Sunday, November 16, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: November 9th to 15th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I combine the two by photographing my wee Murchie with everything I read, barring the stuff I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that was a little AVENGERS and a little CAPTAIN MARVEL. Y'all weren't lying about Carol Danvers.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I take them and appear here in digest form every Sunday.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, sits on a sheepskin rug, his chin raised and his head titled to the viewer's right. Beside him sits a paperback copy of Phoenix In the Ashes by Joan D. Vinge. Its cover features a woman helping a man walk away from an enormous fire.

I'm well aware I take too many pictures of Murchie in his comfort zones--ie, on his sheep shaped pillow or tucked into bed--so when I witnessed him doing adorable things on my sheepskin rug, I knew I had to capture them on film. (Or on SD card. Y'all know what I mean.)

Of course, he moved the second I got myself and my phone into position. It was all I could do to convince him to sit nicely, let alone allow me to position the book at an attractive angle.

Maybe we'll stick to the bed and the sheep shaped pillow from now on.

Anyways, I finished DREAMFALL early last week (I loved it! Hurray!) and launched straight into PHOENIX IN THE ASHES, Joan D. Vinge's second short story collection and the penultimate book in my Joan D. Vinge binge. I enjoyed "Psiren" very much, having come to miss Cat in the twenty-four hours that had elapsed since I finished DREAMFALL, and I loved "Mother and Child," but none of the other stories really leaped out at me. It probably isn't a coincidence that "Psiren" and "Mother and Child" are the longest stories in the collection. Seems I like Joan D. Vinge best when she writes long, and when she works in the third person.

Murchie reclines on a fuzzy, cream-coloured pillow. Immediately in front of him, occupying most of the shot, sits a paperback copy of Tangled Up In Blue by Joan D. Vinge. The title and author are prominently displayed, while a pale-skinned blonde woman backed by two figures of indeterminate gender sit in the bottom corner, mostly cut off by the shot. The art is primarily blue-toned

Soon as I finished PHOENIX IN THE ASHES, I dove into TANGLED UP IN BLUE and brought my Joan D. Vinge binge to a satisfying close. This one takes place concurrently with the beginning of THE SNOW QUEEN and is sort of a prequel to THE SUMMER QUEEN, but it stands alone if you're in the mood for an SF crime novel.

I enjoyed it very much, but it still didn't hit me the same way THE SNOW QUEEN and THE SUMMER QUEEN did; further evidence I really do like Joan D. Vinge best when she's long and epic and inclined to run roughshod over my emotions. I did have a great time wallowing in her work these last couple of weeks, though, and I'm sorry there isn't more of it. I'd love another Cat novel, at the very least. I'm worried about Cat, who can't seem to catch a break and whom I'd very much like to hug. And even thought THE SUMMER QUEEN is a great, poignant ending for the Tiamat Cycle characters, I wouldn't say no to a few more side books like TANGLED UP IN BLUE.

A friend who met her told me Vinge was in a bad car accident a while back and suffered some brain damage that has made it difficult for her to write as much as she'd like. The author's notes in PHOENIX IN THE ASHES mention she's always been a slower writer, too. I believe TANGLED UP IN BLUE, which came out in 2000, was her last original novel. These days, she mostly does film novelizations.

Whatever path her career takes going forward, I'm mighty grateful for the novels she's published to date. I look forward to reading THE HEAVEN CHRONICLES and EYES OF AMBER as soon as I can find copies.

So far as Murchie's involvement with the book goes: it took me two days and as many sessions to get this picture. The little dude would not stay still. I got about five pictures that would've been the cutest thing ever if he hadn't moved his head, plus a bunch more that were all grainy because good lighting ain't such a common thing at this time of year and he refused to sit anywhere that didn't cast deep, unflattering shadows over him. Sigh.

Murchie lays on his fuzzy pillow. His head is twisted away from a stack of five brightly coloured mangas, propped upright so only their spines and the cover of the closest book shows. It depicts a blonde, pale-skinned girl in a black dress.

And now, comics! Actual, physical comics! Which Murchie, as per usual, found nowhere near as interesting as whatever foodstuff was on the nearest table. Dogs, man.

Me, I enjoyed the first volume of Sesuna Mikabe's TENA ON S-STRING, but I'm not yet totally hooked. I do love the idea of every natural object having its own unique soul-music, though, and I'm willing to fall in love somewhere down the line. If I do make that leap, I hope these five volumes comprise the entire series. They're all my library has.

My goodness, but it's been awhile since I read any general fiction. As I write this, I'm in the midst of a (short) break from SF so's I can read Miranda Kenneally's BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE. Kenneally's books always make me cry, and this one has already proven it's no exception. I'd hoped to spend my whole Saturday night with it--party animal, me--but had to stomach a delay when Stuff Came Up. Sigh.

But if you're reading this earlish on Sunday morning, I'm probably curled up in bed with Murchie, finishing the last few chapters. If you're reading this any later than that, I'm already done.

Next week: THE DREAM THIEVES, for real. It took me longer than anticipated to finish THE RAVEN BOYS, and Friday and Saturday were so busy I couldn't steal any listening time. So far as non-audio fiction goes... no clue. Whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it.


  1. Replies
    1. I expend an awful lot of breath telling him he's the cutest doggie in all the land, oh yes he is.