Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Memory Error is in the current Print edition of Golden Visions

You can find my story Memory Error on page five. There is some debate on the position of my story as the first story in the magazine. Did the editor want to start of the magazine with the best, so you keep reading? Or did she want the stories to just keep getting better as you go? You decide.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Book Review: The City & the City, by China Miėville

The City & the City The City & the City by China Miéville

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you get when you take a hard-bitten detective plot and set it in two cities that share the same geography, but the populations of each city ignore, or "unsee" each other? This novel.

The people of both cities don't see the trains, cars, pedestrians, houses, businesses which are "other" even though they share the same space. A "crosshatched" street might be teaming with people and buildings of both cities, but no one notices. Like when people "unsee" the homeless.

And if they do see, then they are in Breach, and the forces of Breach move in. People disappear in Breach, never to be seen again.

Detective Borlu of Beszel finds the body of a young woman. The clues however, indicate her murder was in the other city, Ul Qoma. Shadowy forces are at work. Could there even be a third city, hidden from both?

A great read. I guessed some of the mystery ahead its revelation, but not most.

In some ways this is the most accessible and least weird of China Mieville's adult fiction. But if this is your first Mieville, it could very well be the strangest book you've ever read. Read it, you'll be glad you did.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Book Review: Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

Wintersmith (Discworld) Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fun Y/A Tiffany Aching book, the third so far. I haven't read the second one yet, but this book is a stand alone story, and that didn't matter. In this book Tiffany is 13, and boys are starting to be an issue. When one of the boys interested in her is the elemental force of Winter, things get a little strange for her.

The story is very much a coming of age tale, where Tiffany is surrounded by adults with their own visions for who and what Tiffany should become. Most of those adults are rather odd witches or hard drinking wee free men. Amid all the insanity, the things that Tiffany cares about, her village and sheep mostly, are threatened, and she has to come up with her own solutions as she grows from girl to young woman. Or young witch.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book Review: Brasyl

Brasyl Brasyl by Ian McDonald

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

An amazing and mind blowing book.

This book comes at you with a three braided plot, with one braid in Brazil's colonial past, one in it's urban present, and the other in a strange future. The past follows a Jesuit priest set on a Heart of Darkness quest to stop a renegade Jesuit who has carved out an empire in the Amazon. The present Point of View character is a reality TV show producer who comes up with the idea to have a Reality TV trail of the goalie who lost the 1950 world cup for Brazil and cost the nation decades of self-doubt. The future gives us the world of a high tech bisexual businessman/hustler who falls in love with a beautiful quantum computer hacker.

All of the characters are well drawn and when the braid switches, you get immediately caught up in the life of the next character.

What the reader doesn't get at the start of the book, is how these threads could ever meet up. But meet up they do, so pay attention to the weird stuff, because that's where the tie-in comes from.

Some SF/F books are so subtle in their fantastic elements, you can recommend them to your friends outside the genre. Not Brasyl. This is why you read science fiction. I imagine that readers of literary fiction must feel the same way, "this is such a life altering book, but no one outside of our tribe will understand it. Poor simpletons." This is such a book for the Science Fiction reader. It is truly sad that outsiders couldn't begin to understand. Simpletons....

It's an amazing ride, but I was slightly put off by one of the ideas in the ending. Perhaps only because I had read Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson years ago. I don't want to include any spoilers, so I'll leave it at that. Not enough of a problem for me to take off a star.

The ending was emotionally satisfying and my major disappointment what that it came to an end. If you read Science Fiction, you don't want to miss this. Ian McDonald's best work, and I like Ian McDonald.

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