There may be mild spoilers beneath cuts.
Serrano Series, Elizabeth Moon
You wanted fox-hunting, space-ships, and kickarse women? And some political manoeuvres? Excellent. They're over here, and they'd like to say hello. Please note, take these women seriously when you say hello, otherwise you may find your arse kicked.
Expanse Series, James E Corey
What can I say? It's an excellent space opera series, with some hard bio-science in there. (Also, warning for bio-horror - there are bits I have to skip past quickly because ewww.) The characters are interesting, and are getting better with the series. The first novel suffers a bit from a very male-centric point of view, but the writers quickly wised up and worked out that they had some fascinating female characters, and they've really let them have some excellent moments as the series has progressed.
Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?, Paul Cornell
If you want your fantasy to look like a hard-boiled police procedural, with all the joy leeched out of the world, go for it. I found the characters too hard-boiled to be likeable, and won't be reading more in this universe, even though the premises are generally intriguing. Suffers a little bit from being nth in a series, but that for me was a far lesser problem than the fact that I just wanted to get out of the world and stop reading asap.
Ghost Talkers, Mary Robinette Kowal
You wanted an alternate history in which Spiritualism wasn't people making shit up, didn't you? Well, Mary Robinette Kowal has provided. Although it's set against a backdrop of the First World War, it's not all doom, gloom, and mud and blood up to your elbows. Also contains spies, which I'm a bit of a sucker for.
Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee
I really enjoyed this book. It's a strange book, quite a creepy book. But I bought it on the Friday of Eastercon, and had finished it by Monday night, despite a fully and busy con. ( Read more... )
A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers
I loved this. It's about constructing what we mean by 'human'. And how we understand other people, and what free will means, and the characters are fascinating, and the cultures are interesting (and strange). I want to love it and hug it and call it George. I hadn't read the first book, and it read just fine for me.
Empire Games, Charles Stross
First of a new trilogy in the Merchant Princes-verse. I haven't read the previous novels, so it took a little while to get into this, but I really enjoyed it when I did. Some excellent social commentary, exploration of spy tradecraft, and some interesting situations set up. My only problem is that it's part of a series, and I'd quite like the next books now please.
Binti: Home, Nnedi Okorafor (published Jan 2017) (novella)
Amazing. Binti returns from University to visit her home. Some weird shit goes down (no further comment, because I don't want to spoil it at all). Only downside is that GODDAMMIT I WANT THE SEQUEL NOW. It ties up enough for the book to be ended reasonably, but there are many, many things where I want to know more and GODDAMMIT I WANT THE SEQUEL NOW
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, Seanan McGuire (published 2017) (novella)
Do you like American Ghosts? Do you like Seanan's writing? If either apply, I strongly recommend picking this up. I'm not a big horror fan, but this is about putting together strange clues, which is much more my thing. Evokes cornfields and big cities really well. It mentions suicide, but I in no way found this disturbing.
Forest of Memory, Mary Robinette Kowal
Well, I read it. I can remember fuck-all about it, so let this just be a record that I read it, and a reminder that I should write this shit up while I can still remember reading it.
Hooves Above the Waves, Laura Clay
Laura is a friend of mine, and I'm extremely relieved that I can recommend her short stories ;) because they're good. Hooves above the Waves is a collection of 3 stories, one about kelpies, one about superheroes, one about selkies. I thought the superhero story was the weakest, but that's partly because it belongs in its own fictional universe, and it felt like there was too much background to work comfortably with the rest of the story. The kelpie story has some nice social observation, a nice myffic feel (to reference Nanny Ogg), a good bit of creeping sinisterness, and some proper Scottish Scenery. The Scottish scenery is also on show in our selkie story, along with some history, and quite a lot of wet and sinister water. If you read short fiction, I'd give it a go.
The Burning Page, Genevieve Cogman
Libraries portals to other universes ect ect, holding back forces of chaos ect ect. Lots of intertextuality (i.e. literary references), some cool action sequences, and lust. It's not massively deep, but it passes the time.
Interim Errantry: On Ordeal: Mamvish, Diane Duane
CN: cannibalism - this is the best and most cheerful and excellent book involving cannibalism that you're ever likely to read. It's a story about how one of the minor characters in the Young Wizards series came to be a wizard. Mam'vish is an alien, and we've met her as a cheery and kind background character hitherto. This puts her front and centre as she works out her culture and morality. A+ for properly weird aliens, senzawunda, and generally awesome shit. Diane Duane is one of my favourite authors, because she loves space, and changing the world for the better.
All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
"Nice video, shame about the song." Rather style over substance in some ways. It's shooting for a very big idea, mixing magic and science, but doesn't really pull it off.
CN: emotional abuse of children ( Read more... )
Terry Pratchett, The Shepherd's Crownsob
Oh, so sad, both because of the book, and because there is no more Terry Pratchett. A man is never dead when his name is spoken, and there are many of us who will speak his name for a long time to come. The writing isn't as polished as his best books, but the themes are well handled, and it's a good send-off for the Discworld. I've read this book twice now, and I've cried or nearly so both times (this is super-rare for me), so I shall read it at home in future.
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire
Oh god. Creepy, so good. It's a post-portal fantasy novel, full of extremely creepy people. There's a murder mystery in there (which I don't think is that good, but for me that didn't matter, because it was mostly about the characters and the setting and what happens after you leave Narnia or your equivalent). It's also excellent for its explicit representation on the page of trans and asexual characters.
Magic for Nothing, Seanan McGuire (published 2017)
One of Seanan's Incryptid novels, this one with some very cool undercover stuff, and a circus! Also, this being a novel about the Prices, it also includes knives. Very readable, with some real sibling anger in there - made me glad I was an only child, tbh. The stakes are high, but the series tends to be optimistic in outlook, so it's a fun read, despite the darker things beneath the service.