November 2015 – Books I’m excited about

Earlier in the year I posted about two books I was looking forward to reading.  One turned out to be a roaring the success, the other a bit of a disappointment.  Hopefully, I’ll get better than a 50% success rate with the ones I’ll mention in this post.

cat valente
Me with Cat Valente at WorldCon in 2014

First up is Radiance by Catherynne M Valente.  I met Cat at WorldCon last year.  She’s an amazingly versatile writer, producing everything from children’s fiction to adult fiction, and even wrote a Kafka homage called the Meowmorphosis.  I’ve mostly read her adult fiction, starting with the strange and odd Palimpsest.  And I’m a huge fan of her novel Deathless, which examines 20th century Russian history through a retelling of Russian folklore.

Cat describes Radiance as ‘Decopunk’.  From the free extract I received through NetGalley it’s clear it’s a glorious mash up of the Golden Age of Hollywood with the Golden Age of pulp SF.  It’s all coctails, rockets and colonies spread across the solar system mixed up with the burning aspiration of celebrity and the way we document our lives in the contemporary world of social media.

I was at the Gollancz Festival a few weeks ago . (I should have written a post about that, but life intervened.  Sorry.)  But I took the opportunity of their Buy One Get One Half Price offer to stock up on some books I’m keen to read, and to get them signed.

One of those I’m most excited about is Aliette de Bodard‘s House of Shattered Wings.  I love her short fiction, with its feminist commentary on colonialism.  So the prospect of a magical novel set in the aftermath of the destruction of Paris really appeals.

I also bought some books by Ian McDonald.  For some reason, I never bought his work when I was living in Belfast, despite it being heavily promoted as he is a local author.  But I finally read his Hugo-nominated short work Vishnu and the Cat Circus while I was on holiday last year, and was smitten.  So I’m planning to canter through his back list soon, as well as reading his new book Luna.

Both Aliette de Bodard and Ian McDonald are Guests of Honour at next year’s EasterCon.  I may go, so that’s even more of a reason to get up to date.


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