Category: Currently Reading

Currently Reading: Swordheart by T Kingfisher

I love Kindle surprises- books on preorder that pop up unexpectedly on your device. I’ve only just started the latest fantasy from everybody’s favourite wombat and the first thing I see is a Rutger Hauer pun 🙂


Currently Reading: The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files) by Charles Stross

The narrator is Mhari Murphy this time, the corporate vampire recruited into the Laundry several books ago. Things, as they say, have already spiralled out of control before the book starts with many of the kinds of things the Laundry had tried to prevent in earlier books now well under way — notably a charismatic Lovecraftian demonic being safely ensconced as Prime Minister.

Also, still listenining to Jo Walton’s Thessaly series in audiobook format. I’ve nearly finished Neccesity and I’ll write some thoughts about all of them later.

Currently Listening: The Just City by Jo Walton

Whatttt????? I’m consuming TWO books at the same time???? What madness is this!

I had a substantial load of gardening to do and I’m a bad gardener and my mind wanders and I end up doing something else. So as a reward/incentive/life-hack I thought ‘audio book’. Lots of people like audio books but aside from some family road trips, I’ve never really tried them.

I used the Apple Store on my phone rather than Amazon and bought the first book I could find that was on my intended-to-read list but not actually lurking unread on my Kindle.

Jo Walton’s The Just City was an obvious choice. The immortal (and time traveling) Athena hears the prayers of numerous mortals scattered across time who, having read Plato’s Republic, earnestly wish to live there. Pulling these people through time she helps a mismatched group of philosophers and idealists establish a practical version of Plato’s vision on the as yet un-exploded island of Thera (modern Santorini).

Obviously this is all going to go horribly wrong.

Currently Reading: State Tectonics by Malka Older

I’ve been basically binge reading the whole Centennial series starting with Infomocracy. The series story arc, a mystery surrounding who is disrupting the global micro-democracy system and why (and also how), is coming to a head as another election cycle looms.

I’ve found the books work better when I get a solid chunk of time to read. Each chapter moves between multiple characters, with a focus on (typically) small events that build up to more substantial revelations. I find that it takes me a moment to get into the rhythm of the books which makes it harder to dip in and out of.

I’ll do a review of Null States and State Tectonics together when I’ve finished.


Currently Just Finished Reading: Exit Strategy – Murderbot 4

I’m not going to do a full review, if you are a Murderbot fan then you’ll know what to expect. Suffice to say the anxious, emotionally vulnerable killing machine who just wants to binge watch their favourite show in peace, is closing in on GrayCris and their deadly machinations. Some welcome returning characters and some really touching moments.

I read the whole thing in one sitting.

46% Collapsing

Chapter 6 of John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire ends like so:

“Tell the emperox what we know. If we’re lucky, he may still have time to prepare.”

“Prepare for what?”

“The collapsing empire,” Jamies said. “And the darkness that follows.”

I’m into Part Two and Chapter 8 and it feels like we’ve been doing a lot of preparing for the actual plot of he Collapsing Empire. The story so far has been primarily character introductions and laying out the dynamics of the two major locations in the book. I could complain that it feels like a lot of dithering about for nearly half a book but I’ve zipped through those pages in next to no time.

So we have a classic space empire but one that’s written for an audience that’s read Iain M Banks and other varieties of new space opera. I’m not entirely convinced about the setting yet but some thought has been put into the nature of this mercantile empire. The ‘flow’ as a mechanism for interstellar travel has been neatly tailored to provide a way of joining multiple locations but with limitations on what people know and the time, it takes to get from one place to another.

As indicated, I’m finding it very readable. A lot of the work here has been setting out the nature of the setting and that could have been quite dry. Obviously, it is something that needs to be done to establish the world for a space-opera epic but I didn’t feel like I had to push through it until the plot pace picked up.

No need deep thoughts on the book yet. I’d say ‘entertaining’ but that can sound dismissive – likewise ‘readable’. I think Mr Scalzi is earning his money here 🙂