dill & fennel

read

2021

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