the Little Red Reviewer

Five for Friday!

Posted on: April 12, 2019

Welcome to a new-ish feature here at Little Red Reviewer, called Five for Friday. The concept is simple – it’s a Friday, and I post a photo of 5 books, and then we chat about them in the comments.

The only things these books have in common are:
– they were on my bookshelf
– I’m interested in your thoughts on them.

Want to join in? Post a picture of 5 random books you own, with the tag #5ForFriday and get your friends talking.

have you read any of these? if yes, did you like them? If you’ve not read them, does the cover make you interested in learning more about the book?

This week we have. . .

Three Moments of an Explosion by China Mieville (2015) – this came out in 2015 and I’m just buying it now???   I hit a wall with Mieville’s 2012 Embassytown, it wasn’t a bad wall, it was one of those “I need to understand this dude’s writing WAY more before I read anymore of it”. I kept rereading books of his that I owned, and didn’t read much of his newer work.  Went to a bookstore recently, saw a bunch of his new stuff, came home with this collection of short stories. Still enjoy reading his old “new-weird” stuff.  Still know I’m a long way from getting all the nuances.


The Cold Equations and other stories by Tom Godwin (this printing is 2003) – that’s, ummm . . .  some interesting cover art!  My local scifi book club recently discussed Godwin’s “The Cold Equations”, a famous short story he wrote in the 50s. This polarizing short story is a scifi version of the trolley problem (oh yeah, The Good Place season 2!!!). If you’re interested, you can read this famous story at Lightspeed Magazine. I’ve not explored the rest of the table of contents of this volume of stories.


Northwest of Earth by C.L. Moore  (this version 2008) – Yo, why didn’t ya’ll tell me how awesome C.L. Moore is!? or if you did, why didn’t you tell LOUDER???  because she is awesome!  These are epic sci-fantasy, adventures in space and time, weird physics, alien intelligences, Northwest Smith is the original Han Solo, and Jirel kicks major ass.  I can’t wait for Vintage month to roll around again so I can pester everyone to read a C.L. Moore story (read along, anyone?).


The Prestige by Christopher Priest (1996) – picked this up at a used bookstore, it was retail therapy.  I remember liking the movie version of this book.  And someone told me the book is sort of epistolary?  Seems like it’ll be perfect for one of those rainy saturdays where i want to snuggle under a blanket and read for a few hours. Since I’ve seen the movie, I know the big reveal at the end, i hope I can still enjoy the book.


The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018) – on the Hugo and Nebula ballot!   and yet. . . I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the characters well enough, loved the apocalyptic concept that drives the plot, enjoyed all the mathematicians who become astronauts,  i liked that the main character is in a happy, healthy marriage and that her husband is pretty cool.  So what the hell was my problem?   Don’t tell anyone, but at times I found the plot to be predictable and after a while I found the main character to be annoying.  I guess this is one of those books where if you like the main character, you’ll never want the book to end, and if you don’t, well, you’re stuck with her for 500 pages.



12 Responses to "Five for Friday!"

I’ve read C.L. Moore but actually don’t remember much since it was way back when … and like you, I didn’t like THE CALCULATING STARS all that much. There were bits that I liked, but over all? I felt like it set women back 200 years!


there’s got to be some C.L. Moore floating around online, if you wanted to peek at it again. Calculating Stars takes place in the 1950s, so yeah, plenty of dated ideas.


The only one I’ve read is the Moore, which I liked quite a lot.


Is do a Moore read along! Don’t think I’ve read anything by her. Absolutely adored The Prestige. My goodness what a a great book. I have very similar feelings about Calculating Stars. Also Mieville is obviously talented but I haven’t been able to get into anything by him. Haven’t read this one though.


ok! when the time comes, remind me again about setting up a Moore thing for Vintage month! 🙂 Yeah, Mieville stuff is very weird, not at all easy to get into.


I still need to read The Calculating Stars, but I’ve seen a lot of lukewarm responses to it that have made me put it off.


Really, i think it comes down to the character’s narrative voice. If you like her voice, you’ll be fine. Give the book 50 pages, see what you think. if you like it, keep reading. With it being a Hugo nom, I was expecting everyone would love it, and that I’d be in the minority with my mixed feelings.


Don’t listen to them, Mogsy. Read the Kowal and make up your own mind. I loved the original story (“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” is on and enjoyed both of the books (THE FATED SKY is the sequel) and will read the next two as they come out.


I remember really liking The Lady Astronaut of Mars, so I was surprised at my reaction to The Calculating Stars. What were your thoughts on The Fated Sky? I heard the story jumps way forward in time? And there are more books planned in this series? That’s wonderful news for fans! 🙂


FATED SKY does not jump way forward, just a few years (the next decade), as they go on to Mars. It reads more like part 2 of one long book. I agree that neither book quite lives up to the original story.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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