April 2015 archive

So, Anyway by John Cleese

The back of the dust jacket of So, Anyway… by John Cleese gives the book an unofficial subtitle, “The Making of a Python,” and indeed, that is what all but one of the book’s chapters describes. There are a few flash-forwards, or asides regarding later events, but the bulk of the story concerns what happened …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/30/so-anyway-by-john-cleese/

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

One of the possibly apocryphal stories told about Terry Pratchett being knighted for services to literature is that he said his service was “presumably not trying to write any.” He knew better, of course, and kept right on writing literature as long as he could. Pyramids is the seventh Discworld book, and at this point …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/29/pyramids-by-terry-pratchett-2/

The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang

This novelette won the Hugo in 2007. I picked it up as a standalone e-book that was part of the Humble Bundle mentioned here, and it’s the first work I’ve read by Ted Chiang. It won’t be the last! The story as a whole is broken into several parts, which nest and braid together in …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/27/the-merchant-and-the-alchemists-gate-by-ted-chiang/

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

As probably one of the slowest readers in this group, I, perhaps, shouldn’t have chosen a book that was almost 600 pages long. With the heavy academic reading I do for work, and the last two books I read being emotionally hard and challenging, I just wanted something fun to read. Mistborn filled that role …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/26/mistborn-the-final-empire-by-brandon-sanderson/

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian starts with a soon-to-be-classic opening line: “I’m pretty much fucked.” One of humanity’s first manned missions to Mars has encountered a dust storm stronger than their base and their return vehicle can withstand. During the hasty evacuation, a freak accident incapacitates one of the crew of six; even more freakishly, it does not …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/24/the-martian-by-andy-weir/

What If? by Randall Munroe

What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? If every person on Earth aimed a laser pointer at the Moon at the same time, would it change color? Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns? If an asteroid was very small …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/22/what-if-by-randall-munroe/

Muse of Fire by Dan Simmons

This was the book that made me wonder whether I just wasn’t enjoying reading books on the smartphone. Bridge of Birds would be terrific in any format, but I had had lukewarm or only just better than lukewarm reactions to two authors I normally quite like, Connie Willis and John Scalzi. Then I tried an …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/21/muse-of-fire-by-dan-simmons/

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The witches from Equal Rites return in Wyrd Sisters, and it is clear that by this stage of the Discworld series, Pratchett has really begun to hit his stride. From the title page, where he says that Wyrd Sisters is “Starring Three Witches, also kings, daggers, crowns, storms, dwarfs, cats, ghosts, spectres, apes, bandits, demons, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/20/wyrd-sisters-by-terry-pratchett/

Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos

One of the hazards of getting a blurb for your book from someone who has written a great book on a closely related subject is that it invites comparisons. Age of Ambition — subtitled Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China — has a blurb from Peter Hessler, whose three books on contemporary …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/19/age-of-ambition-by-evan-osnos/

The Three: A Novel by Sarah Lotz

I’ll be honest with you – I have no idea how this book ended up on my TBR list. But there it was on my Kindle in the pick-me-pick-ME section, and so I read it. There’s a lot of… well, lukewarm is the best word to describe the reviews I’ve come across for this book; …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/16/the-three-a-novel-by-sarah-lotz/