August 31, 2018
The Price You Pay (Aidan Truhen (pseudonym), 2018)
Whoa. This is one in-your-face crime novel. Not for the faint-of-heart. That said, it can be fun to get inside the head of a charming sociopath every now-and-then. As long as you can get out again.
I saw someone guessing this is a Nick Harkaway novel and I’m pretty sure it is.
I am a fucking asymmetric criminal startup. I got limited expertise in criminal strategic warfare. I hotdesk and I outsource and I franchise, but what I mostly have is a core concept, forward momentum.
August 26, 2018
Ball Lightning (Liu Cixin, Joel Martinsen (Translator), 2005/2018)
Liu Cixin really is a worthy successor to A.C. Clarke – the first author I became obsessed while a mere wee tike). This is a new English translation of an older novel that doesn’t quite have the expansiveness of Three-Body Problem, but was still a joy to read.
August 11, 2018
August 1, 2018
My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Ottessa Moshfegh, 2018)
Moshfegh writes wonderful stories about damaged women doing terrible things. This fantastical story of a woman going to extreme lengths to avoid the consequences of her life didn’t please me as much as her earlier novel Eileen, but it was satisfying nonetheless.
July 29, 2018
Give Me Your Hand (Megan Abbott, 2018)
Sometimes when I’m reading a murder mystery told from the suspect’s perspective, I like to think about the same book told from the detective’s perspective. In this case, the detectives would have to be the most bumbling cops ever to not figure out what’s happening here. I’m not sure a novel set in 2018 can just ignore modern forensics and the ubiquity of surveillance technology.
July 22, 2018
This is a near-future story about people having babies. It won a bunch of awards, but I can’t say I get it. The people seem very parochial in their opinions about reproduction and what they want from their kids. I hope we progress a LOT more than over the next century.
July 14, 2018
July 8, 2018
Echopraxia (Firefall, #2) (Peter Watts, 2014)
Still full of fascinating ideas, but didn’t work for me the way the first book of the series did. The Vampires and Gods and what have you were a bit too fantastic for me and take the foreground in this installment, leaving me less satisfied.
July 3, 2018
Blindsight (Firefall 1) (Peter Watts, 2010)
Hard SF with… vampires? Okay, sure. I love books that can stretch my understanding of what’s possible – real flights of imagination. Not just “West Wing on a gas giant” or “King Arthur, but robots” stuff. This fit the bill quite nicely. If there are aliens in the story I really want them to be, well alien.
June 29, 2018
The Freeze-Frame Revolution (Peter Watts, 2018)
Got to love a novel that measures time in millions of years. This is my first encounter with Watts, but I’m diving into one of his bigger, more challenging novels (Blindsight) immediately after reading this.
June 27, 2018
In The Distance (Hernan Diaz, 2017)
I’ve read a few novels about the final days of the American frontier, but none have given me this visceral sense of the immensity and the brutality of that landscape.
A (very) rare five-star review from me.
June 24, 2018
Convenience Store Woman (Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator), 2018)
A short glimpse into the very odd existence of a misfit in a world with little room for misfits. I’d mention Catcher In The Rye and Confederacy of Dunces as American counterparts, but this feels less grand and more subtle.
June 22, 2018
American War (Omar El Akkad, 2017)
Reading this during the Trump-induced immigration crisis and creation of internment camps made this a difficult respite from the news. Still, what a fantastic read.
El Akkad spends little time on exposition about this climate-shocked future America. Instead, he focusses on the impact of geographic and political upheaval on a small group of climate refugees in the American south some 70 years from now.
I found it fascinating, compelling, and beautifully written.
June 11, 2018
June 6, 2018
The Outsider (Stephen King, 2018)
King mixes real-world police fiction with supernatural horror with greater success in The Outsider than the Mr. Mercedes series. I got mad at the latter because it flipped genres without warning and I felt cheated. I knew what I was getting with The Outsider, so it didn’t bother me.