[personal profile] kaesa
So here's the Hugo awards reading update literally no one asked for! I’m reading the nominated novels, or trying to. Will be reading/consuming as much of the nominated work as possible, although this year they've added an award for book serieses, and... I am probably not going to get through those before I vote, although I should def. read the Vorkosigan series at some point, now that I've forgotten most of the spoilers my mom insisted on telling me.



The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemsin

I really liked this one! I mean, I enjoyed The Fifth Season, at least once I got into it. The Fifth Season is pretty depressing -- it’s set in a dystopia sliding into an apocalypse and it starts out with the main character coming home mid-apocalypse to find her young son has been brutally murdered by her husband, and then it goes on to detail her own abuse as a child. But it’s a good story, one that’s part about surviving the apocalypse and part about surviving bigotry and part about what the fuck is going on???, and has some pretty cool geology and physics and magic going on in addition to all the depressing stuff. There's plenty of both in The Obelisk Gate too, so, not good escapist reading, but I needed to know what was going to happen and finished it really, really quickly.

Currently reading:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

So far I really like this one! It's about two weird kids -- a witch and a tech genius -- who have befriended each other mostly on the basis of being weird. This assassin wants to kill them because of some kind of prophetic vision he had -- only the stupid assassins' rules won’t let him kill kids -- so his current angle is to ruin their friendship. Sadly, their friendship is already kind of falling apart because of adolescence. It reminds me very strongly of Diana Wynne Jones' Witch Week, which is a good thing, and also maybe a little of Good Omens, with its vague prophesies and inept adults trying to manipulate same.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

I also really like this one! It's a kind of surreal space opera set in an empire whose technology (magic?) relies on a calendar system; the protag is trying to take back a fortress that broadcasts (I think? it like emenates from the fortress? the way it’s described makes it sound like it changes actual physical laws, I guess I will find out!) the calendar system but has been taken over by heretics who favor a different calendar. Also she has this dead general advising her. See, he was brilliant and amazing until one day he snapped and massacred his troops. No one really knows what’s up with that, so they saved his consciousness for use in situations like this. And now the protagonist has him in her brain, and also in her shadow.

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

FUCK I HATE THIS BOOK. Part of it is because the worldbuilding strains my suspension of disbelief more than usual, part of it is because the first-person narrator is obnoxious and has no concept of the fourth wall (AND THIS IS ME SAYING THIS. ME. me who is writing a first-person fic with the most obnoxious fourth-wall-breaking fucker, me who loved Homestuck. fuck I hate this book. I ranted about it for a while today over the phone, to a friend who does not even read science fiction, and then realized he was probably really sorry he asked about it.) and a whoooole lot of it is because of the interactions of those two things. But also, it’s just. really. boring. and I dislike most of the characters except for the ones I’m totally apathetic to.

Apparently the book has a lot of Big Philosophical Ideas in there, but... I admit I’m not really the kind of person who wants Big Philosophical Ideas in her reading unless they take the form of something exciting or funny or fun. Still, I’ll finish the damn thing, and who knows, maybe it'll get interesting eventually. Some of my favorite books I really hated until like halfway through them.

Not started yet:

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

I’m still reading the book this is a sequel to, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I really like it so far, although I’m not very far into it -- basically it’s about a team of people whose job it is to build wormholes; they’re of varying species and backgrounds. Lots of found-family vibes, as the main character appears to be on the run from some shit that happened with her family, who are important people on Mars.

Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

Like the above, I’m still reading the previous book in the series, The Three-Body Problem -- I know, I’m super late reading this! I like it so far but it hasn’t especially grabbed me, although I suspect it’s just off to a slightly slow start in terms of science fictional stuff. A lot of it’s concerned with ideology coopting and suppressing science during the Cultural Revolution in China -- so, I guess, a little too topical to be escapist. But man, I got so fucking angry at the start of the book when a character's entire life is ruined basically because someone else lent her his copy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

It also makes me really want to reread Omon-Ra. (I can’t really describe Omon-Ra without spoiling it, but if you like space, sadness, and total mindfucks, you should read Omon-Ra.)

Crossposted from Tumblr when I wrote this up and realized no one on Tumblr will care. (Eh, maybe they will! I got one of them into Chuck Tingle by accident, that's almost like being interested in the Hugos?) But also I'd been meaning to return to Dreamwidth and just not... having done that, and this feels more like an LJ/DW entry than a Tumblr post, so here you go.

Also at some point I really do need to post pictures from Iceland. And like. Other things on Dreamwidth.

Date: 2017-05-01 04:19 am (UTC)
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jewelfox
Welcome back to Dreamwidth c: How was Iceland?

Re: Ninefox Gambit, I always get disappoint when the title mentions animals or mythical creatures but then that turns out to just be symbolic.

I'm guessing the Sad Puppies were sufficiently scared off by Chuck Tingle that they won't be trying their devilman tactics again, thus proving that love is real???

Date: 2017-05-02 08:20 pm (UTC)
zdenka: Knife with text "We've all got knives. It's the Time of Isolation and we're BARRAYARANS" (barrayarans)
From: [personal profile] zdenka
I will look forward to the Iceland pictures!

I love the Vorkosigan series -- through A Civil Campaign; the books after that feel like they went downhill to me. I didn't bother with the latest one, after reading multiple reviews of it. I've met people in fandom who also love them and others who couldn't get into them.

Seeing the Hugo discussions this year has been a little weird for me, since the author of Too Like the Lightning is a former friend of mine, who is "former" for good reasons. I haven't read the book (except an early draft of the first chapters many years ago), but I admit it gives me a bit of quiet Schadenfreude when I see people disliking it. (But I won't take it personally if you finish the book and decide you like it after all.)



October 2017


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