Weeknote for 10/25/2020

Christmas labels

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I made progress again. Still hoping to finish this week.

Fiction

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Friday my department at work had a lunch discussion of The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. We talked about whether it was a cohesive narrative, the role of the I Ching, and the meaning of various characters’ subplots. Our conversation improved my opinion of the book, which I was only taking on faith as being better than my first listen suggested. It’s a strange book. I also got some alternate history recommendations from my coworker, since I have a story idea in that genre and I’ll need to know how it works.

I picked up my horror listening again with Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales by Christopher Slatsky. Indirect meaning seems to be the theme of this month’s stories, which is less than satisfying for my casual style of listening. I had this issue with Evenson and Dick, less with Ligotti. So once again I’m assuming the author’s work would reward a closer look, since other people seem to think so. But as with the others, Slatsky drops in some interesting ideas I can already play with.

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I decided I missed The Laundry Files, so I listened to my next book in the series, The Apocalypse Codex. As usual some of the details blew past me, but I enjoy the setting, and this time I got a better sense of where the series is heading. The book fits into my cosmic horror theme for this month, but even though I think of this series as Lovecraftian spy novels, it feels less like horror and more like science fiction, because the characters have contained the horror somewhat by technologizing it. The threats are real, but they have the tools and knowledge to deal with them, at least for now.

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I had to use 13 Audible credits by the end of the week. My yearly renewal was coming up, and Audible’s new policies meant my old credits would expire if I didn’t use them. It took a lot of research, since I wanted to avoid using credits for books I could get from a library or that were cheaper just to buy, and I wanted to spend them on books I was likely to listen to.

But I got them spent, and my selections nudge me even closer to diving back into SFF. A few of them I’ve been curious about for many years, so I’m looking forward to seeing what those are like: Magician: Apprentice by Raymond Feist, after playing Betrayal at Krondor almost 20 years ago; Little, Big by John Crowley, which I ran across in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy; and A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., which I believe I first heard about in a sermon. I also added a few to my library from Audible’s new Plus Catalog, books that are free with your subscription. One of those was Patternmaster, the first novel by Octavia Butler, another author I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

People

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I had an impromptu dinner with Jeremyβ€”in the rain. We went to Potbelly after work for sandwiches, and since I didn’t want the virus joining us inside, we decided beforehand to eat at one of their tables outside. On the way it started raining. We ate outside anyway. We had a nice time talking, but eating in the rain was ridiculous, and it highlighted for me that people will need to keep being creative about socializing safely as the weather changes.

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