The Sunday Index - 6.02.19

Away But Back

BookHaul.jpg

As sort of predicted, last Sunday was a skip week for The Sunday Index, even though I took my laptop with me with all intentions of writing one. Turned out the biggest obstacle to that wasn't vacation in general, and all the fun stuff I was doing, but remembering which freaking day it actually was. We flew to Philadelphia/Boston on Saturday, spent the day there, then stayed in Rhode Island until Tuesday. Sunday came and went before I could even recognize it was gone.

While in Boston we visited Harvard Bookstore and the campus at large. I grabbed three books from the bookstore, one of which was actually on my list of titles I wanted (Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler; and it was number one on that list no less, a rare accomplishment for book-buying-lists). The other two were serendipitous purchases, first being a collection of short stories by James Tiptree Jr., the pseudonym for Alice Bradley Sheldon.

A bookseller was restocking the sci-fi shelves and I asked after a title or two, none of which were there. However, while browsing, I said "Tiptree" out loud to myself. It was loud enough the bookseller heard though, and they immediately said "Oh, you should absolutely get that Tiptree collection." This lead to us chatting for about five or so minutes about SF, about Tiptree (whom I knew very little about) and about how I'm reading An Unofficial History of the Hugos by Jo Walton and thus my TBR list of SF is E X P L O D I N G because of this.

It was a fantastic conversation, I got the sense we were both as excited as the other to be having it, and I walked away with that Tiptree collection, the bookseller went into the rest of their day knowing about the Hugo book by Jo Walton. It was undoubtedly a demonstration of why bookstores are necessary, and something I thought about for the rest of the day. It reminded me I don't just go to bookstores for the books, I go there for the booksellers, for the people.

The third book was a copy of Normal by Warren Ellis, one I've had on a wishlist for a bit. It was on sale and so it went home with me. (Before going on vacation I'd set myself a limit of purchasing only four books; revised that limit to two; and so buying three was a goddamn win).

But! I also came across a paperback copy of Cosmos by Carl Sagain in the apartment where I was staying, in its "library". People could donate books, take books, and since I knew someone would appreciate me ending up with a book that would mean a lot to me, I figured hey, I'll grab something only if it would actually fit that description. So yeah, I ended up with a free copy of Cosmos.

It was a fantastic vacation. I had several moments where I felt filled up with joy, a true sensation of being lifted from the inside out. Kind of a real Fizzy Lifting Drink deal. Having people you love around you is unlike anything else. I'm very lucky.
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Nearly an hour ago I finished Observation, by NoCode. I fucking LOVE it. Somewhat short, but not lacking character or story, or atmosphere (no pun intended), this game is one of my favorite sci-fi experiences of recent memory. There are a lot of design similarities to Alien: Isolation, which makes sense because several of the development team worked on that game. You play the A.I. on-board the eponymous space station, working with Dr. Emma Fisher to solve what in the holy hell is going on. The pre-credits sequence is one of my absolute favorite openings to a game in a bit.

Another game with an opening I love is Metal Gear Solid V. And somewhat related, the release date for Death Stranding hit, as did an extended trailer. Looks totally fucking bonkers, and unless someone says it's pure garbage, I can't imagine I'll do anything other than buy it at some point. That collector's edition is awesome, too. Gives me hope for the Cyberpunk 2077 collector's edition, which doesn't exist in any facet of reality, only my imagination (also that game is most likely pushed back to 2020 *sigh*).

But! I also got a Playstation VR finally, which means as soon as No Man's Sky VR hits, I'm off this world, out into the distant blue-black-nothingness.
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I'm reading a ton of short stories right now, but I've also started in on Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler, while also reading the Hugo book by Walton, and now Every Tool Is a Hammer by Adam Savage.

As for writing, I've been planning more and more, and have finally hit a point in outlining/story beats with something so that my brain is ready to crack open an exit in my skull. Time to help it find its way to the page.

Also, keep your eyes on all my social media and here, because I have ideas for shirts, and maybe other merch. I read Strange Stars by Jason Heller and got obsessed with fictional bands. Hint officially dropped.

..I'm stepping through the door...
*austin