Currently Listening/Reading To: Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky + Hugo Novelettes

I wasn’t supposed to start something new until I’d finished all my Hugo reading and I have the most recent Expanse book sitting right there on my Kindle like an avatar of temptation. But, I needed an audio book because I was doing garden stuff and my finger just pressed the ‘buy’ button.

Anyway, so far the book starts in a similar way to Children of Time. Human terraformers, far from an Earth that is descending into political chaos, some inadvisable experiments in cognitive uplift on animals (and what an interesting choice of animal it is…) and some quirky characters. The spiders from the previous book are set to re-appear in the next section.

Meanwhile, in non-auditory mediums I am reading novelettes. Making use of JJ’s “Where to Find the Hugo Finalists…” post, the links to them are

Just on what I’ve read so far, this is a strong field and a tricky one to rank. There are some really interesting stories here in very diverse styles. Brooke Bolander’s radioactive elephants would be what I would bet on but there’s lots to be said about Tina Connolly’s story and Naomi Kritzer’s is quite strong also.

Currently Reading…Hugo Finalists

So my Kindle and I went to some high up places and did some solid reading. This is what has been read so far:

  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire ( publishing) – Novella
  • “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018) – Novelette
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager

Left to go in the story categories are:

  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan) – Novel, (currently reading)
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor ( publishing)
    The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark ( publishing) – Novella
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson ( publishing) – Novella
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency) – Novella
  • “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018) – Novelette
  • “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (, 19 September 2018) – Novelette
  • “When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018) – Novelette

I’ll start posting reviews of novel finalists this week. In the meantime, here is a photo of my Kindle part way up the walk to Paro Taktsang aka The Tiger’s Nest Monastery. I had a chest cold, so I had planned only to do part of the initial walk up. In the end I did most of the big hike up but decided discretion was the better part of valour at this and hung out at this spot reading Revenant Gun. I always regretted not taking a picture of the Fifth Season by Machu Picchu (easily THE best pairing of book & location I’ve ever done) but this is a close second.

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.