Taking The Reading List To Task

Catching up on my bedside reading stack. Over the last four months, I’ve read KSR’s generational starship saga Aurora, not one of his best but still a good read; Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, which is fine if you like endless lectures on near-future space technology, such as orbital dynamics, and characters that resemble crepes, they’re so flat; Gene Wolfe’s A Borrowed Man which was mildly disappointing to me, as are all of his gumshoe-narrated novels; The Last Days of New Paris, China Mieville’s percussive novella about Nazis, demons, and surreal art come to life to do battle in an alternate history occupied Paris circa 1950; and Paul Park’s All Those Vanished Engines, that follows a thread of repercussions from an alternate US Civil War history, but was such a self-indulgent exercise in metafiction, I put it down half way through.

Also caught up on Ann Leckie’s last two Ancillary Books which I thought were more accessible and narratively compelling than the mega-award winning Ancillary Justice. Liked them both a lot and appropriated the glove fixation for my own work. How could I possibly forget Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel’s sumptuous meditation on hope in our world juxtaposed with that of a dystopian future, and Christopher Priest’s The Gradual, a rumination of time lost and gained, set in his beloved Dream Archipelago.

Plenty of re-reads as well, most notably taking my time going through Steven Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen (just started on The Bonehunters, volume 6 of 10); a KSR favorite, the lyrical, wise, and very funny The Years of Rice and Salt; In Other Worlds, a short, but wonderful volume in A. A. Attanasio’s Radix teratology that can easily be read standalone, as the four books are typed by different themes; Richard Brautigan’s In Watermelon Sugar, a charming, simple allegory of the people who grew up during the 1960s. Plus bits and pieces of books here and there to explore ideas, reacquaint myself with craft-specific minutiae, or just ‘cause.

The pile started anew today with the arrival of KSR’s New York 2140 and there’s a couple others floating around somewhere, I think. Plenty to keep me busy while I crank toward my dev edit deadline of May 1 for The Fifth Circle, Volume II.