I haven't had time to review all of the books I've read recently. For now, here is a quick rundown what I have read over the last couple of months and some I'm looking forward to reading soon. I hope to get reviews in for most of them, but preparations for and the act of, recording has been taking up a lot of my free time - that's a good thing, even if it cuts into writing for this blog.
So, without further adieu, here is a short list of books to consider (or not, depending on your opinion of me or this blog):
Books I've Read Recently:
Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine
Really loved this book. It follows a steampunkish circus (albeit without the "steam"; would "circuspunk" or "clockworkpunk" be more apt?) in a war-torn world. A private war is also waged over a set of glorious wings. Valentine writes with skillful grace.
The Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumiere
This set of interlinked stories runs the gambit of style - between pulp-ish to literary. The danger here is that some of the stories, somewhat sloppily executed, don't add to the larger context.
The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
There are some really fun, inventive and wholly original ideas at work this is over-the-top SF novel, but, unfortunately, I didn't connect with any of its characters. A shame, because I was genuinely excited for Rajaniemi's book.
Embassytown by China Mieville
A book about language, you say? Sound cliche, well-worn, SF trope? Mieville is at the top of his game here. It's one of the best books I've read all year with one of the most original alien species I've encountered in SF - that, friends, is only the tip of the iceberg of awesomeness going on in this novel. If you can get past its, at times, "exposition-y" sections, you're going to love it.
The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories by Angela Carter
Carter is famous for exposing what she has said is the "latent content" of folk- and fairytales. Within these pages, you'll find stories based on "Beauty & the Beast," "Bluebeard," "Little Red Riding Hood," and more. Dark and twisted stuff here.
We Who Are About To... by Joanna Russ
I found this short novel to be of disturbing quality. A group of people traveling in space are suddenly thrown off course. They find a planet. They decide to live on it. Except the narrator: she decides to die on it. Russ's insights as the predicament unfolds are enlightening and terrifying. One of my favorites of the year (though it was originally published in 1977).
The Jewel-Hinged Jaw by Samuel R. Delany
This book of essays and criticisms on the "language of SF" are "jaw"-droppingly awesome. In particular, I've loved the essay "Faust and Archimedes" wherein Delany expounds upon the differences and similarities in Thomas M. Disch's and Roger Zelanzy's writings, likening their works to the title figures of the essay. Everything here is fantastic, however, and worth reading if you like SF or literature at all.
Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading
Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
For being a Grandmaster of SF, Ellison's works sure are hard to find and I'm not a big fan of ordering online (yet). I like going to used bookshops and perusing the shelves, finding bent-up, worn-and-torn treasures. I found this book at a store in Kearney, NE, of all places. (Actually, I found 17 SF books there, most of which are out of print or not available at the local Borders, and bought them all.)
The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz
I've had this book since Christmas and have been waiting for the right time to read it. Now seems the right time. It concerns a trip to an unnamed island where the islanders make no distinction between "reality and representation." I can't wait!
The Book of the New Sun: Volume 1 & 2 by Gene Wolfe
I have only heard how wondrous these books are, but I have refused any information offered of their subject matter. I love Gene Wolfe's short stories and, as is aforementioned, am assured of the awesomeness contained within these books.
Up Against It by M.J. Locke
I'm hoping this novel is somehow a counterpoint to Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (another of my favorites this year, reviewed here in May, and released this month), in that both books are concern asteroid colonies. Other than that I don't know much about the book (though I own it), but I loved Locke's novella in global warming anthology Welcome to The Greenhouse.
A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Of course. Yes. If you haven't read these books or watched the HBO series, get thee to a bookstore/Amazon or a subscription to premium cable because you must. All must. It is the only way, now.
Looking forward to reading books is, of course, an endless list. I could go on, mentioning these: The Magicians, Love in the Time of Cholera, Illuminations, The Savage Detectives, Your Face Tomorrow... and on and on and on, but I won't. What've you been reading? What are you looking forward to?