it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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I *love* the cover for the Winter 2006 On Spec. It makes me snort, and then wince. That's good cartooning.

Actually, it reminds me of the S. Gross cartoons I loved as a kid--that kind of subtlety and sharpness.

52 Book Challenge: book 17, Alastair Reynolds CENTURY RAIN

I'm only 200 pages into this, but I'm really enjoying it. The characterizations are note-perfect, the novel's tone slipping deftly back and forth between the noir sensibility of the not-1950 chapters and the less-than-posthuman bureaucratic future. I'm glad I wrote Carnival before reading it or it would be giving me a hopeless inferiority complex.

Other SF writers are better at coining words for the end of the world than I am. Nanocaust, ecocaust. The best I could manage was Vigil.

Anyway, I was talking about the loff I am bearing for Century Rain. It's a dense book, and I find myself reading it slowly--a chapter or two, and then walking away for a bit to digest. It's hooked together like a chain necklace--a clue is introduced in one POV, and in the next the riddle is answered in another POV, without fanfare. And yet without ever quite resolving the entire mystery, because as old mysteries are solved, new mysteries emerge. There is always a red zone anticipating the needle, so the reader is eternally moving forward into unknown territory but never feels really lost. There are bones being tossed. Reynold's information-management skills are enviable.

Also, Verity, true to her name, is a very bad liar. That amused me.

It's also a really funny book, of the sort where I keep pausing to read bits of it out loud to others in the room. The plot keeps moving, the exposition is handled well, the writing is smooth and the style comfortable.

This is, all things considered, a very good book, and I am comfortable and trusting in Reynold's hands.

"I assure you it exists, Mr. Floyd. I would have a great deal of trouble explaining my childhood if it didn't. Do you have an ashtray?"

Floyd passed her one. "It must be a real one-horse town."

Auger shook her head as she lit a cigarette. "It has wild aspirations of becoming a one-horse town."

"Like that, is it? In which case, I understand why your sister felt she had to leave. A place like that can begin to feel like a prison."

"Where are you from, if you don't mind my asking? I don't even know your first name."

"I'm from Galveston, Texas," Floyd said. "My father was a merchant marine. I was a trawlerman by the time I was sixteen."

"And you ended up in Paris?" Augur blew out a line of smoke. "I hope you weren't the navigator."

Yeah, getting real fond of this book.

What is it with the Brit SFF half set in the 20th century and half set in some unrecognizably distant future or in some alternate dimension, with the two bits inevitably intersecting? Can somebody explain this trope to me?

It just seems like I've picked up this pattern a lot lately--and all in UK writers, such as M. John Harrison, mevennen, and now this, just off the top of my head--and I wonder.
Tags: 52 book challenge

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