December 9th, 2012
|10:14 am - Books Read, 2012|
The Way We Fall, by Megan Crewe. A YA dystopia that was in our WFC swag bag, a quick read. Liked it well enough. (Mostly I kept thinking of the agent who had just told David “Plague stories don’t sell.” Yeah, like Feed. Oh wait.) (See also...)
Leviathan Wakes, by S. A. Corey. Thrilling space action against a background of three-way Earth/Mars/Belter distrust and saber-rattling. Chapters alternate between two viewpoint characters, one a tired, noir-ish policeman, the other a younger and more idealistic shuttle pilot. The author(s) (Corey is a pseudonymous construct) convey some of the differences in attitude that might be expected between people who grew up on a ship or station, and those for whom gravity always had always come from the same direction, and air just naturally hung around on its own.
My dislikes are are things that could easily have been rectified had authors or editor cared. As crewmates on a very small shuttle we have both Alex and Amos; major characters are named Havelock and Holden; and so on. Women are almost nil, outside of two or three who apparently had to be female so that the male leads could have someone to faunch after.
The Year’s Best Science Fiction, 25th Annual, ed. Gardner Dozois. Stories from 2007, and a damn good year it was.
Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog, by Kitty Burns Florey. A love song to sentence diagramming. She learned it in 1950s Catholic school; I learned it in mid-’60s public school. It’s a delight to find someone else who will admit to enjoying it! I do mind that she sets up as straw man, and then “reluctantly” shoots down, the common assertion that “If you can diagram a sentence, you will understand it!” Yes that’s nonsense, of course it is. Diagramming’s value is not that it causes understanding; it’s that it diagnoses mis-understanding. If you can’t diagram it, that’s evidence that you don’t actually understand it.
A Live Coal in the Sea, by Madeleine L’Engle. When I was young I loved her books. They were comfort reading, which struck me even then as surprising because they always seemed to involve funerals, but there it was. This is a later novel, and one or both of us has changed too much for that to hold. The talk of God rolls off me, for one thing, and there are key places where something’s supposed to be a horrible, shocking life-changer and I just can’t perceive it that way. The writing is nothing special; only enough description of characters, places, or actions to directly carry the plot along.
Matter, by Iain Banks. Another 600-page Culture novel, this one came off as a disappointingly quick read after the intricacy of Surface Detail.
|Date:||December 10th, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)|| |
I'm always bemused when authors name characters like that. Doesn't it occur to them that readers may get the characters confused? Don't they know they have 26 letters to choose from? Unless there's a compelling reason (historical characters whose names can't be changed), choose names beginning with different letters for your characters, damn it.
So we can't have more than 26 characters ?
It's going to break my suspension of disbelief to have an even distribution there in pretty much any culture I am aware of; indeed, in many settings, getting enough characters for a large-scale novel without outright repetition's not particularly plausible.
But the lack of females, that's a much deeper problem.
It becomes clear in the second volume that the authors are aware that is a problem and doing things to deconstruct the trope that required that first volume for set-up.