read: 16 February 2020
I’m not totally sure why I picked this up after I found Three Body Problem sort of dense and difficult. I think it’s because I really liked the central plot idea. *something happens* and everyone over the age of 13 dies.How does civilization go on? Well as it turns out, it’s easier in China because there’s basically an AI that helps. And so the central part that I was the most interested in gets handwaved away a little bit (you get some foreshadowing in the form of author notes that things are going to ok and humanity doesn’t die off) and then the rest has a lot more to do with global politics. And to me the logistical parts and the human stories are what is interesting. To the author, there was clearly one part--a massive Antarctic War--that occupied way more of the story than it should have if it was just one plot device. Took me getting to the Afterword by the author before he admits that the Child War was the first thing that convinced him to write this book. It was obvious once he said it. So, I think certain people would like this book, I liked it enough to finish it but not enough to look back on my time investment in it.
read: 12 February 2020
This was a terrific, if occasionally confusing, story about a world in which... the reality timeline splits into two sometime around 1909 and there are (at least) two existing earth. Something happens to one of them and it becomes doomed, someone develops a mechanism to transport a few hundred thousand people from the dying world into the other. This is how a few of them find meaning in their lives. I didn’t like the protagonist and I don’t think you’re supposed to. Everyone’s a little broken and part of this is thinking about the trauma of leaving not just your family or your friends but your TIMELINE and having to learn to live in another one,similar yet slightly different with 100-ish years of difference. Thinky but not TOO thinky.
A great high school friend story with the added storyline of girls talking about their periods. Different girls, different experiences including “Why are all the pad dispensers always empty?” and “Why does this hurt so much, am I broken?” There are also the usual ups and downs about meeting people, sexual preference/orientation and just the usual school things. Super well done and without any uterus diagrams.
read: 8 February 2020
Mostly liked this? It’s tough because I generally admire Becky Chambers a lot and I enjoyed her Wayfarers series. I am happy she exists in the world and I think she writes well. But some of her stuff just leaves me sort of feeling like a curmudgeon. Like, she seems young as a writer, there is a whole extra nearly-chapter after the end of this book where she and her mom interview each other. Which is sort of cute but also just kind of... seemed more geared towards fanfic than an actual book. And to be clear, this book is a novella and maybe if I’d approached it as a long short story I would have felt warmer towards it. Because it’s a fun hard science romp to a number of different planets, but there’s some... lack of consistency to how they interact with each other and the worlds they move through. Has some similarities to Noumenon (which I read before this) which were fun to think about.
read: 6 February 2020
One of those epic multi-generational spacers. This book has a lot going on, most of which I liked. However it does the same thing that Semiosis does where each chapter is some random amount of time in the future so I spent a lot of time trying to remember who was whom. Lots to unpack in terms of nature vs. nurture, class vs. actions & some pontificating on what might the planet be like if you came back to it after 2000 years. Will definitely read the sequel.
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