The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars

The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger book cover
The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger

The 5th Gender, by G. L. Carriger (the pen name Gail Carriger writes under when she does spicy stuff), is a wonderful romance-cozy-mystery-scifi story. The lavender Galoi alien Tristol Zyga and the human security officer Detective Drey Hastion are just starting their courtship when a Galoi spaceship contacts the space station with an odd request—the Galoi, who have no word for murder, have a non-accidental death on board and need of a detective. It’s up to Detective Hastion and Tris—who, as an exile, no longer exists to his people—to find out what happened.

Also, for those of delicate sensibilities, there’s a lot of sex in this book, fully described, male on male.

1—Wonderful Worldbuilding

We get alternating points of view from Tris and Drey, and each’s observations on the other and and how they interact with the people and space station around them forms the basis of some excellent worldbuilding. I love Tris’s take on human customs and idioms. And Drey is always willing to answer Tris’s questions and explain things, as well as ask questions of his own. Between the two of them, we learn a lot about Galoi and humans both. In particular, the Galoi’s five genders and anatomy were interesting to learn about. Continue reading “The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars”

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No Country for Old Gnomes—Unexpected Friends

No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne book cover
No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

No Country for Old Gnomes, by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, is continuing the Tales of Pell from the first book, Kill the Farmboy. In this book, we follow another group of not-exactly adventurers, this time on a quest to save the Skyr and the gnomes that are being blown up.

1—A New Set of Heroes

It takes a while to gather our heroes and set up the story, but between the puns, the umlauts, and the firebombs, it’s never dull. We begin with Onni and Offi, twin gnome brothers who couldn’t be more different, as their home comes under attack by smelly halflings. We shortly thereafter meet Kirsi, a young gnome woman who’s spent her life hiding the fact that she’s a bristle witch who can only curse people—not very gnomeric. They start out just wanting to get to a refugee shelter alive. Continue reading “No Country for Old Gnomes—Unexpected Friends”

More Reading About People Reading—The “Dragonriders of Pern” Reread

I apologize for not having posted for a couple of weeks. I’ve been suffering from some anxiety and it’s prevented me from consuming any new media. I saw my doctor and got some medication and that’s helped, so I should have a real post for you next week.

Meantime, over on Tor.com, Mari Ness has started a new Reread (I linked to some of her other stuff earlier), Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. Check out her commentary, it’s fun.

Shedunnit Podcast—The Stories Behind the Golden Age of Mystery

Shedunnit podcast by Caroline Crampton
Shedunnit by Caroline Crampton

Shedunnit, by Caroline Crampton, is a podcast about the stories behind the Golden Age of mystery stories and detective novels, which took place in the Interwar period . The podcast goes into the lives and histories of the authors themselves, as well as surrounding events, social climates, themes, etc. that shaped the Cozy Mystery .

With each episode coming in at around twenty minutes, and a list of books mentioned, each topic gets a nice introduction and some exploration while still leaving plenty to suss out if a particular topic takes your fancy.

Ocean’s 8—Great Cast, Boring Plot

Ocean's 8 movie poster
Ocean’s 8

A group of thieves, led by conwoman Debbie Ocean, set out to steal a priceless necklace off the neck of a famous actress at the Met Gala. All-star cast led by Sandra Bullock.

1—Predictable Plot

When Debbie Ocean gets out of jail on parole, she sets about gathering a cast of criminals for the biggest heist of their lives. A heist that goes off without a hitch. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Leverage reruns, but I was expecting something to go wrong at some point, and anticipated watching the criminals have to react on their feet. This is not what happened. There’s a few complications, but they get handled immediately, no alteration to the larger plan needed. Also, the title kind of gives away that an eighth person will unexpectedly join their ring. Continue reading “Ocean’s 8—Great Cast, Boring Plot”

Podcasts for Writers

I know I’ve linked to these podcasts previously separately, but I figured I should put them all in one place. That, and they’re really good and all deserve another shout out.

1—The Creative Penn

Hosted by Joanna Penn, an indie author and entrepreneur. In the first part of the podcast, she disseminates the latest developments in technology etc that impacts indie authors. Then the second part is an interview with an author. Continue reading “Podcasts for Writers”

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning book cover
Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning

Warlock Homes: A Study in Brimstone, by G. S. Denning, is a fantastic, comedic take on Sherlock Homes, and is just as ludicrously fun as it sounds. Being the journal of one Dr. John Watson, it chronicles his first cases with the bumbling but powerful Warlock Holmes, and starts with John’s apology for ending the world.

1—The Characters

I loved the characters in this book. There is, of course, Dr. Watson, who narrates. Watson is observant and sarcastic—not to most of the people he speaks with, but to his reader, and, once comfortable with him, to Warlock. Next there’s Warlock Holmes himself, who is less than observant, and yet endearingly so. There’s Vladislav Lestrade, a nihilistic vampire and Scotland Yard detective, as is Torg Grogsson, an honorable ogre with a love of ballet dancers. There’s also a host of characters that don’t repeat from story to story, each with their own individual quirks. Continue reading “Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World”

The Devil You Know—Ghosts, Demons, and the Exorcist Caught in the Middle

The Devil You Know by Mike Carey book cover
The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

The Devil You Know, by Mike Carey, follows the first-person perspective adventures of exorcist Felix Castor. Felix—Fix to his friends—hasn’t been doing his job lately. After a botched exorcism on his best friend Rafi leaves Rafi intertwined with a demon, Fix looses the will to do what he was born to do. But when his dear friend and landlady Pen needs some rent money badly, Fix reluctantly takes on a job—a job that turns out to be much more than a simple ghost.

1—The Worldbuilding

The worldbuilding is done well, woven into the narrative, never too much at once but always building your understanding of the world Fix inhabits. The dead have risen in sufficient numbers that people can’t just ignore them anymore so there’s plenty of work for the few people with the talent to be exorcists. Besides your garden variety ghosts, there’s zombies—where a dead person re-inhabits their dead body—and loup-garou—where a ghost inhabits an animal and reshapes its flesh into their lost human image. Continue reading “The Devil You Know—Ghosts, Demons, and the Exorcist Caught in the Middle”

Deadpool 2—Family and Lots of Death

Deadpool 2 movie poster
Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is a little hard to describe succinctly. Wade Wilson, Deadpool, is a super non-hero who finds himself suicidal after the death of the love of his life, but due to his mutant healing ability, he can’t die. The movie is funnier than it sounds. Also, like its predecessor, NOT for kids. Graphic violence and sex jokes abound.

1—They Kill Vanessa, Goddamnit

I liked Vanessa, she was well developed and fun. Even the beginning credits call out how cruel it was to kill her just as she and Wade were about to start a family. That doesn’t mean she’s absent from the movie—Wade keeps seeing her as he almost dies—but I still miss her. Continue reading “Deadpool 2—Family and Lots of Death”