Category Archives: Books

Sword of Destiny

These days I buy pretty much all of my book on Google Books but for whatever reason this one didn’t seem to be available so I had to order a physical copy. I suppose that at some point I should start buying Amazon Kindle editions as they seem to have a much larger selection. This is another collection of short stories that chronologically follows The Last Wish. However while it was originally published in Poland in 1992 it was only translated to English in 2015, probably due to the overwhelming popularity of the video game.

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Forty Thousand in Gehenna

I’ve been reading this as it was sold in an omnibus volume together with Merchanter’s Luck. This is course another novel by C.J. Cherryh that is set in her Alliance-Union universe. The two novels are however extremely different in tone, scope and complexity. Here the narrative spans hundreds of years and a score of characters. Considering how I disliked how the earlier novel focused almost exclusively on the PTSD of a single character, it’s no surprise that I like this a whole lot more.

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Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand

Samuel R. Delany is of course one of the giants of science-fiction and I am once again embarrassed to admit that before this I have never read any of his works. I thought it was high time I rectified this hole in my knowledge base with this pick from Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great. The experience however left me torn. On the other hand, I have absolutely no doubt that Delany’s in an incredible writer and this is an amazing novel. On the other hand, what he does here is so far above my reading level that I can only grasp the merest fraction of what he’s going for and so I found it impossible to truly enjoy this book.

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Merchanter’s Luck

This is a novel originally published in 1982 so it’s another pick from Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great. C.J. Cherryh is a well known name in science-fiction but I don’t believe I’ve ever read any book of hers before this. This novel is part of her Alliance-Union universe but I think it was a mistake to venture into it with this title. There’s very little exposition of the world in here and I believe I would have been better off starting with her best known novel Downbelow Station.

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The Last Wish

After finishing The Witcher 3 and getting a better idea of the story of Geralt and Yennefer, I thought I’d give the book series the games were based on a go. I remember looking into the series back when the first game was released but I recall that the English versions weren’t ready yet. The whole thing consists of two collections of short stories and a series of five novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The Last Wish is chronologically the earliest of the various works and indeed the English edition was only published in 2007, more or less at the same time as the first game.

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The Fifth Season

Once again, I had no idea that this was another first book of a trilogy instead of a standalone. In retrospect I guess the titles were an obvious clue. The Fifth Season won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for 2016 and the second book The Obelisk Gate won the same award for 2017. Then again, author N.K. Jemisin is hardly a stranger to the awards circuit. This however is the first book I’ve read by her as I’ve been out of the loop for a while.

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China Mountain Zhang

Since this is an older novel, it was obviously another pick out of Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great. This was Maureen F. McHugh’s debut novel and it was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula though it didn’t win either. As its title suggests, China and Chinese culture takes center stage in this novel. It’s far from being the first Western science-fiction work to do so, notably David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series was started in 1989. Still this book is more highly regarded and is very enjoyable while I found the Chung Kuo series to be an impressively wordy mess back when I tried it ages ago.

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