Being the fourth of my monthly reading summaries for 2018. Here’s what I read in April:
To keep my numbers consistent with what I have listed on Goodreads, I count completed magazine issues and stand-alone short stories in ebook format as “books.” I read or listened to 8 books in April: 3 in print, 2 in audio, and 3 in ebook format. They were:
1. Lightspeed Magazine #95 (April, 2018) edited by John Joseph Adams. The usual great assortment of science fiction and fantasy short stories and non-fiction. Favorites this issue were Will McIntosh’s “What About Eve,” Ken Liu’s “Snow Train,” Suzanne Palmer’s “Lazy Dog Out,” and Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Old Women Who Were Skinned.”
2. Locke & Key Full Cast Audio Production based on the graphic novels by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy this. I thought I would, as I loved the graphic novel series and the voice cast includes Haley Joel Osment, Kate Mulgrew and Tatiana Maslany. But I didn’t feel like the material translated well. Places where narrator exposition would have helped bridge scenes were lacking narration, and places where a narrator’s introduction were unnecessary had noir-style deep-voiced narration. The whole thing was a bit uneven to me. That said, there were some scenes that were absolutely terrifically performed by the cast. (I also could not find a full cast list anywhere on-line when I looked.)
3. So You Want To Be A Robot and Other Stories, by A. Merc Rustad. Don’t want to say too much about this here because a full review should be forthcoming on Strange Horizons in the near future, but overall I quite enjoyed this collection.
4. To The Stars by George Takei. I like listening to memoirs narrated by the actual person, because you often get more insight through the way the person tells their own story. While there were parts of this I found intriguing (the details of his family’s internment and his mother’s near-loss of her American citizenship; the behind-the-scenes machinations of Leonard Nimoy that kept Takei, Nichols and Doohan involved in the Star Trek cartoon), there was also a lot of Shatner-bashing. I know there’s never been any love lost between Takei and Shatner, but there were points where it felt a little tiresome. I know when Takei originally wrote this, he wasn’t yet as publically out as he is now; I hope someday he’ll narrate the rest of his story to date.
5. Saving The Date (1Night Stand #1) by ‘Nathan Burgoine and Angela B. Stone. Three years ago, Morgan was the victim of a brutal gay-bashing. He’s decided to “reclaim the date” of the event by creating new, happier memories – through a blind date set up for him by his therapist. Zach, a local cop, is newly divorced and trying to figure out how to tell his loved ones he’s bisexual when he’s set up on a blind date by a co-worker’s sister. They turn out to be each other’s dates. This is a cutely romantic, and very erotic, novella that links to several other of Burgoine’s short stories. A quick read but not lacking in emotional depth, with characters I’m looking forward to seeing more of (as well as wanting to see more of the 1Night Stand private dating service).
6. A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet #2) by Madeleine L’Engle. Charles Wallace Murry is sick, and it might have something to do with the farandolae in his mitochondria, which seem to be linked to creatures destroying the galactic fabric of reality. In childhood, and even the last time I reread this series over a decade ago, this was my least-favorite installment in the Time Quintet. This time through, I got a lot more out of it, perhaps because of my own cancer diagnosis mapping so well onto the way Charles Wallace Murry falls ill.
7. The Glass Falcon (Folley & Mallory #2) by E. Catherine Tobler. This second, novella-length installment in Tobler’s steampunk-Egyptiana-shapeshifters series is no less fun that the first installment was. Damaged artifacts at the Louvre and vandalism in the Paris Catacombs are connected, and it’s up to Folley and Mallory to figure out how.
8. The Scarlet Plague (Radium Age of Science Fiction #1), by Jack London. A grandfather tells his young grandsons the story of the Plague that virtually destroyed humanity and crippled civilization. It’s more of a novella, by the author of Call of the Wind. There’s some great descriptions of nature, and of how the plague spread, but it’s a bit heavy-handed on the “civilized elite” versus “uncouth servant class” divide.
That’s 8 books in February, to a Year-To-Date total of 53, which Goodreads says me puts me 18 books ahead of schedule for my 100 Books Challenge. I didn’t read anything this month for the 2018 To Be Read Challenge or the “one graphic novel per week” reading challenge (I’m at 17 graphic novels for the year, and as the last full week of April was week #17 of 2018 I’m still at least on-track for the year-to-date). To The Stars (the George Takei memoir) counted towards the Bustle Challenge. The Glass Falcon and The Scarlet Plague continued two of my “Complete the Series” challenges. All but the To Be Read Challenge were described HERE.
I have a goal of reading 365 short stories (1 per day, essentially, although it doesn’t always work out that way) each year. Here’s what I did read and where you can find them if you’re interested in reading them too (with some short notes for stories that really stood out to me). If no source is noted, the story is from the same magazine or book as the story(ies) that precede(s) it:
1. “What Is Eve?” by Will McIntosh, from Lightspeed #95, April 2018, edited by John Joseph Adams
2. “Webs” by Mary Ann Mohanraj
3. “The Elephant’s Crematorium” by Timothy Mudie
4. “Mozart on the Kalahari” by Steven Barnes
5. “The Old Women Who Were Skinned” By Carmen Maria Machado
6. “A Place Without Portals” by Adam-Troy Castro
7. “The Snow Train” by Ken Liu
8. “Nitrate Nocturnes” by Ruth Joffre
9. “Lazy Dog Out” by Suzanne Palmer
10. “These Antique Fables” by Seanan McGuire, from the author’s Patreon page
11. “This Is A Wardrobe Not A Door” by A. Merc Rustad, from the author’s collection So You Want To Be A Robot
12. “Tomorrow When We See The Sun” by A. Merc Rustad
13. “The Sorcerer’s Unattainable Gardens” by A. Merc Rustad
14. “The Android’s Prehistoric Menagerie” by A. Merc Rustad
15. “For Want of A Heart” by A. Merc Rustad
16. “Once I. Rose” by A. Merc Rustad
17. “Where Monsters Dance” by A. Merc Rustad
18. “A Survival Guide For When You’re Trapped In A Black Hole” by A. Merc Rustad
19. “Thread” by A. Merc Rustad
20. “Under Wine-Bright Seas” by A. Merc Rustad
21. “Of Blessed Servitude” by A. Merc Rustad
22. “To The Knife-Cold Stars” by A. Merc Rustad
23. “Finding Home” by A. Merc Rustad
24. “Winter Bride” by A. Merc Rustad
25. “To The Monsters, With Love” by A. Merc Rustad
26. “Batteries For Your Doombot 5000 Are Not Included” by A. Merc Rustad
27. “…Or Be Forever Fallen” by A. Merc Rustad
28. “Iron Aria” by A. Merc Rustad
29. “What Becomes of the Third-Hearted” by A. Merc Rustad
30. “The Gentleman of Chaos” by A. Merc Rustad
31. “How To Become A Robot in 12 Easy Steps” by A. Merc Rustad
So that’s 31 short stories in April, one per day (and one for luck, so to speak) bringing me Year-To-Date to 118 stories. As April 30th was the 120th day of the year, this puts me only 2 stories behind of schedule for the year so far.