Friday, February 27, 2009

Kim Harrison and White Witch, Black Curse

Kim Harrison is doing a book tour for the seventh book in The Hollows series. White Witch, Black Curse just came out a few days ago and since I've enjoyed The Outlaw Demon Wails and all the previous books I went to get my book signed by Kim Harrison and listen to her read an excerpt of the new novel.

I expected her to read a longer excerpt, but she read only about a page and a half from the beginning of chapter 3. To be precise there was also singing involved and she was doing both very well. I could absolutely visualize the scene and she read the characters the way I imagine them to speak.

After the reading, there was a fairly long Q & A session where Kim answered questions about how she writes, why she chose the character names she did, and which why the titles are modeled after Clint Eastwood movies. I imagine most of these answers can be found on her website.

Regarding the future books in The Hollows series, she mentioned that she already has a draft of book 9 of the series (White Witch, Black Curse is book 7), so she's writing pretty far ahead of her publishing schedule. Kim also said there is an end for the series in her sight and she is not planning to prolong the series beyond the planned ending (which may or may not happen in book 9).

The marketing campaign for this book involved getting a pack of Angel tomato seeds with book purchase. During the book signing Kim hinted that she is planning a contest for the best tomato plant. Above is a picture of my newly purchased White Witch, Black Curse signed "To Maria Revenge, Served Hot Kim Harrison" and the seeds that came with the book.

I am starting to read the book now, so the review for White Witch, Black Curse is coming soon. And to finish with a random bit of gossip: Kim Harrison wears incredibly bright green contact lenses.

Patrick Rothfuss on delay of Wise Man's Fear

Patrick Rothfuss, whose first book The Name of the Wind was my favorite read of 2008, wrote a rather long post on his blog explaining the delay in the second installment, The Wise Man's Fear. The Wise Man's Fear was originally slotted to be released in April of this year, but this is clearly not happening. Patrick says he is still in process of writing the book, but making plenty of progress on it. I was impressed with his mention of writing 60,000 words in the past 6 weeks. Nevertheless, it looks like the book will probably be slotted to go out next year since publishing always takes a long time.

Patrick also mentions that the new book is even longer than The Name of the Wind and he spends hours thinking about which word to use in a sentence, so at the very least when the book goes out it will probably be totally amazing. I know I can't wait to read it. He also seems to have decided to hold the sort of contest Brandon Sanderson did for WOT and allow readers to name one of the characters. The details are yet to be posted, but this is pretty awesome :) Too bad Patrick doesn't seem to think Wonkerbee Bumchuck is a suitable name. ;)

I really appreciate Patrick Rothfuss taking the time to draw 5(!) comics and write a long post about the book delay. Yes, I wish the book was coming out in a month or two, but as a software engineer I know how products slotted to go out one year sometimes don't release for another year and a half. I do like to know the author's working on the promised book and not taking an extended vacation on Hawaii. There's really nothing like a little honesty and humor to calm me down to wait for the next book to release.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

One More Bite

Title: One More Bite
Author: Jennifer Rardin
Series: Jaz Parks, Book 5
Genre: Urban fantasy, novel
Published: 2009

Recommendation: Read if you enjoyed previous books in the series, but don't expect much beyond another round of ass-kicking.
Rating: 6.5/10

Summary: Jaz, Vayl, Cole, and Albert travel to Scotland where they pretend to be participants in GhostCon. The real mission is to protect the head of a coven, Floraidh, from a mysterious assassin named Bea in order to protect the balance between various factions vying for the spot opened with the death of Edward Samos.

Reactions: Jaz Parks series has been going downhill in the last two books. I enjoyed the first 3 books of the series. They introduced the characters, developed relationships, and provided lots of action for the readers to enjoy. One More Bite is the latest installment of the series, but it seems like Jennifer Rardin has fallen into a predictable grove with her series and left me with mixed feelings at the end of the book.

I think my beef with the book is the fact that it followed the pattern of previous ones and lacked novelty. The four characters who come on this assignment act exactly the same way as they did in previous books. Cole is charming women left and right while professing undying love for Jaz. Vayl is getting it on with Jaz and provides muscle and orders whenever necessary. Jaz is killing everything in sight. Albert is doing the old tough bastard act, while being caring and sensitive underneath. We've been through all of this before, and the characters don't really develop or reveal any new facets now. We learn a few more details about Jaz's childhood and her mother, but it doesn't change a whole lot in my perception of the main heroine.

One Bite More does have its share of witty dialogue along the lines of:
"Swear to God, dog, if this doesn't turn out well I'm buying you generic food for the next month!"
and plenty of situational humor; a disaster at GhostCon is caused by a jeweler attempting to grope and ancient warrior ghost. It is an easy book to read and it didn't have much trouble holding my attention on the action.

I also find it really strange to have Jaz freak out about losing her job all the time. Every time something happens to a car or a plan derails she just goes into overdrive over getting fired. But when the bad guys are trying to kill her, she is fine, she will kick plenty of butt. It seems irrational to be trembling before her boss after that, and I don't really buy the argument that this is the only paying job she could get with her skills. So I just shake my head when this comes up over and over in these books.

Overall this book was not too different from the previous one, there is plenty of sneaking around and kicking butt action. There's humorous dialogue and chemistry between Jaz and Vayl. There are baddies, but I never felt the whole crew was in too much danger based on how all the previous plots worked out. The book lacked originality and character development and I am not sure I care to pick up the next book in the series.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

BBC Book List Meme

Picking up this meme from The Antick Musings Of ...:

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
1) Bold those you have read most or all of.

2) Italicize those you've read only pieces of

3) Add a '#' to those you were supposed to have read in school, but didn't
4) Underline the ones you LOVE.

5) Set small those you plan on reading.

6) Set large those you did not read, but saw the movie!

7) Strikethrough
those you really didn't like.
8) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (couldn't actually finish it)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (this, I see, is another one of those badly compiled lists, including the same works twice)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (gave up in boredom about 75 pages in)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Books fully read: 34
Books partially read: 6
Supposed to read but didn't: 0
Books I loved: 6
Books I plan to read: 1
Saw the movie, but didn't read: 2
Disliked: 1

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Graveyard Book

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Children Lit
Published: 2008

Recommendation: Fun read for early teens and adults who appreciate well-written children literature.
Rating: 8/10

Summary: Nobody (Bod) Owens is an orphan raised by ghosts in a graveyard. This is the story of Bod growing up, exploring the world, making friends, discovering himself, and defeating the bad guys.

Reactions: This book received positive reviews from almost everyone, so I've been meaning to read it for a few months now. I've only read adult fiction by Gaiman before (Neverwhere is my favorite) and wasn't quite sure what to expect from a children's book by him.

On the outside the book is beautiful. My edition (pictured above) comes as a hardcover with nice thick pages and the illustrations in the book are very well done. The book seems to be targeted to pre-teen or early teen boys. The book is 320 pages long with a rather large font and the illustrations. Each chapter starts a shorter story arc of events that tend to be fairly contained but together make up the whole story. I imagine this is a great format for a bedtime book -- you could read one chapter every night and have a good place to stop each time.

I have never been a fan of ghost stories or horror movies in my childhood. I still haven't read all that many ghost stories. Reading the first chapter I had some doubts as to whether this is a book I would enjoy due to the rather gruesome start of the story, but I got into the story somewhere around chapter 2 and didn't look back.

One big reason I enjoyed the book a lot was Bod, the boy protagonist. He came off quite realistic and had this perfect combination of recklessness and obedience at the same time. Sometimes Bod came off a little TOO good, but he stayed likable throughout. Another character I liked even better was Bod's mysterious guardian Silas. He appeared to be more of a parental figure than the two "parent" ghosts who adopted Bod and weren't mentioned nearly as much in the book.

The plot as expected was fairly straightforward to match the intended audience. I was slightly surprised on how the book actually ended, leaving the reader to wonder what would happen next. Perhaps there will be a sequel -- I would certainly buy it.

Overall it was a quick, enjoyable read for a cold winter night. It's the sort of book that makes one comfortable and nostalgic remembering childhood adventures and the thrill of supernatural.

First Line:
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

Other Reviews: Fyrefly's Book Blog, Confessions of a Book Whore, Lynda's Book Blog, Stainless Steel Droppings, Fantasy Book Critic, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost and Found

Title: Lost and Found
Author: Sandra McDonald
Published: Strange Horizons, 2003
Genre: Science fiction, short story

Rating: 9/10

Thoughts: I stumbled onto this short story accidentally, looking for some more information about Sandra McDonald. The story is quite short and its premise is that a father of a family builds a search engine. He builds the sort of search engine that finds things in the physical world. "Where are my car keys?", "Where are my stud diamond earrings?" asks the family first. The machine always answers. Eventually the questions become harder, more important, more significant. Until the final question is asked...

The story is really heartfelt and the speculation opens up even more questions than it answers. I like the way the story is written, it plunges the reader into the family atmosphere almost immediately. Overall, a very nice short piece of fiction, I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Outback Stars

Title: The Outback Stars
Author: Sandra McDonald
Genre: Science fiction, novel
Published: 2007

Recommendation: A fun read for those who like military science fiction or space adventures.
Rating: 8/10

Summary: Lieutenant Jodenny Scott becomes an officer on the Aral Sea where she is put in charge of Underway Stores. The department has a bad reputation and Jodenny takes on the task of changing the department around. She doesn't yet know that she will have more problems on her hands than she expects.

Reactions: I've read a number of positive reviews for The Outback Stars and I wasn't been disappointed. The book is what it promises to be: it's a fun romp through space with military atmosphere, dangers, mysteries, and politics.

I chose this book for my 7-hour trip home, and it makes a very good airport novel. It's easy to read and it made my 5-hour flight a lot more fun than it might have been otherwise. The story progressed nicely throughout the book, and kept me occupied for all 386 pages of the paperback with small plot arcs twisting together nicely into a larger story. The end if not too surprising, was nevertheless satisfying.

I liked both Jodenny Scott and Terry Myell, the two protagonists, and there was obvious chemistry between them from the very beginning. Jodenny is a strong character who has resolve and a sense of duty, but at the same time is willing to bend rules to get things done. Compared to her, Terry seems almost soft, he is not macho, but smart in a quiet way and often quite sensible. He also has a spiritual side, tied to Australian Aboriginal myths, that is unusual and shows up unexpectedly throughout the book.

The Stars Down Under is a sequel to this book and it's out already, so I am thinking of picking it up for the trip back.

First Line:
If Jodenny spent one more day on the planet Kookaburra she might try to kill herself again.
Other Reviews: Fantasy Debut, Items of Interest

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have to say I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon. I've watched all of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly at least twice from start to finish. You will not be surprised to find out that I've been looking forward to Joss Whedon's new show Dollhouse for quite some time now. And of course I had to watch the premier on Friday when it came out.

I've really enjoyed the first episode. Not to say that it's without flaws, but I feel the show has a lot potential for character development and interesting plots. In the first episode we meet Echo (Eliza Dushku) who is an "active". An active is a person whose personality may be overwritten to create a personality for hire by those who can pay. I did have some trouble not thinking Faith when I was watching Echo, but I guess it's to be expected.

The plot seemed fairly fun too. We watched Echo in her personality as kidnapping negotiator attempt to save a little girl. The fact that her personality had its own flaws and weaknesses made things more interesting. The show certainly had no trouble holding my attention.

There were a couple of other familiar faces on the show. Tahmoh Penikett (Helo on Battlestar Galactica) plays a cop who is searching for Dollhouse, but is getting a lot of heat for pursuing a case many don't believe even exists. Amy Acker is also on the show as one of the doctor of Dollhouse (she used to play Fred in Angel).

Other reviews for the show seem to be mixed, but I really hope that we will get to see where the show is going. It's going to be very disappointing if Fox cancels the show in the style of Firefly. So I am definitely watching the second episode next Friday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Caine Black Knife

Title: Caine Black Knife
Author: Matthew Woodring Stover
Series: The Acts of Caine, 3rd book in the series
Genre: Fantasy, novel
Published: 2008

Recommendation: Worth reading for those who liked the first two books. Read only if you have a stomach for graphic violence.
Rating: 7/10

Summary: The premises of the series is that there are two worlds: the Earth of a rather dystopic future and the Otherworld, a fantasy land to which actors from Earth travel and have adventures that get recorded and transmitted back to Earth. This book that tells two parallel stories of Caine, an actor from Earth. One is a story of his first adventure, where he fights against the most feared tribe of ogrillo: Black Knives. The other is 25 years later, Caine travels back to the site of the first fight and makes some new discoveries.

Reactions: I've read Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle, the first two books in the series, back in 2003. I don't own the books, so I decided to go ahead and read this one without re-reading the first two. Now I wish I had re-read them for two reasons. The first reason is that there were plenty of references to the first two books in this novel. We get to meet some characters we've seen before and Caine reminisces about some of the events. I only remembered some of what I read 6 years ago and I felt it could benefit the reading experience to know more. The second reason is that I remember REALLY liking the first two books when I first read them whereas this book while entertaining did not leave me with the same impression and I don't know if that's because it wasn't as good or just because my opinions changed in the last 6 years. Perhaps it's both.

Caine Black Knife is somewhat complicated in its format. It tells two stories in parallel, one in the present and one in the past. These are fairly easy to tell apart because they alternate between chapters. However, there are also some trips back to the memory lane within chapters and all these time movements make it difficult to follow the story sometimes. The story from the past tells the adventure that made Caine a famous actor back on Earth. I enjoyed it more than the story of present where Caine returns to the site of his first adventure and gets tangled in political intrigues.

There is a ton of gratuitous violence, graphic descriptions of bodily functions, and swearing. But that is in line with earlier novels and it's definitely meant to shock the reader. Caine is very much an anti-hero and I would say he's barely likable. At the same time, the writing is good, and Stover definitely knows how to paint the picture and convey the tone. Here's a small excerpt from the novel:

Ule-Tourann, the Family Bishop of Purthin's Ford, moved up one of the sanctum's ramped aisles in a loose-jointed shamble. From under the Bishop's biretta straggled curls of oiled hair the same color as the grease spot on his surplice. He moved like a man who'd heard of exercise but had never actually seen it done. And he yapped. Yap yap yap yap: a stupefying endless river of content-free noise.

I thought the description was pretty funny if not particularly kind and it's a pretty good sample of the writing style in its milder form.

The plot itself has a lot of politics and intrigue as well as fighting between Caine and various persons. The end of the book had some very interesting plot twists, but even though the book held my interest, it was not the kind that grabs your attention so much that you can't stop. In fact, I found it to be somewhat slow, particularly in the present time storyline. This is meant to be the first part of The Act of Atonement, with part two, His Father's Fist, currently being written. Stover clearly left some story lines open for this continuation, but somehow I am not particularly eager to read it, which pretty much sums up my mild disappointment with the book.

Despite everything, Caine is still a kick-ass fighter and there's plenty of interesting scenes and relevations in the book. I suggest those new to Stover should pick up the first two books of the series first and proceed to this one if they enjoy the first two.

Kitty Norville Series Giveaway

Paul at Blood of the Muse is holding a giveaway for the whole series of Kitty Norville novels by Carrie Vaughn. Read about the contest details here. I've been curious about these books, so I will probably be entering the contest too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Introducing to the Genre

Scott Shaffer at SF Signal in a recent post raised the following question: what SF would you recommend to a non-reader? I have to say that I have read only 2 out of the 5 books listed and the two that I've read, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, are indeed good recommendations to non-genre readers. I've seen a number of people who don't usually read sci-fi or fantasy pick those up and enjoy them.

One book I've recommended with success is Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny. It was one of the books that introduced me to fantasy many years ago, it blends science fiction and fantasy nicely, it's quite short and the plot is fun.

A book I recommend to open-minded female acquaintances is Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey. It contains some fairly explicit adult content, but at the same time has the epic fantasy structure representative of many epic novels and some really good characters. I find it tends to appeal more to women though.

J.K. Rowling doesn't need me to sing her praises for Harry Potter books. But whenever I meet someone who still thinks these books are for children only, I try my best to persuade them to try the books out.

In heroic fantasy genre, Legend by David Gemmell is a great starter book. I consider Druss to be one of Gemmell's strongest characters and it's very difficult not to admire the main character by the end of the novel.

These are the books I recommend to friends who haven't read fantasy before. I specifically don't recommend Tolkien's Lord of the Rings despite it being one of the most popular fantasy classics because I find it's rather hard to get into at first.

What fantasy novels would you recommend to those new to the genre?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hater and Zombie Stimulus Package

A week ago, I listened to Daniel Suarez talk about his success in self-publishing Daemon that is now being published by Dutton. It's pretty rare to hear about these successes, but here's another one:

DAVID MOODY self-published Hater online in 2006. Without an agent, he succeeded in selling the film rights to Guillermo del Toro (director, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy 1 & 2, and the upcoming Hobbit series) and Mark Johnson (producer, The Chronicles of Narnia). With the official publication of Hater (2/17/2009), David is poised to make a significant mark as a writer of “farther out” fiction of all varieties.

In the tradition of H. G. Wells and Richard Matheson, Hater is one man’s story of his place in a world gone mad — a world infected with fear, violence, and HATE.

There are first two chapters of the book available at IMDB and a short viral video for the book:

In unrelated (but also horror-inspired) news, Mark Henry, an urban fantasy author is holding a raffle (which he is calling a Zombie Stimulus Package) on his blog where you can win dinner & movie, coffee & gas, or books. In order to enter you have to pre-order a copy of Road Trip of the Living Dead which is coming out on February 24th. For more details check out his post.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Incoming Books

I am still reading Caine Black Knife at the moment. It's an interesting book, but I am finding that I don't have a lot of time for reading lately. Nevertheless, I ordered some new books from Amazon that I've seen discussed on other blogs or recommended at The Dragon Federation.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This is a children's book, but it received a number of fantastic reviews from sci-fi and fantasy reviewers around the blogosphere. It also recently won John Newberry Award. Plus, I've enjoyed every single Gaiman's book that I've read and I expect this will be top notch.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This book was rated best read of last year on Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews. And the Amazon reviews intrigued me. It sounds unusual and interesting. I like trying out new authors, so this one made my list.

The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald
This is a SF military novel that many other bloggers seemed to enjoy last year. I am a sucker for strong/smart heroines and this definitely sounded like it had one. Also I have been reading quite a bit of fantasy lately and it's nice to add some SF into the mix.

Now I am just waiting for Amazon to ship the books to me. Hopefully my life will be getting less hectic and I'll be reading all of these soon.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Daniel Suarez

A friend of mine is a big fan of Daemon by Daniel Suarez (initially self-published as Leinad Zeraus). She's been telling me to read the book for awhile and since he was giving a talk locally today, we went to listen to the talk.

It's a little strange to go to a talk by an author you've never read I guess (and I haven't read any of his books), but nicely there was no mention of book spoilers. He introduced the book and then told an anecdote about why he decided to publish his book as Leinad Zeraus. Apparently, it was so that searching for him on Google would be easier, which I found to be a pretty entertaining reason.

He also talked about getting the inspiration for the book from writing a piece of code that just ran by itself and automatically deposited money onto his account. "I could die and it would still be running". That got him thinking about what else he could do while being dead and apparently that is the idea for the book: a programmer leaves a computer system to wreak havoc after he dies.

I found the talk agreeable until the end when someone asked him whether he considers his work science fiction as it is similar in genre to Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Unfortunately, his response was that his book is NOT science fiction because what he writes about could happen and doesn't involve star drives and whatnot. Ugh, yet another author writing what is essentially science fiction, or at the very least speculative fiction and looking down on the genre at the same time.

There was a book give-away at the end of the talk, so now I've got a signed copy of the book added to my to-read pile. I hope it makes for some good reading.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

January Recap

I started writing this blog on the 1st of January 2009 and it's been an exciting month for me. I am on track for my 50 books goal this year and I've got to read a lot of interesting stories thanks to Carl's Out of this World Mini-Challenge. Fun!

Books Read: 5
  1. The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell Hamilton
  2. Bloody Bones by Laurell Hamilton
  3. The Killing Dance by Laurell Hamilton
  4. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  5. Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
Favorite book: Heir to Sevenwaters

Stories Read: 7
  1. The Merchant and the Alchemist Gate by Ted Chiang
  2. The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke
  3. What's Expected of Us by Ted Chiang
  4. The Crystal Spheres by David Brin
  5. The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin
  6. Falling Onto Mars by Geoffrey A. Landis
  7. When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth by Cory Doctorow
Favorite Story: The Merchant and the Alchemist Gate

Essays Read: 1
  1. On Love of Reading by Virginia Woolf
Male: 7
Female: 3

Blog Posts: 31

Thanks for everyone who commented this month, I really appreciate you coming here and sharing your thoughts!

This month's commenters are (in blog post order):
Daly, shazow, SparklingBlue, ediFanoB, The Holistic Knitter, Carl V., wend

Search Queries
The most popular query leading to this blog has been by far "Exhalation Ted Chiang". Unfortunately, I still have not been able to track down the copy of that story, but I might just buy Eclipse 2 sometime soon.