Monday, October 8, 2007

Recent Reading

On last week’s trip to Mexico, instead of reading the ginormous history book I brought, I read several sci-fi books. Bracing for all-day meetings, I felt like lighter fare.

“The Engines of God” by Jack McDevitt. Excellent. Even better than “Chindi”. It’s sort of an interplanetary mystery weaving in xenoarcheology, Earth religious history, terraforming debates and technical wizardry. I meant to just start this one evening in Monterrey but I could not put it down. I ended up staying up much too late to finish it. I highly recommend this one.

“Eternity Road” also by Jack McDevitt. Totally different story by the same author. Still excellent though. It’s set in a version of Earth devastated by a plague some 800 years ago. The remnants of our civilization litter the landscape, providing fodder for speculation by those that remain. While populated with great characters and excellent world-building, I found it a bit disturbing. The idea that so much of who we are could be lost irrevocably. Even with the ending, there’s so much lost that none of the characters think to miss. It made for a mildly heartbreaking read.

“The Magician’s Guild” by Trudi Caravan. Very good fantasy story. This is part one of a trilogy and a solid opener. It has good characters, detailed but coherent world-building and a rip-roaring plot. I really like the complexity shown in the different types of characters. There’s Thieves of various levels of trustworthiness, Magicians good and bad, slum toughs, upper echelon nobility and everything in between. Part suspense (will they track her down?), part coming of age story (what path will Sonea choose?), all-round good read. I’ll be picking up the other two books in the series next time I’m at the bookstore.

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