Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Signal to Noise

(January, 2017)

The first book of the year gets 2017 off to a mixed start. On the one hand, this garnered a fair amount of praise and I can see why: it's well written, thoughtfully plotted, and the characters are only too believable. But on the other, it also served to remind me that coming of age stories really aren't my cup of tea at all. If I were less of a middle-aged curmudgeon I'd be able to praise this for more that its technical execution, but as it stands I'll just say that if pig-headed and self-obsessed teenagers are what floats your boat then you could do a lot worse than this.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Count Zero

(December 2016)

So I finally acquired a replacement copy of this, and it was good. In the light of having read most of Gibson’s other stuff it was a little underwhelming, to be honest, in that it’s a very, very obvious bridge between Neuromancer (the plot’s essentially a carbon copy) and the Bigend ‘cool hunting’ books, and it doesn’t manage to execute either aspect quite as well as those it links together. Judged as a stand-alone work, however, it’s a very slickly executed piece of cyberpunk, which is only to be expected, I suppose.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Hammers on Bone

(December 2016)

A lovely little noirish Lovecraft/Chandler mash-up set, hilariously, in early 21st century Croyden. Well, I say 'lovely'…

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Gunslinger

(December 2016)

I'm pretty sure I've read some Stephen King before, but I'm not sure what. I know I've read The Running Man, but I'm not so sure about stuff he's written under his real name. I've a vague recollection of a book featuring about a rich writer and a terrifying lake, which doesn't really narrow it down all that much.

Friday, 6 January 2017


(December 2016)

Steampunk alternate history in the Belgian Congo. With a premise like that you know things are going to be interesting, at the very least.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Obelisk Gate

(September 2016)

Once more I find myself incapable of stringing together much in the way of coherent thought, though that's probably as much to do with the two-month gap between reading the book and writing this as much as anything else.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Heat, Flesh, Trash

Heat - Khairani Barokka & Ng Yi-Sheng (eds), 2016
Flesh - Cassandra Khaw & Angeline Woon (eds), 2016
Trash - Dean Francis Alfar and Marc de Faoite (eds), 2016
(July 2016)

Three 'urban anthologies' from Fixi Novo reviewed over at Strange Horizons.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Bookmark Five

Hello. It's been a while since we last spoke. Anything of note happen in the interim that we should be discussing? Geopolitically, like?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Kingdom of Speech

(September 2016)

Not a book so much as (very) long-form journalism, and exemplifying both the strengths and the weaknesses of the genre. I will refer you elsewhere for far more erudite refutations of Wolfe's linguistic scholarship than I could hope to manage. It should, however, be noted early that the concern of this book is only tangentially language; The Kingdom of Speech is really interested in how ideas are born, tested, and accepted or rejected. Almost by accident Wolfe gives us something far more interesting than his fatuously simplistic notions of linguistic evolution. Behold instead the 'Swinging Dick' theory of scientific advancement.