Jan. 16th, 2015

ase: Book icon (Books)
While typing part of this, I rewatched the DS9 episode where Eddington taunts Sisko with Les Miserables. It's the wrong book for the metaphor the story was trying to write: Valjean doesn't lead revolutions. Sorry, Eddington; your heart is in the right place, but you're looking for another Hugo protagonist, I think.

My reading log is so behind it starts with last year's WSFA small press nominee voting bundle. The contents were:

Cut for space, along with story comments. )

Readers, feel my shame. I reread Mercedes Lackey. )

I did not venture into Mage Winds / Mage Storms territory (much), instead making a hard swerve into the Vanyel trilogy. It seems I still have many feelings about the (possibly unintentional) structure of foreshadowing and capital-D Destiny, while being less and less invested in the actual story. Teenagers are not all that good at life decisions, who knew? Teenagers with superpowers are not that good at life decisions with superpowers, not shocking! Unless you are a Herald, apparently.

One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love (ed. Rebecca Walker) (2009): Essays on family. A mixed bag, which killed some bus time.

Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation (Dan Fagin) (2013): Nonfiction. A recounting of the history of a chemical plant in a New Jersey town, and of the legal wrangling that arose during the plant's decline. Long, heavily end-noted, very well written. There was enough science I can look up the technical aspects for more details, and the science that was in the book was clearly described for a lay audience. The legal aspects also seemed well done to me, evoking the tedium and inanity of major legal actions, and the ambiguous closure - or lack of closure - associated with the final settlements.

Also, I will never look at tap water the same way. Highly recommended.

ETA, 2015: SAN trimer results complete, ambiguous. The study is discussed in Fagin's book in some detail.

For reasons, I reread broad swathes of Kage Baker's Company novels (1997 - 2007): In the Garden of Iden, Sky Coyote, Mendoza in Hollywood, The Graveyard Game, The Children of the Company, The Machine's Child, The Sons of Heaven, and the short story collections Black Projects, White Knights and Gods and Pawns. You'll note I skipped The Life of the World to Come, as my feelings on Mendoza's romance start at "faugh, this is not an entirely consensual relationship!" and go downhill from there.

The Company novels are wonderful entertainment: there's great worldbuilding with a number of clever little touches; a deep and wide cast of entertaining, well-evoked characters; coherence of plot and theme; deft comedic timing. They're not flawless: the Mendoza romance is predicated on some deeply sketchy "Edward is Always Right" nonsense. It's possible to argue there's an arc where Nicholas and Edward and Alec learn they aren't all that, but it's not entirely clear to me that's in line with the author's intention. I am happy to burble at length in comments, particularly about Joseph, or series structure, or the little gray men.

Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie) (2014): Sequel to Ancillary Justice. It was enjoyable, in a way that is a little aslant of AJ.

Spoilers for both novels. Also, probably nonsensical without reading both novels. )

The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) (2007): Fantasy novel. The retelling of the youth of Kvothe, called the Deathless, the Bloodless, Kingkiller, etc, by the red-haired green-eyed innkeeper Kote.

Jo Walton reviewed this favorably, and one of my friends really liked it, so I made an exception to my Fat Fantasy Epic rule. (The Rule: "Don't.") It didn't move me as strongly as others have been moved, but I'm intrigued by the artifice of the framing story. We're being told a story! The narrator may be rather unreliable! I certainly hope the portrayal of women is a side effect of the precocious mid-teens male protagonist PoV. The language is polished, nearly invisible, except when it does something particularly beautiful.

I still find myself inclined to wait until the trilogy (or series) is finished or permanently abandoned before reading the second novel.


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