Saturday, February 07, 2009

Last night I finished Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear.

Blood and Iron is the first of a series of urban fantasy books about an ongoing struggle between human magicians and faeries. Faeries have been losing, and their influence diminishing, and are trying to find a way to survive while the human magicians are trying to finish them off.

It also ties in a lot of fairy myths, centering around Tam Lin but including the Arthurian legends, and others.

It was just an OK book and I had a few problems with it. The first is that it is very talky - chapter after chapter would go by where the main feature is various characters discussing strategy with various legends discussed as illustration. The second is a lack of clarity. There were times after one of the long conversations where the characters have come to some insight, but often that insight is not well conveyed to the readers.

Not my favourite work by this author, I much prefered Dust.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Last night, we went to the last performance of Macbeth by the Shotgun Players at the Ashby Stage.

My first time seeing a live performance of Macbeth and I enjoyed it. Seeing it live made the story hang together better than the film versions I've seen, and the director added some visual effects, like highlighting some of the soliloquy moments with a dark stage and a face only spotlight, that added the drama.

The costuming, music and minimalist set were all modern, something I don't usually like, but it didn't interfere with the story and did allow for some interesting musical cues. The performances were all very good, with a particularly strong actor playing Macbeth.

I also appreciated the fact that Macbeth is the shortest of Shakespeare's plays, making it a nice, short night out, instead of the usual marathon of his longer plays.