16 March 2007 by Published in: book list No comments yet

The Year’s Best Science Fiction Twenty-third Annual Collection (Year’s Best Science Fiction) edited by Gardner Dozois. (3) [anthology, specfic]. I checked this out of the library. Technically didn’t finish the James Patrick Kelly novella that was the closer for this volume. Ehhh, I count it read, and book was due. I continue to enjoy every Paolo Bacigalupi story I encounter. I’m going to give myself a pass on reading any more Stephen Baxter, as what he writes is obviously not for me. Hated every second of the Harry Turtledove story, despite it being well-written and having moments, so I’m officially swearing off him as well. The Vonda McIntyre story “Little Faces” got completely inside my head. Unexpectedly, got tons more out of Bear’s story “Two Dreams on Trains” on a second reading, and I guess I’d done some kind of good parts transformation on “La Malcontenta” because it wasn’t quite like I remembered it. Still liked both. Was deeply uncomfortable with some of the characterizations of Africa and Africans in the “Clockwork Atom Bomb” because it seemed to play into lots of preconceived notions of racism, specifically how hopelessly backward Africans are, as though this “backwardness” had risen up in a vaccuum and were a character trait instead of a result of European imperialism. I’m pretty sure I felt that way because of how closely this story followed my reading of the genocide book. I didn’t think the author played fair with one of the African characters (or the reader) either, giving him lines that were painfully naive, and later having him say “Aha! but I’m a physicist!”. Finished on 02/19/07.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters. (4) [novel, YA]. Loaned to me by Sarah. Trying to get through the pile of loaner books. This was a good book, solid, deftly exploring the delicate topic of transgenderism. I imagine there’s a paucity of such books, especially aimed at teens, which explains why this gutsy, angsty narrative was nominated for the National Book Award. While easy to read and written from the POV of a very sympathetic character, I still found the writing itself to be sub-par. There were distracting author tics, and what I often hear called the “sentence level” work could have been better. I note this because while she tackles important and relevant issues that will interest teens, I don’t feel that kids should have a quality of material to read lesser than that available to adults. Finished on 02/23/07.

The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell. (5) [novel, childrens]. Given to me by Beverly, from yoga. Sweet little story of a man who builds himself a family from available materials: mermaids, wild animals and foundlings. Finished on 02/25/07.

The Sharing Knife Volume One: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold. (6) [novel, specfic, romance]. Given to me by Peter, who was too disgusted with it to finish it. Love Lois McMaster Bujold. Girl runs away from home and falls into a group of mysterious “Lakewalkers”, a formerly noble, ruling class who now patrols the land, getting rid of supernatural beasties. Delightful to read. Can’t say this is my favorite book of hers, though, not by a long shot. This seems like fluffier fluff than the rest of her books. Maybe I’m biased against romance? Finished on 02/27/07.

Squat by Taylor Field. (7) [novel]. Nabbed this book from my brother’s stack because the back cover sounded interesting. Pretty standard conversion story of a homeless OCD guy scraping by in New York. Had some moments, but the beauty of the story was defeated at almost every turn by the awfulness of the prose. My mental editor would not shut up. Finished on 03/08/07.

Additionally, quite a bit of online reading:

  1. a whole heaping stack of the flash contest stories on Escape Pod (I didn’t read all 321, but I did read something like 60 or so, and several of them more than once). Some real gems there, and I’ll be sure to link them when they show up on the podcast, as most of my favorites will.
  2. just finished going over the 2006 Nebula short story nominees (links to online versions here). Man, seriously underwhelmed. Afraid to read the novellas and novelettes for further disappointments (though I know at least the Vonda McIntyre story rocks).
  3. the Cat Rambo and Jeff Vandermeer collaboration “The Surgeon’s Tale” from Subterranean online. Overall thumbs up on the story, deep and resonant and well-constructed. Better than all the Nebula nominees combined.


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