read

2021

Agency

Another re-read. Honestly one of the best Gibsons.

Psion

A slightly jaunty angle on future space stuff that spent a lot of time on telepathy and belonging.

Where the Wild Ladies Are

A neat collection of modern stories based on Japanese folklore. I want to read an entire novel about the company that employs both ghosts and living people.

Subprime Attention Crisis

A thorough look at the advertising world online and how it might implode in the near future. Compelling and well-researched. I learned a lot.

Changing Planes

A fantastic meta-narrative is the lead-in to this multiverse adventure. I appreciate the creativity and speculation even though the short stories are loosely tied together.

The Seep

A good take on alien invasion with a complex protagonist. The Seep was a nice meditation on loss and moving forward.

We Are Satellites

An interesting look at the social effects of brain augmentation and who is left behind. Definitely easier to read than her pandemic book.

Foundation – Issac Asimov

Wow. What a wild old book. I love the sprawling story even if it completely forgets that women exist.

Lady Joker – Kaoru Takamura

I thought this was a mystery but it’s much more of a… police and investigative procedural. Slow at times but nice too.

Deadly Education — Naomi Novik

Another take on the dark wizard school, but the best one yet. I loved the setting, all the truly weird characters, and the magic system. I’m only mad that I have to wait until September to read the next book.

The Last Tourist – Olen Steinhauer

A post-2016 election spy novel that deals in interesting ways with how capitalism and the rise of facism effect even the spy industry. I’ve enjoyed the twists of this series, and this was a neat fourth entry.

Persephone Station — Stina Leicht

Kinda hokey at times, with a lot of wink wink I’m hip with the sexual politics of the youth, but otherwise enjoyable.

The Galaxy and the Ground Within – Becky Chambers

A fantastic final volume in the Wayfarers series. I loved the look at imperialism, racism, and many assumptions we make about each other regularly. This book does a lot with a closed setting, and was a page-turner.

Yokohama Station SF — Yuba Isukari

I guess this is a light novel, which means it lived up to my expectations of being plot and idea-rich, without much character development or interiority. This was made into a manga already, and I’ve heard there could be an anime adaptation, and I think it will work well in that medium. An easy read with some fun scenes.

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job — Kikuko Tsumura

A cute, quirky book about taking odd jobs that get odder as time wears-on. My favorite bits could be books of their own—the postering job and bus advert job are standouts. Ultimately, the message that maybe burnout is avoidable if you look for the fun weird parts of work is not so great, but I dug this book overall.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue — V.E. Schwab

A fun Faustian bargain hampered slightly by a ho-hum romance. The devil rules.

Cannonball — Kelsey Wroten

A bit overwrought, but I dug the art.

Temporary — Hillary Leichter

This reminded me of a much more cohesive Kathy Acker novel, with weird pirate jaunts, assassins, and ghosts. Fun, and fast-moving.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold — John Le Carré

I’ve seen a number of tv and film adaptations of Le Carré’s work, but this is the first novel I’ve read of his. I get why he’s so well-regarded. This was a wild story of spies and double-crosses, with everyone on the spectrum between terrible and ghoulish. A delightful spy novel.

The Space Between Worlds — Micaiah Johnson

A rad take on the many worlds theory, complete with a bit of Mad Max desert action, and queer characters. I really enjoyed this book, but a word of warning, it includes a bit of assault.

Fake Accounts — Lauren Oyler

A very strange book that flirts with autobiography, and continually subverts both modern female fiction and expectations. I really enjoyed how funny and dark this was, even if it made me deeply wish I could return to Berlin soon.

No One is Talking About This — Patricia Lockwood

A hilarious and brutally sad book about the internet and loss. I think this book perfectly captured what using Twitter is like for those who use it to find the funny things.

‌The Ministry for the Future — Kim Stanley Robinson

This was less of a novel then a series of essays somewhat thinly held-together by a so-so plot. I enjoyed bits of this, but it felt very long. I do love a good airship and a good eco-anarchism.

Worldwired — Elizabeth Bear

A satisfying conclusion with a few pretty interesting action scenes. I don’t think this necessarily delivered on the ideas behind climate sci-fi, but generally it was a fun trilogy.

Scardown — Elizabeth Bear

An interesting take on a ecological crisis sci-fi. It’s wild that this sort of climate disaster sci-fi was written 15 years ago, and I really enjoyed the AI component and the idea that the US had completely blown itself up before the books begin.

The Dragon Republic — R. F Kuang

After the whiplash of the first book in the trilogy from school-based fantasy to brutal warfare, this book was refreshing in being exclusively brutal. I’m excited to see how the series ends, and it’s also nice to be so clearly rooting against the Hesperians.

Trick Mirror — Jia Tolentino

A wide-ranging essay collection on modern social networks, marriage, and assault. Definitely worth a read, though at times it’s pretty tough to get through depending on your background. Fuck marriage. Fuck Twitter. Fuck the world of conservative “christianity”.

Random Acts of Senseless Violence — Jack Womack

This was a wild book. Written as diary entries, it follows the quick dissolution of a middle-class life in New York with the backdrop of the US falling apart completely. I’m not a huge fan of books that affect a dialect, but eventually it was easier to follow. A very depressing speculative fiction.

The Quantum Thief — Hannu Rajaniemi

Ooh, a new trilogy to dive into. I had a pretty hard time understanding a lot of the technology terms Rajaniemi made up, but by the end I’d gotten used to them enough that I could just enjoy the story. This book was nowhere near as confusing as Ninefox Gambit, but definitely required a bit more investment than many mainstream sci-fi tomes.

Company Town — Madeline Ashby

A cool take on post-climate-collapse sci-fi, with a complicated badass protagonist. A good escape read for the holidays.

footnotes

* Lesbian Book Club

** Ghost Book Club

book archive