challenges


Seeing Women in Scifi’s recent Sam Carter v Helen Magnus character comparison post made me realize two things: 1) I haven’t updated my 42 Things post and 2) I’ve been a bad scifi junkie so far this year.  I’ve managed only one season of Stargate SG-1 (S9), none of Atlantis barring a couple of episodes both of which are my usual scifi staples.  I’ve started Farscape again and picked up a couple of favorites Merlin and Battlestar Galactica.

On the reading front I haven’t done much better (I’m halfway through The Chronicles of Narnia).  Although to be fair reading scifi has never been something I’ve really bothered with (which is half the reason I signed up for the challenge…the half other being I’m clearly insane and have to do everything).

I have, however, totally rocked it in regard to watching Sanctuary (for those of you who haven’t watched the show yet, emphasis on yet here’s the blurb from wikipedia “The show centers on Dr. Helen Magnus, a 158-year-old English scientist, and her team of experts who run the Sanctuary, an organization that seeks out non-human intelligent creatures, known as Abnormals, and tries to help and learn from them, while also having to contain the more dangerous ones.”).  I’ve rewatched both seasons including the season 2 opening (*sniffle*).  I know I’ve said this about a million times before but this show seriously rocks! I’d list a bunch of reasons but I’m not sure I could manage to fit it all in one post, so instead I bring you 12 reasons why I love Helen Magnus (the show’s main character), in no particular order:

00 tumblr_l0oiw06moO1qbapbzo1_500image from talkofcake on tumblr

  1. She loves tea
  2. She has the best wardrobe (shoes included)
  3. Her cheeky smile
  4. She has the coolest job ever (her job title has words I can’t even pronounce)
  5. She grew up in Victorian England
  6. Her crying will break your heart but she looks good doing it
  7. Bigfoot is her butler
  8. She’s well travelled
  9. Her sense of humor
  10. Helen in crisis mode is awesome and sarcastic
  11. Her hair
  12. She doesn’t look like a drowned rat when soaking wet

knit

I loved this book beyond what’s normal.  It’s hysterically funny, heartfelt, and the characters are weird just like me (yes, I did just admit that).  The writing was smooth and descriptive, capturing both character quirks and the essence of the craft itself.  I’d love to sit here and tell you exactly what it is about this book that is so awesome, but as the book does that by itself, here’s a couple of quotes:

There was a sniff from Martha’s chair, and then another.

Martha was crying, her face heavy with tears, a large hankie held to her nose. Her shoulders were shaking. The other three looked at each other in consternation. Martha kept crying, quietly and thoroughly, then put her head down on the arm of her padded chair and began to sob loudly, with small cries of pain that increased in volume as time went on. Wailing, thought Sandra. Martha is wailing.

"Martha," said Sandra, "whatever’s the matter?"

More sobs.

"Did I say something to upset you?" Sandara was quickly reviewing her one story, and Martha’s. Was Martha unstable? Had she said too much? Sandra looked at Kate and Tony, then got out of her chair and went to kneel by Martha, putting a tentative hand on her shoulder.

"Martha? Are you all right?"

"I’m all right," said Martha, looking Sanra full in the face. They searched each other’s eyes. Martha’s face was read and blubbery like a child’s. "I’m all right," she repeated. "It’s you I’m crying for Sandra." She swiped at her running nose. "Because you can’t. You don’t know how."

 

"You really are weird, Martha," said Sandra, then bit her tongue.

"Yes," said Martha cheerfully. "Just like you." She turned to look at Sandra. "Only your trouble is you don’t know how to enjoy it."

 

Cliff didn’t know which he liked better, the clinging stretch of bright red or the tease of buttons. Not that Martha would ever give him the chance, but she couldn’t stop him from thinking about it, no harm in that. (…) Now Sandra was another matter. If you even thought about stretching out a finger to Sandra, she would bite it off. Besides, she probably wore a bulletproof vest.

Option 2: The eight central books in the series (dated books are complete):

Anne of Green Gables (04/00/10)
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of the Island
Anne of Windy Poplars/Windy Willows
Anne’s House of Dreams
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside
“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

While the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is my favorite of the Narnia chronology this is my least favorite.  Not to say the book is without its merits.  It’s a wonderful introduction into the history of how Narnia comes to be.  It’s filled with imagination and wonderful sense of humor.  The story itself, however, is fluffed up with clichés and redundant actions.  I understand riding oneself of an evil witch from another world would prove difficult, but surely this task could be completed in a more timely and concise manner.  Or perhaps without the constant meddling of the boy’s uncle who proves to be more of a clichéd nuisance than any help at all.

Rating: 3/5 (higher for a younger (or young at heart) reader who may be more inclined to find the magician’s lovesick follies amusing.)

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

As the she grows the world around Laura shifts, reshaping itself to meet this new perspective.  While this subtle shift in narration is present in the prior books, this is the first that addresses this directly.  Following her family’s illness and her sister Mary’s subsequent blindness Laura’s view of the world  matures while still maintaining that quirky temperament and humorous outlook she’s always had.

Like the books that follow, By the Shores of Silver Lake sheds light on the development of the world outside the Wilder family.  The building of the American railroad system is featured heavily, mention of woman’s fashion and of proper education surface more often than in the prior books painting a wonderful picture of American pioneer life.

While it was the first two books (Little House In the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie) that I most adored growing up, By the Shores of Silver Lake in no way lacks the things I love most about this series.

Rating: 5/5 (for both lovers of historical fiction and for those just looking for a good read.)

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

I absolutely loved the narrative voice in this book, halfway through the first page and I was hooked.  Nomi the narrator paints a beautifully tragic picture of the world from her vantage point within a conservative Mennonite town.  Her love of sarcasm and her rebellious nature persistently show themselves as she draws out the tale of her life.

The book starts with Nomi revealing the recent departure of both her mom and older sister, setting the stage for the struggle Nomi endures; as the story unfolds her life unravels.  Given the unconventional plot structure laughter becomes sorrow with a turn of the page.  Each flashback creates a piece of the puzzle that when put together leaves you at the end of the book much like Nomi.  Sitting waiting to see where her life leads and as with the rest of book hoping she finds what she really wants: her family.

The book does have an occasional slow spot, but does pick up rapidly afterwards.  There are also several places where Nomi’s intent is unclear as she strings together seemingly unconnected events.  This can lead to some confusion, particularly in the middle section of the book.  Personally I found this charming; these sequences were the puzzle pieces with the unidentifiable patterns, the oddballs that in their own way draw everything together.

Rating: 4.5/5

A - Z Challenge

Letter
Title (Author)
A  
B By the Shores of Silver Lake (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
C Complicated Kindness, A  (Miriam Toews)
D  
E  
F  
G Girls in Trucks (Katie Crouch)
H Horse and His Boy, The (C S Lewis)
I  
J Journal: The Short and Mysterious Death of Amy Zoe Mason (Kristine Atkinson and Joyce Atkinson)
K Knitting: A Novel (Anne Bartlett)
L Long Winter, The (Laura Ingalls)
M Magician’s Nephew, The (C S Lewis)
N  
O  
P  
Q  
R  
S Scarlett Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
T Two Little Girls in Blue (Mary Higgins Clark)
U  
V  
W  
X  
Y  
Z  

challenge422010

Who here’s a big scifi geek *raises hand* Yes that would be me, which makes this challenge the perfect choice for my first official book/multimedia challenge.  I’ll be keeping my list of 42 things in this post, with the occasional review posted separately.

  1. Nation Terry Pratchett (audiobook)
  2. Stargate SG-1 Season 1
  3. Stargate SG-1 Season 9
  4. Sanctuary Season 1
  5. Sanctuary Season 2
  6. Merlin Season 2
  7. Battlestar Galactica Miniseries