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Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie: One of the Hugo Nominees. Or the sequel is. Not sure. Either way, go read this, now. Utterly unique, sweeping space sci-fi. Takes place in the PoV of a ship whose consciousness is projected through multiple "ancillary" bodies. I can't explain too much more than that without spoiling it.

Rolling in the Deep, Mira Grant: yes, that is an adele title. yes, this is about horror terror mermaids. Yes, it's set up as a documentary a la History Channel/SyFy Channel parody. yes, no one survives. It's amazing. Good little novella, $5 on Amazon. Des, you might want to take a look at this. Two words to make this even more terrifying: sexual dimorphism.

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I Am Legend and Other Stories by Richard Matheson - I only got to read the included short stories before I got separated from this book when I had to leave for college. Anyways, I recently finished the main story, and I dug it. First extended story by Matheson that I've read and he did a good job with the tension. I liked that the vampires were intelligent, and had a scientific aspect to their nature. The notion of crosses only working to Christians turned to vampires was pretty neat. The ending was great, for how grim it was.

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Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller: The story about Achilles and Patroclus that you never knew you wanted, great love story, good use of POV, and some real rememberable lines.

Deathless, Cathryn Valente: Russian fairy tales by way of Soviet/Stalinist Russia. Hell of a read, sticks with you.

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leicke: Follow up to Ancillary Justice. Does great things with world building, and when it eventually gets going, it kicks into high gear hard and quick. But the middle kind of just ambles about, and makes it hard to get through at times. Hoping Ancillary Mercy avoids that middle pit fall.

Unusual Concentrations, Si Spurrier: Quick novella by Si Spurrier about coffee shops and conspiracies. Comes together well, even if you don't entirely know what's going on right away and it takes a bit to get the shape of the situtation.

Gold Coast, Elmore Leonard: I typically don't go in for crime novels, but it's a hell of a ride, especially with the twists toward the last third of the novel or so.

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One I forgot, and one I finished last night.

House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard: I can't remember the last time I mainlined a 400 page book in one night. Has to be before college. I did that with this book. Angels, magic, murder mysteries, curses, various folklore, and a world of yes.

Speak Easy, Cathryn Valente: New novella, blend of the 30s, general underworld mythology, the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Hades/Persephoneish type for an amazing trip.

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The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes: Time traveling serial killer, his victims, and one of the girls who was supposed to die but didn't trying to unravel the mystery and not knowing what she's getting close to. First Beukes book I've read, interested to see more. We don't see any of the murders from the pov of the murderer, they're all from the victims pov, which I like, because it's not murder porny. Also based entirely in Chicago, which is neat.

Frog, Mo Yan: story about China's one child policy, primarily as seen through the lens of a single village, its primary ob-gyn, and her nephew. Don't come to this if you're looking for a deep psychological take on the ob-gyn, it's all framed through her nephew, which is slightly disappointing. Engrossing read, especially if you've read translated Chinese novels before and know the type of thing you're getting into. Neat metaphors with frogs too. Bought it remaindered, frankly, wouldn't pay much more than that for it.

Edited by Venneh
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I've also read The Shining Girls and it is fantastic. I'd recommend reading Moxyland if you can find it. It is a sci-fi story structured similarly to The Shining Girls in that you are show the story from a different character's perspective every chapter but it is set in a near future South Africa.

I'm currently reading Foreign Devils which is the sequel to The Incorruptables. It is a fantasy western set in an alternate America where the Roman empire never fell and colonised America. They have technology based on harnessing demons. They are used to power everything from paddle steamers to guns.

Edited by Mr Mockery
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Moxyland is actually what I'm working my way through on the Kindle right now. :D

Finished Ancillary Mercy while I was out in NYC. I can't recommend this series highly enough. Be sure you have Sword clear in your mind when you go into it, as it builds very heavily from that. Sword was the windup, and Mercy is the punch. Gets into some real interesting questions wrt the nature of the ships, their relationships with their officers, and autonomy, and how all of that ends up playing out with the conflict with Anander Mianaai is perfect. There's only one thing that isn't resolved, but given that there is apparently going to be more in this universe (but not necessarily in this series), I don't mind that so much. And the ending builds perfectly on the trajectory of the entire series, and is exactly what I was hoping for. 

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Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho: Yet another story set in magical past England, ho hum, right? Except no. The Sorcerer Royal is a young black man who was freed from slavery (but not the rest of his family) by the previous Sorcerer Royal to prove the magical ability of other races, and our other main character in the book is a young black female with strong magical ability and a mysterious family secret. Most of the book focuses on the politics of Zacharias being the first black Sorcerer Royal and all the assassination attempts/rumors he has to judge, and the idea of women getting to use magic. Oh, and there's a huge mystery that just so happens to be unfolding with all of this. It's basically the politics of colonial existence through one of the less explored angles, and it's pretty goddamn fantastic. Great debut novel, go pick it up. 

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Moxyland, Lauren Beukes: Near future corporate dystopia in South Africa through four overlapping viewpoints. Well written, hell of a ride, and you get just enough of a hint to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. You can tell it's her first novel, but all things considered, it still does very well. Would love to see more in this world. 

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Citadel of Weeping Pearls, Aliette de Bodard: Aliette de Bodard does sci-fi mixed with Vietnamese traditional culture. Stands on its own as a novella, but apparently ties into a larger universe that I'd like to read more of.

This Census Taker, China Mieville: Found a free ARC of this at a local independent bookstore. Very nostalgic, just a tinge of magic, definitely a slow burn, was missing a few things, but I'll buy the novella when it comes out.

 

 

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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee: One of the first nonfiction books I've read in a damn long time. It's basically a combination of Dr. Mukherjee's experiences as an oncology intern and what's essentially a war history of cancer, traced back from its earliest mentions in history all the way up to the present day's advances. It's a brick of a book, but it's a great read. 

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Read Weapon of a Jedi by James Fry, the Luke Skywalker novel that came out before The Force Awakens. The story is about him first using the lightsaber with a framing sequence of Jessika Pava, the Asian X-Wing pilot, asking 3PO about Luke. There's small hints about things that they could possibly expand on. Overall I thought it was pretty good, Luke's voice was captured well and the action was good. There's a few humorous bits, mostly at C3PO's expense, which is nice.

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Forgot two from last year:

Secret Loves of Geek Girls. Anthology by various ladies working in comics, there's some middling stuff, and some really amazing stuff (see the Marguerite Bennett piece yesterday), overall a great read for the price.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See: Part of this weird trend a while ago where "chick lit" novels suddenly started focusing on 19th century China and womens' lives during that period - and almost all of them were written by white women. It's a neat enough book focusing on two women bound as sisters during this time period and how very differently their lives turn out, and also a random Boxer Rebellion. It's a fun, light read, I finished it in a long afternoon, and frankly it wasn't worth more than the $5 I paid for it, but it's nice mindless reading.

And just finished my first book of 2016 today: 

(moved to the What I've Read 2016 thread)

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