Interview at Scy-Fy

S. C. Flynn over at Scy-Fy was kind enough to invite me over to his blog for an interview. So, if you’ve ever wondered who the hell is this sarcastic twit people keep calling “Couch,” this interview might shed a little bit of light on the matter.

So, tonight, I bring you…

Interview with From Couch to Moon at Scy-Fy: The Blog of S. C. Flynn

… and for the tl;dr, we learn that I am opinionated about books, concerned about the future of the Internet, and I hate toothpaste commercials.

But seriously, go over there, if only to check out Scy-Fy’s neat and tidy bookshelves.

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962) by Ray Bradbury

Something_wicked_this_way_comes_first“He stared at fathoms of reflections. You could never strike bottom there. It was like winter standing tall, waiting to kill you with a glance” (p. 62).

“Stay away from the maze where winter slept” (p. 122).

Has anyone ever finished a mirror maze? I have not. Not out of some existential fear like Bradbury suggests. Just the fear of banging my nose on a pane of bendy glass is enough to prevent me from venturing further than a few feet inside, arms outstretched, before I back up and scurry out the entrance. And, yes, I’ve had to be rescued at least once.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is a mirror maze of another kind, the existential kind, although it’s accompanied by some of the same appeal and angst. It recollects our pasts, that famous Bradburian nostalgia, and we see ourselves and our loved ones in his contemplative meditations. Like a warped mirror, Bradbury amplifies, intensifies, stretches, augments, and he stuffs the extra spaces with tenderly poignant musings. I get a pang in my gut when I read his prose, it’s so excruciatingly true and beautiful. Some people have physical reactions to art. I have a physical reaction when I read stuff like this.

But this is about Halloween. Not about my sensitivity to distinctive metaphors. (But he compares the mother’s optimism to fresh milk! *swoon*)

Here’s something scary… Continue reading

Big Sky fanzine, the Hugos, and other updates

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Want to increase your SF cred? You must check out Big Sky #3 & #4, the latest editions of the gorgeous book review fanzine, released this month for LonCon3. Issues #3 and #4 are dedicated to the Gollancz SF Masterworks list, in which SF fans share their thoughts about critically acclaimed works of the genre. Contributors include familiar names from the SF world, including some of my favorite writers, critics, and fellow blogger buddies from around the web. (Some of my reviews are in there, too.)

What else has happened lately? Continue reading

I’m back! So, what did I miss?

Greetings Reader Friends!

I’m back! Armed with an E-stack of books and a spotty WiFi connection, I managed to read my way through the past month, and abstain from Internet communication. In addition, I spent many days at the beach, ate good food, saw beautiful places, and crossed some things off my bucket list. Oh, and I joined the Mile-High Club! (That means vomiting at 30,000 feet, right?)

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It’s blurry, but I didn’t care.

 

Although it was all refreshing, I am ready to dive back in with new book reviews, and catch up on all my fellow bloggers’ insights and witticisms.

 

 

Autobots Have Taken Over the From Couch to Moon Blog!

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The WordPress autobots have decided that Megan needs some well-deserved R&R&MR (rest & relaxation & more reading), so they have taken over the From Couch to Moon Blog for the month of July. The autobots have planned some exciting posts about popular SF novels… some of which were read ages ago but were never posted.

Here’s hoping they post… the autobots have not always proven reliable in this matter. Enjoy and feel free to comment, disagree, or make snide remarks. Megan will respond as soon as she is released… er, as soon as she returns.

In the meantime, check out the index!

 

A SciFi Monkey Story

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”’Japanese Macaque”’ (”Macaca fuscata”) October 4, 2004. One of Iwatayama Monkey Park’s 170 monkeys. Photographer: David Turner {{GFDL}

I was at a workshop this week, and the presenter imparted this lovely bit of [misleading] wisdom:

In a 30-year study of the behavior of Japanese Macaque monkeys, one population of monkeys was given crates of sweet potatoes covered in dirt. At first, the monkeys ate the sweet potatoes and spat out the dirt, but one day, a young monkey discovered that water could wash off the dirt. That monkey taught the water trick to all of its hip little friends, and finally, grudgingly, the young monkeys taught the older generations how to wash their potatoes. Eventually, all of the monkeys washed their potatoes before consumption.

When the researchers estimated that the hundredth monkey had learned to wash its potatoes, the washing behavior was suddenly observed among populations of monkeys on other islands! The researchers determined that this behavior was proof that positive behaviors, when shared by a community of one hundred or more, can metaphysically leap into other populations, without any verbal or proximate contact, or monkey wi-fi. 

The researchers called this The Hundredth Monkey Effect.

We’re talking about psychic monkeys, people!

The presenter shared the story in order to illustrate the power of deliberate, positive behavior, and the importance of youth culture (although the youth component is left out of the stories I’ve found online).

That’s lovely, really, but the story is misleading, and the science is false, which the above link explains further down into the article. Still, the presenter believed the story and explained it as proven scientific fact, and the audience was entranced. But as soon as she started talking about behaviors leaping across space, byway of quantum physics (she really said “quantum physics”), I called, “Bullshit.” (Well, I muttered “bullshit” to myself and started googling for the deets on my phone.)

Anyway, it turns out that Japanese macaque monkeys can swim. And critical thinking is an important skill. And, it is possible to be a skeptic and enjoy SF, and recognize the difference.

Has anyone heard this story before? It was a first for me, but apparently it’s a common tale.

And, if you like scienc-y, critical thinking things, you should check out Science Book A Day, my favorite nonfiction book blog. I was flattered that Mr. PopSciGuy himself, George Aranda, asked me to provide a list this week of some my favorite scienc-y Sci Fi books. It was quite a task, but I did my best to sample from many styles and decades. I’ll also keep it posted on the “Suggested Reading Lists” link on the left side bar.

SF Book Award Season Begins…

…because who needs sports when you have frivolous book award competitions?

Just a quick note that two major SF Book Awards have open nomination periods, one of which is about to close:

Both competitions require paid membership to nominate and vote. If you are curious about other major SF awards coming up, you can view this handy little document, which is totally homemade and may require some gentle feedback. (gentle, I said.)

I will not be participating in the nominating process this year because I spent most of last year reading the past Hugo nominees, and avoided most new releases. However, I will be reading the shortlisted Hugos once they are announced this spring, so I am counting on you contemporary readers to nominate some decent books so I don’t have to read crap this year. (I’m about done with overt metaness, sexy dark lords, and zombie bloggers. Oh, and steampunk zombie apocalyptic history.)

May the best novelists with the most overzealous fans with resources earn the most nominations!

Happy Nominating!