A Few More Short Stories That Are Super Awesome and a Couple of Words About Green Lantern

I got to a certain point in China Mieville's The City & The City and read the rest of it in one gulp. So good! It was extremely slow for a long time but then it utterly enthralled me and I gave up everything until I finished it. You should definitely give it a try. I'm still bogged down in Ulysses by James Joyce, with no end in sight, so I'm supplementing it with some short stories.

The Night Train by Lavie Tidhar is about a woman who discovers she has a taste for blood and a flair for assassination. When we first meet her she's going by the name Mulan Rouge and is on a platform, ostensibly waiting for the train while keeping a sharp eye on her fellow passengers. She's assessing them, trying to figure out which ones are a danger to her new boss. She got her job by killing the former bodyguards of the big boss. The author does a beautiful job drawing a complex universe for us in just a few pages. I found the trains particularly interesting but the whole thing is filled with intriguing details. http://www.strangehorizons.com/2010/20100614/nighttrain-f.shtml

I almost didn't read this next story, Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders, because I found out about it via this tweet http://twitter.com/#!/tordotcom/status/78438927052185601 from tor.com, which starts off "Has he made her cry, or is that tomorrow?" Did I want to read ANOTHER story where a man makes a woman cry? No, I did not. But after it showed up three or four times in my twitter feed I clicked the link, scowling as I did so. The story is wonderful and I say it's about what happens when the eternal optimist meets the eternal pessimist. As the story begins Judy and Doug are about to go on their first date. As they do they anticipate the future, which they know a little too well as they are both clairvoyant. But while one of them thinks the future is set in stone and isn't all that bright, the other thinks the future is a series of branching possibilities, many of which are hopeful. I like that this story kept me guessing and didn't end up where I thought it might. http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/06/six-months-three-days

My favorite this week was definitely Peerless by Karen Munro. This story hit all my sweet spots and made me deeply happy. The title character is keeping a secret, but what secret? I had a couple of different ideas and I'm pleased to say that one of them was correct. Peerless makes his living shining shoes in a stratified classist society. Anyone who acts uppity (my word) is quickly slapped down and Peerless responds by trying to be meek, keep his head down and do his job. Then a very interesting woman comes in for a shine and shakes things up. Ms. Munro packs so much into this short story; an intriguing universe, interesting and mysterious characters and a smidgeon of romance. http://www.strangehorizons.com/2011/20110606/peerless-f.shtml

While I didn't go see Green Lantern, my middle son did and he reports that it is disappointing. He says the protagonist is a misogynistic douchebag; significantly worse than even Tony Stark, previous comic book movie master of bad behavior. Cullen also said the direction is bad, with stilted acting in many scenes. There are continuity errors and the cinematography, designed to support 3-D, is annoying. He said there were plenty of people in the audience who seemed to enjoy the movie but he wasn't one of them.

This is sad as the Green Lantern is a character that hasn't been popular outside of the comic world for a long time. This was an awesome chance to get new fans but I'm afraid that's not going to happen.

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat is from Liz Prince who did a fun comic about what happens when her cats and her imagination meet. Her cats are named Wolfman and Dracula, which is a great set of names and adds an extra layer of fun to her comics. http://lizprincepower.com/comics/my-poor-cats