The neighborhood is terribly quiet today. I can only assume that my neighbors agreed with my own assessment: it’s too damned hot to do anything outdoors.
As luck would have it, thanks to several online orders and trades, no fewer than eleven books have arrived on my doorstep in the last 48 hours. No fear that I’ll be bored while I’m hiding from the sun….
Some quick reviews, mostly of my vacation reading:
In the Garden of Iden, Kage Baker: Hello. Why have I not read the Company series until now? Check it out:
Once, there was a cabal of merchants and scientists whose purpose was to make money and improve the lot of humankind. They invented Time Travel and Immortality. Now, I was taught that they invented Time Travel first and developed Immortals so they could send people safely back through the years.
In reality it was the other way around. The process for Immortality was developed first. In order to test it, they had to invent Time Travel.
It worked like this: they would send a team of doctors into the past, into 1486 for example, and select some lucky native of that time and confer immortality on him. Then they’d go back to their own time and see if their test case was still around. Had he survived the intervening nine hundred years? He had? How wonderful. Were there any unpleasant side effects? There were? Oops.
That sort of tone carries throughout the whole thing. It’s utterly hilarious and tragic at the same time, ending with the most unpleasant of unpleasant side effects — except I’m sure I’ll see worse things before the series is done. Turns out the library has the rest of the books save one; I’ll be paying a visit once I’ve worked my way through the new arrivals.
Mad Dash, Patricia Gaffney: I love some of Gaffney’s historical romances — no, really — but I haven’t read any of her contemporary novels, most of which seem to be more in the vein of “women’s fiction.” (Ugh, what a category.) I enjoyed this one, but probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it hadn’t been one of my RWA ARCs, and might not have kept reading if I hadn’t been on a plane. What can I say… not my genre.
Tantalize, Cynthia Leitich Smith: vampires, werewolves, and a restaurant on South Congress in Austin. Started out thoroughly charming and fun, but lost me halfway through and never recovered. Alas.
The Mirador, Sarah Monette: Lovely! At first things were moving a bit slowly, and the characters all seemed to be careening off on various tangents that I didn’t fully understand, but of course all the plot threads came together neatly (and heartbreakingly) at the end. The Locus review said something about the space devoted to the characters’ interior lives. They’re right; there’s a lot. However, since the characters were finally stopping to think about things that have made me go “Would you please stop and think about that?!” for two books now, I was pleased — all the more so because the soul-searching led to some great action toward the end. Very much looking forward to the final volume.
Undertow, Elizabeth Bear: Well, that was fun. What I know about physics could be writ on my pinky nail, so the error I’m told is in here somewhere? Escaped my notice. I was far too busy squeeing as things blew up. I do love the fact that the ending wasn’t tidy. A tidy ending would have sat wrong on these marvelously fucked-up characters.
A Companion to Wolves, Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear: Yes, I’m on a Bear-and-Monette binge here. This is the one I tracked down in advance of its October publication. It is not a comfortable book. I think it is an excellent one, and it’s exactly the response that McCaffrey’s green dragonrider problem cried out for. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it left me unsettled… as it was no doubt intended to do.
That’s it for now. These boxes have brought me more sequels — Red Seas Under Red Skies, Eclipse, Poltergeist, and a bunch of other stuff, so if you need me in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be reading.