Jan. 27th, 2013

xthread: (Saint)
<fodder for the line eater>
Travel is generally a high-text time for me. I have not yet fallen to the dark path of e-books, so these days a measurable fraction of the weight of my luggage is text.

This year, the assembled fodder was as follows
  • 50 Mathematical Ideas You Should know
  • - I really need to read this series. I've dented like, mmm, two of the six or so books I picked up at the British Science Museum (Dude! We invented Steam! Catch Up!), but haven't actually finished any of them. Keep meaning to. Maybe when I've wiped out another two shelves of fiction and non-fiction. Not cracked this trip, much less finished.
  • Right, Ho, Jeeves
  • - Years ago, the esteemed @memeregal introduced me to EF Benson's Lucia series, and after that, Wodehouse is practically an inevitably. I've been quite happy with the Fry and Laurie Jeeves and Wooster productions, and occasionally reread the original Wodehouse when I find a print edition that I'm particularly fond of. Someday, I'll be certain that I've actually read all of it, at the same time, and I won't need to reread it again. 'Til then, well, there keep being new editions. Also unopened at the end of the trip.
  • Fate of Worlds
  • - Larry Niven has been writing the long-form novelization of Down in Flames, this is the last of them. I seem to have somehow missed the next-to-last, so I'll have to go find it and read it. In the meantime, I have to say, enlisting a hard-science SF author to co-author a space opera whose objective was to burn the Ringworld franchise to the ground was, ah, inspired. Finished after returning from the con, as Amazon had replaced my original, misprinted copy.
  • The Unincorporated Future
  • - I met the brothers Kollin at a Westercon and Norwescon some years ago, and I've enjoyed their fiction ever since I got around to reading it. The entire Unincorporated series really is a lovely indictment of the entire Randian anarchy-syndicalist utopia, altho, unfortunately, Future is the weakest of the lot. It's not quite a Stephensonian level of oh, crap, we've run out of page count ending, but it definitely feels .. rushed. Particularly compared to the earlier works, which include pieces of fine, fine piece (American) Civil War and World War II history cleverly disguised as science fiction. I'll have to offer them a refreshing adult beverage next time I see one or the other of them and ask them what the hell happened. Norwescon is a likely bet. Finished while on holiday.
  • Doctor No
  • - Penguin Classics has been reissuing the original Ian Fleming Bond works, which I originally read in the very early eighties, and I've been rereading them, as I've been giving my earlier editions to a deserving, happy recipient. She gets to read Bond for the first time, I get to reread them again, and Green Apple Books and Powells get to sell them to me, I'm pretty sure everyone is walking away happy. Anyway, I really, really like the fact that in the early Bonds, he's not Superhuman. In fact, while we-the-reader may know that he's going to come out intact, he certainly doesn't. Which is a lovely. I know, I know, You Only Live Twice. Hush, you. In any case, Quantum of Solace is a stunning piece of English-language prose. Finished while on the flight East.
  • Moonraker
  • - Yes, Virginia, the original Fleming from which the 1979 Roger Moore fantasy is drawn is originally a piece which is clearly shouted out to in the penultimate and final episodes of The Prisoner. There, I've now obscurely spoilt one piece of mid-century thriller spy fiction and one extended episode of one of the greatest pieces of spy-genre commentary ever produced. I expect 1500 words on the subject by Tuesday, and I'm not above using one of those new-fangled anti-plaigarism sites to make sure that you're not cribbing from your classmates. Get cracking! (Finished on the flight West, in case you're wondering)
  • Lust
  • - I don't often delve into Literature as such, and even less frequently into Essays, per se, but there was a .. promising series on the seven deadly sins offered a number of years ago that I picked up from my corner Blues and Books shop. Sadly, having consumed the treatise upon Lust, and attempted the tract on the subject of Pride a number of times, I can sadly report that these works do not work for me, and I will be returning them to the shops for delivery to some more-deserving reader. Finished on the flight East, in between naps.
  • I Shall Wear Midnight
  • - I am led to understand that Mr Pratchett considers his Juveniles to be More Important than his Discworld work generally, which is a point of view to which I am sympathetic, but I am sadly a book behind in the replacing the Witches series, which I hoped to catch up on while on holiday. Sadly, not cracked, I was entirely unsuccessful.
  • The Consummata
  • - As part of my recently-acquired affection for Film Noir and hard-boiled crime fiction generally, I've devoured the bulk of the output of the Hard Case Crime imprint. They've undergone a bit of a rough patch over the last year, as their publishing house has undergone.. ah, interesting times, but they're now back in the groove, albeit with a shift to trade paperback format instead of mass-market fiction format. But I'm not complaining. In any case, I demolished this on the flight East, along with the inadequately graceful essay on Lust, and it was quite fulfilling.

    For those of you keeping score at home, I took eight books with me on the trip, and finished five of them at, or shortly after, the con, and can recommend all but one of those.

    What have you been reading?

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