Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 May Reading List

Warriors (vol. 1) by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin – Not quite what I was expecting. The only story I really liked was Joe Haldeman’s “Forever Bound”. Maybe I’ll give Haldeman another try after the disappointment that was “Camouflage”. 3/5 stars

Quantico by Greg Bear – I didn’t like it. It’s marketed as a sci fi novel, but it feels more like a procedural cop TV show. The sci fi element appears only towards the end. I’m not even sure it’s that sci fi anymore and the book wasn’t written that long ago. 3/5 stars

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare – What I liked about this series was that Jace’s character used to be so much fun. In this 4th book though, not so much. Also, not much seems to be happening. There are only a few key scenes that stuck in my mind. From what I remember, there used to be more action, twists and turns in the previous books. And given the way it ends, I’m glad I waited a whole year before reading it so I could read the next book right after it. 3/5 stars

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare – I found it more interesting than City of Fallen Angels, too bad the word count is blown up by love scenes every other couple of pages. Why we need to be told about every character’s make out session, or what they’re wearing at any given moment, is beyond me. At least everything ends well, except for poor Alec. And what did Magnus do to be banned from Peru? Huh?! 3/5 stars

The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi – I recognized the same voice as in The Windup Girl, though this being written using first person POV it felt less distant. 3/5 stars

An Afternoon with Beer and Fairies by Liviu Radu – A delightful read. And the title and cover art are also great. Now I must get the other books in the series! 4/5 stars

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi – Well written, no doubt about it, but not for me. Dunno, I just didn’t care for that world. On the other hand, dystopian YA is not really my thing so… 3/5 stars

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi – I’m really glad I didn’t give up on Bacigalupi after the last book read. I only picked this one up because the synopsis said it featured Tool and Tool was my favorite character from Ship Breaker. Dystopian YA sells, and this is well set in the trend started by The Hunger Games, but it’s also ten times better written than The Hunger Games. It was such a nice surprise and I got fully captivated by the story which doesn’t often happen to me. I’m a little puzzled by who the target audience is supposed to be for this book. While as a writer I admired Bacigalupi’s skills, as an adult I didn’t enjoy reading about kids killing kids. I don’t think I’d like my kid to read something like this and be left feeling the way I did by the end. Actually, the ending was a little rushed, you didn’t get to fully enjoy the relief of escaping and we were left with the dread from before that. 4/5 stars

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson – After 100 pages of world building and basically no plot, I got bored with it. It felt like being inside a Second Life game and that’s just not interesting enough for me. I might or might not return to it.

The Chronolits by Robert Charles Wilson – To me it felt like an early draft of Spin. And I wasn’t crazy about Spin, I found it too stuffy… On the other hand, I liked Axis, but I really didn’t care for Vortex. So I guess I’m not your typical reader and Mr. Wilson’s work is not quite fit for me. 3/5 stars

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Christina Aguilera - You Lost Me

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2011 Season TV Series Roundup

Only a couple of years ago, if asked what series I was watching I would have answered none. And it would have been true since I hadn’t watched any since the X Files. But then, a friend introduced me to Supernatural and everything changed. So now that all shows went into summer hiatus (except for Games of Thrones, but that one doesn’t count), let’s see what was there to watch.

Old shows

The Vampire Diaries – Three seasons and counting and it’s still going strong. The Originals kind of took over the plot this season, but hopefully there’ll be less of them next season as they will have to focus on Elena more. I don’t care about the love triangle, I actually think Elena should and will end up with Stefan, but the Delena fans are too many not to lead them on. Anyway, Caroline continues to rock and Damon is, of course, awesome. I love the way the writers turn the episode before last in a kick ass finale and then they use the finale to set up the context for the following season, without leaving us with a major cliffhanger. Kudos for that!

Supernatural - I kept watching it for nostalgic reasons. The show used to be good (mind you this is coming from someone who doesn’t normally care for horror), but the last two seasons have been a mess as far as writing was concerned. I was seriously hoping they’d took pity on it and cancelled it to put it out of its misery and instead the network decided to only change the show runner and renew it. Damn. Oh, well, at least we have the consolation that it can’t get any worse than it already is. Maybe it will pull a House and return with a decent 8th season and then end. If only we were that lucky.

Fringe – It’s strange, because I love sci fi, but I never quite warmed up to this show and its characters. I can’t really explain why. I’ll keep watch it though since it will be its last season and a short one.

Castle – I’m kind of getting bored with it, same old same old, even Castle making out with Becket couldn’t raise my interest. I don’t know if I’ll keep watching it…

Game of Thrones – I started watching it because I was curious to see how they brought the books to the screen, but season 2 did nothing to me. The violence and gratuitous nudity became even more grating. And there wasn’t enough Jaime.

New shows

Once Upon a Time – Cool premise, but the stories were so twisted they felt like AU fan fiction crossovers. And the bad CGI and video game feel of some scenes were terribly annoying. The only characters I really liked were the kid and Mr. Gold and that’s not worth watching just for them.

Revenge – I got interested in it because of Madeleine Stowe who is a great actress. It took about half of the season for the characters of both Victoria and Emily to become predictive and therefore for the show to become repetitive. Even if the acting is good, I think I’ve had enough.

Ringer – Awfully constructed plot, not even Buffy could save that one. No wonder it was cancelled.

Hart of Dixie – I really don’t know why I watched it. Both heroine and antagonist were utterly annoying. Supporting cast was okay. I’m surprised it wasn’t cancelled.

Grimm – I only watched a few episodes and figured out it was not my thing. *pats self on the back*

I’m watching all the wrong shows, am I not?

Whole shows – A+ in my book

Downton Abbey – I wasn’t expecting to like it since I don’t care for World War stories but I got sucked into it. I’ll wait for the next season to end, though, and then have a marathon. Yeah, that should do.

House - Ah, House, my love! Seasons 1-4 were great, the rest not so great, but still good as a whole. “House’s Head” from season 4 was one of the best hours of television ever made. And the ending was just perfect. I’ll miss it. Well, I will as soon as all re-runs stop airing. LOL

This looks like a lot of shows and plenty of hours I could have put to better use, like reading or writing. I’ll do better next season, I promise. Until then, summer blockbusters are around the corner and there’s a lot of work to do. And let’s not forget the writing projects I’m working on. It will be a busy summer, that’s for sure.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Story: Among Heliotropes and Smiles

Well, the title sounds better in Romanian. The story was written around Christmas and critiqued on AtelierKult.

It's my first contribution to Suspans magazine. I wanted to publish something there for a while, but I didn't quite have the right story for it. Now I'm curious to see the readers' reactions since they are more used to fantasy rather than sci fi.

Read it here: Among Heliotropes and Smiles

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Fairchilds feat. Orianthi - High

This is my favorite track from The Fairchilds' Our Revolution album.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 European Championship Women’s Artistic Gymnastics

The Romanian gymnasts had a great week in Brussels, where they won four gold and two silver medals at the European Championships:
- gold in team final seniors
- gold at vaults
- gold and silver at beam
- gold and silver at floor.

Catalina Ponor, Larisa Iordache and Sandra Isbasa absolutely rocked at Euros.

More results here.

The upcoming Olympic Games are looking good.

You go, girls!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Romanian Speculative Fiction Is Not Dead

In a series of pamphlets published weekly on International Speculative Fiction website, Catalin Badea-Gheracostea writes about the history of Romanian speculative fiction, starting with the present days and current trends.

It's a very informative study and exactly what the world needs to realize that we still exist, and yes, we continue to write.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

BeWhere recommends Steampunk

Thanks to, we find out that BeWhere! magazine recommends "Steampunk: A doua revolutie" for this weekend's read and does it in very favorable terms.

"Steampunk: A doua revolutie" is available on and on the publisher's website.

On, "Steampunk: A doua revolutie" is also listed as soon to be available as e-Book.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Expendables 2 - Debut Trailer

This will either rock or tank badly. :P But wait, Chuck Norris, really? *gags*

Better think happier thoughts... Doooolph! :)