The File 770 folks have been talking about this book non-stop for months, so I decided to take a break from Hugo reading to read it. That may have been a mistake, as I now want to read the other books in the series. But I think I'll allow myself a rest and go back to potential 2016 Hugo works first.
The story concerns a woman/girl who ends up in a very strange town with holes in her memory and some very strange talents. The result is a hodgepodge of story that slowly clicks into place as the book rushes to a painful but powerful conclusion. I was gobsmacked by the whole thing, honestly. It was overwhelming on multiple levels to the point where I'm going to have to reread.
Spoilers ahead (use rot13 to read). Wnzr vf na vagevthvat punenpgre, qvssvphyg gb haqrefgnaq ng gvzrf. Fur'f chfuvat sbejneq jvgu rirelguvat fur'f tbg orpnhfr fur unf fbzr frpergf gung fur pna'g erzrzore. Gung naq gur pynjf. Ohg fur'f pyrneyl pbzcnffvbangr naq pnerf nobhg ure ubabe naq ubarfgl, juvpu znxrf fbzr bs ure pubvprf n yvggyr bqq. Fgvyy, V rawblrq ure dhrfgvat nebhaq, yvxr n Q&Q cynlre rkcybevat gur pvgl.
Gur angher bs qvivavgl frrzf gb or n znva gurzr va gur pbagrkg bs gur fgbel. Fur'f zbabgurvfgvp, juvpu vf nccneragyl ener, ohg fur'f va n pvgl svyyrq jvgu tbqf gung unir npghny rssrpg ba gur jbexvatf nebhaq ure. Vg'f irel vagrerfgvat gb abgr ubj Wnzr naq gur cevrfg jbex bhg jung'f unccravat va qvssrerag jnlf. Gur npghny nafjre vf arire dhvgr frggyrq va gur raq. Gurer'f n zhygvirefr, naq fbzr xvaq bs rirag fcnaavat znal havirefrf, ohg jung ure tbq npghnyyl vf arire trgf rkcynvarq va guvf obbx.
Juvyr cneg bs zr yvxrf gur jnl gur fgbel yrnxf bhg va ohefgf naq fgernzf, urer naq gurer, jvgu gur ernqre xabjvat irel yvggyr zber guna Wnzr ng nal cbvag - cneg bs zr jnf qvfngvfsvrq ng gur wbygvat fprar punatrf naq gur jnl gvzr sybjrq va svgf naq fgnegf. Gur obbx jnf obgu snfpvangvat naq ernyyl veevgngvat. Jura V ernq gung vg jnf gur nhgube'f svefg rssbeg, vg znqr zber frafr, ohg V jvfu vg unq tbar guebhtu n pbhcyr zber rqvgf orsber choyvpngvba. Vg pbhyq unir orra n ybg fzbbgure n ernq jvgubhg ybfvat vgf vzcnpg. V jbaqre ubj zhpu gur nhgube vzcebirf bire gur arkg srj obbxf?
Gur fhccbegvat punenpgref jrer sha. Gur jvqbj va gur xvgpura, gur ovmneer vaaxrrcre, gur eviny npebff gur fgerrg... ybgf bs arng crbcyr gb zrrg va guvf bar. Cneg bs gur wbl bs guvf obbx jnf gheavat nebhaq naq svaqvat n arj punenpgre shyyl syrfurq naq ernql gb tb ba gur arkg cntr. V xvaq bs ubcr gb trg onpx gb gur pvgl riraghnyyl naq purpx va ba rirelobql.
In conclusion, a strange and interesting book. I can't recommend it without reservation, but it has rewards for the careful reader.
Short story reviews:
- "Going Endo" by Rich Larson is about a tech who kind of falls for a bio weapon in the strangest way. I'm still not sure what to think of this one, except that it's all about sex and yet it's all about other things as well. But mostly sex. Interesting story with a good voice for the main character, but not for the overly chaste, I think.
- "The Ninth Seduction" by Sean McMullen is about goblins and elves and beauty and the loss of beauty. This was actually a really intense read once I figured out what was happening, which was fairly clear when the ship didn't leave. In the end, it seems like the main characters all got what they wanted, which is even stranger. It's a chilling little story, in that way.
- "Time Bomb Time" by C.C. Finlay is a story that (spoilers) ernqf gur fnzr onpxjneqf naq sbejneqf. Gur snpg gung vg'f zbfgyl n tvzzvpx fgbel jbexf ntnvafg gur bqqf bs zr abzvangvat vg sbe nalguvat, ohg ba gur bgure unaq, vg'f n qrprag yvggyr fgbel. V'z abg rira tbvat gb nggrzcg gb jevgr n erivrj va gur fnzr fglyr, nygubhtu gur gubhtug pebffrq zl zvaq.
- The Martian - I'm sure most of my readers have already seen it, but I'll still rot13 just for the handful who haven't. Nf jvgu nal nqncgngvba bs n abiry gb svyz, gurer jrer fnpevsvprf. Va gur obbx, Znex vf jevgvat uvf ybt ragevrf. Va gur zbivr, gurl ner ivqrb ragevrf. Gurer ner n pbhcyr bs znwbe punatrf va gur zbivr sebz gur obbx, vapyhqvat gur erzbiny bs na ragver frdhrapr bs riragf qhevat Znex'f ybat bireynaq gevc ng gur raq. Rirelguvat ng gur raq bs gur zbivr - nyy gur arng hcqngrf ba rirelbar - nyfb jrer abg va gur obbx. V ybirq gur obbx naq V ybir gur zbivr, ohg gurl ner qvssrerag navznyf. Gung fnvq, V nqberq gur zbivr sbe znxvat areql frrz njrfbzr naq znxvat n gevc gb Znef frrz cbffvoyr. Ng gur zbzrag, jr qba'g unir gur grpu gung jbhyq or erdhverq sbe Znex gb fheivir. Nyzbfg nyy bs vg rkvfgf, ohg gurer ner fbzr pehpvny zvffvat cvrprf naq gur zbivr znqr vg jbex ol whfg abg zragvbavat gur ceboyrz. V'z fnq gur Ndhnzna ersrerapr qvqa'g znxr vg vagb gur svyz, ohg vg jnf va n cebzb, juvpu jnf pbby. V nyfb sryg gur punenpgref bhgfvqr bs Jngarl jrer orggre ernyvmrq va gur zbivr guna va gur obbx, fvzcyl orpnhfr jr frr zber bs gurz qverpgyl. Hfhnyyl vg'f gur bgure jnl nebhaq, ohg vg'f na hahfhny glcr bs obbx. V nyzbfg jvfu guvf unq orra bar bs gubfr pnfrf jurer V fnj gur zbivr svefg, orpnhfr V pna'g uryc ohg pbzcner gur gjb va rirel jnl naq V'z univat n uneq gvzr whfg gnxvat gur zbivr ba vgf bja. V guvax gur zbivr jnf irel jryy qbar naq sha, ohg V'z abg fher vg unf n ybg bs erjngpu inyhr. It'll be on my Hugo nomination form for sure.
TV this week:
- Doctor Who: "Before the Flood" - I admit I'm annoyed that it appears this season of Doctor Who is going to be all two-parters. I shouldn't be: I generally like well-done cliffhangers. But for some reason, this has annoyed me. I also like well-done stand-alone episodes, and from what I'm hearing, we aren't going to get those this year. Ok, back to the actual story... There were plot holes. Several of them. The biggest and most annoying is gur zrgubq ol juvpu gur Qbpgbe orpnzr n tubfg. Ur fnvq vg jnf n ubybtenz. Avsgl. Ohg, nf n ubybtenz, ubj qvq vg ghea bss gur Snenqnl pntr? Naq B'Qbaaryy'f qrngu jnf jebat jebat jebat! V ubcrq gung gur Qbpgbe jbhyq svther bhg ubj gb erirefr gur "qrnguf" ng gung cbvag... boivbhfyl nf n qrnq zna jnyxvat ur jbhyq unir gb, evtug? Ohg ur qvqa'g, naq gung veevgngrq zr n ybg. Va snpg, gur obbgfgenc cnenqbk pbzovarq jvgu gur zntvpny ubybtenz cerggl zhpu qrfgeblrq gur rcvfbqr sbe zr. Vg jnf jryy-npgrq naq zbfgyl jryy-jevggra, ohg gurer jrer ovgf gung jrer whfg fb jebat gung V'z tbvat gb unir gb whfg fvtu naq fnl, "gvzrl-jvzrl penc ntnva". Bar ynfg gubhtug, gur fprar bs Pnff orvat punfrq naq svthevat bhg gur qnatre ol gbhpuvat gur sybbe jnf irel avpryl qbar. Pnff jnf gur orfg cneg bs jung fubhyq/pbhyq unir orra n irel tbbq fgbel. So, in summary, I'm feeling a bit let down by this one.
- Gotham: "The Last Laugh" - So, they pulled off the big misdirection. Vg jnf nffhzrq gung Wrebzr jbhyq tebj hc gb or gur Wbxre - vafgrnq, vg ybbxf yvxr ur'f tbvat gb or gur vafcvengvba sbe gur Wbxre be Wbxref (yvxr va Ongzna Orlbaq, znlor?). V ernyyl qvqa'g rkcrpg uvf qrngu, ohg url, guvf fubj yvxrf gb mnt jura rirelbar vf rkcrpgvat n mvt. Zl snibevgr cneg ol sne jnf Nyserq'f nggrzcg gb cvpx hc Yrr naq uvf qvfthfg jura ur frrf Yrr naq Wvz xvffvat. Urnq bire urryf, gung jnf Nyserq. Naq fvapr V xabj gung va ng yrnfg bar irefvba bs gur zhygvirefr Nyserq naq Yrfyvr unq fbzr fbeg bs uvfgbel, V jnf gvpxyrq ol rirel fprar jvgu gur gjb. Gur fprarf bs Wrebzr jvgu uvf sngure jrer nyfb jryy-qbar va n ubeevoyr fbeg bs jnl. A decent little episode.
- The Flash: "The Man Who Saved Central City" - This didn't pick up from the cliffhanger at the end of the first season... no, instead we got a "six months later" scenario va juvpu Ebaavr unq fnpevsvprq uvzfrys, Pnvgyva jnf fgnlvat njnl sebz FGNE ynof, Pvfpb vf jbexvat jvgu gur cbyvpr naq Oneel vf n pbzcyrgr ybare. Jr riraghnyyl yrnea jung unccrarq va gur pyvssunatre, naq jub gur gvgyr ernyyl ersref gb... naq ubj Oneel oryvrirf vg vfa'g uvz, vg'f Ebaavr. V yvxrq ubj Oneel jnf ercnvevat nyy gur ybpny ohfvarffrf ng avtug, ohg V jbhyq guvax ur'q or pybfre gb orvat qbar nsgre fvk zbaguf. V nyfb yvxrq ubj gur grnz chyyrq vgfrys gbtrgure qrfcvgr Oneel'f qrfver gb or nybar naq urycrq uvz... ntnva, qrfcvgr uvf qrfverf. Gur snagnfl nqiragher ng gur ortvaavat, jvgu Oneel fheebhaqrq ol sevraqf naq urycrq bhg ol Sverfgbez, jnf nyfb arng. V bayl unq gjb ceboyrzf jvgu guvf rcvfbqr. Gur svefg vf n fgehpgheny ceboyrz qhr gb gur gvzr gjvfg gung unccrarq va ynfg frnfba'f svanyr: vs gur Erirefr Synfu irefvba bs Jryyf arire rkvfgrq, ubj pbhyq ur yrnir FGNE ynof gb Oneel? Va snpg, ubj pbhyq Oneel rkvfg? Gur ragver gvzryvar bs Gur Synfu vf fperjrq hc. Ohg gung svany fprar znl unir gur nafjre gb gung ceboyrz. Gur bgure ceboyrz jnf Oneel'f qnq'f pubvpr gb yrnir. Qhqr, lbhe xvq jbexrq cerggl zhpu uvf ragver nqhyg yvsr gb trg lbh serr, unat nebhaq n ovg naq OR jvgu uvz. Overall? I enjoyed it a lot. There's a lot of possible future stories to explore and things I need to see happen, but it was a good first episode.
- Arrow: "Green Arrow" - So Ollie is a good cook? After the end of last season I wasn't at all sure how this show could continue. But then, this show is consistently twisty. Guvf rcvfbqr erfrg gur fgnghf dhb, naq qvq n tbbq wbo ng vg, V guvax. V yvxr gung Sryvpvgl xrcg ure unaq va, rira gubhtu fur jnf npgvat yvxr n unccl ubhfrjvsr. V'z fnq gung Byyvr'f fbhssyr jnf vagreehcgrq, ohg abg fhecevfrq. V jnf fubpxrq ol gur eriryngvba nobhg Pncgnva Ynapr. Ubjrire, V'z nyernql oberq ol Qnzvra Qneux naq ubcr ur tbrf njnl fbba. Gur svany fprar jnf zrnag gb znxr hf guvax Sryvpvgl qvrf, ohg qhr gb gur angher bs guvf fubj, V unir ab vqrn jub vf ernyyl va gur tenir. Nyy V xabj sbe fher vf gung guvf jnf n fnynq bs na rcvfbqr jvgu n ybg bs bqq zbzragf. I liked it, but it wasn't the best episode.
DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
- Aug 26th
- Justice League of America #3 - I find the complete lack of Aquaman disturbing. I also like how the priest explains there are more problems that need to be solved than just feeding people. I can't help but think in a super-hero universe, those problems would be worse in many places... and I don't see Rao as likely to solve them in a single day.
- Aquaman #43 - And we finally get the real reason Mera turned on Aquaman. Frankly, that makes a lot more sense than anything I'd come up with. While I'm not happy to see this turn of events, it is a bit of a relief.
- Sinestro #14 - I was not expecting Nax to have such a ... useful ability. Not one that complements Soranik as deeply as that did. Surprisingly, I like Nax. So, there's two characters in this book I can stand.
- Batman '66 #26 - Poison Ivy in all her flora. Nice origin for the character here, and funny how Batman and Robin figure out where she is (an all-night custard stand? Really?). Very fun issue.
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency #3 - It still doesn't make any sense, but it's making less nonsense in this issue than the past two, if that makes sense. Which it doesn't. I just don't think this way.
- Grimm Fairy Tales: Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #4 - Yeah, the book has been hinting at Dorothy's change since the beginning. It's about time something along those lines happened.
- Doctor Who 2015: Four Doctors #3 - Continuity bomb, huh? Well, that's it for continuity if Marinus is involved. Let's see what happens next.