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review 2019-02-16 23:47
Steel Beach / John Varley
Steel Beach - John Varley

Fleeing Earth after an alien invasion, the human race stands on the threshold of evolution, like a fish cast on artificial shores. Their new home is Luna, a moon colony blessed with creature comforts, prolonged lifespans, digital memories, and instant sex changes. But the people of Luna are bored, restless, and suicidal -- and so is the computer that monitors their existence... 

 

I would have to say that this book is very much an homage to Robert A. Heinlein. That’s not necessarily a bad thing--there’s a very strongThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress vibe, which I was totally okay with. The Central Computer (CC) in Steel Beach is channeling the self-aware computer in TMiaHM and ends up having similar problems. 

There are nods to other writers as well. There’s a lot of sex-changing in this novel, which made me think of Iain Banks’ Culture series and George Effinger’s When Gravity Fails. Varley’s version also made me think of Tiersias of Greek mythology--you know, the guy who found a pair of copulating snakes and hit them with a stick? Hera was so displeased with him that she turned him into a woman for seven years (apparently being female is a punishment). Needless to say, the Ancient Greeks were eager to hear his perspectives on this and he confirmed their bias by saying that women got much more out of the sexual experience than men did. It seems that Varley believed this too.

There’s also a shout out to Arthur C. Clarke, when the CC is worried that he’s going to end up singing “Daisy, Daisy,” like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Another Heinleinian element: a scrapped spaceship called in R.A. Heinlein, within which his spiritual descendents live & grumble. When Hildy is handing out pseudonyms, she christens one of them Valentine Michael Smith (see Stranger in a Strange Land).

I read until the end because I wanted to see how things were wrapped up, but if you’re not a big fan of RAH, my advice is to skip this book. 

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review 2019-02-16 22:28
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales - Neil Gaiman,Alissa Nutting,Carmen Giménez Smith,Naoko Awa,Lily Hoang,Hiromi Itō,Ludmilla Petrushevskaya,Kellie Wells,Michael Mejia,Lucy Corin,Jonathon Keats,Ilya Kaminsky,Rabih Alameddine,Karen Brennan,Katherine Vaz,Timothy Schaffert,Sarah Shun-lien Byn

t's interesting using this book in a class. The Swan stories are the most popular, and the quiet ones about relationships confuse people for some reason.  I liked "Warm-Mouth" far more on this re-read.

Old Review
There is a misnomer on the cover of this book. Some short stories in this volume have not been commissioned for the book. Several of them have appeared in various magazines and collections (some have appeared over a decade ago).

This is okay, for this is the first time that they are all collected together and I hadn't read any of them before.

The purpose of this collection in part, according to Bernheimer, is to present fairy tales as an acceptable source of literature, at least to present modern fairy tales as such. The succeds very well at this and several stories are truly descendents of the French Salon writers, Andersen, and the Grimms. Some of the stories don't work (at least for me) but several stories are absolutely, jaw dropping friggin (Can I say that?) wonderful. Even the stories that I didn't like (like "Warm Mouth" by Joyelle McSweeny) were at least worthy experiments in differenty styles. Each story has a brief afterword by the author and the table of contents gives the source tale for each story.

The two best stories (and it is a very close race, a photo finish, for several stories for this title) are John Updike's "Bluebeard in Ireland", a story about a marriage; and Katherine Vaz's "What the Conch Shell Sings When the Body is Gone", also a story about a relationship. In fact, many of the stories in this collection, as in many fairy tales, focus on relationships. Updike and Vaz's short fiction are really descendents of such older as "Bluebeard" because like the older tales, they look at marriage and relationships in the modern world. The two stories are magical without having "magic" in them.

Many of the tales in the collection are not what most readers would call fantasy or horror (I brought this at Borders which had it in the horror section), but there is a good mixture of fantasy and magic realism. I heistate to use the word horror. In fact, the two most distrubing stories, "The Erlking" by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum and "With Hair of Hand-Spun Gold" by Neil LaBute, are distrubing because of thier out and out realism. "Dapplegrim" by Brain Evenson is the only true horror story, and considering the source, it shouldn't be surprising.

There is humor here as well. I didn't really enjoy Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things, but his "Orange" is really, really funny.

Overall, the collection fulfills the promise that is made in the introduction

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text 2019-02-16 18:52
Reading progress update: I've read 144 out of 144 pages.
The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch

A nice little peek into Peter and Nightingale. Other than that, it didn't grab me as much as the longer stories do. We have Peter investigating ghosts and coming across what appears to be a lot of ghosts who appear and then dissolve.

 

Peter is still troubled about teaching his cousin Abigail any magic and I did crack up about Nightingale not being bothered by it. I have to say though, it appears that Abigail may be on the bad guy's side (the Faceless Man) or working with Peter's ex-partner and friend. I am tired of Peter and Nightingale being stupid when it appears someone is up to no good. 

 

We also have another river god appearing and at this point, London seems lousy with river gods. 

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review 2019-02-16 17:19
Review: Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard
Bloodwitch - Susan Dennard

Fans of Susan Dennard's New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

 

 

*I received a free copy from the publisher via Bookish First and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*

 

 

 

This books starts of a bit after where the last book ended. The ending from last book gave am a bit of hope for the characters. But it is soon apparent that things are not turning for the better that was first believed. Much like last book this book was very story and characters, but we also get a great amount of action here. We also learn so much more background of both story and characters.

As with last book we get a couple more POV in this one and you would think it be confusing but it really is not and adds so much more to the story.  The crew is still separated for the most part and everyone is trying to find and save someone.

Of course a parts is centered on Aeduan and Iseult but also, I think, equal parts all the other people. The truce was broken as we know and with that the war is raging. Everyone is fighting and trying to escape somewhere.

There are plenty of twist in this book, I got to the point that I didn’t know who to trust, and mostly did not see things coming. The last 150-200 pages were insane and nonstop action, surprises and emotional.

There were also some really interesting characters developments, that I didn’t see coming but ended up really likening.

The end was brutal. What a hell of a cliffhanger.  If you are not good with cliff hanger maybe wait for the next book to release.

Several characters we know and love may or may not make it …. That is pretty much where she left us with. That is all I can say, without spoiling things.

Overall I really loved this book and highly recommend this series to any and all fantasy lovers. Even with the major cliffhangers.

I give this book full 5 ★and now will ever so penitently wait for the next book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Available NOW 

Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo 

 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2019/02/16/review-bloodwitch-the-witchlands-3-by-susan-dennard
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text 2019-02-16 15:13
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 144 pages.
The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch

I was just waiting to start this one and Lies Sleeping. Can't wait to catch up with Peter!

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