Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Books Received; Allen Steele “…Where Angels Fear to Tread;” Bruce Sterling “The Littlest Jackal;” “Sacred Cow;” David Marusek “Getting to Know You;” “Cabbages and Kales, or, How We Downsized North America”

Posted by Mike on July 11, 2006

Received:

  • Joe Haldeman – Camouflage
  • Fritz Leiber – The Mind Spider & Other Stories
  • Peter Ackroyd – The House of Dr. Dee
  • Richard F. Burton, trans. – Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night Part 2
  • Richard Matheson – Collected Stories Vol. 2
  • Richard Matheson – Collected Stories Vol. 3
  • Gardner Dozois ed. – The Year’s Best Science Fiction. Eighth Annual
  • Datlow/Windling ed. – The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Fourteenth Annual
  • Fritz Leiber – The Ghost Light
  • Cao Xuequin – The Story of the Stone (aka The Dream of the Red Chamber) Volume 1 The Golden Days
  • Geoff Ryman – Air
  • Anatole France – Revolt of the Angels
  • Lucius Shepard – Louisiana Breakdown
  • Asimov’s (2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10/1989) (mostly for Shepard’s The Father of Stones in 9)
  • James Tiptree Jr. – Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (Tachyon)
  • Gene Wolfe – Strange Travelers
  • Gene Wolfe – Innocents Abroad
  • Theodore Sturgeon – The Perfect Host, The Complete Stories Vol. 5
  • Scott Lynch – The Lies of Locke Lamora

Still spending most of my reading time in shorts. Found Allen Steele’s Hugo-winning novella (title above) to be a good romp based on time travellers from the future who manage to blow an assignment having to do with the Hindenburg zeppelin and are lost in a new alternate timeline. I’ve read a couple of Steele’s shorts before and they’re always sharply written, good-time adventures in the pulp vein and this was no different.

I finished Bruce Sterling’s A Good Old Fashioned Future with what were probably the collection’s lesser two works, “The Littlest Jackal,” something of a comedy about terrorism in Finland, and “Sacred Cow,” about a futuristic Indian filmmaker. Both were fun reads, although I assumed I missed a lot of the humor in “Jackal,” much of it being political. Overall, a pretty great collection, worth it for the cycle ending with “Takalamakan.”

David Marusek’s shorts here are also part of a cycle, although it’s been a long time since I read the first story, if it weren’t for keeping tabs on what I’d already read, I’d have forgotten (it’s the one that was expanded for his first novel, Counting Heads). Marusek’s work here seems midway between Sterling or Vinge and Robert Reed. “Getting to Know You” deals with the evolution of new personal technology, while “Cabbages” deals with the president and his use of proxys (computer replicated images) during a time when the population surge has reached a crisis. Both are very readable novelettes. I’ve generally liked everything I’ve read by Marusek and these are no different.

Also read a couple more shorts in Sherry Decker’s Hook House collection, but will get to that when I’ve finished them all. And the fourth in Robert Reed’s Sister Alice novella series, whose title I can’t remember at the moment.

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