Books read September

Onwards and upwards. Still a way below average month as I’ve not felt much of an urge to read, but at least I managed to finish four books this time:

The Gospel of Loki — Joanne M. Harris
A rewriting of Norse myth from the point of view of the title character. A freebie from Nine Worlds, rather enjoyable.

Two Serpents Rise — Max Gladstone
Californian style water politics imported into fantasyland.

S-F Women A-Z: A Reader’s Guide — Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
A free ebook bundling of blogposts showcasing female SF&F authors. Sometimes I think I should do something similar with a collection of my own blogposts, but this is a good reminder of why that’s most likely a bad idea.

Root of Unity — SL Huang
The third novel in the Russell’s Attic series in which Cas Russell falls apart, in more ways than one.

Book loot

books bought

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done a book loot post, but today I got a lot of books from the local sf club I’d ordered earlier, including the run of Holland SF fanzines I used to read in the library. Apart from that there are three books by Gwyneth Jones: Kairos and Rainbow Bridge and especially interesting, a collection of her criticism, Deconstructing the Starships (which I got incredibly cheap if i can believe the price in the back of it). I also got a proper old skool yellow gollancz edition of Mindplayers, Pat Cadigan’s first novel, a Linda Nagata novel, Deception Well, a Leigh Brackett Erik John Stark book I still needed and finally, Pamela Sargent’s Watchstar and The Shore of Women.

Books read August

Another disappointing month, to be sure. Only two books read, again because I spent most of my leisure time watching anime rather than reading books. While I tend to multitask when watching Dutch or English language television, subbed anime needs my full attention if I want to follow the plot. To be honest, I don’t think this will change much in September either, because at the moment watching anime entertains me more than reading does.

Blood Pact — Tanya Huff
Fourth in the Victoria Nelson series of supernatural thrillers. A decent, entertaining read but it dragged on a bit in the last third.

The Sleepwalkers — Christopher Clark
A somewhat revisionist history of how Europe got itself into World War I, with more of the blame laid at the Entente (France, Russia, Britain) powers and especially Serbia. Convincing enough while reading it, but not the last word in this eternal debate.

Books read July

Really? i only read four books this month? Damn, that’s what you get for playing too much Europa Universalis IV and watching too much anime. Not so much that I spent more time watching that than I’d normally spend watching television, just that I can’t multitask while doing so. Dubbed anime is awful, so I need to watch subbed versions, which means I need to keep watching to follow the plot and cannot just listen and come in at the interesting parts like I can with english language shows… that seriously cut into my reading time.

But there was also a bit of Hugo fatigue this month. So much this year has been spent in reading for Hugos, reading about the Hugos, getting upset about all the assholes attempting to crap all over them, took a lot of energy and left little pleasure in reading science fiction for a while. If it takes me over a week to read a simple 200 page novel, I have to worry.

Soldiers of Paradise — Paul Park
An author I started reading because Ian Sales rates him, this reminded me of Gene Wolfe

The City, Not Long After — Pat Murphy
After the end of the world, what’s left of San Francisco hippiedom has to defend itself from invasion by a self proclaimed general wanting to remake America, his way.

Christendom Destroyed — Mark Greengrass
Part of the Penguin History of Europe, this looks at the roughly 150 years in which Christendom was transformed into Europe, as Protestantism established itself.

Lest Darkness Falls — L. Sprague De Camp
A classic time travel/alternate history story as a modern historian travels back to the sixth century and tries to prevent the Dark Ages from happening.

Books read June

Twelve books read this month as I took some effort to get my totals up. It brings my total number of books read in the first half of 2015 up to fortynine, putting me more or less on course for my goal of a hundred. As you can see below, now I just need to catch up with my reviewing too…

A Very British Genre — Paul Kincaid
A dated (1995) but still usable short introduction to the history of science fiction & fantasy as a British genre. As with a history, it gets slightly less usable the closer it comes to its present. Also interesting to see as a time capsule of what British SFF was like twenty years ago, before so many of the current giants had even started getting published, or had just begun to do so.

The Three-Body Problem — Cixin Liu
One of the three non-Puppy candidates for the Best Novel Hugo, a very Asimovian hard science fiction story. Asimovian because it’s all about ideas and characterisation falls somewhat by the wayside.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August — Claire North
Winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Harry August relives his own life over and over and he’s not the only one. The end of the world was always coming, but each new life it comes faster…

The Tropic of Serpents — Marie Brennan
The second book in the series of Faux-Georgian natural history fantasy memoirs of a lady dragonist. Great fun, intelligently written and well done dragons are always interesting.

The Renaissance at War — Thomas F. Arnold
One in a series of military history chapbooks I picked up, this is a very readable introduction to the topic of European warfare in the late fifteenth and sixteenth century.

Hero Complex — Sean O’Hara
Anime influenced superhero crack fic.

Warfare in the Seventeenth Century — John Childs
Followup to the Renaissance book. Interesting but of course Eurocentric.

Wave without a Shore — C. J. Cherryh
A short, early philosophical science fiction novel from Cherryh.

The Amoeba in the Room — Nicholas P. Money
A nicely readable introduction to the wonderful world of microbiotic life, sometimes marred with unfortunate attempts at humour.

A Man of Three Worlds — Mercedes García-Arenal & Gerard Wiegers
A very interesting biography/history of Samuel Pallache, a Moroccan Jew who worked as an agent, merchant, spy, arms dealer and more around the turn of the seventeenth century, working for the sultan of Morocco, the Dutch Republic and others.

At the Seventh Level — Suzette Haden Elgin
One of those somewhat forgotten and overlooked female authors, who sadly died earlier this year. This was the first novel of hers I’d read and it was an interesting one.

Throne of the Crescent Moon — Saladin Ahmed
Well done oriental fantasy that reminded me slightly of N. K. Jemisin’s Killing Moon duology.