Brainycat's Occaisonal Reviews

About Me: Full-time smartass, part-time misunderstood genius.

Interests: photography, reading, Formula 1, natural history, technology, science

Favorite Books: Stories featuring antiheroes: Cyberpunk, Horror, Urban Fantasy (not romance), Erotica (kinky and taboo)

The Puppies Issue

The "Sad Puppies" and "Rabid Puppies" thing confuses me. Everyone is blaming everyone else, but I have yet to find a plenary statement anywhere - I just see a lot of very loosely defined jargon being thrown around. It's easy to call someone a neofascist, SJW, radical feminist or whatever - but in the realm of "my feelings are guiding my logic" I don't feel like I can rely on anyone's written word to adequately explain what their agenda really is. It doesn't help at all that I'm not at all familiar with any of the names or books that keep coming up.


I'm confused by the gamergate issue too; my understanding is that boys who didn't get spanked enough as kids for being disrespectful to their mothers went ballistic when women pointed out how sexist and puerile their behavior is. I don't know why this is a controversy, anyone that's spent more than two minutes in an online game can attest to the overall level of maturity in popular gaming.


What am I missing? If the Hugos are joke, slapping a "Winner of the Hugo Award' on a book jacket means I won't buy it. I don't play games either, despite being the prototypically perfect games consumer[1]. If I wrote a book, I'd hope it wouldn't become associated with right wing filth.


I'm trying to find some real insight into these issues, but all the data is written across blogs with people who've got some skin in the game. I haven't been able to locate a knowledgeable analysis that convincingly explains their own biases and genuinely teases out the different players, points of view and salient points.


[1] I am a technology engineer with a comfortable disposable income and plenty of free time

Thursday's New Books - 9 APR and a day late

The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers (Dover Thrift Editions) - Mike Ashley The Devil's Detective: A Novel - Simon Kurt Unsworth Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love - Evans Light, Jason  Parent, Gregor Xane, Adam   Light, Edward Lorn, Mike Tenebrae Cool to the Touch: A Zombie Love Story - Terry Maggert Flex - Ferrett Steinmetz Artificial Evil  - Colin F. Barnes The Curse Merchant - J.P. Sloan Crimes Against Magic - Steve McHugh Born of Hatred - Steve McHugh Infamous Reign: A Hellequin Novella - Steve McHugh

Between the booklikes maintenance day and a catastrophe with my old reader, I haven't updated my device for a while. I meant to do this yesterday but I forgot.


These were recommended by Bookaneer:

The Feminine Future


The Curse Merchant


And these from Lizzy Loves Books:

The Devil's Detective

The Hellequin Chronicles (I found the first one in my library already, but I grabbed the rest of the series)


Thanks to Gregor Xane:

Dead Roses


And last, but certainly not least, thanks to Bookstooge for

Artificial Evil


Any my TBR grows ever larger....



Reamde - 4 good novels doesn't necessarily make 1 great novel

Reamde - Neal Stephenson

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 3
boobs: 1
bombs: 4
bondage: 1
blasphemy: 1
Stars: 3
Bechdel Test: PASS
Deggan's Rule: PASS
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

When I started this book, I was using an AG2 running MoonReader. My pageview wasn't setup to include page or screen counts. I had no idea this book comes in at over 1000 pages (according to Amazon's count), and to be honest if I'dve known that I probably would've DNF'd at 10%. I didn't figure out it was so long until around (virtual) page 250 and I thought to myself, "This has been going on for a long time, and yet more complications are being added and nothing is getting resolved - how is this going to get wrapped up?" By that time I'd become invested in a couple of the characters, and my ego decided to make this into some sort of titanic battle of my will to continue vs. Mr. Stephenson's verbosity.

My ego won. Despite a catastrophe with my AG2 with 100 screens left to go, I finished the book. Do I feel edified? No. Entertained? Meh; there was some great parts and there were a lot of very long stretches that needed an editor's red swipe. Accomplished? You betcha.

There are 4 different 250 page thrillers in this book. Any one of them could stand alone and do well with the techno/thriller/pre-cyberpunk crowd that Neil writes for. Smashing the four of these together was ambitious, and I feel like I understand why Mr. Stephenson felt like this book needed so many storylines, but I don't know if it really needed to be this complicated to say what he was trying to say. I value brevity and succinctness[1] and Reamde had very little of either. Choosing a single plot thread, then backing it up with hints and wisps from the other plotlines would have made for a much stronger product in this reader's opinion. The fact is, some of the plotlines were weak and needed inordinate amounts of filler to shore them up and try to get them stand on their own.

And therein lies the crux of my problem with this book. There is way too much filler. At least 250 pages worth of unnecessary asides and descriptions could be wiped from the book with no detriment to the plot whatsoever. Here's a short list from the top of my head of some descriptive passages that went on for several screens without any advancement of the plot:
    Setting up a TOR node on a shared PC
    Lore regarding grizzly bears' ability to smell
    Building a secured cell inside an RV
    Querying a database
These would all be great if I were looking for documentation on any of these topics, but I wasn't. And that's just what I recalled with a few seconds of effort; the whole book is peppered with a level of detail that is wholly unnecessary.  I was trying to enjoy a story about an unlikely band of characters thrown together by fate and trying to outsmart a caricature of the 21st Century Boogeyman: A dark skinned jihadist who looks and talks just like middle class white folks.

To make these wildly different characters get vested in the same outcome required some serious shenanigans on behalf of the writer. The terms "contrived", "outlandish" and "almost ridiculous" come to mind. Of course the world is full of amazing coincidences and near misses; but relying on whole consecutive steps of unliklihoods to drive a plot feels more appropriate to a comedy of errors than a techno thriller. The characters in this book move through a bubble where normal statistics don't apply. It was fun for the first few hundred pages, then it became tiresome, and by the end it was just another annoyance I had to put up with to get to to the finish line.

The characters themselves don't feel like they're "getting lucky", but neither do comic book heroes. All our main characters are interesting in their own right, and voiced well, but there's a very strong sense the characters get moved around and motivated according to the outline the author sketched before writing the book, rather than organically going where they need to go. Characterization, never one of Mr. Stephenson's strong points, isn't weaker in this book than in the others I've read but it feels like it's worse because it goes on for so long.

I liked the different settings, and the scene building was handled very well. I felt like I had a sense of place in all the locations. The settings were "voiced" like a character, and lent their own flavor to the parts of the story they related to. I wouldn't say the scene building was vivid (except where descriptions went on too long) but it was very evocative. A good chunk of action happens in Seattle, and having lived there for a number of years I can say that he captured the feel of the town and the Cascade Mountains perfectly. I can only assume he was as accurate with the other settings.

The finale, like the rest of the book, was way too wordy and took way too long to wrap up. I wanted to hurry up and finish it just to find out who pulled the trigger that killed the Big Bad Guy; I was still invested in some of the characters but I had no expectations that they would suddenly arc in a surprising direction. By the time the final gun battle shapes up, all the characters are finally in place and it felt like it was just a matter of putting words into my eyes until I reached the end of the book.

I'm feeling a difficulty trying to rate this; my enjoyment of the book declined the closer I got to the end. The beginning was everything I expected from this author and I was set to star the heck out of it, but then it just went on way too long without doing anything clever. In a lot of ways, this book is like that guy you work with who's really smart and mildly autistic - it just drones on and on about the minutae of some inane topic despite every cue that you're ready to wrap up the conversation.

[1] But I don't like poetry - go figure

Imprinted - Works as advertised

Imprinted - Darcy Sweet

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 0
boobs: 5
bombs: 0
bondage: 4
blasphemy: 0
Stars: 4
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

I finished this a while ago, I'm not sure why I didn't get a review done sooner. I got a recommendation for the book from a friend on GR and after checking out the synopsis I got a copy. This is a hot little bit of smut, the plot is character driven so it doesn't read like a litany of sexual gymnastics. The characters don't grow very much; it's a short story and there isn't much time for the characters to arc. Their relationships are changed by the end of the story though which is what I expect for this sort of thing. As erotica goes, this is certainly better than most of the swill out there.

Damoren - DNF @10%

Damoren - Seth Skorkowsky

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 4
boobs: 0
bombs: 0
bondage: 0
blasphemy: 1
Stars: 1
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.


I wanted to like this book; I'm all about dark interpretations of Abrahamaic mythology and the way the war between Heaven and Hell is fought in the human world. But every character we met in the book speaks like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western, which is OK if it's handled gracefully and with lots of support. Neither happened in the part of the book I read. It was reading very quickly, and I was concerned I had picked up a YA book on accident, when I ran into this little gem right at the 10% mark:


So, as the crusaders invaded the Holy Lands, they brought with them vampires, werewolves, and other creatures that were virtually unknown to that region.


I'm no expert on mythology or any of the middle eastern cultures, but I've read enough Joseph Campbell and 1001 Arabian Nights to know that white guys aren't responsible for all the interesting things that happen all over the globe. I was on the fence with the book to begin with, but that pushed me right over the edge.

The Trailer - Well written but not inspired

Trailer - Edward Lorn

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 4
boobs: 0
bombs: 2
bondage: 2
blasphemy: 1
Stars: 3
Bechdel Test: PASS
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.


I finished this at least two weeks ago and I'm just getting around to putting a review up. This is a very short story, and while it is very well written - I was completely transported into the scenario, and the action was paced perfectly - there was nothing original in the way it played out. Every motivation, plot device and twist I've seen done dozens of times. But the author knows how to draw a mental picture and move characters around and there's a lot to be said for the comfort of familiarity. I'm giving this three stars because the author had the good sense to wrap this up before it got repetitive.


--edit-- Added my rating template

Forgive me, for I have sinned...

Years of drinking daily and blacking out most days, and a mild but noticeable case of OCD has taught me the value of having a place for everything and putting everything in it's place every time. For example, the place for my ebook reader is on my nightstand or in my hands. I've worn out or outgrown several readers over the years, and never lost one or broken any of them. I still have the same crappy class 4 MicroSD that I've been using since day one.

Late Sunday night, I failed to follow my procedure and now I'm suffering for it. I was up too late trying to finish the insanely long Reamde[1] when I heard the unmistakable "CRASH-Thud-scamper-scamper" of the cats knocking something over downstairs. I got up, put on a fleece, and went to go assess the damage. Nothing broken but the cats looked awfully sheepish and surprised to see me out of bed. I went back upstairs and laid down to knock out the last 20 pages of the 1000 page long tome, and CRACK! My knee landed on something solid that made a "you just threw a bunch of money away" sort of noise.

It was my 10 week old AG2 reader. I didn't crack the screen and the battery isn't leaking, but I definitely broke some of the soldering and/or chips on the mainboard. The screen is OK, and the LEDs respond to the power button but it doesn't even try to boot. It doesn't show up as any kind of intelligent device to the android utilities; it's basically just a battery charger now.

Naturally, the European distributor is out of stock until the latter part of April. I couldn't find a Nook Glow Touch anywhere; that would be the perfect cheap reader to tide me over until the AG2 is available again. A Kobe Aura HD wouldn't be bad, the firmware is a bit of a problem but there's ways around that. They're out of stock everywhere too. So I got a tiny little underpowered Kobe Aura, which will be here in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, I'm back in the turn of the century, draped over a pillow with a paper book laying on the bad and the bedside lamp on. Totally inconvenient and not very good for my neck. All because of a moment's inattention and failing to follow my procedures.

[1] Review forthcoming - because what else am I going to do?

Dead Heat - Started off hot, then got colder

Dead Heat - Ren Thompson

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 4
boobs: 5
bombs: 2
bondage: 1
blasphemy: 2
Stars: 3
Bechdel Test: PASS
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: PASS

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

This book started off with a scene of explicit depravity that would make Ed Lee proud, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was hooked right away and that's what carried me through the rest of the book. After that, it became a romance complete with InstaLove and some steamy lesbian sex between the Older Wiser Stronger Emotionally-Unavailable longtime lesbian MC and the Younger Enthusiastic Softer Idealistic Never-Been-With-A-Woman-Before co-MC. It's a bog-standard romance, dressed up in an implausible zombie scenario - in fact, all of the worldbuilding was one big "WTF?!?!". The romance - well, if you're at all familiar with the genre there will be absolutely no surprises here for you. The last two thirds of the book featured predictable plot and character development punctuated a few times by sex. I kept hoping for more of the horrific depravity the book started off with but it never happened again. In a sense, it feels like a bit of false advertising, but OTOH I've met my annual quota for romance.

And one more for Thursdays New Books

Artificial Evil  - Colin F. Barnes

I forgot to include this book in my list yesterday. Bookstooge gave it 3 stars with a note re: technobabble; I like technobabble so we'll see how it goes. From his synopsis, I think this is going to have some strong resonances to Logan's Run, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. I'm not ashamed to admit I have a softspot for cheesy 70s scifi.

Thursday's New Books - 19 MAR

Thirteen: Stories of Transformation - Mark Teppo, Liz Argall, M. David Blake, Richard Bowes, George Cotronis, Amanda Davis, Julie C. Day, Jetse de Vries, Jennifer Giesbrecht, Daryl Gregory, Rik Hoskin, Rebecca Kuder, Claude Lalumière, Marc Levinthal, Grá Linnaea, Alex Dally MacFarlane , Lyn McConchie, Juli Ma Damnation Alley - Roger Zelazny Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World - Walter Mosley A Gift Upon the Shore - M.K. Wren Gather, Darkness! - Fritz Leiber The End is Nigh (The Apocalypse Triptych) - John Joseph Adams, Hugh Howey, Jamie Ford, Paolo Bacigalupi The Gold Coast: Three Californias - Kim Stanley Robinson After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall - Nancy Kress After the End: Recent Apocalyses - Paula Guran, Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow, Margo Lanagan

Thirteen: Stories of Transformation
I have no idea why or when I picked this up - it just showed up in my kindle app of it's own accord. I can't find any reviews from anyone I know at any of the book sites I frequent, either and I don't think I recognize any of the authors. The Kindle version has a crappy cover image, and I couldn't find an appropriately sized cover on google images - this is probably a new release I preordered months ago on a whim.  Or maybe the universe is trying to tell me something...

I just got these this morning from HumbleBundle's Post-Apocalypse collection. For those of us who are obsessive about their calibre databases, I've included the series and ISBN info for the books. The collection also includes some comics and a couple of issues of Lightspeed, but I haven't included them here. Not because I don't think comics or periodicals count as reading material; I have a deep respect and admiration for both forms. It's just that I don't read many comics and I don't track them in Calibre, and the library info for periodicals is self-evident and needn't be reproduced here.

Damnation Alley
    - One of my very most all time favorite cyberpunky stories, Hardwired by WJW is based on this book. After all these years, I still haven't read Damnation Alley - but that will change soon!

Walter Mosely is a familiar name - but I may be thinking of Max Mosely instead. I have no idea what to expect from this.

A Gift Upon the Shore
Again, I have no idea what to expect.

Gather, Darkness!
I have heard of Fritz Leiber, but I haven't read anything of his yet.

The Apocalypse Triptych #1
It has stories by Paolo Bacigalupi and Jonathan Maberry, so I expect this to be a knockout that helps carry the whole collection

The Gold Coast
The Three Californias Tryptich #2
OMG!! I squee'd when I saw this. I read the "Three Californias Tryptich" in highschool, and this book twice. The whole series is phenomenal; it's tone and pacing are nothing like KSR's Mars trilogy if you're afraid to start these. There's some deep and uncomfortable truths in the father/son relationship here, and I'm looking forward to reading this again now that I'm older and I've become part of the establishment.

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall
I see Beauty in Ruins gave this three stars. Looking at the synopsis, it sounds like it was designed by a marketing committee while poring over a focus group, with a strong tilt towards YA. I probably won't start this.

After the End: Recent Apocalypses
Bruce Sterling and John Shirley - YAY! Corey Doctorow - meh. A couple of the authors look vaguely familiar, but I'm terrible with names at the best of times. I suspect this will be quite hit and miss.


EDIT: Because I can words today.

Dangit, HumbleBundle - I'm trying to keep a lid on my ebook hoarding

Humble Post-Apocalyptic Book Bundle


from their site:

The world may be over, but we can still read! Whether it's a nuclear holocaust, a contagion outbreak, or a zombie apocalypse, the world isn't going to last forever... until then, you can read about all the possibilities right here! Name your price for Lightspeed Magazine, July 2010, Lightspeed Magazine, March 2013, Gather, Darkness!, After the End: Recent Apocalypses, Wasteland Vol. 1: Cities In Dust, A Gift Upon the Shore, Wool - Omnibus Edition (Audiobook), and Defiance (Game). If you pay more than the average price, you'll also get Futureland, After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, The Massive Vol. 1: Black Pacific, Daybreak, The Wild Shore, and Damnation Alley. If you pay $15 or more, you'll receive all of the above plus The End is Nigh, Parable of the Sower, and The Strain Vol. 1. The pre-apocalypse just got a lot wordier so get reading!



N0S4A2 - Not for me, thanks

NOS4R2 - Joe Hill

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 3
boobs: 2
bombs: 2
bondage: 2
blasphemy: 3
Stars: 2.5
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

I DNF'd at 58%. The last third of what I read I was literally going chapter by chapter, looking for a reason to keep going. I never got a specific reason to stop the book - Instead, I got to a point where I realized if I'm trying this hard to find something engaging I'm clearly not having much fun. I started the book with really high hopes from all the great reviews I've seen, I really liked the premise and eventually I developed a bit of a crush on the main character Vic McQueen. Overall, though, the characters felt like they hardly have any interiority - they existed to effect each other, but did very little to affect themselves. The only character who is making things happen is the Bad Guy. It's like a pool table - there's only one cue ball, the rest of the balls just react to what it does.

This book is way too wordy. With some proper editing, this could've been cut down to a shortish novel sized book and I'dve finished it and given it more stars. But it wasn't. It's not quite as bad as Robert Jordan, but very nearly. One example that had me WTFing out loud was the story of a night time security guard (think "red shirt") at a hospital. The salient part of the plot is that Bad Guy is going to make a move from point A to point B through the hospital. The part we get to read about is a whole backstory on the nighttime security guard, the intimate details of the sexual relations he has with one of the nurses, and his troubled relationship with his uncle and supervisor. I don't need to know all this, and if the author just wanted to drop in some prurient sex he could've done us the favor of at least writing explicit sex scenes. The whole book is full of pages of unnecessary backstory and color that are all well crafted, but so irrelevant they each detract from my enjoyment of the book.

But so many opportunities to provide meaningful and subtle dimension to the characters were skipped. The most glaring example that comes to mind is Vic's tattoos - she's got a number of them, and even did a sleeve after coming out of rehab. What images did she choose? Where did she put them? Who did the tats? At one point, we find out she has a picture of a V6 over her heart. Sure thing dear author, don't strain yourself too hard with that one ok? Otherwise, there's no mention of them other than to illustrate that she could be considered a harlot by people who don't know any better.

While there's way too much pontificating about irrelevant people and places, the foreshadowing is as blatant as young kids' lies. You can see it happening - somebody does something with something, and it's like it's lit up under a spotlight: "This Thing Will Be Important To The Plot Later". Yawn. Please, challenge me - surprise me and make me think. If I wanted to vegetate, I'd watch TV. "The Walking Dead" also uses too many words to scarcely advance it's plot, so an author needs to give me a better reason to read their book instead of crushing all over Danai Gurira. Related to this, we find out that the "find my iPhone" app can tell you when the device in a magical alternate reality - and even draw a map of the whole territory. Seriously? What is the name of the trope where the Magic Amulet solves all the problems and advances the plot through all the gooey Character Development and straight into Final Battle?

A major part of our heroine's makeup is her alcoholism. This is a topic near and dear to me as I have 6yrs+ sober. Her addiction was handled as a plot complication but I never got to know about her struggle and how it evolved her. Also, just out of a 30 day rehab and she's "working on her 8th step". I'm not an expert on 12 step programs; my sobriety takes a different path but I know from years of exposure that it takes many months of sobriety before someone is ready to do that work. This was yet another example of the author using traits without showing the proper research. To be fair to him, though, I see this all too often in books, tv and movies - recovery isn't portrayed well by people who haven't been through it. I looked up the author to see if I could find anything regarding his own experience with addictions and I discovered this he's the son of Stephen King. This explains everything; it seems clear to me that he learned how to write best sellers from his dad, and also picked up some of his dad's bad habits. He no doubt watched his father go into recovery and learned the lingo that way.

This is a very pretty book, a very easy to digest book, but it just doesn't have any impact. I'm writing this conclusion about a week after I gave up on it and I'm struggling to remember anybody interesting except Vic McQueen, who got shortchanged by the lack of character development. It's not particularly horrific, it's not particularly interesting and all but one of the characters aren't memorable. It is well written with a superior command of the language, but if I were the editor I would have sent it back for a couple more revisions. Overall, it feels like way too many pages of phoned-in filler.


EDIT: And once I post it, I suddenly remember who the Bad Guy reminded me of: His look and mannerisms are a total ripoff from Vincent Cassell's character in Sheitan.

Has anyone bought a kindle boxed set?

Like this:


Do you get separate files for each book, or is it a single volume composed of all the books?



Red Moon - DNF at 10%

Red Moon - Benjamin Percy

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 4
boobs: 0
bombs: 1
bondage: 0
blasphemy: 0
Stars: 2
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

I DNF'd this at 10%. This feels like a YA book; all the POVs (except one) are of kids and it looks like they're shaping up to be the main characters. The only exception is a maternal warrior character a'la Ripley. The writing is solid - though made of small words and short sentences - and the plot is based on an interesting premise. I think it could be a good story, but YA isn't for me.

Terry Pratchett - RIP

Thursday's New Books - 12 MAR

Night Shift - Nalini Singh, Lisa Shearin, Ilona Andrews, Milla Vane The Dragon Conspiracy (SPI Files Book 2) - Lisa Shearin Edge of Infinity - Jonathan Strahan, Bruce Sterling, Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds Reach For Infinity (The Infinity Project Book 3) - Pat Cadigan, Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds, Jonathan Strahan The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi The Mister Trophy - Frank Tuttle Implied Spaces - Walter Jon Williams

I fell off the wagon just a little bit this week. I am proud of myself for not buying whole series' before sampling and I feel like I've done due diligence on all of these books. But I'm still a month behind on my readiung and falling farther every day.


Also, this list doesn't include the complete Bloom County collection I'm going to buy from Humble Bumble later. But those are going to live on my tablet for something to look at when Mrs. Brainycat is watching her police procedurals on TV, so I don't really count them as books that belong in the TBR pile.



Night Shift (SPI Files [0.50])

Spare Ammo graciously pointed out to us that there is a short prequel to the SPI files in this anthology. I have high hopes for that story, but I don't have high expectations for the rest of the stories. I'm afraid they'll be lots of Romance with just a little Urban Fantasy.


The Dragon Conspiracy (SPI Files [2])

As I mentioned above, Spare Ammo got me interested in this series, and I'm glad she did.


Edge of Infinity (The Infinity Project [2])

Reach For Infinity (The Infinity Project [3])

The first volume in this series of anthologies was epic, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series. It will probably take a while to get through each one, they are not small books. There's a good representation from Big Name authors I recognize and like, and many authors I'm not so familiar with yet but will probably become a fan of after reading their included shorts. I should be marked down for that last sentence, it's a mess all the way around.


The Quantum Thief (Jean le Flambeur)

Bookaneer made this sound like a good read, and then pointed out that I'd liked this same author's short in Engineering Infinity. It's based on a much older story that I tried reading at but I just couldn't get into the old fashioned prose.


The Mister Trophy (The Markhat Files [1])

Again, we can blame Bookaneer for this one. I'm hoping I find it as LOL funny as she does; I don't really have a "funny" series going on right now and I'd like to find one.


Implied Spaces

I found this while looking up the name of WJW book I'd read years ago. Apparently, I've fallen a few books behind on the WJW canon. He's one of the great unsung contemporary scifi writers - he's just going about his business, banging out solid books with the occasional great book (Hardwired, Wolf Time). While I think he's written some of the best cyberpunk in the genre, he writes all over the scifi map and it's all solid. You can do a lot worse than grab any WJW book when you're looking for rich, vivid and thoughtful scifi.