August 2021 books

Non-fiction 3 (YTD 27)
The Secret of Kit Cavenaugh, by Anne Holland (has fictional elements)
A Woman in Berlin
Humankind, by Rutger Bregman

Non-genre 2 (YTD 19)
Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh
The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue

SF 9 (YTD 83)
Contact, by Carl Sagan
Strange Bedfellows: An Anthology of Political Science Fiction, ed. Hayden Trenholm
Two Truths and a Lie, by Sarah Pinsker
Fish Tails, by Sheri S. Tepper
The Place of the Lion, by Charles Williams
A Hero Born, by Jin Yong
Cryptozoic!, by Brian Aldiss
The Primal Urge, by Brian Aldiss
The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Doctor Who 3 (YTD 8, 11 inc comics)
The Beast of Stalingrad, by Iain McLaughlin
The HAVOC Files 2, ed. Shaun Russell
Dalek, by Robert Shearman

Comics 10 (YTD 29)
In de tuin, by Noëlle Smit
Hr. Alting, by Bente Olesen Nyström
Trocoscópio, by Bernardo P. Carvalho
Meidän piti lähteä, by Sanna Pelliccioni
Mijn straat: een wereld van verschil, by Ann De Bode
Fridolin Franse frisiert, by Michael Roher
Otthon, by Kinga Rofusz
La Ciudad, by Roser Capdevila
Sortie de nuit, by Laurie Agusti
A Tale of Two Time Lords, by Jodie Houser et al

6,300 pages (YTD 46,400)
13/27 (YTD 78/171) by non-male writers (Holland, the woman in Berlin, Donoghue, Pinsker, Tepper, Bradley, Smit, Pelliccioni, De Boda, Rofusz, Capdevilar, Augusti, Houser et al)
1/27 (YTD 31/171) by PoC (Jin Yong)
3/27 rereads (YTD 18/171) – Contact, Two Truths and a Lie, The Primal Urge

Zodiac Station, by Tom Harper
Jack, by Marilynne Robinson

Coming soon (perhaps)
Angel of Mercy, by Julianne Todd, Claire Bartlett and Iain McLaughlin
Hurricane Fever, by Tobias S. Buckell
The Return of the Discontinued Man, by Mark Hodder
Felaheen, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
The Bloodline Feud, by Charles Stross
Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, by Rebecca Hall
"The Saturn Game", by Poul Anderson
Great Glowing Coils of the Universe, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Retour sur Aldébaran, tome 2, by Leo
Kipps, by H. G. Wells
John Quincy Adams: American Visionary, by Fred Kaplan
Time Must Have a Stop, by Aldous Huxley
Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, eds. Zelda Knight & Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald
City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennett
Day of the Dead, by Neil Gaiman
Paul: A Biography, by Tom Wright
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

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November 2012 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days, I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

Just one trip this month, to New York for a work meeting. This was just after Hurricane Sandy, and the last ten rows of my plane were empty apart from me. I've never seen that before or since.

My visit coincided with election day, as it had done in 2008. Queues of people voting, but the outcome was even less in doubt than four years before. I watched the results at the Nielsen Haydens'.
That night it snowed, and Washington Square turned into Narnia.

I also attended Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ, outside Philadelphia, where I first met Colette Fozard, whose birthday is today – Happy Birthday, Colette!!! Here's Gary S. Blog sitting on the Loncon table.

And I tried to take a Christmas picture of the children, but failed.

I read 18 books that month, some of them quite long.

Non-fiction: 5 (YTD 48)
A History of Christianity, by Diarmaid MacCullough
The Invention of Childhood, by Hugh Cunningham
Catholics in Western Democracies, by John H. Whyte
Between the Continent and the Open Sea, by David Rennie
Interview Secrets, by Heather Salter

Fiction (not sf): 4 (TYD 42)
The Harvester, by Gene Stratton-Porter
The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James
Goodnight Mister Tom, by Michelle Magorian
The Light That Failed, by Rudyard Kipling

SF (not Who): 4 (YTD 60)
Being Human: The Road, by Simon Guerrier
Revise the World, by Brenda W. Clough
Grendel, by John Gardner
The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser

Who: 5 (YTD 69)
The Ancestor Cell, by Peter Anghelides and Stephen Cole
Monstrous Missions: Terrible Lizards, by Jonathan Green
Monstrous Missions: Horror of the Space Snakes, by Gary Russell

The Sleepers In The Dust, by Darren Jones
The Angel's Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery, by Justin Richards

~5,900 pages (YTD 70,600)
4/18 (YTD 64/242) by women (Salter, Stratton-Porter, Magorian, Clough)
1/18 (YTD 11/242) by PoC (Clough)

Three particularly lovely books this month: Henry James' Portrait of a Lady, which you can get here, Michelle Magorian's children's classic Goodnight Mister Tom, which you can get here, and Diarmaid MacCulloch's magisterial History of Christianity, which you can get here. For once, no particular turkeys.

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530 days of plague

We made it back from Norn Iron OK on Sunday, flying home from Belfast via Amsterdam, which is the cheapest and quickest route these days. A good break.

I diligently went for my return-to-Belgium COVID test on Monday, and was offered three for the (already modest) price of one as they were doing tests for a new procedure. In for a cent, in for a euro, and they gave me €35 of shopping vouchers as a reward (which meant I almost came out ahead on the deal). I was actually a bit worried. I had had a very sore throat and a bit of a cough all weekend in Northern Ireland, and it was so bad on Sunday and Monday nights that I slept very poorly. However the test cleared me within five hours, so it was just a “normal” cold.

Also on Monday, work asked me to go to London again for a meeting on Thursday, so I booked the Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning Eurostars. It turned out that my Monday back-to-Belgium test was also valid for another entry to the UK, so it was even better value than I had realised. I still needed to pay for a Day 2 test in the UK which I was never going to use, as I left my hotel before the post arrived on Friday morning, but the rules only say you have to pay for a test before you arrive in the UK, they don’t say you have to actually take it. Returning to Belgium on Friday, I did not need to test again as I had been out of the country for less than 48 hours, and as we all know the virus waits until the 49th hour to strike, or at least that’s the approach the regulations seem to take.

I commented to a couple of people that actually in the olden days, international travel was much more hassle than it is now, with the need to get travellers’ cheques and printed tickets etc, and also passports even for internal European trips. One of the people I pointed this out to responded that none of those inconveniences required anything to be put up your nose, which I must admit is a fair point.

Checking in for the outward Eurostar on Wednesday, the UK border chap reminded me that I’ll need my passport to travel to the UK after 1 October; my ID card will no longer do. Global Britain, open for business, eh?

I worked from home on Monday, waiting for my test result, and again on Tuesday because I had slept badly and couldn’t face the train. But I went to the office Wednesday morning – still pretty empty – and again on Friday afternoon – even emptier. (And of course worked from the London office in Bloomsbury on Thursday, including the meeting I had come over for and numerous others.) Like most places, I suspect, the rule is that you wear a mask unless sitting at your desk, and that in an open-plan office nobody sits directly opposite anyone else. But restaurants and pubs are open again as usual; I had two fine dinners in London, one in a gentlemen’s club courtesy of a knight of the realm, the other with a cousin at the Elgin gastropub in Maida Vale.

One welcome sign of normality: the Thai food truck which used to appear regularly on Fridays in the Square de Meeûs, around the corner from the office, has returned, so I can feed my Pad Thai addiction.

There has been a bit of a rise in the COVID numbers in Belgium over the last few weeks, though signs are that it is now tailing off. Presumably it will get another boost again when schools restart next week. The number of people in hospital and in intensive care, while higher than in June, is still lower than at any time between then and last October. So basically the modest rise in the number of cases has been only weakly mirrored in terms of impact on the health system; the vaccination campaign has worked.

But I think I will keep up this series of posts for now. It is a good mental discipline, and we are still quite a long way from being back to normal.

Fish Tails, by Sheri S. Tepper

Second paragraph of third chapter:

“What did you mean to do? Didn’t I hear you refer to my children as fish?” She turned from him, ebony hair swirling, dusty, no-­colored traveling robe lashing around slender ankles—­ankles, deplorably, that were as dusty as the hair, as the soiled robe. The wearisome roads, wet or dry, were dirty. Even her hands and face were covered with a gray film. She looked at her wrists in fury. She could plant grass in the creases of her skin. A little sweat and they’d grow! Or tears! Tears would do it. She turned her face away. The rain of tears was imminent.

Very very long book, following up the story from The Waters Rising (and also tying in with characters from a lot of her earlier works), a future humanity doomed to imminent environmental disaster and blighted by societal collapse, which gives her an opportunity to make many of her favourite points about how things are and how they should be. Enjoyable enough, but good god, over 700 pages! You can get it here.

This was the most popular book that I had acquired in 2014 but not yet read. Next in that rapidly dwindling pile is The Return of the Discontinued Man, by Mark Hodder.

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Friday reading

The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Zodiac Station, by Tom Harper

Last books finished
Cryptozoic!, by Brian Aldiss
The Primal Urge, by Brian Aldiss
Humankind, by Rutger Bregman

Next books
Hurricane Fever, by Tobias S. Buckell
Jack, by Marilynne Robinson

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Dalek, by Robert Shearman

Second paragraph of third chapter:

It might be thought that they had been paired deliberately as comic contrast. But they hadn’t. Van Statten didn’t have that sort of sense of humour. And now as he swept into the Cage operations room, they both snapped to attention and saluted. They knew that their boss wouldn’t acknowledge them, that he probably wouldn’t even notice they were there – but it was the correct form of the thing. If they were surprised that he’d brought the intruder with them they didn’t show it. They were paid not to be surprised.

Great novelisation of one of the great New Who episodes. You have seen the show, here's the writer's cut, as it were, giving new background to a number of the characters, smoothing out a couple of plot kinks, with combination of tight-third for Rose interspersed with notes from the omniscient narrator explaining what was happening. We lose a couple of the good lines ("He's a bit pretty" / "I hadn't noticed") but we get a lot more in other areas. Well worth adding to the collection. You can get it here.

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Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh

Second paragraph of third chapter:

The limo driver had parked within ten feet of a hot dog stand that boasted a big picture of my face on an ad board taped on the lower panel of the cart. Like I needed the cosmos to remind me of the difference between me and Rudy. Soon as we got into the limo, Rudy took a call on his cell. The driver took us to a restaurant on Park Avenue South. I couldn't even pronounce the name of it. It looked French. Rudy disconnected his call soon as he left the car and said, "I love this place. Best ramp soup in the city."

Having whined about creative typography in my last review, I'm going to salute the creative presentation of the title here, TH1RT3EN – no doubt about what it means and no violence done to anyone's culture.

This is a thriller set in a New York courtroom, a celebrity murder trial where the real villain is an absurdly intelligent and horrible serial killer whose ability to outwit the forces of law and order is only just outmatched by the grit and determination of the narrator. The gruesomely realistic detail helps to distract from the fundamental improbability of the plot, and it's an entertaining read, if not Great Literature. You can get it here.

This was my top unread non-genre book. Next on that list is Jack, by Marilynne Robinson.

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Strange Bedfellows: An Anthology of Political Science Fiction, ed. Hayden Trenholm

Second paragraph of third story ("When This Peace Thing Blows Over", by John Skylar):

For a black hole, there's a spot, the event horizon, where you can't escape even if you're a beam of light. Past that, the hole is totally black. Hence the name. But around that border, gravity focuses light from the other side of the hole. It creates a bright, bent corona around the emptiness. As if its beauty alone could suck you in through that brilliant iris into a pupil of oblivion. In Maryam's eyes, I slipped over this event horizon and was lost forever.

OK, a big peeve here: the title of the book as published is partly in mock-Cyrillic, STЯAПGE BEDFЗLLФШS. This kind of thing really annoys me. Я is a vowel, З and Ф are consonants, and П and Ш may be consonants but they sound nothing like N or W. Russian is a real language, as are Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Kazakh, etc, and these letters have real meanings. It seems odd for a book published almost a quarter of a century after the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe to equate Cyrillic script with subversive politics.

This is a 2014 anthology of original stories with political themes. I may just have been tired when reading it, but the only one that really lingered with me was the opener, Eugie Foster's "Tried as an Adult", which takes the U.S. justice system and extrapolates it to a grim conclusion. Funny how the concerns of 2014 just look a bit different now. It's been a long seven years (especially the last one). You can get it here.

This was both the shortest unread book I had acquired in 2014, and the sf book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves. Next on those piles respectively are Hurricane Fever, by Tobias Buckell and Zodiac Station, by Tom Harper.

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October 2012 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days, I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

My Georgia work culminated with our client winning the election. I have not agreed with everything he has done since, but I'm really glad to have contributed to this moment of Georgian history.

I brought back a souvenir for little U.

This moment of elation was tempered by the awfully sad news of the sudden death of my youngest aunt, Denise Keenan, aged only 54 – the same age that I am now. Just a few weeks ago I posted the last picture I took of her in May 2012, grinning widely (as usual) at the front of a family group.

Less dramatically, we had local elections here in Belgium, and as usual I asked the candidates difficult questions. Our mayor was running for a seventh six-year term, having been in office since 1976; he lost.

Apart from two visits to Tbilisi and a sad journey to Ireland, I also went to Barcelona, and to London for a Worldcon meeting.

In my office, my Doctor Who-loving Colombian intern L was hired by one of the other Brussels consultancies who had worked on the Georgian dossier, and is still with them, though no longer in Brussels. She was replaced by MG, French but more or less naturalised to Geneva, taking a brief Brussels phase in her career.

Rather a low page-count and book tally for the month, but I was about to finish three longer books.

Non-fiction: 2 (YTD 43)
The Twilight Lords, by Richard Berleth
Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England, by Stuart Maconie

Fiction (non-sf): 2 (YTD 38)
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, by James Weldon Johnson
The Tartan Sell, by Jonathan Gash

SF (non-Who): 1 (YTD 56)
Conquest of the Amazon, by John Russell Fearn

Doctor Who: 6 (YTD 64)
Torchwood: Consequences, by David Llewellyn, Sarah Pinborough, Andrew Cartmel, James Moran and Joseph Lidster
Day of the Cockroach, by Steve Lyons
The Nu-Humans, by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
The Empty House, by Simon Guerrier

Combat Rock, by Mick Lewis
Infinite Requiem, by Daniel Blythe

~2,300 pages (YTD 64,800)
1/11 (YTD 60/224) by women (Pinborough)
1/11 (YTD 10/224) by PoC (Johnson)

The two best of these were the Torchwood short story collection Consequences, which you can get here, and Stuart Maconie's Adventures on the High Teas, which you can get here. You can skip J. Russell Fearn's Conquest of the Amazon, which I admit I only bought because of the cover; but if you want you can probably get it here.

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The HAVOC Files 2, ed. Shaun Russell

Second paragraph of third story ("The Black Eggs of Khufu", by Tom Dexter):

It was the third time he’d asked. Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart’s journey had taken close to a week to reach Cairo, and Ahmed was certain that this fact was about to be brought up again, but the site of the black granite slab proved to be enough of a distraction.

Really enjoying the expanding universe of the hidden history of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. This is a collection of short stories and out-takes from the novels, all decent enough, some really memorable – "Ashes of the Inferno" by Andy Frankham-Allen, the overall show-runner (if a book series can have such a person) is a follow-up to the TV story Inferno, and "House of Giants" by Rick Cross is a nice postscript to the First Doctor story Planet of Giants. Best of all is "The Lock-In", by Sarah Groenewegen, set at the end of Lethbridge-Stewart's life and looking back to a forgotten adventure. These wee books are very good value. You can get this one here.

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The History of Mr Polly, by H.G. Wells

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Mr. Polly’s depression manifested itself in a general slackness. A certain impatience in the manner of Mr. Garvace presently got upon his nerves. Relations were becoming strained. He asked for a rise of salary to test his position, and gave notice to leave when it was refused.

I have been curious about this book since I was ten. In the summer of 1977, Roy Castle did a series of children's programmes for the BBC on musicals, two of which particularly stuck with me: Salad Days, which had had a revival the previous year, and the last in the series, The History of Mr Polly. At the end of each episode, which was a synopsis of the plot with a few of the songs being performed, Roy Castle would tell us the production history of each musical's performances, except that in the case of Mr Polly, "There's only been one". Rather than in the West End, this was at the newly opened Churchill Theatre in Bromley, H.G. Wells' home town, starring Roy Castle himself in the title role and with some impressive firepower – script by (Lord) Ted Willis, music co-written by Ivor Slaney who did most of the Double Deckers music, directed by veteran TV director Wallace Douglas. But I don't think any of it survives beyond the printed programme leaflet, and apart from its being Wells' birthplace, Bromley is an odd location for a stage show starring Roy Castle, then at the height of his powers.

Anyway, forty-four years on, I got the original novel. And I must say I was captivated. Very briefly, Mr Polly is a middle-class chap who makes bad choices in terms of career and marriage. At the start of the book he is consumed by frustration at his situation, and we spend the next few chapters exploring how precisely he got to where he is. He determines to burn down his own shop and commit suicide as it falls around him. But that does not go entirely according to plan, and he undergoes an improbable but really delightful redemption. I don't completely recommend it – I think Wells is laughing at his protagonist's pretensions a bit too much for my comfort – but I like this a lot more than Tono-Bungay, which is my only other non-sf Wells so far. You can get it here.

Next up in my Wells reading is Kipps, which also has musical connotations for me.

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2021 Hugos: Best Artist categories

As I always say, I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. And I like the work of all of these artists. Without further commentary, my votes this year are as follows:

Best Professional Artist
6) Tommy Arnold
5) Rovina Cai
4) Alyssa Winans
3) Galen Dara
2) Maurizio Manzieri
1) John Picacio
Best Fan Artist
6) Cyan Daly
5) Grace P. Fong
4) Laya Rose
3) Maya Hahto
2) Sara Felix
1) Iain Clark

2021 Hugos: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Series | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story or Comic | Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form | Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form | Best Professional Artist and Best Fan Artist | Lodestar | Astounding

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The Beast of Stalingrad, by Iain McLaughlin

Second paragraph of third chapter:

A bomb had flattened a factory in the heart of the territory the Drofen had been spotted in most often. We made our way there just before the sun went down. Not that you could actually see the sun through the cloud. As we left, just outside her house, Isabella gave Erimem a huge hug. Not me or Tom, you understand, just her. Yuri held out a pistol to Erimem and she slipped it into a pocket inside her coat. She had her sword as well. I was relieved she wasn’t going into this unarmed but I had my doubts that whatever she carried would be enough. I couldn’t shake the image of that thing tearing at flesh and bone with those teeth.

Second in the series of Erimem novels that started rather promisingly. I'm afraid I was less convinced by this one, which takes our time-travelling heroes to a crucial point of history where there turns out to be alien interference. New Who has done this several times (arguably Old Who did it as early as The Time Meddler), recently most notably in Rosa and Demons of the Punjab. But there are risks to this plot, most notably of getting the tone wrong, and I didn't feel that the story did justice to the serious historical situation that was chosen as the setting. Still, I'll persevere with the series. You can get this one here.

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Friday reading

The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Cryptozoic!, by Brian Aldiss
Humankind, by Rutger Bregman

Last books finished
A Hero Born, by Jin Yong
The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue

Next books
The Primal Urge, by Brian Aldiss
Felaheen, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

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520 days of plague

So, here I am in Norn Iron, recovering from a weekend of family party. I must say that it has been amazing to be back. Normally we would spend three weeks here in the summer; obviously last year that did not happen at all, and this year Anne was here just for the weekend, F and myself staying an extra week. We wear masks in enclosed public spaces, of course, and everyone has a battle story to tell; and it’s not over yet. But to have a family reunion was fantastic.

My brother and sister and I clubbed together and got Eleanor Wheeler to create a semiotically charged bird bath as an 80th birthday present for our mother, here being ceremonially unveiled.

And inspected by three out of five grandchildren (our girls not being available).

Apart from being struck down by lactose intolerance, I have been making the most of being here and seeing a few more people, including my godson, his mother and grandmother.

F got to meet Bród, one of the most famous dogs in Ireland.

Not everything goes according to plan.

But basically very glad that travel is possible again, despite inconveniences; and of course as I said at the start, this whole thing is not over yet.

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September 2012 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days, I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

September started for me with the seating of Loncon 3 as the winning bid for the 2014 Worldcon, without opposition, and most of my spare time during the month was spent on Worldcon stuff. I got the news that we had won in Tbilisi, where I spent nine days with my Georgian client at the start of the month, culminating in an election rally in Telavi. I went back at the end of the month for the election itself. During my first visit, John McCain came by to say hello to my client:

I also took a moment to admire the art collection:

Here['s a set of links about North Sentinel Island.

I read 25 books in September 2012.

Non-fiction 2 (YTD 41)
Not of this World? by Glenn Jordan
Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination, by Stuart Murray

Fiction (non-sf) 8 (YTD 36)
The Very Last Gambado, by Jonathan Gash
Independent People, by Halldór Laxness
Q, by Luther Blissett
The Firefly Gadroon, by Jonathan Gash
The Vatican Rip, by Jonathan Gash
Blood Hunt, by "Jack Harvey" (Ian Rankin)
The Sleepers of Erin, by Jonathan Gash
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

SF (non-Who) 5 (YTD 55)
Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb
The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, edited by George Mann
Powers, by Ursula Le Guin
Dagger Magic, by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris
The War of the Jewels, by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien

Who 8 (YTD 58)
The Undertaker's Gift, by Trevor Baxendale
Doctor Who – The Gunfighters, by Donald Cotton
The Peacemaker, by James Swallow

Doctor Who (The Scripts): The Tomb of the Cybermen, by Gerry Davis & Kit Pedler
Set Piece, by Kate Orman
The Banquo Legacy, by Andy Lane and Justin Richards
Sightseeing in Space: Terminal of Despair, by Steve Lyons
Sightseeing in Space: Web in Space!, by David Bailey

Comics 2 (YTD 19)
Aldébaran 1: La Catastrophe, by Leo
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers vol.5, by Fumi Yoshinaga

~7,600 pages (YTD 62,500)
4/25 (YTD 59/213) by women (Le Guin, Hobb, Orman, Yoshinaga)
1/25 (YTD 9/213) by PoC (Yoshinaga)

A lot of good books this month, of which the best was an old favourite, A Tale of Two Citiesyou can get it here. Best new read was Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprenticeyou can get it here. I gave up on Dagger Magic on page 72; you can get it here. Also not impressed by Lovejoy's adventures in Rome; you can get The Vatican Rip here.

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Le dernier Atlas, tome 2, by Fabien Vehlmann, Gwen De Bonneval, Hervé Tanquerelle and Fred Blanchard

Second frame of third chapter:

Yajna: "We still have not been accepted as
a permanent member of the UN Security
Council, despite our diplomatic efforts."

I read the first volume in this series a couple of months ago, and enjoyed it; the second keeps up the pace, with a well-realised set of characters stealing a giant nuclear-powered battle robot from its resting place in Bombay and bringing it towards its destiny in the Algerian desert; meanwhile the baby born at the end of the previous volume has a very mysterious mark on its forehead which seems linked with the mysterious intrusion into our reality from another world. This volume is a little middle book-y as we travel from start to conclusion of the trilogy (in a giant killer robot floating westward over the Indian Ocean), but the pace is kept up very well. The third and final volume comes out next month, and I'm looking forward to it.

French readers can get the complete second volume here. English readers can get the ten parts in translation here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

This was my top unread comic in a language other than English. Next on that list is vol 2 of Retour sur Aldebaran, by Leo. (Though I'll bump that down a step if I get hold of Le Dernier Atlas 3 first.)

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