maharetr: Comic and movie images of Aisha's eyebrow ring (The Losers) (Default)
( Jul. 8th, 2016 09:08 pm)
Novellas -- reviewed in order of reading. Aiming for non-spoilery, unless there's a cut.

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com): Currently reading. (45/100 pages) Not as tightly written as I might have hoped, but solid enough, and compelling complications that are keeping me interested. [On finishing, a few days later:] I really appreciate the non-white POV, and the paste was neat. But...but fridge light logic hit HARD with spoilers )

  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment): Confidently written, it flirts with really interesting ideas of what it means to be alive/human/have autonomy etc, and then removes the most useful hinge of that. It's also noticeably Written By A Man, which is on one hand a reasonable thing, the author presumably being male! On the other, I'm tired of the male gaze on female characters. Not a bad story, but not the best, either.

  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon): Okay, the opening paragraph of this one made me keen softly with pleasure. seriously:

    My mother had a fondness for poetry. When my sister died, but before the news of my own conscription, mother showed me passaged from a work by Giresun. It was a poem called “Morning Flowers”.
    This was an illegal act.


    That glorious moment of craft was not quite backed up by the rest of the story, but I still read its 200ish pages in an afternoon. One of my bugbears is setting up a “not-a-reader’s-now” but not grounding it enough in what “story’s-now” means in your worldbuilding. Which meant that when the story hurls forward early in the piece, I did in fact feel too adrift. That said, the plot and the idea behind it was compelling. Also, female soldiers, and a well-written female lead! A+ would read more Alistair Reynolds (yeah, I know, I’m coming to sci-fi late, okay?) Will rank highly.

  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com): I was charmed by the Goodreads blurb, and the 10% or so that I read was well-written. A group of skilled anthropomorphized animals go on a heist after their last job went badly. It’s charming, and Daniel Polansky seems like a nice guy from my very brief background reading, I just don’t care enough about this story, and my reading time is limited. Didn’t finish, not through any particular fault of the story.

  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum): this was dense and delicious -- strong worldbuilding, and a very assured narrative voice (unsurprising, given it’s Bujold). It was dense enough that I couldn’t speed read it, and had to concentrate to settle into its rhythms, but that’s almost a plus. I liked Penric, and loved Desdemona (how the demon is also twelve others was...not a thing I retained during reading, and I’m still not clear on, but I was willing to roll with it). This was a pleasure, and I’d definitely read more in this world.



Current voting:
Penric’s demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
Slow bullets by Alistair Reynolds
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Perfect state by Brandon Sanderson
The builders by Daniel Polansky
No Award
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