Finished Terry Pratchett's most recent Discworld novel, Raising Steam. I enjoyed it, and I felt that it got better as it went along, but it doesn't feel nearly as light on its feet, or nearly as stunningly on point, as Pratchett often does. It feels kind of like Snuff, and maybe a little bit like Jingo, in terms of comparing it to the relatively small number of other Disc books I've read: Good overall idea, and some enjoyable moments, but a lot of just puttering along talking about how harmfully silly the people who don't agree with the story's major premise are. A lot of it is just kind of spending time in the Discworld while watching Moist von Lipwig and some somewhat less entertaining characters be right about things.
Also finished Naomi Mitchison's Memoirs of a Spacewoman, as part of a very gradual ongoing project to read some more classic sf by women. Enjoyable. Fascinating. It's an emotionally reserved book in many ways, but interesting in that its an emotionally reserved book precisely about emoting, since the focus of most of the novel's episodes is communicating with nonhuman forms of life. Deceptively simple -- the prose flows easily, but there is virtually no infodumping, and while some stuff about the world is presented up front a lot of it is slipped in as blink-and-miss it detail we're assumed to be familiar with already, since it's being presented as a book written within its own universe. Not the kind of novel designed to grab me most completely -- the characters, with notable exceptions, are mostly talking heads --, but a fascinating book I could see myself returning to.
Now reading Rachel Bach's Fortune's Pawn, which is about a badass power-armored mercenary who takes a job as security detail aboard what's supposed to be a cursed merchant ship and punches aliens, and has romantic feelings, and has huge fun shooting things, all in spaaaace. Very pulpy, reads very easily, much fun, kind of addictive. The space opera universe the novel's set in seems straightforward on the surface, and the characters appear to be falling into the "charmingly quirky" box -- the love interest is a badass space cook named Rupert, for instance. However, there are a couple of intriguing points that notch themselves in the book's favour for me: 1: The book is partially mystery-based, in that there's clearly something kind of sketchy going on with this "cursed" merchant ship, but this mystery seems to be moving along at a pretty brisk clip. The book is constantly baiting the reader with questions, but does not fuck around with the provision of answers -- I'm only just over half-way through, and I already have a major answer to something I thought might well be jerked around until the climax of the book. 2: The armored space mercenary, Devi, is a character I find quite fun and refreshing, in that while she's a badass, hard-drinkin', lustful risk-taker, she's presented as a really nice person, rather than as someone the reader is encouraged to see as having a problem. She's clearly got flaws, but she's a functional human being, and things that in another story might be presented as among these flaws are instead presented as just a part of her functional human being-ness. Having a lot of fun with this book.
And, finally, I'm about a hundred pages away from the end of Elizabeth Bear's Shattered Pillars, the second book in her Eternal Sky epic fantasy trilogy. I'll try to remember to come back and say something about this when I'm finished, but these books are just fucking great. I think most genre readers probably have a few books / series the obscurity of which feels like evidence for an absence of cosmic justice. This is one of mine.