the Little Red Reviewer

Some oldies but goodies

Posted on: April 18, 2021

Having recently read and freakin’ LOVED  The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. That book was written in 2015 and flew completely under my radar, so I got thinking: what other neat things was I reading the same year The Library at Mount Char came out? 

Luckily, everything on the internet is forever, meaning it’s easy as cake to link to you some books I enjoyed in the halcyon yesteryear of 2015. .  . 

C.S.E. Cooney’s collection The Bone Swans came out in 2015, and this is such a gorgeous collection, I can’t even.  Among other things, the titular story “The Bone Swans of Ammandale” includes a retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin that I still get shivers when I think about it.  Oh, and if you like super weird horror, her “The Big Ba-Ha” is also a brilliant piece of writing.  and wow, this list is gonna keep me busy for a good long time! 

I read a lot of Kage Baker in 2015.  her Company books came out in the early 2000s,  but I didn’t discover them until much later. If you like characters who really do change over time, and the really, really long game, I can’t recommend her The Company series enough.  I’m kinda surprised HBO hasn’t glommed onto this series – immortal cyborgs? time travel? romance? rogue AIs? intense manipulation of humanity’s past and future? seems like HBO gold, if you ask me.  Yeah, I know, the first book in the series In The Garden of Iden is a super cry-fest, but there’s less crying after that book, I swear!

another book I read in 2015 that came out decades earlier was China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh. I really gotta reread this one, I remember it being a rather quiet story, but oh so effective. 

2015 was the year The Traitor Baru Cormorant came out.  I knew that book was going to break me into a million pieces (and it did!) but what I didn’t expect was an epic fantasy novel that would get me so interested in how economics and finance and money (and politics) works, but here we are.  I kinda blame that book for me spending a hot minute being very responsible for tens of millions of dollars flowing through a company. (it wasn’t my money. I was just in charge of accounts receivable for a few quarters).  God damn that was an amazing book. The middle book in the series ending up working a lot better when I was able to read book 2 and then book 3 as one long novel. 

The Gabble by Neal Asher is a short story collection of hard scifi stories that take place on other planets. Basically, humans are going everywhere, and being really stupid about dealing with the species we find when we get to other planets. We apparently expect all creatures everywhere to act like docile zoo animals. HA HA HA.    Yeah, so the thing most creatures have in common is that they are hungry and humans are stupid.  

I got to read a lot of Kaoru Mori’s manga series Bride’s Story in 2015.  If you like sweeping historical family stories, gorgeous and detailed (but not distracting) artwork, embroidery, and beautiful clothes, this is the series for you. It’s a look into a number of families who live in Central Asia in the late 1800s.  Yen Press did gorgeous hardback versions of Bride’s Story, everything about this series is such a pleasure for the senses. 

2015 was also the year I read Babel-17 by Samuel Delany. I’m a sucker for books about language and how language shapes us and we shape language, and how language shapes how we think and see the world.  It’s like, we see the world with our eyes. . . but the sounds that come out of our mouth and go into our ears, our brains use that stuff to determine how we actually view the world.  I’m an absolute fiend for language, but? I like I might like Delany’s Nova more than I liked Babel-17.  It’s been years since I read Nova and I still vividly remember the characters and some of the plot points, and I can’t say the same for Babel-17.

Thank you for coming down this rabbit hole of 2015 reminiscing with me!

15 Responses to "Some oldies but goodies"

I read Traitor and liked it, but never found the courage to pick up the next book. Some of my buddies didn‘t have too many good things to say about the later books, which made me really unsure.

And I have been eyeing Mount Char ever since it came out. One of these days.

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I’ll admit, I struggled with the middle Baru Cormorant book. That middle book worked a lot (and mean a LOT) better when read back to back with book 3. it’s like the first book is a intro to one corner of the world, and books 2 and 3 are one huge book about the rest of the world.

Mount Char is worth the read, and it’s a stand alone too!

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I absolutely loved Bone Swans too. A bit of a shame her first novella, Desdemona…, didn’t live up to it.

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I’ve not read Desdemona yet, what is the premise of that one? I remember it got a lot of press when it came out, but not much talked about since then. for what it’s worth, I really enjoyed her short novel The Twice Drowned Saint in the anthology A Sinister Quartet.

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It’s a mash up of a few things, but basically girl takes on injustice in the goblin world.
I’ve reviewed it here: https://wp.me/p1tcLv-6Mg

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hmm… yeah, i think i’m gonna skip Desdemona for now. She’s got a ton of other short fiction i can enjoy. they can’t all be winners, right?

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2015, ah, that’s when I read Babel17! Good to hear, that I‘m not the only linguistics fan 👍 There’s a review up: https://reiszwolf.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/babel-17-•-1966-•-sf-novel-by-samuel-delany/
Nova escaped me, but did you read anything else by him? Aye, and Gomorrah maybe, or Einstein Intersection?
Traitor is still on my tbr (since 2015), thanks for the reminder.
China Mountain Zhang has been a GR group read back in 2013, so I had to read my review over at GR to remember it at all 😊
Lots of great stuff, thanks for this looking back in time 👌

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I’ve got a copy of his The Fall of the Towers, and I’m pretty sure I have a copy of Einstein Intersection. Have you got a Delany favorite I should check out?

benefit of Traitor still being on your TBR is if you read the first one, and like it, you can binge the whole trilogy. None of that waiting 3 years for the next book to come out and forgetting half of what happened.

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I‘m far from Delany complete. Those two above are 5 star good! Einstein Intersection if you like a real challenge (you should know Orpheus and Eurydice!) https://reiszwolf.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/the-einstein-intersection-1967-sf-novel-by-samuel-r-delany/
The other one, Aye, and Gomorrah, is only a short story. Transgender, asexuality, gay,… in the 1960s!
I‘ve read other stuff from him, but it’s too long ago to remember (like 30 years ago). Dhalgren etc

As for his Fantasy, I‘d go for his Neveryon series (starting with Tales of Neveryon).

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at this rate, I’m gonna be going to the used bookstore before I’ve even started unpacking books at the new place!

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Sounds like a serious addiction. Welcome to the club 🤣

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I also found the Company books late, and loved them! I think it may have been your recommendation that put me onto the Bride’s Story series; those are fantastic. So many textiles, mmmm….

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thrilled that you are enjoy Bride’s Story! i want all the clothes in the that series!

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I’ve been wanting to read Traitor for a while now, and I’m trying to read more backlist books this year rather than just picking up new releases. Thanks for the motivation, it sounds fantastic.

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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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