Greg Bear is my favorite SCIENCE fiction writer. I started reading him with his book Darwin’s Radio and with the exception of the sequel to Forge of God, I’ve enjoyed all of his books. This one is about nanotechnology. A rougue scientist discovers a way to make tony living machines. A dust-up at his lab results in him having to flee with the biologicals inside his body. Chaos ensues. It’s a bit tough to follow because there are long dense passages about cellular regeneration that were a little over my head, I think. I say I think because I didn’t understand them and I perfectly followed the entire rest of the novel. Bear’s integration of the science + story isn’t as tight in this book as it is in others, but it’s still a lively bio-apocalyptic story with some good characters and a lot of the odd scenarios that confronting this sort of disaster brings out.
The second in the Joe Gunther mystery series, this one was a signed copy from my local public library. Again I’ll say that I have been pleasantly surprised that these local mystery/thrillers really hold their own in a large and competitive genre. This one concerns a mysterious cultish community in a small town in Northern Vermont, a fire that gets out of hand and a lot of local/flatlander animosity. Joe Gunther is in town on a leave of absence from his Brattleboro job and funds himself in the thick of things in a town that has changed a lot since he used to spend summers there. Our hero is also going through some bad relationship juju and puts himself in a situation where he could potentially make some lousy choices. Good reading, local flavor.
Maybe you like Alexander McCall Smith but don’t much care about Zimbabwe, or traditionally built women, or automobile maintenance, or secretaries who score 97 per cent on their exams. Well he has written other books, or series of books including this, the first in the Isabel Dalhousie Mystery series. Isabel is another charming female protagonist who is clever and just a little bit weird. The short novel seems more like what you’re used to getting out of an eclectic British mystery, so if you like McCall Smith and you like British mysteries, by all means dive on in.