First, I wanted to link to two awesome and FREE short stories on the net. These stories are clearly written without being superficial and don't play tricks with narrative until the end, which allows them to be all thinky without pissing you off or keeping you from easily following the thread of the story. The second story's trick ending (and I mean "trick" more in the sense of "non-traditional" and/or "unconventional") is a bit aggravating, but it wasn't quite enough to ruin my overall enjoyment of the story. Anyway, I just wanted to share with the world that I found two enjoyable, understandable stories that I can actually grasp beyond the superficial structure and get all ponderous about without wanting to beat my head against to wall to follow the narrative thread or without reaching for a dictionary every other word.
So please go read and enjoy (for FREE!!!) "The Oracle Spoke" by Holly Phillips, published by Clarkesworld and "Far Side of the Moon" by Ruth Nestvold, published by Ideomancer. I'm not quite up on award eligibility, but seeing as how I'm definitely going to WorldCon 2008 in Denver (Denvention3), and seeing as how the "penis-heavy" Hugo ballot for this year did piss me off and make me want to Do Something, I'm starting an award nomination list with these two stories and will be on the lookout for more.
Second, I've been long irked with the "Stargate: Atlantis" folks for dodging really juicy conflict for their heroes because it involves some moral ambiguity and for forgetting their own character supertalents. Last night they finally revisited Teyla's Wraith-sensing abilities, though I think they could've done better things with it to make both Teyla, the Wraith Queen, and the story richer by getting, once again, deeper into the conflict of what was going on. Still, it was nice to have them finally get back to that after a few times that they ignored it to create a story that wouldn't have worked had they acknowledged it.
And the promo for next week indicates that, thank all that is Good and Holy, they are revisiting the Michael character. They really need to keep him around as a focus for their fight against the Wraith as he represents something that the heroes did that wasn't too kosher and the Atlantis team should not be allowed to dodge that conflict any longer.
One thing I've realized during this season of SGA, though, is that this show does very well with standalones. That seems to be where the characters and writing shine. I have yet to see a story arc well done on this show. I'm hoping Michael will rectify this.