Don’t remember how I found this book but I had enjoyed Chen’s earlier book about superheroes, We Could Be Heroes (Chen loves Bowie which also shows up in this book a tiny bit). This one is a “How do we get out of the time loop, but also we’ve grown closer while caught in the time loop....” sort of book. More romance than science, and plausible romance at that, but not really a romance novel per se. I really enjoyed reading this though I wish there was a little more wrap-up to the ending. As it was, I’m not entirely sure what happened.
From what I gather, this is one book which is assembled from a few short stories that take place in the same general place. It’s a really engaging YA-ish novel about a young woman who grows up on a “seastead” an area in international waters off of the coast of California that a bunch of libertarian types have grown their own societies in. It highlights a lot of the pitfalls of this sort of no-government-with-technology setup. You get a lot of what is essentially slavery along with gross things like skin farms and extreme class divides. Interesting without being too didactic. The image on the cover didn’t seem to be something actually in the book
This novella by Ray Nayler will be hugely appreciated by folks who liked The Mountain in the Sea. That one looked at octopus consciousness, this one looks at (potential, possible?) mammoth consciousness and goes a bit into some of those “We’re going to bring back mammoths from their old DNA” stories that have been shuttling around. But with a twist you both don’t expect and also don’t entirely understand at first. Started off a bit confusing but went a bunch of places I enjoyed.
This is one of those lesser-known books about people who work in mortuary/funeral services. This one is by a guy who worked in the family funeral services growing up and now runs his own business in rural Michigan. He is also a poet, so it’s a little more ornately written than others. I sent the guy an email about a typo on his website (and to say I liked the book) and got a charming email back from him. You’d probably like this if you like the genre generally.
This was a book with a very interesting premise--aliens dispassionately walk among us trying to accomplish their own goals and one of them has to do with radio waves--which gets hampered by too many real-world analogues to things like Scientology and Art Bell’s radio show. I enjoyed the book for what it was, I just felt it didn’t need to hew so closely to things that already exist in the real world. A lot of cool dog characters, if that sort of thing is your thing.
A sequel to another book from a magic-adjacent world where people’s jobs are to oversee that the magic doesn’t get too out of control. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby (that name!) is a new member of this Auditor group, keeping things stable in Boston’s Department of Unorthodox Affairs. A bunch of stuff goes wrong. There’s a fair amount of ‘Our exhausted protagonist tries to hold on just a bit longer so that things don’t go totally wrong.’ Liked, did not love.
A YA graphic novel about two sisters who fence, and whose dad has died, and who are dealing with some complicated feelings that result in them having a fencing duel. A sweet story and I learned a lot about fencing. Well told, well-illustrated, and a lot fun to read.
This scifi book touches on some pretty dark topics like child soldiers, fascism, and eugenics. It has an interesting throughline story and framework that, combined with a lack of gory detail, make it a great way to engage with these topics, for me at least. It mostly takes place on a rebel microplanet as one group of teen soldiers graduates and receives their adult assignments continuing to fight for what amounts to human supremacy. But things don’t go as planned.
We all know about Ponzi. Fewer know about Leo Koretz, who maintained a decades-long Ponzi-like scheme from Chicago, selling shares in a non-existent real estate and oil venture supposedly in Panama. He swindled his family, he swindled his friends. He died in prison. I enjoyed this book, the author clearly did a lot of research. It suffers a bit from extensive quoting so it feels like every third sentence is in the voice of a different newspaper. Some of the details feel extraneous-but-true like what people were eating at a certain dinner or who was in attendance at various functions. Jobb does a good job at contextualizing what was happening within the other news at the time, so you hear a bit about Al Capone, Chicago mayors and the Leopold and Loeb trial.
My library had two copies of this and I got one. It is both an amazing piece of writing and a painful read. We follow the story (of post-mortem plagiarism, and the snowballing mess it creates) from the inside of the head of an unlikable character who is just self-aware enough to know what she is doing is wrong but not wise enough to stop digging. And she’s a white lady so it’s wincey watching more things work out for her than they should, the support network of awfulness that helps her maintain her weird and bad takes on things.