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Where have I been this last week?

At my parent’s house in Maryland.  Had a great time, got to spend time with my adorable niece who is the cutest little girl in the whole world, got to visit with Lesley Conner of Apex Book Company . .  . .  and got to spent in total about 22 hours in the car.  it was a long drive made easy by the Ohio and PA turnpike, and good weather.  Driving through the mountains is fun!

also, podcasts kept me from pulling my hair out.

So, i SUCK at listening to podcasts.  Audiobooks put me to sleep, and podcasts usually make me feel guilty about not reading enough, or self caring enough, or not whatevering enough.  I don’t want a podcast that’s like a radio station’s morning show, where it’s all in jokes and personalities I’m supposed to already know. Let it be known that i am THE WORST at listening to science fiction themed podcasts. see: guilt at not reading or not liking what the hosts are super excited about.  I’ve been on science fiction podcasts! I enjoy being on science fiction podcasts! I just suck at listening to them.  I think us Sci-Fi’ers love the sound of our own voices just a little too much sometimes.

I wanted podcasts that were going to keep my attention, keep me awake, teach me about something I don’t know much about, and be fun to listen to.

Here are the ones that kept me engaged:

 

Ologies – where has this podcast been all my life? I LOVED the podcasts on linguistics and etymology, and enjoyed the one on personality tests. I downloaded a bunch of others but haven’t gotten to them yet.

 

The Uncertain Hour – i love the tagline of this podcast so much that I’ve started using this line at work “because the things we fight the most about are the things we know the least  about”.  The first season was on things you don’t know about Welfare.  The second season is about how and why we have government regulation. that sounds SO BORING, but the journalist who does this podcast makes it sound super interesting!  Season 3 is about the Opioid Crisis, and that one may be too depressing for me to listen to.

 

99% Invisible – The  sound quality of these episodes seems a bit all over the place, but the information is really neat. I listened to an episode about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia houses, one about San Francisco’s Chinatown, one about double-eyelid surgery, and one about the history of color. The color one was less interesting than I’d hoped, the other two were really interesting.

 

I didn’t listen to The Dream on this roadtrip, but that is another podcast I really enjoyed. She takes on Pyramid /Multilevel Marketing schemes. fun stuff!

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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?

Embassytown by China Mieville  (2011) – if you like weird AF scifi, this is for you. you may also need a dictionary, Mieville likes his obscure words. I remember struggling with, but really enjoying this book when I read it. I’m interested in reading it again.

 

Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter (2013) – when humans can be genetically modified, how will society view these genetically modified people?  I like social science fiction, so I enjoyed this whole trilogy.

 

The Gabble and other stories by Neal Asher (2015) – I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Asher. Many of his novels take place in a larger universe, but if you’re like me and you’re not sure where to start, his short fiction is an excellent place. mostly hard scifi, lots of aliens who think humans make a good snack.

 

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar (2016) – a mosaic novel of interconnected stories that take place in a future Tel Aviv, where an international space station was built – if you want to get to space, your shuttle takes off from the station in Tel Aviv!  Families trying to get by, robots trying to find their place in a society that doesn’t need them anymore. you can read this as a handful of short stories, you can read it as a loose novel, whatever you want.

 

The Inconvenient God by Francesca Forrest (2018) – what a wonderful little  novella! At a university, it’s time for one of the old, less needed gods, to be retired. He’s not ready to go. He doesn’t even know his own origin story. This is a beautiful story, highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

I’ve been dabbling in a lot of books this week. Making slow progress, but not quite going all in on anything.

 

I finished reading Exit Strategy by Martha Wells,  and I want to give this another read through before I write a review. I feel like I rushed through the first half of it.  Although knowing me, my entire review will be some version of “This is why we shouldn’t build humanoid robots. We’ll keep assuming that since they look sort of human that they want human things, and when it turns out that they don’t want human things, our feewings will get hurwt. But like, we couldn’t have respected their answer when they said ‘don’t want human things, thanks’?”

 

And I’ve been bouncing in and out and around these three titles. If I’m “all in” on anything, it’s definitely the supernatural thriller by Aliette de Bodard.  The end is super intense, I’ve probably got 70 or so pages to go!

Servant of the Underworld by Aliette De Bodard is a supernatural thriller/murder mystery that takes place in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. The investigator of the maybe-murder is the Priest for the Dead, and the accused murderer is the priest’s brother. There’s all sorts of dirty politics and infidelity and secret children and judgy parents and oh, the Aztec gods are real. You can talk to them, and they’ll tell you what they require as sacrifice and/or worship. and then they might kill you. I like stories where the gods are real. intense stuff!  You like de Bodard’s Xuya stories right?  you’ll like this!

 

the weirdly titled The History of Soul 2065 is a mosaic novel by Barbara Krasnoff, available later this spring.  As soon as I saw that “Sabbath Wine” was in the table of contents, I knew I had to read it, cry for an hour, and then keep reading.  These interlinked stories follow two families across generations and continents.  I’m not far into the book yet, but I can already see how their family trees intertwine.  I like mosaic novels.  I may do a dramatic reading of “Sabbath Wine” while I’m seeing my family for Passover this coming weekend. If you hearing sobbing coming from Maryland, that’s my fault.

 

If any of these get DNFd it’s mostly likely going to be Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovksy. I LOVE the concept of this post apocalyptic novel – the end came, so everyone hid in the subway stations of Moscow, and somehow survived on pigs and mushrooms.  many of the subway tunnels are haunted, different political groups have taken over different stations, gun cartridges are money, people will do anything to survive.  The concept is compelling, the execution is . . . pretty boring actually. I don’t know if it is an artifact of the translation, or if this is the style of the writer, but I am skimming the text a lot because it is so repetitive.

 

What are you reading this week?

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.

 

 

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?

I’ve read most of these!!

 

Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear (1999) –  genetics, evolution, mob mentalities, retroviruses, ethnoarchaeology,  peer review gatekeepers, SCIENCE!  and the world’s scariest meditation on the fears shared by most first-time parents.  that scene near the end, with Kate’s baby girl? I STILL get shivers thinking about it! (Don’t worry, the baby’s just fine. nothing happens to the baby) I have the sequel, Darwin’s Children, i vaguely remember being disappointed by it?

 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2014) – people seem to either love this book, or find it boring and bland.  I loved it. I like books that aren’t told in chronological order, i liked the weird slow pace that didn’t seem slow at all. If you read this and liked it, why did you like it? If you read this and didn’t like it, what didn’t you like about it?

 

The Narrator by Michael Cisco (2010) – this was part of one of those humble bundle e-book bundles. a few pages into this book and I ordered a print copy.  This book is weird AF, but the language is gorgeous. And it’s dense and heavy and dreamy. Sort of Catherynne Valente / Viriconium / Book of the New Sun? sort of? I really liked it!

 

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (2018) I am SO TORN on this book! I love Yoon Ha Lee’s adult fiction, like, you probably shouldn’t get me talking about Machineries of Empire because I will not shut up about it, and I have a copy of Lee’s short story collection but I’m saving it for a rainy day (or maybe a celebratory day?), and Revanant Gun is on the Hugo Ballot. . .  and Dragon Pearl wasn’t really anything special.  It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t anything special. It’s also for eight year olds, so in a few years my niece will be old enough to have my copy.

 

Glitter and Mayhem, edited by John Klima, Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damien Thomas (2013) – says the back cover copy “Welcome to Glitter & Mayhem, the most glamorous party in the multiverse.” I haven’t read anything in this anthology, the whole thing just looks so . . .  weird? and hyper? and extroverted? It’s got a decent table of contents, fiction by Daryl Gregory, Rachel Swirsky, Maurice Broaddus,  Amal El-Mohtar, Tim Pratt, etc.

 

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?

 

woah, sorry for the garbage photo!  not sure what crappy setting my phone was on!

 

Immortal Clay by Michael Warren Lucas (2014) – Remember the movie John Carpenter’s The Thing? or one of the million tie-in novels or comic books, or even the original story that movie was based on, Who Goes There by John Campbell?  This creepy but super fun novel asks the question  What if the “thing” had won?

 

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson (2018) – I DNF’d this one, don’t remember why. Someone convince me to give it another try (or not?)

 

Contact by Carl Sagan (1985) – I frikken love this book.  Loved the movie too, even though they changed a lot of stuff.   This poor well loved paperback is nearly falling apart!  I think this is going to be my next comfort read.

 

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson (1977) – I remember liking this book, but I don’t remember what it’s about.

 

The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne  (2017) –   These cozy mystery novels are a)adorable, b)hilarious, c)told from the point of view of a very smart dog, d) did I mention they are hilarious? I think there are three Oberon’s Meaty Mystery novellas floating around these days?  don’t @ me, i like these Oberon cozy mysteries more than I like the Iron Druid novels.

This is a post about pressure.

I haven’t finished any books lately, so I don’t have any book reviews to post. I’ve DNF’d a TON of stuff lately, flipped through a few non-fiction books, been spending time with lots of cookbooks, and the one fiction book I am reading I’m reading slower than I usually would because it’s for a read along and I don’t want to get too far ahead (or behind! Eek!) where my friend is reading. I read for a while before bed, but honestly, the rest of my free time that I’ve had this week I just want to sit in a quiet room and listen to the world.

And I’m not going to blow through a book, or a novella or two, or a graphic novel, or a manga for the sole purpose of kicking out a review.

So, yeah, no book review this week. #sorrynotsorry

but holy shit, the pressure! Am I a book blogger, or what? Aren’t I supposed to be giving you that sweet sweet content that you crave? Aren’t I supposed to post something interesting, be it a discussion post, or a meme, or a book review, or something that will foster conversation and community in the comments, foster conversation and community on the socials, and make my hit counter do something? the pressure!!   the self imposed obligation!

Well pressure, I feel ya. I just don’t got anything for you. Thems the breaks.

 

 

oh, ear worm? You’re welcome.


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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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