Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, November 2006
- Theodore Judson, Fitzpatrick's
- Mind candy. A futuristic re-telling of the story of Alexander the Great,
making him out to be the psychopathic catastrophe-in-human-form he really
- Lois McMaster Bujold, The
Sharing Knife: Beguilement
- A fun fantasy, but it's the first volume in a new series, and the
protagonists are getting off entirely too easy for a Bujold book.
This makes me very suspicious about what she's setting up for volume two...
- Liz Williams, Snake
- Mind candy. It's sometime in the middle of the twenty-first century.
Singapore has franchised itself, and Singapore Three is somewhere on the coast
of southern China. Detective Inspector Chen is a member of the police force.
His job is to interface with the Celestial and Infernal bureaucracies, which
are exactly as described in traditional Chinese beliefs about the afterlife.
And, oh yes, his wife is a demon whom he helped get out of the arranged
marriage from (forgive the expression) Hell. And then things get
- Laura Lippman, No
- Latest in the series (previous
installment). Absorbing as always; for once I figured out who did it long
before the ending (this doesn't seem that hard here!), and that had very little
to do with the interest of the novel.
- Mind candy. I see, from the inside front cover, that I bought my copy in
October of 1999. It therefore took me seven years and one month to get around
to reading this. It is really, really good, so you should read it
much sooner. I will not say anything more, lest I spoil Priest's
of the Deep I Cry
Darkness and to Death
- Mind candy. Continues the "Claire Fergusson" series begun
the Bleak Midwinter
Fountain Filled with Blood. A bit reminiscent, actually,
of Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins
mysteries (noticed here
and here): a female Anglican/Episcopalian
minister investigating murders in an isolated rural town which has lost its
economic reason to exist --- and where potential new ones are themselves
insidious. The major differences are (1) Spencer-Fleming writes about upstate
New York, while Rickman writes about the Welsh marches; (2) Spencer-Fleming is
entirely in the mundane world, with none of Rickman's occult intrusions; (3)
Spencer-Fleming devotes a lot of space to her heroine's complicated
relationship with her town's married chief of police, whereas Watkins's love
life is mercifully straightforward.
- Nice as a collection of ideas, with drool-worthy accompanying photographs.
Alas, many of them seem ill-suited to the climate of
- Lindsay Allen, The Persian Empire
- Readable, extremely well-illustrated brief summary of the history of the
Achaemenid Empire, combining
ancient sources with archaeological findings. Good on trying to see things
from a less parochial perspective than that of the Greeks
[review by Danny
Yee; review by Anoop
Sarkar] gets a [humorous] plug in an end-note), and on integrating what we
know with how we learned it. The last chapter gives an interesting description
of later Persian and Iranian ideas about the empire, Alexander, the ruins at
- Horrifies, because there was one.
- R. R. Bahadur, Some
Limit Theorems in Statistics
- Concise yet remarkably lucid summary of pioneering (< 1971) work on
statistical applications of large deviations theorems, much of it Bahadur's.
Because it came before the work by Donsker,
Varadhan, etc. which
led to the modern generalized,
of large deviations, Bahadur has to spend time proving special cases of
general theorems, can't just talk about "rate functions", etc. But, strangely,
I can't seem to find anyone re-presenting this work using modern large
- Warren Ellis and Stuart
Immonen, Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.: This Is What They
- Mind candy. "Healing America by beating people up."
- Elaine Cunningham, Shadows in the Darkness
- Mind candy: contemporary fantasy/mystery.
- Nicely-done police procedural set in Vancouver. The 8th novel in a long
series, but I read it with enjoyment without having read any of the others,
which I will now look for.
- Mind-candy fantasy, but tasty. Briggs gets points for the fact that the
heroics in the first book did not, in fact, prevent the successful Invasion by
the Eastern Hordes, which is simply a settled matter of fact in the second
Books to Read While the
Algae Grow in Your Fur;
Scientifiction and Fantastica;
The Pleasures of Detection;
Writing for Antiquity;
Enigmas of Chance
Posted by crshalizi at November 30, 2006 23:59 | permanent link