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Michael Swanwick's "The Iron Dragon's Mother", despite the title, has more in common with the "Dragons of Babel" than "The Iron Dragon's Daughter", but does not really need reading those two books. 

 

The book is more polished than the other two, with Dark Faerie more consistent and developed, but that is not necessarily good, because the unexplained events and weird magic is one of the things that make Faerie so compelling. The characters are likable, though we do not see the same character development we got in TIDD. So despite similar ages it is more a suspense romp than a coming of age book. It gets better in the second half, but that may just be because I really like Raven. 

 

I may look those Aaranovitch stories, as I also read "Foxglove Summer" the fifth novel in the "Rivers of London" series, and I liked it a lot. It felt good to get out of London for a while, and the level of violence and anguish is much lower than usual. But maybe it is that some expected personal developments finally go right for Peter, and if you are this far in the series, you have to be rooting for him.

 

Starting Stephenson's "Fall, or Dodge in Hell", but I am unsure whether to reread "Reamde" or not. I did not like it the first time, which is why I have not reread it.  

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Given that we just sat in with a host of WGB Elders on zoom, ( thank you!) I can concur that our communities bring us joy.  

Artemis by Andy Weir — This book definitely is what it is, which is a rollicking sci-fi adventure on top of an education about how to build a moonbase and all the system of power, oxygen, equipment, s

Reading REAMDE now.  I like it a lot but I am not totally sure what its about.

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I personally don't think there's  a lot of need to reread REAMDE. It's almost standalone, IMHO. Like it doesn't hurt to remember some of the characters and their past connections but honestly, quite a bit of time passes quite rapidly and the circumstances all change pretty quickly as a result.

 

I just finished The Trials of Koli by M R Carey. Really good but really a cliff-hanger! Lots of crazy stuff happening on a post-apocalyptic Earth where the remaining humans have been reduced to small, primitive tribes gradually succumbing to the much more aggressive plants and animals that were bred during the climate change jackpot or something—it's not very clear. The primary characters are on a quest to reach London where they hope to find tech to fix their ailing machines and possibly a way to unite more people in one place to create a bigger gene pool. Hijinks ensue…

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ministry of the Future - Kim Stanley Robinson - this is a read in progress, pacing myself, one suspects only KSR could get away with bending expected writing rules, such that it feels like a collection of essays interspersed with periodic characters. I'll come back to it once I eventually finish.

Witchmark - C.L. Polk - a much easier read, the first of a trilogy by Polk. It feels like post-WWI, the lead character a gentleman medic, disgraced by running away from his responsibilities to join the army, now returned and working with shell-shocked veterans. Except another world, country names that are unfamiliar and secret magics. Our doctor has noticed something weird about his patients, but can't reveal how he sees this, because if he does he'll reveal his nature and be branded a witch. A stranger turns up, a journalist dying in his arms, clues adding up to show the man knew The Truth. I was looking for something slow, mellow, easy, and in first chapter or so I worried that this would be too slow. But once something spoilery happens in next chapter or two, then it really picks up and is thoroughly charming. Will they won't they gentlemen, magic secrets, and lots of drinking of tea. Jolly good.

 
Armageddon House - Michael Griffin - picked this up after after friend recommended. A novella, working out at a couple of hours reading. Four people are living in lockdown in a facility, each day feeling like a loop of the day before, a feeling I found familiar given current circumstances. Quickly it is clear things are odd, contradictory statements, suggestion that none of them entirely know what is going on. I was struck by how effectively this piece was set up from the narrators voice, establishing the standard, the theories, the characters in a tidy and concise manner. I was also struck by the idea of contained works, like in one location, which i have various thoughts about. With a story like this there is a joy in the immersion of the oddity/uncertainty, and I liked that a lot. But unfortunately there is a need to wrap it up, which is a less easy task, where many will fall down. Does the ending here work? I have mixed feelings on that, but regardless getting up to that point was entirely worth it.
 
Fleet of Knives - Gareth Powell - the second of Gareth's Embers of War trilogy. I was wary of the 1st book because of the War in the title, I tend not to be engaged by war, violence, etc, to a certain degree, depending how it is done. But book 1 was reasonably enjoyable. Unfortunately book 2 has more war, executions, prison breaks, and I stumbled on first attempt. Not what I'm looking for given current events. However, trying to decide what to read last Friday having finished the above two, I thought well I'll pick at this and see if I can get much further, and finished it. Like my comments in last post about Expanse, I can only say so much without getting into spoilers - characters from first book return, dealing in their own ways with events of first book, trying to establish how those events have changed everything.
 
Meanwhile, read Jan/Feb F&SF, January's Clarkesworld, BCS from December, and just read the most recent Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, in which the (i guess) novella You Have The Prettiest Mask by Sarah Langan is really good, complex take on pandemic, masks, culture, and how women are mistreated. The story is told from POV of 12 year old girl in an exclusive girl's school as society shifts and manages a pandemic carried by women that kills men. Which sounds a little too much for now, but it works really well. The other stories in this issue were really good too, so I recommend this particular issue.
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I feel like Fleet of Knives was a bit of a poor effort on his part. I managed to read through it without too much trouble, but was much happier with the third book and the first.

 

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi — A novela really, but still pretty enjoyable. This is one of those "If you change one rule about how the world works, what are the consequences" books. In this case, suddenly anyone who is murdered wakes up in their home rolled back whole and intact to a few hours or days before they were killed but with all the memories right up until their death. It was actually quite entertaining in a "let me tell you a story" kind of way.

 

Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard — Another novela, this time set in her weird oriental-feeling Empire with ships-as-people and murders afoot. Unfortunately I didn't like this nearly as much as The Teamaster and the Detective though? But not a terrible book, just not really my cup of tea (as it were).

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Yeah, I was underwhelmed by Fleet of Knives, it felt pretty light weight, and I was trying to decide if that was just that book or my feelings on Gareth in general. Glad to hear it wasn't just me, and that it was likely the middle book syndrome.

 

I've kind of burnt out on Aliette. She was the It Girl of SFF for a while, and she was doing some interesting things. I think she has disappeared into her niche, which clearly is delighting her, but really isn't engaging me as much.

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Remote Control by Nnedi Okorofor. More short novela stuff! A lot of her usual themes, but this one was a little more enjoyable than most of her stuff recently has been for me. Small girl inherits terrible powers and roams the countryside as something of a living legend while trying to figure out what her origin story actually is. I think she managed to connect this one back to some actual sci-fi elements more strongly than usual, which did help.

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March reading -

Acadie - David Hutchinson - a SF tor novella, mad scientists and rogues have pushed the limits of earth laws and fled into space, but the earth still searches for them. When an odd search vessel arrives the decision to flee and set up somewhere else is made, with a small team left behind to hide evidence and make sure they are not found. The initial set up is good, and I enjoyed. The twist and pay off frustrated some.

 

I Shall Wear Midnight - Terry Pratchett - book 4 in the Tiffany Aching series. Tiffany's past actions have triggered interest from uncanny things, here something dark is unleashed, which spreads in whispers and insinuations, causing women to be accused of witchcraft and witches to be beaten and hunted. I continue to enjoy this series particularly.

 

Moonshine - Jasmine Gower - had this for ages, one of those books with an eye-catching cover, and a pitch that made me curious. It is probably a good companion piece to Witchmark by CL Polk, which I read in February. Both have that kinda post-world-war 1 feeling, but not our world, despite the trappings. Here magic is frowned upon, live music is played in clubs, and there is a very flapper/modern girl sense. A nation of refugees, the only reason the live in this ash heavy volcanic city. A young woman starts a new job, hiding her particular form of magic, until she realises she is working for criminals and magicians. On the whole enjoyable, nicely atypical and unobvious. The "about the author" said about how much Jasmine likes world building and honestly, that was my biggest problem with it - numerous languages for no reason, ogres for no reason (the faeries made plot sense, but ogres seemed tenuous), and centrally all these people living normally breathing ash every day just felt too unbelievable to me.

 

Bestiary - K-Ming Chang - I caught a book launch for this, Chang being interviewed by another I am familiar with and like. I ordered the book after the launch from bookshop in London who held the launch, and was interested to see that the cover had a Kelly Link quote as an extra boost for this being an interesting work. Notionally the story is told through a series of anecdotes and folk tales, split between three generations, so chapter narrators are Daughter, Mother, Grandmother. But for the most part the story is the daughter's story, 2nd generation Taiwanese American, and how the family shape her. To a degree the story is lumpy and all over the place, it is hard to pin down a clear narrative and say "this is what this book is about." On the other hand, it is a joy of fantastic realism and oddity. The family live in a house build on landfill, holes open in the back garden triggering odd experiences. The daughter is told a story of a tiger spirit, who parents warn will eat children's toes if they don't go to bed - a tale that came from China to Taiwan, and persisted even though the island has no tigers, and on to America with immigrants. The daughter grows a tiger's tale, falls in love with girl at her school, squabbles with her brother. I can't explain this book, at times dream like, at times dizzying and hallucinogenic. I enjoyed.

 

Tindalos Asset - Caitlin R. Kiernan - The third in this series of novellas. There is an element, I've said of the previous ones, where they haven't really satisfied. And yet, in some way the previous stuck with me. So I read the third. Which, feels like the best of the three. I'm not sure whether the titular character was in the first one, I suspect not, but the Signalman is her handler and was definitely in the previous. Like the previous the story jumps around in time, piecing together the security agency's actions as they endeavour to prevent the latest potential Lovecraftian apocalypse. Here a siren priestess returns, and despite the asset's failure to stop her the last time she is forced back into operation. Quick, satisfying read.

 

What Abigail Did That Summer - Ben Aaronvitch - the third Rivers of London novella, set at same time as one of the previous novels, Peter is out of London and Abigail is drawn into a case of missing children by the talking foxes. There are a couple of stylistic niggles, particularly the persistent footnotes (and why they are addressed to an American audience). But as ever Aaronvitch satisfies and again as a novella this is a quick read.

 

Mythago Wood - Robert Holdstock - I've read a few Holdstock, but not this one, I've had it sitting for awhile, understanding it is considered by many to be a key text. Seeing various chatter on twitter, I bumped it up my reading list. Steve and Chris were neglected by their father, who was obsessed by the small patch of woods adjacent to their property. The brothers went to war, were affected by war, and the father died. Steve returns home, to find that Chris is now obsessed - the woods are not what they seem, they are primal woods, haunted by "mythago", or archetype historic figures from British mythology. Chris vanishes seeking his love, but instead she comes for Steve. The brothers fall out, and this leads deep into the impossible woods. Likely dated in places, and honestly feels like it gets a little bogged down in itself at times. Fairly consistent ideas with the other works of his I've read, and fairly enjoyable with that.

 

Dealbreaker - LX Beckett - sequel to Gamechanger, set 20 years or so after the 1st. I enjoyed Gamechanger a lot, and Dealbreaker doesn't disappoint - exciting, engaging, and to me essential science fiction. Unlike Gibson's Jackpot climate collapse, Beckett flips it so that the rich don't win, people work together sharing resources, encouraging pro-social behaviour to save the world. In book 2, things are still difficult, but pushing technology the story expands into space and first contact. Frankie who was a kid in book one is now a top pilot and is pushing out to the limits of our space to where the Exemplar races are waiting. But again, there are those who work against the common good, for their own selfish aims and to undermine everyone else. Over 500 pages, but a good solid page turner, which I thoroughly enjoyed and thoroughly recommend.

 

Walking to Aldebaran - Adrian Tchaikovsky - picked this up after friend's mention elsewhere. A novella, under 100 pages, read in a day. Scientists find the classic SF Big Dumb Object floating out past Pluto, inscrutable and inexplicable. A team of explorers is sent, and Gary, the British astronaut, finds himself wandering a vast labyrinth, encountering strange aliens, and not really understanding what any of it means. Fits into the lockdown/isolated location thing I was struck by with Armageddon House in February. I had mixed feelings, the back story felt extraneous at times, and the writing felt like it was trying too hard in one or two places. But interesting and largely enjoyable.

 

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Work and life got complicated in February, and work at least even more complicated in March. I hope I can find some stability now.

 

I started the reread of Stephenson's Reamde, but I could not finish it. Then I went for Fall, as that was the reason for the reread, and I have abandoned it around page 350. He tries too hard, and the only one character I care, a little, is Dodge himself, and I think that is spillover from Reamde. The first 300 pages are an introduction, and possibly another attempt by Stephenson to be considered a serious futurist, which is where he is always behind, despite his actual technical knowledge, compared to Sterling or Gibson. Because he sees only a small window, and misses the picture. Eventually I will get back to it, because it is interesting and informative, but that is not what I am looking for now.

 

So after the Fall fiasco, I was quite succesful with Japanese writers. After the overdose of Banana Yoshimoto in January, I read Hiromi Kawakami's The Nakano Thrift Shop. The book is more a collection of short stories, or “vignettes”, in the life of the four main characters, than a coherent whole. However they progress chronologically and they build on the previous ones. The characters grow and change. The final chapter serves as an epilogue to in a way tie up the loose ends.

I really enjoy the window the author opens on a Japanese woman’s life, even if it is only how close we are in most things, as well as so alien in others. The four main characters are somehow outsiders that nevertheless have managed to find a place. However they still are torn between conformity and happiness. The novel does not resolve the dilemma, and in a way the reader can choose how it goes.

All the characters are lovable, even with their defects, and you end up caring about them, which shows the skill of the author in building up a small universe in a thrift shop.

 

As I felt there was aconnection between Mr. Nakano and Mr. Nishino, possibly due to all the womanizing, I reread The Ten Loves of Mr. Nishino, from the same author. And yes they have their similarity, though without the counterpoint of his sister. It lacks the progression we see in the Nakano Thrift Shop, however.

 

It is a pleasure to read full stories that you can savor in a few hours. So I continued with Sayaka Murata Convenience Store Woman. This is a short book about trying to conform, and finding your place. Though it is quite specifically Japanese, most of it, with different details, could fit anywhere.

It starts as a comedy, but halfway it becomes an unflattering view of society, with some uneasy moments as normality is shown as fake. That will resonate more powerfully on those people who feel life should have an instruction manual and that others know something you don’t.

The ending, while unsatisfactory, is the only one that fits.

 

With my mood fitting ordered lives and short reads, I read in Spanish Yanagi Soetsu The beauty of everyday things. This is a collection of essays and articles presenting his views on the artistic value of everyday objects. Sometimes philosophical, sometimes very specific, they span a period of over 40 years where his efforts became popular and influenced art and design in Japan and abroad.

I went to him because I was looking for the principles behind the Muji Stores, and, as far as I know, he was the one who first recognized the intrinsic value of simplicity ("muji") in common objects, one of the greates effects of Japanese arts and crafts in the rest of the world.

As in all collected works there are some pearls, but also some failures. He was still a man of his period and with certain aesthetic snobbism (rejecting machine manufactured objects, and therefore ignoring design as an art), and you have to work through some dross to find those pearls.

 

I am also reading a vanity ress autobiography of a friend of my father, dealing with industrialization in Franco's Spain, and how the automotive industry worked to fulfill the regime's aim of a car in every hoesehold, and how that at the end killed all homegrown initiatives to become colonized by the multinationals. As that is also a big chunk of my father's life, it is personally interesting, even if the writing is dreadful.

 

Finally my brother loaned me his 1928 edition of Lowell Thomas' Raiders of the Deep. This is a book on German submarine warfare in the First World War, written by an American journalist based on interviews after the war.

Apparently it was compulsory reading for German submarine officers in the Second World War, which is ironic on a way, as the tactics and systems were quite different, but also understandable, as it presents the submarine officers as gentlemen corsairs, an elite breed of technological fighting aristocrats.

I can only assume that either they did not describe the drudgery and claustrophobic stress of a submarine, or the author preferred to gloss it over and focus on the courage of crewing a ship that might not surface each time it submerged and where you really were alone against the world.

Interesting but flawed, in my opinion, based mostly on reading later submarine accounts, but also showing the kind of book that influenced the following generation of submariners.

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I have "The Ten Loves of Mr. Nishino" part read after you had mentioned it previously, but it doesn't work got me as well as Strange Weather/Thrift Store, it feels too much like shorts. I will go back and read. Though, "People From My Neighbourhood" worked better than Nishino, and it is also more fragmented.

 

Spent Friday reading the latest Becky Chambers, "The Galaxy, and the Ground Within". The suggestion is that this is the fourth and final volume of The Wayfarer series - which always struck me as unfortunate pitch, given the Wayfarer and her crew are only present in book 1 - though, like the others, there are connections here to The Wayfarer. A small planet, middle of nowhere, but a convenient hub for wormholes to place that are somewhere. So the planet becomes populated by service stations - the story is set in a mom and son station, folks stop for a couple of hours, refuel, get snacks, free dessert in the garden, before getting their connecting tunnel. There are three ships, each with a single passenger, when there is an accident and the system has to shut, so that effectively the five characters are stuck, waiting for connections. Four alien races, none of them human: the mom and son big floppy muppet creatures, determined to make sure everyone enjoys their stay; the colour communicating lizard alien, who was in book 1, and is on way to meet the Wayfarer; an insect/beetle alien, disgraced and in exile with a crucial appointment they must make; and a refugee, unlike any of the others, mistreated and consistently on the edges of society. Typical of Chambers, this is warm and charming, there are tensions between the characters, between the races, there are questions of whether any of them will make their connections on time and if no what that will mean for their lives. So plenty of drama, for essentially a handful of characters locked in a service station for a number of days. I enjoyed this a lot.

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I seem to have locked into rereading a lot of paranormal/fringe science books from my bookshelves for the last few months. Some, I hadn't read since childhood or early teens. It's my reading equivalent of comfort eating. Or at least it used to be. I found myself getting annoyed by how badly written some books were; the rest were just bad. As a world-wise, cynical sixty-year-old I found myself wondering how anyone could take some of them seriously but clearly when I was younger I took them seriously enough to spend money on. Brad Steiger's Flying Saucers Are Hostile is probably the worst of the bunch, as he cites multiple UFO cases that he appeared to have made up on the spot. Donald Keyhoe's Aliens From Space is an ex-marine settling old scores with the Air Force and only tangentially discussing the USAF and CIA's fumbled response to the saucer scares of the 50s and 60s. Kenneth Arnold, the pilot whose sighting started much of the saucer craze, wrote a surprisingly sober account of his experience (and his subsequent encounter with a possible CIA asset by the name of Fred Criswell, who later made a living as a DJ on right-wing radio) in The Coming of the Saucers, which was co-written by Ray Palmer, who published the Shaver mystery stories in Amazing Stories.  It's all connected, you see...

 

But I have been revisiting John A Keel's body of work this past month and damn, they're a frustrating read. He had a keen mind and he was great at making connections with experiencers and getting them to open up. He put in the field work more than most (and he doesn't let us forget it) and his investigation of the Point Pleasant disaster and sightings of an entity known as Mothman led him to create an interesting thesis of the paranormal that owes more to The Trickster than it does little green men.  Keel's encounters with Indrid Cold certainly read as such.

 

But Keel became fixated on a number of urban myths that have long since been debunked (he had clear favourite bits of evidence: Florida's fifteen-foot-high penguin crops up over and over again in his work, as does the Socorro close encounter and the Oliver Lerch abduction—which appears to be a retelling of an Ambrose Bierce short story) and leaves me wondering if all the rest of his "evidence" is equally flimsy. He doesn't help matters by aping Charles Fort's disdain of science, either. He believes Velikovsky, but not Sagan. He espouses the hollow Earth theory, but scoffs at the idea of black holes. I'm left wishing that he'd brought his considerable intellect to bear on matters a little more critically. Operation Trojan Horse is probably his best and most convincing work. The Eighth Tower is probably his worst.

Edited by Chris H
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  • 2 weeks later...

Gamechanger by L X Beckett — Excellent example of solarpunk / cli-fi sort of in the same category as Karl Schroeder's Stealing Worlds. The premise is we have a society where we've managed to tame the threats of kleptocracy and toxic social media  with app assistants running our lives, monitoring our health and encouraging everyone to be positive and pitch into the still monumental task of saving the world from death by global warming and a crashed biosphere. You can stroke or strike anyone and the higher your social "karma" the less ads and interference you get from the digital sphere. Be too much of a troll and you end up in social media purgatory where you are still afforded the basics but every request brings you ads and social education interruptions first. Enter Rubi Whiting, a high-flying young Bounceback generation woman trying to switch career tracks from game player to social worker/lawyer who gets a very strange client who is trapped on the lowest level of the digital sphere and unable to make himself conform well enough to step up, but who also seems strangely powerful in his ability to crack digital systems… is he a demented senior citizen? An AI?

 

At any rate, well worth a read IMHO. A fun story with great characters to root for and against and lots and lots of fascinating suggestions for how to get out of the current hole we've dug

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Reading a lot of novels in April, so far, less shorts than in some months.

 

Bitterhall - Helen McClory - Contemporary novel by Edinburgh novelist, I don't think it expressly says that it is set in Edinburgh, but I assume it is and recognise some of the locations. Daniel is attracted to his new flatmate Tom, but quickly forms an intense friendship with Tom's girlfriend Orla. Daniel is obsessed with a historic diary, that he has stolen from a friend, but when Tom reads the diary something in it changes him, haunts him. The bulk of the novel is told by Daniel and Orla, their side of events, their meeting, their friendship, and their observation/understanding of what is happening with Tom.  The friendship, and chemistry between the two has a lot of appeal and drives the novel, particularly from Daniel's POV. An immersive novel, that I enjoyed a lot, though perhaps had mixed feelings about the end.


Wilder Girls - Rory Power - I believe I picked this up after a recommendation from Jeff VanderMeer, who has a quote in the book. It has a certain Lord of the Flies/Annihilation feel to it - an exclusive girl's school located on what appears to be a contaminated island, they are quarantined from the main land, as each of the girls goes through a transformation. Over time the survivors try to find a balance, but more mutations are inevitable, food is running out, and something has to give. Mainly revolves around a group of friends, their reliance on each other and how the changes threaten to tear them apart. Quick, engaging, weird girl's school.

 

Dread Nation - Justina Ireland - from one weird girl's school, to another: Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls. The American civil war was cancelled after the dead soldiers got back up and started eating the living. This changed America substantially, but it didn't eradicate racism - the theory that the Negro isn't really human, so like an animal is immune to zombie bites, which obviously makes them perfect for being the first line of defence. Jane McKeene has been moved from the plantation to the combat school, where she will be trained to be a body guard for rich white women. The politicians claim everything is better, but families are disappearing, hostility is growing, and when Jane sticks her nose where she shouldn't things get real bad. At times the believability is stretched, the old chosen one, Jane is better than her peers in every way, people underestimate the highly trained killer because racism. Though, the racism is real, shocking and believable. And on the whole Jane works well, and I put the sequel on my wish list.

 

The Black Veins - Ashia Monet - I appear to have hit a run of catching up on semi-YA teen girl adventures - Blythe is a guardian, which means she has been given special magical powers, but so far has no access to them. When an opposing magical regime try and kill the guardians steps are taken to protect them, but not before Blythe's family are kidnapped by the enemy and she aims to recruit the rest of the guardians in a rescue attempt. This is a self-published novel, and it shows. I don't have a problem with self-publishing, I have no doubt there are some great novels. This one is very much enjoyable for what it is, it is a page turner, and in terms of craft there is a good solid pacing, elements that are introduced come back in a satisfying manner, and the ending nails the story, while leaving it open for book 2. But, as I say, it shows, the multitude of typos, of the wrong words in places, wrong characters. To be fair, plenty of professional novels have some of these issues, some very prestigious novels even. But this definitely feels like it could have benefited from another draft, tightening up some aspects, and really nailing all the errors that shouldn't have been there. Definitely entertaining enough, but you are warned.

 

The Employees - Olga Ravn - as recommended by @Fashionpolice, Danish SF novel, translated into English and published in UK by indie press that specialises in translated works - of which there are number of very good publishers at the moment. A short work, I suspect might count as a novella by word count, rather than a novel. 133 pages, a collection of witness statements, some a single sentence, others 2-3 pages. The people of the Six-Thousand Ship are all employees of the company that sent the ship into space. Some of them are born, human, they'll grow old and die. Some of them were manufactured and trained in 2 years, and will not die, can regenerate. But in other ways it is hard to tell them apart, they live in mixed dorms, eat in mixed mess hall. They find alien objects on the planet New Discovery and study them. The way the book unfolds it isn't entirely clear what is going on, that is up to you to piece together. The rivalries between human and humanoid, humans with their hologram children touching on themes of mortality/procreation/immortality. There is the sense of isolation being so far from home, and being somewhere that reminds of home, but isn't. There is a sense that the objects are having strange effects on people, the way the smell, feel, seem to get into people's heads, build obsessions. As the reports progress there is a sense of unease, of things going wrong, of things building towards something. It can be interesting to see the reviews, what other folk thought, though I also hate generic "it was like film X and TV program Y". The reviews on the cover suggest "Samuel Beckett if he had written the script for Alien" and "A sort of delicate Westworld - compact, crystalline, unnerving." As I reached the end I did wonder how this would feel filmed by Tarkovsky - the objects kept in a room and the responses to that recall Stalker, while the suggestion of a weird palpable alien influence recalls Solaris. This won't be for everyone, there aren't particularly characters, there isn't a clear plot, or development, you have to put it together. A genuinely odd little book, very much satisfying in its way.

 

Edited by remotevoices
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