Year of the Ox and Other Stories

Whew! Is it already February? January felt like a wild ride. I can't believe we went from US insurrection to a second impeachment to that glorious Amanda Gorman live poem read (oh, and an inauguration), then that whole business about Gamestop. I've been following the Gamestop thing avidly for weeks, because the partner of someone at work actually bought in to the stock at <$50, weeks before it went viral. They did it randomly – didn't know anything about the company, wasn't a redditor. The last I heard, they aren't selling, but at least it's money they could afford to lose, and they've since been inspired to learn about (normal) investing. Either way, I hope there aren't that many people who get seriously hurt out of this stock bubble debacle. I'm still old enough to remember the bust.

It'll be the Year of the Ox soon in February, and horoscopes are in. I don't believe in them – last year's one told me to avoid cats, for example – but I like reading them for fun, so. For those who're curious, this is this year's horoscope for fellow Year of the Rat people:

Year of the Ox Rat Horoscope
Photo Credit: Eternalrhythms

Nothing about avoiding cats, at least. This year, my new years' resolutions are to try three types of cuisines that I've never tried before. Melbourne has a big breadth, choice-wise, so it shouldn't be too hard. In the meantime, hope everyone had a decent new year, and a great upcoming Chinese New Year.

Things I've Watched

Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody | Netflix | I suspect this is part of the South Korean initiative to encourage pork sales from Korean farmers, but either way, it's a 2 part (so far) tv series dedicated just to samgyeopsal. Seems hyper specific to me, but I love this kind of hyper specific tv.

Snakes on a Plane | Netflix | I offer no excuses for this particular watch. Caught it in the background while playing board games.

Monster Hunter | This film was actually... not as bad as I thought it would be? Clearly made for people who are already fans of the game, and as such included a lovingly rendered sequence of the scarred Chef cat, even. Not sure about some of that weapon choice, and the Diablos tbh gave me more trouble in the game than the Rathalos, but it was a fun watch if you played the game. Also, Tony Jaa is great.

WW84 | Ah... less said about this one the better, but if you'd told me last year that I'd enjoy the Monster Hunter film more than WW84, I'd have asked you what dimension you were calling from.

Things I've Read

Eboni J. Dunbar | Stone and Steel | I'm biased – the publisher of Stone and Steel, Neon Hemlock, also published a novella from me last year. That being said, Stone and Steel is the kind of book I'd pick up regardless. Awesome cover, great premise, a messy f/f romance (for people complaining that a lot of f/f content is too sappy or saccharine or perfect, this novella is for you), fun worldbuilding, and politics. Loved this book, looking forward to more from Eboni.

Zen Cho | The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water | Because of the pretty cover, I bought this book for myself, then bought it for a friend for Christmas. Another friend bought the same book for me. All of us already had the book. We've resolved to just never buy each other book presents again, a resolve that likely won't last very long. Fun read.

Liu Cixin | Of Ants and Dinosaurs | This was a weird book. Premise: what if ants and dinosaurs were sentient and banded together to create two co-existing civilisations? Naturally, since it's a Liu Cixin book, things go terribly wrong over and over. Was entertained though, and the book goes into intense detail over some of the worldbuild that I'd normally have considered too absurd even for the premise.

Liu Cixin | Hold Up the Sky | Why do I keep reading Liu Cixin books when they're so depressing, I ask, when I buy yet another Liu Cixin book. Great anthology of his wildly imaginative short stories. My favourite was probably the one about the global concert, if only because it ended on a hopeful note, one which I appreciated at the time.

Lee Child | The Sentinel | Actually written by his younger brother, this book was very much an attempt to write to the times, I guess. I appreciated the part where Jack Reacher randomly punches out a bunch of neo-Nazis. The Reacher books are my popcorn reading guilty pleasure, and the new Reacher author is just as good at writing action, so the new book was as entertaining as ever.

A Final Note

Still surprised about this, but I made the BSFA longlist for Best Short Fiction with We Are Still Here! Super excited, and you can read the story from a link there if you like. Am in great company too on that list.

Further, I see nomination season is still on for some awards, so if you're still reading for an award, my eligibility post for 2020 is here for your consideration. Cheers!