I’m still in thesis-hell, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Once June is finished, I’ll be over and done with my grad program. Hoorah! Anyway, I managed to squeak in some reading time this month, alongside the thesis reading and the books I have to review. When the thesis is done, I will make it a point to read ALL the books. On with it…
The Lost Fleet: Dauntless – Jack Campbell (2006): Despite being incapable of making a conference call, resurrected “hero” Black Jack Geary has the know-how to save the day, all it takes is discipline like people had back in the old days. Military SF in the what-the-world-needs-now-is-a-grandpa subgenre with wooden prose and a plot stolen from Xenophon’s Anabasis. I actually don’t mind this subgenre, but as it was presented here, in as straight-forward a manner as a 2×4 upside the head, no thanks.
Unquenchable Fire – Rachel Pollack (1989): I kind of loved this book. It’s set in the same world as Temporary Agency, which is our own world after a spiritual awakening that makes certain New Age sciences possible. Yet the main character is outside this world as she’s a divorced woman trying to simply cope with being chosen by an awakened being to be the mother of, well, we don’t know, not the messiah, but certainly a prophet who will once again change the world.
After the Apocalypse – Maureen McHugh (2011): Short story collection that mixes the mundane with touches of the speculative. IT techs try to determine if their computer has gained sentience. A convicted killer turns naturalist after the zombie apocalypse. A proud woman with a penchant for survival takes part in a medical experiment. I love McHugh’s stuff and think she’s one of the best SF writers working today, but you sort of have to like your SF with a lighter touch.
Vathek – William Beckford (1786): 18th Century Gothic Orientalism written by decadent libertine hopped up on the Arabian Nights. I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s awful and about horrible people doing horrible things, but it’s also over-the-top and grotesque and as such has its charms. Vathek is a despotic prince who hopes to make a deal with the devil, but is thwarted by the devil and his own mom who’s a powerful sorceress.