Friday, August 24, 2012

Recent Books

Matter by Iain M. Banks. Follows the adventures of members of the Royal Family of the Sarl, resident on a Shellworld. A powerful entity is released from billion year stasis and it's down to a Sarl agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances to deal with the situation. Backcloth - the concept that we live in a simulation and the argument from unspeakable injustice and suffering that the simulators could not be so cruel - we must therefore be matter.

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan. His first book reworking swords and sorcery fantasy through the grinding machine of hardcore SF a la Takeshi Kovacs. Morgan writes best when he has issues he is insanely furious about (who can forget his Tebbit knife) and here his preoccupation with reactionary clerics continues, with a side portion of slavery and gay rights. Morgan really doesn't like people who punish homosexuality (in ways which sometimes suggest latent, hidden homoeroticism). Good character development and an intriguing storyline encouraged me to press the Kindle button on number two of a planned three, The Cold Commands.

Next on this nostalgia-fest: The Reality Dysfunction by Peter Hamilton, volume one of three in the Night's Dawn trilogy.

Madame Bovary (in a new translation) by Flaubert is stacked up and waiting for the darkening evenings of the autumn - as counterpoint.