Saturday, July 17, 2021

What I'm Reading Now


Nigh Vo, The Beautiful and the Chosen

Do you want to read the Great Gatsby told from Jordan's point of view? And with magic? Also gayness? This book is for you!

It's wonderfully written, as is the original, but Nick is bisexual, sleeping with both Gatsby and Jordan, and Jordan is an adopted Vietnamese sorcerer, and Gatsby has made a deal with the devil, which is how he got his immense wealth; he's also (like the original) not quite what he seems. I re-read the original recently, checking in as I do every few years to see if I hate it as much as I did in high school. (I do.) I recommend reading this one back to back with that one, so you can get all the Easter Eggs.

A lot of fun, and very much worth a read, even if you don't like fantasy.

Laurie King, Castle Shade

This is another in the Mary Russell series, about the adolescent Sherlock Holmes befriends in his old age and makes into his apprentice (and later marries). It's all right, though not the best in the series. Sherlock and Russell go to Roumania and deal with what might be vampires (but isn't) causing a ruckus around a castle owned by Marie of Roumania. I like these books a lot, but this one, I have to admit, feels like King is just going through the motions. Start with The Beekeeper's Apprentice

William Patterson, Robert Heinlein

This biography of Heinlein (the dean of science fiction) got mixed reviews when it debuted, back 2010 (first volume) and 2014 (second volume) and I can see why. It's not bad, exactly, but it's clearly an apology which ignores facts Patterson thinks might show Heinlein's feet of clay. 

It's also appallingly biased, not just toward Heinlein (who never makes a mistake or acts badly, at least according to Patterson), but against anyone to the left of Reagan -- I lost count of the number of times Patterson went off on rants against "Leftists" in America and their idiocy. This wasn't Patterson talking about what Heinlein had said; this was Patterson's own opinions, inserted into the text. This, for instance, in the second volume: 

...there had been imbedded in Roosevelt's New Deal the seeds of this current Leftist that was softening the brains of otherwise bright and well-intentioned people...(116).

Patterson also attacked Alexei Panshin, who dared to write critically about Heinlein, and accepts without blinking the weird conspiracy theory about Roosevelt conspiring to create the attack on Pearl Harbor. There's also a lot of slagging on other countries for not being as pure and perfect as (Patterson's imaginary) USA. And about fifty other things.

Not recommended unless you're a Heinlein completist.

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