The Encounter Log

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The Time Dissolver by Jerry Sohl: Not quite what it sounds like; a story about a man with a peculiar sort of amnesia.

The Space Eater by David Langford: Apart from being the perfect Ace Double companion to The Time Dissolver, it's a very hard sf treament of black holes and wormholes... including a very pragmatic but painful solution to the problem of travelling through a wormhole of limited size, and another one to implementing unambiguous telepathic communication.

Spin by Robert Anton Wilson: Yes, it deserved a Hugo Award; that's all there is to say.

Up: There are a lot of catty things I feel like saying about this, but I'll restrict myself to pointing out that apparently the way to adventure opens up the more one erases female influence from one's life. It's a brilliant, expertly made movie; I just can't bring myself to like it.

An unrelated thought, prompted by the venue I saw it in: the McMenamins Grand Lodge would be a terrific place to hold a relaxacon.

Mind Over Ship by David Marusek: A detailed, fast-paced, hard-sf future. My only complaint is the concept called out by the title, which you would expect to be the main plot, but which so far is a minor side issue. Maybe next book...

The Necromancer's Bones by Deby Fredericks: Wasn't looking forward to cracking this open because I remember her last book being awful, but now I'm willing to grant that she does have potential, can tell a story worth reading, and maybe should think about writing as a career. It helps a lot that this time the fantasy world isn't an all-white medieval-Europe clone-- the furthest thing from it, in fact.

Green by Jay Lake: Another female protagonist from this author, another feeling that he's trying a little bit too hard, though the book is completely competent.

Cybermage by Alma Alexander: Third in a trilogy I never got to read the other books in, which clearly explained a lot about the background of the world and characters, so I was floundering a bit, but it all makes some sort of sense, and looks like it would be a good series for kids looking for something to read after Harry Potter.

Conspirator by C. J. Cherryh: Having dealt with alien crises and the attempted coup, our hero now turns his attention to a local trade dispute. This ought to run for at least 2 or 3 more books.

Vanished by Kat Richardson: In which the Greywalker series travels first to southern California and then to the UK, where the heroine learns many interesting things about the city of London and Egyptian vampires.

Lamentation by Ken Scholes: I remain blown away by last year's short- story collection, so I'm still trying to figure out why this felt like a big long uninteresting slog. It's certainly not for a lack of a detailed and varied world, well-developed characters, or motion on the part of the plot.

Enigma by C. F. Bentley: So it turns out that all the universe needs to solve its problems is for the heroine and the man she lusts after to have sex on the right planet. No, I'm not spoiling the plot of this book. I'm spoiling the plot of the next book, because at the end of this one, she's still puzzled why the Goddess keeps sending her visions of the sacred breeding rituals.

Regenesis by C. J. Cherryh: By volume, this contains approximately 5% goshwow sf, 15% political skullduggery, and 80% people having arguments at dinner. Was Cyteen, which I remember being so engrossed by when it came out, actually like this? I'm afraid to go back and look.

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs: One interesting idea: representatives for all the world's werewolves gather for an international summit to decide whether to reveal themselves. The rest: see next paragraph.

Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk: Between this, Hunting Ground, and Vanished, I'm starting to feel like I'm visiting the same multi-book story arc over and over again, just with different names, locations, and extra-special powers filling in the blanks. Scrabbling around for anything different that stands out here: well, there's a gargoyle, which as imagined in this world is like a great big friendly dog, only with wings and OCD.

Airs of Night and Sea by Toby Bishop: Has the most interesting, three- dimensional, and sympathetic villain I've read about in ages-- unfortunately, everyone else is made of sparkly cardboard.

Duplicate Effort by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: At the end of this one, the hero is looking at a new era of peaceful existence for himself and his newly discovered daughter. But either I missed something, or there are some important dangling loose ends.

At Empire's Edge by William C. Dietz: Since every military sf writer in existence has already done the Age of Sail in space, and modern warfare in space, it's time for: Romans in space! Although the actual events of the book read more like a dime-novel Western, with evil flying vulture beings instead of evil Indians.

Hunting Memories by Barb Hendee: Good heavens, an intelligent vampire novel! Where they're people, rather than one-dimensional demonic servants or one-dimensional sex fiends! What has the world come to??

Fall of Light by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: Who could have guessed that filiming a horror movie based on a local monster legend would actually wake up the being from the legend, which is of course entirely true? A fun read, though, with an unusual ending.

Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo episodes 1-4 on Anime News Network's video service: Are you tired of sf adaptations that introduce wrenching changes from the book? Here's your revenge-- this story is set in the far future and is told from Albert's point of view, but really, literature people, it's very true to the book... Count me with the 90% of viewers who think this is one of the most amazing-looking animations ever. (The other 10% report motion sickness.)

Moribito episodes 11-23: It really slows down and wanders for a while, so it's off my Hugo ballot, but still aesthetically good, and the pace is picking up again.

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