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Showing posts by: Kate Nepveu click to see Kate Nepveu's profile
Thu
Jan 10 2013 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 8, “Flies and Spiders”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.com Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous reread of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien wrote (that is: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider Chapter 8, “Flies and Spiders,” in which there are the creeping horrors (and much else besides).

[Read more . . . ]

Thu
Jan 3 2013 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 7, “Queer Lodgings”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.comWelcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit (and Happy Gregorian New Year). You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous reread of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien (that is: The Hobbit, LotR, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider Chapter 7, “Queer Lodgings,” the title of which demonstrates the continuing evolution of English, or possibly that Britain and the United States are two nations divided by a common language. Or both.

[Read more . . . ]

Fri
Dec 28 2012 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Movie Interlude

The Hobbit Reread on Tor.com: Movie Interlude Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter re-read of The Hobbit. This week, we are actually pausing the book reread to consider the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which I saw last weekend and which, by happy coincidence, stops exactly where we left off with the book.

Short version: The movie is obviously flawed and too long, yet I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting. Slightly longer version: If you disliked the Lord of the Rings movies in their entirety, there is no way you will like this. If you liked some or all of the LotR movies, then you will probably like some or all of this, but I can’t predict the proportion. (You can find links to my thoughts on the LotR movies at the bottom of the LotR reread index. Or you can catch up on past posts in the Hobbit reread index.)

See behind the cut for the rather long version—with spoilers for both the movie and everything Tolkien, so feel free to read Tor.com’s review with only minor spoilers instead. (To my surprise, it is in fact possible to meaningfully spoil this movie.)

[Read more]

Thu
Dec 20 2012 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 6, “Out of the Frying-Pan Into the Fire”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.comWelcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous re-read of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien (that is: The Hobbit, LotR, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider Chapter 6, “Out of the Frying-Pan Into the Fire”; I have checked three different editions and that title is correctly punctuated, so take it up with Tolkien and not me.

[Read more . . . ]

Thu
Dec 13 2012 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 5, “Riddles in the Dark”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.com Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter re-read of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous re-read of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien (that is: The Hobbit, LotR, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider Chapter 5, “Riddles in the Dark,” which was excerpted in at least one commonly-used schoolbook and caused a number of you to read The Hobbit in the first place. I have to say, I’d have done the same.

[Read more . . . ]

Thu
Dec 6 2012 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 4, “Over Hill and Under Hill”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.com Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter re-read of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous re-read of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien (that is: The Hobbit, LotR, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider Chapter 4, “Over Hill and Under Hill,” which is probably titled that because “Over Mountain and Under Mountain” doesn’t sound right. (Which is good, because it saves Frodo from later taking the pseudonym “Mr Undermountain.”)

[Read more... ]

Thu
Nov 29 2012 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 3, “A Short Rest”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.com Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter re-read of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous re-read of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien (that is: The Hobbit, LotR, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider Chapter 3, “A Short Rest,” which is pretty much what it says on the tin.

[Read more... ]

Sun
Nov 25 2012 1:00pm

Rewatching The Return of the King

cover of Return of the King DVDThis post is actually two in one: first, we have a guest review from LaShawn Wanak, who won the opportunity in a charity auction lo these many months ago, and then we have my additional comments.

Onward to the rewatch of the movie adaptation of The Return of the King! Spoilers for everything Tolkien, as usual, after the jump.

[Read more...]

Sat
Nov 24 2012 12:00pm

Rewatching The Two Towers

cover of The Two Towers DVDHey, you know what?

The extended edition of The Two Towers is really, really long.

So, apologies for the delay. I did quasi-liveblog my watching, and those notes are included, after some general comments as an introduction.

Spoilers for the book and movies after the jump.

Oh yes, before we start: obligatory XKCD reference (click on image for big version).

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 23 2012 12:00pm

Rewatching The Fellowship of the Ring

cover of Fellowship DVDThe first time I saw the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, I literally jumped up and down in the lobby after, saying, “When is the next one coming out?!” Even now, years after the first flush of excitement, I still have a hard time not watching it if I channel-surf past it on TV, and it’s the one I like best of all.

I re-watched the theatrical edition for three reasons: because of that happy memory; because I think the additions to the extended edition were properly left out (they seem to me “hey, cool, we can put this back in and the fans will like it,” rather than “this is how we envisioned the film all along”); and because movie-watching time is about as scarce as hen’s teeth just now. You can find a list of the additions to the extended edition at the IMDB; if anyone has a more detailed link, please leave it in comments.

After the jump, discussion of the movie Fellowship in light of the re-read of the book Fellowship, with spoilers for all the books and movies.

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 22 2012 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 2, “Roast Mutton”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.comHappy Thanksgiving, those who celebrate, and happy Thursday, those who don’t. This week in the Hobbit reread, we consider Chapter 2, “Roast Mutton.” The usual discussion—including spoilers for all things Tolkien—follows after the jump.

 

What Happens

Bilbo wakes to find Bag End empty of people but full of dirty dishes. He washes up  and is “just sitting down to a nice little second breakfast” when Gandalf appears, determines that he did not find the note to him on the mantelpiece telling him to meet the dwarves at a local inn, and hurries him out the door to make the meeting on time.

[Read more...]

Thu
Nov 15 2012 12:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 1, “An Unexpected Party”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.comWelcome to the reread of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, where we will consider one chapter of the book per week. I haven’t read the book in a very long time, and I wasn’t planning on re-reading it again in advance of the first of the movies next month, but when the nice folks here at Tor.com asked me about a re-read series, I simply couldn’t say no. I’ll be interested to see if this re-read brings me as many surprises as the The Lord of the Rings re-read did, and I very much look forward to hearing what you all think.

As before, everything Tolkien is fair game in the posts and comments. If you’re new to the book and you care about spoilers, you can read along instead with Mark Reads, who read it completely unspoiled about a year ago.

[Read more]

Tue
Feb 14 2012 1:30pm

Wheel of Time Ebook Art, Forthcoming Novels & More Cool Things Being Auctioned at Con or Bust

Interested in advance copies of forthcoming novels by N.K. Jemisin or John Scalzi? Rare books and signed books by authors such as Vernor Vinge, Lois McMaster Bujold,  Neil Gaiman, and Brandon Sanderson? Indian speculative fiction in English translation? How about snacks from Hawaii, Israel, or the UK; homemade candy and cookies; knitted goods? Or, perhaps, a print of one of the new Wheel of Time ebook covers?

They’re all currently being auctioned online at Con or Bust, the assistance fund I run that helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons.

[Learn more]

Fri
Oct 14 2011 12:00pm

A Plea to SFF Writers for Variety in Pregnancy and Childbirth Depictions

We all know how the basics of pregnancy and childbirth go in pop culture, including SFF. It’s usually an unplanned pregnancy. The pregnant character discovers the pregnancy after throwing up breakfast several days in a row, which may coincide with finding clothes tighter at the waist. As the pregnancy progresses, the character experiences turn-on-a-dime mood swings and cravings for unusual foods or food combinations.

Labor is preceded by the pregnant character going on a cleaning or decorating binge. It starts abruptly and unmistakably, usually with water breaking, and takes only a matter of hours. The character will be lying down in bed during labor and delivery, will scream a lot, and will gain unusual strength — which will be used to break the hand of any companion. If the forthcoming child’s father is present, the pregnant character will curse and berate him; regardless, any father will have freaked out at the very prospect of labor and is likely to be entirely useless.

And here’s the thing. It’s not that any of these things are wrong, that is, that they never happen. But they’re boring. Pregnancy and childbirth vary remarkably across people, and even across different pregnancies of the same person, and falling back on the same clichés over and over again is not only lazy, but likely to bore or irritate a substantial portion of readers (including me). Fortunately, it’s not very hard for SFF writers to do better.

[Simple suggestions for writers]

Fri
Jul 22 2011 11:52am

2011 Hugo Best Novel Nominees: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Hunded Thousand Kingdoms by NK JemisinThis week we’re looking at the 2011 Hugo Nominees for Best Novel. You’ll be able to find all the posts in this ongoing series here.

I love The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Orbit), N.K. Jemisin’s first novel, almost without reservation—an extremely rare state of affairs, as those of you who know me will recognize. This standalone high fantasy manages to be both dense and smooth: it’s rich with mystery, romance, politics, and theology, but it reads faster and feels shorter than its 400-odd pages, thanks in large part to its terrific narrative voice. I can’t wait for the two forthcoming books in the same universe, which collectively will comprise the Inheritance Trilogy.

Yeine, the novel’s narrator, is the granddaughter of the man who effectively rules the world. Her mother was exiled for marrying her father, and she grew up far from the center of power. Now her mother has died under suspicious circumstances and her grandfather has summoned her and named her one of his heirs. But the political struggle, deadly as it is, may be the least of her problems: the family’s power comes from controlling defeated and enslaved gods—who have plans of their own for her.

[Read more: no spoilers]

Mon
May 23 2011 11:15am

The Lord of the Rings Movies: A Book-Related Appreciation

The Lord of the Rings moviesSo the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy has won Tor.com’s Best Movies of the Decade poll, and though I’ve written extensively about each of the movies (Fellowship, TT, RotK) after re-reading the relevant volume, this seemed like a good time to do a (much) shorter overview of the movies specifically in relation to the book. After the jump, I discuss how the movies have improved my understanding of the book and enriched my reading experience, and what I observed about other people’s reactions during the re-read. Spoilers, naturally.

[Read more...]

Mon
Apr 25 2011 12:31pm

LotR re-read: Concluding Thoughts

The Lord of the Rings reread by Kate NepveuNow that the Lord of the Rings reread is complete, I wanted to talk briefly about the experience as a whole: what I’ve learned from it, what surprised me, and generally what was good and bad about it. Spoilers and navel-gazing after the jump.

[Read more...]

Tue
Apr 19 2011 10:16am

LotR re-read: Return of the King Movie Rewatch

cover of Return of the King DVDOur penultimate Lord of the Rings re-read post, this time on the movie of Return of the King. (After this will be a general wrapping-up post.) This post is actually two in one: first, we have a guest review from LaShawn Wanak, who won the opportunity in a charity auction lo these many months ago, and then we have my additional comments. Spoilers for everything Tolkien, as usual, after the jump.

[Read more...]

Fri
Mar 25 2011 2:27pm

LotR re-read: Appendices

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien The Appendices to The Lord of the Rings take up more than a quarter of my paperback edition of The Return of the King (excluding the index), which, alas, makes me feel only a tiny bit better about the ridiculously long time it took me to read, annotate, outline, and post about them.

After the jump I give a quick overview of how I felt about each Appendix this time around; point out some of my favorite story-like bits; comment on some random facts that interested me; and offer up my personal bedrock beliefs about what happens to everyone post-canon. Spoilers, obviously.

[Read more...]

Thu
Mar 3 2011 6:19pm

Con or Bust Auction ending soon

This year’s auction to support Con or Bust, which helps people of color attend SFF conventions, is ending soon: Sunday, March 6, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT -5), to be precise.

Of potential interest to Tor.com readers are many, many books signed by their authors, including several from Lois McMaster Bujold and Tor.com’s own Jo Walton; advance reading copies of not-yet-published books; a copy of Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories with accompanying artwork; the opportunity to be a gangster, a god, or some other character in a published work; and blog posts, including one by James Nicoll, nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010. A little further afield from SFF, there’s jewelry; food; custom-made items like hand-carved stamps, hats, and bookmarks; and a kayaking lesson.

For more information, see these posts on how to bid, and how to browse auctions, or check out this year’s announcement post. Con or Bust is run by Kate Nepveu under the auspices of the Carl Brandon Society, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.