Monday, November 27, 2006

the characters

So, I had this dream the other night. It involved a lot of weird elements, like bears, giant cardboard R2-D2s, laser guns and battle droids. Needless to say, it rocked and I lay in bed after I woke up, finishing off the story in my head. It took about two and a half hours (I do spend a lot of time thinking up stories in bed...I like to pull the blanket up over my head and imagine in the not-so-dark dark) and while it's not a literary masterpiece, it will be a fun sci-fi novel, I'm sure. Anyway, I swear I didn't name the dream did. And it's really not as gay as it sounds. Although, I'm sure my descriptions don't help. There's a fair amount that really reminds me of the Terminator series, ie. machines take over.

The Characters
Jane - protagonist, from Earth as we know it, about 20 years old (I think from Winnipeg, but really, maybe I just want her to be Canadian...maybe she'll be from Sudbury...hahaha!)
Bear - a black bear ... REALLY, also from Earth
Masha - leader of the rebelly type group on the OTHER world, wherever that is
Adzil - sorta leader chief type dude of villagers on the OTHER world
Adell - Adzil's wife
Major - oh wise man type guy with villagers, but from Earth as we know it (Oklahoma to be precise)
Ilan - bitchy gal in village who doesn't like Jane
Kile - our hero and love interest for Jane, popular dude in village, but very mysterious as most popular love interest dudes are
Velek - Adzil's hanger on, you know the kind of loser sidekick that bullies have
Ellet - geeky nerd type guy in village, you know the type, they try to be nice and friends with everyone, but gets ignored...blah blah blah
Winnow - village healer, every village needs one

Tis all for now. I bet you can't wait for sci-fi goodness to appear. Me neither.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

ISBN: 0743298853

I JUST finished reading John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. I have never read him before, and I LOVED IT! It's creepy and dark, but not horror, but still gives you shivers. Very adult fairy tale-ish, as in, fairy tales gone wrong. Very graphic and some gore, but also a gorgeously constructed story, with a slight "coming of age" undertone. David is a twelve year old boy who loses his mother during the war, and must soon deal with a new mother and half-brother after his father re-marries. He is a lover of books and stories, and soon the books begin to talk to him. This is the start of a strange adventure he falls into, one that is dangerous and disturbing, but one that he cannot avoid. In a dark, violent other world, he encounters The Crooked Man, whose fate is tied up in his own. David must find The Book of Lost Things in order to go home, back to a reality that no longer seems so threatnening.
I highly recommend it! Four balls of yarn.
I am also going to read his other books now.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

book review for work

So, why NOT write my book review for work HERE? I mean, isn't that what this blog is for? Or something?

We have a science fiction newsletter at work, and my review is due tomoro. I procrastinate, I cannot tell a lie.

by Jack McKinney

Written in the late 80s, the Robotech Macross Saga is an non-stop, action packed series about the Earth and it's wars - a civil war, and a war with the Zentraedi, an alien species that suddenly attacks them in 1999. Putting aside their own squabbles, the people of Earth must unite or be destroyed, leading to the development of the Robotech Defense Force. Using the aliens' own technology, the soldiers of the RDF must fight back with planes that transform into giant robots, and a superdimensional fortress that can "fold-jump" to the other side of the solar system. After completing a jump, the SDF-1 finds itself having taken the tiny island of Macross with it to the other side of Pluto. They must somehow make their way home, while rebuilding their homes on board the fortress, and watching for the enemy aliens. To make matters even more complicated, a number of aliens defect and want to co-exist peacefully with the humans. With all of their hopes resting on one young girl and her voice, a young man torn between his duty and his heart, and the brave crew of the SDF-1, humans and aliens alike learn that they must win, or be destroyed. Based on an original cartoon television series in the 80s, Robotech is a thrilling story, with characters that are so real, that the reader wil experience their heartache and turmoil, as well as their joy and happiness. An excellent mix of science fiction and military thriller, you won't be able to put it down until you're read to the last page. Five balls of yarn


Sunday, November 12, 2006

inspiration comes at odd moments

So, the following children's short story is inspired by a fellow livejournaler's post (jadis).

Take note, this was all very rushed, no editing, no proofreading, just all creative barf.


Weeeoooohh weeeeoooohhh. Tina looked up from her book and stared out the window. A fire truck! She watched through the foggy glass as the red pumper zoomed by. She watched it as far as she could, and then rested her forehead on the cold pane. The rain outside had finally stopped, but it was still too wet outside to go play. Mother had sat her in the den with Charlotte's Web, but Tina had read it before, and knew that the humble pig would not be eaten. She flopped back into her grandfather's cushy armchair and resumed her reading. She had only turned the page when she heard it again.

Weeeeeeoooohhhhh. Weeeeeeoooohhh. Tina leapt to the window just in time to see a red ladder truck whizz down Coxwell towards O'Connor, probably hot on the heels of the pumper. The red and white lights flashed dizzily as it turned the corner. Tina pressed her face against the window. Mother would scold later when she discovered the face prints on the glass. The truck was gone. Tina frowned and clambered back into Grandfather's chair. She opened Charlotte's Web and continued. She had only skimmed the next paragraph when she heard it AGAIN!

Weeeeeeooohhhh. Weeeeeeeeeeeeoooooohhhhhhh. Tina sprang from the armchair and plastered her face to the smudgy window in time to see a red tanker truck fly towards the intersection. And look! Another pumper was close behind! The lights flashed, the sirens wailed, and following them was another ladder! Tina squinted! Could it be the SAME truck as before? She was sure that she had seen the fireman with the big nose on the first pumper! And look! The fireman hanging out the window of the ladder was on the first one, wasn't he? Quickly, Tina looked back down the street, and sure enough, there was a tanker! She looked left again. Where had the first tanker gone?

Tina sat back as the trucks raced around the corner. Maybe the firemen were racing! They were circling the block! They were trying to see who was fastest! Tina gazed out the window, waiting. Charlotte's Web lay, unnoticed, on the floor. And then Tina saw the pumper come around the bend, and to her surprise, saw FOUR firemen in the back. She was sure that the first pumper had only had THREE men in the back. Tina frowned as they sped past. So, they WERE different trucks. That was number seven! There must be a big fire somewhere nearby! Tina leapt off of the chair and ran down the hall. She grabbed her yellow slicker, pulled on her red galoshes and yanked the front door open. The sun was just starting to peek out from behind the big cumulonimbus clouds.

"Tina! Where are you going?" Tina turned to see Mother standing in the kitchen entrance, hands on her hips, her apron covered in flour.

"Out! To see the fire trucks!" And Tina turned and jumped down the front steps. She watched in awe as yet another ladder truck came barrelling down the road. As it drove past, a jolly looking fireman in the back waved his hat at Tina. She smiled and turned left. She watched as it turned the corner onto O'Connor and then she took a deep breath. She ran as fast as she could to the corner, and just as she reached it, another tanker truck pulled up beside her.

"Where are you going little girl?" the driver called out to her.

"To see the big fire!" Tina stared up at the firemen, all looking quite happy, not at all how she imagined they would look on their way to the big fire.

"Hop aboard, and we'll take you there!" A hand reached down and Tina was pulled into the fire truck. "Hold on! We're almost there!"

The truck skidded around the corner and raced down the street. Tina held her breath as she saw the lights from all of the other trucks in the distance. They came up on them quickly, and Tina jumped down from the truck. The firemen jumped down as well, and ran over to the building that their fellow firemen had gathered around.

Bert's Ice Cream. Tina watched in amazement as the firemen hurried into the ice cream store and lined up. Then Tina saw the sign in the window. Free ice cream to the first fifty firemen. Tina grinned as she heard the sirens coming up behind her.

They had been racing. Racing for ice cream.


Comments? Suggestions? Criticisms??? All are welcome.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Some YA book reviews

(A la Rachel )

Thus follows an account of the various YA novels I have read in the past month, and if they were up to par...or not. Each review is followed by a rating of balls of yarn. Some people use stars or thumbs up, I use balls of yarn. Out of five...five being VERY VERY EXCELLENT.

Whittington by Alan Armstrong - 0375828648
Nope. Nadda. This is the story of a cat..and how he saved the world. Sorta. But it really doesn't turn out that way. And YA??? I think more like 6-8 would be more appropriate. It's got a great premise and a great cover, but frankly, it didn't float my boat at all. Something about it felt too basic, too simple, too not good. The main story is interwoven throughout the little side stories and plots, but I feel it gets lost, and really, it's not believable...I say this about a book about talking animals. Ahem.
One and half balls of yarn.

London Calling by Edward Bloor - 0375836357
I'm glad I never read Tangerine, because if it's as unbelievable as this one was, I'd be very put off. John Martin Conway is given an old old radio from his grandmother (whom everyone thought was getting kookoo) and meets a boy from the past. He must observe events and put things right in the present (the other boy's future). My problem with this story? The kids aren't believable as kids, the adults aren't believable as adults and even though I really liked the imagery and the historical content (because that's always a winner with me), I just couldn't believe in the characters...and that's a big part of escaping into a book. Two balls of yarn.

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne - 0385751060
A fascinating and well told story for younger folk about a German boy whose father is a bigwig at Auschwitz. A different point of view, that of a child who doesn't really understand all that is going on in Germany at the time of WWII, and how it affects his life. He befriends a (Jewish) boy who lives on the "other side of the fence", and this friendship reveals how ignorant many German children were at the time of the state of the world. But, his innocence crosses the boundary of hate, and he and the "boy in the striped pajamas" find some joy in their shared secret friendship. While the Jewish boy's family has been torn apart by Hitler's regime, the German boy's family is torn apart by morals and duty. I really enjoyed this one. At times, it's REALLY disturbing, and so not a kids book, but at the same time, written in an introductory way for younger kids. The ending is a jaw-dropper. Four balls of yarn.

Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins - 0375836047
A perfect book for a Christmas present to any child. I really liked this book, made up of little snapshots of the lives of three toys - Plastic, Lumphy and StingRay. My favourite was Plastic, but Lumphy provides a lot of humour. In a Toy Story vein, these toys (along with all the rest in the little girl's bedroom) come alive at night, or when no one is watching. They argue, they have adventures, they play games, and they get into trouble. Really cute. Three balls of yarn.

Just In Case by Meg Rostoff - 0385746784
What a brilliant book! Explosive imagery, whimscal and serious, smart and incredibly heart wrenching, I couldn't put this book down. It was disturbing, but poignant. It had the "coming of age" feel to it, in a very unconventional way. I think I fell in love a little with Justin (David) and Boy. I found it totally believable, even though it's totally unbelievable. I must read her first book. You must too. Possibly now one of my favoutire YA novels to date. Five balls of yarn!

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall - 0375831436
In the same genre as Happy Little Family, E Nesbit stories, etc., I loved this book! As eccentric as it can get while still being a great read for kids, it's just the kind of smart cute story that makes for great bedtime reading, or sitting in the sun reading. Four young sisters, one widowed father, one summer vacation and the rest is history. Oh yeah, and a really fun dog. Great story, I like! Four balls of yarn.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - series of 13 books
Hot diggity, it started off so well. And left me more confused and muddled than I thought it could. I feel like Lemony Snicket wrote himself into a corner and didn't know where to go with it all, much like Chris Carter built X-Files into this giant secret that he didn't even know! So many unanswered questions with this series, but still, loads and loads of fun! Great humour and the movie did the frist three books justice, although, now I can't read any of them without hearing it all narrated by Jude Law...which is NOT a bad thing. But, in the end, after so much, you just really want a resolution of some sort...ANYTHING. Instead, we're stuck with new questions, and as Snicket said he will never return to the SoUE, we're pretty much S.O.L. Blah. However, you could say that he purposefully left it like that so that kids could resolve it anyway they want, seeing as through much discussion at work with Sheila, Jessica, Katy, et al, we all have different ideas as to what it was all really about. Maybe one day though, Lemony Snicket will write a tell all or something. I can only hope. Four balls of yarn. Extra half a ball of yarn just because Brett Helquist's illustrations are totally gorgeous, and the book design is wonderful.

Reading now: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel - 0002005379


Sunday, November 05, 2006

potato - potato

do you think Pratchett's Wintersmith is pronounced Winter-smith, or Winters-mith? because that just opens a whole 'nother kettle of fish for me!

i wish to write fantasy. but i think i shall write what i write. and what i write will be what i write, because i write what i can write. right? right.

the beginning

and so this blog is for my ramblings and starts and stops of my creative mind. is where i'm going to begin stories and my "novels" and such. or other nonsense. perhaps articles or essays that i feel the world needs. nonetheless, never fear R'bach, there shall be NO hockey here...unless it's integral to a story. gleep.

have you heard of the six word story?

mine: "It was the end of Joe."