June 30, 2019

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, June 2019

Attention conservation notice: I have no taste, and no qualifications to say anything about European history.

Kij Johnson, The River Bank: A Sequel to Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows
There is no way a sequel like this should succeed, but it does. This is the second book I've read by Johnson where she takes the setting of beloved classics and goes "Actually, there could be female characters!" and makes it into new art that continues the pleasures of the original. This is impressive and makes me want to track down her non-derivative work. (There is also an unhealthy part of me which wants her to write a mash-up of this book and the other one.)
Simon Winder, Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
Combination popular history and travelogue. Lively, and I found Winder's narrative persona congenial; it might be unbearable if you don't.
Elizabeth Hand, Waking the Moon
Mind candy, but remarkably good. There's late-adolescent campus drama recollected in midlife futility, (actual) punk rock, not one but two ancient secret societies, convincingly creepy magic, and an apocalypse presided over, in nearly equal measure, by Robert Graves, Carlo Ginzburg, Marija Gimbiutas, and Stephen King. It ought to be a beloved genre classic.
Phil Rickman, To Dream of the Dead
Mind candy occult-ish mystery, the umpteenth in the Merrily Watkins series. Honestly I enjoyed it a bit less than previous installments, though whether that was due to a decline in quality, series fatigue, or simply not being in quite the right mood when reading is hard to say.
Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine, The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning: A Polar Journey
In which a bunch of Canadian artists travel to Antarctica to clean up a Russian research base, and cook. It works much better as a book than I'm making it sounds, not least because of the excellent photography by Sandy Nicholson. I have not tried out any of the recipes, however, so I pass no judgment on it as a cookbook. (The account of how much better the food was at the Italian research base makes me proud of my mother's country.)
Linda Nagata, Edges
Nagata's far-future, not-quite-human space opera in great form. This is, strictly, a sequel to her superb Vast, where her surviving characters set out to explore the worlds left open at the end of that book. But one could, I think, jump in here with pleasure and without confusion. (Sequel.)
Auston Habershaw, The Far Far Better Thing
Mind candy: conclusion, and climax, to the series of fantasy caper novels where a con artist deals with magical operant conditioning and increasingly catastrophic success. I enjoyed these a lot and will certainly read other stuff by Habershaw.

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur; Scientifiction and Fantastica; Writing for Antiquity; Pleasures of Detection, Portraits of Crime

Posted at June 30, 2019 23:59 | permanent link

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