Justine Larbalestier: Magic Lessons

I think it would probably occur to me to compare and contrast the first two volumes of Larbalestier’s “Magic or Madness” trilogy with the first two books of Scott Westerfeld’s “Midnighters” trilogy even if I didn’t know the two authors were partners. Many novels feature teenage protagonists simultaneously blessed and cursed with special powers, butContinue reading “Justine Larbalestier: Magic Lessons”

Maureen Johnson: Devilish

Maureen Johnson’s Devilish commanded my attention as soon as I heard first of it (via Westerblog, of course). The potent combo of demonic subject matter, a Providence RI setting, and a cover that evokes one of my favorite Penelope Houston albums added up to a heaping helping of positive associations and I requested Devilish fromContinue reading “Maureen Johnson: Devilish”

Diana Peterfreund: Secret Society Girl

I’ve been on such a major Scott Westerfeld kick for most of this year that not only am I reading everything of his I can get my hands on, I’m subscribed to the Westerblog and I read some of the other young adult books he talks up there, too. Here’s one: Diana Peterfreund’s debut novelContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Secret Society Girl”

Stanislaw Lem: Mortal Engines

Stanislaw Lem is one of the many authors I’ve always meant to read something by. I’ve even picked up a handful of his books over the years with noble intentions of follow-through which have, to-date, gone unfufilled. So picking Lem’s Mortal Engine from the freebie box I’d commited to availing myself of only if IContinue reading “Stanislaw Lem: Mortal Engines”

Michael Shea: The Incompleat Nifft

Once upon a time (in the 1940s), Mssrs deCamp and Pratt teamed up to write a series of short novels about the magical misadventures of one Harold Shea. The tales had a proto-post-modern spin to them: Shea would get transported into myths and pre-copyright stories like Spenser’s Faerie Queene. The Shea stories have an absurdlyContinue reading “Michael Shea: The Incompleat Nifft”

Malcolm Gladwell: Blink

[editorial note: this review/essay/whatever was originally published as three separate entities over the course of a month.] surprise benefits of pseudo-vegetarianism I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink in fits and starts over the past two months — it’s on the library’s short-term loan list, so I request it, read as much as I can beforeContinue reading “Malcolm Gladwell: Blink”

Steve Squyres: Roving Mars

You could be excused for thinking that Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet is a science book. It’s got a Martian landscape on the front cover, and the author was the “Principal Investigator” of the projects it chronicles. If you’re not careful, you might even learn a little bit aboutContinue reading “Steve Squyres: Roving Mars”

Jen Banbury: Like a Hole in the Head

I’m not a big fan of movies that rely on “twist” endings. I think the value of surprise as an artistic technique is easily overrated. If it’s not a good movie if you know the ending, it’s just not a good movie, period. But on the other hand, it can be really rewarding to seeContinue reading “Jen Banbury: Like a Hole in the Head”

Jack Vance: The Killing Machine

It’s apparently de rigueur to mention that the stories of (currently popular and prolific) SF writer Matthew Hughes owe a debt to the Old Earth stories of Jack Vance. Vance is one of those old-school SF writers from whom I always meant to get around to reading something, but never quite did. In fact, althoughContinue reading “Jack Vance: The Killing Machine”