Mai Yamani

Wednesday reading — antipodeans and other aliens

What I've been reading

I reread Death in a White Tie, wherein Lady Alleyn continues to be the best and Troy barely manages to hold out against Alleyn's charms until the end of the book. I had a vague idea before I looked up the published order that there were more books in between the book where they meet and the book where the proposal is accepted, like there are in the Wimsey books. Actually, in the context of Ngiao Marsh's rather famous essay where she accuses Dorothy L. Sayers of "falling in love with her hero"—which, first, like that's a bad thing, and second, wow, pot, kettle much?—I think it makes sense to see Troy/Alleyn as Marsh's rewriting Harriet/Peter the way she thought it ought to have been done. I don't think the differences are quite as stark as she may have fancied, however.

I read The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, which I adored. It might actually be my new favorite book by Justine Larbalestier, and I loved Liar a lot. I love how she dissects letters columns and fanzines as part of the same conversation as the stories and novels that she examines. The last two chapters drag a little and probably could have benefited from editing—the chapter on James Tiptree, Jr. is relevant to the larger subject, but less directly so than the ones that come before it and seems to include a lot of interesting but not strictly necessary detail, possibly because Julie Philips's biography hadn't been published yet to refer interested readers to for further information, and similarly the chapter on the history of the Tiptree award does not seem to benefit from the same perspective that allows Larbalestier to hone in on pertinent detail when dealing with older conversations. In spite of that, though, I would recommend it unreservedly (and honestly you can skim or skip those chapters).

I read The Cuckoo's Calling when it was revealed to be the pseudonymous work of J.K. Rowling. It is basically a very adequate mystery, with some definite strengths, and also some tics that remind me a little of Harry Potter, although by no means to the extent that I would have said that it could be written by her and no one else if I had read it blind. I'm thinking about making a separate post about it, because spoilers, especially with regard to the solution.

I reread Overture to Death, which is a very solid average sort of Alleyn mystery.

I read Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel for some reason, even though I completely hated the last Grant Morrison Superman I read. I only somewhat disliked this one, though, so, improvement! I like how, at the beginning, Superman's "costume" consists of his cape, a pair of jeans, and the same Superman t-shirt that nerds have been wearing for ages, but sadly he switches to a normal Superman costume pretty early on. I also liked the side stories about John Henry "Steel" Irons, who was new to me. Also this book is part of the New 52, so feh, anyway.

I read How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea, the Newsflesh novella with the zombie kangaroos. It…was okay? I like Mahir well enough in the series proper, but I liked him less as a POV character, especially as the novella seemed like it could have done with about 30 to 50 fewer pages of him alternately freaking out and falling asleep like a hyperventilating narcoleptic. On the other hand, as promised, there were zombie kangaroos.

What I'm reading now

Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, an anthology that Justine Larbalestier edited. I wish more anthologies paired every short story with a critical essay, because I'm a dork and I like reading critical essays about everything.

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