John Scalzi’s Lock In. Now that was good fun and a very quick read. I enjoyed the crime-solving process. Then there were the added bonuses. The gender of the protagonist is never specified and doesn’t matter. Likewise, their (non-white) race is only mentioned once as part of a tangential plot point. It is heavily implied, though, if you know anything about the typical composition of an American professional basketball team. Racial diversity is evidenced through the use of names rather than physical descriptions. There are plenty of female characters in professional positions of authority. All of this is presented deftly and integrates smoothly with the plotline and the wry, witty dialogue.
I enjoyed this offering more than Redshirts, which is the only other book of his oeuvre that I’ve read.
Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword. I had more difficulty getting into this during the first sixty or seventy pages than I did the first book in the series. Perhaps it’s because Breq’s motivation - the overriding sense of anger - is subsumed somewhat by her* need to play her cards close to her chest, as the political game she’s now playing requires. Even though it’s not spelled out as explicitly as in the first book, the sense of her non-human-ness feels stronger, as well. I found myself wishing for an occasional switch of point of view to a character I have more ease in sympathising with - Seivarden, for instance. Now that I’m nearly a third of the way through**, this desire has abated and I’m fully immersed in the action. I try to slow myself down to savour Leckie’s loaded dialogue and meticulous world-building, but it’s getting very exciting.
* I use the pronoun in the same gender-neutral manner as in the books.
** I wrote most of this entry yesterday. The baby had a very disturbed night, so I’m now twenty pages from the end.
Ben Aaronovitch’s Foxglove Summer. I missed out on Broken Homes (see: 2014: the lost year) but I’ll acquire it if I enjoy this offering sufficiently.
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