Showing posts from October, 2014

Those Who Hunt the Night

Those Who Hunt the Night Barbara Hambly, 1988 Premise: James Asher is a professor. He knows a little bit about a lot of things and a lot about linguistics and anthropology. He is also a retired player of the Great Game. This is why, when Simon Ysidro demands his help, Asher’s first response is to notice his unique accent. His second is notice that Ysidro isn’t breathing. Ysidro needs Asher to help him find out who is killing the vampires of London. Asher just needs to not get killed. A little fun with vampires for Halloween. I feel like it would be a little unusual today to see a novel that deals so well with the potential ambiguity of vampires. Even if they once were human, and retain some human qualities, that just makes them, at best, as untrustworthy as humans. Even when he becomes engrossed in the problem for its own sake, Asher never forgets that Ysidro might turn on him, or stops thinking about options should he need to turn on them. These are dangerous predators.

The Fountains of Paradise

The Fountains of Paradise Arthur C. Clarke, 1979 Hugo Winner - 1980 Premise: Vannevar Morgan has a vision. He is already the most acclaimed architect of his generation, but now he wants to help man climb to the stars in the first space elevator. The only thing in his way is the monastery sitting on top of the ideal building location. The Fountains of Paradise begins with a flashback to the ancient story of King Kalidasa (a fictionalized version of Kashyapa I ) who terrorized his enemies and built a massive tribute to his own power, in sight of the proposed site of the elevator. The book, on a certain level, is all about men’s efforts to make a mark on history, to build something that will outlast them. I enjoyed this story quite a bit. Like Rendezvous With Rama , it does a nice job of balancing the intricacies of theory around the technology with the human stories of the people interacting with it. It’s not a book f

Cold Fire (Spiritwalker, Book 2)

Cold Fire (Spiritwalker, Book 2) Kate Elliot, 2011 Premise: Sequel to Cold Magic . Armed with some, but not enough, of the answers, Catherine tries to protect her cousin, disentangle herself from her arranged marriage, not get arrested, decide whether to help one of the factions of radicals, and figure out who or what her father is. It’s sort of a busy time. Let me start with the nitpicks. I don’t like how this book/series plays to the trope: ‘hot guy who is attracted to the main character conveniently secretly a good guy, despite initial evidence to the contrary.’ This was touched on in book one and expanded here. I’m willing to go with it, but… I like the magic plot and the politics plot so many times more than the romance plot here. I’m warming to Vai a little, but I need to spend like a few months sometime only reading books with NO romance to reset my internal calibrations. I hated how many times Cat was just floored by a twist. There are a lot of plot twists in this