bukes and such

Gorged on genre in the wake of the workshops. I loved the coincidence engineers and the ranids in Bear’s Undertow. Scalzi’s Old Man’s War scratched that old I-read-Heinlein’s-juveniles-when-I-was-a-juvenile itch. Steve Gould’s Jumper is a kickass boy coming-of-age story, and there’s a World Trade Center scene that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, because it was published in 1992.

I liked The Hallowed Hunt even better than some of the Miles Vorkosigan stories, but it’s getting harder for me to ignore the messed-up sex politics in Bujold’s work. Connie Willis’s The Doomsday Book, on the other hand, has five or six brilliantly drawn female characters who get to do just as much as the men, even when they’re stuck in the fourteenth century. This was my favourite of this clot of reading. It’s a bit impenetrable at first in its attention to detail and insistence on the present tense, but the work pays off in spades in the last third. The fates of various characters hurt me a lot. I can already tell it’s going to be a reread.

Now I am reading Clea Koff’s The Bone Woman, which has given me an idea for a new short story called “Externalities.” The main disadvantage of this book is that it’s difficult to read over a lunch of Wolfgang Puck roast chicken, because the clinical descriptions of saponification and the white fatty liquid that pours out of corpses in a particular state of decomposition take a lot of the savour out of the meat.

Next up: King Leopold’s Ghost and The World Without Us. Because apparently I am hell bent on feeling bad.

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