Via Tor.com, a meme that I thought looked really interesting.
What were the last three genre books that you purchased? Why did you purchase them?
And do they feel comfortable together?
Daniel Abraham,The Price of Spring (The Long Price Quartet): This is the conclusion to
Abraham’s Long Price Quartet, which is a wonderful set of novels. Each
volume of the quartet is a self-contained story – but the pieces also fit together
into a larger story-arc. The volumes each take place over the course of a season,
and each is separated by about 20 years. It’s fantasy with very rare but incredibly
high-powered magic. Certain people can, after significant training, cause an
abstract concept to become a real physical being, called an andat
which they can control. For example, the first book in the quartet focuses
on “Seedless”, aka “Removing the part that continues”, which is the embodiment
of the idea of removing children – whether that means removing the seeds from
a bale of picked cotton, or performing an abortion by removing and killing the
unborn child. The last book doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the ones
before, but it’s still excellent. Why’d I buy it? Because I picked up the first one
on a whim a while ago, and got hooked. I couldn’t wait to get the last volume. And
you wanna talk cliffhangers? The last volume of this left every single woman in the home nation of the main characters, and every single man in the home nation of their enemies, completely sterile.
- Vernor Vinge, The Peace War: I haven’t started reading this one
yet. Why’d I get it? Because Vinge is a genius. I’ve loved everything of his
that I’ve read. But some of his early stuff, I was never able to find. Then a friend
mentioned that it had become available for the Kindle! So I immediately ordered it.
(And I do mean immediately – I didn’t even wait to get back to my desk – I pulled
out my Android phone and ordered it from Amazon right in front of the coffee machine.)
- China Mieville, The City & The City: I just started this one;
I’m about 70 pages in. It seems decent so far. The story of why I bought this
one is interesting. Y’see, I don’t like Mieville. His writing always seems to
me to be self-consciously but unsuccessfully stylistic – like Mieville sees
himself as a brilliant prose stylist, while being unable to really pull off
the brilliantly styled prose that he imagines he’s writing. But I keep getting
his books – because I keep seeing reviews from people that I really respect
that talk about how wonderful his prose is. I just don’t see it. He’s a decent
storyteller – but I can’t see the beautiful prose that everyone talks about.
It’s not that I don’t like artistically styled writing; I actually love things
where I’m struck by the beauty of a phrase, and need to stop reading for a
while just to bask in the beauty of the words; Brust’s “The funniest thing
about time is when it doesn’t. I’ll leave that hanging there for the moment,
and let you age while the shadows don’t lengthen, if you see what I mean.”
from Yendi blows me away every time I read it. But Mieville just seems to be
trying to write that way. Anyway, “The City and the City” is based
on a wonderful idea, so I figured I’d give it a try. It’s a murder mystery set
in a city which is spatially overlapped with another city. In some places (called
“crosshatched regions”), you can see both cities at the same time unless you
will yourself to “unsee” the other one; in other places, you’re solidly in one
city or the other. And the two cities are actually different nations,
so to cross from one to the other requires going through customs. Even
not “unseeing” the other city is actually a crime. Brilliant idea; I’m really
hoping he carries it off.
As for “are they comfortable together?” No, not really. We’ve got one
historical high-fantasy from an alternate earth; one gritty current-time
potboiler in a setting that has fantasy elements; and one far-future
hard science fiction. They really don’t make for comfortable neighbors.
So. What’s your three latest? Post ’em in the comments, or post ’em on
your own blog, and then link from the comments.