prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-06-08 04:57 pm

My @Continuum_con Schedule

It’s Continuum this weekend!

I’ll usually be hanging in the dealers’ room staffing a Worldcon table (come talk to us about Helsinki, Dublin or New Zealand!), but also will be on a few panels:

Friday 6pm: Continuum 101
Friday 7pm: Moderating 101

Saturday 10am: Continuum 101

Sunday 9:30pm: In Defence Of

Monday 9:30am: Pokemon Going

Hope to see you there!

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-04-02 12:45 pm

Book Review – Company Town by Madeline Ashby

Company TownCompany Town by Madeline Ashby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Started off and developed well but I still have no idea what happened in the last few chapters. The ending felt very abrupt and unsatisfactory.

The world building was good, the characters were interesting, the plot seemed to progress quite well, and then it felt like I was reading the end of a different book.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-03-28 10:30 pm

Book Review – The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really getting into this novel, and then it ended.

Well written, great world building, interesting and diverse characters, meaty plot, but it felt like a bit too much set-up for future novels, and not enough resolution for this one.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-03-28 01:05 am

Book Review – The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds

The Iron TacticianThe Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well written but didn’t really grip me. Felt a bit like filler – a brief interlude but no real sense of resolution in a larger arc.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-03-26 08:56 pm

Book Review – Revisionary by Jim C Hines

Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris, #4)Revisionary by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very satisfactory conclusion to the Magic ex Libris series, with logical repercussions to the choices made and developments of the previous novels.

I’m looking forward to Hines’ next work.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-03-19 08:53 pm

Book Review – Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

12 chapters in and I gave up. Too slow and I have no interest in any of the characters this far, nor the mystery that’s supposedly driving the plot.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-03-16 09:32 pm

Book Review – Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Ghost TalkersGhost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting idea that felt somewhat averagely implemented, although I can’t say why. I finished it, but never felt gripped by it.

I think perhaps part of it was the anticipation, Kowal had quite a bit of buzz going with code breaking and other puzzles last year, and I think I just expected … more?

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-02-18 06:08 pm

Book Review – The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

The Winter Long (October Daye, #8)The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time I think McGuire has reached a comfortable plateau, she shakes things up again, this time with a 9 on the Richter Scale. It may sound passe, but this really is the book where everything changes. Don’t start reading unless you’ve got the time to keep reading, ’cause they’re ain’t no putting this down once you’ve started!

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-02-16 12:12 pm

Book Review – Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

Chimes at Midnight (October Daye, #7)Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Toby Daye is back in the seventh instalment of the series, and McGuire cleverly avoids the hero-villain powerup loop while keeping things interesting. As usual we get a little more of the world and characters, with a solid pilot and can’t-put-it-down writing.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-02-13 11:56 am

Book Review – Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

Ashes of Honor (October Daye, #6)Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

McGuire has hit her stride with Toby Daye, each new book consistently good with a lovely balance of plot, world expansion and character development. Each instalment returns us to our beloved heroes and not so beloved villains and the world keeps bruising more and more intricate.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-02-11 01:34 pm

Book Review – One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire

One Salt Sea (October Daye, #5)One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just when you think McGuire’s done her worst, she throws in a kidnapping and you realise no-one is safe.

As well as some cracking plot, this book added some fantastic back story and world building, and is the first, but probably not the last, in the series to get the full five stars.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-02-08 06:29 pm

Book Review – Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

Late Eclipses (October Daye, #4)Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

McGuire is hitting her stride with Toby Daye, and I raced through book four. Aside from a few slight pacing inconsistencies I loved it.

Once again McGuire doesn’t hold back with the emotional twists, and neither the reader nor the characters escape unscathed.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-02-06 04:06 pm

Book Review – An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

An Artificial Night (October Daye, #3)An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book three in McGuire’s Sidhe Urban Fantasy series, and she’s really kicking it into gear.

This was more fantasy than urban, held almost entirely in the Sidhe lands, with no signs of aging. While the plot felt it dragged a little in a couple of places, most of it sped along.

If the series keeps improving at this rate, I’m gonna need a sixth star, in a few books.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2017-02-04 03:03 pm

Book Review – A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

A Local Habitation (October Daye, #2)A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book two in McGuire’s Sidhe Urban Fantasy series.

Once again, Toby is thrown into the slaughterhouse, and somehow survives, solving the mystery along the way.

The hybrid mix of technology and magic has aged a little, which is unsurprising given the novel is 7 years old.

I didn’t find the plot quite as engaging as the first one, and while there were some clever plot twists and character interaction, it wasn’t quite enough for me.

Let’s see how the third in the series goes.

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prk: (Southpark)
2017-02-02 03:00 pm

Book Review – Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1)Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sidhe Urban Fantasy series, doesn’t feel particularly original now, but may have been much more so when it came out in 2009.

Good stable of characters, and a cracking mystery plot, mixed in with enough violence that it Toby ever came face to face with McGuire, there’s going to be a significant reckoning, and I’m not sure who I’d put my money on.

Finished this and started the second one immediately.

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prk: (Southpark)
2017-02-01 05:25 pm

Book Review – The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

The Mirror Empire
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a well written epic fantasy with some fantastic world building (culture, religion, magic & society), and a very interesting inquiry into gender roles and biases.

That said, I personally found it a bit too heavy going for my tastes. I think on a re-read, with some world and character familiarity, I’d appreciate it more and rate it higher, but on a first read it was a bit of a struggle.

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prk: (GeeksRock)
2015-07-26 11:07 am

Worldcon Site Selection Voting

Hey, Aussie SF fans, you may have noticed I’ve been promoting the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid around Swancon, Continuum and in general online. I could write a whole blog post (well, several, actually) about why I think Helsinki should host in 2017 and why I joined the bid, but for now, let’s just look at voting in Worldcon Site Selection. In particular, why I personally think those of us in Australia and New Zealand should vote, even though we may not make it to the winning site.

Why vote in Site Selection:

Worldcon has traditionally been very American. The first was held in New York in 1939, and the sixth was the first to be held outside the US, in Toronto. The 15th, in London, was the first to be held outside North America. If we look at all 74 Worldcons (including MidAmericon2 in Kansas City next year), there have only been 17 outside of the USA (7 in the UK, 4 in Canada, 4 in Australia, 1 in the Netherlands and 1 in Japan). There’s not been a lot of World in Worldcon.

Worldcon locations are voted on by Worldcon members, and unless there’s an uncontested or barely contested bid (such as Aussiecon 4 in 2010 or Loncon3 for 2014) it’s very likely that an American bid will win (eg 2015 where Helsinki polled first, followed by Spokane, and then Orlando, with the Orlando second preferences going mostly to Spokane to have them win).

A lot of Americans will vote for the Worldcon site that’s easiest / cheapest for them to get to – a US or Canadian site. This is entirely understandable from their perspective (hey, I’d love to go to more Worldcons too, but they’re all incredibly expensive if you’re flying internationally, particularly from Australia or New Zealand!) but it perpetuates a lack of World in Worldcon.

2017 is the only year with non US Worldcon bids declared until 2019. If a US bid wins in 2017, there will have been / will be 7 US based Worldcons in eight years (2011 – 2018, with Loncon 3 in 2014 the only non US Worldcon).

Things are starting to look up for non US bids towards the end of this decade though with Dublin bidding for 2019 and New Zealand for 2020. Then there may be a 2023 bid for Paris (it’s in flux) and there’s a bid for Perth, Australia in 2025.

That’s why this year, 2017 is so critical. If we want more World in Worldcon, we need to vote for bids around the world. We need to demonstrate, that even when a US bid goes up against non US bids, it can be beaten, and that US bids should consider bidding for a vacant year, or against other US bids.

Every vote matters – Worldcon bids have won or lost by a bare handful of votes before. Helsinki lost by 35 votes in 2015. Only 35 votes that needed to come from Australia, from New Zealand, from Europe, from Asia.

So, if you want more World in Worldcon. If you want a Helsinki / Nippon / Montreal Worldcon in 2017, or a Dublin Worldcon in 2019, or a New Zealand Worldcon in 2020, or a Paris Worldcon in 2023, or a Perth Worldcon in 2025, then you need to vote in Worldcon Site Selection, each year, even if you can’t make it to the winning site.

How to vote in Worldcon Site Selection:

Voting in Worldcon Site Selection is a four step process.

  1. You need to be a supporting or attending member of the Worldcon holding the vote. For 2017 Site Selection, that’s Sasquan in Spokane. Go buy a supporting membership to Sasquan now, if you don’t already have one. You will be emailed your membership number, and will need this for the next step.
    Bonus: A supporting membership will let you download the Hugo Voting Packet, and vote in the Hugo Awards if you get it before Hugo voting closes on July 31st. It will also let you nominate in the Hugo Awards for 2016.
  2. You need to purchase an Advanced Supporting Membership to the 2017 Worldcon, irrespective of who will win. Once you have your Sasquan membership number, go and purchase the 2017 Advanced Supporting Membership. This will display a voting token on the screen, and email it to you. You’ll need this voting token for the next step.
    Bonus: You will now be a supporting member to whoever wins in 2017, which will include Hugo nominations & voting, and the option to upgrade to an attending membership. You’ll also be able to vote in site-selection in 2017, by paying the Advanced Supporting Membership to 2019.
  3. Download and print the 2017 Site Selection Ballot and fill it in:
    • Fill in your name and address details at the top. SIGN THE BALLOT otherwise it will be invalid.
    • Tick the “I have paid my Worldcon 2017 voting fee on the Sasquan website” and write your voting token there.
    • Preferentially number any / all of the four bids (Helsinki, Nippon, Montreal, DC) or you could include a number for “No Preference” or “None of the Above”.
  4. Scan and email your signed and filled out site selection ballot to: ballot2017siteselection@sasquan.org before midnight, Monday, August 10, 2015, PDT.
    Note: If you don’t have a scanner available, drop me a comment / tweet / email, and if there’s time you can post it me to scan and email.

Congratulations, you’ve voted in Site Selection for 2017, and will also be a supporting member of the 2017 Worldcon (where you’ll get to do it all again for 2019)!

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prk: (Southpark)
2013-11-16 04:12 pm

Book Review – Dark Serpent by Kylie Chan

Dark Serpent
Dark Serpent by Kylie Chan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sent to Wales to investigate what’s happening in the Western Celestial Plane, Emma begins to discover more about her past, only to find she’s not at all welcome in her ancestral homeland.

John is determined to keep Emma safe and fulfil the prophecy to find, raise and marry her, but the Demon King has other plans, and a definite advantage.

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prk: (Southpark)
2013-11-10 01:19 pm

Book Review – Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

Kinslayer
Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Shogun is dead and the Shima Imperium is at risk of civil war. Regrouping from their victory, the Kage are under threat of a new Shogun heir, backed by the Lotus Guild, who wants nothing more than to kill Yukiko and destroy all the Kage.

Meanwhile, Yukiko is suffering from the Kenning, the ability that lets her bond with Buruu the thunder tiger, and is beginning to lose control of it, with catastrophic consequences for all around her. Heading North in search of knowledge on the Kenning, Yukiko and Buruu find themselves trapped by the bloody past, while conflict between the Shogun heir and Kage looms.

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prk: (Southpark)
2013-11-09 02:22 pm

Book Review – A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan

A Crucible of Souls
A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raised by monks after the death of his family in a suspicious fire, Caldan receives an excellent education and magical training. Upon reaching adulthood he leaves the monastery to make his own way, and try and find out who his family was, and who he really is.

Life in Anasoma is nothing that Caldan’s sheltered upbringing prepared him for, and he soon finds himself homeless and penniless. In desperation he seeks and gains an apprenticeship with the Sorcerer’s Guild, despite being several years older than the rest of the apprentices.

While Caldan begins to settle down into his new life, make friends and investigate the mystery of his parents, an ancient evil is stirring, and soon will lay siege to Anasoma, once again throwing Caldan into the middle of chaos.

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