Wow, I haven’t posted anything good here in a WHILE. I kind of assume everyone is reading my Twitter anyway, so I guess I’ll just… skip the life update and go straight for some book posts.
Things I read in the first part of this year! (Will eventually catch up with last year’s; a bunch of them are written already anyhow.)
Rosemary Kirstein – Steerswoman series (re-read)
Dec. ?? thru Jan. 4
These books remain SO GOOD. I refer you to my original reviews, but if our tastes overlap at all you should probably just read them. ALSO, the first book is out in ebook now! I am told the rest are on their way.
A bunch of friends were newly introduced to this series over the winter, and all of them were like “Why aren’t these better known?!” And man, good question. They’re excellent, they’re not uncommercial in any way, and I KNOW there are tons of people out there who are into A: scientist-adventurers, B: fantasy/SF stories with women protagonists, C: world-threatening conspiracy plots, and D:
SPOILERS. That’s catnip to like a third of the people I know. So what happened? Could be general sexism in publishing, purchasing, and publicity; could have something to do with the time between volumes. Could be a run of bad luck. Could be that they came out before their time and no one had any idea how to sell them, which… actually, if you’re taking cover art as a barometer for whether anyone in Marketing knows what they’re doing, there may be something to that.
(Apropos to the last, I have a pet theory that you could probably repackage these books as YA and sell a ton, because grown readers spent the ’00s learning that you hunt on the YA shelf when you want sophisticated adventure stories with female heroes. That’s a new buying behavior you couldn’t have used back in the ’90s. Well, who knows, maybe someone will come calling for reprint rights once she’s got book 5 in the bag.)
Did I mention you should buy the ebook!
William Gibson – Spook Country
I enjoyed this tremendously. I read Pattern Recognition several years back, but I think this not-quite-a-sequel was even better.
I have intense but inchoate thoughts-slash-feels about Gibson’s latter-day work and the fate of cyberpunk. Because it feels like he’s doing more or less the same thing as he used to do except better and distilled to its essence, and I don’t understand yet how that could be when his new forms are so drastically different, so it’s fascinating.
Also, I don’t think Gibson gets nearly enough credit for his sentence-to-sentence prose quality.
Various – The Sleep of Reason (comics anthology)
There were a handful of stories I didn’t dig, but wow, this anthology had a pretty unheard-of feelin-it/not-feelin-it ratio. Highly recommended. Bonus points for putting the perfect closer story (Brittney Sabo’s “It Comes Back”) in the last slot.
Various – Hana Doki Kira (comics anthology)
Well, I wanted to like this more than I ended up liking it. The limits on story sizes meant the default format was “Now I shall explain our premise! Whoops, outta time, peace.” There was some good art and page design on display, though, especially in Leslie Hung’s and R. Mock’s pieces.
Annalee Newitz – Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
I learned a couple things about geological history, but I wasn’t super into this.
Daniel Pinkwater – The Yggyssey
It was no Lizard Music, but it was pretty charming.
A difference from the other Pinkwater I’ve read was that this was self-consciously historical, taking place in the he ’50s instead of a vague present-day-at-the-time-of-publication. Wait, no, come to think of it, The Education of Robert Nifkin was historical too. But there’s, like… Well, insert thought here about portal fantasies having more tooth when they’re set in a contested present day rather than a past that has already been rendered safe, and Nifkin was in a genre that isn’t vulnerable to that and its past was very much still contested.
Anyway, yeah, I’m chasing down a bunch of Pinkwater I’ve never read. Waiting on the shelf (well, floor) is a copy of that 5-in-one that has Avocado of Doom and Young Adult Novel.