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Rusty’s Reading List 2018

February 24, 2018
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Autonomous

 

One effect of my gig with Arc Poetry Magazine is that I am reading a lot of great poetry.
Another effect is that I am not reading much of anything else.
Thankfully I was gifted this interesting novel by Amal El-Mohtar. (That is, Amal gifted it, not that it is a novel by her. We are waiting for that.)

There is a lot to like about this novel. It really delves into some ideas about sentience and ownership, which invariably leads to ideas about free will. The inclusion of human-robot sex, which I will admit I found jarring at first, really came around when you started seeing the differing attitudes towards it from the ‘bots. It made you question what you were reading in the previous scenes. Well done.

Once you accept the idea that these robots have true sentience and free will, you have to start questioning it when you realize that their behaviour is modified at will by programs installed. When a robot falls in love with ‘her’ (gender is one of the many thing that are questioned as preconceived fallacies when it comes to A.I.) master (and yes, that word use is intentional), we have to question whether that is real or indicated by programming.

It isn’t to say that this book is flawless. I found it really fell short in the visual department. I never felt like I knew where they were, visually, despite most of the book being set in Canadian cities. I also never got a good idea of what characters looked like. My mental picture of what a combat robot would look like made the scenes where she had sex more puzzling than anything else. Obviously my notions were incorrect, but if there was anything in the book to give me a better understanding, I missed it.

Also, the main plot involved drug piracy and I am pretty sure we were supposed to see parallels between patent law and indentured slaves (both human and robot), but I found that she didn’t do a great job showing why it was bad for drug patents to exist. (And I would tend to agree with the politics on that, so it wasn’t my mind resisting the idea.) Without that connection, the main plot was not that compelling.

Newitz DID do a good job showing corrupt corporations, but that is like shooting fish in a barrel.

The book rides on the strength of the robot A.I. concepts, but it does that VERY well.

Very much worth reading. I could certainly see reading it again.

 

Books Read in 2018

Autonomous – Annalee Newitz
The Malahat Review #200
Fables Vol. 5 – The Mean Seasons (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Akina / Palmiotti)
Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers (Willingham / Buckingham / Hamilton / Leioloha / Russell)
Fables Vol. 3 – Storybook Love (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 2 – Animal Farm (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 1 – Legends in Exile (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)

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Rusty’s Reading List 2018

January 20, 2018
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MR 200 cover

The Malahat Review is a well regarding poetry journal published out o the University of Victoria and this was their 50th anniversary issue.
Even though I have never had anything to do with the journal (other than an occasional reader), it seems we are connected in some way as I am also from Victoria and I am about to turn 50 as well.
Just sayin’.

This issue focused on Victoria – not always as subject but as source for the material, even back to work by Emily Carr. Most of it was a little newer that that, of course. My favourites in this issue were probably Yvonne Blomer, P.K. Page, and Janet Rogers.

 

Books Read in 2018

The Malahat Review #200
Fables Vol. 5 – The Mean Seasons (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Akina / Palmiotti)
Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers (Willingham / Buckingham / Hamilton / Leioloha / Russell)
Fables Vol. 3 – Storybook Love (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 2 – Animal Farm (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 1 – Legends in Exile (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)


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Rusty’s Reading List 2018

January 7, 2018
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FablesVol5

This is the new volume I just picked up and it started out pretty badly. The two Tony Akins illustrated issues are a far cry from the usual Mark Buckingham fare. In addition, Cindarella – who I quite like as a character later – was just awful in the issue where it is revealed that she is a spy. If I had read this before the later issues, I probably would not have looked forward to the mini quite so much.
Luckily I didn’t.
When they get back to the mains tory and the election, things get better.
The issues surrounding Snow’s ‘litter’ are quite good. The bit with the young Zephyr promises more than it delivers, as memory serves.

 

Books Read in 2018

Fables Vol. 5 – The Mean Seasons (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Akina / Palmiotti)
Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers (Willingham / Buckingham / Hamilton / Leioloha / Russell)
Fables Vol. 3 – Storybook Love (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 2 – Animal Farm (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 1 – Legends in Exile (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)


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Rusty’s Reading List 2018

January 7, 2018
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Fables Book 4

My Fables re-read continues. This is where I try to be fair. The re-read has been marked with the number of times Bill Willingham uses the venue to push his hard right agenda.
Well, if I am willing to say that (which I am), I also have to accept when the opposite happens.
There is a section of the book that comes out on the side of gun control. That surprised me.
Of course there is also an anti-abortion screed and a section where Prince Charming is running for election, offering some quite reasonable promises that Willingham is slanting to make it look like he is offering Christmas-land. (Which in this comic, could literally be true.)
Sigh.
I really like this book… I really do. It is unfortunate that Willingham’s politics get in the way so much.

Books Read in 2018

Fables Vol. 3 – March of the Wooden Soldiers (Willingham / Buckingham / Hamilton / Leioloha / Russell)
Fables Vol. 3 – Storybook Love (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 2 – Animal Farm (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 1 – Legends in Exile (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)


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Rusty’s Reading List 2018

January 5, 2018
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Fables Book 3

I think I like this volume more than the previous two. It is multiple stories rather than a single one. It is more or less devoid go Willingham’s brand of conservative bias (or at least less obvious). Mark Buckingham is really coming into his own here, with the page frames shining through.
There is even a guest artist issue by Linda Medley! (I prefer Bucky for Fables, but if you need a guest, it is nice when it is someone you also like.)

 

Books Read in 2018

Fables Vol. 3 – Storybook Love (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 2 – Animal Farm (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 1 – Legends in Exile (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)


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Rusty’s Reading List 2018

January 5, 2018
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Fables-book2

Continuing my Fables re-read, this is where Mark Buckingham becomes the regular artist. Once again, reading the book is still goos – still entertaining… but it is also where you can really watch Willingham’s world view push through. The fact that the inhabitants of the Farm are right is completely pushed behind the over-the-top warped look at ‘revolutionaries’. Goldilocks is a caricature. An amusing one, yes, but still a caricature. The thing I find interesting is that the uprising is shown to be wrong because they execute those who stand against them… which the government non-chalantly does as well, but the idea that they are also in the wrong is never explored. Snow accepts the idea that her sister will also be executed like it is just a given. They even replace the pigs without a single person questioning their authority to kill their predecessors.

 

Books Read in 2018

Fables Vol. 2 – Animal Farm (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 1 – Legends in Exile (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)


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Rusty’s Reading List 2018

January 4, 2018
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Fables book 1

 

I don’t much care for Bill Willingham’s politics, but I do like Fables… especially early Fables. Though it is striking how much you can notice him shoehorning his politics into the story. The first time I noticed it was Page 9.
I recently bought a ‘new’ volume so I am rereading the old ones.

 

Books Read in 2018

Fables Vol. 1 (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)


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Rusty’s Book of the Year for 2017

January 1, 2018
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I read a bunch of poetry this year and it would have been easy to give this ‘award’ to Yusef Komunyakaa… or Rob Winger… or Mary Pinkoski… or any of a number of others.

Instead it goes to a biography.

 

The Replacements- trouble boys Book

 

The Replacements  from ‘Hootenanny’ to ‘Pleased to Meet Me’ are my favourite band of all time. (I still like them outside of that range – including Paul Westerberg as a solo artist, but not quite as much).

I found their history to be painful and illuminating. It gave me a lot to think about as far as the life of a struggling artist… I don’t mean struggling as it trying to get famous. I mean struggling as in struggling with who you are and who you want to be.

There are many kinds of self-destruction and many kinds are evident within the book. Even their ‘comeback’, when they appeared on late night tv a couple of years ago and were… well, awful… is changed somewhat after reading this.

This is a great book and I heartily recommend in for anyone who is familiar with the band.

 

“““““““`

2018 is here and I am currently reading a novel gifted to me by Amal El-Mohtar as well as a poetry periodical. I just ordered a poetry book by Joe Denham and a volume of Fables. (I don’t care for WIllingham, but I still enjoyed the series, overall.) What else will a new year bring?


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

December 24, 2017
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Space Child's Mother Goose

I rarely borrow books. In this case one of my ‘poker buddies’ decided to bring in a book for me to read that is a family heirloom. He knew I ‘like poetry’ and thought I would get a kick out of it.

Eh. It is cool as an historical artifact. This was published in 1958 and passed from brother to brother to son. I don’t blame him for treasuring it. I would as well. As far as poetry goes, however, it is pastiche and limericks and doggerel written by someone who thinks very highly of his own intellect. It comes complete with glossary and footnotes, because mere mortals could never understand his witty rejoinders.

Here is an example:

#20

Russell and Whitehead and Hegel and Kant!
Maybe I shall and maybe I shan’t.

Maybe I shan’t and maybe I shall.
Kant Russell Whitehead, Hegel et al.

Yeah, that’s it.

 

Books read in 2017

The Space Child’s Mother Goose – Frederick Winsor
A Dance with Dragons – George R.R. Martin
Touch the Donkey #15
Spider in a White Suit – Conyer Clayton
Room #40.2
Dangerous Animals Club – Stephen Tobolowsky
oratorealis #2.2
Since February – Poetry by V
Coke Machine Glow – Gordon Downie
A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin
The Malahat Review #198
Selected Poems of Robert Frost
Stickboy – Shane Koyczan
On Equilibrium – John Ralston Saul
ARC Poetry Magazine #78
The Anthropocalypse is Nigh… – Shayne Avec I Grec
The Associate – Phillip Margolin
Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

December 22, 2017
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A Dance WIth Dragons

This is not something I say too often but… the tv show is better.

It isn’t that the books aren’t good – they are. And isn’t that I shy away from complexity – I don’t. It is just that there are times when Martin could use a little streamlining, and that is what the TV show does.

In some ways, the book is better… it is a little easier to take some of the scenes when you don’t actually see them. ON the other hand, the tv show is LESS sexist and ugly, if you can believe that.

Oh well. I don’t mind that I have read these and will read the rest.

 

Books read in 2017

A Dance with Dragons – George R.R. Martin
Touch the Donkey #15
Spider in a White Suit – Conyer Clayton
Room #40.2
Dangerous Animals Club – Stephen Tobolowsky
oratorealis #2.2
Since February – Poetry by V
Coke Machine Glow – Gordon Downie
A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin
The Malahat Review #198
Selected Poems of Robert Frost
Stickboy – Shane Koyczan
On Equilibrium – John Ralston Saul
ARC Poetry Magazine #78
The Anthropocalypse is Nigh… – Shayne Avec I Grec
The Associate – Phillip Margolin
Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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