Monday 31 August 2015

The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad, 1907
(August 2015)

A slightly bizarre reading experience, this. While continuing the slow migration of my library from the UK to Japan (i.e. going through boxes of books in Mum's loft) I found an old copy of this with a bookmark wedged about forty pages from the end.

Friday 28 August 2015

When the Emperor Was Divine

(August 2015)

You’ll recall that I was blown away by The Buddha in the Attic, which you could say acts as something of a prequel to this. Emperor isn’t quite up to those rarified standards, but is still a very good book, dealing with the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, and so reading this during early August just added to the normal merry-go-round of opinion and counter-opinion regarding the end of the Pacific war. Once again, I'm quite glad I’ve got the excuse of these bite-sized holiday round-up posts to let me avoid expanding on that, to be honest.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Starship Troopers

(July 2015)

So now I’ve read some Heinlein. A handbook of military etiquette leavened only by some tedious and dubious civics lessons. Disappointed Grandpa Lecture in its purest, most literal form.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

The Wicked + The Divine / Sex Criminals

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie ,et al, 2015
Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky, 2015
(July 2015)

I really should stop pairing these two up when I read and write about them. It's not doing me or Sex Criminals any favours at all. Don't get me wrong; SC is pretty good, even if Jon continues to annoy the everloving shit out of me. WicDiv, however, is astonishing. I know I mentioned this last time, but it really does seem almost intentionally set up to push my personal buttons in the best possible ways. I can't recommend this one highly enough; if you're not reading it you should be.

Monday 24 August 2015

The Dangerous Type

(July 2015)

Awesome cover, dreadful title. The story itself hovers somewhere in between the two, if, unfortunately, closer to the latter than the former. Fighting and fucking, basically: the SF equivalent of a summer bonkbuster. And it’s a good thing I read it on my holidays, as if I hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have finished it.

Friday 21 August 2015

Master of the House of Darts

(July 2015)

The final volume in the Obsidian and Blood trilogy. In and of itself it's a nicely fantastical murder-mystery, if in places a touch repetitive (Copal incense! Always with the copal incense) and with a slightly abrupt conclusion. As a way to finish off the series it's stronger: the characters are fleshed out more (including, importantly, the previously wasted Mihmatini) and the plotting and politics are convoluted enough to keep things interesting without becoming overwhelming. There's a marked improvement across all three installments, which makes the current buzz surrounding de Bodard's newest book very easy to believe. As if my unread pile wasn't big enough already.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Things Fall Apart

(July 2015)

"Shakespearian tragedy" it says here in what passes for my notes. Clearly deserves something more substantial and less glib, but I'm equally unable to provide that right now. Not exactly beach read material, but obviously so, so much more.

Wednesday 19 August 2015


Sean Jackson, 2015
(June 2015)

A belated plug for my review over at Strange Horizons.

China's War with Japan

Rana Mitter, 2013
(July 2015)

Holidays are over. I'm sure you're delighted, because this means that not only do you have a maudlin and self-indulgent State of the Nation/Family/Self post to look forward to in the next couple of weeks, but I'm also going to be indulging my slightly obsessive record-keeping streak with individual updates for my summer reading. Hurrah!