Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - November 2022 edition

Alexei and Cory Panshin’s The World Beyond the Hill came out in 1989. That’s at least three years later. (A lot of people don’t like Panshin because of the way he treats Heinlein, but I think his stuff is well worth reading). The book won the Hugo for nonfiction.

I’m sure there have been more recent histories, but I don’t have them at my fingertips right now.

The British seem to control the field and churn them out constantly. In no particular order:

Roger Luckhurst, Science Fiction: A Literary History (2018)

Adam Roberts, The History of Science Fiction (2016)

Edward James, Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century (1994)

Edward James, The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (2003)

Michael Newton, The Origins of Science Fiction (2022)

multiple authors, The Astounding Illustrated History of Science Fiction (2017)

And the French/Canadian collaboration:
Xavier Dollo and Djibril Morissette-Phan, The History of Science Fiction: A Graphic Novel Adventure (2021)

I honestly don’t know why there hasn’t been an American history of the field in decades. I guess a clue is that the many of these volumes come from academic lines of comprehensive histories (Oxford, Cambridge) and include a far broader definition of the field than American genre fiction. All the major histories of the field that predate Amazing Stories come from Brits as well.

I gave up on Women in Love. It started off strong but then it got too D.H. Lawrence-y and I got bored. Fortunately my hold just came in at the library so I can continue along the Vorkosigan saga again.

Finished Lotharingia: A Personal History of Europe’s Lost Country, by Simon Winder. It’s filled with historical anecdotes which I enjoyed a lot.

Now I’m reading A Beautiful Friendship, by David Weber. It’s YA SF.

Started today on Lute by Jennifer Thorne. The writing is a little clumsy, but the premise is interesting: a happy little island off the coast of Britain, where the status quo is maintained by the deaths of seven people once every seven years, on THE DAY. Goody!

I avoid fiction, but am about to start Liarmouth by John Waters.

I finished Suspect, a Robert Crais novel outside of the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. I was surprised how mich I enjoyed it. Cole and Pike aren’t mentioned, but characters from that series (John Chen, for example) are present.

I am starting Racing The Light, which was released November 1st.

I retarted Kaiju Preservation Society. This time I borrowed it from the library and am reading it on Kindle. It is far less… “exhausting” to read in print than listening to Will Wheaton’s over enthusiastic audio.

I’m most of the way through Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes. I’m a fan of the author and enjoyed the majority of this book, but it’s 640 pages and I’m ready for this book to be done.

Also recently started on Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffith. This one’s eh. Not bad enough for me to quit, but I was hoping the book would have a bit more to do with real life. Instead, a lot of it is talking in hypotheticals that involve a whole bunch of assumptions and absolutes that don’t particularly mirror real life.

I’m about halfway through The Trials of Harry S. Truman: The Extraordinary Presidency of an Ordinary Man, 1945-1953 by Jeffrey Frank, which I’m mostly enjoying. It’s a more balanced portrayal than David McCullough’s more-famous bio, but Frank isn’t nearly as good a writer as McCullough.

I’m also reading The Battle of Midway by Craig Symonds, a straightforward history of the 1942 carrier battle, and Return to Midway by Robert Ballard and Rick Archbold, about the 1998 expedition to find the wrecks of the sunken USS Yorktown and some Japanese warships on the ocean floor.

Still digging Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time, about a terraforming project on a distant world gone badly awry. Genetic engineering, crazed AI, a civilization of giant spiders and the ruins of an interstellar empire… pretty cool stuff.

I really struggled with that book, and then I saw the movie, and it made a huge difference. I liked the book much better once I had the movie to give the characters their faces and the plot some structure.

I didn’t read the book, but I really enjoyed the podcast. Hearing the voices of those involved (including the young DOJ lawyers who realized, with dawning horror, just what kind of a case they’d stumbled onto) was particularly worthwhile.

And see: A long-secret 1973 memo on how to become President in a hurry

My son and I read the book aloud over the summer and liked it a lot (and didn’t mind at all Scalzi’s veiled swipes at a certain former President).

I’m from North Carolina and I know at least 75% of the places that Inman travels through. This is the first (and only) book I’ve ever read that mentions Salisbury, which is near where I grew up.

Finished A Beautiful Friendship, by David Weber. Meh.

Now I’m reading another SF novel, In the Quick by Kate Hope Day.

Finished The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald. Decent read.

Just started listening to Fairy Tale by Stephen King.

Finished In the Quick by Kate Hope Day, which is very good. It’s YA SF that’s not about a dystopia, and I recommend it for anyone who wants to read a fairly hard SF about a teen astronaut.

Now I’m reading Letters to the Pumpkin King by Season McGuire, which is a collection of essays.

Having returned from Vegas but unable, due to catching Covid in Vegas, to get together with our friends from Thailand, who just landed here less than an hour ago, I will start reading The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli. The plan is to read the stories intermittently, as I will be picking up Michael Connelly’s and Robert Crais’ new novels soon and finally getting together with our friends next weekend. The wife is still testing negative, and she’ll meet up with them while I recover. They have been to Hawaii before and know their way around. Will be back on Oahu the next two weekends while traveling around the islands during the week.

PSST autocorrect strikes again Seanan McGuire

Halfway through, it is great!! Won’t say more due to concerns for spoilers. You’ll love it.

I would expect no less. One of the few authors I’ll shell out for the hardcover.

I read it in college and thought it meh, then reread it a few years ago and loved it. Other than my perhaps being a more mature reader the second time ‘round, I can’t really explain why I had a different reaction.