 2016 phase includes a Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) that’ll search for methane and other compounds of possible biological origin in Mars’ lower atmosphere, and a Schiaparelli entry, descent, and landing module, which will demonstrate complex landing technology for a larger, ground-based ExoMars rover slated to ship off in 2018. Already on Mars Curiosity is switching to a new mission. It's going to look for signs of life too.

Today is also the day when we are only month away from new Orphan Black episode (it's going to be on Thursdays now) and we have a new trailer.
ellestra: (tiger)
So I have some awards to catch up on.

The Nebulas' nominations for last year were announced last week. As they are voted by professionals they are not subject to internet ballot stuffing as Hugos were and it shows. The only thing I miss is The Man in the High Castle for the Ray Bradbury Award but this was a good year for SF&F and that includes screen version and you cannot nominate everything. I'm happy for Nimona - a graphic novel - to be nominated for Andre Norton Award.

Novel
Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

Novella
Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
The Bone Swans of Amandale, C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
The New Mother, Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn, Usman T. Malik (Tor.com 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
Waters of Versailles, Kelly Robson (Tor.com 6/10/15)

Novelette
Rattlesnakes and Men, Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead, Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds, Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society, Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
The Deepwater Bride, Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
Our Lady of the Open Road, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story
Madeleine, Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
Cat Pictures Please, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
Damage, David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
When Your Child Strays From God, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
Today I Am Paul, Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)

•••

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt


Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

The other awards that just announced nominees are the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards. I never really got into horror so I can't really say anything about any of those but it's interesting to see self-published entries in both novel categories. It also looks like Alyssa Wong's Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers might be the it short story this year. And I like how the categories are all Superior Achievements.


Superior Achievement in a Novel
Clive Barker – The Scarlet Gospels (St. Martin’s Press)
Michaelbrent Collings – The Deep (self-published)
JG Faherty – The Cure (Samhain Publishing)
Patrick Freivald – Black Tide (JournalStone Publishing)
Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Courtney Alameda – Shutter (Feiwel & Friends)
Nicole Cushing – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)
Brian Kirk – We Are Monsters (Samhain Publishing)
John McIlveen – Hannahwhere (Crossroad Press)
John Claude Smith – Riding the Centipede (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Jennifer Brozek – Never Let Me Sleep (Permuted Press)
Michaelbrent Collings – The Ridealong (self-published)
John Dixon – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
Tonya Hurley – Hallowed (Simon & Schuster)
Maureen Johnson – The Shadow Cabinet (Penguin)
Ian Welke – End Times at Ridgemont High (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Cullen Bunn – Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints (Dark Horse Comics)
Victor Gischler – Hellbound (Dark Horse Books)
Robert Kirkman – Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him (Image Comics)
Scott Snyder – Wytches, Vol. 1 (Image Comics)
Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Gary A. Braunbeck – Paper Cuts (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)
Lisa Mannetti – The Box Jumper (Smart Rhino Publications)
Norman Partridge – Special Collections (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)
Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)
Scott Edelman – Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen (Dark Discoveries #30)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Kate Jonez – All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck (Black Static #47)
Gene O’Neill – The Algernon Effect (White Noise Press)
John Palisano – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)
Damien Angelica Walters – Sing Me Your Scars (Sing Me Your Scars) (Apex Publications)
Alyssa Wong – Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers (Nightmare Magazine #37)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins – Crimson Peak (Legendary Pictures)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: And Hell Itself My Only Foe (Showtime)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Nightcomers (Showtime)
David Robert Mitchell – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)
Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement – What We Do in the Shadows (Unison Films)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)
Ellen Datlow – The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls (Tor Books)
Christopher Golden – Seize the Night (Gallery Books)
Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles – nEvermore! (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
Jonathan Maberry – The X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing)
Joseph Nassise and Del Howison – Midian Unmade (Tor Books)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Gary A. Braunbeck – Halfway Down the Stairs (JournalStone Publishing)
Nicole Cushing – The Mirrors (Cycatrix Press)
Taylor Grant – The Dark at the End of the Tunnel (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Gene O’Neill – The Hitchhiking Effect (Dark Renaissance Books)
Lucy A. Snyder – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Justin Everett and Jeffrey H. Shanks (ed.) – The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
Stephen Jones – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
Michael Knost – Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth (Seventh Star Press)
Joe Mynhardt & Emma Audsley (editors) – Horror 201: The Silver Scream (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Danel Olson – Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (Centipede Press)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Bruce Boston – Resonance Dark and Light (Eldritch Press)
Alessandro Manzetti – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Ann Schwader – Dark Energies (P’rea Press)
Marge Simon – Naughty Ladies (Eldritch Press)
Stephanie M. Wytovich – An Exorcism of Angels (Raw Dog Screaming Press)


Also announced - the nominations for Philip K. Dick Awards. Here's the shortlist:

Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper (Pyr)
After the Saucers Landed by Douglas Lain (Night Shade Books)
(R)evolution by PJ Manney (47North)
Apex by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books)
Windswept by Adam Rakunas (Angry Robot Books)
Archangel by Marguerite Reed (Arche Press)

There seems to be a trend for one word titles.


And finally - today Oscar winners were announced. They look mostly very predictable - Mad Max: The Fury Road swept the more technical, behind the scenes categories (I was very happy for Ex Machina to get the visual effects) and most of the big ones went to the most likely choices. Except for the Best Picture. It felt nice to be surprised and for me anything was a better choice than The Revenant. But all the documents were great and I was so happy for Chileans.
ellestra: (tiger)
So the real winter storm is here. The temperature today is not going to go above freezing (and feel even colder) and the precipitation started with snow but is to become snow with rain. Freezing rain. Which means that once again it's time for me to attempt flying out of this place. I feel like every time I'm going on any meeting in winter the weather decides to just got to crap. Two years ago I didn't fly to San Francisco because of snowstorm that grounded all the planes and made people leave their cars everywhere including middle of the road (or the ditch if that's where they stopped). Last year I managed to slip by in between two bout of winter. The planes were grounded before and after. I risked braking my legs to walk up and down the hill to get to the taxi (first one got stuck in that valley) but I got to the airport. I flew leaving the coldest weather that happened that year behind me and spent the 3 days in SF safe from the cold. This time the hardest part might be getting to airport through that freezing rain but if I manage to fly out I should be good. Of course if my plane manges to get here in the first place - it might be flying from somewhere worse affected and get stuck in there. That's how I spent few hours extra in Toronto last year.

Here it eventually should turn into snow and this whole thing is supposed to last all the way through Saturday. It should look very pretty so I'm a little sad I'm going to miss it - who knows if there is going to be another snow - but it also can shut off the electricity and that'd be no fun. I'd be happy to miss that.
ellestra: (winged)
Between terrorist attacks and cancer this was a depressing week.

I just opened the news and there was another attack today. This time in Burkina Faso with 20 people dead and burning buildings but at least over 30 people were rescued by police forces. Yesterday, it was Istanbul in the historic district and targeted German tourists and planned by Russian nationals. And two days ago Jakarta where luckily only 2 people died. The reports said it was rushed and poorly organised because Indonesian police was closing on them and they didn't have time to plan it properly. And the week started with the bombings in Iraq. All of these are connected to Daesh.

Of course there is no real comparison between this and cancer.

Terrorist attacks are made of the belief that your truth is so much more important that anyone else's that you will make them listen no matter what. Sometimes it's because of helplessness and lack of hope. But most of the time it's malice and treating other people as disposable. If they don't believe in your truth then they deserve to die. This self-importance and feeling that you are more right and therefore justified is not unique to those who explode themselves to kill others or shoot at crowds but not everyone goes to this extreme. In a way this is why everyone just rolls their eyes (and sends dildos) to the guys in Oregon. We all wish all terrorist would seclude themselves in frozen wilderness.

Cancer kills way more people. It happens everyday, all around us as people die of cancer, often in great pain, so we erase that fact from our minds to be able to live our lives. Until it's someone we know. Family, friends, celebrities who impacted our lives. And then the feeling of helplessness comes back. And fear - who else will be lost (us, maybe?). For most of us terrorist, while scary is a far away problem except of course where terror is an everyday occurrence but thankfully that's still small fragment of the world). For most people terrorist attack is random and unlikely like earthquakes or tornadoes. Cancer is real and close. I'm sure you all have a list in your head of those lost. My grandfather's tumour was not malignant and for a while it seemed like it could be OK. My aunt's was like Bowie's and Rickman's of internal organs so deep in the abdomen that by the time it started giving symptoms it was already too late. I feel like besides breast/prostate check we should all have regular abdomen ultrasounds. Maybe at least some of those would get noticed when there is still time.

Maybe then we will have a little more moments spent together. Some more songs. Few more movies.

Tributes can wait (it's not like The Simpsons are ending any time soon)
ellestra: (galavant)
I' not big on Award Shows. I had Galavant to watch today and Downton Abbey and The Good Wife is back (it's still funny to see Gwynne morph into Daisy and Allan Cummings announce show competing with his own). But I did look up the results and I'm positively surprised by the love the Golden Globes voters have shown to Mr. Robot and The Martian. But none of this makes me even slightly interested in seeing The Revenant (it's just not a movie find interesting at all). Also YAY for Taraji.

To go back to the important stuff.


No one clarifies murder like Madalena. But the “wedding plan, evil plot and colour scheme” guy is doing real good. I’m afraid this mind control will end up with the same scene as Madalena’s rescue. Isabella will tell Galavant she wants to marry cousin Harry. But Madalena was doing it for money and power and Isabella because of magic. However, Madalena learnt from her roast was that she has feelings. She aspired to emulate their cruelty all her life and when she finally though she made it they crushed her spirits. Show the commoner she is not one of them (they made me almost feel bad for Madalena and she is pretty evil and loves it). Good Gareth was there to lift her mood with some ear(ings).

It’s nice Galavant tried to set Richard and Bobby up after his big break up with Gareth but we all know Gareth still dreams of Richard. Too bad it’s nightmares. He feels guilty about taking his crown. And he misses hugs. Awwwww…

King Richard’s land (which shouldn’t really be called that any more, should it?) is now a real Democracy. Just like Greeks (or American funding fathers) intended - for rich, straight, white men only. At least they are not going to get themselves into pointless foreign wars, right?

Life was just too good in Hortensia for Gwynne and Vincenzo. Those clothes are way more colourful than the ones at Downton. And there’s so much more sun than in Yorkshire. It's hard to switch. It's also sad because the two of them were the only ones who noticed what was going on with Isabella and had an idea why.


On The Good Wife Alicia not giving a fuck was the beautiful and I loved her reaction to Eli confession (the calm sorting of the plates killed).

Also watching Sherlock special again made me realise how many similar ideas to the last season of Doctor Who are in it. It might be good that Moffat is starting to look for someone to take over Doctor Who. I don't dislike him like some corners of the web do but I think change could be good for everyone.
ellestra: (root and shaw)
I wrote about the things I'm waiting most for this year but that was just the things I could remember from the top of my head. But now io9 (or should I say gizmodo?) has complied both the list of genre (and genre-adjacent) films and the TV series (at least for the first half) coming this year. I completely forgot Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was coming out next month and I had no idea there is going to be The Little Prince film. It also reminded me I wanted to see Lucifer and maybe also Damien (devil is all the rage now on TV) and how much I love The 100 (I though it'd be a forgettable teen series but it turned out awesome and I can't wait to see what Errica Cerra is up too). Oh, and there's a X-Men TV series coming form Fox some time - Legion.

May 2016

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