renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Welcome to the second half of 2017, which will go by in what feels like three weeks but will also feel like 19 years thanks to Political Shenanigans. Time is weird! Luckily, we have books to get us through it all.

I always enjoy looking at all the books I may read, even the ones that I'm going to have to make hard purchasing decisions about. Out of my anticipated books last time, I've read 10. For a lot of them I'm waiting for them to cycle out of the new collection and into general at the library so I can enjoy all the things I check out for a full, glorious month. I suspect I won't get to some of these until 2018 when my library buys all the late-year release books and cycles the others out of new. I love my library, but I wish the new book check out time was longer than two weeks. Two and a HALF weeks would help me. Alas, alas.

I have my eye on a ton of science fiction IN SPACE this time around. Some of these I suspect I'll buy if my finances work out so I can use them for my space opera challenge.

Cover for NoumenonCover for The Cooking GeneCover of The History of Bees

Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter — July 27 | HarperVoyager
The first-ever blurb I saw for this title mentioned AI so obviously I'm giving the book a shot.

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty — August 1 | Amistad
When Beyoncé released Formation I discovered a genre of writing I didn't realize I wanted: the intersections of food with Southern history written by black folks, especially since so much of our food is rooted in black culture. I've been waiting for this book for over a year. I'm PUMPED.

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde — August 22 | Touchstone
I've been on the lookout for a book that makes me feel the way Station Eleven did. It's been difficult, but I haven't given up! This book seems like a contender and also digs into family and the future of nature.

Cover for An Excess MaleCover for A Taste of MarrowCover for The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King — September 12 | Harper Voyager
The blurb on this makes the One Child Policy sound more monolithic than my reading suggests it was (everything is always more nuanced and complicated than it seems on the surface), but I'm interested to see what an author might extrapolate from the state interfering in family planning in such a deliberate, forceful way.

Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey — September 12 |
River of Teeth is a charming novella I read back in May on my way to WisCon. My only complaint was that it definitely felt like it should have been expanded into a novel. It has what I thought was a fairly large cliffhanger and I've been dying to know what happens next.

The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage by Jared Yates Sexton — September 12 | Counterpoint
My partner wouldn't let me attend a Trump rally in 2016 even though I wanted to because I was so stressed and wanted to get a feel for how things were going. I suspect if I had gone I would have done more work on the Clinton campaign after the fact, that's for sure. But Zach said no, which was probably not a bad idea safety-wise, although since we're white I bet we would have been fine. I'm still dealing with a lot of my emotions over last year, so I'm hopeful this will help me process and contextualize some of my feelings especially since there's a good chance I'll continue to live in the South for some time.

Cover for WarcrossCover for Rebel SeoulCover for Autonomous

Warcross by Marie Lu — September 12 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons
I read Legend last year and it hadn't aged well, so I wanted to read something newer by Marie Lu and give her books another shot. This is about gaming!

Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh — September 15 | Tu Books
Honestly, this is on my list because one of the YA authors I follow (which one? MYSTERY!) talked it up before it even had a cover and sold me on it at that point. It sounds SUPER neat.

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz — September 19 | Tor Books
Apparently there is robot sex. Like, what else do you need, exactly? (Unless I have been brutally misled...? But I swear someone told me about this book in that context.)

Cover for The Man in the TreeCover for 27 HoursCover for The Stone in the Skull

The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker — September 12 | Tor Books
This is the second novel about generation ships that I found interesting this year. I wonder if we're going to have more of this cropping up as the United States does its best to Murder the Earth. This book also has murder in the premise, too, so maybe it's a metaphor.

27 Hours by Tristina Wright — October 3 | Entangled: Teen
It's a space thriller with queer teenagers! SOMEONE ADAPT THIS INTO THE NEXT BIG YA MOVIE SERIES.

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear — October 10 | Tor Books
This seems to be a book set in the world of a previous series, Eternal Sky. I tried that series but it was definitely Epic Fantasy in a way I'm bad at. But! I'm much more practiced now (thanks to Kate Elliott and Courtney Schafer) so I bet it will be AWESOME. Also see: "brass automaton created by a wizard". OF COURSE I'M ON BOARD.

Cover for Forest of a Thousand LatternsCover for Barbary StationCover for Beasts Made of Night

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao — October 10 | Philomel Books
TRUE STORY: I added this after someone mentioned the premise on Twitter, before there was a blurb or a cover. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my upcoming books that it turns out this is about a girl struggling with hella dark magic. Thank you, mystery Twitter person!

Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns — October 31 | Saga Press
An AI gone wild and LESBIANS IN SPACE.

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi — October 31 | Razorbill
I'm tempted because: sin eating! Sin monsters! Political intrigue!

Cover for Jade CityCover for The City of BrassCover for Persepolis Rising

Jade City by Fonda Lee — November 7 | Orbit
Okay, so this sounds like epic fantasy but focused on the future, maybe? The blurb cites motorcycles and a growing city, so I'm intrigued by the potential. It's not that I don't like reading about long treks on horseback, but sometimes you'd just like people to be able to get around faster, you know?

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty — November 14 | Harper Voyager
A girl who doesn't believe in magic accidentally summons a djinn. Then: shenanigans. This sounds super cool.

Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey — December 5 | Orbit
This is the 7th book in The Expanse, one of my favorite SPACE ADVENTURE series. I'm a little dubious that this book will be out in December since there's no blurb available for it, but I'll be happy to see what they plan next after Babylon's Ashes, which was both exciting and gutting and full of TEAM UPS. Naomi. ;___;

What great-sounding books have I missed? What's everyone else looking forward to?

Date: 2017-07-24 03:17 pm (UTC)
dolorosa_12: (matilda)
From: [personal profile] dolorosa_12
Apart from a bunch of books on your list, I'm really looking forward to Kate Elliott's new book (just two more days until it's released, hopefully -- my preorder is being vague about the date it will actually arrive). I'm also desperately anticipating the third book in Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota series, which has been the best thing I've read all year, but that's not out until early December.

Date: 2017-07-25 12:31 pm (UTC)
novin_ha: Kalinda has the best colour scheme and I want her shirts ([tgw] kalinda)
From: [personal profile] novin_ha
Hm, I didn't find it terribly opaque after a while - I think one mostly gets used to it! - but I also didn't find it terribly good. I'm almost done with Seven Surrenders and I have to say the way it's written (and the pacing, sort of) is pretty much the only thing I *liked* about it. But I think I'm very much the minority.

Date: 2017-07-25 03:48 pm (UTC)
dolorosa_12: (pagan kidrouk)
From: [personal profile] dolorosa_12
I wouldn't say you're in the minority -- people I know seem to be either in raptures over it, or utterly repelled by it (and repelled by aspects other than the language). I have to say I preferred the first book -- it was almost as if once the plot started (which is what happens in Seven Surrenders), it lost a lot of what made it interesting.

As I said to [personal profile] renay below, a large contributor to its appeal to me is the way in which characters in Palmer's world get to choose their own 'nationality' (although it's more a political affinity, given the concept of nations doesn't really exist in the books) based on a sense of shared values, rather than having it arbitrarily imposed on them by an accident of birth or family heritage. Malka Older's Infomocracy drew me in for a similar reason -- both worlds are dystopian, but as a migrant I have to admit that this aspect seemed like paradise to me!

Date: 2017-07-25 05:16 pm (UTC)
novin_ha: Destruction Girl Hotaru ([sailor] destruction girl)
From: [personal profile] novin_ha
I can see how that would have its appeal! But for me it was too abstract. The fact that, despite the existence of those notional slash geographical hives (at least some of which are grandchildren of huge corporations), nations continued to sort-of exist ("look at me carrying a Polish armband without speaking Polish or knowing anything about Poland probably 'cause it don't exist no more") but seem to be associated with little-to-none cultural legacy other than enmity to other nations was disappointing.

I actually found 7S to be better worldbuilding-wise because at least sometimes it made sense and some explanations were given for the more bizarre gender elements + philosophy actually got better integrated/went a little deeper.

It was a very gripping read, but I couldn't help comparing it to Walton's Thessaly, which has humans try to construct Utopia of Philosopher Kings and sees clearly the flaws of the construct, following through to the conclusion. Here I felt like the need to make the narrative work with the fittings of 18th century fiction meant falling face-first into all of its flaws, often with self-awareness but not ability to transcend them.

I really need to shut up now because I'd probably - scratch that, I'd definitely hate for someone to hate on a book I loved. I think the ideas in Palmer's book are imaginative and awesome in both senses of the word. I hope in the future she'll accompany them with less of the stuff that made me nope hard! :D

Date: 2017-07-25 03:44 pm (UTC)
dolorosa_12: (sister finland)
From: [personal profile] dolorosa_12
If you were put off/thrown out of the book by the self-consciously, deliberately bombastic, grandiloquent Enlightenment philosophy pastiche, I wouldn't necessarily recommend pressing on -- the style doesn't change. It did take some getting used to in the beginning, but I sort of adjusted to the style until I almost didn't notice it, in much the way as I need to adjust when reading, say, a nineteenth-century novel, or something written in a dialect of English with which I'm not very familiar. However, I feel that life's too short to read books that make you feel thrown out of the story, and I think the language style is something you're either going to love or hate.

In terms of gender, that's been one aspect of the series that's really divided readers -- some trans (and in particular nonbinary) readers I know have found it really repellent and felt that it was hurtful in relation to their experiences. For me, I felt that what Palmer was saying about gender was in line with what she was saying about other things in her imagined future (religion, power, and inequality in particular): namely that the world of the Terra Ignota is one which thinks its a utopia, but is actually dystopian. It's a world whose people decided that things like organised religion and gender were major causes of war, abuse and inequality -- but where the solution was to abolish gender and organised religion and make it taboo to talk about them. And this leads to all sorts of weird consequences (one of the more obvious being that the 'abolition' of gender before true gender equality was achieved meant that behaviours, characteristics and roles coded in our world as female continued to be devalued, even though gender in Palmer's world is no longer binary nor no longer believed to be biologically determined).

I have to admit that as a migrant -- and someone who had to go through a huge amount of stress and difficulty to be able to live in the country to which I migrated -- the most appealling aspect of the series, and the thing that drew me in, was the idea that nationality was no longer arbitrarily imposed by birth or family heritage, but rather a conscious choice of affiliation made when a person was an adult, based on feelings of affinity with a particular set of values. And instead of citizenship being tied to a particular geographical location, people live wherever they wanted, and make the choice of which 'nationality' (really, political entity) they want to belong to, which then determines which laws (and what system of government) they will need to follow. I have to admit that this element sounded like paradise to me!


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