July 2015 Reading Log

I re-read Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in order to moderate a Readercon discussion on the book, for which I volunteered at the last minute.

I also read Persona by Genevieve Valentine for a Readercon discussion. It’s not that long. Set in a future where international politics takes place (nominally) through the medium of national celebrity diplomats – Faces – and the freelance press is underground, sometimes in the guise of paparazzi (Snaps), it follows one Face (Suyana Sapaki) and one Snap (Daniel Park) through a series of dangerous events. It’s essentially a thriller but with a lot of excellent characterization and worldbuilding. I would love to read a sequel to this, with more on the Snaps as well as the Faces.

Another re-read for Readercon: A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett. I thought about excavating for my print copy, but decided against it partly because that would be a pain, partly because the e-book meant I could carry it more easily. Also, with an ebook it was really handy to be able to highlight relevant passages. I was impressed anew by what an excellent book it is. There is so much going on thematically: growing up, going out into the world, learning social responsibility, deciding what shape your life will take. When I first read this, the fourth book in the Tiffany Aching series wasn’t out yet, so it was a pleasant little shock to encounter the phrase, “I shall wear midnight.” I haven’t actually read that book yet, though I bought it when it first came out; I’ve been saving it, at that point knowing my unread Pratchett books would be limited in quantity. It makes me sad to think about reading it, but it would be sadder never to do so.

Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts, first in the Creature Court trilogy, was recommended to me years ago. I’d started it a while back, while riding the bus, but had only read the first chapter or so. I got back to it this week (again on the bus!) and determined to finish it this time, so I could move forward in the Terrifying TBR. It’s fantasy, the world seemingly loosely based on the Roman Empire; at least the religion is very Roman, as are the names of people and things. The magical source is called animor, and if you have it, you can see things others can’t, and are able to fight beings? forces? that attack through the sky at night, and can remove whole cities from reality and memory. The characters are complex and intriguing, and I especially like the main female character, Velody. I could read a whole novel just about her and her two female friends and their couture business.

Avengers Assemble: Science Bros (Marvel Now), written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Thanks to this story, I bumped up her Captain Marvel run on my list of things to read. The dialogue is terrific.

All-New X-Men, Vol. 1: Yesterday’s X-Men, written by Brian Michael Bendis. Gripping! Weird! Timey Wimey! I’ve bought the next volume of this.

Black Widow Volume 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson. I felt this volume was mostly a love story between Natasha and the cat that has decided she is hers. A bunch of things blew up, also. I will go on to the next volume, as I laughed in appreciation a couple of times while reading.

Winter Soldier: The Bitter March by Rick Remender is neat because it’s a period piece, set during the 1960s; it’s hardly a spoiler to say the Winter Soldier does not, however, manage to free himself at that time. I wasn’t really into the retro elements of the story, and wanted more Winter Soldier, less S.H.I.E.L.D.. I probably wouldn’t seek out anything else by this author.

Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out and Daredevil: Hell To Pay by Ed Brubaker were meh. I feel a bit more caught up on Daredevil continuity after reading these, but I didn’t love them all that much. All of the female characters would have been much better off had they departed to do their own thing. I mean, there’s a history of the female characters being angst-fodder in this series – recall Elektra – but still. Enough already. I had a volume of Kevin Smith’s run as well, but it looks like the one where they kill off Karen Page, so I decided I didn’t want to bother with it.

Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick was a lot of fun – excellent dialogue, and a surprisingly complex storyline, as in the characters (the aliens as well as Carol Danvers) had to make a lot of decisions, all of which would have both good and bad results. Basically, Carol has gone out into space to take an alien back to her people, and ends up embroiled in a conflict between an empire and a planet full of refugees from a wide range of planets. The Guardians of the Galaxy have a story role, as well. I recommend this if you’re interested in superhero/sf comics and don’t want to struggle with decades of old continuity.

Vengeance by Joe Casey is, I believe, the first appearance of America Chavez. The storyline is a bit crowded and confusing, so I don’t think I’d recommend this to anyone new to comics or new to the Marvel Universe. But I am enjoying figuring stuff out, and also being reminded I used to like Daimon Hellstrom as a character, back in the day when I read Ghost Rider and Defenders and a bunch of other random titles.

All For One by ironychan is a fanfiction novel that starts out with Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson looking for Bucky Barnes, but almost immediately veers into an adventure story involving Natasha Romanov, S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra, lots of clones, a talking bird, trust issues, an eventful trip to South America, and a monkey. I highly recommend this one.

hey good looking, what’s cooking by Beatrice_Otter is a lovely Peggy Carter missionfic with bonus Angie Martinelli.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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