March – May Reading & TBR

Some recent reads, from novels and anthologies to short stories, opinion, and nonfiction. Plus  reads I’ve already placed on my TBR book stack. What about you? What have you read lately and loved?


Novels :

Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny (reissued! Shiny cover!)

The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (So. Very. Good.)

– Excerpts: The Lives of Tao, Wes Chu & Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (yep, I ordered both.)


The Other Half of the Sky, Athena Andreadis editor (Have begun reading a story a week. Already delighted.)

Selected Short Fiction

– “The Clockwork Trollop“, Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald, Beneath Ceaseless Skies (racy bots!)

– “No Portraits on the Sky“, Kali Wallace, Clarkesworld

– “Rag and Bone Man“, Priya Sharma, Tor (with gorgeous illustration by John Jude Palencar)

– “Just a Second“, Lou J. Berger, Galaxy’s Edge

– “Wormwood Is Also a Star”, Andy Stewart, F&SF

– “Hurt Me” (reprint), Daniel Abraham, Apex

– “The Crows Her Dragons Gate“, Benjanun Sriduangkaew and “Blood Remembers“, Alec Austin, both Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Nonfiction / Ominum Gatherum

The Military, Magic, and the Misery Ethic: A Conversation with Myke Cole

– Liz Bourke’s Sleeps With Monsters column

Radish Reviews – especially their linkspam and the really important opinion articles that have appeared of late. (time, I thought, to link them back!)


What I’m already excited about in the coming months, and don’t already have in hand: Karen Joy Fowler’s short story collection, What I Didn’t See, coming out in paperback from Small Beer Press. Cory Doctorow’s Homeland (it’s out, but I haven’t had time to read it yet), Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane (William Morrow), the gorgeous Glitter & Mayhem anthology coming in August, the also-gorgeous, also-coming-out-in-August Impossible Futures anthology, and Jon McGoran’s Drift, an eco-thriller from Tor/Forge. Plus Lauren Beuke’s The Shining Girls, Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City, and Madeline Ashby’s iD . And the newest Charlie Stross, Neptune’s Brood. Because I am predictable.

So that’s the state of my book pile right now – what are you excited about?


  1. My train reading right now is The Chairs Are Where the People Go: How to Live, Work, and Play in the City, a fun little book of very short essays on everything from manners and neighborhoods to leadership and playing charades. Not necessarily enlightening or literary, and at times a bit too “hipster” for my tastes, but it certainly has interesting observations to ponder, i.e., it’s perfect reading for my sometimes commute. I think it would be of particular interest for people involved in the theater or other performance-based activities.

      • Because the guy being interviewed comes from an improv background (and he teaches a class on charades!) so many essays are influenced by those experiences. You would be fascinated by the actual structure of the book I think.

        Ostensibly, the book comes from a friend (Sheila Heti) interviewing her friend (Misha Glouberman) and “throwing” everything together, but there is a lot of meta-commentary in the structure/editing process itself. For example, essay #1 is about screening people out in a city or it’s overwhelming (hmm, and there are 70+ essays ahead of you), essay #2 is about making friends, the penultimate essay is about “finding an ending.”

        I like to think I would have noticed this myself, but I knew to look for it because I first heard about the book on the Literary Disco podcast (which I love love love) and they commented on it.

      • ah! cool. I’ve added Literary Disco to my podcast feed… it should have a good time hanging out with the wonderful SFSqueecast.

  2. I’m reading Peter S. Beagle’s short story collection Sleight of Hand. It’s just lovely, like everything the man writes.

    I loved The Summer Prince as well.

    And, this almost seems genre, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from a Socialstructured World by Marina Gorbis.

  3. Above and beyond my already-acquired massive TBR pile, I’m looking forward to The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Glitter & Mayhem as well. I’m also looking forward to picking up and devouring Joe Hill’s N0S4A2. Ooh! And I think Ysabeau Wilce’s Flora’s Fury may be out in paperback soon. And I’m sure there are several others I’m forgetting.

  4. About to begin Oryx & Crake, after tearing through The Year of the Flood. Atwood has always had a strong voice, but her setting here and the idea of the side-effects of genetic manipulation really please. Some of the best dystop fiction in a long time with strong characters who refuse to be crushed. Still working through J.G. Balllard’s collected short stories: a massive volume in hardback, full of great stories.

    On the nonfiction front, it’s Markoff’s What the Dormouse Said. Outstanding book here; it shows how heavily the 60s counterculture influenced the early personal-computer industry and proved, to this reader, that the early PC makers created what Markoff calls a “deformed” market, where inventors began not with networks already possible but with their individual little boxes. Depressing, that; we could have had an Internet in 1975.

    • Joe – I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on Oryx & Crake. I am adding the Markoff book to my NF TBR. That sounds like some fascinating alternate history, there.

  5. I finally got the chance to pick up the copy of ‘City of Saints and Madmen’ (Jeff Vandermeer) I ordered a year ago. No idea what to expect, but I remember I was intrigued a year ago. Also finishing off Jim Aikin’s self-published (on spec) novel ‘The Leafstone Shield’. Quite different from his commercially published work, and different from his short fiction (which is Jack Finney-ish), but good. It’s the first part of a trilogy, and I’m not sure the rest is even written, so could be just an exercise in frustration.
    On my brief vacation, I plowed through a bunch of early Fritz Leiber (including ‘The Early Fritz Leiber’), which was fun. And I got my wife to read M. J. Engh’s amazing and powerful novel ‘Arslan’, so I’ll probably re-read that.
    On the pile are Gormenghast (re-read), Firebirds Soaring (anthology), Packing for Mars, Melanie Rawn, a Dying Earth tribute anthology, Steven Brust, Robin Hobb, Julie Czerneda, and stories by Czerneda, Doyle & MacDonald, Martha Wells, Farid ud Din Attar…

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