May reading, part 1

I got a lot of reading done last month largely because my semester ended and then I was traveling by myself.  I know I won’t post all the books today, so here is a start.

I read three pieces of speculative fiction:

  • Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delaney was a challenging book on lots of levels.  Linguistically, it was challenging. The story itself was sometimes confusing, but it was worth the effort. There was the linguistic element I was expecting (very complicated pronouns!), and that kept me going through some of the more difficult parts. I would not recommend this as an entry point into Delaney’s works, but once you are hooked on his writing, I think you would like this one
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi was wonderful.  The Flow has allowed people to travel vast distances easily and fairly quickly. It has allowed them to settle in places that would otherwise be unreachable.  The Interdependency, the empire that connects all these places, is only sustainable because of the Flow. And now its course seems to be changing. With the change of the Flow, some worlds are going to be cut off, changing the political dynamics. Some criticisms of the book on Amazon indicated that people felt this was an introduction and not a real story –  although at 336 pages, I would hate to see the book this is the introduction to! As I said, I thought it was a great book and hope to read the next book in the series soon.
  • The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang grabbed my interest right away. The setting, while vaguely Asian, was unique. Twins born to the Protector  were “given” to the Grand Monastery to repay a debt. Each twin has a talent that, when discovered, causes the Protector to reclaim them. They come to see that their mother’s plots are not in the best interests of anyone but herself, so they begin to forge their own paths. I really enjoyed this book.  As with Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, there is a lot of gender fluidity, which might be off-putting to some people, but I thought it added another dimension to an already excellent story. I will be reading more of this series.

Well, with interruptions, this took a lot longer than I had planned, so I will be back later to do another installment.

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