Books read in February 2014

Den-Nya-Människan-av-Boel-Bermann-2D-663x1024Boel Bermann: Den nya människan. (The New Human.)

Another nice surprise – a well-written, thrilling and thought-provoking sf novel, of course with no mention of being sf other than a note that the author is a member of a blog collective that is focused on fantasy, sci-fi and horror. In the very near future (2014!) no more babies are born.  After some years births start again, but the new babies are strange, they develop rapidly and it is increasingly obvious that they are a threat to humanity. The threat from small babies reminds me of “The Little Assassin” by Bradbury, and the rise of a new race of humans was used by Van Vogt in Slan. This story was more frightening, partly due to the fact that it was set in the here and now. The language was elegant and the use of interspersed scientific or newspaper articles was effective. Highly recommended.

 

abercrombie_blade_itselfJoe Abercrombie: The Blade Itself.

I have hesitated to read this since it was said to be very violent, and OK, so it was, but there was also a lot of humour making the story one of the funniest I have read for some time. It is set in a medieval-ish country with strong rulers and priests, and the main character is a barbarian who has run out of luck. The characters were wonderful, and even if the crippled inquisitor Glokta really got me, I especially liked the two main female characters, Ardee, who used her femininity to her own ends and Ferro who instead knew how to kill. Excellent entertainment.

 

DaysofPerkyPatPhilip K. Dick: The Days of Perky Pat.

The collected short stories 1955-1964 were as a whole somewhat less brilliant than the earlier ones. Still, they feel surprisingly up-to-date, like “Autofac” where automatic factories run amok and start producing more factories – could this happen to 3D printers?

 

The_Haunting_of_Alaizabel_CrayChris Wooding: The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray.

This entertaining gothic/steampunk story set in a Victorian London haunted by strange “wych-kins” is extensively described on Wikipedia . In the story a hunter of wych-kins saves a girl who is possessed by an evil spirit. There is a lot of action and a nice atmosphere.

 

forhennesskullElin Holmerin: För hennes skull. (For her.)

A short fairy tale rather than a fantasy story about an elderly archchancellor who falls in love with a criminal girl, set in a fake medieval society with tough aristrocracy and priests. The story did not get me interested.

 

Leckie_AncillaryJusticeAnn Leckie: Ancillary Justice.

This novel has already been nominated for several prestigious prizes. It is the author’s first novel and the first part of a trilogy. It was rumoured to be military sf and that is usually quite boring, but this book was absolutely not boring. A central computer in a space ship completely controls the brains of soldiers who were taken captives in war. This idea is elegantly developed by describing a single soldier who has lost his central ship. The novel has much to say about free will, the human condition, relationships and even sex equality – everyone is taken to be female and the central figure does not care about the difference. Another character has been frozen for a thousand years and his drug dependence and stubbornness make him so very human. I absolutely recommend this novel! Even if I most certainly will read the next novel in the sequence this is not necessary; it definitely is complete in itself.

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