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There's at least one more post to write to catch the last of the 2013ers, and I might finish a comic tomorrow, but other than that I think we're set.

William Gibson — The Peripheral

Nov 1, 2014

OH MAN. NEW FUCKIN' BILL GIBSON. And it's a good one. I went and saw duder at Powell's a day or two after this came out, and burned through the book in a few days.

This was a big shift after the Blue Ant trilogy. In fact, it's far more science fictional than I think he's ever been. But he's using what he learned from the Blue Ant books to really good effect. I kind of don't want to say any more than that, because this is that rare book where it actually improves the experience tremendously to go in with no spoilers or expectations.

William Gibson — Idoru

Nov 30, 2014

I'd never read the Bridge trilogy, but I think Nigel was telling me they hold up really well, so I gave this a shot. I liked it, but not nearly as well as the Blue Ant books. But you know, it's Gibson, so I was reading it more or less compulsively until it was done.

Melina Marschetta — Finnikin of the Rock

Sept. 1, 2014

YA fantasy about a kingdom in exile, after a cataclysmic assassination / coup / invasion / genocide / curse quintuple-feature. (It was not a good month for the kingdom of Lumatere.) I found this via somebody's review, probably [personal profile] coffeeandink or [personal profile] rushthatspeaks.

This was very good! An angry and needle-sharp book, which moves quickly and makes old maneuvers seem unexpected and dangerous.

Books I Stopped Reading: Melina Marschetta — Froi of the Exiles

Oct 2014

This, on the other hand, I was just not feeling, and I eventually put it down. It's a well-written book trying to do some interesting things, telling a difficult story about what happens after the restoration, and I'll probably come back to it some day. But I really wasn't in the right headspace for it.

Kip Manley — The City of Roses vol. 2: The Dazzle of Day

Apr 29, 2014

Okay look. I've been reading this story since, uh... literally 2004 (because I know I printed out the first three chapters on University College Cork's library laser printer and, after reading them twice, abandoned them on a shelf for someone else to find). I'm extremely fond of the author and his whole family. I might not be the one to go to for a clear-eyed assessment of this long-running serial's final chapters.

So I'll keep this short:

  • I think he stuck the landing. This was good, damn good.
  • If you're curious, you can start reading the series on the web. Actually the whole thing's online.
  • After reading it this long, the central constellation of characters is practically iconic or mythic to me now. (I think the cyclic repetitions of an episodic format lend themselves to a mythic or epic quality, actually, but I don't want to guess too much at how deliberate that is. Insert something here about television being a new semi-oral epic tradition; insert other thing about literary formats self-consciously descended from post-90s long-form television.)
  • The prose, as I think I've mentioned before, is probably not for everyone, but I love it.
  • I think it manages to do something new and interesting with the most classic of urban fantasy setups. "Elves in the city" is a tough row to hoe these days, but by going back to first principles yet staying in dialogue with what came before, Kip made something actually pretty fresh.

Tobias Buckell — Arctic Rising

Nov. 21, 2014

I started reading this in tandem with Crystal Rain, the first book in Buckell's earlier series. Vive la difference, though — these books almost seem to be written by completely different authors. Arctic Rising was a pop action thriller, running on fairly standard pop action thriller prose/structure/POV/rhythm; real unassuming pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain kind of stuff. No shyness about telling the reader exactly what people are thinking and exactly what the implications were of whatever just happened. Crystal Rain took more time to set a mood, messed around with POV a lot more, left more to be decoded.

And Crystal Rain seemed more like my kind of book, TBH, but I got sidetracked and this ended up being the one I actually finished this year.

It was all right! The writing may have adhered to thriller standards, but the freed-up cognitive effort all got funneled into social and geopolitical extrapolation. It was intriguing, and it was what I was in the mood for.

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The Fell Types are digitally reproduced by Igino Marini.

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