May 16th, 2011

reading

Books read, early May.

Ben Aaronovitch, Moon over Soho. Sequel to Midnight Riot. I still liked this one, and I will be continuing with the series, but it leaned harder on Peter (Our Hero) having to be kind of dumb from time to time, so...I mean, on the one hand, I buy that he's kind of dumb from time to time, but on the other hand that doesn't mean I enjoy it. I am also interested to see the bits that look like series set-up more in the second book than in the first. I'm not surprised that it happened that way, it's just interesting to think back to other early books in series and figure out where the series set-up stuff started. Oh, and also: Aaronovitch clearly did not pick jazz out of a hat as a musical reference theme. He nails jazz and various types of jazz musician pretty perfectly, so that was fun, and yet magically avoided earworming me. Good deal.

China Mieville, The City and the City. I am approximately the last person in the world to read this book, but here we are. Police procedural fantasy...ish thing. This is without a doubt my favorite Mieville to date, but as with previous works of his, the characters didn't really do much for me.

A. Lloyd Moote, Louis XIII The Just. Ohhhhh boy. This biographer was an absolutely terrible example of "the evidence you present does not actually support the conclusions you have drawn." He seemed to be committed to proving that Louis XIII was not the weak monarch people think. Except...the only thing he disproved was that Louis XIII was probably able to tie his own shoes. Really not much further than that. Oh, and that Richelieu managed him well. Which...was not really the point he hoped to make. He also fell prey to false cognates in several of his translations--I could look at the translated sentences and think, "I know how this French sentence goes, and that's not what it means." The other thing that was fascinating is that he bent way over backwards not to say that anybody had a sexually intimate homosexual relationship unless they were witnessed by a dozen impartial onlookers in the very act. I know that things like holding hands and kissing do not have the same meaning in all cultures, but if he'd used the same standards to determine who was engaging in heterosexual behavior, we might expect the human race to die out soon. What a difference twenty years makes.

Housuke Nojiri, Rocket Girls: The Last Planet. Second in the series, and still good fun. This one introduces Akane, who is a great big--okay, little tiny--nerd. I like Akane. Akane is my favorite now. This one also felt very much like it was setting up series stuff, so I'm hoping that that's true and we get more of these translated into English. Not earth-shaking stuff, but fun stuff, and that's not to be underrated.

Arturo Perez-Reverte, Captain Alatriste. Speaking of fun! The swashing! The buckling! The anger at the reign of Philip IV! This was so short that I was through half of it before I was done with my very efficient allergist appointment. I'll be looking to read more in this series.

Massimo Pigliucci, Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk. So on the up side, everyone can use a good, "Gahhhhh, look at the stupid!" rant from time to time. And there was a lot of really weapons-grade stupid going on in this book (not on the author's part, thankfully). On the down side...okay, all right already! Lots of stupid! Can we get into why people are buying this? Because how not to didn't take very long.

Hannu Rajaniemi, The Quantum Thief. Discussed elsewhere.

Ekaterina Sedia, ed., Bewere the Night. I make a policy of not reviewing things I'm in, so I'll just say: book! With me in it! Also other people!
out with friends, crown

4th St. 2011!

I want to remind everybody that there is still plenty of time to register for Fourth Street Fantasy Convention. It's here, it's fabulous, and you should totally come. Consider yourself personally invited! People at past 4th St.s have thought I was on the concom, and I am not on the concom, not in the least. I am just an enthusiast. Great fun for the whole family! At least the parts of the family that like fantasy geekery and good conversation and related cool stuff. (Or the parts of the family who can shout, "AUNT MARISSA! I AM IN THE POOL!" when Aunt mrissa steps out of programming to use the bathroom. Those parts of the family apparently also like 4th St. Also Aunt Marissa is apparently not entirely capable of observing who is and is not in the pool; this is why we help her.)

If you register now, you get this amazing...um...okay, there is no promotional item for registering now. But membership fees go up June 1, and if you register now you will get a concom that can plan for a larger attendance! Also if you are an interesting person who could talk on panels, then registering now will let the programming people know that you can be put on the said panels. Which is useful for planning and stuff.

There will be new cool people this year! Sherwood Smith and Doris Egan and...okay, I don't entirely remember who I've seen at 4th St. before, so I'm not sure who I can claim as new. But there will also be some familiar faces of great interest. Hurrah for 4th St.! Buy one today! Or something.