Lightspeed Magazine, July 2014
I really really loved "The Panda Coin" and the Harry and Marlowe story. Some of the other stories, I absolutely hated. But that's the point of anthologies :-) And I always knew I was leaning more towards the F part of SF/F anyways. Now I know more SF authors that I will actually like.
English as a Second Fucking Language by Sterling Johnson
I think I was expecting more from this than what I got - I wanted it to be a true grammar and vocab book, not just a random listing of more or less useful swear words ("ass eyes," really?). Frankly, I learned more vocabulary from spending a night in an Irish pub during the World Cup and more grammar from watching Boondock Saints than I did from this book. Disappointing, and not even that funny.
I didn't realize this audio came with an extra documentary on the making of the series. It was a little freaky hearing Douglas Adams talk to me from beyond the grave, to be honest. But the production itself is fantastic. Funny as expected, with great voice actors, and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop at the top of their game.
Any questions? And yes, that was indeed retweeted by Paul Cornell :-D
The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
I really like the world of these books (this is part 2 of the Old Man's War series), in a twisted, not-quite-dystopian-but-almost kind of way. Knowing how the series continues (I asked for it, not like I can ask an author at a reading not to spoil books written years ago), this is a really nice set-up for what I know of future books, and on its own, it's just an intriguing story. Who are we? What makes us who we are? What happens when that self-image goes catastrophically haywire? So much thinking to do. As a sidenote, I do have some small issues with Scalzi's writing, but they're much less noticeable on paper than in audiobook form. Sorry Wil Wheaton.
Neverwhere: The Radio Play by Neil Gaiman
I've loved this book since I first read it, but the audioplay from BBC Radio 4 is a whole 'nother story. The casting is PERFECT. The story comes alive in an amazing way. And the whole thing is just so much fun.
W Is For Wasted by Sue Grafton
This book is 50% description of people making sandwiches and filing papers, 50% awesome crime story about medical malpractice and illegal experimentation. Too bad 40% of the sandwich-making happens in the beginning of the book, before you ever get to the actual crime story. The last third is great, and exciting, and fast-paced. The whole thing just really needed a stronger editor.
Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
I just adore Christie novels. They're so calm, and quaint, and subtle, yet still so thrilling. I mean, they're full of the times, and prejudice, and irritating social norms, but I can deal with that. They're just such a fun vacation read.
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Wil Wheaton reading this audiobook made me cry. In a good way. Such a beautiful story, even if it's totally stereotypical. It was fun, and touching, and environmental commentary in the least annoyingly obvious way possible. Plus, Karl is fantastic, and I quite like the rest of the cast as well. Plus, snark. I love snarky books.
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
I picked this up based on the "read fewer white male authors" challenge that went around social media earlier this year, and I did not regret it for one minute. The story is well written, the characters are interesting and diverse, the book's world would be gorgeous in a miniseries, and there's going to be a sequel. Approved at all levels.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Apparently this was the year of Ernest Cline or something (probably had something to do with the movie deal). I finally read this (Armada is sitting on my shelf as well, for later), and quite enjoyed it. It definitely is 80s fanboy fanfiction, and I have a feeling Armada will be too much of the same thing, but on the first time around, it's quite entertaining.
Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Oh Harry. Poor, no longer dead Harry. At least some of these stories were from before that time, so there was less... drama, in the "oh dramaz" kind of way. Some fun ideas, some definitely not fleshed out as much as they could have been, but overall a really good, easy read. Exactly what I wanted at the time.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents: The Play by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs
I love this book. I love this audio play. The cast is amazing, and the whole thing is just so enjoyable. Love.
The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Have I mentioned I adore this universe? Yes, I think I have. So much fun. So much snark. I just really like the characters and how they interact. The plot becomes sort of secondary, although this is definitely a good one. And a fun little (big) twist at the end.
Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
I read this right after The Last Colony and was a little worried about it being repetitive, but Scalzi does a good job of not repeating everything you just heard from the adults from the point of view of a teenager. And Zoe is the kind of teenager I love - smart, snarky (see a pattern?), but goodhearted and willing to do the right thing. This book was just fun.
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
I... may be growing tired of Neil Gaiman short stories. Which is SO SAD. But half of these were just odd, or I didn't get them, or something. The other half were beautiful and scary, and totally worth the cost of the book, but the rest were too... artsy? Literary? Something like that. I much prefer "true fiction" like Neverwhere and Stardust, apparently.
Lock In by John Scalzi
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, I know, Scalzi can be a bit sloppy about writing, but you know what? I'm ok with that. The plot is intriguing, the concept of Lock In and threeps intrigues me a lot, and I like crime stories that I don't immediately figure out in some way. Plus, Chris and Tony are hilarious, and I need more of those housemates in my life. And it says Lock In #1 on Goodreads, so I'll get more eventually :-)
Locke & Key Slipcase Set by Joe Hill
I'd never have read this, because for some reason I can't read comics, but this was good. Not awesome, but a captivating story, and the audiobook set I got for free somehow was quite well done.
The Martian by Andy Weir
In short: the movie was better. Seriously, this was terrible. The concept is so good, and it could have been such a fun book, and then it's ruined with boob jokes and half-pages entirely dedicated to setting up gay jokes, and... gah. Guess I really don't like books where the main character is kind of a dick.
Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
I love new takes on fairytales (see also: my Pratchett obsession) and this one is SO CREEPY. Love it, especially as an audio story.
Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman
I never totally get this story... is the narrator an angel? Did he kill those people? Is he going to hell? I have no idea. But as usual, Lucifer is fascinating. That probably says terrible things about me, doesn't it...
Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who by L.M. Myles
These are the people who can't ever tell me too much about Doctor Who. They're just the best, in general and at pointing out interesting things about one of my favorite shows. Plus, short essays. So much easier to read in pieces than full-length academia-type books.
Final Result: 22. I totally cannot do this. Silly knitting keeping me from reading All The Books. Maybe next year I'll do a TV show challenge instead. I'm really good at those :-P