Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What I Was Reading A Year Ago

Inspired by my recent pointless epic trawl through my reading notebook, I dug this out of the dustbin of history. It was originally posted to rec.arts.sf.written 11/4/04, as part of a general "what are you reading now?" discussion. I am now in imminent danger of disappearing up my own navel.

Right now it's Raw Spirit by Iain Banks, which is only of associational interest. (Banks somehow conned a publisher into paying him to wander around Scotland and drink single-malt whisky; he is now one of my idols.)

Just before that was Quick Service by P.G. Wodehouse, a pleasant non-series book from his '30s peak. Pure fluffy fun.

Actually in the SF genre, there's Mothership by John Brosnan, which is yet another we've-forgotten-we're-on-a-colony-ship story. But Brosnan wisely doesn't try to make that the kicker; it's given away on the back cover (not to mention the title), and any SF reader would figure it out in ten pages anyway. He also has a narrator with a great sarcastic voice and a deft, light hand with plot. And I thought his infodumps worked quite well, especially since the narrator, though smart, starts off with no real knowledge of the world. A sequel is forthcoming, which may answer some lingering questions I have (but which the narrator would not have any inkling of, so that didn't really bother me).

Before that was Orphanage by Robert Buettner. It's a solid Military SF novel, with inscrutable hive-mind aliens trying to forcibly xenoform Earth by lobbing rocks at it from Ganymede. It's not a great novel by any means, but it's professionally written, doesn't raise winces at any point, was a breeze to read, and is the kind of book the genre needs more of, so I was quite happy with it.

I also finally got to Charlie Stross's The Atrocity Archives recently, which is really cool. I am a sucker for Lovecraftian stories, and work for an occasionally Byzantine bureaucracy, so I may not be unbiased. On the other hand, most of the in-jokes are computer-based and flew over my head, so it's the kind of book with several semi-distinct and overlapping audiences.

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