June 2015 Book News, Reviews, & Queues!

OddJohn2MemoirsofaSpacewoman1TheBeauty

Thanks to this awesome thing called “Summer Hours,” I managed to read more books than expected in June. Plus, I’m edging toward the end of my “Hugos on the ‘5s” reading list. FAKE BALLOT POSTS COMING UP IN TIME FOR NEXT MONTH’S SPEWGOS, BTW!

But first…

Book Award News!

Lots of book award news last month. Most recently, the 2015 Locus Award winners were announced this weekend. Ancillary Sword won the Science Fiction category, and The Goblin Emperor won the Fantasy category. The results look awfully Hugo-familiar, which sounds like bad news for The Three-Body Problem.

I’ve read all but one in the Locus Sci-Fi category, but now the Locus First Novel category looks more interesting with both The Memory Garden and Elysium both acclaimed and recommended to me.

Also, already covered, but Claire North won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the wonderful The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, and Jeff VanderMeer won the Nebula (a Nebbie!) for Annihilation.

Books Blogged in June

Here at FC2M, important SF literary questions were posed last month:

TheWanderer3Do theatrical elements revitalize the stilted disaster novel tropes of Fritz Leiber’s 1964 Hugo-winner The Wanderer(It’s Leiber, so why not!)

Will fantastic settings overcome the awkward mechanical sex scenes in Larry Niven’s 1984 The Integral Trees(Two words: Flying whales.)

Is it okay to offend the skeptics (i.e. the intended audience; i.e. me) in a blasphemous religious satire like James Morrow’s 1994 Towing Jehovah(Well, how many feminists does it take to blow up the corpse of God?)

Will Odd John (1935) make Olaf Stapledon a new favorite author of mine? (Yes.)

Will anyone say anything about my horrifically cliptastic art skilz in my Kiln People review? (Nope. Frowny face.)

Books Read/Books to be Blogged

I met my reading goals for the month, plus some! The extra books will likely end up in several flash review conglomeration posts.

RiverofGods2River of Gods (2004) by Ian McDonald

Mother of Storms (1994) by John Barnes

Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995) by Octavia E. Butler

Memoirs of Spacewoman (1962) by Naomi Mitchison

The Feminine Future (2014) by Mike Ashley

Mirror Dance (1994) by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Planet Buyer (1964) by Cordwainer Smith

[Note: Up until this year, I was certain I had read and enjoyed Butler before, years ago. I thought it was Lilith’s Brood, but then I read a review that made me think I read a different book. But other people have recently reviewed other Butler novels and those don’t sound as familiar, so I’m completely confused! This is the main reason I started blogging about books in the first place. Poor book memory!]

Scheduled Books to Read/Blog

JobAComedyofJustice

It JUST arrived. I’m already glaring at it.

The Peace War (1984) by Vernor Vinge

Iron Sunrise (2004) by Charles Stross

Beggars and Choosers (1994) by Nancy Kress

And finally… sigh…

Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984) by Robert. A. Heinlein

My last Heinlein was my only NGF (NeverGonnaFinish) in the year 2014: the awful, offensive, dumb, and pointless Time Enough for Love (1973). I read too much Heinlein last year, so I promised myself I wouldn’t make myself read him again for another year. It’s been a year and this book is next in line. I expect more haughty pontificating and submissive females.

The Long (not-so) Lazy Summer Read/Practicando mi español

Cien Años de Soledad (1967) by Gabriel García Márquez

If you remember from my 2015 Readsolutions, one of my goals was to read this en español. Vámonos!

Summer Break Potential Extra Maybes

More time off this summer means I might squeeze in more books. Some potentials:

LastandFirstMen2Last and First Men (1930) by Olaf Stapledon

The Beauty (2014) by Aliya Whiteley

Dark Star (2015) by Oliver Langmead

Aurora (2015) by Kim Stanley Robinson

Star Maker (1937) by Olaf Stapledon

 

AND, some potentials for working on my short story reading skills (my short fic focus sucks):

DespatchesFromTheFrontiersoftheFemaleMindSelected Stories of Philip K. Dick (2002) by Philip K. Dick

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (1990) by James Tiptree, Jr.

Dangerous Visions (1967) by Harlan Ellison

Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind (1985) ed. by Jen Green and Sarah Lefanu

And, with some time off this summer, you might see me around social media more!

That is, if I manage to get through this massive list I just made for myself.

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22 thoughts on “June 2015 Book News, Reviews, & Queues!

  1. Tammy says:

    I would love to hear your thoughts on Dark Star and The Beauty if you get around to reading them. One I loved, and one not so much. Oh and both are pretty short!

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Aside from fantastic reviews of both novels from all directions, I also thought the short length would make them ideal to squeeze in this month. We’ll see if I get to them!

      Like

  2. Steph says:

    “How many feminists does it take to believe up the corpse of god” is any one else going to remark on the irreverent humor of that statement? Fantastic. ….Also, I know you have scruples and like to be well rounded and educated, but it might be time for you to give up on Heinlein. I don’t think he deserves this much of your energy…granted this is coming from a person who only read one of his books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      That’s the truth about Morrow. He is very irreverent. Even to himself and his fans.

      With Heinlein, and my general book list tendencies, it’s not so much scruples and SF education as it is complete tunnel-vision. “I said I would do this, so I am doing this.”

      But I’m not saying I won’t dump him again halfway through.

      Like

  3. thebookgator says:

    Will anyone say anything about my horrifically cliptastic art skilz in my Kiln People review? (Nope. Frowny face.)

    Done.

    And, btw, I think it only takes one feminist to blow up God, as long as it’s Mary Daly.

    Like

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      It’s about time someone said something! I spent minutes on it! Minutes, I tell you!

      If only Morrow went the direction of Mary Daly. But then we wouldn’t get a whipped Marxist boyfriend and his team of WWII reenactors. So, there is that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. YOU MEAN YOU DREW THAT CLAY POT MAN?!?!?!? I was all, “where the hell did she find THAT bit of clip art.” Well, well, well.

    I can’t wait for you to read The Beauty and/or Dark Star. Though I think I am most excited for you to read Dark Star. Not so excited for the Heinlein. He is a case of, I will take the word of the people who have read him and told me horrible things instead of reading him myself. I have read The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which I enjoyed, and I think I just got extremely lucky with my random choice of where to start on his stuff, because that one was tolerable.

    Flying whales versus awkward sex! Hahahahahaha.

    I am so jealous that you are going to read 100 Years of Solitude in Spanish. That (and similar) were pretty much my main motivations for trying to learn Spanish several times over the last fifteen years. Unfortunately I never got far enough to read a book. Awesome.

    Lots of interesting things coming up this summer. Awesome. Gah I need to finish Lord of Light so I can get to Odd John. Lord of Light is kind of killing me right now. Ah well. I’ll blame the heat.

    Like

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Rather, I cut-and-pasted the clay pot into person formation. It took much rotating.

      I am also excited to get to Dark Star and The Beauty. As for Heinlein, I haven’t even read Mistress yet. I keep reading his later BS.

      I’ve already started Solitude and it. is. just. wonderful. It makes me wonder why I’m wasting all this time with science fiction. I had forgotten what a marked difference there is between genre and well, perfection. I’m reading each chapter twice and combining it with the English audio version and that seems to be a good system for now.

      I’ve got a couple of Zelaznys coming up this fall or so: This Immortal and Doorways in the Sand. I keep putting him off because the estate is slow to digitize his work, but it looks like they’re finally moving on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I had forgotten what a marked difference there is between genre and well, perfection.” Ha. Yeah. This is why reading City of Saints and Madmen is a must. It is both and ahhhhh. *sighs contentedly* I was thinking of re-reading Love in the Time of Cholera soonish, which I recall liking more than Solitude. Can you please read some Borges in Spanish next and tell me about how wonderful it was???

        I feel I have started in the wrong place with Zelazny. I really want to try something else because he can obviously write even though I hate the way he put this story together.

        Like

        • fromcouchtomoon says:

          How funny you mention Borges! If I am successful with Marquez this summer (which I am), I was thinking I might make Borges my Spanish reading assignment next summer.

          VanderMeer as perfection? Okay, let me at it.

          I have a lot of Zelazny on the TBR, so I’ll try to find one I think you might dig 😉

          Like

  5. thebookgator says:

    I love Doorways in the Sand. Not quite typical Zelazny, but a great deal of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joachim Boaz says:

    Please write a few full review of Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) — I cannot come up with book out there more deserving of some basic awareness that it even exists…

    Like

  7. I was pretty happy with the Locus Award nominees and winners. Big congrats to the authors, they earned it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      I knew you’d be happy that The Goblin Emperor won. I’m still curious to see if Three-Body does any better at the Hugos. Otherwise, we’ll see AS and GE duke it out.

      Like

  8. Jesse says:

    If I was more motivated, I might go take a look through the years and try to find evidence to support my theory that the Locus Award is like the Hugo’s little brother. I can’t help but feel there is a great deal of overlap. Given that in order to subscribe to Locus you must be totally involved in the genre, involved in such a fashion you’re also likely to go to WorldCon, and thus also vote for the Hugo… But just doesn’t seem worth the time. If Leckie wins this year’s Hugo, I’ll call it proven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      At just a glance, there isn’t much overlap among winners, but there probably is among the shortlists. I do like that Locus separates sci-fi and fantasy into two categories, just because it expands shortlist opportunities. Still very, very American though, with the exception of Gaiman (might as well be American) and Mieville. Locus voters love Mieville, apparently.

      Like

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      And now that I think about it, Locus publishes that “recommended” long list that seems to influence/overlap with a number of awards.

      Like

  9. Joseph Nebus says:

    You know, I’ve had Dangerous Visions resting in my to-read pile for a while now, but it hasn’t quite made it to actually being read.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hestia says:

    “Job” would be an interesting companion to Towing Jehovah, thematically…assuming you make it through. *Sigh* I’m still such an English major.

    (The main character in Job is much like Heinlein’s other late male main characters, but Heinlein seemed much more aware of his “special” qualities — and given the title of the book…)

    Like

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