Two parallel stories, one about an understandable, but impetuous act during World War 2 with potentially devastating personal and political consequences for all involved, and the other about a 30 something librarian who suddenly finds themselves enmeshed in the hidden bureaucracy of the supernatural come together in some excellent world building.
I Aten’t Dead
This blog has been dead for exactly two years (last post 1 January 2020). I didn’t mean to stop writing, but between things going on in my personal life and Covid (mainly Covid), I’ve been focused inwards, not outwards….I’ve reached a point where I need to get back to a new normal, and putting up stuff here is going to be part of that.
Series Review – October Daye by Seanan McGuire
October Daye is an urban fantasy series starring a PI who bridges the gap between fairy and humans. On its face, there is nothing to distinguish it from any of the other long running series like Dresden/The Hollows (PI), True Blood/Mary Gentry (fairies), etc, except it is a perennial best series nominee for the Hugos. Indeed, I’ve read and briefly reviewed the October Daye series not once, but twice before, putting them in the middle of my Hugo Series ballot in both 2017 and 2019. After the last round I praised them as “weapons grade escapism”, but given I enjoyed them enough this year to reread the series, they deserve a bit more than that. In particular, it misses what is the key strength of the series – a family of characters that I want to hang out with each instalment, the lexical equivalent of a great sitcom or procedural.
Series Review – October Daye Short Fiction
In addition to more than a dozen novels, McGuire has published nearly as many short works in the October Daye Universe. These break broadly into two categories: interstitials between the novels, which were eventually just included in her later books; and prequel works spanning both major cast members as well as minor or historic characters. […]
Capsule Review – Storm of Locusts
She imprisoned a god, but her work’s not done…I liked Trail of Lightning, quite a bit, but Storm of Locusts feels like the full realisation of Roanhorse’s vision. By taking us out of Navajo territory, we gain perspective on both the safety and austerity afforded by the four walls, and the translocation of Diné gods into more conventional settings makes the world bigger by quelling any idea that they might be genius loci, rather than world spanning deities. Indeed, while fundamentally built on the monster of the week format, Storm of Locusts puts meat on it, with both interesting tangents and a strong plot, expanding upon Trail of Lighting in almost every aspect.A stronger sequel to an already good book.
Series Review – October Daye Books 8-12
In for a penny, in for a pound. I reread an October Daye book and posted old reviews for the first seven books, and I’ve ended up rereading the series and figured I would fill out the rest. Obviously once you get to book 8 of a series, the only people reading are the hard core fans, so assume that you should go back and read the earlier books before getting to these ones, and that later reviews might contain spoilers for earlier books. Thanks to The Unkindest Tide being overdue, this completes the current run of novels, and just leaves the short fiction to review…
Play Review – PUFFS: The Play by Matt Cox
PUFFS is clearly made by someone who loves Harry Potter, but is not blind to its faults. Ever since it appeared on the scene, fans have been obsessed with which house they would fit in (Brave, Smart, Snake), but it was fairly clear that not all houses were created equal. Puffs answers the question, what is it like to be in the other, other, other house at Hogwarts, in the most humorous way possible…
Hugo Awards Extravaganza 2019 – Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Obviously the companion category to Long Form, Short form here means shorter than 90 minutes. Unlike its longer cousin, this category often has a diverse range of media beyond tv and short film, and as such is the more interesting non textural category. Unfortunately this is also the category that, as I predicted at the beginning of the Hugo season, I couldn’t get to all of the entries in.
Hugo Awards Extravaganza 2019 – Best Series
Of all the Hugo categories, this is both the strangest, and the hardest to prepare for. Basically it is the best series over 240,000 words (about 500 pages), that hasn’t won this award yet, and had an entry come out in the previous year (no matter how small).
On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard plus The Waiting Stars
A historical review in honour of the Xuya nomination for best series.
Hugo Nominee Review 2013 – Novella 2 (17500-40000 words)
Interesting story about family bonds in a Vietnamese influenced future empire…