Dust, by Elizabeth Bear
I started to re-read this book in June, because it was the only spec fic book I had that had non-cis characters in it. I didn’t finish it before Continuum, the Spec Fic convention. Then I put it away, because it is not a compelling read, and because I have little time for the author personally.

However, it is a book about a dead spaceship and does have a character who does not have a pronoun and another who is referred to by gender neutral pronouns. The idea is much more interesting to me than the execution. I think a lot of this is just that Bear’s style of writing doesn’t suit my style of reading and there is a lot that I don’t get about the story. I don’t understand the ending, I don’t understand the character relationships. Also, I am wary of the story and the world that Bear has created because she said some very weird stuff about race years ago, about the time that I read this first time round. I was definitely reading for the treatment of the non-gender-normative characters.

Chill, by Elizabeth Bear
Already owning book 2, I decided that I would read it once I finished book 1. It was a little bit of a struggle because a lot of the characters spend most of the book missing someone who died in book 1 and I don’t quite understand why. I mean, I get that they loved her, but I don’t know why, or what it felt like to them. Even when it is explained.

Also, the book is way more about the interpersonal relationships of the Conn family that I thought it would be. There is just not the range of characters and character experience that I expected. A whole lot of the character introspection and engagement with the plot is based on centuries old issues with their dad. I’m fascinated by the way history changes and develops, which is what this series promised to be about, but it is not as much about that as I thought. Or, it’s about that in a different way, and it’s disappointing.

I still don’t know whether I want to put myself through book 3. None of my libraries has it.


Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn
This was a fun film. It lacked any of the complexity or unexpected character moments that I would have expected from the other branch of Marvel movies; Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor 2, Iron Man 3 and The Avengers all said something. Guardians of the Galaxy might have done something with the typical plot of selfish outlaw compelled to do their moral duty, al la Han Solo. But there was nothing complex in anything that happened. Even the characters didn’t seem to notice.

The opening is the white guy’s origin story. Which, given that it’s an ensemble film, serves almost entirely to mark Peter Quill as the main character. I would have much rather had some kind of contextualisation of the setting.

It is a lot of fun if you have no expectations. But not as much of a pay off for turning your brain off as Pirates of the Caribbean 4.

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