#32: Darwinia (Robert Charles Wilson)

Another well-written, imaginative book by Robert Charles Wilson. Darwinia is a book that annoyed some people — one, who shall remain anonymous because I’ve forgotten who it was, enough to spoil the book in an unrelated posting on rec.arts.sf.written. Because of that posting — ten years ago now! — I knew too much about the novel and have (stupidly) avoided reading it all this time. Even knowing what I knew, it was a good read.

#29: Torchwood: Something in the Water (Trevor Baxendale)

Maybe I’m just grumpy, I don’t know. This book sort of laid flat, not doing much of anything to distinguish itself, the flashes of interesting stuff overwhelmed by the been-there done-that feeling of the main plot, something to do with alien invasion and contagion and what-not. Now, a book about those extra-dimensional lawyers serving Torchwood with a writ of ex dimension? Now that I really want to read!

#28: Permanence (Karl Schroeder)

A novel of culture change and paradigm shift, Permanence tells several stories of same. It does so without drawing many of its characters deeply; only a couple break through and actually become people.

Not that this means Permanence is a bad book, by any means; it is full of ideas and has several glorious action sequences. (In that sense it is a lot like Schroeder’s Virga novels.) I certainly enjoyed the reading of it.

#24 – 27: playing catch-up

Well, my plan to write about books I finished immediately after finishing kind of went kaput.

#24: The Last Wish (Andrzej Sapkowski) – A series of twisted fairy-tales starring a lanky, acid-witted mercenary, and the basis of the PC game “The Witcher”. It’s the first of the series to be released in English, though not the first of the series by a long shot, and more are coming. I had a lot of fun reading these stories, and it drove home how flavorful the dialog in the game was and how true to the original stories.

#25, 26: Crossing the Line, The World Before (Karen Traviss) – Two more books in the series started in City of Pearl. I wasn’t going to read them back-to-back but couldn’t wait after finishing the first. Still good, intelligent SF, though some things seemed to be repeated over and over as if to pound them into my head, when I’d already understood them.

#27: City of Ashes (Cassandra Clare) – The sequel to City of Bones. A young-adult supernatural action/romance novel. It didn’t really do a good enough job of reminding me what had happened in the first book, so I was a little fuzzy at the beginning. Then it ramped up and became a lot of fun, even if it wasn’t as dynamic as Bones. Ended with two great surprises. Looking forward to the next one.

#23: Extras (Scott Westerfeld)

For the first time in a long time, I forgot to write about a book. It’s not that I didn’t like Extras, because I really really did; it’s a fantastic extension to the Uglies universe, with a fascinating dual merit/fame economy and some really cool ideas. I just finished it right before going out to eat dinner, and then started the Witcher novel, and then and then and then…

#22: Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)

I am a bit unsure what to think, or to write. I found Blood Meridian a difficult book, obfuscated in language and style. Initially, I was worried I was giving it too much of a surface reading, but no; I think I understood the book, its main direction and where it all ends up. I also think that sometimes I didn’t expend enough effort on the actual reading to find anything deeper.

It’s very frustrating to be both fascinated and exasperated with a book and the experience of reading it like this. Perhaps I’ll return to it later, with a greater knowledge of the history behind the book and a map and the time and patience to read it like it deserves.

Oddly enough, I’d like to try another McCarthy book, but perhaps after some lighter fare.

The film version of this is probably doomed before it even gets started.

(Greatly edited after thinking about it more.)