September 14th, 2012

20111112, Marilee

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

This was the bookgroup book for July and only those who had read the rest of the sequels liked it. Apparently this one, and the next five or so, are completely fantasy. Not a bit of SF.

This story starts out in a rural area where the families & households work to stay safe, but have evil people come and take their stuff. The stuff is supposed to go to the important guy, but they need to take it themselves. The Furies belong to certain people and give them power for their Fury name. A lot of the Fury names seem a bit silly, but the world isn't graphic.

The important people from the household try to keep the stuff safe and then the big guy also safe. They find out that one of the big guy's immediate group below him is going to try to kill the big guy and take his place. Then the man who is in charge of the household makes a wonderful winning move and gets to step up to a new place, much too far up, as do others in the household.

It's all fantasy, and I'm not reading the sequels until it turns into SF.
20111112, Marilee

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

This is the bookgroup book for August. In a far future Thailand, we see a changed world. Our currency is now calorie because the oil is all gone. There are five main characters winding together, apart, and with outer people as Thailand becomes closer and closer to stop functioning. The character that we see the most often is an engineered person who belonged to someone who came to Thailand for work and then left without her. Why pay to take her back when he could get a new one for less at home? She then accidentally causes a civil war.

We see all the twists and deviations flashing through the book and we had about half the group who didn't want to push through the mazes. I liked it a lot as do the rest of us.

In September 2010, the novel won the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Novel category, tying with China Miéville's The City & the City. In May 2010, the novel won the Nebula Award for Best Novel. In 2010, the novel won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. In 2012 a translated version of the novel by Kazue Tanaka and Hiroshi Kaneko won a Seiun award for "Best Translated Long Fiction" at the 51st Japan Science Fiction Convention.

(I took that from the Wiki; it's a lot to type.
20111112, Marilee

Asimov's October/November 2012

I'm taking this to bookgroup tomorrow so I want to talk about it, and did the last two of the bookgroup's. There's still some that I read for myself and I'll keep trying to get them in.

Williams has an editorial on how SF has scarred children. I was surprised because they never scared me, but they really took to her. Kelly goes on to discuss technologies that copy real-life and wonder if they really will be real life.

I liked:

1. The Mongolian Book of the Dead by Alan Smale -- an American gets caught in Ulaanbaatar when the Chinese roll in. They're apparently very skilled because every thing is changed immediately. The American is pulled out to help put the Mongols back in place -- will he live?

2. The Second Engineer by Gary Rinehart -- The engine room on a large spaceship has a voice trying to get the engineers to follow what it wants. Why?

3. A poem -- The Season by Ken Poyner -- what do crabs look for in Virginia Beach?

4. Chromatophores by John Alfred Taylor -- four people start out being a different group than other people and then even their group is different.

5. Shattering by Steve Utley -- a man leaves his wife to leave the system and then finds where he is.

6. The Stars Don't Lie by Jay Lake -- I thought the beginning of this was plodding, but it moves to encourage a couple of people to really find out what was in fantasy.