Books Read

Apr. 16th, 2019 07:22 pm
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60 Cenotaph
61  Wake

both by "Notes", at AO3. Fanfic in a variant of the Worm universe. Not standalone.

Books Read

Apr. 15th, 2019 06:54 pm
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59. Crawling Through The Wreckage, Action Figures Issue 8, Michael Bailey.

PTSD after interstellar war. Still worthwhile.

Books Read

Apr. 14th, 2019 06:31 am
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58. Holy Sister, Mark Lawrence

The conclusion to a Suffiiciently Advanced Magic fantasy trilogy; a reasonable satisfactory answer is found, though many people die along the way. Overall: pretty good. I am unconvinced the thermodynamics of the geo-engineering is workable, but then I'm certain the mystic arts are not technology.

Books Read

Apr. 13th, 2019 12:10 pm
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57. Alien: Echo  by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)

Mira Grant loves parasites and predators and all manner of science-fictional horror, so an expedition in the Aliens universe is predictably right in the middle of her sweet spot. It's a nearly all-female cast, and as is standard for Aliens, the survival rate is abysmal but non-zero.

Books Read

Apr. 13th, 2019 09:32 am
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56 The Quantum Magician, Derek Kunsken.

It's a heist set in a space-opera universe, with a lot of techbabble about quantum stuff. The characters are engaging and the story is good. Contains Peter Watts-style re-engineered humans, Bruce Sterling-style speculative economies, odd physics and cinematic space battles.

Books Read

Apr. 10th, 2019 09:10 am
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55 Meta, by Tom Reynolds

A teenager comes into the possession of superpowers via unexplained alien technology and does nothing new with them.  Bailey's Action Figures series (read eariler this year) does this better in every dimension.

Books Read

Apr. 9th, 2019 06:36 pm
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52 Heart of Malice
53 Heart of Fire
54 Heart of Ice
all by Lisa Edmonds.

On the one hand: it's a snarky first person narrator who is a PI with an unhappy relationship with the police. She has magic and there's a ghost haunting her and there are potential romantic interests of the furry and fangy varieties.

On the other hand: I think that Edmonds was reading an Anita Blake book and threw it down and said "I can do better than that!" And I think she did.

Books Read

Apr. 3rd, 2019 07:51 pm
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50. A bunch of short stories and novellas.

51. The Light Brigade, Kameron Hurley. This is the first book I read this year that I both finished and really didn't enjoy at all. Presumably this means it is Great Literature.
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Nearly everything sounds more important when you introduce it with "In accordance with prophecy" or end it with "as was foretold by prophecy." Doing both, however, makes you sound like an ass -- as was foretold by prophecy.

Books Read

Mar. 27th, 2019 09:14 am
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49. Grail, Elizabeth Bear.

A re-read from years ago, because I wanted to see if my reaction would change after Ancestral Night.

Yes, kinda.

Grail (and the rest of the Jacob's Ladder trilogy, of which it is book 3) is set in the same universe as Ancestral Night. There's at least one major history of technology difference (gravity control) that makes them not quite compatible.

But Grail is the wrapup to a trilogy about bitter infighting on a generation starship where advanced technology was kept and even developed. The starship finally reaches its destination only to discover that other humans with expensive FTL have already colonized it. The bitter infighting does not cease, especially when the Jacobeans discover that the local colony practices significant social control through direct, realtime manipulation of brain activity... and to this reader, at least, it seems to be a massive improvement over endless war.

Where Grail (and its whole trilogy) is rather depressing up until the denouement, Ancestral Night is fundamentally more positive about everything.

Books Read

Mar. 26th, 2019 05:51 am
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48. Ancestral Night, Elizabeth Bear.

This one is going on the Hugo list next year, and could win. It might be Bear's best work yet. It's a space opera with FTL, lots of alien races, adventure, excitement, and really wild things. Contains a really great pun and some lesser efforts. Each time the book seems to be settling down and getting predictable, the plot twists in  a story-logical manner. Claims to be Book 1 but wraps up very satisfyingly and I don't really see where a second book would go. I'll probably reread this later in the year.

Books Read

Mar. 24th, 2019 08:45 pm
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41. Secret Origins
42. Black Magic Women
43. Pasts Imperfect
44. Cruel Summer
45. Team Ups
46. Power Play
47. The Black End War -- all by Michael Bailey.

15 year old Carrie runs into the woods, anguished by her parents divorce, and encounters a dying alien who shoves their superpowers into her.

Other supers are born, genetically engineered, technologically enhanced, superintelligent AIs, possessed by demons, found magic gloves, or are technological Science! wizards. Some turn to crime, and others fight them.

There's nothing especially new in the settings or plots -- if you've read supers comics of the past fifty years, Genre Savvy will work for you -- but the characters are quite good, and the writing progresses from good to very good over the course of these seven books. I will read more when they come out.
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"What's popping, Githyanki?" -- my younger son E.

Books Read

Mar. 18th, 2019 06:56 am
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40. Wild Country, Anne Bishop. Book 7 in a parallel fantasy world where the elder inhabitants of the Earth are coming ever-closer to annhilating humans for being so pesky. Character-driven, because the background physics just don't make any sense.

Books Read

Mar. 16th, 2019 11:03 am
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39.  Title known, author known, unpublished. It's an action-adventure thriller with philosophical complexity; a romance with depth that never plays the game of "I won't tell you how I feel so we can keep this book going". I forced myself to put it down last night and then finished it this morning. Well-plotted, good characters, and properly finishes a story in one volume. Would read more.

books read

Mar. 15th, 2019 08:57 pm
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38. Witchmark, CL Polk. It's a little Watson and Homes slash. A little Edwardian pseudo Britain. A little magic that turns out to be A lot of Magic. A war, a doctor, a strange visitor from another land. A missing Noble and some very noble soldiers doing the best they can.

Recommended.

Books Read

Mar. 15th, 2019 08:39 pm
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37. That Ain't Witchcraft, Seanan McGuire.  More unification of the cryptozoology series with the ghost series, done in a very satisfying way, followed by a novella "Measure of a Monster" which complements it nicely. Apparently the next novel will be from the viewpoint of Sarah, the Johrlac. That should also be fun.

Books Read

Mar. 12th, 2019 04:44 pm
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36. Knife Children, Lois McMaster Bujold.  A novella in the Sharing Knife universe, which is a pretty strange fantasy land that suffered a magical apocalypse at least a thousand years ago and I have no idea how they managed to figure out a way to kill Malices* by trial and error before all humans went extinct.  But the characters are mostly interesting people and their troubles are understandable.

*A Malice is a magic-eater with a multi-stage life. When young it is effectively a Grog, a sessile eater that controls animal life around it. Then it gets to reshape animals, including humans, into "mudman" servants. Then it gets up and starts to expand its range.

How do you kill a thing like that? You need a knife made from the bone of someone who has performed a particular (voluntary) ritual, and then the bone knife is used to kill another such someone (which allows their bones to be turned into knives) and then you can kill a Malice with it. Otherwise, they appear to be immortal. How does that get started?


Books Read

Mar. 11th, 2019 06:08 pm
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33. Breach, W. L. Goodwater.  Cold War alternate history fantasy magic. Not done as well as many of the others I have read. No characters I actually liked.

34. Circle of the Moon, Faith Hunter. Book four of the urban fantasy series about the rise to power of a dryad who will rule North America by book eight, if this goes on. Multiple likeable characters, though.

35. Seanan McGuire, In An Absent Dream.  The portal-plex fantasy series continues, with Lundy, a girl who prefers living with the magical rule-structure of the Goblin Market than in the mundane world she comes from. Clearly not the last we'll see of her.

Books Read

Mar. 2nd, 2019 09:17 pm
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31. Vicious, V.E. Schwab. A deconstructed superpowers novel written mostly in flashbacks. Surprisingly relatable villain protagonist.

32. unpublished, title in flux, author undisclosed. The first full draft of the book also listed as 23.
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