Jump to content
Plessiez

First Quarter 2021 Reading

Recommended Posts

The Space Between Worlds is pretty good. I was a little concerned it might be overly preachy but it's not. It's a good story with an interesting premise that's definitely worth a read.

Next up I'm taking a bit of a break from reading Sci fi and fantasy books with The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished Adrian Tchaikovsky's Bear Head. I'm not sure whether Tchaikovsky was planning a sequel to Dogs of War when he wrote it since I think the first book was fairly complete in itself but I thought this book did do a good job of picking up the story a few decades down the line and examining some of the consequences of the events in the first book in more detail. The main new elements is that much of the book is set on an under-construction Martian colony where the workers (not all of whom are human) have had various genetic modifications to adapt to the planet. I think the Martian part of the story was more interesting than the plotline back on Earth following an up-and-coming politician launching a crusade against bioforms. There are a few characters returning from the first book and they have gone through some interesting character development since then. There are some good new characters as well, although as a protagonist I don't find Jimmy to be as compelling as Rex was in the first book. Overall I'd say the first book was maybe a bit better but I still thought this was a good sequel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/4/2021 at 11:01 AM, ljkeane said:

I really enjoyed A Deadly Education too. I found the potential dark lord being a girl from south Wales named Galadriel who just can't be doing with the whole thing and keeps calling people spanners quite entertaining.

Apparently there is quite a controversy about the book and the author being racist.  This went completely over my head when reading the book twice.  (although perhaps the most offensive stuff may have been removed from my version already).

https://www.themarysue.com/racism-vs-representation-the-missteps-of-naomi-noviks-a-deadly-education/

Novik even issued an apology that addresses some (not all) of the controversy:

https://www.naominovik.com/apology/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mushroomshirt said:

Apparently there is quite a controversy about the book and the author being racist.  This went completely over my head when reading the book twice.  (although perhaps the most offensive stuff may have been removed from my version already).

https://www.themarysue.com/racism-vs-representation-the-missteps-of-naomi-noviks-a-deadly-education/

Novik even issued an apology that addresses some (not all) of the controversy:

https://www.naominovik.com/apology/

 

I find a lot of that questionable. I mean yeah the dreads thing was racist as fuck, but eh I'll spoiler tag I guess:

Spoiler

The whole not bathing thing had nothing to do with race, at all. People at the school don't bathe because the SHOWER WILL ACTUALLY FUCKING EAT YOU.

And I know the thing with the Asian names turned out to be some white kids on twitter complaining as actual Chinese people chimed in and said it was fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is -- the elephant in the white sf/f writer's writer room -- is that no writer is going to create a plausible diverse cast of characters, and not make terrible mistakes, etc. --  without being part of diverse communities themselves.   And for a long time.

A friend of mine, a white, well-meaning writer, who lives in a completely white world, now has sworn to create characters who are Black. But she knows not a single Black person.  I'm not even saying here she doesn't have a single Black friend -- which is true -- she doesn't have a single Black friend.  She doesn't even see Black people at all and hasn't probably, since at a distance, in her east Texas childhood.

Nor has she had any interest in the literature and music and cultures that are the immense varieties of Black communities. 

But I can't say that to her because she will take it personally, as a criticism, and that she can't write Black characters.  Which, honestly, ya, I am saying,  I cannot for the life of me figure out how one writes such characters with any meaning without ever having shared even going to lunch together with somebody who isn't You, not even once. 

So what is she to do?  It's equally offensive to Black communities for a person to try to enter a Black community just to put somebody Black in her fiction.  The only thing that works for a white person is to have spent years in rooms and situations as the only or one of the very few white people in those rooms.

And the wail is, "I can't afford years and there aren't any around here."

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I'm not saying there's NO problematic stuff in the book, just the two I pointed out seem like BS to me.

And her apology is better then you get from most these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished the Heaney translation of Beowulf, and a book of assorted poetry, and some self-improvement/meditation texts.  Picked up “Jade War” and “The Witch’s Heart”.

I stopped reading Bakker at “The White-Luck Warrior” when it originally came out, and for whatever reason, have felt a completist compulsion to finish the AE series.

Just finished “The Judging Eye”, and my library has the next two, but looks like I would need to buy a used copy of the final book...and recalling the Bakker threads of yore, I’m on the fence if it’d be worth it? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, mushroomshirt said:

Apparently there is quite a controversy about the book and the author being racist.  This went completely over my head when reading the book twice.  (although perhaps the most offensive stuff may have been removed from my version already).

I remember the dreadlocks stuff being a bit of a thing a few months ago and that was still in the book. I can't say it particularly bothers me but obviously other people's mileage varies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last night I finished Transformation by Carol Berg, her first published novel and the first in her Rai-Kirah trilogy of fantasy novels.

I really enjoyed this book. I often don't like books told in the first person, but Seyonne, the narrator of this story, was a complex character, who discovers much about himself in the course of the story. He begins the book as a slave who has just been sold to Aleksander,  the heir to the throne of the Derzhi empire. Seyonne an Ezzarian, a nation conquered by the empire about a decade ago. Many Ezzarians have magical abilities which allow them to fight demons, which in this world are spiritual beings who take over the souls of humans to cause havoc. 

Slavery as practiced in this world is particularly brutal, and Aleksander at the start of the story is an thoughtlessly cruel arrogant jerk of a prince. That changes over time. In the course of the story Seyonne discovers that some of his own Ezzarians can be as corrupt as the Derzhi. 

Berg's writing and characterization are excellent. In a story which is usually very dark, her characters nevertheless come up with humorous comments in a completely natural way, and the twists and turns in the story were always believable to me. I highly recommend this.

Carol Berg has published at least 17 fantasy novels so far. Her "Lighthouse Duet" pair of books won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 2009. But like many fantasy authors whose sales have never reached blockbuster status, her latest trilogy, the Chimera series, has been published under a pseudonym -- "Cate Glass".  I found Transformation such a great book, though, that I wonder why Berg never seems to get mentioned on this board. I think many GRRM fans would really enjoy her work. I certainly plan to read more books by her in the future. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...