Read Recently — April 2009

Cash: the autobiography by Johnny Cash with Patrick Carr

Dude, it’s the autobiography of Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash’s autobiography! Of course you wanna read it.

T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton

Kinsey and her friends learn the lesson not to let just anyone into your life: they may be a predatory identity thief disguised as a caretaker for your elderly friends or relatives. This is one of those mysteries that is not so much about “whodunnit” or why, but about how our heroes defeat the bad guy. Recommended.

Captain’s Fury: Book Four of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher’s best series continues. Highly recommended. (Sorry for the brevity, but by book four of a series, there’s nothing you can say that isn’t spoilerous)

Luck In The Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

An orphaned boy arrested and tortured by a minor lord for spying (when the worst he’s actually guilty of is poaching) is rescued from the dungeons by a real spy. The two of them travel together for a while and the boy becomes basically apprenticed to the spy. Especially when he turns out to have gifts he never realized he had. Soon great evil raises its head.

I’m kinda conflicted on this one; I’ll probably need to re-read it at least once to decide if I really like it or not. However, it is competently enough done, and posits a world that, if it contains little you haven’t seen before, is at least not boring.

Kris Longknife Intrepid by Mike Shepherd

Kris finally has the command of her dreams, even if she did have to create it herself. Now, as she and her crew search for pirates and scientific anomalies (bonus if the pirates are a scientific anomaly), Kris (a) makes an unexpected new friend, and (b) learns of a plot to kill her worst enemy. If she prevents it she is aiding her enemy; if she lets it happen she’ll be blamed for it and cause a war. Decisions, decisions . . . recommended.

Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson

I was hoping for a return to original form by Spider “I AM Robert Heinlein” Robinson, since this book deals with two of his favourite themes: telepathy and backwoods Canada. Sadly, the characters were so irritating that I couldn’t actually focus on the writing quality. Not recommended.

Mainspring by Jay Lake

In a clockpunk world which has clear evidence of creation (the Earth rotates around the sun on giant gear-teeth at the equator; you can see the gear of the orbit curving off into the sky), a brass angel brings an orphan boy a mission: he must restart the mainspring of the earth before it completely winds down.

This is a brilliantly imagined world, and our hero faces a tough journey that will take everything he has to complete, as well as the aid of forces he cannot begin to understand. Highly recommended.

Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins

Basically, Dawkins is taking on the idea that scientific investigation of the world destroys the sense of wonder that leaving things mysterious brings on. I think he succeeds, but you should read it and decide for yourself. Obviously, recommended.

Matrix Warrior: Being the One: the unofficial handbook by jake Horsley

I picked this book up a few years ago because I thought it might be amusing. In April, I found it on my bookshelves, and realised I had never finished it. Wondering why not, I reread it, and remembered why: it’s a phenomenally stupid book. Granted, there was inevitably going to be woo pitched about the Matrix, particularly in the period between the first and second films. And this book does make some good points about the Matrix, as long as you assume that the sequels weren’t filmed. Overall, though, those insights are too few and far- between to make it worth picking up this book. Not recommended.

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