Yesterday's game was the most distracted session yet. Progress was slow and minimal, chatting, jokes, and digressions were maximal. In one sense, that's bad for the game, but just for the social aspect of our gathering it was fine. A big part of the game for all of us, I think, is just getting together. I don't see everyone in the group very often (some, really only when we play), but I really like everyone in the group, so even if we aren't focused on the game itself, it's still nice to just hang out.
I probably could have done better to keep things on track, but after a certain point I was feeling a lack of confidence in myself and my plans for the session, which made it easy to just not try to reign everyone in.
███ and I ended up watching the first episode of Firefly last night. He's never seen it and seemed to enjoy it. Probably my fifth time, at least, seeing it, though it's been a few years. The first episode does a really effective job at both world building and character establishment. If it does have to work in some slightly awkward exposition at different points, it also establishes a lot via less explicit methods, via the set dressing, the locations, and how the characters respond to various objects and events (Kaylee pulling a strawberry out of a wooden box and then eating it in rapture says a lot about the food). At times the dialogue works too hard to reiterate information we can already infer from actions, for instance some of the characters spend too much time describing Mal's character to us, even though we can already get all that information from his actions. The ship set is also really impressive as are most of the actors (it's telling how many of them are now familiar for other more recent work). The set-up and plot are perfect sci-fi rpg fodder.
Finished up reading James Tiptree Jr's Houston, Houston, Do You Read? the other half of that double novel I got. It's a really effective feminist sci-fi story about three mostly contemporary male astronauts who end up time travelling into the future. Tiptree manages to slowly and effectively reveal the situation via focalization of one of the astronauts and exposes the misogyny of the astronauts in a pretty brutal (but in many ways positive) ending. I really need to read more of her work.
Still working my way through A Brief History of Seven Killings which seems to be regaining my attention as I read more of it.