Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, October 2013
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste.
- Lauren Willig, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
- Mind candy. I am unashamed to be a fan of this series of historical
romance novels, not least because Willig will do things like take Miss Gwen,
who's been a running joke since the first book, and make her into one of her
- John Hornor Jacobs, Southern Gods
- Mind candy; I didn't care for it, in the end. It's an attempt at blending
Lovecraftian horror with historical fiction, set in the alien past of Kansas
and Arkansas circa 1950. I do not think Jacobs has thought through the
implications of writing a novel where the racists were right, and listening to
the wrong sort blues or rock really does destroy the souls of innocent white
children. I also really rather disliked the gore, finding it ugly
rather than scary. (*) In fairness, the depiction of being sickened by words
and images which won't leave the mind was well-done.
- * (set in small type because it's nerdy even for
me): The justification within the story for all the atrocities is that
violating the innocent with intent is how you call up and bargain with the
Great Old Ones. This offends my sense of properly Lovecraftian horror. Alien
abominations from beyond are supposed to be alien; what is human
innocence or its abuse to them?
(Thus HPL: "Now
all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and
interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast
cosmos-at-large. ... To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of
time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life,
good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and
temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all.") In short, I have
standards for my Cthulhiana, and the merely Satanic does not cut it.
- Marie Brennan, A Natural History of
Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
- Mind candy: not-quite historical fantasy, in which a dragon-obsessed
bluestocking makes her way from not-Victorian-England to the not-Balkans, where
the natives, human and draconic, are restless.
- Bruce Sterling, The Caryatids
- In which Chairman Bruce goes
the climate crisis to imagining what recovery afterwards might be like, through
the eyes of a group of profoundly damaged experiments in cloning and ubiquitous
computation, and those who love them. It manages to depict a world which is at
once horribly broken (maybe even more messed up than ours) and one where
"brilliancy, speed, lightness, and glory" is a plausible slogan. If you like
classic Sterling (and I am a big fan), this is exactly the kind of thing you
Leckie, Ancillary Justice
- Mind candy: space opera on themes of distributed personality, political
morality and revenge, with a side-order of non-gendered personal identity.
It's astonishingly good for a first
- ETA: This novel went on to make a really remarkable (maybe unprecedented)
sweep of SF
awards; this seems fully deserved.
- Deborah Coates, Wide Open
- Mind candy contemporary fantasy: ghosts and loss on the prairie.
Update: Annoying typos fixed, 8 October 2014.
Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur;
Scientifiction and Fantastica;
Tales of Our Ancestors;
Posted at October 31, 2013 23:59 | permanent link