Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Reading List: The G

This is the last of our summer reading series. Like the others, I fully intend to read all of these. Like the others, I may not. However, I have each in my possession (thanks, publisher friends) and will do my best to read as many as possible. Without further ado, here's my list in the order I intend to read them.

1. Joyland by Stephen King [Hard Case Crime]

I'm about 120 pages into Stephen King's carnies-n-ghosts mystery and, so far, there aren't many ghosts but there sure are a lot of carnies! That sort of works, as I've always found non-corporate amusement parks fascinating--particularly the sketchy ones. Only this one isn't that sketchy. Actually, I'm not really sure why I can't put this book down, to be honest. But I can't.

2. Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear (Tor/Forge]

Can Bear keep pace with 2011's excellent Range of Ghosts? After all, that's the only novel we've ever given a 10/10 to. I'm interested to see where the story goes, and especially interested to see how Bear develops the Uthman Caliphate. My expectations are understandably high for this one.

3. The Thousand Names by Django Wexler [Roc]

"Flintlock fantasy" is a thing these days, and though it's actually been around for a while, the style is finally getting some buzz. I've yet to encounter any in the long-form that really hits the spot for me, but early reviews suggest Wexler's latest might be the one.

4. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson [Tor/Forge]

Truth be told, I actually read Gardens of the Moon a few years ago on the Jemmy's recommendation. Well, half of it, at least. Lots of people tell me that it's worth the slog to reach the greatness of the sequels (Jemmy's contention all along), so I've decided to give it another go. I hear the series is very weird. Weird good.

5. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes [Mulholland]

This one arrived unsolicited from the publisher, and I guess they know me better than I know myself, because I didn't really care about reading it until I saw the cool cover and read the jacket (super girl vs. time-traveling serial killer). Yes, Beukes' latest sounds awesome. I'm in.

6. Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson [Jo Fletcher Books]

I have a tortured relationship to Viking fiction: I love the idea but, having read nearly all of the sagas, I get fussy about historical inaccuracies, use of modern language, poor representation of Viking society and religion and so on. At the same time, when someone gets it right (like Frans Bengtsson's Röde Orm books), it's magic. Snorri Kristjansson shares a name with the father of Viking literature and may also be Iceland's second-funniest person. That's promising.

6 1/2. Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson [Orbit]

As with carnies, so too cavepeople. And who better to write a cavepeople novel than a guy who's primarily famous for scientifically grounded novels about terraforming? Snark aside, Robinson's gift for meticulously researched fiction should serve him well here. Besides, the premise sounds pretty damned cool. Another book that wasn't on my radar, but I'm glad it is now.