February 2016 ~ My Bookish Month in SFF.

In an effort to keep track of exactly what I’ve read and done (Anything geeky), I’m doing a monthly post summarising what I’ve read each month, as well as any events I’ve been to etc. This is Februarys post! (Put together bit by bit over the course of the month, so I don’t spend hours on it on February 29th! Woohoo Leap Year!)

Warning: May contain spoilers!

Here goes.

1, The Recollection by Gareth L. Powell.

The Recollection

If you remember from my January post, I’ve been reading Gareth L. Powell’s Ack-Ack trilogy, and got as far as Hive Monkey (Book 2). A Twitter exchange between Gareth L. Powell and Pete Newman (Author of The Vagrant) prompted me to read this before plunging into the final part of the Ack-Ack trilogy for Macaque Attack. (Apparently there’s some kind of nod/connection/easter egg or something to The Recollection in Macaque Attack? Stay tuned to find out more.) DAMNED straight there’s a connection between The Recollection and Gareth L. Powell’s Macaque trilogy! (See Macaque Attack below!)

When his brother disappears into a bizarre gateway on a London Underground escalator, failed artist Ed Rico and his brother’s wife Alice have to put aside their feelings for each other to go and find him. Their quest through the ‘arches’ will send them hurtling through time, to new and terrifying alien worlds.

Four hundred years in the future, Katherine Abdulov must travel to a remote planet in order to regain the trust of her influential family. The only person standing in her way is her former lover, Victor Luciano, the ruthless employee of a rival trading firm.

Hard choices lie ahead as lives and centuries clash and, in the unforgiving depths of space, an ancient evil stirs…

Gareth L. Powell’s epic new science-fiction novel delivers a story of galaxy-spanning scope by a writer of astounding vision.

I really enjoyed The Recollection, I started it on the 30th of January and finished it about 3am on the 1st of Feb (Mainlining the last 50% in one go!). Definitely give this a go If you like SF! My Review on Goodreads.

2, The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Model by Charlie Jane Anders.

The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model

An ace little short story told from the point of view of two extra terrestrials. The main idea behind how an entire civilization has chosen to exploit the resources of the galaxy is an imaginative one filled with possibilities!

Well written and thoughtful.

Read it for free on Tor.com or buy it for just £0.78p on Kindle.

Jon and Toku travel the universe suspended in Interdream, only waking up to check up on certain business ventures. Simple. Until one of the business ventures, something called “Earth,” objects.

3. Macaque Attack by Gareth L. Powell.

Macaque Attack (Ack-Ack Macaque Book 3)

HOLY MONKEY MERDE!

Ok. Make sure you read The Recollection first BEFORE reading Macaque Attack. You will enjoy this novel more If you have read The Recollection.

In this, the third Ack-Ack novel, Gareth L. Powell has taken what you think you know about the universe(s) contained in these books, and inspired by some less widely known scientific theories put out by scientists – TURNS EVERYTHING upside-down!

If you already read the first two Macaque books, you’ll have enjoyed stories of Cyborgs, Assassins, Hackers, Digital Ghosts of Human Consciousness, Multiverse hopping hive-mind invaders… not to mention an arse-kicking sentient monkey with anger-control issues.

Now (set roughly two years after Hive Monkey) hold on for the addition of EVEN MORE angry monkeys and apes! MORE invaders from another universe. The return of the bad guys (or their digital ghosts anyway) from Mars… and a surprising conclusion  (and connection) to The Recollection!

If you already read Ack-Ack Macaque and Hive Monkey – You need to read this!

INFINITE MONKEYS
He’s saved the world twice. Now the dangerous but charismatic Ack-Ack Macaque finds himself leading a dimension-hopping band of angry monkeys, facing an invading horde of implacable killer androids, and confronting the one challenge for which he was never prepared: impending fatherhood!
Meanwhile, former journalist Victoria Valois finds herself facing old enemies as she fights to save the electronic ghost of her dead husband, and Merovech, King of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and France, receives a troubling message from the dead sands of Mars…

My review on Goodreads.

4. AS Good As New by Charlie Jane Anders.

As Good as New

Another great short story by Charlie Jane Anders here, once again published by Tor.com where you can read it for free online or buy it for just £0.83p on Kindle!

Wonderfully written, set after the world has come to an end. I very much enjoyed this and found myself wishing it was longer!

From the author of the Hugo-winning “Six Months, Three Days,” a new wrinkle on the old story of three wishes, set after the end of the world.

5. Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders.

Six Months, Three Days

This is a charming tale, fully deserving of its 2012 Hugo award for best Novelette.

Nicely written and thoughtful.

A doomed to failure love story where two clairvoyant prognosticators meet and fall in love, the boy can only see future events unfolding in a linear fixed fate. The girl see’s many possible (multi-verse) futures. This story explores what happens when the two contrary methods of prognostication interact.

It also ends with a mystery.

I liked this story a lot, and am quickly becoming a fan of Charlie Jane Anders work to such an extent that I’m actively seeking out more stories of hers to read. (If you hadn’t already guessed!)

Again, this was published by Tor.com where you can read it for free online, alternatively it can be purchased on Kindle for just £0.80p!

Doug and Judy have both had a secret power all their life. Judy can see every possible future, branching out from each moment like infinite trees. Doug can also see the future, but for him, it’s a single, locked-in, inexorable sequence of foreordained events. They can’t both be right, but over and over again, they are.

Obviously these are the last two people in the world who should date. So, naturally, they do.

6. Intestate by Charlie Jane Anders.

Intestate

A wonderful meander through a family re-union centered around a father figure (who just happens to be mostly machine now). I found the writing style to be emotive – the story itself pulled on my heart strings, whilst not reaching any discernable conclusion plot-wise. Not as good as I’d hoped it to be, but still well worth reading!

Decide for yourself and let me know what you think – read it for free at Tor.com or buy it for £0.83p on Kindle.

By now, it’s hard to tell how human my father still is. But we’re still family. What that means…is another question

7. The Cartography Of Sudden Death by Charlie Jane Anders.

The Cartography of Sudden Death

A fresh take on time-travel stories, well written and paced, but the ending was a bit flat. It felt like the story should have continued much further in its narrative, maybe as the foundation for a novella or even a full novel.

I want to know what happens next dammit! 🙂

As with other Tor.com short stories, read it for free online or buy it on Kindle for £0.83

Time travel doesn’t actually solve problems. It just makes them more complex…

When Ythna is sent to serve the Beldame Thakkra, she is only a child, but as she grows, so does her love of her mistress. When tragedy strikes, Ythna has no idea what to do, or how to save herself from Obsolescence, until she meets the mysterious Jemima Brookwater. Ms. Brookwater claims to come from the future, and wants Ythna to come on a terrifying journey that uses a most unusual mode of travel.

8. Fireside Fiction – Magazine, Issue 30.

Fireside Magazine Issue 30 by Brian J White

Three stories this issue. All of which are incredibly awesome, each in their own way, I five starred this issue on Goodreads as I thought all three stories would merit a 5 star rating each in their own right!

When First He Laid Eyes by Rachael K. Jones.
Flash Fiction – A powerful short piece told from the point of view of a woman stalked that plays upon many of the false justifications some will attribute upon the stalker and the stalkers victims – and indeed upon many cases of harassment or violence against women. Justifiably this Flash-Fic starts of with a content warning.

Re: Little Miss Apocalypse Playset by Effie Seiberg.
Flash Fiction – A fun short piece that must inevitably result in the end of human civilization… and what’s worse, I can easily see this happening! Told in the form of an email chain between various corporate departments in the run up to and subsequent launch of a toy-line – this is a brilliant parody of often mentioned but seems rarely heartfelt, corporate responsibility in the face of over-whelming profit. Once started, I needed to finish it badly!

Fairy Tales are for White People by Melissa Yuan-Innes.
Short Story – It’s 1980, Toronto. A story that vividly portrays the difficulty of being an ethnic outsider, and makes you feel as if you’re watching the story unfold in person. Told from the point of view of a seven year old boy, what happens if one of your parents made a deal with a demon, and that demon shows up demanding something. Amazingly descriptive.

Another great issue from Fireside Fiction. Read the stories for free on their website and help fund more stories and more issues via their Patreon page.

Issue 30 opens with a really tough but important story: When He First Laid Eyes by Rachael K. Jones. It’s about stalking and harassment of women, and it’s so powerful. Next is Effie Seiberg’s Re: Little Miss Apocalypse Playset, a fun romp through a corporate email chain. And we close with Fairy Tales are for White People by Melissa Yuan-Innes, which takes us inside Guangdong Barbecue in Toronto, where a debt has come due.

9. A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Oh my!

I’d been meaning to read this for ages, but only just unearthed it from my TBR pile. A brilliant story that has everything you need! I am SO onboard for A Gathering Of Shadows when it is released!

MORE PLEASE!

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…

10. The Copper Promise by Jen Williams.

The Copper Promise (The Copper Promise, #1)

The Copper Promise (along with the sequel, The Iron Ghost.) has been floating towards the top of my TBR pile for some time, with the imminent release of the third and final book in the Copper Cat trilogy looming, I pulled them both to the top so that I could read the entire trilogy in one read through.

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…

Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.

For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.

But sometimes there is truth in rumour.

Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.

This book is magical! I love Wydrin, her philosophy on life is awesome – and she unashamedly vibrant. To begin with, Frith is such a self centered arse-hole, what a douche! Then there’s Sebastian. So earnest, so well meaning. But what Gullibility! Seriously Sebastian? Wow!

Then of course there’s a ruddy great big Dragon! Brilliant!

The pacing of the book feels episodic, but that’s probably because it was originally published as several novellas. I love novellas! I think one of the reasons I loved the Copper Promise so much was that the characters seemed so much like real people because they had flaws! Side-note: by the end of the book, Frith becomes less of an arse-hole (slightly) towards the end, Sebastian redeems himself and flirts with an attractive man (I KNOW!) and Wydrin remains the same – but levels up in glorious awesomeness!

11. A Gathering Of Shadows by V. E. Schwab.

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)

This follows on from the excellent A Darker shade of Magic which I read a couple of books ago! (Which was so good, I immediately pre-ordered this book!)

Kell is plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, he is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila. As Red London prepares for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic – a certain pirate ship draws closer. But another London is coming back to life, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning. Black London has risen again – and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall.

Book two starts out roughly 4 months or so after the final events of ADSOM. It is epic! So good, but it does end on a cliffhanger! Just don’t tell me how long I’ll have to wait until book 3 please!

 

Other Bookishness/Geekiness?

When not reading any of the above or living my mundane life, I also did the whole socializing at events thing! I know, RIGHT!

First up, was Games Night at my local branch of Waterstone’s (I WILL NEVER SURRENDER THE APOSTROPHE!) which is held on the first Wednesday of every month. Once the store has closed, fellow geeks from all around congregate and are allowed into the store to try out/play geeky board/card/etc games to their hearts content. (Or until we all get kicked out sometime after 9pm.) I got to play Mysterium (We lost, but had much fun trying to solve the mystery of who dunnit!)), Exploding Kittens (Made the final three, but took an exploding kitten to the chest right near the end!), We Didn’t Playtest This (I’m not sure exactly who won, but I definitely lost!) and finally Werewolves of Millers Hollow (I was a werewolf, I got lynched dammit – It’s like no-one trusts me on principle now when playing werewolf, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY! Honest! *evil cackle*). All lots of fun. Check out the events pages of your local Waterstone’s, they might run something similar near you!

I went on a romantic date to see the romantic movie of the year, Deadpool – with my beloved Jenny. It was a very *ahem* touching movie! If you’re over 18 – you should check it out!

Thursday the 25th saw the launch of The Silver Tide by Jen Williams (her 3rd book in the Copper Cat trilogy – see above in books read!) at the London Forbidden Planet. I had the day off work so I popped down from York to bathe in Jen’s awesomeness and geek out! (also to buy books – because my only book buying problem is an issue with storage!). If you follow me on twitter, you will have had the opportunity to enjoy suffer through my tweeting of my journey from York to London. I am so not sorry about the excessive tweeting! The launch/signing was BUSY! It took about two hours for Jen to finish signing!

[Jen Williams signing a copy of her new book, The Silver Tide – for Peter Newman]

I finally received my Hugo login PIN to let me nominate works and people for consideration in this years Hugo Awards! Yay! Here’s my Hugo Considerations post.

Looking Forward to March…

I’m looking forward to next month, as I’ll be attending Mancunicon, the 2016 Eastercon. It’s going to be a fun convention!

I’m also looking forward to a few books, I’m roughly halfway through The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams, still got The Silver Tide to read too, Chaos Choreography comes out in March, I’m really looking forward to a new InCryptid novel! Plus I’ll be working my way through my TBR pile, as ever. There’s also a read-along for the second book in the October Daye Urban Fantasy series – A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire.

 

Anyway, have you read any of the same books or stories as me? What did you think? Any recommendations?

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