Books Read in October, 2018
Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer
The Untold Tale by J.M. Frey
A Thousand and One Nights: A Game of Enticing Stories by Meguey Baker (RPG)
The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milan
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
September, 2018 Locus
Starless Sky edited by Kevin MacGregor (TDE anthology)
October, 2018 Reader’s Digest
Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
And those were my reads in the month of October. I was somewhat surprised to see that I had read this much material during the month, given that my two broken ribs have really hindered my ability to hold books and the like. No re-reads this month, which was an even more pleasant surprise, and I also managed to read a non-fiction book again, so that was good too.
The books I enjoyed the most were:
Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall - An absolutely amazing book. The author (actually two Australian sisters) tells the story and follows the two lead characters, Nika Rik Terri and Josune Arriola. Nika is a body modder, who uses specialized machine pods to change peoples' bodies and appearance, and she's damned good at what she does. So good, in fact, that she invents a machine that does something extraordinary. After a nasty criminal confronts her in her studio, she is suddenly on the run for her life. Josune, on the other hand, is an explorer with a crew on a space ship called The Road, and a chance encounter with Nika and The Road's captain, Hammond Roystan, brings Nika and Josune together for an action-packed adventure! The tale told was very clever and extremely entertaining, and there were some smart twists with very good writing. The real strengths of the book, however, were the characters and the technology. Each of the main characters is hiding something, and the dialogue in the book is clever, at times funny, but always witty. My two favourite characters were Roystan and Nika, but all of the main characters (including some of the villains) are well-written and given personalities that make them stand out. I've not read the author's (or should that be authors'?) Linesman series, but will definitely seek them out. In the meantime, highly recommended.
Time Travel: A History by James Gleick - As a huge science fiction fan and a lover of time travel material, this is a very interesting book that had a nice mix of science and pop culture combined in a melange that was very readable. A cultural, scientific, and literary history of time travel, this book is expansive, almost always engaging, and almost endlessly fascinating. Tracing the origins of time travel (from conception to pop culture plot point), the author enthusiastically chronicles all things time travel-related (including physics, technology, paradox, literature, film, philosophy, culture, futurism, and much more). The book also muses on the nature of time and our very human relationship to it, and also explores the hyper-connected age that is our 21st century reality. I thought the book could have used a few more practical examples, since each chapter focused on one aspect of time travel. When that is based on a movie or a book, it felt a bit long at times. More diverse sources might have alleviated this, but overall an engaging and fascinating read. Recommended.
Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer - The first book in the Titan's Forest series, this is a book with a sense of wonder that I don't know how to explain it without spoiling the novel for other readers. The truly amazing thing about this book is the fact that the superb, wondrous setting - a magical, polytheistic society living in a physical hierarchy of layers of a rainforest - isn't even the best thing about the book. As creative as the world building is here, and it is certainly some of the best I've ever seen in my time as a fantasy and sf reader, it's overshadowed by the characters! Unar, the protagonist, is entitled, selfish and jealous - and she is truly glorious. Naturally, her conflicts with the secondary characters drive a great deal of the story. Without saying anything else about the book... Highly recommended.
Overall, I managed to read 9 novels, 1 RPGs and RPG product, 2 magazines, 0 comics, and 0 graphic novels in October. This brings the year total in 2018 to a set of numbers that look like this: 76 books, 36 RPGs and RPG products, 19 magazines, 0 comics, and 3 graphic novels.
Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)