Saturday, August 27, 2011


Nice that being down to one job, I'm getting to read again. I need to remember that this blog is my exocortex and keep track of it here. I still follow my algorithm: no starting a book until the magazine stack is clear. The magazine stack is deemed clear when the most recent issue of "Wired" has been read.

So anyway, read on the iPad in Kindle format, "The Clockwork Rocket", by Greg Egan. Egan's physics, math, and computer science chops are scary good. Here I think maybe a little too much so. The exercise of setting a novel in an alternate universe in which the laws of physics are different -- the speed of light is a function of its frequency -- seems to be perhaps a bit too conceptual of an exercise. Like conceptual music winds up being not quite music, this winds up maybe not quite a story. But, actually, you do get involved in the plot and care about the characters. 3 stars.

Then read, based on a recommendation from Charlie Stross's blog, a $0.99 kindle special, "Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel", by Harry Connolly. Very noir, the central character is a thug who works for a secret society of stone-cold killers who take out magic users -- they are of course magic users themselves. Reminded me of the one Jim Butcher novel I read. Good comic book level material, lots of action and gore, worth the $0.99.

So I then bought the 2nd book in the series for $3.99, "Game of Cages: A Twenty Palaces Novel". About the same level of quality. The 3rd one is out in a couple of weeks, I'll be there. 3 stars for both.

One thing I like about the kindle book format is that these have under "Book Extras" a numbered list of the books in the series. How convenient! Several times I have had a problem, particularly with mystery/detective series, keeping track of what I have and haven't read. This should definitely help.

Next read in hardcover Charlie Stross's latest "Rule 34". I have a lot of his stuff in hardcover, so I will stick with that for a while longer. (Dan Simmons is another one I will do that way). I had thought that maybe Charlie was losing his edge, but this novel is right up there. The central characters are members of basically the Meme Police. The overall concepts of the novel are bizarre but scarily credible. 4 stars. BTW, Rule 34 of the Internet states that "If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions".

Finally, finished "Moxyland", by Lauren Beukes a couple of days ago. Near future South African cyperpunk. Somewhat existential (i.e., not a real strong narrative story arc), but great concepts. Yet another dystopia which stands out for the many different and new ways The Man has figured out how to stick it to us. 4 stars.

Maybe music tomorrow. Easier to catch up with that since it all comes through my iTunes client. Of course, most of my books, kindle or not, come through amazon, so my purchase history was used as source for this post. So even if I forget to enter in my exocortex, my friendly vendor remembers for me.

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