Holiday Binge List

Well, the first half of the holiday season is gone and nearly so is 2015. And yes, although it is an awesome time for spending time with loved ones, getting good presents, and a brief…too brief break from work or school we all know another reason why the holidays are great.

Binging. Food, TV, movies, books, games, all of it!! This is what I’ve been catching up on, discovering and obsessing over:

Reading

LeviathanWakes

The Expanse book series by James S.A. Corey

Such a great space opera. I have been reading this nonstop. Finishing up Abaddon’s Gate and my copy of Cibola Burn just came in from Amazon. After that I have one more book, then the new one comes out in 2016. Read and binge!!

Watching

The-Expanse-Syfy

The Expanse T.V. series. Shown Tuesdays on Syfy

This should not come as a surprise. It took me a a couple of episodes to get into, but I’m coming around.  I guess what blocked me were the changes to the crew’s family/team dynamic and the casting choices…okay just Holden. If you’re looking for a space drama along the lines of Battlestar Galactica you might want to give this a shot. With only 4 episodes it almost doesn’t even count for binging!

Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D season 3

aos-season-3-header

I didn’t watch any episodes of the recent season until this holiday season. I’m glad I did! I don’t know how I would have survived waiting a week for the next episode! I think this is the best season yet. All I need is FitzSimmons to get together (damn you Marvel pleeeease?) and Black Bolt and I’ll be one happy fangirl.

Doctor Who current season

best ship doc who

I…have feels about this season.

feelz

I’m always on/off with Doctor Who. Matt Smith was my favorite new Doctor, and Clara is the first Companion I really loved (next to Donna of course because Donna). Their chemistry was great and they were the first Doctor/Companion I really wanted to ship (sorry didn’t like Rose or Amy at all). I was surprised at how much chemistry Clara and 12 had. Shipping aside, I think this was a really strong season in terms of story and new characters (Ashildr/Me is awesome!!!). And with that ending, I’m praying for some side story/movie of Clara, Me and their adventures. What a great end for that character.

Honestly I’m not sure what else to binge on. I’m almost afraid to seek out more (but please feel free to recommend any!!). Don’t think my nerd heart can take much more. Although, I’ve been meaning to watch Sense8….

 

 

 

 

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Expanding My Horizons: The Expanse Series

I claim to be a scifi/fantasy fan, but lately while skimming through my bookshelf, I realized I’m severely lacking in the former. How can that be? I dig Star Trek and Star Wars as much as the next nerd. I nerd really hard on stories with good ass worldbuilding. So why?

Recently I’ve focused on books that reflected more diversity within the story and stories written by women (POC or not). These stories just happened to be fantasy. Scifi, especially written scifi can be intimidating to the uninitiated, including myself. The jargon, the complicated and sometimes long-winded explanations of the technology tends to lose me. I feel that character development  tends to be pushed to the side in order to focus on the glory of this futuristic utopia/dystopia. One day while looking through my Kindle app since I just finished the physical book I had on me at the time (one of my true fears: not having anything to read while in transit. I must have a book with me at all times), I saw I had James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan’s Wake. I heard nothing but good things, plus the TV show was coming out soon so I figured why not? I was in the mood for a little hardcore scifi. Plus I was curious to see if I actually enjoyed space operas at all.

Result?

fangirling

*Note: my ramblings are based on books 1 and 2 of The Expanse series

My first thought while reading the first book was, “Wow, now I know why this was made into a TV series.” James Holden, Naomi, Amos and Alex, crew members of the ice carrier The Canterbury  end up being the sole survivors of their ship when a random stealth ship blows it up to space dust. They watched this happen while they were investigating an SOS call from a ship called The Scopuli. Although the ship was abandoned, it was filled with something terrifying and horrifyingly worse. They end up discovering something that powerful people want and will even start a galactic war to keep their intentions unknown. Political intrigue and epic space battles ensue!!

There are quite a few things I love so far about this series. One, is the accessibility. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of technology and space station jargon, but the writing is accessible enough that one can envision it without hurting their brains too much. Another reason I enjoyed this book is surprise surprise! the world building! Humanity has colonized our solar system, but there are grudges between the inner and outer planets. The development of space expansion, the description of the space stations, the politics between Mars, Earth, and the Outer Planet Alliance (OPA) and even the description of how humans survive fast space travel makes it feel so real that I would believe this can be our future. Living in space is described as harsh: there are always risks and things we take for granted on Earth: breathable air, sunlight and natural resources are worth everything. I admire that the writing doesn’t doll up how living in space would be. It’s humanity’s greatest feat, but it’s a hell of a lot of work to keep it together and survive.

What really keeps the book together for me, are of course, the characters. Holden, the idealist who believes talking should always come first before guns (though while reading the second book I’m not so sure now…), Naomi the awesome spaceship engineer, Amos the violent-prone chief engineer and the Martian pilot Alex are such a great dynamic and the crew family love is great, almost awww-worthy. The racial diversity of not only the crew, but the characters within this universe makes me squee in joy. Naomi’s mix of Asian, South American and African and Alex’s East Indian looks with Texan accent is such a great thing to read about. It wouldn’t be surprising to me at all that future generations will be so mixed and the general racial stereotypes we have today would not apply.

As a woman POC it’s definitely nice to see some sort of reflection of myself in these characters plus the fact that these are powerful, strong women who don’t lose their ability to feel. Naomi runs a tight ship, takes no shit from anybody but her character doesn’t lose that when she starts her relationship with Holden. Avasarala, the “cranky old bitch”, is one of the most powerful politicians in the UN and has more balls than any of the politicians she knows, yet she is still smitten with her husband and loves her grandchildren very much. I love it. Yes, Holden, the white(?) cis-het male from Montana is the POV mostly, but, meh, this book can’t be perfect. To be fair, Polynesian, big, bad-ass Bobbie has a POV in Caliban’s War so I’m perfectly down with that.

So. A scifi space opera that has characters you can relate to and cheer on, world-building that makes you think that what you’re reading is the future and a plot that freaks you out, but keeps you reading more because of all the conspiracy and space fights?

stephen give it

 

Sunday Brunch Geek Reads

Here’s the weekly round up of geeky links!

GeekGirlCon’s recommendation of a holiday gift? GGC tickets!

During this year’s Game Awards, Telltale premiered their teaser for their next franchise to hit: BATMAN!

fangirling

We fans are pretty awesome. I love the fact that this year has been a year of using our social media platforms to tell the big guys we want to see more diversity in the shows and books we devour from them. The latest are fans trying to get Marvel to hire an Asian-American (just plain Asian is fine too!) to play Iron Fist. Use the hastag #AAIronFist to show your support!

Last, but not least, as we all know this Friday (Thursday night for some) is the movie we have ALL been waiting for. Here’s a little Star Wars holiday tune to get you in the mood (if you’re not already and honestly if you’re not, howareyounot?!)

Brunch Reads

I can’t believe it’s already December. My family spent Turkey weekend playing in Disneyland. where I rode (Hyper)Space Mountain for the first time and learned about Disney Bounding. In addition to major work changes I haven’t really found time to read or see as much interesting articles as I usually do, but I did find a few:

More updates on the FFVII remake…yay…

I love FFVII. I do. It was the first FF that got me into JRPGs and games in general. Not really sure I like the overhype of it though. Plus, FFVI is waaaaay better. Give me a remake of that.

Rarity’s Boutique of awesome jackets!

I love the Steven Universe inspired jackets! The duo only open their shop in the early part of the month so you have to check their FB updates.

Kinjaz dances to Adele’s “Hello”

I don’t blog a lot about dancing, but I do enjoy dance. A friend showed me Kinjaz’ dance. The camera work on this video also makes this dance awesome.

 

Sunday Brunch Reads

Okay so brunch is over, but the relax, chill Sunday mood lasts all day! Here are interesting links I found the past week:

Comic inspired work out clothes
I am eyeing the Deadpool and/or Harley Quinn gear myself. Maybe someday she’ll do Silk or female Marvel heroes…

I thought this was a joke because the Final Fantasy series hasn’t been on Nintendo since FFVI (or III..whatever), but I’m not seeing anyone taking it back so…yeah awesome! I’m more of a FFVI/Terra fan myself, but it’s fun that FF is going to be in Smash. I’m sure Zack or Sephiroth won’t be too far behind…

Captain America in Spider-Gwen is an African American woman

snape approves

Any other interesting links? Give it to me!

Brunch Reads

I can’t believe it’s November. Where did the year go? Well, let’s start November off right with some geeky links in the web.

The Martian is pretty popular in Korea. In 20 days, the movie made $28.6 million dollars and was the fastest foreign release to sell four million tickets, on par with “Kingsmen: The Secret Service”. Just wondering, why Korea was so hyped about it.

Why would anyone unleash Deadpool on Halloween? With X-Men kids no less?! (It’s so hilarious though you have to watch this)

Found Supergirl’s other weakness: surrounded by puppies dressed as superheroes.

Comic about…Hero fashion? Come on. We all see the spiffy, awesome (or not so awesome) costumes heroes wear. This comic is about the true heroes who make the heroes look good while saving the world: the hero fashion designers. I for one am going to see what this comic is about.

As always, if there’s any cool geeky things going on, let me know!

Ancillary Mercy

cover_ancillary mercy

Title: Ancillary Mercy
Author: Ann Leckie
Publisher: Orbit
Keywords: badass AI singing ships, space opera

Ancillary Mercy takes place right after the events of Sword. For a time, everything seems peaceful. Until a Presger Translator comes knocking into Athoek space and an ancillary of a broken ship in the Ghost system is found. Then of course it all comes to a head when an Anaander Mianaai heads over because she’s pretty upset at a renegade two-thousand year old ship. Breq takes all this in in her own unique stride.

I’m really sad this series is over. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m lacking more sci-fi opera in my bookshelf, but I’ve never read a book that made me think, really think about society, conquest and the cultural loss that comes with it, gender, and language. To be honest, it was only the last book that I was finally comfortable in the usage of one pronoun and I was comfortable in just letting the characters be, rather than worry about their gender. It was really refreshing to see this cosmic society that doesn’t give one fig about one’s gender.  Another twist on present time’s view of beauty and relationships is also highlighted:

Governor Giarod might be the higher authority, but Administrator Celar reigned over Athoek Station’s daily routine. She was wide and heavy, and quite beautiful. No few of the residents of Athoek Station were half in love with her.

The relationship between Mercy of Kalr, Breq and Seivarden was so fascinating to read. Not only is there implications of Seivarden wanting a relationship with our amazing, no nonsense ancillary/ship, but Mercy of Kalr, an AI ship seems to want to be close too and even tries to use Seivarden to confront Breq !! “Ships don’t love ships..” As Seivarden says, they’re “both being stupid”. I’m not really a fan of Seivarden, but I’m down with Mercy of Kalr. So…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m totally shipping these ships together.

i ship it

Breq is my favorite character, but the characters introduced in Mercy almost stole the show. Translator Zeiat and Sphene’s interactions with Breq and especially with each other was awesome.

The ending is left open, and though it definitely feels like an end to this series, I would love to see some short stories on how Breq’s little family is doing. And wondering what they decide for the new Republic’s name. And I hope that Sphene does get a chance to throttle Anaander Mianaai.

On an end note, since I really dug the relationships of the AIs and humans in this series, I’d like to recommend some series that focus on relationships of this nature:

  • Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. Dragons and humans during an alternative historical take on the Napoleonic wars. Yes.
  • His Dark Material series by Phillip Pullman. Okay, the relationship is technically between the human and their soul/subconcious form, but the intimate relationship is still there (obviously). Who wouldn’t want an animal form of themselves?!
  • The Machine Dynasty series by Madeline Ashby. vN’s are self-replicating humanoid robots that are integrated into human society. AIs with relationships with humans and AIs with AIs who can make AI babies. Pretty crazy series, I love it.

As always, any sci-fi reading is always welcome!