Month in Review: May 2016

If it feels like this month at FC2M has been more gleefully contemptuous than usual, it’s only because I’m scraping the bottom of the Hugo ‘6 list, despite my careful planning to mix up the worthy classics with the dross. It’s not an even list to begin with, but man, those eighties, nineties, and aughties are painful to assign in any order. No amount of sugar makes Hominids go down easy.


Stuff I blogged

TheDivineInvasionThe Divine Invasion (1981) by Philip K. Dick, in which I had a massive BINGO fail, but the cover got some laughs.

A new FC2M series! The Gods must be Crazy: The Terminal Experiment (1995) by Robert Sawyer and Blood Music (1985) by Greg Bear, in which I did a two-part piece about books starring sociopathic nerds, while stomping all over a Vector article that explores Sawyer’s work as an example that science fiction is a new mythology for this era.

The Stochastic Man (1975) by Robert Silverberg, which I liked… except for the careless sexism and ethnic eroticism. Bummer. It’s going to suck when his turn comes around for the Grand Master Award because the argument against him is going to be very, very valid. But his tone and ideas are so cool!

A Feast of Crows (2005) George R. R. Martin, in which I admit to reading the Song of Ice and Fire series out of sequence, and refer to Nina Allan’s column from Interzone to determine why this series of unadulterated misogynistic violence incorporates so many moments of trite feminist soapboxing, and I basically conclude that it’s all a ratings scheme, but even ignoring that issue, the series is really, really boring.


Stuff to be blogged

DoorwaysintheSand2Soon to come: more PKD BINGO! The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982).

Then I think I’ll put on a forced smile and try to be nice to Heritage of Hastur (1975) and Learning the World (2006) two meh books, but one is kind of important in the grand scheme of things, and the other is just a lukewarm scheme.

More gleeful contempt! I still haven’t finished it, but Footfall (1975) basically writes its own review. I think I’ll just let it hang itself by ditching paragraphs for bullet quotations.

And I know I promised a Zelazny review soon, but CAN YOU BLAME ME, ZED? It just won’t gel, she pled. End of June for Doorways in the Sand (1975). Maybe.


Stuff Read

TheExileWaiting1I somehow committed myself to reading the 2016 Clarke list (I’ll explain later), which kind of derailed my plans this month. The Exile Waiting (1975) by Vonda McIntyre and The Computer Connection (1975) by Alfred Bester are still exasperatedly sighing and looking at their watches from my bedside table. I’d tell them to chillax, but then it would become this whole argument about how I always blow off a good thing just to check out younger awards lists and then I always wind up regretting it and how maybe they won’t be there next time when I come crawling back again.

They’re right, but still.

And I don’t “always” do that.

Anyway, from my original May TBR list, I read The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982), Learning the World (2005) by Ken McLeod, and I’m about to finish Footfail (1975) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The rest came from the 2016 Clarke list, which I shall flash review now in emotive punctuation:

The Book of Phoenix  !!!

Arcadia  >:-P

The Long Way to Small Angry Planet  >:-|

Way Down Dark  >:-/

And I read Europe at Midnight a long time ago, during the first uninterrupted weekend I could get after its release last year. Final emoticon score: 😀 😀 😀

Stuff to be Read

MakingWolfI’m putting a great big PAUSE button on the TBR. My reading is way ahead of my blogging, and May and June are hectic months for me, so I just don’t have the time to double post each week. The Hugo ‘6s have been mostly dreadful, the Clarke 2016s have been mostly mediocre, and meanwhile, there are other novels I’m ignoring that I’d rather be reading. So I’m making time for them this summer.

Summer TBR: TBA (at least until I can catch up on my blogging)

I already feel drunk with literary freedom. I’m not sure I can handle this.


May 2016 Book Tallies

Books blogged: 5
Books blogged as a serious response to periodical articles, and definitely not evidence that I might be infatuated with the British SF scene: 2

Books read: 7
Books about aliens: 4
Books about AI: 3
Books about time-travel: 1
Books about aliens that are basically just anthropomorphized Earth mammals: 2

2016 Clarke shortlist progress
Books that try too hard to be cool but just put me to sleep: 1
Books that try too hard to please and consequently feel very formulaic: 2
Books that speak in unique and dynamic terms about relevant social concerns and would probably be burned by Trump supporters if they understood metaphor: 2
Books to be read that I’m told does sapient spiders really well: 1

12 thoughts on “Month in Review: May 2016

  1. Hestia says:

    I read Learning the World when it came out; I’m looking forward to your take on it.


  2. graycope14 says:

    I love your “Month in Review” posts. This was as good as ever. Emoticon reviews could be the way forward for those of us with too much to blog and not enough time…..? Great idea!


    • Glad you liked! The emoticon reviews were handy for forcing me out of ambivalence. They would be especially efficient for picking new reads from favored bloggers: just look for the :-D. The nano-blogging of micro-blogging, perhaps?


  3. Randolph says:

    Foofle! My sympathies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I look forward to seeing if the same things irritated you about Way Down Dark as irritated me. I just reread my own review of it, and do seem to have mustered enthusiasm for the twist, even though it should have been so obvious. And the not chosen one as the new chosen one thing? Meh. Anyway. Yes.

    And the review of Footfall. Hahahahaha, it’s going to be hilarious, I can tell already.

    I look forward to seeing what literary freedom brings to the moon couch…


    • I have not decided if I will bother with a full review of Way Down Dark, if that’s any sign of my feelz. It seems drawn to attract the Hunger Games crowd and is well done enough to deserve it, but I see nothing special about it.

      The literary freedom has so far brought me to Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett and The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood and I’m having a very good time with both.


  5. Oh I missed your post on A Feast for Crows, I need to remedy that! 😀
    And your Emojis reviews were pretty cool! I just started Arcadia (I am 5% in) and it feels like something that it is going to take me forever to read. What did you think of it?
    The Book of Phoenix was really good, it is the first book by Okorafor that I actually liked even if it has some flaws in my opinion. I don’t when I’ll be able to post a review though because my finals are in two weeks and when I have free time (like now actually) I am too lazy to write it. I am clearly a professional reviewer..
    I can’t wait to see what you’ll read next month! ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoyed your Book of Phoenix review. I think it’s a pretty special book, though feedback makes it sound like people are having a hard time accepting Okorafor’s colloquial style. I also think she approaches genre as an absurdist, though I’m not sure she intends this until she gets comfortable in the second half, and I don’t think many readers are willing to see her that way. I saw the same pattern and issues in Lagoon.

      I was very bored by Arcadia. I never DNF books, but I really wanted to quit this one. I thought the “boy meets a fairy” “girl time travels” connection was cute and promising at the beginning, but it lost my attention soon after and never got it back. I think it’s a case of a mainstream author putting on genre like it’s a vacation from literary work. I also think it’s a case of an old-fashioned writer trying to be hip and progressive and achieving 1999 level feminism and metaness. SF has surpassed anything Pears is trying to do.

      Good luck on your finals!


  6. Doorways in the Sand. Riders on the Storm.


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