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Syd
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:38 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12713 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Really liked Nnedi Okorafor's new novella/short novel (it's 158 pages, so you can go either way: I go novella on this one, but novel for Binti: The Night Masquerade). It's set in the same universe as "The Book of Phoenix" and "Who Fears Death," and is much better than "Phoenix" but not as good as "Who Fears Death," which is a masterpiece.

This one is a couple of decades, at most, in our future and concerns a young Ghanan girl (aged 7 -14 years during the novel) who discovers a possibly alien artifact that gives her the ability to cause death, which makes her feared and cherished (since she can give a painless death to the suffering). She travels, for years, experiencing hope and tragedy, and it's very moving, and the best written story Okorafor has ever written. If it doesn't get a Hugo and/or Nebula nomination, I'm embarrassed for the voters. (Though, as I mentioned, do you nominate it as a novella or novel?)

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bartist
Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2021 4:37 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
https://locusmag.com/2019/05/liz-bourke-reviews-permafrost-by-alastair-reynolds/

Enjoying this nonlinear plotted novel (which is also one short enough to place a foot in novella territory).
I've never seen time travel approached in quite this way.

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bartist
Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2021 4:51 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
The local library is purchasing the Binti series, which I want to read. Making friends with jellyfish is a useful skill.

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bartist
Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 7:30 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
"American Gods" is a masterpiece of magical realism, and has become one of my favorite novels about the soul of America. It is the tallest of tall tales, yet somehow resonates with a strong ring of truth and characters so fleshed out and fully realized that I now miss them.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/jul/29/book-beach-american-gods-neil-gaiman

There are no must-read novels, as Borges pointed out once, but I think Borges would tell you in no uncertain terms to read this book.

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carrobin
Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 2:20 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 7783 Location: NYC
Agree about "American Gods," so complex but so imaginative and fascinating. (I was reading it in a restaurant one evening after work and the waiter started a conversation about it--his favorite book at the time.)
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Syd
Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:16 am Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12713 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I have an embarrassing confession and I'm seeking out sackcloth and a bell and training my voice to say "unclean:" although I have read a number of novels about Sherlock Holmes and seen many of the movies and TV shows based on him, I have never read anything by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Thus it was over a hundred pages into Katherine Addison's "The Angel of the Crows" to realize two of the major cases are retellings of 'A Study in Scarlet" and "The Sign of Four." I finally decided to check when "The Sign of the Four" appeared on a document in a woman's possession. (Mary, Watson's future wife, except here, Watson is named J. H. Doyle, and I still have no clue what "J.H." stands for. I know where the Doyle comes from.)

In any case, this is Sherlock Holmes in a parallel London, with lots of supernatural aspects. Holmes is Crow, an Angel who is a consulting detective, and a lot more likeable than Holmes. Angels come into three categories, the Nameless, who are sort of lost souls and no real identity, Angels, who are blessed and have a particular "habitation," so you might have the Angel of Islington, Angel of Charing Cross, etc., and the Fallen. Doyle was a doctor in Afghanistan until he was maimed by a Fallen and sent home, and was cursed to be a...you have to read.

So this is Sherlock Holmes with good and Fallen angels, werewolves (I hope we get the Hound of the Baskervilles), vampires, hellhounds, ghouls and more. A lot of these are first mentioned when Doyle starts trying to figure out what can be doing those murders in Whitechapel.

I find this totally addictive and recommend it highly. I suspect it may get annoying if you're too familiar with the original stories, but maybe not. Addison is a very good writer. The name is a pseudonym, and the other books under it are "The Goblin Emperor" and "The Witness for the Dead," which are well worth checking out, particularly the first. I hope she continues in this vein with original plots.

If you like this, I recommend Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald," a Holmesian story within the Cthulhu Mythos. It's in his collection "Fragile Things." but I don't recommend buying the book, which is mostly lesser Gaiman. You can certainly find it elsewhere, and it's a tour de farce.

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Syd
Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:31 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12713 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
We eventually do get to "The Hound of the Baskervilles," which I am familiar enough with without the original, and "The Speckled Band," which I was totally unfamiliar with. We also have a Jack the Ripper case for which having a hellhound handy makes the solution easier. Oh, and there's a wonderful twist on Moriarty, who, if you've read descriptions of him, you won't be surprised is a member of a vampire hunt (i.e. a nest of vampires). More surprising is that the head of each hunt is a female vampire. No Irene Adler in sight and I'm not sure how she would fit in.

I hope Katherine Addison writes more in this vein, too. And maybe some arteries as well.

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bartist
Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2021 3:06 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
I know the response here, on vampire themes, has been...anemic, but I did grab a copy of TAotC at the PL a couple days ago. We'll see how long I last. Generally, I've started to find something in recent takes on the vampire theme, like a Norwegian miniseries called Post Morten (sort of a meld of "Fargo" and "Six Feet Under"). I will comment in Current Film, if I feel it's worth raising the dead.

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