March 2021 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging at the end of October 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.

Another month when due to COVID restrictions I did not leave Belgium, and indeed I appear to have gone to the office only twice. It was a year since the first lockdown. Apart from diplomatic walks in Brussels parks, my two excursions were to the Dolmen of Duisburg and the video games museum at Tours et Taxis.

I kept up my ten-day posts:

I also researched the parenthood of the baby in the park, but came to the wrong conclusion.

Hugo Award nominations closed, and it became clear that we had some potentially controversial finalists, including a blog post whose title gave a very direct instruction to a well-known author. From the technical point of view it was relatively smooth; we had one nominated editor decline nomination, one artist inform us that they were not eligible and one TV series that we disqualified from the Long Form category because it also had two episodes in Short Form. (Some felt that we should have disqualified others too, but we did not.)

I read 20 books that month.

Non-fiction 5 (YTD 13)
The Unstable Realities of Christopher Priest, by Paul Kincaid
Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, by Nick Mason
It’s the End of the World: But What Are We Really Afraid Of?, by Adam Roberts
Romeinse sporen: het relaas van de Romeinen in de Benelux met 309 vindplaatsen om te bezoeken, by Herman Clerinx
Scottish independence: EU membership and the Anglo–Scottish border, by Akash Paun, Jess Sargeant, James Kane, Maddy Thimont Jack and Kelly Shuttleworth

Non-genre 1 (YTD 5)
Dances With Wolves, by Michael Blake

Scripts 2
Driving Miss Daisy, by Alfred Uhry
Mostly Void, Partially Stars, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

SF 12 (YTD 35)
The Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Comet Weather, by Liz Williams
“Sandkings”, by George R.R. Martin
Chasm City, by Alastair Reynolds
Enemy Mine, by Barry B. Longyear
The Doors of Eden, Adrian Tchaikovsky
Threading the Labyrinth, by Tiffani Angus
The Fountains of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke
Titus Alone, by Mervyn Peake
Light of Impossible Stars, by Gareth Powell
Water Must Fall, by Nick Wood
The Sunken Land Begins To Rise Again, by M. John Harrison

5,600 pages (YTD 16,500)
3/20 (YTD 24/61) by women (Williams, Angus, Sargeant/Thimont Jack/Shuttleworth)
1/20 (YTD 12/61) by PoC (Paun)

A lot of these were very good, and I’m going to recommend three by friends which were also shortlisted for the BSFA Award:

The Unstable Realities of Christopher Priest, by Paul Kincaid (review; get it here)
Comet Weather, by Liz Williams (review; get it here)
Threading the Labyrinth, by Tiffani Angus (review; get it here)

On the other hand, Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake is a dismally poor ending to the Gormenghast trilogy. Stick to the first two books, folks. You can get it here.