Thursday, 20 February 2014

Reading List - January

Because being an active reader is an important part of being an active writer, I’m going to start profiling the stuff that I’ve been reading on a month-to-month basis. Here’s January:

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  • Easy Go – Michael Crichton – Part of Hard Case Crime’s posthumous reissue of the early pulp novels that Crichton released under the name John Lange. This is the first of them that I’ve read, and it’s kind of remarkable how clearly this is still Crichton’s work…Much less refined technically, but with a lot of the clear and easy historical/scientific exposition that defined much of the man’s writing.
  • Zoe’s Tale – John Scalzi – Rounding out my collection of Scalzi’s TOR releases. It’s the same story as The Last Colony but told from a different POV, and it manages to fill in some of that other novel’s gaps while still feeling fresh and entertaining. Pulling this sort of Rashomon move across multiple novels is something that I’ve considered doing in the past, so it’s also nice to see that it can work out well.
  • A Ballad of Wayward Specters, Day OneWilliam B. Hill – The first part of a serialized cyberpunk novel written and independently released by an old friend from college. I’m still waiting to see where this story goes, but, so far, it’s an interesting take on the future of identity theft.
  • Of Dice and Men – David M. Ewalt – A long profile of the history of Dungeons & Dragons that manages to be interesting and fun without becoming overly sentimental or compromising its facts. It also had the benefit of getting me fired up to play tabletop games again, and has me working on a custom system of rules on the side.
  • Doctor Sleep – Stephen King – This one carried over into February, so you’ll probably see it on March 1st as well. Like Black House before it, Doctor Sleep is an interesting take on building a sequel to an early, classic King work. And, also like Black House, it’s not so much a direct sequel as a story about a man who is no longer the boy that he was the last time he had a traumatizing adventure.
  • Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. – Warren Ellis – One of my favorite comics series. Twelve straight issues of relentless riffing on superhero team books.
  • Lazarus, Volume One – Greg Rucka – Rucka jumps out of the gate on his new dystopian sci-fi series, and it’s already plenty intriguing. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this goes.
  • Local – Brian Wood – Sad, exhilarating, lyrical, and beautifully drawn. In a weird way, reading this probably had a lot to do with my wanting and trying to move last month. Its portrayal of wanderlust and life experience is both tragic and inspiring. Wood has written a lot of excellent series over the years, but this is probably his most affecting.
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