October Redux: the storm before the storm

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

October was non-stop: my project at work hit the face-the-music phase (end-user feedback); I ‘popped’ to Kentucky for a weekend to see my dearest friend; I attended Bristolcon; we did some Kondoing as we got new wardrobes; and let’s not talk about the never-ending saga of Brexit. Can someone put the kettle on before we crack on with SciFiMonth?

Reading Round-up

I mixed up my #SpooktasticReads with some SF this month (I need a break between horror stories – or even ghost stories – because I’m a wuss, okay?).

  • The Poison Song – Jen Williams  ★★★★★
  • Soon – Lois Murphy  ★★★☆
  • Hunger Makes the Wolf – Alex Wells  ★★★★
  • Thin Air – Michelle Paver  ★★★
  • Bite-size Books:
    • The Haunting of Tram Car 015 – P Djèlí Clark ★★★★
    • Ragged Alice – Gareth L Powell ★★★
  • DNFThe Gutter Legacy – Gareth Hanrahan*

* I’ll be coming back to this one. I didn’t hate it, I just wasn’t in the right mood. Turns out I was absolutely gasping for some space opera – which is awfully convenient, given it’s November tomorrow…

Additional Reviews

Stacking the shelves

Full disclosure: I bought Ragged Alice in July and The Last Supper Before Ragnarok in September, and forgot to include them in my monthly hauls. Whereas I thought I already had Fleet Of Knives – because I forgot I made my (unread!) copy a giveaway (instant regret) – so I fixed that this month to spend SciFiMonth catching up with my darling Trouble Dog. I’m blaming Little Eve on Spooktastic Reads (hey I thought I did well only succumbing to ONE book in the annual Gollanczfest irresistible offers). Then just as I was feeling quite smug about my forbearance this month Bristolcon happened and I came home with a bag full of books… to some bookpost. Oops?

Reading statistics

My goal – always – is to read diversely and to love every book. This year, I’m determined to read more books I own, but I am taking it one book at a time.

Books read: 57 / 75 | Game of Books: 325 / 400

  • 8 / 22 off the shelf (i.e. not bought in 2019)
  • 19 ARCs / Hugo packet
  • 16 bite-size (excl. short stories)

Authors: 16 male (8%) / 36 female (65%) / 4 trans, non-binary or genderfluid (6%) and 1 collaboration

  • Authors of colour: 11 (19%)
  • LGBTQIA authors: 14 (25.5%)
  • Non-US / UK based authors: 5 (8%)

Dancing with Fantasy and SciFi

I’ve made good progress on my fantasy dance card (a little lateral thinking goes a long way), so I have just 3 dance slots left to fill: Classic Fantasy, Magic School and Pirates. This changes what books I thought I’d be reading between now and year-end, but feels very manageable.

17/20 Fantasy prompts: Necromancers (Children of Blood and Bone) | PTSD (Someone Like Me) | Dragons (The Poison Song) | Fairytale Retelling (Foxfire, Wolfskin and other Stories of Shapeshifting Women) | Grimdark (Darksoul) | Ghosts (Brightfall) | Uncommon fantasy creatures (The Kingdom of Copper) | Shapeshifters (Vengeful)| Gods (Empire of Sand) | Animal companion (Maud the pig in Once Upon A River) | Matriarchy (Turning Darkness Into Light) | Set In Our World (The Loosening Skin) | Witches (The Near Witch) | Magical Law Enforcement (Lies Sleeping) | Thief (The Ascent to Godhood) | Portal fantasy (Beneath The Sugar Sky) | Warrior (Trail of Lightning)

Likewise, I have just 4 slots left in SciFi as SciFiMonth begins, so my TBR will need to be fairly directed (more about that tomorrow!) but doesn’t feel insurmountable.

16/20 SF prompts: On a Different Planet (The City in the Middle of the Night) | Spaceship (Shadow Captain) | A.I. Point of View (I Still Dream) | Utopia (Semiosis) | Virtual Reality (The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle) | Steampunk (The Haunting of Tram Car 015) | Alien (Tiamat’s Wrath) | Super powers (Static Ruin) | Science (The Calculating Stars) | Replicate (The Survival of Molly Southbourne) | Space Colonization (The Freeze-Frame Revolution) | Time Travel (This Is How You Lose The Time War) | Space Creatures / Beasts (Space Opera) | Space Western (Hunger Makes the Wolf) | The Moon (Adrift on the Sea of Rains) | Invasion (A Memory Called Empire)

With 4 left to go (and one the daunting ‘over 800 pages’), the generic card still feels troublesome. I have ideas of what to read, but I do wonder whether I’ll choose to read those books rather than some of the things burning a hole in my general TBR. We’ll see…

8/12 General prompts: Under 500 Pages (The Traitor Baru Cormorant) | Novella (Artificial Condition) | Finish A Series (The Unbound Empire) | Mental Health (The Psychology of Time Travel) | Disability (Age of Assassins) | Library (Every Day) | By a WOC (The Tea Master and the Detective) | One Word Title (Bloodchild)

What else has been going on?

I never have as much time as I’d like to indulge in our Wyrd and Wonder mini-event Spooktastic Reads, but I enjoyed my ghost stories even if I didn’t get to write up my ten top real life haunts…. guess I have a topic for next year!

…but now November is knocking on the door, and you know what that means:#SciFiMonth 2019: 1-30 November (background image of a spaceship soaring away from a planet or moon, a distant star gleaming)

Jump aboard – we’re taking off tomorrow!