The Year in Books (so far)

So little timeIt’s 6 months (and a few days) in to 2014, and 45 books read. Thought I might throw up a quick post on some notable books I haven’t gotten around to reviewing here, complete with accompanying handy-dandy blurbs that are sure to save you precious seconds.

All books are notable to me alone, of course. Reading tastes are so subjective, after all. Mine are the correct opinions, but if people can believe climate change to be some kind of hoax perpetrated by evil scientists, then people can believe anything.

Stupid people, yes, but people nonetheless. Just, once again, stupid.

So many books to read. So little time left, really. Tick tock, tick tock, home again, home again, jiggity jig. Either I have to read faster, or the publishing industry has to die so that I can catch up.

I didn’t mean that.

*NOTE: See below this post for links to the books and authors I’ve already reviewed.

The Love MonsterThe Love MonsterMissy Marston (Véhicule Press, 2012)

  • Marston’s award-winning debut novel is a flat-out favourite of mine so far this year. There’s a woman named Margaret H. Atwood; a religious nutjob; a lovesick alien that only wants the best for Margaret; and a particularly Vonnegutian way of looking at the world. It all combines into a loveably weird misfit of a novel filled with odd angles, plot twists, perfect pitch, and seriously warped imagination.
  • Corey Redekop (author, Husk) raves:
    • I believe in The Love Monster, and I hope it believes in me!

The Madonna and the StarshipThe Madonna and the StarshipJames Morrow (Tachyon, 2014)

  • Ever since I discovered Towing Jehovah, I have been an unabashed Morrowite (Morrovian?Morroweenie?). The man combines big themes, fantastic imagination, and riotous humour like few else can. That said, Madonna/Starship is of a different vein, a light romp that posits the concept of alien logical positivist lobsters almost destroying the world, were it not for resourceful writers of a cheap NBC kids’ science-fiction show who intervene to save mankind. There’s an overwhelming amount of philosophy threaded through the narrative, but Morrow keeps it all afloat with flair, even when the destruction of two million Christians seems all but assured.
  • Corey Redekop (author, Shelf Monkey) raves:
    • Logical positivism be damned! James Morrow is God!

AuthorityAuthority—Jeff Vandermeer (HarperCollins Canada, 2014)

  • From Jeff Vandermeer—inarguably the hardest-working man in publishing, at least among my Facebook friends—comes the sterling second volumes of his Southern Reach Trilogy. After the events of Annihilation (review here), Vandermeer shifts focus from the explorers travelling through the mysterious Area X to the bureaucrats and scientists of the not-much-less-mysterious Southern Reach, a government installation devoted to parsing the unutterably strange aforementioned area.
  • Completely switching viewpoints, style, and overall presentation, Authority is a brilliant continuation of one weird-ass series, and I’m dying to get my hands on the concluding novel Acceptance.
  • Corey Redekop (chef, Corey’s Famous Chili) raves:
    • I am powerless to resist Jeff Vandermeer’s Authority over me!

Strange BedfellowsStrange Bedfellows—ed. Hayden Trenholm (Bundoran Press, 2014)

  • An often-terrific new Canadian anthology of politically based science fiction tales from around the globe and beyond. Okay, not from beyond, but how cool would that be?
  • From my Quill & Quire review (here): “The late, great Kurt Vonnegut wrote that if a writer “tries to put his politics into a work of the imagination, he will foul up his work beyond all recognition.” Strange Bedfellows sometimes wavers and stumbles, but the talents on display put the lie to his theory.”
  • Corey Redekop (pet owner, Mocha the Wonder Cat) raves:
    • I wouldn’t kick these Bedfellows out for eating crackers!

Child of a Hidden SeaChild of a Hidden SeaA.M. Dellamonica (Tor, 2014)

  • I’ve already covered some of my thoughts on A.M. Dellamonica’s newest fantasy in my interview with her (part one here, part two here). I’ve got a fairly glowing review of it in the newest issue of Quill & Quire, and I’ll link when it goes online.
  • Until then, I’ll leave it at this: Child of a Hidden Sea is a fine beginning to a new series, and I’m looking forward to continuing on my adventures as Sophie Hansa’s Erstwhile-bound sidekick.
  • Corey Redekop (blogger, The Blog You’re Reading Right Now) raves:
    • Here’s hoping this Hidden Sea doesn’t stay hidden for long!

MiloszMiloszCordelia Strube (Coach House Books, 2012)

  • Cordelia Strube’s is very likely Canada’s premier purveyor of dysfunctional human beings thrown into chaos. Like her brilliant Planet Reese and Lemon (the second unread by me yet, but reviews will back up this premature assessment), Milosz follows one person down the rabbit hole; in this instance, an actor who has lost the ability to act and must take on a variety of borders to survive, all the while contending with the autistic son of a neighbour and his missing father. Strube keeps piling on the absurdities until the Book of Job almost appears realistic by comparison. But it’s her compassion for her sideshow characters that elevates her farce into a fine character study, and another pure winner for the author.
  • Corey Redekop (mysterious orb of green, RIGHT BEHIND YOU!) raves:
    • Cordelia Strube could make my life interesting, which ought to qualify her for the Pulitzer!

 And as promised, books already reviewed here: