December 7th, 2007

20111112, Marilee

Hungry Birds

I filled the birdfeeder yesterday before I went out to run errands and when I got up this morning, it was almost empty. Good thing I was going to get more seed. Most of the snow on the top of the van is gone, but there was still some ice next to where I parked it (snow dripped and then froze), but I got in okay. On the drive to the bird store I saw a house with one of those giant inflated snowglobes out front. At a stoplight, I swapped Drum Hat Buddha for Steve Earle's Jerusalem.

I was expecting a free bag (all the time I've been buying there, they've had a promo -- nine bags and the 10th is free) and I'd been offered the free bag last time with the ninth bag, but I don't have anywhere to store it. So I was surprised when she gave me a price and I said I was expecting the free bag. She said they'd changed programs on 11/30 and while I wasn't losing anything in the trade, the computer wasn't set up to give me the free bag. So she figured out a way to give it to me. While she was working on that, I spied metal boxes with Mary Engelbreit pictures on them and went to get the Peace one. I actually have this card and have never been able to use it because it's the only one I had. Now I have 12 more, plus the box!

In Manassas, on the way home, a fire engine wanted to make a u-turn right in front of me, so of course, I let it. When it got out of the way, I had to change to the left lane because there were four police cars, one unmarked, already in front of a house. I wonder if I'll hear what happened. I was able to move back into the right lane so I could make my right turn home.

The mail lady was at the clusterbox as I came in and I stopped to get my mail. I don't remember telling her I was an atheist, but she brought it up and said she was an atheist, too, but she was afraid to say so publically. She asked me if I was UU and I said I was more atheist than that, but apparently she goes to the local UU. Some of her kids turned fundamentalist!

Last night, after I'd been asleep about an hour, both of my feet tried to turn upside down, so I managed to get a half flexeril and take it with the water I keep to help coughing at night and go back to sleep. I think I may need a nap.
20111112, Marilee

Hunter's Run - Survival Is the Only Law by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham

This was an ARC that came to the library system. The SFF ARCs always end up with our bookgroup and I took this one to read. The top of the back cover blurb sets what they want it to say:

...a riveting, emotionally compelling morality tale set in an unforgiving alien world that ponders the perennial question: What makes us human?

Humans are manning a colony planet for a superior alien species and our protagonist, Ramon Espejo, lives in Diegotown when he isn't out mining. The book opens with an "overture" showing us a scene from later in the book, then starts the story. Ramon finds a likely mountain (he's out of communcation range), and when he sets a coring charge, the front of the mountain falls down. His (flying) van is destroyed and he barely survives. Now there's a metal front to the mountain and a door irises. He's trapped by a different kind of alien in a flying box. The new aliens force him to hunt another human.

The plot elements in this book are well-used: emotional human vs. computer-like alien, cloning, and human forced to hunt other humans. They're fairly well mixed up in this, but nothing really new. I have to wonder if they took a part-Mexican colonist as their protagonist in order to make him more likely to drink, fight, and kill. It seems pretty stereotypical and it gives them someone who can change. But will he? What does make us human? I don't think the book comes close to answering that.

My rating for the ARC: Ehn.