Books, Thoughts

Hooray for Free Comic Book Day!

You GUYS!  Another FCBD has come & gone, but I’m still super happy with my finds this year.  I unfortunately had to work most of the day, but once I was off of work, I headed down to Velocity Comics to see if they had anything special this year.  Unfortunately, having gotten there late in the day, the two freebies I really wanted were already gone: Brian K. Vaughn’s Barrier & the Fantagraphics sampler.  But we can’t dwell on sadness—not on Rex Manning D—I mean, Free Comic Book Day!

Despite missing out on the freebies, I was SO EXCITED to find that my wonderful little store had FINALLY gotten in the first issue of local comic, Innsmouth by Megan James.  This comic has been in such high demand that reprints of the first issue has been back-ordered since earlier this year.  I’d been waiting patiently, collecting the other issues as they came out, waiting for that first issue so I could finally start reading it.  And now, here it was!  Binge-reading time!

Innsmouth Comic by Megan James; issues 1-4

I looked around a little bit more & also found that Hard Case Crime is putting out comics as well.  So I picked up Normandy Gold, a comic done in the style of exploitation films from the 70s.  I practically bounced up to Patrick at the counter & told him breathlessly that I’d been looking forward to visiting all day & finding cool stuff.  I think I made him a little nervous with my enthusiasm, but then again, the store was still pretty busy despite the late hour, so maybe he just thought I was another weirdo.

All in all, a pretty fantastic FCBD.  Soooo, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bunch of stuff to go read now. . .


Bookmark Monday (II): DragonCon Freebies

With nearly a year gone by since my last Bookmark Monday post (way to stick new habits, self), I thought I would share the freebies I brought back from DragonCon.  Bookmarks are a great way to spread the word about yourself at a con, especially one for sci-fi & fantasy readers!

Bookmarks & Con Badge
Pretty Souvenirs!

Continue reading “Bookmark Monday (II): DragonCon Freebies”


Spread the Word

Over the past two months, an sneaky anonymous artist has been leaving small takeaways in the library where I work.  Typically, we’ll find a small plastic bag on the shelves filled with small magnets made from dichroic glass & a printed message inviting whoever finds them to take them & enjoy.  Patrons have found them too & in general, coming across the packets are a nice little unexpected surprise.  A disruption of craft & charitable feeling into a regular routine.

The whole experience has gotten me thinking about some of the more experimental writing prompts we undertook in my last year of Creative Writing at Mary Wash.  We students were encouraged to think of ways to get our stories in front of people: whether it was fliers we posted in the department hall, mini-books with flash fictions, postcards, or blogs.  The anonymous artists has inspired me to spread some found stories around my little town.  There’s even a sort of romantic element to the fact that we have a working rail station running through town & that anyone could come across my words.

But here’s where I trip myself up: thinking about what to write & to send out into the world.  I ask myself what I would want people to come across & the immediate response is, well, not my own words, maybe a bit of poetry or a collection of famous sayings.  Pardon me, self, but that is not the point of the exercise.  Then I think, oh well, I could root through something I’ve already polished, maybe pull out a snippet or two?  Again, self, this is about spontaneity, not a practiced recitation.  I mean, c’mon, you write a blog with entries you give not much though to.  You can’t think of anything?

The truth is, I can, but I’m nervous.  I work in a library in a small town.  I keep envisioning how one of the Libertarian regulars would react to finding my little anonymous work.  Or one of the homeschool moms.  Or what if one of my illiterate patrons came across it, realized there was nothing they understood, & threw it away.  Or or or or. . .

As you can see, dear Reader, this post is really just a way for me to talk myself into both the act of creating & the act of letting go control.  Because really, that’s the crux of any creative act & it is one I struggle with still.  But when the tension is resolved &, as a result, a stranger sees the world anew, something magical has truly happened.

Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Arcadia, issue #4

Arcadia #4Arcadia #4 by Alex Paknadel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lee Garner takes drastic steps to convince the coder he’s imprisoned with to give up information that the Arcadian government wants in exchange for his & his wife’s freedom. Coral helps lead a rescue mission to save her parents & gets everyone back to the hacker camp. But, the damage is done–the Arcadian powers have root access to the simulation & Lee Pepper finds himself struggling in the analog world to navigate new tides of authority.

There’s something disheartening in being able to measure just how & when your interest in something drops off. For example, the use of current slang in a five-seconds-into-the-future sci-fi story is a personal pet peeve & each time it cropped up in the past 4 issues, I cared a little less about what happened next. But I was willing to let it go because I was still curious about the world. Then, this issue used both “mansplaining” & “Gamergate” within the space of a few pages & any interest I had dropped perilously close to zero. Yeah, millions upon millions of people died hideously & are only being kept “alive” by a perilously thin digital network, but we still care enough about culture-war-speak to use it in everyday conversation. I think there are other things to worry about.

Also, the reveal at the end of Arcadia’s foundational secret was also a non-starter. (Hint: The heart of the digital world is made up of one semi-delusion personality–just like Otherland. Seriously, just go read Otherland.) So, unfortunately, this will be the last issue I read, even though I’ll buy the 5th issue because the collected covers complete a mural & I do love the art. Too bad too, I really did take a shine to Lee Pepper & his scrappy band of survivors.

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Arcadia, issue #3

Arcadia #3Arcadia #3 by Alex Paknadel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 instead of 4. Jaime, the hack wizard, rescues Giacomo from the Arcadian enforcers & together they go looking for Coral. Digital Lee learns about analog Lee & is used as an experiment by the Arcadians to make contact with him in order to spy on the Meat. Analog Lee becomes the new leader of the server farm & suspects those in charge of Arcadia are up to something. Sam & digital Lee make separate deals with the people in power in order to preserve their family.

The plot thickens & gives us some tasty new details to savor–Paknadel reveals more of his main conflict through a philosophy lesson in Coral’s class. Analog Lee is starting to seem like the more interesting of the two Lees. He broods, argues with himself & racks his brain trying to figure out how he survived the last plague & his family didn’t. (Also, the guy is ready to throw down with wolves in a blizzard. How can you not resist him?) Digital Lee just seems bland beside him even as he gives his handlers in this issue plenty of attitude. Hopefully that will change as our story continues.

I’m sort of torn over how the anomalies in the Arcadian code work. On one hand, we have rogue code that permanently destroys things, but on the other hand, we have Giacomo who has “innate root access” but doesn’t have the same amount of destructive power from what readers can see. How far does this rabbit hole mystery go? Guess there’s really only one way to find out. . .

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