the Little Red Reviewer

I still have a few unread Kage Baker short stories, and I’m going to leave them unread for the time being.  I want there to still be some uncovered gems for me to find, in the future.

so I’m reading some other stuff!

it’s strange, I’m reading two fiction books at the same time right now, and they are SO drastically different. they’re both fantastic, but wow, I couldn’t have picked two books that were more different if I tried!

I’m reading Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and this book is so cute! Like, I know it wasn’t supposed to be a meet-cute book, it’s supposed to be a heroine’s journey through Mayan mythology book, but It. Is. Adorable. and I kinda need adorable right now?  The premise is that Casiopea starts in a sort of Cinderella situation. She’s living with family who treats her like garbage because the family didn’t approve of her father. They treat her like a servant, a male cousin treats her really, really poorly.  While the family is out one day, Casiopea opens the strange trunk in her father’s bedroom. And who is imprisoned inside the trunk? Hun-Kame, the Lord of Xibalba.  He was imprisoned by his brother, Vucub-Kame, who wanted to rule Xibalba.

 

is it terrible, that my only knowledge thus far, of Xibalba, comes from the movie The Road to El Dorado?  Yes, that is terrible.

I’m about half way through Gods of Jade and Shadow, and like I said, this book is so adorable.  It’s easy to read,  fun, perfectly paced, and the Mayan Gods are powerful, otherworldly, and yet constrained by the limitations built into their personas. Y’all know I love a story where a god is limited by their own myth, that because they are trapped in a specific myth, they have no free will. Also? Hun-Kame has no idea, whatsoever, how to talk to girls, and his conversations with Casiopea are adorable and often hilarious.  If you are looking for a fantasy adventure set in 1920’s Mexico, something easy on the eyes, and super fun to read, this is a book for you.

 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that takes a lot of energy to read, is #AllTheFeels #AllTheIntruigue , #AllTheHolyShitWHAT , bucket of political theory and a smidge of gruesome,  allow me to introduce you to Seth Dickson’s Masquerade trilogy (at least, I think it will only be 3 books, but who knows).  This is that book, where the young accountant Baru Cormorant crashes the economy because she can,  draws traitors and revolutionaries out because she can,  and executes the woman she loves because reasons.  These books read like the cruelest game of world politics ever played.  they are relentlessly brutal, and I can’t stop reading them!!

 

I was lucky enough to get an eArc of the third book in the series, The Tyrant Baru Cormorant (comes out in August, I think?), and my eyeballs don’t do well with e-books (oh hai, tension headache!), so I’m only reading it for short bursts, but holy shit is this book good.  it is heavy, and it is beautiful, the prose is gorgeous, and the characterization is even better, and I want to save everyone.  and omfg, the C!  I really like how this series made me look at colonialism and imperialism.  These aren’t message books, there is no preachiness, these books are just people trying to live their lives and minimize the compromises they have to make to survive after the colonizers show up. This series isn’t for everyone, but I really, really, fucking love it.  it isn’t grim, but it is brutal.  Did you read Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy?  remember the brutal brainwashing (but it’s for the good of our survival!), think that, but times infinity.

 

one of the ways I’m getting through all this current stuff that we are all going through together, is by watching what feels like eight billion hours of Netflix.  seriously, Netflix could double their price and I’d still be ripping them off.

 

A co-worker recommended the Netflix reality show The Circle, so I gave it a try.

I’m not usually a reality TV watcher, but and I am addicted to The Circle!

Yes, this show sounds totally stupid, and it is totally stupid, but stupid TV is a balm. don’t judge me.

And? the episodes are about 55 minutes, which means I can get an excellent work out in on our exercise bike while I’m watching an episode.

ok, so the premise:

8 people move into their own apartments in what I’m calling “the circle apartment building”. They are quite nice, fully furnished one bedroom apartments.  The players each set up a profile, with 1-2 photos of themselves, and a short bio.

 

Some people are here to make friends,  some people are here to flirt with everyone. Everyone is here to win.

 

the players can ONLY communicate through chat rooms and private chats with each other.  This is their only way to get to know each other.  It’s like very limited facebook feed, I guess?   They secretly rate the other players,  and the top two rated people become the Influencers,  and it is the two Influencers who decide who gets voted off the island.

 

In chats, if you focus your attention two much on just a few people,  and none of those people become the Influencers, you risk that the Influencers haven’t had a chance to bond with you, and you’ll get Blocked (sent home).

 

If you are an influencer, and you get rid of someone everyone else really liked, you risk that you will get blocked next time.

 

The winner gets a ton of money

 

twists:

everytime someone gets voted off the island, a new player joins The Circle. New players usually get to spy on what’s going on before everyone else gets to meet them over chat.

 

Nearly everyone is totally trying to manipulate everyone else.

 

the fact that everyone is stuck in their apartments, with occasional solo trips to the rooftop garden, feels like something I can totally relate to right now!

 

a whole buncha these peeps are catfishing everyone else.  and it is WILD to watch them totally out of their league.   they all keep guessing, so far, incorrectly who the catfish is.  I’m wondering if we’ll get to the end, and all the remaining players will be catfishes?

 

I’m on episode 6, and having a blast.  We recently found out about Sammie’s family,  I nearly cried along with Joey when he saw that video prize, I died laughing with Seaburn didn’t know how to respond in GirlChat with Sean,  and I am #TeamShooby all the way.

 

The first episode of The Circle went out of the way to make every player look like a self centered asshole,  I appreciated that as the show went on,  people got to be more of themselves.  I don’t feel like anyone is an asshole now.

 

I like how real some of these people are being, with complete strangers.  Even the catfishes, in private they are genuine.  I don’t think anyone wants to deliberately hurt anyone else’s feelings. And most people are saying really honest things in the chat, things that make them vulnerable.

 

It’s like having that wall,  knowing the only things other people will ever know about you is the specific things you choose to tell them,  that you can be chatty in a chatroom or not . . .  it almost become armor. Almost becomes protection against pain or embarrassment.    (and I get it. there are things I say on this blog and other public places on the internet that I would never say to the people who are closest to me. it’s weird, right?)

 

and since people feel safer, they feel like they have a buffer/some armor, they are more likely to show their vulnerable side?  Even when they planned to come on this show to be a manipulator.

 

but it’s also like – what would you do win all that money? What wouldn’t you do?

 

I’m really enjoying this stupid show.   I feel like a shit,  because back in the day when reality shows were super new, and the only ones going were Survivor and The Bachelorette, I made fun of people who watched those, because i thought the shows were stupid, and if you watched them, you must be stupid too.

 

hey peeps who I was an asshole to about reality TV when I was 25 years old, I know this apology is 15 years too late, but I’m sorry I was judgy to you about TV shows you enjoyed.  Because I get it now.

 

 

 

Friends, I have the best possible #firstworldproblem.

 

I got to read TWO Kage Baker collections, at the same time!    In the Company of Thieves, is all (you guessed it) Company stories,  and The Best of Kage Baker is a mish mash of all sorts of wonderfulness.  In fact, I am still working my way through The Best of Kage Baker,  savoring it bit by bit.  The Best of, so far seems to be about half Company stories, and half other stuff.

And eeeee!!!  The Best of Kage Baker has illustrations!!!

 

Here’s some thoughts on what I’ve read so far:

 

The Carpet Beds of Sutro Park – I have such a soft spot for this story.  It’s a very quiet story, it’s a slow burn.  Ezra doesn’t have lofty goals, and neither do it.  His reason, tho, is pretty tragic.  He does right by Kristy Ann, and it’s probably a good thing that he never tells anyone,  as I don’t think they’d understand his loving intentions.

 

Hollywood Ikons – Religious paintings that can fry your brain because they were painted using secret mathematical formulas possessed by Imhotep? And Joseph was Imhotep?  If Tim Powers wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark and made it a buddy comedy involving manuscript preservation, cro-magnons, and Hollywood landmarks, you might get something close to Hollywood Ikons.  This story pushed all my buttons in the best possible way!   Also, note to self: if doing a google search on what the heck Joseph is talking about, search “Byzantine ikonography”, instead of “ikon”.  “Ikon” brings up pages upon pages of a K-pop boy band.

 

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s –  I know I’m supposed to like stories like this.  Steampunk!  Gadgets!  Women who have fallen on hard times and now make the best of things by becoming paramours who are also spies and potential blackmailers!  Flouncy dresses!  And I know this story won about a million awards for being steampunk! Gadgets! Company! Funny sexy stuff!   But the funny sexy scenes didn’t do much for me,  and tbh I have always struggled with steampunk.  If it’s your thing, you will love this story.  But I’m sorry, I’m meh on Nell Gwynne’s.  Can’t a woman be of service to the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society without, well, servicing the gentlemen? We can provide people with miniature cameras, buttons that dissolve into sleeping pills, and internal combustion engines, but we can’t devise a way for a “fallen woman” to make a living without selling her body?  I’ll shut up now.

 

Noble Mold –  Joseph pretending he’s a priest and Mendoza doing a bad job pretending that she doesn’t want to kill him? Of course I loved this story!!  Joseph has this long game point of view that I appreciate. (ugh, i guess that’s called wisdom? or something?)  Mendoza is on the hunt for a particular plant, and the family who owns the property is very, very reluctant to let her dig it up.  There’s a 60 year old secret here.   Joseph has to protect his own secret,  the family’s secret, and yet somehow still get that plant dug up!  Luckily,  he’s really good at creating miracles.  After all, he’s the guy who played Imhotep!  Noble Mold is freakin’ fantastic.

 

Old Flat Top – wait, is this Budu, who I love?  Nope, but it is someone who worked with Budu!  And his job to sit at the top of the mountain, and keep the early humans who live in the valley below from killing each other.  He’ll pretent he’s a god, if that’s what it takes to make sure these idiots don’t kill each other.  And every so often, a brave youth climbs the mountain, in search of the god of the mountain.  Man, I could read a million stories of the Enforcers.  These guys!  Life is pretty simple for them, their values are very black and white, their job is to protect and make sure early humans survive.  I like how the Enforcers make everyone else think more about everything.  Especially since the Enforcers don’t really care about making people think,  which makes watching their interactions even more fascinating for me!

 

Hanuman – I was laughing my head off reading this story.  Why, you ask?   Because this guy, Hanuman, is hitting on Mendoza, and he thinks he has a chance with her!  She gives him the time of day, because she’s recovering from an injury and she doesn’t have anything else to do, and she’s polite and he’s inoffensive.  Could it be?  Could Mendoza be making a new friend?  I was so happy that she was having a nice time, and maybe making a new friend!!! Is she going to let someone in?   And then.  Well, that sure made me stop laughing, and I feel a bit of an ass for laughing at the beginning and wondering if this was the start of a beautiful friendship between Hanuman and Mendoza.   After all that, if I was Mendoza I’d stomp off into the forest and not talk to anyone for another 200 years.  And people wonder why she has trust issues!

 

Maelstrom – another one where I laughed and laughed and laughed! And finally, a funny story that actually has a happy ending!  On Mars, Mr. Morton has built the Edgar Allan Poe Center for the Performing Arts.  What follows is a laugh out loud, raucous, joyous,  Muppet Show-esque comedy of errors, complete with nervous directors,  terrible actors, even worse understudies, and Martians with hearts of gold.  I adore Alf so much!  And I love Baker’s Mars – a family of misfits, eccentrics, dreamers, and adventurers.  Maelstrom was exactly what I needed. I hope as I get further into The Best of Kage Baker,  that I get to hangout some more with these characters.

 

Stay tuned, for more Kage Baker!

 

or whatever book I pick up next!

I ordered some new books!    and they arrived way quicker than I expected!

 

These were all ordered from Bookshop.org.  The site doesn’t have the biggest selection I’ve ever seen,  BUT?  they share profits with local independent bookstores!  I got some brand new beautiful books, AND my local bookstore shared in the profit!

 

And? these books showed up about a week quicker than I expected!

 

I got The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes because my friend John recommended it as a great time travel read, and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Beukes,  Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik because I’ve been reading to read it forever,  and Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia because everything about this book looks hella cool.

 

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think of them?

 

are you familiar with Bookshop.org?   If you’ve not perused their site, I highly recommend!

 

 

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Good news everybody!

 

Good news everybody!

If you’ve been seeing my posts and thinking to yourself “jeez, when is she gonna shut up about this Company series, I don’t even know where to freakin’ start with these damn books”,  you can start with The Empress of Mars!

 

ok, so I KNOW all the suggested reading orders put Empress of Mars near the end of the series, but you should read it near the beginning!!!

– It functions perfectly as a stand alone. Never read a Kage Baker before? start with Empress of Mars!

– omg it is HILARIOUS,  like Anvil of the World hilarious.  the bad translator scene? I was laughing so hard I drooled on myself.

– If you recognize some characters from elsewhere in the series, that’s ok, and if you don’t, that’s ok too.  the book isn’t about those people anyway.

Also? It’s kinda better if you read The Empress of Mars before you know about some end of series stuff that happens.  I wish I’d read it before I knew all that other stuff.

The Empress of Mars is a gift that gives twice – it was originally a novella, AND then it got expanded  into a novel!  I’ve not read the novella, so I don’t know what parts of the book it was.

What the heck is this book about?

Mary Griffith went to Mars for adventure!  She went For Science!

And when the British Arean Company decided they didn’t her discoveries anymore, they fired her. With no income, she had no way to purchase tickets home for her family.  So Mary opened  a bar.  The very first bar on Mars, as a matter of fact.  A friendly stop for ice haulers,  a save haven for a Heretic,  a place where everyone ends up.  Mary’s bar,  The Empress of Mars, is where you go for news and gossip, local brew and decent food.  And when it’s literally the only bar in town . . .

(I really did want Brick and the Heretic to have a happy ever after, didn’t you?)

The Empress of Mars has electronic bees,  crazy truckers,  idiot bureaucrats, kind fiancees, gamblers and con-artists,  two gentlemen who you just might recognize,  tips for starting a business on Mars, and one very large, very perfect diamond.  It’s and old fashioned western frontier town adventure story, on Mars.

It’s a fun feel good book and a fast read.

I wish I’d read it earlier in the series.

The only crime the Empress of Mars ever committed was being read immediately after I read The Sons of Heaven,  and really any book would have been a let down after reading that.

Also? now I’m reading the next book (the last novel? I think?) in the series, Not Less Than Gods.  It’s all about Edward, who I still think is a total asshole for all the shit he pulled in the Sons of Heaven. I am not excited about reading a book that is entirely about him.

What can I say about Not Less than Gods, since I’m about 100 pages in?  The writing is glorious, the side-characters are a hoot, I love the cover art.  Edward is an asshole.

Remember I said I wanted all my favorite characters, all in the same place,  but I didn’t think this could ever happen because I was afraid we’d never see Lewis again?

 

Also, I probably wouldn’t be able to handle the emotions of having everyone together, because OMG these characters!  And dude. Have you met me? I might be all tough and crusty on the outside, but I’m a squishy ball of squishy cry-y emotions on the inside.

 

In The Sons of Heaven, the year 2355 has arrived, and everyone is here for it.  Everyone needs to know what happens, and everyone believes their side will win.

 

The Sons of Heaven is my Avengers:Endgame.

 

I was not ready.

 

With minimal spoilers,  here are my thoughts as I progressed through the book.

 

  1.  This title seems kind of arrogant?
  2. LEWIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
  3. Awww,  Latif, you sure had a glow up!
  4. What exactly has happened to Nicholas and Alec?
  5. Edward is kind of a dick.
  6. Wait, WHO is having a baby???  How is this going to work, actually?
  7. I need a novel that is all Budu all the time.  He’s being a good dad to Joseph.
  8. Uhh. .  should we tell Bugleg who he’s genetically related to?  Can you imagine if 23andMe existed in this world?
  9. Parenthood really does change you.
  10. LEWIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. Edward being even more of a Victorian dick.  Why are you being such an asshole?
  12. For the first time in a long time, Joseph knows exactly what he’s doing and why.
  13. Bwahaha,  tweens and their hormones!
  14. HELLO NICHOLAS.  So, how’s this gonna work?  Actually, who cares! I’m good with it!
  15. Victor,  what are you planning?
  16. Hearst? To be honest I’m pretty meh about him.
  17. I’m sorry Ancilla, but David never really loved you.
  18. Does the Captain have another ace up his sleeve? Kinda thought he might?
  19. Victor!!!!
  20. The title.  It makes sense. It’s still arrogant AF, but it makes sense now.
  21. July 9th, 2355.  The silence has fallen.
  22. If it hadn’t been for the power of story, Tiara wouldn’t have known who the tall man was. It’s a good thing someone told her all those stories. It’s a good thing someone wrote all those stories!
  23. This ending is not what I expected but I love everything about it, I’m going to go cry now.
  24. There is a Doctor Who quote I want to say, but it is a HUGE spoiler so I’ll keep it to myself.
  25. I love this series, I love Mendoza, I love Nicholas, I love Joseph, I love Lewis.

 

That’s it,  that’s the not-review  of The Sons of Heaven.

 

I’ve been avoiding reading this book for ten years, because I thought if i knew how the series ended, that I wouldn’t have any reason to revisit it. I worried that knowing the ending would wreck the journey for me.  (you guys KNOW how I struggle with endings!!!)

 

But? I’m good.  I’m way more OK than I expected.   Might have to read the end of The Sons of Heaven again, because it was that damn good.  And I’ve still got The Empress of Mars, Not Less than Gods, and two short story collections to read.  So yeah, I know how the main plot line ends (or oh shit, is there more??), but I’ve got more journey and more story to read.  I get to explore more nooks and crannies of the world.

 

Oh yeah, and I tried to make butter.

 

We’re in the home stretch now!  Yes, I’m talking about Kage Baker’s Company series, a series that spans all (literally, all) of human history,  a story of romance, star crossed lovers, betrayal, immortality, the best of intentions, the longest game in the history of ever, some of the best historical fiction you’ll ever read, black humor and sarcasm, and of course, time travel.

 

the most unbreakable rule of time travel being that recorded history can not be changed.

but what about those idyllic afternoons where no one wrote down what happened?

and what the person writing the stuff down, what if they, um, missed some stuff?

if the future is known, because the Temporal Concordance has all of recorded history, what does that do to Mendoza’s free will?

Doesn’t that sound like the most fascinating thing ever?    The Company books are my ideal binge read.  I’m stuck at home for a while, so I’m reading comfort books, stuff that will keep my attention, stuff I really want to read.

ok, so there is plenty of discussion on the proper reader order for this series.   Do you read it in publishing order? Do you read the main Mendoza and Joseph novels first and then go back and read the  novellas short stories later? As time travel ramps up, and things become wibbly wobbly timey wimey, it stops making sense to read these in any kind of chronological order.   I’m using the reading order list from Goodreads.  I’m missing some of the novellas in the middle, but hey, I’ll be rereading this series and/or dipping my toes in again in the future, so there’s plenty of opportunity to pick up those missing books.

 

I’ve been blogging my way through the series.  these aren’t book reviews, they are old fashioned blog entries, where I’m talking about what I’m reading, what else I’m up to, what I’m watching on TV (lots of Star Trek: Discovery), what I’m making for dinner (lots of home made bread), how I’m doing (it’s very quiet outside), etc.

 

Here’s the posts that have gone up so far, and the titles I’ve talked about:

 

It is sorta like Outlander meets Twilight, minus the WerewolvesIn the Garden of Iden #1 and Sky Coyote (#2)

One non-sequiter after anotherSky Coyote #2

Books to Escape IntoMendoza in Hollywood #3

Who is Writing this Story, Anyway?The Graveyard Game #4 and The Life of the World to Come #5

The Children of the CompanyThe Children of the Company #6

Whiskey and Book Club Ep 1The Machine’s Child #7,

 

I have finished Gods and Pawns #7.5, and Rude Mechanicals #7.75.  Both of those books are short stories that were published  in Asimov’s and other magazines, and give a lot of background on characters, and show some other adventures.  In my opinion, about half of Gods and Pawns is required for the big picture, and tbh you could skip the other half and skip Rude Mechanicals and be OK.  are all of these stories enjoyable and beautiful written and full of snark and humor?  hell yeah they are!  If you missed them (like, if you couldn’t find a copy of the book), will you still be able to follow the main story? Abso-freaking-lutely.

I really loved the first story in Gods and Pawns, where Mendoza and Lewis spend a week in ancient Central America. Mendoza is, of course, obsessed with figuring out the super compost, and Lewis is mistaken for a God’s servant.  You know how it’s easy to assume that ancient peoples weren’t as smart as we are today, because they don’t have steam engines and computers and airplanes and ipads?  This story turns that theory on it’s head.  the family that Mendoza and Lewis meet,  these people know exactly what they’re doing, they know why and how to do it, and most importantly they know how to spin science as religion/magic.

The Kalugin story was hard to read. He’s talking about a global plague. I nearly put the book down, didn’t finish it, and just went right to the next novel. I don’t want to read anything about sickness right now.

Rude Mechanicals was (please don’t kill me) just okay.  Was it fun? absolutely. Will I do just about anything to hang out with Joseph and Lewis? omg hell yes!  Believe it or not, I think Rude Mechanicals was the first Company anything I ever read, way back when.  I had no idea what the hell was going on, but I knew whatever this was, I liked it, and I wanted more.  I think my beef with Rude Mechanicals is that I’m getting itchy for “what happens next”, and while this super fun romp through 1930s Hollywood is very fun, it doesn’t move the story forward.   In a few years, when I want to dip my toes into this series, without getting sucked into the main story line, Rude Mechanicals will probably be the perfect novella to read!

Which brings us to The Sons of Heaven.  I’m nearly half way through The Sons of Heaven and holy shit is there buckets upon buckets of fuckupery happening in this book!  just some absolutely trippy shit.   Aside from that,  this novel is exactly the dessert buffet I’d been wishing for – it’s all my favorite characters, together at last.  And Lewis!   He’s like the  Neville Longbottom of the series.  He’s meek, he’s quiet,  but he’s going to save everyone, isn’t he?

At this point in the game (and we’re getting pretty close to end game), nearly all the factions are spying on each other,  the mortals of the 24th century mistakenly think they run the place,  and no one is asking the important question of “where the hell is Mendoza and Alec?”.  I also want to know – the story line with Lewis and Tiara, when exactly is this taking place?

Hard to talk about much else without giving away epic spoilers!

 

 

I got to be on the first episode of Whiskey and Book Club!     Click the link for the video!

 

this club is exactly what you’d think – two friends hop onto a Zoom call,  talk about books, and drink whiskey (or whatever they feel like drinking).    H.P. and I had so much fun that we lost track of time as we chatted about Scott Reardon, Connie Willis, Kage Baker, Scott Reardon, Yuval Levin, Cormac McCarthy, Andrzej Sapkowski, Robert Jordan, and a ton of other great writers and their books.

 

if you’ve got books you’d like to talk about,  and just wanna chit chat over Zoom for an hour, reach out to H.P. to be a guest.  Whiskey not required!

 

 

 

Other stuff that’s been happening:

Passover cooking marathon starts in about an hour.

Yes, I finished The Children of the Company,  yes I cried at the end of Kalugin’s story.

Zipped through The Machine’s Child, where the story FINALLY (omg FINALLY) gets back to Mendoza, Nicholas/etc, Joseph, and Budu.  my scribbled notes include:

The supermarket scene, omg so funny!

Joseph and Budu #AllTheFeels

Mendoza and Nicholas can’t keep their hands off of each other and it is the cutest and I love them so much! #AllTheHearts

Jumping back and forth between the short story novels (fix up novels) to the full length  novels and getting spend time with so many of my favorite characters is like a buffet of my favorite desserts. If I’m reading about Joseph it means I’m not reading about Mendoza. If I’m reading about Lewis it means I’m not reading about Kalugin.  it’s like if I’m eating cheesecake that means that bite doesn’t have truffles, and if I’m eating creme brulee it means I’m not eating cake.  Is there such a thing as a turducken of desserts?  how about the Kage Baker version of EndGame where all my fave characters are ALL THERE ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

oh shit. Kalugin. And I still don’t know where Lewis is. they can’t all be there at the same time.  *cries*

 

Have I already started reading Gods and Pawns?  of course I have!   Did I squee when I realized the first story is about Lewis and I get to hang out with him again?  Of course I did!

 

more random info:  that green sweater I’m wearing in the video? Apparently that is my “I want to look like a grown up” sweater.  I had to run a zoom training call at work yesterday, and what did I wear to look all professional and knowledgeable?  that green sweater.

I ever so slowly getting through The Children of the Company, Kage Baker’s 6th Company book.   The horrid cover art continues.    Much of this novel started out as short stories that were published in Asimov‘s,  which is very cool because it means Baker wrote these parts first.  She backwards engineered the whole thing!!   but wait a minute, does that mean this book is a fix-up novel??

 

This is the first book in the series that has felt like a slog.  Labienus is my least favorite character, so watching him go through his files and remember people and places doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. Also? no Mendoza or Joseph, so far.

 

The biggest benefit of this book, is that it’s everyone’s origin stories.  I love how much we get of Budu.  Victor’s origin story!  the truth behind his childhood memory that he “was saved from a bear”, or something.  That immortals felt sadness in the minutes leading up to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake!  That they did truly care for their mortal friends.

 

and OMG, the line about how “recorded history can not be changed”, but who is doing the recording? what if they lied?  what an oh shit moment!

 

I meant for this blog post to be a ton of fun links for you,  neat stuff you can check out.   I do not have the mental energy for that today.  I’ve re-written this post now three times,  trying to keep it positive, because reasons.  Anyway.

 

You don’t need me to post a bunch of links of things that I think are worthy. You know what you’re interested in, you know what is worthy of your time.  Go buy a bunch of e-books from an independent bookstore or a humble bundle or a small press.  Learn how to bake bread. Can’t find any yeast? there is suddenly tons of helpful info online on how to do sourdough if you don’t have any yeast. Don’t like bread? Make pasta or cookies or mashed potatoes or whatever it is that you enjoy eating.  Watch some movies.  Watch everything on Netflix.

 

I started watching Community last night, and oh hello to my crush on Joel McHale, you tall sarcastic cutie! I may have to watch that Halloween episode from the first season, oh, I dunno, ten more times.  And Donald Glover, he is SO ADORABLE!  I need a supercut of just Donald Glover being cute in that show.  I first saw Alison Brie in GLOW,  does she have any acting abilities other than chewing the scenery?      Oh shit,  now I’m not sure who I have more of a crush on, Joel McHale or Donald Glover!  can I have both of them?  (lolz, where is that Road to El Dorado “both. both is good” gif when you need it?)

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I’ve been re-reading Kage Baker’s Company series.  I’m not writing formal reviews,  just chatting about the books every few days, making small connections, making big connections.    Some spoilers are unavoidable.

 

If you don’t care about this series, but are interested in my poor brain exploding due to realizing my beloved characters never had any free will,  scroll way down to a paragraph that starts with “I used to think . . ”.

 

 

Previous posts in this series:

post 1 – talking about In the Garden of Iden (book #1)

post 2 – talking about Sky Coyote (book #2) and Mendoza in Hollywood (book #3) and also the movie Rocketman and the tv show Star Trek: Discovery

and now we’re up to talking about The Graveyard Game (book #4) and The Life of the World to Come (#5).    This is where I realized my beloved characters don’t have any free will,  that everyone is trapped. Here we go!

 

 

About ten minutes after I finished The Graveyard Game,  I pulled The Life of the World to Come off the bookshelf. Boy these books have some truly awful cover art.

 

The Graveyard Game is a hella fun read, and it’s a fast read!  We’re back to Lewis and Joseph, and I adore Joseph, even if he’s a jerk sometimes.  Please, is there an internet archive of Joseph fan-fic? Pretty please? Anyway, Joseph is trying to find out what happened to Budu,  and Lewis gets a little obsessed with trying to figure out who the hell Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax was. They are both sort of trying to figure out what happened to Mendoza.  The problem is, when you’re a cyborg who is enslaved to The Company, every word you say, every photo you take with your cybernetic eyes, every web-search you do, is recorded and added to the temporal concordance. Everything you do becomes recorded history, so you have to be super sneaky, and make sure nothing you do is recorded.    Because recorded history can not be changed.

 

Joseph finds some secret bunkers, and reminisces about his early years with the Company and Budu’s heroic acts.   Lewis is haunted by his past, when he saw something he shouldn’t have.

 

Joseph has a hard time coming to terms with the idea that as you age, the world changes.  You feel like you don’t fit in with the younger generations anymore, the things you care about aren’t the things they care about.  What happens when an immortal has a mid-life crisis, and realizes that trends in Company brainwashing and programming have drastically changed over the course of known history?   The Graveyard Game might be my favorite Company book! (well, tied with Sky Coyote, because that book is just so damn funny) I guess I just love any excuse to hang out with Joseph!

 

And then we get to The Life of the World to Come,  which is the most annoying book in the history of EVER, while at the same time being the most confusing book of the series and the most important book of the series.

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Little Red Reviewer turns ten years old today!

Yes, it’s true!  the first time I posted to this blog was March 28th, 2010.  It seems like a lifetime ago.

To celebrate, I’m doing an Ask Me Anything!

 

Whatdya wanna know about blogging? about blogger burn out?  about getting ARCs? about characters I’m shipping? about growing a following?  about getting blogging/interviewing gigs elsewhere? about trying to do a kickstarter while starting a new job during a polar vortex? about my day job? about used bookstores? about recipes and gluten free cooking? about being a couch potato?   about talking on panels at conventions?

 

Ask me Anything in the comments!

 

but first, a public service announcement for #SaveOurBookstores , #SaveOurIndies :

Your local bookstore might be:

Closed: but still selling gift cards on their website and possibly still taking orders online to ship to your house

Mostly Closed: but will answer the phone, take your order over the phone or over email, and ship the books to your house.

Sort of Closed: Customers aren’t allowed in the retail space, but they’ll take your order over the phone and bring your order to your car. It’s like the McDonald’s drive through, except it’s at the bookstore, and you’ll feel much better afterwards!

Our family-run, independent bookstores are struggling like they have never struggled before. They have always been there for us. now it’s our turn. If you see me tweeting hashtags like #SaveOurBookstores and #SaveOurIndies, retweet and share widely.

 

AMA . .  ready. . .  GO!

 

He’s Also Ten.

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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.