Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir
Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
I am coming to the realization that reading once through this series sequentially does not constitute having "read" it.
It's like. Each word is vast. It is meticulous although it is channelling some gigantic superhuman force that clearly thwarts meticulosity. And its narrative is clearly pushing towards some monumental revelation.
But it resists being read cover-to-cover; I believe it must be un-covered. Ie., there is too much to remember to understand what has happened by the time it's over. I read it on Kindle, but I am mulling paper copies so I can navigate quicker.
In short, I'm very glad to have found these books, but having finished I'm not sure if I have actually read them.
Kalpa Imperial, Angelica Gorodischer tr. Ursula Le Guin
Should have been better. Very imaginative. Very epic. But just kind of overall bored.
It's strange because I have previously noticed that I like when Ursula Le Guin—when she is an author and not translating as here—is actually great when she's boring. By that I mean that there is something both powerful and peaceful in her the slowness and calm with which she treats her alien characters, themes and landscapes. In Kalpa however, while I see a very close match in Gorodischer and Le Guin's styles, I feel a remoteness that fails to let me be captivated by the story. It kind of feels like Gorodischer expects me to know her planet without telling me enough about it.
It's too bad, because it is a book of scale more staggering than I have seen elsewhere.
Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
Worth reading for the language itself. Check out that first sentence.
What follows is an incredibly promising story, warped imagination, drama, dialogue, tension, wit and jokes until the last page. It's just that that last page is a bit disappointing, the resolution feeling a bit cheap.
It's good enough that I'm reading the sequel and enjoying it. This is like Neuromancer meets ummm... The Addams Family? Never seen anything like it, and the flaw I feel a less challenging book might have avoided is more than made up for by Gideon's irreverent literacy.