Light month, but apparently the number of books I read is inversely proportional to how long it takes me to get this post up. As I’ve already read more books in November than I did in October (and this despite both my birthday and Fallout 4), I should be more timely for the next one.
- Bitch Planet, vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly-Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro – Here it is, the one I’ve been waiting for: the book of Kelly-Sue’s that fires for me on all cylinders. (And all it took was stripping out the superheroes.) This is pulpy science fiction, using the setpieces and grit of exploitation cinema to power its social commentary. It’s not satire, though; this is too deeply invested in its own characters and narrative for that word to fit. Chewy story, and art that’s evocative and garish in all the best ways. I expect I’ll be picking up all of this series.
- The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi – There are certain authors whose prose, I find, goes down easy like water, and others whose prose bites like bourbon. That’s not a comment on the quality or artistry, nor of how much I respect the writers in question. I think the world of Ursula Le Guin, but parsing her prose isn’t effortless for me, and neither is that of Hilary Mantel or Kevin Brockmeier–all authors I adore. On the other hand, parsing Octavia Butler or Walter Tevis is like breathing, I barely notice myself doing it. Paolo Bacigalupi is in this second category for me. The structure of his sentences meshes perfectly with the cadence of my own thought, and so I blaze through his books without even noticing the time passing. There is a definite pleasure in that, which is somewhat distinct from my appreciation of the book itself. Which is all to say, I enjoyed reading this book more than I enjoyed the story. As with The Windup Girl, I liked the short fiction of which this is an expansion more than I liked the novel. In particular, this story is powered by a macguffin–some water rights documentation on old sheafs of paper–that I found unconvincing.