Sunday, February 8, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: February 1st to 7th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by asking my tiny and adorable dog to pose beside every book I read, barring the digital comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. That was only a handful of X-Men issues last week as the second season of ARROW sucked up most of my regularly designated comics-reading time.

BTW, we've reached the point where I talk to ARROW. (When I like a show, I shout stuff at my TV screen. Y'all should hear me watch CORONATION STREET.) I've also stopped spending the majority of each episode thinking about how I like Kate Bishop best of all the fictional superheroic archers (even though I totally do love her best. Let's not leave that in any doubt).

Robin Hood remains my favourite nonfictional archer, of course. Because Robin Hood is a folk hero, and that means he was totally real1.

Anyways, I'm bummed I've got to wait for the third season to wrap up and come out on DVD. Canada seriously needs a service like Hulu that lets you catch up on in-progress TV shows. (That's how Hulu works, right? I don't know much about Hulu because they're region-locked and region-locked things piss me off so much that I try not to think about them, but that's the impression I get from Twitter.) I'd also very much like to catch up on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D, but I'm in the same boat there. It's a pickle.

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

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, lays so close to the camera that only his face is visible. Behind him is a paperback copy of A Crown of Swords.

I know I said I'd start the week with Rachel Bach's final Paradox novel, but I figured I ought to return to the Wheel of Time while my secondary world fantasy craving was going strong.

I'm now a little more than halfway through my massive reread/catch-up! Whee! Only took me 106 hours spread over six months. Part of me wants to say I'll dip into the stack a little more often from hereon out since I've got some downward momentum now, but I suspect that'd just jinx the whole damned thing.

As per usual, I read my electronic copy (thanks, last year's Hugo Awards!) and used the paper copy pictured above to track my progress. This scheme is so much easier on my tiny hands. Even paperback chunksters can be hellish when you've got the reach of a five-year-old.

Also as per usual, I tried to get Murchie to rest his chin on the book (because how cute would that be?), but he refused, same as he always does.


Murchie curls up inside a blanket cave. He wears a blue striped tank top. Slightly in front of him sits a white iPod with the audio cover art of Brothers In Arms on its screen.

I also started (and finished!) a new audiobook at long last: BROTHERS IN ARMS by Lois McMaster Bujold. I enjoyed it very much, even though it took me for bloody ever to steal a decent amount of time with it. Miles Vorkosigan remains pretty durned great.

That living fur stole/blanket/thingy creeped me out, though. Why the hell would you want your clothing to be alive? The people of Bujold's future are very strange.

Murchie's face is barely visible above a red comforter. In front of him sits a trade paperback copy of the first volume of Hinterkind.

Little dude hid behind the comforter when I asked him to pose with THE WAKING WORLD, the first volume of Ian Edginton and Francesco Trifogli's HINTERKIND. I sometimes get the sense he's not as into this whole Murchie Plus Books thing as I am.

I recently put together a list of my favourite comics of 2014, and it made me keenly aware my reading is very Marvel- and Image-centric. I used to read a lot of Vertigo back in my I Don't Like Superheroes phase (ie, my stupid-ass phase), so when I spotted this recent Vertigo title at the library I snatched it straight off the shelf.

HINTERKIND is a fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic landscape where the Hinterkind--basically, faeries--have risen up and reclaimed the world following a Blight that wiped out most of humanity. There are a few human enclaves left, but they're dying out as the Hinterkind actively hunt them down and drag them to the Sidhe stronghold in California for some nefarious, yet-to-be-revealed purpose.

It seemed promising at first, but my interest waned as the issues ticked by. Still, I'll give it at least one more volume to wow me. If my extensive comics reading has taught me nothing else, it's that a lackluster first volume ain't the end of everything. I mean, I'm mighty glad I didn't quit Gillen and McKelvie's YOUNG AVENGERS after Volume One, since Volume Two blew me away and Volume Three ended good and strong.

Maybe HINTERKIND will do the same.

Murchie lays on a fuzzy red and white blanket. He wears his blue tank top. Behind him is a white Kobo with the cover of DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels on its screen.

Since I really would like to branch out with my comics reading, and since I've recently realized I know very little about the DC Universe outside of Batman and SANDMAN2, I leaped at the chance to download DC ENTERTAINMENT ESSENTIAL GRAPHIC NOVELS AND CHRONOLOGY 2015 from NetGalley. It's a free catalogue that I assume will be distributed in comics shops, and it suggests a number of starting places for people who want to read some DC and have absolutely no clue what's going on with the chronology.

Hey! That's me!

I was already familiar with some of the titles featured herein, but plenty of others were completely new to me. My library list is now packed with comics, though I've yet to decide whether I'll start exploring right away or tackle DC in 2016, like how I'm writing about Marvel throughout 2015.

Murchie sits on his fuzzy red blanket, still wearing his blue tank top. In front of him is a white Kobo with Summer-Set's cover art on its screen.

Rape trigger warning for the next six paragraphs.

I figured I ought to get a bit more use out of Scribd before my free trial expires, so I launched myself into SUMMER-SET by Karalynn Lee. I loved SLIP POINT, the author's SF romance, and figured this fantasy novella would be a good place to continue with her work.

And it might have been, had the "hero" not abruptly announced his intention to track down the woman who betrayed him and get his revenge by fucking her one last time.


Romance conventions being what they are, I'm sure she refuses his advances at first, then gets caught up in the moment when he won't stop, then gives him a really good explanation for the betrayal, then has tons of consensual sex with him--but I can't attest to any of that because I dropped the book like a hot potato. Dude was on his way to rape her and I wasn't gonna stick around to watch the text tell me it was all right, really, because she wanted him anyway and hey, he really does care about her.

This came on top of all the stuff surrounding Tylin's pursuit of Mat in A CROWN OF SWORDS, which also pissed me off not least because society conditions us not to think of it as rape when a woman doesn't give a man a choice and the text buys into that interpretation. That scenario came in the middle of a series I'm in invested in, though, so I felt obligated to wade through it. This was not the case with SUMMER-SET.

I guess I'm grateful it came out within the first few chapters so I could bow out quickly?

Next week: HEAVEN'S QUEEN for real, unless I get distracted. A new audiobook; either the next Vorkosigan title or whatever I decide to get with this month's cheap Audible credit. (Any suggestions? My library has a great audiobook collection, so I've struggled to find something I want but wouldn't otherwise have access to.) More non-Marvel comics. Probably a second novel.

  1. Robin Hood was my childhood hero. I watched the Disney movie over and over and over and over and over and over and over, and I got super-duper happy when ROCKET ROBIN HOOD was on TV, and I pestered my grandma for non-fox, non-space Robin Hood stories at every opportunity. (She's British, so she knows stuff about the Old Country.) She finally got fed up with my demands and gave me a book about Robin Hood so I could read up on him myself.

    The main things I took away from the book were a) Robin Hood was awesome, b) Will Scarlett was also awesome, and c) it's pretty well impossible to cross a river without some dude knocking you out with his quarterstaff, but it's not a big deal either because cracked skulls heal super quickly and the dude will no doubt become your new BFF.

    Folklore prepares children for the real world.

    I once wrote a lengthy post about my love for Robin Hood, but I never shared it anywhere because it was kind of incoherent.

    One more Robin Hood thing that also relates to superheroic archers: y'all better believe I geeked the fuck out when Kate challenged Clint to make the Robin Hood shot during their first encounter in YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS.

  2. That's not entirely true. I read a lot of my mum's old DC comics when I was a kid and my BFF is the sort of SMALLVILLE fan who likes to explain all the character arcs in effusive detail regardless of whether her listener has actually watched the show (I haven't), so I've got a rough idea of how everything works. I probably know more about Superman than I think I do, too, and I'm aware there've been multiple human Green Lanterns, and I know everyone loves Batwoman and Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn.

    In fact, I got a Harley Quinn t-shirt from a TeeFury grab bag, and I wear it all the time because it's super comfy.

    (Yeah, yeah, I know one shouldn't wear t-shirts about stuff unless one is a devoted fan of said stuff. I'd be ashamed of myself, but I'm too busy being happy with my awesome shirt.)

    And, like I said, I read a fair amount of Vertigo in my younger years, but I'm not sure if all the series I sampled tie in with the rest of DC. I know SANDMAN does because I've come across SANDMAN stuff in the relatively few DC trade collections I've read (and because the Justice League plays a role in SANDMAN; dead giveaway, that), and I assume HELLBLAZER is part of it because John Constantine cameoed in SANDMAN and we've already established SANDMAN ties in with the rest, but I ain't so sure about anything else.


  1. UGH. Hot potato indeed. Thank goodness for small mercies (that it happened fairly early on).

    1. I can't remember whether it was at the end of Chapter 3 or Chapter 4, but it was only a teeny ways in. Whew.

  2. Wow. Why would you put that in a book in this day and age....

  3. Hulu only sort of works that way. Ideally, Hulu would work that way, but not all shows show up on Hulu right away, and most shows have a limited number of episodes that are free on Hulu (say, the last five). And the CW always keeps Hulu one episode behind current. And even if you have Hulu Plus, still not all shows let you watch the full current season. It is better than nothing! But it still has many limitations. If I wanted to catch up on the third season of Arrow right now, I also could not. I will have to wait for it to be on Netflix.

    Does he want to track her down and rape her? Like, is that how he frames it to himself? Or is he like, I will track her down and ask her nicely to sleep with me cause I think we both want to? The former seems so -- I dunno, so 1990s romance! I thought we were over that by now!

    1. Aw, then Hulu sounds pretty similar to what Canadian TV stations do with their websites. Except I think most of them keep the last three episodes available, not the last five. When I first wanted to catch up on AGENTS OF SHIELD, I went to the relevant website and was told I could maybe possibly watch episodes prior to that if I were on a particular TV service and I logged in with some special code thing, but I'm not so I didn't do that.

      I don't think Canadian Netflix has many CW shows, either. (I'm not currently subscribed to Netflix, but the only one I recall seeing when did subscribe was SPN.) Another example of angry-making geographic restrictions. Grrr.

      The dude doesn't use the word "rape," but he sure ain't gonna give her a choice as to whether or not she wants to sleep with him one last time. He will show her what she gave up and that's that. I'm sure it's all coded as romantic, but I was not inclined to stick around and see that farce play out on the page.