glen

Sep 262017
 

If you expected Ancillary++, you’ll be disappointed. Leckie has gone from big to small – the Radch Empire makes only a small appearance. Where the trilogy was big – gender, class, humanity and empire-spanning revenge, Provenance sits on a smaller, more personal scale, digging into what family means.

Ingray is the adopted daughter of an important politician on a minor world. She engages smugglers in one last chance to impress her family – and it goes wrong. She has to forge new alliances to save her small unimportant world. It’s a different style, slower than Radch – with less driving action, but it works.

 Posted by at 09:57
Jul 072017
 

The end of the world typically doesn’t bother with heroin, politics, and books.

Memoirist and poet Michelle Tea delves into a very personal the end of the world stepping backwards and sideways to an alternate 1999 San Francisco – gentrification still sweeping across the city & cleaning up the drug-addicted lesbian punks.

Protagonist Michelle takes us along on a very personal apocalypse – exiting the life she knows for another, feeling her family fall apart, leaving her beloved San Francisco for LA, which may have brought about the end of the world. It’s gorgeous, and funny, and like nothing you’ve read before.

Jun 132017
 

Oh my bloody god this book. This series. This writer.

Ninefox Gambit was my one book of 2016. The one I wanted to win all the awards. The one I was doubly-disappointed to be skipping a year with The Kitschies.

Twisty-turny maths-based alteration of reality meets big evil empire and mad geniuses. It gets weirder and, oddly, a bit easier to follow. Probably worth reading Ninefox Gambit again. I did. It’s worth it.

In three pages, Shuos Jedao and/or Kel Cheris turn up and capture a fleet. Then it gets better. Difficult  to talk about without spoilers. But trust me.

Out in June.

Apr 242017
 

If I had any problem with The Girl with All the Gifts it was the same as I’ve seen elsewhere: It’s very good, but it’s Yet Another Zombie Book.

This, despite being in the same universe, goes way beyond that. The hungries (zombies) aren’t the main feature: here it’s the humans, and what happens to them, and humanity’s discovery of new and different types of hungry, and how we may be wired to screw it all up, always and forever. This book is a real joy – it stands alone, and, if you have a heart, its strings will be tugged.

Apr 192017
 

Ed note: This was written in 2013 and just turned up in my drafts folder. Oops. Have it now!

Jesus and the Eightfold Path

Somewhere between the manger and gathering fishers of men, Jesus grew up. Lavie Tidhar presents us with a Jesus learning from three wise men: Pig, Monkey, and Sandy, from the Chinese classic Journey to the West. What Tidhar does, in this very fun, silly, and easy-to-read novella is blend of myth, history, and fancy. The thing that I love about this is Tidhar’s ability to be irreverent, researched, and respectful, all at the same time. This slim volume is fun, insightful, and highly entertaining. It could easily have been none of those things – if you get a chance, read it.

 

You *might* be able to get it here (UK), but the publisher says it’s out of print.

Mar 292017
 


This book is an astonishing gamble of object desire and fervent hope: that there are people out there who are filled with a combination of a love for language, the theatre, and Shakespeare that they’ll make a market for a book like this.

It’s by no means perfect: it’s riddled with continuity errors, anachronisms, and character inconsistencies – much like Shakespeare – and, much like Shakespeare, it just doesn’t matter.

The characters are full-of-themselves as only final year art conservatory students can be – and Rio captures this weird world with aplomb – especially the ego masking the fear of your own empty soul.

n.b. Released 11th April in the US and June in the UK. Worth preordering.

Mar 022017
 


 
I missed these books the first time they came around – and on @kameronhurley’s recommendation, had a watch of the telly series, and thought it might be worth a read. It is.
Take one part big idea space opera, add top worldbuilding and pretty progressive politics, and shake it together with a lot of space explosions and you have Leviathan. It won a rake of awards. It’s gripping and a fast read- but intelligent enough that you don’t feel like you’ve lost a brain cell nor are the authors trying to show off their intelligence. It’s fun and it’s good.

Feb 282017
 


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What more can be said about this book? It won the Booker. Irvine Welsh called it amazing. I’ve finally got round to reading this book, and it… I don’t even know how to describe it. The style and craft of it is mind-blowing. There’s a bit of lush, prose, and just when you’re thinking that it’s quite beautiful in its own New Yorker-wannabe way, the writer tells us how crap it is. James layers patois, style, culture, and language and makes it looks easy, when it’s actually the sweat of a master at work. It’s worth savouring every single minute

Feb 202017
 

Poor, poor Rupert keeps dying. After managing to wriggle his cannibal chef’s hat out from under the thumb of the Kindly Ones, Ao Qin, and all the supernatural spirits in Kuala Lumpur, Rupert’s got a new mission: London – the Greek gods he’s on loan to are hungry and there’s a dearth of good cannibal chefs.

As you’d expect, Rupert’s not just elbow deep in viscera, but neck deep in shit – figurative and literal. Bullets appear at seemingly random moments and poor Rupert can’t seem to stay dead – even if he wanted to. This book is twisty-turny and bloody (ha!) good.

Feb 082017
 

Kameron Hurley’s all-female universe of tentacled worlds and the cycle of life is absolutely and utterly insane. I read the entire thing torn between “what the hell is going on here” and “I’m really enjoying whatever it is”.  Zan wakes up, a warrior without a memory, given conflicting information from those who insist they are her sisters. She must fly off and infiltrate another world – the Mokshi, the only world that has left its orbit, and can take them to freedom. I toyed with wondering if this is a meta-narrative about bacteria, but whatever-tf it is, it is absolutely excellent.