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review 2017-05-28 05:33
Inside Job by Connie Willis
Inside Job - Connie Willis

This novella relies heavily on the conundrum of how a medium — channeling a man who made a point of debunking charlatans and frauds — could convince a skeptic that he is who he says he is. It also references out of print mystery novels. With that kind of logical knot, it’s basically Connie Willis distilled.


I wasn’t a fan of Rob and his whole “but she’s too beautiful to be doing this stuff” attitude really got on my nerves — it’s far too close to the “but she’s too hot to be in engineering” (or insert STEM job of your choice) attitude. But after a lot of his being dense and arguing weakly that impersonating a debunker made sense in a twisted way, the plot of the novella grew on me, and I thought the ending was cute. You don’t need to know who Mencken was or even recognize his name. I sure didn’t, although the Scopes trial twigged, naturally.


The thee/thou usage criticism was spot on and it even started getting ridiculous. You’d think that even if she were picking randomly, she’d still get it right more often than she did. The start of the book could have used some more work on its charlatan lingo; I think that would have helped draw me in faster.


I read this in order to donate the pages read to the booklikes-opoly Jail Library. The print version is continually listed at 99 pages, so I’m going with that even though I read the ebook.

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review 2017-05-26 18:02
Nobody's Home by Tim Powers
Nobody's Home - Tim Powers

An Anubis Gates novella.


Jacky, our friendly cross-dressing girl set on avenging her fiancé from Anubis Gates, is featured in this novella where she encounters a woman being haunted by her dead husband. She saves her life, in fact, when the husband's ghost sets his wife on fire. So this story is all about exorcising ghosts since interacting with the husband's ghost wakes up the ghost of her fiancé (who is haunting her, naturally) and this makes them both magnets for all the other ghosts in the area. Apparently ghosts can see footsteps so to get away they have to climb and take a cab and they end up on the river seeking Nobody's help.


I saw this at the library and picked it up on a whim because I quite liked Anubis Gates. It was a quick read and kind of fun.

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text 2017-05-26 17:21
Reading progress update: I've read 74 out of 87 pages.
Nobody's Home - Tim Powers


Tee hee, amusing typo: "feeet"

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review 2017-05-25 17:46
"The Witches Of Lychford" by Paul Cornell
Witches of Lychford - Paul Cornell

I'm not sure what to make of this novella.


I ought to be singing its praises and reaching for the next in the series. The three main female characters are intriguing. The themes in the story fold over one another in intricate patterns through which malice spreads like wine staining linen. Magic transforms the everyday world of a Cotswold village so that normal life seems illusory and less substantial than the shadow worlds that the witches of the title hold at bay.


That's a lot to pull off in a novella but in the end it disappointed rather than satisfied me.


It felt like a song with not enough lyrics. I could feel what it might have been and so was disappointed by what it actually was.


i think, perhaps, it was all just a little too easy. Victory should cost more. The ending felt too neat and too bloodless. Not uninteresting or unbelievable, just not enough.

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review 2017-05-22 19:18
"Kitty Saves The World - Kitty Norville #14 - last in the series
Kitty Saves the World - Carrie Vaughn

"Kitty Saves The World", the last Kitty Norville book, reflects my experience of the series as a whole, strong on good guys, albeit sometimes flawed and haunted good guys, but weak on really evil villains who are a terrifying threat to the world.


Still, if you enjoyed the first thirteen books, the lack of palpable evil will neither surprise nor disappoint you.


The book read like a fond farewell, bringing back some of my favourite characters, having Kitty give another great performance on "The Midnight Hour", showing Kitty and Ben as a strong and loving couple and finally resolving the conflict with Roman so that Kitty can indeed, save the world.


I liked Kitty in this book. She continued to be strong and brave and witty, even when deeply afraid, but she was also willing to lead and to accept her right to take the help offered by her friends.


The resolution with Roman was clever, original and plausible, within the context of the series. It was drama rather than melodrama. I enjoyed it partly because it felt like something that Carrie Vaughn had been carefully leading up to for some time, rather than a "how am I gonna end this so I don't have to write any more of them?" ending.


It seems to me that Carrie Vaughn has never quite known what to do with the pack that Kitty and Ben lead. She had one book, after Kitty took over, where the pack dynamics were important but mostly, Kitty's pack have been passive elements in the story. Sadly, this remained true for the final book, although there was a good explanation for it.


I ended the book and the series very glad to have spent time with Kitty and watched her grow from a frightened victim of terrible abuse into a strong and compassionate leader who inspired loyalty and created hope.


I think the final book honored Kitty and her readers by staying true to the spirit of the series and by bringing many story arcs to satisfying conclusions without closing everything off so neatly that it became too "happily ever after".


I'm sure the Kitty books are over but I have a suspicion that Carrie Vaughn isn't quite done with Cormac yet. Which is a very fine way to end a series.

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