cyphomandra: fluffy snowy mountains (painting) (snowcone)
[personal profile] cyphomandra
I need to start keeping better track of these. Anyway. List of those I can remember at the moment, and subsequent commentary:

Edmund de Waal, The hare with amber eyes
Gordon Korman, The War with Mr Wizzle (re-read)
Mandy Hager, The Crossing
Josh Lanyon, The Dark Horse
Josh Lanyon, The Dickens with Love
Josh Lanyon, Don't Look Back
Housuke Nojiri, Rocket Girls

The Hare With Amber Eyes was brilliant - nonfiction, family memoir, a book about objects (of art) and collections, the connections between them and their people, and what we lose and what we keep. I will attempt to go on about it again in more detail once I have my own copy and am not doing it from a week-old memory of a library book. The Gordon Korman is a cheerfully comforting re-read, although the degree of personal manipulation it involves always makes me worry more about what would happen if in the future Bruno decided to take a job with pretty much any branch of the government. The Josh Lanyons are all enjoyable but slight, and not as good as his two series, although I approve strongly of his taste in fiction (Dickens, obviously, but The Dark Horse involves a film version of Mary Renault's The Charioteer). Don't Look Back is the possibly obligatory amnesia story, which treats amnesia as a kind of extreme personality reboot (there's a fair bit in the text to suggest this is all psychological rather than organic, but the disconnect feels too easy as opposed to, in a slightly odd counter-example, William Monk's amnesia in the Anne Perry books, where his previous self is much more of a character).

The Mandy Hager is first in a trilogy - post-apocalyptic Pacific Island (Cook Islands based, I think) story in which strong female lead rebels against all her society's constraints. So, some of the same problems as Juno of Taris (lead shares contemporary mores and is positioned as correct by the text for this, despite conflict with all of her upbringing), but much less irritating - no secret psychic powers and some interesting stuff going on with race and religion, although there is the feeling in the text that everybody good has been waiting for Maryam (the lead) to show up to start acting on their secret rebellious feelings. I am also irked that the blurb indicates who will form the core group at the end of the book, but that's not the author's fault - I do want to read the next one, and will comment more then.

I wanted to give this a bit more depth. It's the first Haikasoru book I've read, although there are a few more in my pending pile. Basically it's a fun, fast ride, with vast numbers of unlikely things and objections simply overridden or swept aside for the sake of getting to the next plot-point (need to save on fuel? Key astronaut doesn't want bits amputated to reduce weight? Recruit passing tiny teenage girl on quest to find her missing father in Solomon Islands - and then, when she finds him (now running a rather poorly characterised tribe) snaffle her similarly proportioned half-sister as a back-up). I am not at all sure I believe anyone's emotions in this (especially Yukari's mother's!), but it is enjoyable, and there's something particularly pleasant about zooming on to the next challenge, and the next, and getting the whole thing over in just over 200 pages rather than spending the same amount of space just coming up with info dumps about the rocket technology (yes, I was scarred by 80s sf).

I particularly like the actual space bits (ridiculous angry gay Russian Mir subplot aside). I loved near-Earth based space sf when younger, but subsequent recognition of dodgy gender and racial politics meant a lot of these had to stay in the nostalgic haze of the not-to-reread. Japanese manga (Planetes, Twin Spica, Saturn Apartments) and now fiction have brought that back.


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