Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

January 25, 2010


Filed under: meta — Tags: , , , — Sam @ 2:53 pm

Or rather, a few sketchy notes of things I’m going to have to acquire in the near future.

Spellwright, by Blake Charlton. (website) Complex written magic, disability, and murder mystery.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by NK Jemisin. (website) I’d been planning to pick this up since I first heard about her work, but it went abruptly up the list after reading her short story The Narcomancer on Transcriptase.

Manual of Detection, by Jedediah Berry. (website – annoyance warning: Flash, with embedded sound) The first plug I heard for this was “a reallly cool China Mieville meets Raymond Chandler with a dash of Jasper Fforde fantasy detective story”, and how could that not appeal?

Nights of Villjamur, by Mark Charan Newton. (website) A brief look over the material online – since when I know I want to read something, I prefer to stay away from reviews and extracts till I’ve read the whole thing – gives me the idea that it’s rather like China Mieville or Liz Williams via TS Eliot.

Hm. Most of these seem to be murder mysteries. Perhaps there’s something in the SF/murder mystery intersection for this year, or perhaps it’s just me. Bujold’s GOH speech at Denvention makes a passing reference to a blood type system of genre, where SF is a universal acceptor and mystery a universal donor; I’m still of the opinion that they’re on orthogonal axes, somehow.

January 16, 2010

Kim Stanley Robinson – Galileo’s Dream

Filed under: review,sf — Tags: , , , — Sam @ 4:38 pm

I loved this book. It’s both a pure shining SF novel and a good, respectful fictionalized biography of an amazing man; it really brings the beginnings of science to light, and I learnt a lot I hadn’t known about the politics surrounding the Copernican system at the time. (I also learnt something I hadn’t known about elliptical orbits, too.)

If I could arrange my bookshelves by affinity (and if I hadn’t taken it back to the library), this one would go between Anathem, Godel Escher Bach, 2061: Odyssey Three, Galileo’s Daughter, and Latitude. In fact, I had to re-read Latitude almost immediately on finishing Galileo’s Dream.

January 4, 2010

The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Sam @ 4:12 pm

By Colette Moody, published by Bold Strokes Books.

This is a pleasant, witty romp of a book, all about lesbian pirates. It’s set at the beginning of the 18th century, and follows a Florida seamstress who gets kidnapped by pirates, sews up a lot of wounds, falls for the captain’s daughter, helps rescue a dozen kidnapped prostitutes, and finishes the book by getting the girl, killing the evil pirate, seeing her father reconciled to their relationship, and retiring to a beautiful estate in Jamaica.

In tone, it’s somewhere between Tanith Lee’s Piratica and one of Georgette Heyer’s frothier books. Definitely recommended for all your lesbian pirate swashbuckling needs.

January 2, 2010

At the end of the year

Filed under: meta — Tags: — Sam @ 2:31 pm

I started blogging here in the middle of May, and since then I’ve made 58 posts, 26 of which were about books which were new to me. I haven’t written about everything I’ve read, by a long way; I haven’t even written about everything SF-related I’ve read, if I couldn’t find anything I particularly wanted to say, or couldn’t get my thoughts into a suitably coherent order. Now I look back on it, 26 new-and-interesting books over 30ish weeks isn’t nearly enough; I shall have to do much better next year.

The prize for 2009 (this is “out of my 2009 reading”, of course, not “published in 2009″) goes to The Dazzle of Day, by Molly Gloss, while Unnatural History, by Jonathan Green strolls off, nearly unchallenged, with the wooden spoon. Both of those will be a tough contender for any future challengers, but I’m confident we’ll see some.

So where do I see SF going in 2010? – basically, I think that’s a meaningless question. We’ll see more of everything we had this year, and some other things, and the one safe prediction I’ll allow myself is that something new and interesting will happen.

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