September 2017 archive

Sep 28 2017

The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett

“I only invented the Discworld,” said Terry Pratchett, “Josh [Kirby] created it.” Kirby painted the exuberant, detail-filled covers of the Discworld books that gave the series an unmistakable visual identity, suggesting that there were multitudes of other stories happening on the Disc and that Pratchett just chose some of them to tell. His teeming figures, …

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Sep 27 2017

Pirate Utopia by Bruce Sterling

The collapse of the European empires at the end of World War I produced considerable political strangeness. Béla Kun. The Czech Legion in Siberia. The Bavarian Soviet Republic. Baron Ungern. Flights of fancy, seizures of power, and some powerfully fancy seizures. In Pirate Utopia, Bruce Sterling sails off to another corner of collapsing empires rubbing …

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Sep 19 2017

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Death’s adoptive granddaughter. A perfectionist clockmaker. An unassuming monk. An uncannily talented novice, who’s prone to stealing things. These four form the primary cast of Thief of Time, the twenty-sixth Discworld novel. The conceit of the story is that if time is ever measured with perfect accuracy, it is captured, and stops. Completely. AFTER ONE …

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Sep 18 2017

A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

It’s a John Le Carré book, so you know that someone is going to get screwed in the end. In his Cold War books, which were on the whole more subtle in their plotting if not as deft in their characterization, it wasn’t always possible to tell who was doing just what to whom, because …

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Sep 14 2017

Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson

I should say two things right up front about Europe in Winter. First, intermittently during a bicycle tour across one of Europe’s smaller polities that steadfastly refuses to disappear completely is both the right and wrong way to read this book. Wrong, because it surely deserves closer attention that I was sometimes able to give …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/14/europe-in-winter-by-dave-hutchinson/

Sep 13 2017

One Summer by Bill Bryson

The summer of 1927, to be precise. The summer that Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, that Babe Ruth returned to form and led the New York Yankees to dominate baseball, a summer that Calvin Coolidge didn’t have much to say (not that that was unique to 1927), the summer that Sacco and Vanzetti were …

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Sep 12 2017

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

In Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, things are not as they seem. She and her first-person narrator tell readers that from the novel’s very beginning: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.” Nor is the valley’s Dragon a dragon — “he may be a wizard and immortal, …

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Sep 11 2017

Grace And The Fever by Zan Romanoff

What struck me most about this book is that it’s really about conspiracy theories and how they just fuel insanity like a monstrous feedback loop enabled by the Internet. Because look, I’ve been a fangirl all my life but the kind of crazy ass behavior the fans of One Direction, um, I mean, Fever Dream …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/11/grace-and-the-fever-by-zan-romanoff/

Sep 11 2017

Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters

As a young Asian girl with shallow roots in Virginia and a voracious reading appetite, I was absolutely seduced by Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. Once I settled permanently in America, moving north over the course of a decade from Virginia to DC to Maryland, widening my circle of colleagues and friends, and becoming …

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Sep 06 2017

Kindred by Octavia E Butler

I’m not ordinarily a fan of editions that feel compelled to shoehorn critical essays of the novel into the same volume, but I must say that Robert Crossley did provide me with a significant insight into a thing that had been bothering me about the book: Dana’s occasional and exceedingly grating naivete. About 40% of …

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