February 20th, 2013

buzz

Nebula shortlist on Goodreads and LibraryThing

Because I know you care:
Goodreads Librarything
number average number average
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed 1664 3.60 195 3.55
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson 1644 3.42 285 3.51
The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin 1257 3.86 74 3.48
Ironskin, Tina Connolly 867 3.40 74 3.48
Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal 706 3.75 107 3.85
The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan 424 3.95 80 4.11

Full shortlist (including short fiction, Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book) is here.

earthsea

February Books 7) The Red and the Black, by Stendhal


Au séminaire, il est une façon de manger un œuf à la coque, qui annonce les progrès faits dans la vie dévote.
In the seminary, there is a way of eating a boiled egg which reveals the progress one has made in the life of devotion.

One of the classic nineteenth century novels which I had not read, written and set in the years leading up to 1830. The ambiguous protagonist, Julien Sorel, while training as a priest and confidential secretary, seduces the wife of one employer and the daughter of another; and a book that started off looking a bit like a cross between Middlemarch and Casanova ends up like L'Étranger as Julien takes romantic victimhood to its conclusion.

I have to say that while it was well written, I didn't really like any of the characters much, nor really understand why they felt compelled to play roles rather than be themselves. I had a similar frustration with The Catcher in the Rye.
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February Books 8) Empty Space: A Haunting, by M. John Harrison

If she saw it she would recognise it. Something awful had happened, or was about to happen, the last time she was there. We never went back, she told herself. I know that. We were too afraid.
I thoroughly bounced off the first of the Kefahuchi Trilogy when I read it back in 2004, and read the third book in the sequence because it has been nominated for the BSFA Award. I found it a little more to my taste than Light, but that is not saying much; apart from Anna Waterman (the "she" of my quote above") I found the characters unengaging, and I had difficulty following the plots and grasping how or why they intertwined. No doubt this was due to too much transatlantic flying, but I won't be ranking this one high on my ballot.
tardis

February Books 9) The Turing Test, by Paul Leonard

But as for the rest – the events I lived through in those strange last months of the conflict – nobody except Greene knows about them, and perhaps the American, Heller, for some of it. And the Doctor. Of course, the Doctor.
Three grumpy book reviews this evening, the effects of post-Gallifrey jetlag (or timelag?) I suppose. But once again I wasn't wild about this one. The book is told in the first person by, in turn, Alan Turing, Graham Greene and Joseph Heller, as they one by one accompany the Doctor from Oxford through occupied France to Dresden in 1944, on the trail of some presumably alien signals. The Turing part is rather good, even if the author must heavily insist on Turing's crush on the Doctor; the Greene and Heller sections totally fail to catch the styles of their ostensible narrators, and the plot is not in fact resolved. Reading the ecstatic fan reviews I realise that I am clearly in a minority.