It’s been over a year since I updated this thing, despite promising myself otherwise. So much for New Year’s resolutions.
I had planned to be more productive in 2016. Unfortunately, life sort of got in the way.
Since my last post, I’ve switched jobs (yet again), and finally started writing on a more regular basis. I’ve altered my daily routine so that I get up an hour earlier and shoot for a weekly goal of around 5,000 words. I’m hoping to get that number up to about 10,000 words in the next month or so.
Currently chugging along on a novella and some short stories. We’ll see where that goes…
Anyway, I’ve read/am reading some good books, and I’d like to share my thoughts. My reading’s been a bit intermittent these past couple of years, but I’ve recently picked up a few things I’m enjoying.
First off this year was The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley.
Kameron rocketed to the top of my “Buy Immediately and Devour in Three Days” category with the Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy. God’s War blew my brain right out of my skull and was the most inventive, exciting, and engaging book I’d read since Altered Carbon.
With her new book, The Stars Are Legion, she’s turned her wicked talents to space opera, albeit with a twist. This is hardcore biopunk, and it reads like a bizarre blood-and-guts epic fantasy with a sci-fi slant (which is awesome, by the way!) Not recommended for the squeamish.
It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away, but suffice it to say, you’re in for a ride. Huge, organic worldships inhabited by an all-female cast of characters who are as brutal and deadly as their environment. Kameron takes biotech to a whole new level, extrapolating from modern research and creating a shockingly alien yet utterly believable setting, the likes of which I haven’t really seen before in science fiction. Mix that with warring feudal cultures reminiscent of the Houses in Dune, mutant “witches,” organic vehicles and weapons, and what you get is a hack and slash non-stop-action thrill ride that grabs you from page one and doesn’t let up until the very end.
My only complaint about this story is that the ending felt a bit rushed. On the whole, the pacing was great, and the worldbuilding was extensive yet never felt overwhelming. Kameron is one of the best in the field when it comes to portraying complex societies and settings without bogging the reader down in exposition. There was one reveal about two thirds of the way through the story that I felt was a bit predictable, but it didn’t ruin my overall experience.
For anyone interested in some truly original and refreshing science fiction that has the pulpy action adventure flavor of a Golden Age story but modern sensibilities and politics, then you could do a whole lot worse than The Stars Are Legion. Do yourself a favor and go grab a copy now.
Seriously. Right now.
For more information about Kameron Hurley, you can visit her at her website. I highly recommend checking out her blog while you’re there.
Next up on my list is Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells. I stumbled across this one on one of those i09 lists of upcoming sci-fi and fantasy and was immediately grabbed by the cover art. One-eyed mercenary with a flaming hand standing in front of a motorcycle while a spaceship takes off in the background? Yes please.
I’m only about a third away into this one, but so far so good. Motorcycle gangs, a rough colony planet, exotic blue crystal, some flavor of pyrokinesis, and all kinds of weirdness sprinkled throughout. Love the Western vibes this one gives off.
I also recently picked up a copy of John Scalzi’s new book, The Collapsing Empire. I’ve read some great things about this one, so I’m really looking forward to diving in once I’ve polished off Hunger Makes the Wolf.
Also on my night stand are two non-fiction books: The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig and The Writer’s Guide to Weapons. I’ve been reading these on and off for the past few months and am enjoying both. Craft books are hit or miss for me, but both of these are great references. Wendig’s easy style and no-bullshit approach to writing make this one a fun, but also informative read.
So, anyway, that’s it for me. I’m going to go write some more, and hopefully I’ll post again soon. We’ll see…