Sunday, April 01, 2007

Read in March

Instead of doing an "Also Read in March" post, I've decided to do one listing everything, with links to the ones I've talked about already and a line or two about the books that didn't get their own posts. This appeals to my excessively tidy mind, so I expect it's what I'll do in future as well.
  • Darby Conley, Get Fuzzy: Scrum Bums (3/1)
    The latest collection of the strip cartoon. Conley constructs some absolutely appalling puns -- and I do mean "constructs," he makes them into little shaggy-dog stories like Fredric Brown or Asimov -- which still manage to make me laugh. I also enjoy his character-based comedy. And I really like having books of strip cartoons around to dip into.
  • John Scalzi, The Android's Dream (3/2)
  • Ivan Brunetti, editor, An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories (3/3)
    See my epic post comparing this to the 2006 edition of The Best American Comics, if I ever manage to finish it.
  • Gardner Dozois, editor, The Year's Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection (3/4)
    It's the big annual, and I read it after Hartwell's somewhat smaller annual and Strahan's all-novellas annual (also smaller, but not by as much), so all of the 2006 stories are smearing together in my head into one uber-anthology. As I recall, Dozois's book has a few things that annoyed me (which I won't mention in public) and some stories I loved (Reynolds's "Signal to Noise" and "Nightingale," Williams's "Incarnation Day"), which is par for the course for a book like this. I still think any one serious about SF should read this every year, even if you don't read any other short fiction.
  • various writers and artists, Hellboy: The Black Wedding (3/5)
    I haven't seen the animated version of Hellboy -- hell, I still haven't seen the movie -- and this underwhelmed me. It's OK, but it's like a fourth-generation Xerox; I don't expect I'll be back for the next one.
  • Richard Sala, The Grave Robber's Daughter (3/6)
    Another creepy story from Sala, this time about a town taken over by teenagers and killer clowns.
  • Mike Richardson & Rick Geary, Cravan (3/7)
    The life story of someone who disappeared; Cravan is an interesting early 20th century art-world figure, and he may have become the reclusive writer B. Traven. (Richardson mentions the possibility, but says that there's no way to prove or disprove it at this point.) I love Geary's art, and this is much like Geary's solo work, being concerned with odd historical minutiae (though not a murder case, as is usual for Geary solo). I have no idea what the audience was expected to be for this book; I suspect it got published because Richardson owns Dark Horse, but passion is no bad thing in publishing.
  • Richard K. Morgan, Thirteen (3/8)
    Just published in the UK as Black Man, and not published here yet.
  • Charles Burns, Big Baby (3/9)
    Continuing the unified complete Burns reprinting project at Fantagraphics; I had these stories all somewhere or another (mostly in comics-size form), but it's good to have them between two covers and on a shelf. I also like the Big Baby stories better than El Borbah; the kid is a more interesting character, and allows for more subtlety in storytelling.
  • Karen Traviss, Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice (3/11)
    I've taken a vow not to talk about Star Wars books in public for about six months. Mouth zipped.
  • Kage Baker, The Machine's Child (3/12)
    A perfectly enjoyable entry in the "Company" series, which I've been enjoying (and trying to get SFBC members to read, with little luck) for nearly a decade now. (But see below.)
  • Brian Michael Bendis, Fortune and Glory (3/14)
    Boy writer goes to Hollywood and does not get a movie made. It's the same old story, but Bendis knows that, which makes it OK. I can see why he doesn't draw anymore, though; the rubber-hose arms are a bit distracting, and his art chops aren't up the level of his writing in general.
  • Kage Baker, The Sons of Heaven (3/15)
    The big ending of the Company series. Boy howdy, does this one move. In retrospect, a lot of the middle books in this series dithered around -- or, at least, it now looks like dithering once you see what Baker can do when she slams her plot accelerator into the firewall. It's not published yet, so no details -- but, damn, this is a hell of a lot of fun. I think even people who haven't read the series up to now could jump on here and enjoy the ride.
  • Robert Sullivan, How Not to Get Rich (3/19)
  • Donald E. Westlake, Adios, Scheherazade (3/20)
  • Victoria Geng, Love Trouble Is My Business (3/21)
  • Mark L. Van Name, One Jump Ahead (3/25)
    A first novel of SFnal adventure about what I keep thinking of as a boy and his tank, though he's about a hundred and fifty years old (with a lot of living packed into those years, only bits of which do we learn about) and it's a space-capable assault vehicle. The book is slightly to this side of what I'd call military SF -- a territory I'd like to see more books occupy -- and it was very enjoyable.
  • John Sladek, The Lunatics of Terra (3/27)
  • G.B. Trudeau, Heckuva Job, Bushie! (3/28)
    The latest Doonesbury collection; I have a nearly-complete collection (I think I'm just missing the rare book about the TV special), and I've been reading it since about 1982. Trudeau isn't always on (he's had whole years that don't go much of anywhere), but he's been quite good lately, and he's one of the very best political cartoonists of our era. (You can tell that in large part by seeing how many politicians absolutely loathe him.)
  • Samuel Holt, I Know a Trick Worth Two of That (3/29)
    Second in the pseudonymous mystery series by Donald E. Westlake from the mid-'80s; Holt is the out-of-work actor first-person sleuth of the series. This is slightly cozy for my taste, and isn't Westlake in either funny or serious mode (but instead splitting the difference with a light adventure tone, which I think is a bit wishy-washy for him). Not his best stuff, but worth reading for completest like me.
  • Terry Pratchett with Stephen Briggs and illustrated by Paul Kidby, Ankh-Morport Post Office Handbook: Discworld Diary 2007 (3/30)
    Some of the Discworld diaries have more text than others; last year's Discworld Almanak was loaded with odd bits and articles, while this one (perhaps a product of exhaustion after last year?) is just a yearly desk diary with cute fake facts on each week's page and a short section up front with the history and legends of the post office. I suppose there may still be people who use a desk diary, and this could be useful to them, but the main audience is, of course, Discworld fans. And those will be slightly disappointed with the slimness of this year's entry, I guess, though the little here is funnier than the lot in the Almanack was.
And that was what I read in March, minus a couple of things for work that I didn't finish (mostly on purpose -- I read pieces of books for the SFBC quite regularly, but don't like to publicly have opinions about things I haven't read all of...or admit what those books were, for that matter).

1 comment:

Dave said...

Glad to hear that the Kage Baker book is so good. I agree with you that the middle books have been a little stagnant (though still well-written). I'm salivating for this last one.


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