Finally, I’ve made it through these ten novellas! It’s been a lot of fun, discovering all these new worlds and their authors, however I have to say that I’m glad to be moving on. I usually don’t take on a required ten-book reading list at once. That’s insane. I like to go from book to book, often on a whim I decide to read new authors, and reread old ones. I’m glad I did, though. And I hope you’ve enjoyed what I had to say about these books.
The winners for the 2017 Locus Awards have been announced, and the book who won the Novella Award isn’t the one I would have chosen, however it was one of my top picks. If you want to know more, go check out the Locus Website.
Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw. This is so Hard Boil, that at first it is a parody of Hard Boil, but then, as the story becomes a bit more serious, a little bit of Noir settles in and balances it out a bit. I enjoyed this book, and can’t wait to read more from this author. Tough guys, plenty of gore, weird creatures growing out of people’s necks, a little bit more gore, and plenty of black magic. What’s not to like? The writing is good. The imagery is perverse. The rhythm is fast. This is a good fun read, with plenty of real world nastiness that will continue to lurk in your subconscious long after you’re done.
The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds. I thought this was more of a long short story than a novella, however I’m not sure what the distinction is. No matter, this is good. If anybody can fit a space opera style story and make it work in a book that’s less than 100 pages long, Alastair Reynolds can do it. This is not my favorite form of SF, however I do enjoy it every once in a while. What makes Reynolds a pro, is his ability to world-build and develop character all at the same time, making it fluid and interdependent of each other. He gives us just enough back-story, and doesn’t try to give us everything except what’s needed for this particular story. I know that sounds redundant and obvious, but it isn’t. The lesser writer, such as myself and why I can’t seem to finish anything, will try to tell you everything, and there’s simply no need for that. Reynolds is a master at what he does, and when I’m in the mood for space operas, I go to him because I know I won’t be disappointed.
This Census-Taker by China Mieville. At first, I had a really hard time getting into this book. I started it several times, then put it down and read something else. Finally, I told myself, I have to read this book. The language is good, though the jumping form one point of view to another was disorienting at first. Also, I couldn’t get a hold on anything concrete in the narrative at first. But I’d told myself I’d read all ten of the books, and so I kept going back to it. Like I said the writing itself is very good, and that helped. Finally, almost halfway through the book, the narrative and the characters started to grab me. Slowly it became a full embrace, and I was immersed in the story. Under any other occasion, I would have set this book down and never picked it back up. I’m glad I did, and it was worth it. It paid off. I’ll have to read more from this author.
The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell. Easy fast read with a slight bit of horror, but frankly not enough, in my opinion. This book isn’t at the top of the list for me, though it isn’t bad. It’s a fun romp, basically, which unfortunately doesn’t go far or deep enough with any subject or genre or imagery. I liked that one of the three protagonist is a woman who happens to be a priest, or vicar, an almost gullibly positive nice one who actually wants to help people and do good, and also a witch, the good kind. She not only deals with people’s perceptions of the supernatural, she also helps to protect the village, and the world, from forces beyond our understanding, all the while everybody is going around thinking they’re just having a jolly Christmas season. It is, however, annoying when you figure out who the bad guys are way before any of the protagonist, and so the suspense is now: will they get the bad guys before the bad guys get them. That’s always a hard one to pull off because we know how most books end: The Good guys-galls win in the end, and the world is good again. Anyway, not a bad read. Not the greatest either. I’ll probably give this author one more chance.
Thank you for reading my blog. Please let your voice be heard, and write a comment below. Let me know what you think. I love hearing from you. If there’s a book you think I should read, or an author you think I should know about, please let me know. If you have views on the books I review, I’d like to hear them. It’s ok to disagree with me. It’s ok to agree with me. It’s ok to have an opinion.
Thanks again, and have a great day!
The list of all ten books:
The Lost Child of Lychford, Paul Cornell (Tor.com Publishing 2016) — Part III
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing 2016) — Part I
Hammers on Bone, Cassandra Khaw (Tor.com Publishing 2016) — Part III
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing 2016) — Part II
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing 2016) — Part I
This Census-taker, China Miéville (Del Rey 2017) — Part III
The Iron Tactician, Alastair Reynolds (NewCon Press 2016) — Part III
The Dispatcher, John Scalzi (Subterranean 2017) — Part II
Pirate utopia, Bruce Sterling (Tachyon Publications 2016) — Part I
A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing 2016) — Part II
Peace & Love
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