I can’t just study all day so, when I am not studying, I will be doing one of my other favorite things, reading! So here is a partial list of what I’ve got pegged for 2016.
First up is John C. Wright’s The Architect of Aeons.
Which is exactly what I needed after Anne Leckie’s disappointing Ancillary series. The first installment was really good and promised quite large story. Then decided to whittle it down and focus on a smaller scale in the second book. And then stayed on that smaller scale for the third installment and then purposely left no ending. Her character states it at the end.
Get this set-up from the first book. A galactic empire is ran by a ruthless tyrant who possesses thousands of bodies. This tyrant one day commits an action so heinous it causes a rift between parts of her – one side is ashamed of herself, the other rationalizes the action’s expedience. The two sides start maneuvering against each other. Now much as the tyrant has many instances of herself, so the ships of her fleets and its crews are all the same person (except for the human elements). There is no distinction between the ship-mind and the minds of the crew, they are all the same person. They serve the human captain, in fact they usually form attachments to their captains.
One day this set up leads the tyrant to demand one such ship/humanoid to shoot her captain dead. The fragment then shoots the instance of the tyrant in the head and goes rogue. This causes another instance of the tyrant on the ship to blow the ship up. One fragment of the ship escapes torn from all her other selves, and her captain who she had to execute.
She vows revenge. Now that is a pretty good set-up, right? Thousands of instances of the tyrant at war with herself and with a rogue ship-fragment vowing to bring her down. If you are a science fiction fan, you want to read that series!
But what if in the next book this ship fragment was sent (by the “good” part of the tyrant) to an outpost where she spent time drinking tea and helping the poor and out of this outpost? What if the story never left this outpost? What if the ship fragment never killed another instance of the tyrant? Rip off! And I left out a bunch of other stuff that was unresolved.
The whole gender neutrality thing? Meh? If they weren’t all girls, the author gave me no indication they weren’t. It was like the female cast of Jane Eyre in SPACE!! Let’s have tea, do you think so and so likes so and so? Ack, give me LeGuin any day, please.
Also the book was pretty humorless. So it was with great pleasure that I picked up Wright’s Aeons. Not only is most of what he writes outlandish, I’m usually laughing right off the bat.
Then in no particular order is: Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.
Nope haven’t read it. I’ve read quite a few of his other works, this one never grabbed me.
A Borrowed Man: by Gene Wolfe It’s Gene Wolfe, nuff said, right?
I decided to give this one a chance because I am pretty familiar with lack of sleep and its effects and it seemed to have a Stephen King vibe to it. I bought it despite the author interview at the back of the book where he sounds like a college freshman retard, “the corporations man, we need a revolution man…” Shut the fuck up if you want to think and speak with your anus, write me some cool stuff and I will pay you, don’t expect me to pay attention to your late adolescent drivel. On the other hand, he’s Canadian (Canadian science fiction usually has the “Corporation” as the bad guy) so what can you do?
I have heard of Mieville for a number of years. So a couple of months ago in the bookstore I open up this book to the first page, read the first couple of sentences and bought it on style alone. This is also a man who thinks and talks from his anus outside his field. But I really don’t care as long as you deliver the product I’m paying for. He would hate that kind of capitalistic libertarian style thinking. Apparently he’s a socialist. Apparently he missed twentieth century history class…
China Mieville: three moments of an explosion Bought this also on the strength of the sample I read from The Scar. Style can be a rare thing to enjoy. And I mean style of a kind where you just like the way they use words. I have this with R.A. Lafferty. I can read a story of his and not tell you what it was about it or its plot, but man, was it great to read!
Then I decided to go outside my usual stomping grounds.
Which was cheaper than any of the works singly. I have a certain love for Catholic writers. I haven’t read one I didn’t like. Seems to be a rather dark writer, southern and devoutly religious. Who wouldn’t like that combination in a writer?
This is supposed to be one of the best, most frightening horror novels of the twentieth century. And it is written by Dan Simmons. I think I’m going to read this before Drood. Drood seems a chore while being a delight… or it could just be a chore, I haven’t read it yet.
Remember what I said about Catholic writers? He’s one of my favs. Funny I just started watching this series from PBS last week and then I ran across this.
And there should be another Lafferty collection coming out this year as well!