No Time Like the Present, The Entomologist’s Three Ballgowns, and Last Tango in Halifax

I just finished what is possibly the world's worst book; one that made me yell “Are you kidding me?” about a hundred times. It's so bad I can't even discuss it as it makes me feel like a bristling cat when I think about it. I'm going to talk about a couple of short stories and a new series I particularly like, but first a bit about some upcoming Coursera classes that may appeal to genre readers.

I took this class, Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World earlier this year and really enjoyed it. The only thing I didn't like was the peer review. Not everyone in the class understood the writing assignments and I got a few reviewers who were confused about the rubric and graded accordingly. Blech. But the overall experience was quite positive.

The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color, a class I have not taken, starts on the sixteenth of this month and looks at how available technology molds Hollywood storytelling.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels begins on the 23rd of this month. I'm signed up for this one and I'm very much looking forward to it. The instructor has been sending out emails in advance of the class and it looks like it's going to be fun and educational. If you scroll down to the bottom of this linked page you'll see the course plan and the comics we'll be reading, which includes some of my favorites such as Fun Home.

Last Tango in Halifax is currently airing on PBS. It's about an elderly pair who had strong romantic feelings for one another sixty years ago. Now they have bumped into each other online and make a date to catch up with each other. They have a series of misadventures, including an adorable car chase, while realizing that they possibly could have been together all those bygone years. So far it's a lovely story with both charming and irritating characters. I particularly like Ann Reid as Celia, the older woman, who has the kindest, friendliest face I've seen in some time. She just makes me want to squeeze her like I squeeze my cat. Derek Jacobi plays Alan, her old flame and he is marvelous as well. Episode one ran last week, but you can catch it at this link.

As I've previously stated, I am a big fan of Carol Emshwiller's stories. Much of her work looks at the interactions of alien species but this story is set on Earth, told from the point of view of a human child. A child who is both curious and suspicious of a bunch of new folk who have settled in town.

I don't know why I read Electric Velocipede so infrequently. Whenever I check the zine out I find at least one story I like. The August issue has a charming and quirky story by Brooke Wonders called The Entomologist’s Three Ballgowns. It's about two scientists who share a lab but rarely speak to each other. One of them is pining for the other one, unable to ascertain whether there are any fond feelings directed at him. One of my favorite lines is, “Instead, he folds his awkwardness around him like a pair of flightless wings and hunches over a microscope to hide his blush.”

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat is connected to one of the hottest videos online this month. Of course I'm talking about The Fox by Ylvis. The first time I saw the video it had about half a million hits and at time of publication had more than 22 million. Here it is in case you somehow missed it.

If you, like me, have had foxes living in your backyard and dancing on your grill, you probably already have a good idea of what the fox says. But they have a bigger repertoire than I thought. There are several calls in this video, including the vixen scream and geckering. A lot of these cries sound like birds to me.