The new year is here, and I wish everything felt shiny and new. On a personal level, I do have a refreshed outlook, and a newly-tapped sense of determination not to let the bastards grind me down. Pardon the language if you will, but I suspect it’s understandable.
Anyway! This is about good things that got done, isn’t it? So let’s talk about the joy I found in January.
The Class of 2019
Technically I posted this at the end of December, but I thought it would be a nice note to begin on, as I select my most favourite of the books I read last year. Be warned, there are some absolute stunners on there. But then of course I’m biased.
I’m right too, though.
Top Ten Tuesday
It’s back, baby. January saw me return to something familiar with a couple of posts on this meme theme:
And it won’t stop there! I’m getting February’s posts lined up already…
Ninth Step Station
2020 brought another familiar feature back around for a refresh! My weekly serial reviews have begun again, and this time I’m taking on some SF noir with the (so far!) intriguing Ninth Step Station, released last year by Serial Box and created by Malka Older. It’s got an impressive writing team, including Older and Fran Wilde, and I am very into it.
I’m also getting back into buddy reading, with a return to Katharine Kerr’s Deverry series. We began with a reread (for me) of Daggerspell, and I really enjoyed discussing my second thoughts with my long-time cohort imyril, as well as seeing what first-time reader/long-time enabler @runalongwomble made of it! (He’s helming the readalong for these books and others, hence that snappy title up there – check out his review!)
Given that going forward into book 2, Darkspell, I will be reading for the first time, I’m planning to write up a proper review near the end of February, so look out for that, plus my Tweet-sized thoughts as we progress through the books with the hashtag #Deverry.
What Else Is There?
Elsewhere on the bookish front, I read Autonomous by Annalee Newitz last month, having heard excellent things about it. While I was intrigued by and enjoyed the techy, futuristic aspects and ideas in the book, though, I was a bit less hooked on the story and characters; they never quite fully clicked for me. But as I have always planted my flag firmly in the soil of Camp ‘3 stars is not bad!’, I will say that it’s still worth a read! And your mileage may vary, so if you haven’t read it you might get more out of it than I did. So go find out!
On the other hand, because this just wouldn’t be a Dear Geek Place post if I didn’t flail wildly and enthusiastically about something, there is Catfishing On CatNet by Naomi Kritzer. I’ve been a fan of Naomi’s work ever since discovering her short fiction, most notably ‘Cat Pictures, Please’ – the short story that inspired/provides an origin for this novel. On paper it’s perhaps an odd mixed genre bag, with SF/YA/thriller all mingled together. The result, though, is something wonderful. The rollercoaster/joyride of AI/teenager POVs, hi-tech conspiracy, social commentary, and queer online found family pushed so many more buttons than I was prepared for, and I loved every second of it. I would absolutely, thoroughly recommend this book, and if you haven’t done so, you should also track down and read ‘Cat Pictures, Please’.
And please, please, publishing gods, follow through and give us the sequel that’s teased at the end of the book…
On the Currently Reading pile, I’m doing my best to tackle a bit of an ARC/review copy backlog by taking on two very different novels at once. (Yes, my brain is always a very interesting place and this is probably why.)
On Team Fantasy, there’s The True Queen by Zen Cho. A follow-up/companion novel to her wonderful debut, Sorcerer To The Crown, this promises everything I loved about the first book, with the tempting twist of new characters and a deeper dive into the magic system – and into the realm of Faerie. I can’t wait to see what Zen does with all this.
On Team SF, we have Myke Cole’s latest novel Sixteenth Watch, coming next month from Angry Robot. I’ve been a fan of Myke’s books since his debut Shadow Ops trilogy hit my radar a few years back, and I’m pretty sure he’s rapidly becoming one of the hardest-working SFF writers out there right now. There’s plenty of his work to choose from already, but I’m super excited to dive into his latest. Watch this space (heh) for my take on it!
And on the audio front, I recently discovered Wolf 359 over at Serial Box. It’s a radio drama set on a space station, with a crew who must deal with daily/random emergencies while searching for signs of alien life. It’s delightfully funny, and it’s free! Check it out.
I have not forgotten my monthly D&D home game reports! In fact, I’m still working on an overview of our game so far (we’ve been playing for a year, can you believe it?!), in order to start bringing dedicated recap posts to the content roster here. So that’s at the front of the queue as well – stay tuned for our story so far…
On the visual media side of things, Netflix UK have finally gotten off their butts and are bringing us the entire(?) Studio Ghibli catalogue of films. Right now there’s a first batch of the seven earliest films on there, including My Neighbour Totoro, which I will be watching/livetweeting for the first time TONIGHT! That’s today, Monday 3rd of February. Join me at 9pm UK time for my curiosity, wonder, and hopefully my joy, all under the hashtag above!
Wow, that was a more packed recap than I thought it would be! But there’s a lot of goodness on my plate for February that you can look out for, and *whispers* there might be some early-stages Wyrd and Wonder plans afoot very soon as well, so watch out for that, as always, on Twitter @wyrdandwonder! Until next time, dear geeks…
One Last Thing
If you’ve enjoyed any of the content I post and would like to show support/help me continue to be a massive book nerd/assist me in keeping the lights on at the Geekhaus, I have a Ko-fi account you can drop a few (entirely voluntary!) quid into, with my eternal thanks!