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Stargate Monuments


Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus

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Book Rec

I haven't been feeling great this past week, and I've been kind of down, so yesterday I took the day off and just spent all day at home reading. It's been a long time since I've done something like that.

The book I read was Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. It's a science fiction novel that's getting a lot of attention lately and that is because it's really, really good. One of the extremely cool things about it is that the main character comes from a culture that doesn't indicate gender in any cultural or linguistic way, and the default way to refer to any person is "she" even if they're male. It sounds like it would be hard to follow, but it actually isn't. It reminded me a bit of when I was sixteen and reading The Barbie Murders And Other Stories by John Varley, which takes place on a far future moon colony where people switch gender and appearance like we switch shoes, where at first it's cool but very strange, and then you quickly get the hang of it and it's just really cool. And the story in Ancillary Justice is very compelling and I was glad to have the time to read most of it nearly straight through. Anyway, I would highly recommend it.

A couple of links:

* Silent Technical Privilege by Philip Guo
Okay that entire paragraph was a lie. Did you believe me? If so, why? Was it because I looked like a kid programming whiz?

* I wrote a story with a traditionally masculine character named Rachael by Teresa Frohock
I read those qualities and thought to myself: My God, he has just described Rachael. Although readers didn't see it in Miserere, Rachael does tend to drink too much and though she doesn't womanize, she does the female equivalent and has had several lovers. We won't delve too deeply into those aspects of her character here. Instead, I want to talk about her nobler qualities--those aspects of her character that are "traditionally masculine."

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Hah! Recommendations from multiple sources must have caught up with me, because I read it yesterday and I concur. A really excellent book. Besides gender, it does some really interesting things with identity very well.

Yes, I liked that about it too.

I read Ancillary Justice and thought it was interesting (and I'll read her next one about that same character, for sure), but...everybody's been raving about it nonstop, and I just didn't think it lived up to the "OMGAMAZINGSAUCE" reviews. It's possible that my expectations were too high based on the reviews.

I just finished reading The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron - a fun heist book (I'm a sucker for them) - somebody over at Tor.com recommended it to me when I mentioned how much I liked The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes (a heist novel featuring political prisoner escapees, wizards, unicorns, acrobats, elves (SCARY elves!), and aliens. So. Much. Fun.

And I read a book called When It's a Jar by Tom Holt - kind of a weird treatise on multiple dimension theory. With a dragon. And doughnuts. And interdimensional travel via doughnut holes. Also fun.

This past week I read Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone, which I had been avoiding because the cover made it look like one of those 'sexy, snarky' ::eyeroll:: books. But it was great - really interesting storyline about the line between magic and divinity. And fraud. And betrayal. I'm requesting the rest from the library even now.

And I'm re-reading the Night Watch series (by Sergei Lukyanenko - because I found out that there's another book in the series that I didn't know about!!! (It's like Second Christmas!) I love his magical system and its political ramifications (and I also really enjoyed reading the Russian perspective towards America and the Cold War - something you don't see too often.)

I haven't read any of those yet, but I've been really interested in the Max Gladstone one. I keep hearing good things about it.

You should give the Night Watch series a try - it's about magicians who are divided into two sections, the Light and Dark, who are constantly keeping an eye on one another (the Night Watch - light and the Day Watch - dark). Really interesting, and a fresh twist on a magical system.

Edited at 2014-01-13 05:03 am (UTC)

The Max Gladstone series is excellent. The third installment is a choose-your-own-adventure game called Choice of the Deathless, and I played it straight through three times in a row. (Once you've finished the story you have an idea of what type of choices you should make to reach a desired outcome, but during the first play you're choosing as blindly as the character must!) Really love his writing style, his very conscious effort to include diversity of gender, sexuality, and races, and the wonderful questions his books raise. They're rip roaring good fun, but they're thoughtful in a way you don't often see.

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