Frederik Pohl 1916-2013

Frederik Pohl 1916-2013

(cross-posted on my writing blog) Waaaay back in high school I read a story in one of those ‘Best of…” anthologies. It was about a future where the world population had exploded, and the United States had implemented a very unusual method of birth control- although the control was enacted well after the person culled had been born. It was a powerful story, and I remembered it. I couldn’t recall the title or the author, but I remembered every detail of the story. One day I told my husband about it. He pulled up Google- for some reason in all this time I had never thought to consult the Internet- and found the story: “Spending a Day at the Lottery Fair” by one Frederik Pohl. I was thrilled to have the information, and even more thrilled when, a few days later, he brought me a collection of short stories called “Pohlstars”, which included “Lottery Fair”. I re-read the story, and it was everything I remembered (and a little more, to my now-adult brain). And then, because you can’t read just one, I kept reading. I read the heartbreaking “The Sweet Sad Queen of the Grazing Isles”. I moved on to his most famous novel, Gateway. The incomparably weird “Starburst”. The epic “The World at the End of Time”. The sharp, cynical “The Day After the Day the Martians Came”. And the rest of the Heechee Saga, oh yes. When I discovered that Pohl had a blog, I read that too. As a writer and editor who had been working for the better part of the 20th century, he shared...
Manga Review: Stand Alone Complex vol. 4

Manga Review: Stand Alone Complex vol. 4

<!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> G&G readers (and anyone else who knows me) are aware of my feelings on Ghost in the Shell. Some years ago I remember reading that there was a Stand Alone Complex manga coming out in Japan. But in the years since I’d completely forgotten this exciting fact. Until, a couple weeks ago, my husband called from the local comic shop to tell me he was holding in his hands the Stand Alone Complex manga, volume 4. Did I want it? Well, yes. A little research told me that each manga volume was a self-contained story, so I could read volume 4 with no fear of being lost. I was disappointed to find that volume 4 is just a paper version of the season one episode, YES (the actual title is spelled with a yen symbol, a pound sterling symbol and a dollar sign, but…silly keyboard). It’s pretty much a shot-for shot adaptation, with a couple minor changes. I won’t summarize the story since most of you have probably seen the episode, but it involves a bad rich man, a female assassin with a good reason to want to kill him, and amusingly, Section 9 pretending to be trash collectors. The story includes a little more background on Fem, the assassin, but otherwise there is nothing new here. The kinetic action that is such a big part of the TV series doesn’t translate well to the page. Besides this, the art is solid- the cover made me a little nervous, but the interior art is very similar to the show, and is serviceable...
AnaKhouri Presents Shameless Self-Promotion

AnaKhouri Presents Shameless Self-Promotion

I have a new novella available as of today! “Hour of the Lotus” is up on the Amazon Kindle store, or you can get it directly from Dreamspinner Press’ website for a slight discount. Here’s the hook: General Sho Iwata is devastated when the man he secretly loves, Prince Narita, is struck with a mysterious illness. To make matters worse, the servants assigned to sit up with the prince at night have been falling asleep, leaving him unattended. Iwata’s current lover, Hiroshi, is well aware of the general’s unrequited passion. But that isn’t his biggest problem. His sister is Narita’s favorite consort, but Hiroshi believes she has been replaced by an imposter. When he convinces Iwata to investigate, they discover the true cause of the prince’s illness. Iwata will fight to save the man he loves, and Hiroshi will fight for his sister, but if they want to save the prince and find justice, they first have to battle an ancient spirit and survive.   If you do purchase a copy, please please please leave a review on either Amazon or the publisher’s site. And make it HONEST; I don’t need anyone to pat my head and tell me it was good. That’s what my mom is for.    ...
Manga Review: Men of Tattoos (Yaoi + Spoilers Alert!)

Manga Review: Men of Tattoos (Yaoi + Spoilers Alert!)

<!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –> Men of Tattoos would’t be so bad if the mangaka hadn’t fallen into a mindset that seems disturbingly common among yaoi writers: that distasteful, even offensive material can be made up for with a few vaguely-outlined penises. It’s not that I’m easily offended; just the opposite. And I wouldn’t mind a story about prison gang rape or sexual violence if it was handled with thought and care. But Men of Tattoos is as flippant about potential HIV infection as it is possible to be. As the title indicates, Men of Tattos is about the Yakuza (except for one odd, unconnected college love story) and focuses on two gay couples. In the first story, Kubota and Katagi are childhood friends who grew apart, met up again as young men and became lovers. Katagi is pretty extensively tattooed, despite being a mere Yakuza underling, and is so dim-witted he doesn’t realize that Kubota is a cop looking to bust him- which he does after a drippy sex scene. As they wait for the squad cars, Kubota cheerfully tells Katagi to be good so he can get an early release and they can be together. It’s not clear how long Kubota aims to be together with Katagi, post-incarceration, before he puts his stupid ass back in jail again. The second story focuses on a new couple. Mutou is the devoted retainer of the son of a powerful Yazuka boss. Teenaged Arima is a whiz on the stock market, so his evil father keeps him imprisoned in his room, making money...
A Little Christmas Reading

A Little Christmas Reading

[wdgkt_cap_img source=”http://geekyandgenki.imaginaryexercise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2012/12/Pappy.jpg” thumb=”http://geekyandgenki.imaginaryexercise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2012/12/Pappy-210×300.jpg” align=”right” caption=”"The flames made him huge and painted him with fire, like a sorcerer, and he filled that whole end of the room with the blaze of his torch and his flickering figure and the shadow of his tremendous size."” width=”210″ height=”300″ alttext=”Pappy”] [/wdgkt_cap_img]Hey All, On my sixth Christmas, in 1979, one of the gifts waiting under the tree for me was a book by Paul Theroux, titled A Christmas Card. It’s not a very long book – only 84 pages. I read it for the first time that afternoon; the second time on boxing day. I read it at least a dozen times that first year, and countless times since. Much of my sense of what home and family are were shaped by these 84 pages. So too, were my sense of magic and wonder fed by its magic and mysteries. No one else ever seems to know this book, so for the last fifteen years, I have made it a tradition to read A Christmas Card to a new set of friends each Christmas. This year, I thought I’d share it with friends on the internet. Merry Christmas everyone, and thank you Dad, for this gift of magic you granted me all those years ago. I miss you. Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 59:26 — 54.4MB) edmcw on...
50 SHades of Grey Isn’t Sexy Even If George Takei Reads It

50 SHades of Grey Isn’t Sexy Even If George Takei Reads It

Here’s an early Christmas present. Actually, if the world ends tomorrow then this might be the last thing you ever read. Or have read to you. Look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls. Apparently in this book, the clueless idiot heroine says ‘Oh my’ every time her S&M-lite dom boyfriend/boss does anything remotely sexual. So I guess this was a no-brainer. Here’s everyone’s favorite Japanese-American geek icon reading from the one of the worst published novels ever written. (and yes, I know it’s one of the worst- I read part of it! At least it’s good for amusing bookstore cashiers during slow periods.)...