Books Read in June, 2020
April, 2020 Locus
The Bride Price by Cat Sparks
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (r)
Firebird by Jack McDevitt
Zorro: Legendary Adventures #1-4 (Comics)
Zorro: Swords of Hell #1-4 (Comics)
Zorro: Legendary Adventures Book 2 #1-4 (Comics)
Zorro: Sacrilege #1-4 (Comics)
Zorro: Rise of the Old Gods #1-4 (Comics)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (r)
The Magicians #1-5 (Comics)
Dejah Thoris Vol 3 #1-4 (Comics)
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #3 (Comics) (r)
The Void of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
Crisis on Infinite Earths 100-Page Giant #1-2 (Comics)
Wonder Woman 100-Page Giant #2 (Comic)
Young Justice #13 (Comic)
Amethyst Vol 4 #1-2 (Comics)
The Secret of Nestor Ambar by Fria Ligan (PDF) (RPG) (r)
Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #4-5 (Comic)
June, 2020 Reader's Digest
From Beyond the Unknown Giant #1 (Comic)
Babylon Confidential by Claudia Christian with Morgan Grant Buchanan
Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Zorro: The Complete Dell Pre-Code Comics Adventures (Graphic Novel)
Last Voyage of the Ghazali by Mattias Lilja and Christian Granath (RPG)
And that was reading that I did in June of this year. This was a pretty decent month of book reading, both in terms of the quantity and the quality of the books read, though there were also a few re-reads in the book stack that I read. There was also a good number of comic books read, catching up on four months of comics reading or so that I needed to do. The variety of reading this past month was pretty good, but regardless, my bookcases are stacked with a pretty large To Read Queue (TRQ) still. The books I enjoyed the most were:
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas - A tantalizing time travel murder mystery from a new voice in the field. In 1967, four female scientists invent a time travel machine. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril... In 2017, Ruby knows her Granny Bee was the scientist who went mad, but they never talk about it. Until they receive a message from the future, warning of an elderly woman's violent death... In 2018, Odette found the dead women at work – shot in the head, door bolted from the inside. Now she can't get her out of her mind. Who was she? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder? This novel explores many ideas about time travel and its associated fields, and plays with reality in the process. However, rather than focus on the physics and quantum science aspects of time travel, the author has chosen to focus on the cognitive effects of such an epic exploration. What happens to our minds when they are stretched too far? Does our sanity start to crumble as it is subjected to such a mind-boggling experience? It's an interesting question, and one that I liked about the book the best, as the novel feels very realistic and offers a great theory on time travel. Told through a multitude of perspectives across different time zones, The sychology of Time Travel is driven forward by a mysterious dead body found in 2017. How do you catch a killer who could be from anywhere or anytime? Not easily, that’s for sure. Because of how the mystery unfolded in the book, I was hooked and kept reading, and that's a good thing when it comes to mysteries. This could have easily turned into into a tangled mess of interweaving story threads. That said, all became clear as everything slotted neatly into place at the end of the book, and the author's cleverness is revealed when all is said and done. Highly recommended.
Firebird by Jack McDevitt - The sixth book in the Alex Benedict series by the author. Forty-one years ago, the renowned physicist Dr. Christopher Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies. Now his widow has died and Alex Benedict has been asked to handle the auction of the physicist’s artifacts - leading the public to once again speculate on the mystery surrounding Robin’s disappearance. Did he finally find the door between parallel universes that he had long sought? Intrigued, Benedict and Chase Kolpath embark on their own investigation as they follow the missing man’s trail into the unknown to uncover the truth - a truth people are willing to kill to protect... This is a solid entry in the Alex Benedict series, and I rather enjoyed this book due to a variety of plot elements (that I won't go into here for spoilers! reasons), but what had me hooked was Alex's mysteriously championing a spooky fringe science and parading it around as an unsolved mystery, much to Chase's annoyance. Chase kolpath serves as the narrator in the books in this series, and once more she's a delight to be the eyes that we, the reader, see the world of Alex Benedict through. To make me even more addicted to the story, a story that sees to be about alternate, or even colliding, universe turns into one that deals with a pattern to missing spaceships! Totally hooked! There's also an AI rights sub-plot that is pretty cool, and my take on this book is that the events here will have consequences in future books of this series. The author's writing is on a par with earlier efforts in the series, though I've noticed that Chase's narrating has become more confident as the series goes on. This book is not a stand-alone, building on the five previous works, but... Highly recommended.
Babylon Confidential by Claudia Christian with Morgan Grant Buchanan - A non-fiction (though at times you have to wonder!) autobiography by the actress who played Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5 (among other roles). When actress Claudia Christian flees a troubled childhood and moves to Hollywood at age 17, she steps through the looking glass into another world. From the set of Dallas to her starring role on the sci-fi series Babylon 5, Claudia's affairs with billionaires, supermodels, rock stars, and celebrities are mixed with shootings, stalking, heartbreak, and betrayal. Onset and off, drama follows Claudia - an alcohol-fueled coke run and makeout session with a bridesmaid on her wedding day; her tempestuous, love-hate relationship with actor Angus Macfadyen; the conspiracy theories surrounding her ex-husband’s death; and a 20-year on-and-off relationship with billionaire Dodi Fayed before he dated Princess Diana. Hollywood life takes its toll on Claudia as she descends into alcohol addiction and a desperate battle to reclaim her life. Rehab, alternative treatments, and even hypnotism can't break the cycle of alcohol abuse that threatens to destroy Claudia. Close to despair she discovers The Sinclair Method, a treatment that saves her life. While I'm not a celebrity memoir type of fella, I bought this book simply because I loved Claudia in Babylon 5 (as did many people) and I had heard over the years that she had a really interesting life and background. And how right what I heard was. Even though the book doesn't spend even two chapters on the Babylon 5 stage of her life, it's not easy to dislike her or her life story. The book has a large amount of tragedy in it, but it's not a depressing read. It's thoughtful, surprisingly optimistic, and laugh-out-loud funny at times. Worth reading just for the anecdotes about the many Hollywood stars Claudia has worked with over the years, as well as other miscellaneous very famous people, the theme of alcoholism which dominates the book is given far more humour than one would think possible, yet it remains fascinating and insightful. It's not a demanding read, but neither is it vacuous, and is a view into a world that most of us see from the other side but don't really know about. Quite a good read. Recommended.
I also enjoyed the re-reads that I did in June, as to be honest, these brought back some wonderful memories of those books. And the comics reading was quite enjoyable, especially the Zorro tales.
Overall, I managed to read 8 novels, 2 RPG and RPG products, 2 magazines, 39 comics, and 1 graphic novel in June. This brings the year total for 2020 to a set of numbers that look like this: 47 books, 12 RPGs and RPG products, 10 magazines, 68 comics, and 2 graphic novels.
Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)