A dear friend of mine sent me off on a wonderful Tolkien tangent last week when she replied to my Podcast Pickup post and directed me to the Prancing Pony Podcast. I quickly scanned the last half dozen posted episodes and settled on #038, also entitled “I Will Choose Free Will” – which immediately gave me a Rush earworm. Not one to be daunted by a nearly two hour podcast (we are dealing with ‘epic’ fantasy here), I gave a listen to the ongoing discussion of The Silmarillion, specifically Chapter 21 and Túrin Turambar. I pulled out my ebook edition and quickly skimmed Chapter 21 to remind myself of the story. I really enjoyed the insights and the banter of the hosts. It took me several days to completely listen to the episode, but by the end I was hooked and a plan began to form in my mind.
I have read The Silmarillion at least three times, possibly four. My first attempt occurred in high school, followed by a reread during college. I probably pulled it out for a third reread in the 90s, but with two young kids, I doubt I succeeded a complete journey. The most recent rereading took a different tack wherein I switched to an audiobook edition, the one read by Martin Shaw. I adore English voice actors so I had no trouble listening to the entire book twice, in 2010 and again in early 2013.
Having been impressed with the podcast above, my plan now is to begin at the beginning, to rewind back to episode #001, “In Defense of Fantasy” originally released in February 2016. I’ve requested the recommended reading from my local library (the biography by Carpenter and Tree and Leaf by Tolkien). I already own the ebook editions of Tolkien’s letters.
I am not going to rush this journey. The road goes ever on, as any Tolkien fan knows. I will indulge myself as the fancy takes me, betwixt and between my other reading and listening projects. I will consider this an ongoing and long running blog posting series and please remember that “Not all those who wander are lost.”
The stars have aligned recently in my personal universe allowing me to enjoy audio podcasts once again. Years ago, I used to listen to them via my laptop, a web site or perhaps my Palm Pilot (yeah, remember those)? I never owned an iPod but my children had a couple. I liked the concept, but for the most part I preferred listening to audiobooks (and still do for the most part).
I’m a Patreon supporter of an author (Kameron Hurley), who recently started producing podcasts on a monthly basis. Rather than download yet another application to my smartphone, I decided to use an existing installed app to listen to her podcasts. I downloaded the audio file and placed it in my audiobooks folder so that my Smart Audiobook Player app would pick it up automatically. It found the new file and I was able to listen to it through my Bluetooth headset and through my new car’s stereo system while commuting. I’ve listened to both episodes and enjoyed them both (although I do warn you that profanity is prolific). I even submitted a question for a future podcast to her. Kameron has made the podcasts available to everyone via her website at this URL: http://www.kameronhurley.com/podcast/
This listening experience reminded me that there are other podcasts to be discovered. I did some searches for best podcasts of the last couple of years for science fiction and fantasy. I found two that seemed to fit my bill: Sword and Laser and Wired’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (GGG). I subscribed to both of them and downloaded the most recent episodes to my Google Music app.
Continue reading “Podcast Pickup”
My uncle recently read and reviewed the late Robert Pirsig’s seminal Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I’ve added this book to my ever growing list of philosophy-related to-be-read pile. For more of Ron’s insightful review, please proceed to his blog via the link below:
Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig Five Stars “We are all of us very arrogant and conceited about running down other people’s ghosts but just as ignorant and barbaric and superstitious about our own.” I wish I read this book forty years ago. Instead […]
via Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig (Five Stars) — As a Matter of Fancy
Goodreads Synopsis: An instructive and entertaining book that addresses basic life questions. Relating numerous personal anecdotes, incorporating, intriguing material from the films of Woody Allen and the journals of Leo Tolstoy, and using the writings of the seventeenth-century genius Blaise Pascal as a central guide, Morris explores the nature of faith, reason, and the meaning of life. His lucid reflections provide fresh, fertile insights and perspectives for any thoughtful person journeying through life.
Read the week of May 7, 2017 by the grace of one of the wonders of the modern world: Interlibrary Loan
Morris did an excellent job of pulling together Pascal’s Thoughts and presenting powerful arguments in support of his famous Wager. For me, it ended up being a reaffirmation of my personal faith, a honing of my reasoning and renewed focus on my life’s purpose and direction. This is the first of many tangential reads I’ll be undertaking as a direct result of my Brain Upgrade Project, the first phase of which wrapped up last week when I took my final in Philosophy.
Tweeted excerpts gleaned while reading:
Continue reading “You Bet Your Life”
Similar to my previous post, I’ll be updating this one as I get a chance to watch the finalist in both of these categories. Long Form is going to be my most difficult ranking of any of the Hugo finalists. I currently have a three-way tie in my mind between Arrival, Rogue One and Stranger Things. And I have yet to actually watch Hidden Figures!
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
1733 ballots cast for 206 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 240 to 1030.
- Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films) – Watched opening weekend and purchased the movie; loved it
- Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment) – Watched via Dish Network free weekend for one of the premium movie channels; liked it
- Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company) – Watched via Starz streaming app through my subscription; liked it
- Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment) – Watched 5/17/2017; loved it
- Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures) – Watched opening weekend and again after I purchased the movie; loved it
- Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre) – Watched via Netflix streaming; loved it
Continue reading “Watching the Hugo Finalists for 2017”
For the next two months (plus a week or so), I’ll be reading the following, except where indicated (as in I’ve already read the item or have no plan to do so). I will keep updating this post as I finish reading these finalists.
2078 ballots cast for 652 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 156 to 480.
- All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books) – Read 01/15/2017; liked it
- A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US) – Read 10/29/2016; loved it
- Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus) – Probably won’t be able to read this one because I haven’t read the second one in the series.
- Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books) – Read 5/19/2017; liked it
- The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books) – Read 11/23/2016; liked it
- Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books) – Might not have time to read this one but it’s in the Current Month queue
1410 ballots cast for 187 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 167 to 511.
- The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle (Tor.com publishing) – Read 03/29/2017, liked it
- The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson (Tor.com publishing) – Read 06/04/2017, liked it
- Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing) – Read 12/3/2016; liked it
- Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency) – in Current Month queue
- A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com publishing) – in Current Month queue
- This Census-Taker, by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador) – Read 5/23/2017; completely unsure of whether I liked it or not
Continue reading “Reading the Hugo Finalists for 2017”