fivemack (fivemack) wrote,

Books of September

Eleven books this month: I've been making rather more use of the Kindle, and been on more train trips than average.

Greg Egan's Oceanic. Egan has written some of the best SF short pieces that I've read in the last decade, and this volume includes several of them. There's a little more idee-fixe coming in at the edges than in Axiomatic, a few stories which assume that the reader finds the quantum multi-world theory as philosophically alarming as Egan or the characters in the story do, but generally it's pretty excellent. library.

Jean Johnson Theirs Not To Reason Why is a piece of formulaic milsf, but you can feel the writing straining with the difficulty of using precognition as a story element. kindle.

Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island, because it was free on the Kindle and I hadn't read it yet. kindle.

Daniel Abrahams The Dragon's Path is very well-executed, but felt like extruded fantasy product where what was being extruded was a compote of early-21st-century fantasy; Abercrombie characters in a Scott Lynch world. kindle.

H Rider Haggard Allan Quatermain which is a classic of the Great Imperial Adventure. kindle.

Charles Darwin Origin of Species. Surprisingly comprehensible and clear; I suppose that was why it made such an impact, but I had thought that Dawkins and Gould existed because Darwin couldn't be read on its own, and I don't think that's the case. kindle.

Stella Gibbons Cold Comfort Farm. This one's a famous, broad lampoon of books I hadn't read; there are some beautiful passages, but the sexism fairy has not been kind with it; pulling women out of the morass of rural existence and turning them into the non-working wives of local gentry doesn't feel as much of an improvement as it might have in 1933. A tale of a 1930s rural household being set into well-meaning well-ending upheaval by taking in a relative. kindle.

CJCherryh Regenesis. First-person writing from the point of view of a princeling, born to power (shaped to power before her conception), trying to figure out how to use infinite power in an unforgiving society on an unforgiving planet, and figure out who murdered her mother into the bargain. Paranoid in a very Cold War and fairly explicitly Soviet mode, though everyone around is an awful lot nicer than any senior Soviet I've read about. library paper.

Hannu Rajaniemi, The Quantum Thief. This one had been pretty widely praised, and I'd carefully avoided reading reviews of it, but, well, it's extruded Stross product wrapped around the Count of Monte Cristo. I didn't find that the writing made the concept of alternating lifespans as human and as golem anything like as terrifying as it should have been. kindle.

Stella Gibbons Nightingale Wood. A tale of two stereotyped 1930s aristocratic households being set into well-meaning well-ending upheaval by taking in a relative; quite a well-written domineering father. Again turned into social history by the passage of time, since everything depends on nearly all the female characters being too posh to work. kindle.

Neal Stephenson's Reamde. It's a romp in Stephenson's inimitable style - effectively a series of braided chase scenes covering eight hundred pages - set in the contemporary world and rather reminiscent of the early thrillers co-written with Stephen Bury. kindle.
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