June 18th, 2007

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book update

Slightly less than a month ago, I asked for your help in deciding what I should read next. This is what I ended up reading:

* Connie Willis's "Uncharted Territory", which got three votes. Entertaining, also contained lots of gender stuff. Not my favorite Willis, but pretty good.

* Ken Macleod's "Cosmonaut Keep", which got two votes and there were some nice comments about Macleod from people who didn't vote for it. This was very good and I think I will try to read it again in the (hopefully not too distant) future; it deserved more sustained attention than I was capable of giving it. Also if I understand correctly there is (or will be) a sequel and it would be a good idea to make sure I understood everything in this book before I read the next.

The book's chapters alternated between a (implied) near future world in which the European union is united under Communist rule, and the Russians make contact with an alien vessel. Information from the aliens accidentally makes its way to a member of the IWWWW (International Workers of the World Wide Web), who defects to the United States, then ends up on a Russian satellite ... The other chapters are in a more distant future on a planet settled (some time in the past) by cosmonauts, in which some humans team up with an intellilgent dinosaur to rediscover the secrets of celestial navigation, more or less. (Hopefully this is not too spoilery.)

* Keiichi Sigsawa's "Kino No Tabi: Book One of The Beautiful World", which got two votes. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I liked it better than the anime (I decided I liked the anime better), and then figuring out why I liked the anime better. There are some aspects of each not present in the other, but to say more would be to spoil certain things for people who have not already seen or read the series. (Which you should do. Both are quite good.)

I mailed this book to paracelsvs, so maybe he will have some comments if he's read it yet.

* Rudy Rucker's "Mad Professor". A bunch of short pieces, many of them collaborations, with some notes at the end. I have a weakness for conceptual science fiction stories, so I maybe liked 'Six Thought Experiments Concerning the Nature of Computation' (itself a collection of six even smaller pieces) or 'Visions of the Metanovel' best; of the relatively straightforward stories, I liked 'Jenna and Me' (about the presidential daughter) a lot, and 'Cobb Wakes Up' is a nice little piece (it's taken from an old draft of 'Realware').

* The July 2007 issue of Asimov's, which got one vote. vardissakheli voted for this because it contained a Michael Swanwick piece, which turned out to be a goofy little riff on Asimov's recent anniversary and made me laugh many times.

Not on the original list, but I read it anyway:

* Austin Grossman's "Soon I Will Be Invincible", a novel with two narrators. The first is Doctor Impossible, a supergenius supervillain who simultaneously plots to take over the world and ponders the question of why, if he's such a genius, he's ended up where he is in life. The second is Fatale, a newly-recruited cyborg superhero. My father got me this book for my birthday; it's quite good and I think cgoldfish in particular would really like it.

This is leading up to another poll, but I will save that for another post.
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Reading Poll #2

While I was in New Jersey this past weekend I went to the Montclair Book Center, a used bookstore that I have fond memories of (I lived in Montclair from 1997 to 1999). So I got a bunch more books.

Add those to the books I already had in my 'to-read' pile and you end up with this:

What should I read next?

The August 2007 issue of Asimov's, containing stories by Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling (a collaboration), Kathleen Ann Goonan, Tom Purdom, Daryl Gregory, Tim McDaniel, Justin Stanchfield, and Jack Skillingstead. (141 pages.)
John Brunner's "Muddle Earth". (276 pages.)
Paul di Filippo's "Time's Black Lagoon", an authorized "Creature from the Black Lagoon" book. (301 pages.) I am very curious about this.
Joe Haldeman's "Camouflage". (289 pages.)
Henry Kuttner's "The Dark World". (126 pages.)
Henry Kuttner's "The Mask of Circe". (158 pages.)
Ken Macleod's "Learning the World". (364 pages.) Won the Prometheus award, was also a finalist for the Hugo.
Joseph Mitchell's "Up in the Old Hotel". (716 pages.) A collection of his short works for the New Yorker and two longer books, I believe. This was a birthday present from my friend Pam. Not science fiction!
Charlie Stross's "The Family Trade". (312 pages.) First book in the 'Merchant Princes' series.
Vernor Vinge's "Rainbows End". (381 pages.) Nominated for the Hugo (voting has not yet occurred).

As always, do not let ignorance of any or all of the books prevent you from voting! Also, if you have any comments about any of these books or authors please let me know.