the Little Red Reviewer

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Welcome to  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.

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?

 

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

 

 

Secret Life by Jeff Vandermeer (2004) –  I love Vandermeer’s stuff.  It’s weird as hell, doesn’t offer answers, it’s just totally there, being all apologetically weird!  I’m a shitty fan, because I say how much I love his stuff, and I buy his stuff . .   and then it takes me YEARS to read it.  like, maybe i’m hoarding it?  long way of saying I’ve not yet read this short story collection of his.  tbh, i blame the publisher a little. the print in this sucker i like font size negative two. One evening, I started reading a short story near the beginning of the book, and I SWEAR every ten lines or so the print got smaller. I chalked it up to that totally being something that would happen in a Vandermeer.

 

Last Night at the Blue Alice by Mehitobel Wilson (2015)  –  ok, so you go back in time, and successfully change the past. What happens to the future you return to?  That is one of the premises of this pleasant little novella.  It’s her job to change the past, to allow angry ghosts to finally rest in peace.  There’s more going on of course,  I should really reread this!

 

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001) – this book needs no introduction!  I LOVE THIS BOOK! i don’t know how many times I’ve reread this, it gets better every time.  I’ve not see the TV show, it’s on a channel that I don’t have.

 

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (1968) – Not quite a novelization, this novel was written by Clarke with and while Stanley Kubrick was making the movie.   I remember watching this movie with my sister when I was a kid (we had it on VHS, I suppose?), and i was way too young to understand the plot, but I remember loving the outer space stuff, and the Hal stuff, and my sister and I learned the Daisy song.  I could quote Hal’s lines, but I had NO IDEA what he was doing or why. And ladies and gentleman, that is how I got into science fiction when I was 8 year old.

 

Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein (1963) – So, funny story. This book has two really different endings, and I didn’t know there were two different endings.  I have a fond feeling for this book, and i was talking to someone about it, and I couldn’t understand why she was so angry about this book. When she angrily said “at the end! such and such happens!!!”, and I remember thinking to myself “did I read an entirely different book?  i don’t remember that at all???”.    I won’t tell you what the endings are, you can easily look up the book on Wikipedia and find out the two endings.

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Welcome to  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.

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?

 

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

Willful Child by Steven Erikson (2014) –  think Zapp Brannigan meets South Park meets Galaxy Quest meets The Orville, rolled up into a love letter to Star Trek the original series. Also? this book is over the top HILARIOUS.  You know, 2020 is an election year, and you’re gonna want some fun reads that take you away from it all.   Luckily Erikson wrote more in this series, the next two books are The Wrath of Betty and The Search for Spark. (I am assuming the fourth book will involve going back in time and saving whales)

 

King Maker by Maurice Broaddus (2010) – a thoroughly modern retelling of King Arthur mythology, this is for you if you enjoy gritty urban fantasy.  There are three or four books in this series, the first book can be read as a stand alone but does include a lot of character and plot set up for later events. The writing is a little uneven, this book was touch and go for me.

 

Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (2016) – there are 5 novellas in this series so far, I’ve read the first three and enjoyed them.    In the World of the Five Gods,  demons ride within the body of Learned Masters. Except in  Penric’s case, where he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and suddenly found himself becoming a vessel for an ancient demon named Desdemona. Des’s anger is no match for Pen’s compassion and curiosity.  They become friends.  Demon’s aren’t supposed to be friends with anyone!!  If you like light, quiet fantasy, this is the series for you.

 

With A Little Help by Cory Doctorow (2010) – I’ve been following Doctorow’s career for years now (and I remember reading the end of Little Brother at work, and sitting at my desk crying). He describes this collection of previously published short fiction as his “first serious experiment in self-publishing”. If you’re interested in short fiction from early in Doctorow’s career, this is the book for you.

 

Something More than Night by Ian Tregillis (2013) – I really enjoyed Tregillis’s Milkweek Triptych, so i don’t know why I still haven’t read this stand alone of his?  Anyone read this? what did you think of it?

After missing a week, Five for Friday makes a triumphant return!

Also, I got my garden in, FINALLY!  mint, basil, green onions, parsley, chives, lavender, and petunias.

 

Welcome to  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. .  .

Throne of the Crescent Moon  by Saladin Ahmed (2012) – oh, you thought Saladin Ahmed only wrote your favorite comics, like Spiderman, Black Bolt, and Exiles?  This fun fantasy adventure novel was Ahmed’s debut novel, and it’s a fun read!  I don’t remember the details, but I remember it had a sort of Indiana Jones feel and great characters.

 

Blood of Elves (Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowksi (2018) – which came first, the video game or the books? I think the books?   I’ve not read any of these Witcher books, and my experience with the game is half-paying attention while my husband plays the game.   But these look fun.  Anyone read these? are they good?

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind by Steven Spielberg (1977) –  first of all, I am an absolute sucker for movie novelizations, especially of movies I love, and i love this movie so much!  And second of all, this novelization was written by Spielberg and an author named Leslie Waller, and I’m betting the writing was 90% Waller. But his name isn’t on here, at all!!!    and third of all,  you will be sorely disappointed that this novelization does not come with a sound chip that has the famous musical notes at the end.

 

We Who Are About To . . . by Joanna Russ (1977) –  there is an accident in space, and the survival pod carrying a collection of random people makes it safely to the surface of a planet.  But no one knows they are  on the planet, no one knows they are alive! What now?? Some survivors have the romanticized philosophy that this is just another frontier to tame and that they can survive until rescue arrives. The main character doesn’t believe that long term survival with the scant resources they have is possible.  It was an interesting read. if you don’t want the plot spoiled, do NOT go to the wikipedia page! Also, I don’t understand this cover art, at all.

 

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis (1938) – I’ve only read Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and I had no idea until recently that he had ever written science fiction. Has anyone read this? is it good?

On a lark, I picked up China Mieville’s Embassytown to reread.  I read this back when it came out in 2011, and it blew my mind. (I even wrote a pretty good review!) I remember being intimidated by the vocabulary, of having dictionary.com open while I was reading. I remember that at the time I wondered if half the words were made up, or if Mieville was trying to prove that he was smart and I was dumb.  I was the girl who read what was given to her.  Maybe Mieville was just telling me to pick up a damn dictionary already.

 

On this reread, pen in hand, I decided to underline every word I didn’t know.  I underlined maybe five words? All of which I could figure out contextually. That girl, the one who got all defensive because she ran into words she didn’t know? Eight years later that girl is a stranger to me.  These days, words I don’t know are like eating a fruit i’ve never had, or a dessert i’ve never heard of, or gaining access to the rare book room at the library. They are a joy.

 

Speaking of weird words I don’t know Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun tasted like mochi and illuminated manuscripts .  To put that in context, the first time I tasted Mochi I cried with joy.

(Words you don’t know is like rehearsing with a jam band. You want to be the worst musician in the room, because that guarantees you’ll learn from the other musicians. Being the best musician in a jam band is boring – you risk not becoming a better musician)

 

I can’t talk about Embassytown without talking about language, and how spoken communication is both more and less about the actual words that come out of our mouths.  My fave subgenre of scifi is books that deal with language, linguistics, first contact, communication. I hate the word “communication”, it is such a bland, cheap sounding word for something that encompasses basically everything.

 

This post  has minor and major spoilers for Embassytown. Consider yourself warned.  But like any Mieville book, i can tell you what happens at the end, and it won’t spoil any of the good parts of the book for you.

 

In the book Embassytown, the aliens, the Ariekei, speak with two mouths, two voices at once.  If what they are saying is two syllables, they say both syllables at the same time. The way this is presented within in the text fantastic, it looks something like this:

 

 

It takes two humans, speaking at the same time, to speak in Language that the aliens will understand.   One human talking just sounds like white noise to them. They hear sound (maybe?) but the sounds are just noise.

(spoilers, and hella cool conversation on language ahead!)

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to  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, a whole ton of stuff I haven’t read!  but a lot of stuff that I’m excited to read!

 

Exhalation by Ted Chiang (2019) – this is his newest short story collection. I’m not sure if everything in this volume has been printed elsewhere before, but I did recognize a few titles in the table of contents. the timing is uncanny,  a reread of his novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects has been itching the back of my mind for a few months now. . . and guess what is in this collection! I finished Lifecycle last night, it was even better than I remembered it. This book is my local book clubs book for this month.

 

The Gossamer Mage by Julie Czerneda (2019) – this book comes out later this summer, and HOLY COW would you look at that gorgeous artwork!!!!  like, i want a poster of that on my wall!  Also, the book look freakin’ awesome. lots of scriving type magic, forbidden stuff, maybe something about killing a god?  I can not wait to start reading this!!

 

The Wolf’s Call by Anthony Ryan (2019) – unsolicited ARC, this doesn’t seem like a book for me.  It looks like something my husband would like, so he’s gonna give it a try, and let me know what he thinks, and from his opinion I’ll see if it is something i want to try.   Anyone read this author? what do you think of his work?

 

I barcon’d at StokerCon in Grand Rapids Michigan last week, and snuck into their dealer room (the dealer room was 90% BOOKS by the way, which is what a con dealer room should be!!), and picked up these titles:

 

The Garden of Eldritch Delights by Lucy Snyder (2018) – this collection of short stories seems hella cool, I’ve been loving short stories lately, and how am I supposed to say no to something with a title like this? I’m not.

 

Indelible Ink by Matt Betts (2015) – I really did mean to buy this book a few years ago when it came out,  it’s got a criminal underground, a young magician, sorcery out of control, sisters who protect each other – sounds like a “shut up and take my money” kind of book!  this book is super high on my priority list!

 

Welcome to  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?

Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko (2006) – I read this years ago and remember  enjoying it. It’s an urban fantasy, with a secret uneasy peace between the light and the dark, both sides of which contain vampires, shapeshifters, and magicians.

 

Robots: The Recent AI edited by Rich Horton and Sean Williams (2012) – This came out 7 years ago, so i guess it isn’t recent anymore.  Cat Valente’s “Silently and Very Fast” was in this anthology. that alone is worth the cost of admission. I’m sure the antho has other good stuff too, but that’s the only story I remember, I liked it so much I bought a limited edition from Sub Press as a gift to myself.

 

Anathem by Neal Stephenson (2009) – so, I’m a terrible Stephenson “fan”.  Some of his stuff I really like, but man, I can not ever see myself picking up this 1000 page (yes! 1008 pages!) behemoth.  WHY does a book EVER need to be this long???  this thing is going in the donate pile. not sure why i ever bought it.

 

Making Money by Terry Pratchett (2014) – I’m also a jerk because I haven’t read this yet! how can someone own a Pratchett and not have read it???  protip: if you like crying, read the Tiffany Aching books,  i think they start with Wee Free Men?

 

Dreamsongs volume 1 by George R R Martin (2007) – oh, you love Game of Thrones? oh, you find Game of Thrones really annoying?  GOT is NOTHING compared to what Martin wrote earlier in his career.  you want a reason to buy a 1000 page book? This collection is that reason.  bone chilling horror, far future scifi, bits and pieces of behind the scenes. “The Pear Shaped Man” STILL gives me nightmares!! and “Sandkings”? holy shit!! There’s a Vol 2 as well.  these are worth every penny!!

Welcome to  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, lots of stuff this week that I haven’t read!

 

Heavy Time by C.J. Cherryh (1991) – I’ve not read this, but it came highly recommended for readers who didn’t know where to start with Cherryh. I bought this like 5 years ago and haven’t picked it up.   Should i read it?

 

Aliens Among Us edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozios (2000) – this is a fun, goofy little anthology.  Every so often I pick it up and just read one or two short stories, and then put it down.  (and somehow, every time i put it down, I lose it??  this house is not that big!!) Everything I’ve read in it has been enjoyable.

 

Los Nefilim by Teresa Frohock (2016), the one book in this grouping that I’ve read! And DAMN did I love this book!!  paranormal, intrigue, politics, parents who just want to keep their kid safe, family secrets, synesthesia.  I LOVED IT!!!!!  if you’re looking for something unusual but approachable, this is for you!

 

The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold (1973) – I’ve not read this, and don’t know anything about except that it’s a time travel story. And I like time travel!  Appears to be novella length, so could  be a fun quick read for Vintage month.

 

Dinner at Deviant’s Palace (1985)  – I love Power’s older stuff!  This book was written at around the same time as Anubis Gates, so I think I’ll like it. Just haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet. . . guess I better read Gerrold so I can learn how to build a time machine.

 

Not interested in discussing these particular books, but want something to talk about in the comments?  here you go:

If you had a time machine, what would you use it for?


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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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