Been doing a lot of overtime evenings and weekends and when one has put in an eight-hour regular workday in front of the work computer plus several more hours in front of the home computer (remoted in to the work computer), one kinda wants one's remaining little scraps of leisure time to be not in front of either computer. ;-p
Have managed to squeeze in some good reading in the past week:
- Let Me Tell You, a collection of Shirley Jackson short stories and essays, some unpublished (until now) and some that were published in magazines way back when but never reprinted or anthologized. Such a treat to have "new" Jackson to read ... every piece in this book was marvelous.
- "Noise" by Hal Clement. There seems to be a trend these days towards science fiction = WAR IN SPACE!, so this was a lovely visit back to the days when science fiction meant an incredible variety of story types (I'm also old enough to remember when mystery novels weren't necessarily about murder ... there were also mysteries about thefts, abductions, missing persons, mysterious persons, embezzlements, forgeries, frauds, and any other crime a writer could imagine, no corpse required). Anyway, back to Clement. "Noise" is a quiet tale about a Maori linguist visiting an ocean planet originally settled by Polynesians in order to study how the many languages they spoke have changed over the many generations on the new planet. Because there isn't so much as a sliver of dry land on the planet the population lives in floating towns and cities that could be anywhere at any time ... they just drift with the winds and currents. In order to get the maximum language exposure the linguist opts to travel with a small merchant's boat, wandering in search of other boats and cities with which to trade and languages to listen to. And that year or so on the ocean is the novel. It was pleasant and fun and entertaining (and educational ... Mr. Clement was noted for creating unusual but physically possible planets for his fiction), without a shot fired or anything blown up. Recommended for those seeking SF with decently-written female characters and for non-European slant ... every character in the book is of Polynesian or Maori descent (possible exception being the space pilot dropping off our linguist on the planet at the very beginning but that's a mere cameo)
And from that calm reading I've now moved on to re-reading Paul Cornell's London Falling, the first volume of his Shadow Police series, which is dark and nasty and ohsogood!!! (if you've ever seen the Robson Green TV series "Touching Evil", just imagine it with an occult twist -- and I do mean twist -- and you've got a hint of what these books are like). Reason for the re-read is I just got my copy of the newly-published third volume, "Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?" and since this series contains longrunning plot threads that trail from book to book I want to have every detail from "London Falling" and "The Severed Streets (volume 2) fresh in my brain before tackling the new book.