*dusts off blog*
Safe to say that I’ve had a rather hectic start to 2018, and the easiest thing for me to shelve (temporarily!) was blogging. But the urge to blog hits me every now and again, and a couple of weeks ago, I was itching to write a post about all the good books I had read over the first couple of months of the year. Then the Santino Hassell and Riptide Publishing mess came to light, and that kind of sapped all my blogging energies for a bit…
But it’s Easter and the start of a new quarter and technically spring (despite the freezing temperatures and pouring rain), so here’s some book-ish updates to ease back into the blogging swing of things.
I won an ARC of THE UNDERWATER BALLROOM SOCIETY anthology, edited by Stephanie Burgis and Tiffany Trent (out end April). I loved the idea of a fantasy anthology centred around a real-life underwater ballroom (okay, a smoking room under a roof aquarium, but still) and it didn’t disappoint.
Standouts for me was Burgis’s own “Spellswept” (a prequel to her fantasy novella SNOWSPELLED – and just as charming), Ysabeau S. Wilce’s “The Queen of Life” (a haunting take on the world of the fae with a rock’n’roll flavour), Iona Datt Sharma’s “Penhallow Amid Passing Things” (what’s not to like about a genderbent tale about age-old rivalry between smugglers and Revenue inspectors, with magic thrown in for good measure), and Patrick Samphire’s “A Spy in the Deep” (a whodunnit in a alt-hist Regency setting on Mars – I know and yes, it works). There were others that I didn’t connect with as much, but overall, a strong anthology, and it introduced me to quite a few new-to-me authors that I’ll be looking up.
Other thoughts on the nominees:
Best Novel: I’ve enjoyed John Scalzi’s THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, but in the way I’ve enjoyed all his books – they’re entertaining and fast-paced, and then I struggle to remember the actual plots a few weeks after. I’ve the Yoon Ha Lee on my Kindle, waiting to be read, and I’ve been meaning to pick up both the Ann Leckie and NK Jemisin at some point. I’ve heard of the other two nominees, but neither appealed – I may take a closer look.
Best Novella: Martha Wells appears to be getting a lot of love for ALL SYSTEMS RED – deservedly so! I’ve always thought she flies under the radar somewhat. On my to-read list is Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti trilogy (I think?) and the Sarah Gailey one. Also tor.com is pretty much sweeping the nominations in this category, and it shows what can be done when a publisher really focuses on a particular length IMO.
Best Semiprozine: Hurrah for the Book Smugglers!
Best Series: Interesting. I’m still not sure if this category is going to have the depth to stand the test of time, but again, good on Martha Wells for the Raksura series nomination. I’ve given up on Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series, but seeing that it’s seven books in and going strong, I’m probably in the minority. Needless to say, I’m a Lois McMaster Bujold fan, so yay for the Chalion series getting some love. The first book of the Marie Brennan series is on my Kindle, so that may give me the nudge I need to start. I’ve also not really been interested in the Brandon Sanderson books (this is very definitely a minority view) and the Robert Jackson Bennett series is only faintly on my radar, so perhaps I need to check them out.
Finally and more generally, I’m thrilled with the breadth and diversity shown in the nominations list. Not all may be to my taste, but I’m starting to feel the Hugos are truly representing the SFF reading (and writing) population.