Monday, July 16, 2018

Approaching Escape Velocity?

Well, as Putin's bitch, The Evil Orange One, continues to tweet the destruction of the US-dominated world order established after WWII, I continue to tear through nothing but escapist literature. Escape velocity?

I missed this one last post because I read it in Kindle format, as it was not available from Kobo. "Valence", by Jennifer Koehler Wells, 2017, 456 pages, is the 4th book in her Fluency series, most recently blogged here. Humans make contact with the Galactic Federation. Plenty of plot to deal with. I like that Ms. Wells includes some sex/genetics stuff, with humans being 1 of several species engineered by a progenitor species with different levels of oxytocin vs cortisol and adrenaline - humans being on the aggressive asshole end of the spectrum. Ms. Wells writing continues to improve. And who could not like a series in which some of the protagonists are cephalapods? This is an enjoyable series, she is doing at least as good as James S.A. Corey is with The Expanse.

Back in the Kobo world, I read "Quillifer", by Walter Jon Williams, 2018, 544 pages. I think I have read most of his stuff, he is a very dependable writer. This I have classified as Fantasy, but it is really more Historical Fiction - set on an alternative earth (different continents) with 1 character who is a supernatural being, with 17th-18th century technology. A very enjoyable read, as our protagonist, the title character, winds up being a hero in several circumstances, mostly due to thinking through options and coming up with some creative solutions. We have sea battles, land battles, court intrigue, etc, etc. A real page turner, I look forward to the next.

I also liked that the main character and others made up words, and all the archaic usages, particularly. Who knew that a Mercer is someone who sells fine fabrics like silks?

Next, "Provenance", by Ann Leckie, 2018, 480 pages. This is set in the "Ancillary" universe of her award-winning trilogy, blogged here and here. We are out of the immediate Radch empire although there is a Radch ambassador character. A "coming of age" story of a politician's daughter Forrest Gump'ing her way through several significant events. Indeterminate gender, and most of the main characters wind up hooking up female-female and male-male, as is becoming de riguer for lots of current sci-fi. An easy and enjoyable read.

Then another "Let's Rewrite Greek Mythology" effort from Zachary Mason, "Metamorphica", 2018, 304 pages. Similar to "The Lost Books of the Odessey", blogged here, Mason retells many, many Greek myths. As this is the 2nd time through this approach, I realized that maybe the main thing he is doing is taking myths we have all known for years and retelling them in the 1st person. But he also changes the myth when he thinks it makes a better or more rational story. I liked particularly his retelling of Midas as the person who invented money. I grew up on Greek & Norse mythology, I really enjoy when they are revisited and riffed upon.

No comments: