Semiosis

I read the Semiosis duology by S. Burke and I loved it. It’s about a small colony of humans on another planet, Pax, their adventures with indigenous and visiting life-forms and in some ways even more alien fellow humans from distant Earth, which had been ravaged by the failing ecology and wars. The books comprising the series, Semiosis and Interference, are thoroughly engrossing, often unpredictable, subtly satirical, and gently suspenseful.

Continue reading Semiosis

Stim — An Autistic Anthology

I have read Stim — An Autistic Anthology edited by L. Huxley-Jones and it was a breath of fresh air after suffering through the boredom of Le Carrre’s The Honorable Schoolboy, the relentless misery of R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War series and the cringe-inducing annoyance with A. Romig’s The Light series, which were seriously threatening my recently reacquired reading enthusiasm.

Stim is a loose collection of stories and essays written by autistic authors. Most are about autism, in one way or another; some are biographical, others pure fiction, and I have seen some reviews that took issue with this diversity. It didn’t bother me even a little. They’re all excellently written and with a few exceptions, they all held my interest and felt fairly relatable. None stood out as extraordinary, something to remember for a long time or in any detail, but the anthology as a whole made for consistently enjoyable reading.

The one thing I will remember for a long time I actually stumbled upon in the epilogue, where the editor gives an overview, in broad strokes, of what autism is all about. To my delight, while explaining the elusive concept of “a special interest”, they use Mass Effect as an example, and I assume it’s one of their own. The mention of my own long-time obsession in this context still makes me smile.

Another thing that sets this book apart for me, is that I helped crowdfund it through Unbound and seeing my name among the contributors at the end made me very proud. I’m glad Stim could raise the funds necessary to get published and I hope many readers will find it as uplifting as I did.

Image: Celestial by PlanetaryStudios

My 2019 in Books

I might not have mentioned elsewhere on this blog that, in spite of my writerly ambitions, I’m a tragically slow reader. In 2018 I managed to read some 18 books — that’s 1.5 books a month — and considered it an achievement. In 2019 I planned to read 24 — the whole of 2 books a month! — but in the end managed only 20. Here they are, and how I remember them:

Continue reading My 2019 in Books

Dinner at Deviant’s Palace

By T. Powers

Of the three books by Tim Powers I’ve read so far (the other two were The Drawing of the Dark and The Stress of Her Regard), I liked this one the best. It takes a while to get started, and it took me a while to finish it (about a month of semi-regular daily reading), but it’s a solid story, with no outstanding thematic problems, depicting a fairly believable dystopian future where alcohol is the main currency, cities have turned to warring states, and ancient shells of rusted cars are hauled by horses as a status symbol.

Continue reading Dinner at Deviant’s Palace