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Showing posts by: Kate Nepveu click to see Kate Nepveu's profile
Nov 24 2012 1:00pm

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]

Nov 23 2012 1:00pm

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]

Nov 22 2012 1:00pm

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...]

Nov 15 2012 1:00pm

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]

Feb 14 2012 2:30pm

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]

Oct 14 2011 1:00pm

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]

Jul 22 2011 12:52pm

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]

May 23 2011 12:15pm

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.

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Apr 25 2011 1:31pm

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.

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Apr 19 2011 11:16am

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.

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Mar 25 2011 3:27pm

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.

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Mar 3 2011 7:19pm

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.

Jan 13 2011 10:46am

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.9, “The Grey Havens”

The Return of the King by J. R. R. TolkienIn the Lord of the Rings re-read, we have reached the last chapter, “The Grey Havens,” though not the end of the book. The usual spoilers and comments follow.

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Dec 27 2010 11:09am

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.8, “The Scouring of the Shire”

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien In the Lord of the Rings re-read, we have reached the penultimate chapter, “The Scouring of the Shire.” (But not the penultimate post; there will be at least one about the Appendices, one about the third movie, and one wrapping things up.) The usual spoilers and comments follow after the jump.

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Dec 20 2010 3:42pm

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.7, “Homeward Bound”

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien We consider chapter VI.7 of The Return of the King, “Homeward Bound,” in this installment of the Lord of the Rings re-read. The usual spoilers for all things Tolkien and comments after the jump.

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Dec 9 2010 11:39am

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.6, “Many Partings”

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien We resume (finally, I know) the Lord of the Rings re-read with chapter VI.6 of The Return of the King, “Many Partings.”  Spoilers and comments—and a tentative plan for finishing this re-read—follow after the jump.

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Nov 1 2010 4:06pm

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.5, “The Steward and the King”

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien We hit the midpoint of Book VI in this installment of the Lord of the Rings re-read with chapter 5, “The Steward and the King.” The usual spoilers and comments follow after the jump.

[Read more...]

Oct 18 2010 1:26pm

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.4, “The Field of Cormallen”

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien This week in the Lord of the Rings re-read, we consider “The Field of Cormallen,” Chapter 4 of book VI of The Return of the King. Spoilers for the entire book after the jump.

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Oct 5 2010 5:11pm

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.3, “Mount Doom”

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien At long last, we arrive at “Mount Doom,” chapter VI.3 of The Return of the King in The Lord of the Rings saga. Spoilers for the entire book after the jump.

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Sep 6 2010 2:57pm

LotR re-read: Return of the King VI.2, “The Land of Shadow”

This week in the Lord of the Rings re-read, we consider “The Land of Shadow,” Chapter 2 of book VI of The Return of the King. The usual comments and spoilers after the jump.

[Read more...]