[I've been
« September, 2022 »
The Silverberg Business

Once you know where this book is set, you have an idea where it may be going. A good story that I (somehow) wasn’t expecting to be quite so supernatural, or have such a long overly-described poker game in the middle of it. If it’s your jam, it will be very very much your jam, but I found it somewhat uneven and I wasn’t expecting it to veer from reality after establishing a pretty reality-based plot line at the outset.

The Girl From the Sea

I am always up for reading a selkie story, especially one about two young girls who kind of like each other. This is a well-told and sweet story that is gorgeously illustrated. A quick read, with some neat preliminary sketches at the end of it.

You’ve Been Played: How Corporations, Governments, and Schools Use Games to Control Us All

A great companion to the Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. It’s about how everyone’s gamifying everything, mostly poorly, in the service of capitalism. Creating artificial tediums which they then “solve” w/ game mechanics. No one is better to write about this than Adrian Hon who has run his own successful gaming company, worked in tech and researched some of the neuroscience. Get it.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

If I had known that the title of this book was a Shakespeare quote I might not have picked it up. This would have been a mistake. This was a really poignant story about video game design, friendship, and growing up. This book took a very dark turn at about the 70% mark which I was not expecting and didn’t love. If it’s not your jam, it’s unclear if the book really recovers from it. Otherwise I loved being in this book’s universe.

Revelation Space

I wished that Reynolds' last book was five times longer. This book certainly was very long, possibly that much longer! It was epic spacer with a small cast of characters learning about the millions of civilizations that came before them, and what happened to them. There’s a lot of traveling around, some deep sleep, some xenomorphic mysteries and a lot of 'splainy little passages in-between. I appreciated that Reynolds has a big vocabulary and knows a lot of stuff. However occasional parts of this book seemed to be just to talk about, for example, black hole theory and not to advance to plot. As a result, it was a little plodding plot-wise but really well-written

Wanderers, A History of Women Walking

A thoughtful housewarming gift and a good read. The author does case studies of many woman in the UK who do a lot of walking, through the ages. It’s a bit too reliant on quoting every single word from others' writing but I enjoyed the author’s reflections on her own walking, as well as her assiduous research.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy

The next book in the “monk and robot” series which is a short and lovely metaphorical look at the conflict between the natural world and the built world, as manifested in the friendship between an anxious robot and an introverted tea servant. This one was a nice extension of the last book with more relationship-building between the two main characters and a lot less general world building. There’s still a good amount of new world stuff in it however. I liked this one possibly more than the first.

The Librarian Spy

I usually have a “no Nazis” rule for fiction, but it came up against my “always read the books about librarians” rule. This book was actually a bit more about the French resistance character and it was stronger for it. There are two main characters in it and you watch their story arcs bend towards one another. That said there are a LOT of Nazis and if I was going to do it over, I might not have read this even though I enjoyed it. Decent historical fiction.