Friday, October 17, 2008

What I've Been Reading


With my knee keeping me from some of my normal activities, I've had more time to read. Alas, I didn't go on a book-buying spree prior to my surgery, so I have been reading items which have languished in my "To Be Read" pile. None of these are new releases, and most of them are in the science fiction or romance genres.

The best of the bunch is apparently no longer in print, The Changeling Plague, by Syne Mitchell. I read this author's debut novel, and I was sufficiently impressed to pick up this one. The Changeling Plague grabs readers and holds their interest with a good plot and engaging characters. I do wish I had not let it languish so long. Rather than write a mini review of it, I will point readers to a good review in the webzine Sci Fi Dimensions.

Kris Longknife, Mutineer, begins a series, and it is a decent space opera, reminding me somewhat of the early works of David Weber. Only somewhat, however. Nowadays, Weber writes too long on topics which are dull, but he once wrote action packed, thrilling yarns. Until the climax, Mutineer was entertaining, but toward the end, I kept saying, "no way" so I can't give it high marks.

I've seen titles by Sharon Shinn listed as favorites by lovers of science fiction romance and fantasy. Without so much as reading the back cover blurb, I began Jeanna Starborn, and I was struck with the beauty of Shinn's prose, and the plodding nature of the plot. As I read, I kept thinking that it was a tale out of time, one which belonged to couple of centuries back rather than in the future. Then, as I was toting this rather lengthy tome with me to an appointment, I read that it is a retelling of Jane Eyre as a science fiction story. And it is, which explains why it seems so odd. I'm still working on it, along with many, many student papers, but I can see why this effort garners both good and bad reviews. If you want a fast-paced futuristic, this isn't it. The novel is well written, but I will have to try another novel by Shinn before I make up mind about her role in the ever growing pantheon of science fiction.

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