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« October, 2014 »

Broken Harbor   book icon  
by Tana French (2013)

read: 30 October 2014
rating: [0]
category: fiction

This is the first book in a while that I’ve really felt I had to drag myself through. The general storyline is good and French is a great writer but something about how she told this story, how long it went on and how many times the same stuff got retold in the course of figuring out whodunit made it super duper long and sloggish in a way that I am not usually used to from her. The interplay between the two detectives was the strongest part of this (and Scorcher and his sister) and the long long “But WTF was actually going on...?” discussions with the suspect(s) just seemed to go on forever.

Jennifer Government   book icon  
by Max Barry (2004)

read: 22 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

A fun dystopic ramble through a future where US capitalism takes over everything and you only exist to the extent that you are working for (or owned really) by a corporation. This is an older novel by Barr, the guy who wrote Lexicon and I’d heard about it in the past. It’s super violent but mostly in a cartoony way and I enjoyed watching it all unfold.

Skinner   book icon  
by Charlie Huston (2014)

read: 18 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Yet another slightly dystopic future book, this one without any scifi element. Basic conceit: man raised in Skinner Box (and removed from his home at the age of 12) becomes an eerily good “protection” guy and helps spies stay safe. There’s a big bunch of turmoil, he meets some odd characters, they go romping around the world. I liked the people in this book, the wide array of non-neurotypicals, and even though it was violent it didn’t seem )mostly) sadistic. I will pick up other books by Huston.

Robogenesis   book icon  
by Daniel Wilson (2014)

read: 16 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Thrillers are tough because you spend all your time watching over the various characters thinking “Man I hope those guys are okay” and looking at the bad guys and thinking “I hope they get what is coming to them” and at the end you either know or things are set up for a sequel. You sort of knew in the last book that things were set up for a sequel. This book was not as good at the first. Less character development. More fucking people over. More tedious battle scenes. A lot of suffering by people who had suffered a lot in the previous book. I didn’t dislike it, enjoyed reading it actually, but it seemed more like torture porn and less like a narrative novel. I may not be as quick to pick up the sequel to this one, which I am sure is forthcoming.

Robopocalypse   book icon  
by Daniel Wilson (2012)

read: 13 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

AI takes over the world! This is the retrospective look at how the humans won. It gets a little battlefield-y at times but this is a clever way to tell a story, by looking back at the important bits of what happened and tying them all together.

The Blonde   book icon  
by Duane Swierczynski (2007)

read: 9 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

This book is super violent. It’s got a great premise about some nanotech blood manipulation that can cause horrible things to happen and it’s one of those thrillers that (mostly) takes place in a single compressed day where no one gets enough sleep and everyone gets the shit kicked out of them. Not for everyone. I mostly liked it.

World of Trouble   book icon  
by Ben Winters (2014)

read: 6 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Ack, I totally fucked up and read this book before the second book. This book is the last in the trilogy and basically ends with the end of the world. It was great, but since I thought I was reading the second book in such a trilogy, I had presumed there was some sort of ... aftermath, maybe? Anyhow, this story is great, but since it talked about a bunch of things that happened in the second book, I just thought it was clunky with its exposition. Wish I’d read them in the right order, I didn’t. This was a great book.

The Last Policeman   book icon  
by Ben Winters (2013)

read: 4 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Such a great premise! The world is ending in six months, infrastructure is falling apart, cops still have jobs. This is the story of one such cop, a newly-promoted detective who takes his job more seriously than you’d expect. The plot around this is also good and the writing, especially the possible-world “What would the US look like if everyone knew with certainty that the world was ending in six months” is great storytelling. The cop is a bit of an aspy type, very dogged, not particularly good at people skills but very good at being a cop. First of a trilogy.

Shovel Ready: A Novel   book icon  
by Adam Sternbergh (2014)

read: 3 October 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Another recommended book from the pile. This was also a zipzip read. The premise: a dirty bomb goes off in Times Square and the only people left in NYC are 1. scavengers and bottom dwellers 2. rich people jacked in to a sort of do-anything immersible internet Unclear why those people don’t leave. A lot of questions actually but the story concerns one former garbageman who lost his wife in the blast and and has become a bit of a bottom dweller hired killer man. He’s the protagonist. A lot goes on. It’s borderline “too rapey” for me (even though it’s not very rapey) but I enjoyed it. Very much like Odds Against Tomorrow in some weird way. The vision these guys have of the future is just a little too creepy for me.

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