Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2020.
This page is built leveraging the goodreads API.
The City in the Middle of the Night cover
Currently Reading
The City in the Middle of the Night

by Charlie Jane Anders (2019)
Publisher review: Would you give up everything to change the world? Humanity clings to life on January--a colonized planet divided between permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Two cities, built long ago in the meager temperate zone, serve as the last bastions of civilization--but life inside them is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside. Sophie, a young student from the wrong side of Xiosphant city, is exiled into the dark after being part of a failed revolution. But she survives--with the help of a mysterious savior from beneath the ice. Burdened with a dangerous, painful secret, Sophie and her ragtag group of exiles face the ultimate challenge--and they are running out of time. Welcome to the City in the Middle of the Night
Started: Jun 21 2020
Becoming cover
Currently Reading
Becoming

by Michelle Obama (2018)
Publisher review: In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Started: Jun 07 2020
The Stand cover
Currently Reading
The Stand

by Stephen King (2008)
Publisher review: This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.
Started: Mar 16 2020
よつばと! 1 (Yotsuba&! #1) cover
Currently Reading
よつばと! 1 (Yotsuba&! #1)

by Kiyohiko Azuma (2003)
Publisher review: とってもかわいくて、はちゃめちゃな女の子、よつばちゃんには世界が新鮮な驚きでいっぱい! なんでも楽しめちゃう無敵のよつばちゃんと、とーちゃんと、その周囲の人たちが繰り広げるささやかな日常にきっとあなたも引き込まれます! 第1巻は引越しやお買い物、セミ採りなど、よつばちゃんの夏休みの思い出をいっぱいに詰め込んだ1冊です。
Started: Jun 08 2020
The Light Brigade cover
The Light Brigade
by Kameron Hurley (2019)
Publisher review: From the Hugo Award­­–winning author of The Stars Are Legion comes a brand-new science fiction thriller about a futuristic war during which soldiers are broken down into light in order to get them to the front lines on Mars. They said the war would turn us into light. I wanted to be counted among the heroes who gave us this better world. The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat. Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on. Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero—or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference. A worthy successor to classic stories like Downbelow Station, Starship Troopers, and The Forever War, The Light Brigade is award-winning author Kameron Hurley’s gritty time-bending take on the future of war.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Jun 14 2020 Finished: Jun 21 2020
The Deep cover
The Deep
by Rivers Solomon (2019)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novela category.
The origin of this story is very interesting: it is an adaptation of a (Hugo nominated!) song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode "We Are In The Future". The adaptation extend and revisit the original relatively thin plot, and expands it. The result is remarkably good.
In the deep the water breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future. Yetu holds the memories for her people who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one, the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu. Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities, and discovers a world her people left behind long ago. Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past. and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they'll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity, and own who they really are.
(★★★★)
Started: Jun 08 2020 Finished: Jun 13 2020
ピヨピヨ スーパーマーケット cover
ピヨピヨ スーパーマーケット
by 工藤 ノリコ
My review: 日本語を勉強しますから、いい友達のチエリーさんは この本を くれました。本は とても かわいいですよ!チエリーさん、ありがとうございました! (★★★★)
Started: Apr 18 2020 Finished: Jun 08 2020
This Is How You Lose the Time War cover
This Is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar (2019)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novela category. A lot of friends had read and loved this book so I was looking forward reading it. I was not disappointed.
This is the story of two time traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters... and falling in love. What began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There's still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That's how war works.
This is definitely a strong contender for the award!
(★★★★)
Started: Jun 07 2020 Finished: Jun 07 2020
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 cover
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
by P. Djèlí Clark (2019)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novela category. I previously read and loved A Dead Djinn in Cairo, and I was looking forward reading this book, that returns to the same alternate history Cairo, where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings.
This is the story of Hamed al-Nasr, senior agent of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Agent Hamed shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.
I really enjoyed it, and I hope to get to read more books by this author set in the same world in the future. (★★★★)
Started: May 25 2020 Finished: May 31 2020
A Dead Djinn in Cairo cover
A Dead Djinn in Cairo
by P. Djèlí Clark (2016)
My review: What a beautifully intriguing and entertaining alternative history novelette!
The story is set in a 1912 Cairo (Egypt) where somebody has perforated the wall between our world, and the supernatural one, opening the gates for djinns and angels to enter in our reality. The Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha'arawi leads her through the city's underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself. (★★★★)
Number of times I read it: 2
Started (first time): May 22 2020 Finished (first time): May 25 2020
Emergency Skin cover
Emergency Skin
by N.K. Jemisin (2019)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I am a big fan of N.K. Jemisin, and I was looking forward reading this story. I was not disappointed, this is probably the strongest contender to the award in this category.
The story is set in our future, after we are done exploiting our planet beyond what it can sustain, and some lucky few are able to escape its slow agonizing death. An explorer returns to Sol, the home planet, to gather information from a climate ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet's finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: a graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out eons ago. After all this time, there's no telling how they've devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.
The story is a great example of how message fiction can work and be remarkably good. And I love how despite so much destruction, green, and death, the book is so full of hope. (★★★★★)
Started: May 21 2020 Finished: May 21 2020
Uncanny Magazine Issue 29: July/August 2019 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 29: July/August 2019
by Lynne M. Thomas
My review: This review is for The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye by Sarah Pinsker.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category.
The story follows Zanna, a famous mystery writer who is renting a remote cabin to work on her next mystery novel and her assistant Shar that is staying nearby. The next morning, the fuses blow and Zanna decides to go looking for the cabin owner to ask for repairs, and finds him dead. He has apparently fallen and hit his head on a rock. She calls 911 and Shar that quickly show up to see what's going on. While the police work, Zanna's mystery writer's brain goes over the clues and determines that something is off...
Sarah Pinsker is an excellent writer, and it is always a pleasure to read her work. This novelette is quite good, even if I confess the ending was not as satisfying as I would have liked. (★★★★)
Started: May 17 2020 Finished: May 20 2020
The Archronology of Love cover
The Archronology of Love
by Caroline M. Yoachim (2020)
My review: This review is for The Archronology of Love by Caroline M Yoachim.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category and is, in my opinion, one of the strongest contender to the title.
Dr. Saki Jones arrives at the colony planet New Mars to find that a mysterious plague has destroyed everyone who lived there, including her lifelove, M.J. To find out what happened, Saki must dig through the Chronicle, a recording of the time that was, through layers of time, slowly revealing the past. The result is a bittersweet story of aliens and human exploration; mystery and memory; and, of course, love. (★★★★)
Started: May 14 2020 Finished: May 16 2020
For He Can Creep cover
For He Can Creep
by Siobhan Carroll
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category.
This is the story of a cat, Jeoffry, living in the insane asylum. His human companion is Christopher Smart a nineteenth century poet that has been committed to St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics. Smart believes God has commissioned him to write The Divine Poem. Unfortunately years earlier, he made a bargain with Satan and the devil has come to collect his due: a poem that will bring about the apocalypse. Jeoffry is the only hope left to save Smart's soul, and the rest of the world. Good thing that Jeoffry's is a demon fighting cat and a creature of cunning Satan would be a fool to underestimate...
Humorous and funny, this novelette is quite a joy to read. (★★★)
Started: May 11 2020 Finished: May 14 2020
Star Wars Myths & Fables cover
Star Wars Myths & Fables
by George Mann (2019)
My review: I am fond of the Star Wars fictional universe: I have a nostalgic attachment to it, and despite some drops in quality along the way (e.g. The Phantom Menace), recent installments like Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were even better than the original series. Because of this fondness, I started reading some of Star Wars books during my commute. The quality is not always great, but they are usually at least enjoyable.
This one is a little of a mixed bag. It is a collection of fables, myths, and folklore from world of Star Wars. Some are better than others. General Grievous's short story is the most remarkable one, giving an interesting glimpse of the prequel character. (★★)
Started: May 05 2020 Finished: May 14 2020
Uncanny Magazine Issue 30: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy! Special Issue cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 30: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy! Special Issue
by Lynne M. Thomas
My review: This review is for Away With the Wolves by Sarah Gailey.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category.
I have previously read and loved some other stories by this author, and I was looking forward reading this. I was not disappointed.
This is the story of Suss, a lycanthrope / werewolf. She lives in a town, where everybody knows about her shape-shifting abilities. The problem is that when Suss is human, she's in awful pain, often too much she can bear, but when she's a wolf, she keeps getting in trouble, killing the hens of the neighbors. She has friends, very good friends, but Suss is afraid that people may be getting tired to deal with her.
A beautiful story, and a deserving finalist. (★★★★)
Started: May 10 2020 Finished: May 11 2020
Blood Is Another Word for Hunger cover
Blood Is Another Word for Hunger
by Rivers Solomon
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Fiction category.
The story falls in between multiple genres: horror, historical fiction, and urban fantasy. It is set in the South, during the horrors of slavery, before the civil war. A young girl, a slave in the South, is presented with a moment where she can grasp for freedom, for change, for life. She grabs it with both hands, fiercely and intensely, and the spirit world is shaken. Her act of violence to free herself has consequences well beyond this world.
This is a very well written and interesting story, one of the strongest contender to this year award. (★★★★)
Started: May 08 2020 Finished: May 09 2020
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270 cover
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270
by Scott H. Andrews
My review: This review is for Do Not Look Back, My Lion by Alix E. Harrow.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Fiction category and is, in my opinion, one of the strongest contender to the title.
Eefa is husband to one of her country's greatest, most celebrated warriors: Talaan, also known as the Lion. She performs all the domestic needs a soldier could have. Eefa raises their children, shines Talaan's armor, and keeps house for them. She is a safe haven when Talaan comes home from battle. Talaan, herself, is a fierce warrior. She bears the scars of battle, a mark beneath her eye for each and every victory. She has born many children, all of them vaunted warriors as well. The constant war and bloodshed ultimately becomes too much for Eefa. Her conscience pricks her, she cannot continue to support this endless bloodshed. She cannot support the taking of slaves, the killing of children. She cannot support Talaan bringing yet another child into this war. And so, she runs.
The blog Black Forest Basilisks adroitlydescribes Do Not Look Back, My Lion as a heart-wrenching tale of love and sacrifice. The author uses gender, title, and reader expectation to create a society that's both foreign and familiar. Husband has become a role divorced from gender, even as wife has remained a status limited to women. Women are not only the givers of life, but also the takers. Harrow explores motherhood, matriarchy, and gender through the lens of disability and nonconformity. Quite an incredible achievement. I am looking forward reading more by this author. (★★★★★)
Started: May 05 2020 Finished: May 07 2020
As the Last I May Know cover
As the Last I May Know
by S.L. Huang (2019)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Fiction category and is, in my opinion, one of the strongest contender to the title.
The story is set in a near future in the only country to have ever experienced the damage and the death of a weapon of mass destruction on their territory. The survivors decide to make the usage of those weapon harder in the future, requiring the president to kill a chosen child to unlock their use. The book is the story of Nyma, one of those chosen children, during a time of war.
The story is beautifully written and moving. I am looking forward reading more by this author. (★★★★★)
Started: May 07 2020 Finished: May 07 2020
Spark of the Resistance  (Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, #3) cover
Spark of the Resistance (Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, #3)
by Justina Ireland (2019)
My review: I am fond of the Star Wars fictional universe: I have a nostalgic attachment to it, and despite some drops in quality along the way (e.g. The Phantom Menace), recent installments like Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were even better than the original series. Because of this fondness, I started reading some of Star Wars books during my commute. The quality is not always great, but they are usually at least enjoyable.
I was quite curious about this book, since it was written by the same author that wrote Dread Nation, a book that has received rave reviews. It was a nice story, targeted at younger readers, entertaining, but not life changing.
The story follows Rey, Poe, and Rose as they get a distress plea goes up from the isolated planet Minfar. Together they end up facing down a First Order battalion, terrifying flying creatures, and a weapon that could change the course of the war... (★★★)
Started: Apr 25 2020 Finished: May 05 2020
Nightmare Magazine, Issue 80 (May 2019) cover
Nightmare Magazine, Issue 80 (May 2019)
by John Joseph Adams
My review: This review is for Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island by Nibedita Sen.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Fiction category.
Remarkable story, with a very interesting and deeply original storytelling style. The short story is a collection of quotes from various (fictional) scientific essays and letters. Each one provides a small little piece of the puzzle, and all together they form a very interesting story.
This is a solid piece of work that definitely belongs among the finalists. I am looking forward reading more by this author. (★★★)
Started: May 02 2020 Finished: May 03 2020
Cibola Burn (The Expanse, #4) cover
Cibola Burn (The Expanse, #4)
by James S.A. Corey (2014)
My review: I had enjoyed the previous installment of the series, and i am loving the TV adaptation, so I decided to catch up a little (yah I know I am really behind). While the story had some huge plot holes at the beginning and while Holden is turning a little into a boring handsome-hero-no-one-can-resist, the book is definitely tons of fun to read. I will definitely read the next instalments!
At the end of the last book the alien gates had opened the way to thousands of habitable planets, and the land rush has begun since then. Settlers stream out from humanity's home planets in a vast, poorly controlled flood, landing on a new world. Among them, the Rocinante, haunted by the vast, posthuman network of the protomolecule as they investigate what destroyed the great intergalactic society that built the gates and the protomolecule. But Holden and his crew must also contend with the growing tensions between the settlers and the company which owns the official claim to the planet. Both sides will stop at nothing to defend what's theirs, but soon a terrible disease strikes and only Holden, with help from the ghostly Detective Miller, can find the cure. (★★★)
Started: Mar 21 2020 Finished: May 02 2020
Uncanny Magazine Issue 26: January/February 2019 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 26: January/February 2019
by Lynne M. Thomas (2019)
My review: This review is for "A Catalog of Storms" by Fran Wilde.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Fiction category.
I definitely enjoyed the story, the world-building in particular was quite remarkable. It reminded me a little of Miyazaki's Nausicaa: both works share the post apocalyptic settings, and the nature turning into a source of mortal dangers theme.
It's a solid piece of work that definitely belongs among the finalists. (★★★)
Started: May 02 2020 Finished: May 02 2020
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1) cover
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2012)
My review: What an incredible book! No wonder it won all those prices! I confess I was expecting a sappy love story, instead I got an incredibly nuanced story that focuses on immigration, bullying, and the PTSD of Vietnam War's soldiers. What a great story, I strongly recommend it to everyone.
This is the story of Aristotle and Dante. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. (★★★★★)
Started: Apr 09 2020 Finished: Apr 24 2020
The Churn (Expanse, #0.2) cover
The Churn (Expanse, #0.2)
by James S.A. Corey (2014)
My review: I enjoyed the books of the expanse series so far, and I was looking forward reading more of it. The Churn is set on Earth, in Baltimore, now a slum. Most citizens live on basic government assistance, but some have used criminal enterprise to rise above that level of existence. In the shady underbelly of organized crime, a young man named Timmy takes a job with a boss named Burton. He may have a future in the family, but he might not have what it takes to follow the most unpleasant of orders...
The Churn give a glimpse of what life on The Expanse's Earth is. A nice touch of word building and interesting back story. (★★★★)
Started: Mar 17 2020 Finished: Mar 20 2020
Tarkin: Star Wars cover
Tarkin: Star Wars
by James Luceno (2015)
My review: I am fond of the Star Wars fictional universe: I have a nostalgic attachment to it, and despite some drops in quality along the way (e.g. The Phantom Menace), recent installments like Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were even better than the original series. Because of this fondness, I started reading some of Star Wars books during my commute. The quality is not always great, but they are usually at least enjoyable.
I had previously read another Star Wars books by the same author (Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel) and I did not like it at all. Because of it, I was hesitant to read this one, that turned out to be quite enjoyable instead.
The book focuses on one of the most intriguing figures of the original trilogy: Moth Tarkin. Tarkin, the scion of an honorable and revered family, a dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator, is a loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly... and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.
Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin's guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy's lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel by intimidation . . . or annihilation.
Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin, whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy... and its enemies' extinction. (★★★)
Started: Feb 20 2020 Finished: Mar 15 2020
Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue cover
Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue
by Christie Yant (2014)
My review: Lightspeed is a very well-known science fiction and fantasy magazine. Even in science fiction, supposedly the genre of limitless possibility, where everyone is invited to the adventure, minorities are often underrepresented. Back in 2014 Lightspeed started the "destroy science fiction" series, a yearly program focusing on underrepresented minorities to give them a voice, and to see what they have to offer and to contribute to the genre. In 2014 they focused on sci-fi and women. While sci-fi is considered by many the more open of the literary genres, heterosexual men are considered the default, to the extent that everything else is "deviation," and must be eyed with suspicion. But all science fiction is real science fiction. Science fiction is vast, and incredible fascinating in all its facets. It is inclusive. Science fiction is about people, and women are part of the genre. They always have been. It could even be said that women invented science fiction; after all, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. Yet some readers seem to have this funny idea that women don't, or can't, write science fiction. Some have even gone so far as to accuse women of destroying science fiction with their girl cooties. So to help prove how silly that notion is, Women Destroy Science Fiction! showcase the richness and variety of women science fiction writers contributions. The issue features original fiction by Seanan McGuire, Charlie Jane Anders, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Maria Dahvana Headley, Amal El-Mohtar, and many more. All together there's more than 180,000 words of material, including: 11 original short stories, 15 original flash fiction stories, 4 short story reprints and a novella reprint, 7 nonfiction articles, and 28 personal essays by women about their experiences reading and writing science fiction. They are just sometimes harder to see.
This is a great and important initiative, a very enjoyable and interesting read. I am looking forward reading the next "destroy" issue! (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 07 2020 Finished: Mar 15 2020
Phasma (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, #2) cover
Phasma (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, #2)
by Delilah S. Dawson (2017)
My review: I am fond of the Star Wars fictional universe: I have a nostalgic attachment to it, and despite some drops in quality along the way (e.g. The Phantom Menace), recent installments like Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were even better than the original series. Because of this fondness, I started reading some of Star Wars books during my commute. The quality is not always great, but they are usually at least enjoyable.
I had previously read and enjoyed other Star Wars books by the same author that I liked, including Black Spire that is the sequel of this book (I did not realize at the time it was not a stand alone book). I enjoyed it enough to decide to read the Phasma afterwards (even if Black Spire spoiled part of it). And what a treat! Phasma is one of the best Star Wars books I have read so far. It is not only entertaining, it also has a original narrative structure (two different narrative threads woven within each other, one set to the present, and one in the past, slowly converging in the final chapter).
One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins, and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.
(★★★★)
Started: Jan 31 2020 Finished: Feb 19 2020
The Orphans of Raspay (Penric and Desdemona, #7) cover
The Orphans of Raspay (Penric and Desdemona, #7)
by Lois McMaster Bujold
My review: I have grown fond of the Penric and Desdemona series, and I particularly liked Nikys' story arc started in Penric’s Mission. I was looking forward reading this latest installment. The story is definitely entertaining, but not one of the best in the series. It was strange to realize how Penric has grown and aged from the first novella to the latest one... somehow making it feel more real.
In The orphans of Raspay Temple sorcerer Penric and his resident demon Desdemona are captured by Carpagamon island raiders while traveling by boat. They find their life complicated by two young orphans, Lencia and Seuka Corva, far from home and searching for their missing father. Pen and Des will need all their combined talents of mind and magic to unravel the mysteries of the sisters and escape from the pirate stronghold. (★★★)
Started: Feb 01 2020 Finished: Feb 06 2020
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 160 (January 2020) cover
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 160 (January 2020)
by Neil Clarke
My review: I have a small group of friends that share similar taste in books. We often discuss books and once in a while, when one of us discover a great book, we share recommendations with each others. Last month one of them sent a link to this story, telling us how good it was. I was very busy with work and I could not jump on it right away, but one after the other, each friend that read it started commenting how good it was. I confess I initially recoiled when I saw the title (that employs a common transphobic meme), but I was reassured that the author actually own the meme and turned it on its head. This said a big controversy erupted around this story: some people read it as transphobic trolling, while other read it as an attempt to reclaim and own a transphobic meme on its head. It may sound strange, but I do see how people can perceive the same story in such opposite ways, since the author is subtle in messaging the moral of the story. I am really sorry that after working so hard, the author ended up requesting the story to be unpublished, and I am really sorry that people got hurt by the discussion around this story. I hope the controversy did not scared her away from writing, because Isabel is incredibly talented, and I really hope to read more from her. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 18 2020 Finished: Feb 01 2020
Lincoln in the Bardo cover
Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders (2017)
My review: I read many good reviews of this book, and I have been wanting to read it for a while, and I was quite happy when my book club selected it. It was definitely different from what I expected, definitely groundbreaking in its unusual narrative style, but definitely a pleasure to read and very interesting.
The story unfolds in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other. It's February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven year old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth", the president says at the time. "God has called him home". Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state (called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo) a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction's ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices, living and dead, historical and invented, to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? (★★★★)
Started: Jan 21 2020 Finished: Jan 31 2020
The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography cover
The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
by Simon Singh (2000)
My review: I am apparently one of the few computer scientist / math and science enthusiast that had not heard of this book before. My book club was reading it, and I was expecting a quite boring treatise on cryptography. Cryptography is a field that I enjoyed as a kid and then as a formal field of study in college, but I expected a quite heavy textbook like tome... how I was wrong! This is a (surprisingly) very entertaining and hard to put down book, explaining the role of cryptography in history and explaining the most complex and convoluted ciphers in a easy to understand way. I am glad to have read it, and I am considering looking into the other books by this author.
In this book Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logistical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: secrecy. Throughout the text are clear technical and mathematical explanations, and portraits of the remarkable personalities who wrote and broke the world’s most difficult codes. Accessible, compelling, and remarkably far-reaching, this book will forever alter your view of history and what drives it. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 14 2020 Finished: Jan 30 2020
Black Spire (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, #2) cover
Black Spire (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, #2)
by Delilah S. Dawson (2019)
My review: I am fond of the Star Wars fictional universe: I have a nostalgic attachment to it, and despite some drops in quality along the way (e.g. The Phantom Menace), recent installments like Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were even better than the original series. Because of this fondness, I started reading some of Star Wars books during my commute. The quality is not always that great, but they are almost always enjoyable.
I had previously read and enjoyed another Star Wars book by the same author (The Perfect Weapon), hence I was looking forward reading this one. I was not disappointed, I just wished it was made clear to me that this is a sequel of Phasma: I would have loved to have read that book before.
This book is set after the Last Jedi: after devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy's edge. A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help. To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu... before the First Order snuffs it out entirely. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 28 2019 Finished: Jan 20 2020
The Green Glass Sea cover
The Green Glass Sea
by Ellen Klages (2008)
My review: Ellen Klages is the author of one of my favorite books, Passing Strange, so I was quite excited to learn she was going to speak at a local bookstore. It was very fascinating to learn about all the historical research the author did to write the book. While there I decided to also buy another one of her book with similar historical grounding. I finally got to read it... and what a treat it was!
The book is set in 1943. An eleven-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is en route to New Mexico to live with her mathematician father. Soon she arrives at a town that, officially, doesn't exist. It is called Los Alamos, and it is abuzz with activity, as scientists and mathematicians from all over America and Europe work on the biggest secret of all... "the gadget." None of them, not J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project; not the mathematicians and scientists; and least of all, Dewey, know how much "the gadget" is about to change their lives.
A fascinating YA novel exploring the life of the young kids living in the Los Alamos secret facility where the Nuclear Bomb was invented. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 30 2019 Finished: Jan 14 2020