I’m going to do a ramblypost in bullet list format. Because that’s how I roll. Here’s some things:
- It’s been a slow transition, but I’m still often struck by how weird it is not to carry a hefty weight of books when travelling. And be all “meh” about book stores. Because, well, there’s more books on my kindle than I can even list off the top of my head, and I can carry it in one single tiny pale hand without strain. And those books will nearly always be cheaper than their paper counterparts.
- Copenhagen is a nice place and offers things like cat cafés and huge aquariums and hazelnut milk lattes, but it also provides very persistant head colds. Good grief. I even bought a knit hat there, isn’t that supposed to be some kind of ward against germy discomfort?
- Started reading Liu Cixin’s The three-body problem on the flight home. I love it to bits and am glad I already threw money at Clarkesworld’s kickstarter to fund the translation of more Chinese SF. Really, awesome reading.
- I just discovered a title of a coming Neal Stephenson novel, but more information is nearly impossible to find – I did stumble across a reddit thread, also drenched in uncertainty and desperate need-to-know-moreness, so Seveneves remains a mystery.
- A lot of people are planning spooky reads for October! I’ll be finishing a horror/dark fantasy anthology and possibly McCammon’s Swan song, but I don’t have any specific horror plans aside from that. Well, except for attending a Welcome to Night Vale-show near the end of the month.
- I’m having a lot of NaNoWriMo thoughts. Are you?
- One of my audible credits this month was spent on Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds, even though I didn’t particularly care for my previous experience with the author, which was Uglies. Will find out once I’m through Abercrombie’s Half a king, though.
- It’s finally cold enough to enjoy bunny slippers and flannel PJs. And hot beverages all day. Yay!
Adam Roberts intrigued me with By light alone and Yellow Blue Tibia, and I’ve wanted to read pretty much every book of his I’ve come across. And I will, someday! But, very likely, the coming novel Bête will be on the top of my reading list. Because:
A man is about to kill a cow. He discusses life and death and his right to kill with the compliant animal. He begins to suspect he may be about to commit murder. But kills anyway…
It began when the animal rights movement injected domestic animals with artificial intelligences in bid to have the status of animals realigned by the international court of human rights. But what is an animal that can talk? Where does its intelligence end at its machine intelligence begin? And where might its soul reside?
As we place more and more pressure on the natural world and become more and more divorced, Adam Roberts’ new novel posits a world where nature can talk back, and can question us and our beliefs.
Animal intelligence! Soul philosophy! Food chain ethics! I can’t wait, seriously. And yet I have to wait another… 24 hours, as this becomes available to my kindle on Sep 25th. Ha!
At the moment I’m in Copenhagen and not actually publishing this post at all, except by means of magic. And wordpress scheduling. We have to assume I’m dazed with shark glee (because there’s a new aquarium!) and full of tea and nothing even resembling traditional Danish cooking because I will have beelined for the nearest thai restaurant. And who knows what I’m reading – skipping the teaser Tuesday post seems in order. Here goes Top Ten Tuesday instead!
This one is difficult, though. I’m going to do it twice over: One list for the new and exciting crop of books, and one for my backlog.
Top ten new shinies:
- Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
- Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
- Bête by Adam Roberts
- The Peripheral by William Gibson
- Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
- Willful Child by Steven Erikson
- The three-body problem by Cixin Lu
- Symbiont by Mira Grant
- Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett
- Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk
There were others I wanted to add, and probably some major ones I just couldn’t think of off the top of my head, not to mention some I still have in mind as “recent” which turns out to have been out for over a year now, because time flies and I can’t keep up.
Top ten from the stacks:
- Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Bonk: The curious coupling of science and sex by Mary Roach
- Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
- The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
- House of chains by Steven Erikson *
- The Knowledge: How to rebuild our world from scratch by Lewis Dartnell
- Swan Song by Robert McCannon
- Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov
- Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
- Zoobiquity: What animals can teach us about health and the science of healing by B. Natterson-Horowitz and K. Bowers
* This is a terrifying point on the list. It’s the 4th of the Malazan books of the fallen series. I devoured and loved the first three, and then some reality things occured and I’ve been away from the series for a little over a year now just gathering the energy to dive back in. I even bought this back then, so it’s just been sitting around, woefully ignored, waiting for me to get back to my smoky tea and dinosaur PJs whole-day Malazan reading sessions.
Hey, you know what? Without any planning or consideration, my lists are almost evenly gender-balanced in authors. It’s mostly speculative fiction and a few bits of non-fic, and the “B. and K.” authors on the last one there are both female. I’m making a note because I don’t feel like women are invisible in SFF at all. I know I’m fortunate to be a reader of recent decades, of course. I’ll look over my reading year as a whole in a few months, but I really believe my reading, as a sample of “an average genre enthusiast’s reading”, is not as skewed toward male authors as SFF critics might predict.
N.K. Jemisin is yet another current author I pay a lot of attention to, after her Inheritance trilogy. A new series starter is on its way, stated in tha author’s blog to be published in 2015; The fifth season. From the description, and what I know Jemisin to be able to deliver, it sounds crazyawesome.*
* Technical term
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.
Three terrible things happen in a single day.
Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.
She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
…I’m currently reading The female man by Joanna Russ, an SF classic for obvious and less obvious reasons, and often considered “outdated” because it has a lot of things to say about men and women, and feminism is apparently different now than when when this book was published in 1975. Maybe it is! I haven’t finished it, so I won’t state an opinion yet – but really, bits like this feel quite current in 2014. Also, it made me giggle-snort.
“The game is a dominance game called I Must Impress This Woman. Failure makes the active player play harder. Wear a hunched back or a withered arm; you will then experience the invisibility of the passive player. I’m never impressed — no woman ever is — it’s just a cue that you like me and I’m supposed to like that. If you really like me, maybe I can get you to stop. Stop; I want to talk to you! Stop; I want to see you! Stop; I’m dying and disappearing!
SHE: Isn’t it just a game?
HE: Yes, of course.
SHE: And if you play the game, it means you like me, doesn’t it?
HE: Of course.
SHE: Then if it’s just a game and you like me, you can stop playing. Please stop.
SHE: Then I won’t play.
HE: Bitch! You want to destroy me. I’ll show you. (He plays harder)
SHE: All right. I’m impressed.
HE: You really are sweet and responsive after all. You’ve kept your femininity. You’re not one of those hysterical feminist bitches who wants to be a man and have a penis. You’re a woman.
SHE: Yes. (She kills herself)”
I really, really want to read more books by Lavie Tidhar. Because I loved Osama. And he’s funny on twitter! So though I still have The violent century and Martian sands in my to-read pile, I’m also waiting excitedly for this:
A man lies dreaming, to be published Oct 23rd. (Or that’s when I get to buy the ebook, anyway!)
Deep in the heart of history’s most infamous concentration camp, a man lies dreaming. His name is Shomer, and before the war he was a pulp fiction author. Now, to escape the brutal reality of life in Auschwitz, Shomer spends his nights imagining another world – a world where a disgraced former dictator now known only as Wolf ekes out a miserable existence as a low-rent PI in London’s grimiest streets.
An extraordinary story of revenge and redemption, A Man Lies Dreaming is the unforgettable testament to the power of imagination.
“Imagining another world” is the trigger word for me – I really, really love alternate/parallel/stacked universes/worlds/dimensions (those are a lot of ways to say one thing…!) – which I blame on the components of my childhood; Mr. Benn, the chronicles of Narnia, the Neverending Story, and then exploding all over discovering Philip K. Dick. (And Kafka, I guess, which came before that. My “young adulthood” was actually spent being a classic literature snob.) So uh yes. October!