Friday, June 09, 2006

Other Books Read in May

Same disclaimer as the last few months: I don't necessarily list everything I read (if there's a reason to keep something secret), and I'm not listing anything I didn't finish (and I read just parts of quite a number of things). Anyway, here's what I will mention:
  • Andi Watson, Little Star
    Watson does real-life comics that aren't self-indulgent autobiographical ramblings, which makes him very rare -- his comics have stories like real books do, just with great pictures, too. This one is so good I might even try to make The Wife read it -- and she doesn't read anything.
  • Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
    A re-read for ulterior motives, and a firm no comment.
  • Antony Johnston & Christopher Mitten, Queen & Country: Declassified Vol. 3: Sons & Daughters
    A dreary sidebar to a comics series I seem to be enjoying less and less. The "Declassified" mini-series are supposed to be about past events that happened to some of the main characters of the Queen & Country series, but I don't remember any of these people from the main series. I don't care much about their mania for killing each other, either.
  • Carol Emshwiller, Mister Boots
    No comment.
  • Jim Butcher, Dead Beat
    This is book seven of the "Dresden Files" series, which has moved way up to be my top current guilty pleasure. Butcher has toned down the bathos and sentimentality that annoyed me in the earlier books (mostly by now showing instead of telling ,which I entirely approve of), and I now enjoy these without reservations. This one has a zombie T. Rex in it. 'Nuff said.
  • Hal Duncan, Vellum
    I shouldn't say anything about it, but I do have to mention that it's probably the most ambitious novel, in or out of fantasy, I've seen in at least ten years. Duncan is not afraid of anything, and that's impressive.
  • Brian Fies, Mom's Cancer
    A semi-diary in comics form, with a very animation-derived "clear line" style. I didn't love it, but it's well-done, and has moments of real power.
  • Deborah Layne and Jay Lake, editors, Polyphony 5
    No comment.
  • Jay Lake, editor, TEL: stories
    Sine commento
  • Frank Beddor, The Looking Glass War
    A modern "everything you know is wrong" take on Alice in Wonderland, by a writer who takes pride in an introduction in telling us how much he hated Alice as a kid and thought it was a girl's book. (This strikes me as a bad admission, even if it's true, since the audience for a revisionist take on any classic is mostly going to be the people who actually read and liked that book.) Other editors who've read it loved it; I wasn't quite that enthusiastic. But I did expect to loathe it, given that introduction, so it won me most of the way around.
  • Steve Rasnic Tem, The World Recalled
    No no comment comment.
  • Tony Ballantyne, Recursion
    A competent enough first SF novel about the rise of the AI overlord of mankind, by someone whose name I'm pretty sure I've been hearing about. And goodness knows I see enough incompetent novels, so I don't mean to damn it with faint praise.
  • Patricia A. McKillip, Harrowing the Dragon
    Pretty much her collected short fiction, and quite impressive. Oops, I shouldn't comment about this, either. But I will say that I hadn't read any McKillip since I was a kid (and hated hated HATED the ending of The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy), and I now realize I was really missing something good.
  • Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpatrick, editors, Outsiders
    I couldn't possibly comment.
  • Peter Raftos, The Stone Ship
    A novel published by an arm of the Australian National University; it's a meandering academic satire (among other things). I shouldn't comment.
  • Keith & Kent Zimmerman, et al., Mythbusters
    A collection of write-ups of great episodes of the show that I never seem to manage to see (but keep thinking I should).
  • Reggie Oliver, The Complete Symphonies of Adolph Hitler
    Should just be "no comment." But I can say that this is my absolute favorite title of the year, by far.
  • Bruce Holland Rogers, The Keyhole Opera
    Absolutely no comment.
  • Forrest Aguirre and Deborah Layne, editors, The Nine Muses
    Yes, we have no comments.
  • Carol Emshwiller, I Live With You
    This repetition is really boring, I know, but, honestly, I can't say.
  • Jasper Fforde, The Fourth Bear
    Finally! A book I can talk about. This is the sequel to The Big Over Easy, and is as crammed with jokes and puns as an early Pratchett novel. (And is just as funny, too.) My favorite gag is from the very end, so I can't mention it here. But anyone who likes Pratchett, Douglas Adams, or those other funny Brits (like Tom Holt, Robert Rank, etc.) should be reading Fforde. (Fforde also has an amazing set of websites, which can steal whole working days if you're not careful.)
  • Tom Kidd Kiddography: The Life & Art of Tom Kidd
    He's both a nice guy and a really talented artist, so go buy his book. Lots of zeppelins!
  • Susanna Clarke, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
    Nine short stories, all of which seem to be set in the same world as Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Pretty good stuff, too.
  • Robert A. Heinlein & Spider Robinson, Variable Star
    I probably shouldn't talk about this one, either, though it's clearly not for WFA
  • George Saunders, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil
    A novella that I kept thinking would turn into an allegory of something, but I could never quite figure it out. I shouldn't comment, though.
  • Brendan Connell, Dr. Black and the Guerrillia
    Another novella published as a book; another thing I shouldn't talk about.
A busy month, but lots and lots of stuff for WFA that I shouldn't talk about. But it will all be done in a month or so, and I can go back to reading whatever's on top of the pile (and complaining about it, which is the important thing).

1 comment:

antony said...

Hi Andrew,

Sorry you didn't like QUEEN & COUNTRY: DECLASSIFIED Vol III, but I feel I should point out that the main character - Nick Poole - has been a Minder in the main series since issue #24, almost two years ago. His colleague Hart was also featured in the same issue, and was in fact the reason for Poole quitting the SAS.

As for people killing each other, well, that's Northern Ireland for you.

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