Monday, July 12, 2021

Summer Reading List: Joe

There are many things in this life which I really, really like. Two of them are reading books and making lists. A third would be making lists about reading books. Strangely, I'm not sure if I want to read a book about making lists, so we'll just move right on from there, shall we?

It is something of a tradition here at Nerds of a Feather to post one's Summer Reading List. It is also becoming a bit of a tradition to post these later each year than the year before but hey, this is - what - the nineteenth month of 2020 and we're having a hard time keeping track of time. But despite the beginnings of normalcy returning to parts of the United States and my impending return to the office, time is getting away from us and the summer is a third of the way gone and it's time to get moving on our summer reading lists.

So, with all of that said, I do rather enjoy making lists about books. Nerds of a Feather is a genre blog, so while I plan to continue to read more non fiction each year and I've been reading an increasing amount of non SFF fiction, I do still get through more than one hundred books each year, so what I'm going to highlight is some of the science fiction and fantasy I plan / hope to read this summer.
For those keeping score at home, I read five of the six books I listed last year and expect to get the last one this summer. So let's go.

1. Machine, by Elizabeth Bear
Bear has been one of my favorite writers for a number of years now and her return to science fiction and space opera two years ago with Ancestral Night was very welcome indeed. Ancestral Night was fantastic and Machine is Bear's follow up White Space novel. It's a new story in the same overall universe and I'm thrilled to read it this year. Elizabeth Bear has been at the top of her game for years.

2. Brittle Innings, by Michael Bishop
Brittle Inning is a fantasy novel about baseball, which in some ways is everything I need to know. I am absolutely in the mood for a langerous baseball novel with a dash of the speculative - minor league baseball in the 1940's - with a twist? Absolutely. Brittle Innings was also a finalist for the Hugo Award, The World Fantasy Award, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

3. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
I've had a massive single volume omnibus of The Inheritance Trilogy sitting on my shelf for years and I think I'm ready to crack it open. Besides just wanting to read the novel for its own sake, I want to track Jemisin's development as a writer. This was Jemisin's debut, though I believe it was written after her Dreamblood Duology. For an epic fantasy novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is relatively svelte at 400+ pages and that's also refreshing in a year I've already read a 1200 page novel.

4. Heroine Worship, by Sarah Kuhn
I read Heroine Complex three years ago in 2018 when Sarah Kuhn was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (now, Astounding Award) and thought it was absolutely delightful and wonderful and for no good reason I never picked up the second novel and I really wish I had. It's time. It's more than time.

5. Green Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
I am in the midst of a final push to read all of the Hugo Award winning novels. At the time of writing this, I only have nine remaining and that means it is also time to read the Mars Trilogy. Red Mars was the first novel I finished in 2021 and, in my third attempt, I appreciated and enjoyed it this time - enough so that I've been looking forward to moving on to Green Mars. I'm also on a bit of a Kim Stanley Robinson reading kick. So here we go.

6. The Snow Queen, by Joan Vinge
Another selection from my Read All the Hugo Winners project, though I have more immediate plans to read The Snow Queen before Green Mars. I've been dancing around The Snow Queen for at least two decades now, sometimes picking it up at my local book store (RIP,  Uncle Hugo's, may your revenant bring us books once more in the future) before putting it down again. Notwithstanding the relatively few number of Hugo winners I have left, I appreciated the Sword and Laser episodes on the novel a year or so ago and I've been extra meaning to get to the novel. Let's do it.

Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 5x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan. He / Him