Battlestar Galactica and Paranormal Romance

So, this was me last week:

I’m home alone, OK? And since I’ve been through all eight seasons of the new Doctor Who multiple times, it was really time to branch out. Battlestar Galactica is kind of fun, because it was originally created by a Mormon, who included stuff like the home planet being named “Kobol,” a Council of Twelve, and the inclusion of the phrase “with every fiber of my being” in the presidential oath.

As with Doctor Who, I’m watching the 2004 reboot, rather than the original 70’s show. There’s plenty of interesting political drama, as well as gut-wrenching moral dilemmas and, of course, lots of sci fi themes and action. Also, I think it’s hilarious that they made up their very own expletive (did a little research, but was unable to find out whether the usage of “frak” was simply atmospheric, or intended to get around television profanity restrictions at the time). And the series is pretty placatory to my inner feminist, passing the Bechdel test in nearly every single episode.

In short, living alone hasn’t been too terrible this time. And despite the temptation to spend every waking moment (and a significant percentage of moments that ought to be sleeping moments) watching Battlestar Galactica, I have made a concerted effort to get out and do stuff, rather than just staying home. Even my introversion has its limits. For example, I went out and shopped for my own clothes for the first time in years (I normally try to get by on whatever Tony brings home for me; he has great taste, so it usually works pretty well). I got some screaming deals on several really cute outfits. Yes, they’re all in shades of black, grey, and navy, but that’s me. I’m terrible at The Bathroom Mirror Selfie, so I won’t post any photos. Maybe when Tony gets home to be cameraman I’ll do a fashion blog, but maybe not. No promises.

Sunday my friend Ali came over for the afternoon and we cooked dinner together, per his recipes. He’s a pretty amazing cook. We had chicken with brown and green cardamom, ginger, and garlic, raita, a lovely minty yoghurt sauce, and cardamom rice with caramelized onions. The food was divine, and it was great to catch up with him.

Monday I went to my very first Meetup group ever (“Area O” – The Orlando Area Sci-Fi Meetup). It’s a fairly geeky group that gets together and talks about science fiction every month. We sat around eating Panera soup and talking about The Hobbit, Doctor Who, Marvel movies, and even Downton Abbey. Plus a bunch of other sci fi and fantasy I hadn’t even heard of. It was pretty cool. They were an intelligent, well-read group, and I enjoyed myself, although I did duck out a little early, at 8:15. I didn’t tell them it was so I could get in an episode of Battlestar Galactica before bed, but I could have. They would totally have understood.

Yesterday I went out to lunch with Carole, one of my favorite people from our former Mormon ward. And then yesterday evening I went to the first instance of a new yoga class I’m taking this year. It was awesome. I can’t believe I haven’t been to a yoga class in almost ten years. I do yoga at home (or on the beach), sometimes regularly, sometimes sporadically. But when I do it on my own, I usually skip the poses I don’t care for, and I rarely (O.K., never) spend an entire hour on it. It’s nice to have an instructor, not to mention a room full of other people who are also trying to balance on one leg while twisting themselves into the shape of a pretzel. And I slept very well last night.

I’ve also done some (very) light reading lately. YA Dystopian/Paranomal/Romance novels are just the thing for pure literary escape. Indulgences for the week include:

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This reminded me vaguely of Sylvia Louise Engdahl and some of Ursula LeGuin’s other-planetary adventure novels, but it really lacked depth. In the end, it was just another story about a boy and girl stuck in a remote and dangerous location, who predictably fall in love. I kept waiting for there to be some kind of twist, but their relationship continued to be both stereotypical and annoying. Oh, well.

Also, there were multiple plot elements that stretched credulity, among which the fact that I don’t think this author has really thought about how big a planet is. Because the fact that her characters could reliably determine within such a short time that an entire planet was uninhabited is weird. Even the hints at alien life were cliche and uninspiring.

Oh well, what do I expect from run-of-the-mill YA sci fi? More than this, apparently.

Fallen (Fallen, #1)Fallen by Lauren Kate

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m afraid I have nothing more to add to the litany of reviews marking this as an even more cloying version of YA paranormal romance than Twilight.

I’m also embarrassed to say that I listened to this entire book, along with two of the three sequels. I can’t explain it. I just get in these sappy romantic moods, and nothing will do but reading about some teenage couple’s impossible but eternal true love.

The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book reminded me rather a lot of The Adoration of Jenna Fox, not because the plots or characters necessarily had anything in common, but because of the pacing of the book, and the slow uncovering of devastating truths. Also, I think the reader on the audiobook may have been the same for both books, and she’s quite good–perfect for this sort of story.

Like a great many dystopian YA novels these days, this one deals with a disaster scenario that threatens the survival of humankind. But unlike most such novels, it describes the disaster with a calm, measured rationality very different from the sensationalized tone more usual for such descriptions. Somehow, the sanguine approach, rich in small details of how their lives are slowly but irrevocably affected by the disaster, rings truer and hits closer to home.

I was especially impressed with how she explored the subtle but important long-reaching effects of such a tragedy on her characters’ psychological health and relationships with one another. Rather than focusing on the short-term trauma of a devastating natural disaster, Walker was more interested in exploring the long-term effects of the aftermath of such a disaster.

If you need a fast-paced plot and a lot of excitement, this book is not for you. But it’s a pretty impressive debut novel, and an illuminating twist on the usual dystopian trope.

View all my reviews

Next week Tony is coming back by himself. My in-laws have graciously offered to watch our children while we spend two weeks packing up our house. So it will be basically like a second honeymoon. Except that I am working full time and we will be packing up an entire four-bedroom house. But still, I’m sure we will still find some nice quality time to spend together.

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