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Sarah Rees Brennan, The Demon's Lexicon
John Scalzi, The Ghost Brigades
CJ Cherryh, Foreigner
Adam-Troy Castro, Emissaries from the Dead
Emma Bull and Will Shetterly (editors), Liavek
Octavia Butler, Fledgling
In a startling break from habit, I was going to review some of these unbidden, but now I'm sick and scattered and late so I'm just going to put up some disorganized points I'd meant to touch on. (Edit: Actually, these ended up looking pretty much like the reviews I write anyway.)

  • The Demon's Lexicon is a YA 'Bothari story', about somebody who is (or might be) constitutionally amoral, but doing their best anyway; I have a soft spot for those. Despite the noiry, bloody-minded aesthetic of the prose, the sensibilities and the outcomes of its magical worldbuilding put me in mind of the best of Diana Wynne Jones.

  • The Liavek books were a late-eighties shared world anthology series with an unusual concentration of authors I make a point of seeking out; I found all of them but the fourth one in a used book store and was tempted into an intemperance. This one was most notable as far as I'm concerned for the new-to-me Pamela Dean story, which surprised me with its quiet viciousness (though like most of Dean's endings, it left ambiguous room for things to be better).

  • Fledgling is the first Octavia Butler book I've read. Like a lot of books I really like (even though I don't particularly care about vampires), it's in that subgenre that assumes the reader's knowledge of conventional vampire myths and plays new and clever riffs on them, but there's really a lot more that it's doing than that, about race and community and the ethics of our relationships to one another and having the plot continually fail to keep the shape you'd expect given what's happened so far. I did, in fact, really like it, and would really like to read more in the same milieu, but since it was published immediately before her death that's sadly unlikely. At least there's still all the books she wrote before.

My body is in open revolt, and appropriately revolting; now that my busy week of pressing schoolwork is done with I have fond hopes to spend the long weekend sitting in my house blowing my nose and doing nothing with any particular urgency.

Date: 2009-10-10 05:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Demon's Lexicon worth reading then, it sounds like? I keep meaning to; I followed her Harry Potter fics for years and I have her LJ friended. ^^ I should check if the library in North Van has it, I'm too cheap to buy it though I had originally intended to in order to support her...

Date: 2009-10-10 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I thought it was great. I got it from the VPL, so it's there if nowhere else.

-Andy H.

Date: 2009-10-11 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What did you think of The Ghost Brigades?

John M. Ford wrote some short stories and a novella in the Liavek shared universe that might interest you, although you might know that already.

Date: 2009-10-20 07:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm pretty sure that all of Ford's Liavek work is collected in what I have, except for the short story "Riding the Hammer", which is in the volume I'm missing.

The Ghost Brigades is playing with weighty and interesting ideas, and has some touching moments, but I mostly enjoyed it as pulp -- that is, as gonzo light entertainment to which I have no particular emotional connection. I'm not sure what it is that kept me distanced from it so; maybe something about the silly pseudo-Heinlein swagger of the prose. I liked it enough that I expect to read the third in the series, though. These books are doing things with the furniture of MilSF which I suspect are pretty innovative, though it isn't my usual subgenre.

-Andy H.


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Andy H.

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