Marion: I finished up Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett with mixed feelings which I shared in the comments of Bill’s excellent review. I needed a palate cleanser, so I reread a couple of things. The Dain Curse, by Dashiell Hammett, reminded me how much I love his world-weary Continental Op, and his dialogue–also unpleasantly reminded me of the racism. Harder to take than I remembered. Continuing the reread trend, I dove into Daryl Gregory’s We Are All Perfectly Fine. I was reminded how well he uses first-person plural in that story.
Bill: No genre reads this week, though I did finish the mostly quite good Best American Poetry 2022 and unfortunately two disappointing novels by authors I’m a big fan of — Ian McEewan’s Lessons and Julian Barnes’ Elizabeth Finch. In genre video, I watched Prey, which I thought quite well done until the physics-defying final fight scene (a typical complaint of mine) and like many, I watched episode one of House of Dragons, which was an OK story if overly familiar and with a way-too-on-the-nose villain, though I’m not sure it’s a necessary story (tonight’s episode hasn’t dispelled those thoughts)
Sandy: Moi? I recently finished reading another beautifully written, mind-blowing work from one of my favorite authors, Algernon Blackwood. The book in question this time is his novel from 1911 entitled The Centaur, which I just loved. Currently, I am reading a highly acclaimed horror novel from 1940 entitled Dark Sanctuary, by H. B. Gregory … the first of a bunch of books that I recently purchased from the overwhelming catalog of Ramble House. I hope to share some thoughts on both of these remarkable novels with you all very shortly….
Tim: This week, I reread a good portion of George R.R. Martin‘s Fire and Blood to coincide with the releasee of HBO’s House of the Dragon. I’m reminded that I do quite enjoy Martin’s writing, even in a more “historical” style as it is here. I don’t think I’ll be dipping back into A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE until the next book is on the horizon, though. Too big an undertaking these days.
Finished L. E. Modesitt’s Councilor, which had most of the same strengths and weaknesses as its predecessor (Isolate). The politics of Modesitt’s imaginary world feel real and complicated, but his recounting of the main character’s day (each chapter is basically a whole day from morning till night) involves a lot of repetition. The slow but steady escalation of political violence (riots, assassinations, deaths from fake “heart attacks” and “accidents”) reminded me of John Brunner’s The Squares of the City.
I also re-read Laird Barron’s Occultation (short story collection), and just started Elizabeth Hand’s new novel, Hokuloa Road, about a down-on-his-luck New Englander taking a job as caretaker of a sinister property in Hawaii.