November 27th, 2006


Bookety book book book

54. Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)
This is Margaret Atwood's novel-length return to sf after the Handmaid's Tale (she has written a number of sf stories in between, but let that pass for now). Alas, I did not find it a satisfying return. I've been trying to put my finger on what it was about it that didn't quite work, and I've been having difficulty. There isn't a lot that's objectively wrong here… just not enough that's really right. None of the characters were even remotely sympathetic, which made it difficult for me to be really hooked in to the story, And it's more than a little frustrating to have Margaret freakin' Atwood producing a cardboard cut-out of a female character (and yes, I know, that was the point… but still!). I also had the feeling that this was supposed to be a fresh and new post-apocalyptic vision, but it ended up feeling like every other post-apocalyptic vision. Which is a shame. **

55. Tesseracts 3 (ed. Candas Jane Dorsey and Gerry Truscott)
Still no conclusions about the Meaning of Canadian SF. Some fabulous stories, though. A few that were less gripping for me, too, but you can't have it all. (I gotta stop reviewing these collections -- I never have anything new to say) ****

56. Flesh and Gold (Phyllis Gotlieb)
This is an… interesting book. It's very densely imagined -- there's clearly been a substantial amount of universe-building put into it. Unfortunately, I found it slightly unfocused -- there were almost too many different protagonists and points of view, too much universe-specific detail, and it began to feel slightly overwhelming. That said, the writing is very good indeed, and the plotting is intricate without being even a little unrealistic. ***

57. The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova)
I LOVED this book. It's a good 600 pages long, but I simply devoured it -- I can't count the number of times I almost missed my stop while reading it on the bus. It's a vampire story, mostly, but also a story about love and scholarly research. There is absolutely no reason it should be so captivating -- the vast majority of it is told through flashbacks and newly-discovered old letters, and the entire book is told from the perspective of an older professor looking back on her adolescence. It should have been dry and slow-moving. It was not. Kostova managed a delicate balancing act so that each of the nested stories, each of the time periods, maintained a level of tension and suspense. I don't know how she pulled it off, but this is a great read. *****

58. Y: the Last Man (Brian K. Vaughan et al.): vol. 8: Kimono Dragons
Violence. Death. Backstory. Mysterious connections. This series is becoming more and more a who-killed-the-men mystery... which is an interesting question, although it's starting to feel a little drawn out (mostly because the amazing coincidences are beginning to get to me). That said, this is a pretty good installment, although not as good as the last one (alas!). ***

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