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[personal profile] jack
Lock in, John Scalzi

A disease put people in comas, now they communicate partly through a VR system, partly through tele-presence androids. Fairly good world-building, it's never just "ok", there's perennially ongoing battles for "who should pay for this" and "can you afford a decent chassis, or do you have to put up with something suboptimal", etc, etc.

The tech has moments of bullshit but not more than most stories which involve people jacking-in to things.

The plot was reasonably good, but I didn't find it especially memorable.

Given that there's almost NO fiction with a paralysed protagonist, this is a fairly good one to read, but it didn't blow me away other than that.

Johannes Cabal #4

Scientific necromancer anti-hero Johannes Cabal blunders into a new political/necromantic disaster that ties up some of the plot threads from the previous books, and finally, finally finds some progress on his true question for permanent resurrection.

Lockwood #2

Teenage rapier-wielding ghost hunter agency survives another book without going bankrupt.

Locksley Exploit

"The Circle", combined shadowy government agency and reincarnations of the knights of the round table, continue in a second book. Continues the things I like, the ongoing balance between host and ally personalities, the constant story-blindness "oops, how did we not notice AGAIN we were reinacting this story". But it bursts from secrecy into a countrywide insurrection, which is a delicate balancing act to maintain plausibility.

Boy with the porcelain blade

Ambiguous fantasy kingdom with some great worldbuilding, half-a-dozen children of various ages in ambiguous position at court, all sporting some power and/or deformity, forbidden from metal swords and ostracised by court but simultaneously groomed for great things. Feels a bit like a cross between a secondary-world court-politics novel and Gormenghast. But goes off the rails a bit trying to straddle the difference.

Fire and thorns

Promising excepts about a sidelined princess marrying for politics and then turning her book-reading into military and political strategy. But turns into too much "and then fate did it, but isn't it inspiring that fat people can be competent too"?

Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling)

The first of her detective novels. The mystery was reasonably well done, as were the characters. The main character is a PTSD-ridden ex-military-police big beat-up private detective, recently divorced from his beautiful society wife he had a messed up relationship with. And his sidekick is a young woman doing temp work while applying for permanent jobs, but would really love to be a private detective.

Lots of little things ring really true, like her fiance's unfortunate oblivious contempt for her job, and Strike's difficult relationship with his wife. But I felt like I didn't have enough reason to actually read it.

Date: 2016-03-31 10:41 am (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Huh, you don't mention the pronoun thing about Lock In?

(I mostly liked what it was doing with tech. There were some baffling bits where for Plot Convenient Purposes you ended up not getting the kind of delay we'd been told you did in controlling at long distances, but on the whole I was a fan.)

Date: 2016-03-31 11:04 am (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Ha, well, it is as we know a Special Interest of mine, so :-) (I actually managed to remain unspoiled for that feature of the book; about 20% of the way through, I went "hold up a sec, I don't think-- no, we actually haven't-- oh holy fuck I hope this is deliberate and isn't an elaborate set-up for People Being Awful", and actually went away and checked, and it wasn't and I just got to settle into the rest of the book with the most glorious feeling of relief. It was great. (This is also why the audiobook was released the way the audiobook was released; I can expand on that if you'd like me to but I'm trying to be a little circumspect!)

Date: 2016-03-31 11:10 am (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
So there's the cross-country chase where Chris ends up piloting a loaner body from a local branch of a law enforcement agency? That's the one point where I looked at The Rules Of Tech As They Had Been Set Up and went "... really?", but I was also being a bit "... really" about how a wheelchair featured in that scene, so.

*nod* re the problems with it -- I actually hadn't got as far as thinking those bits through (I was too busy bracing for something Obviously Awful, and it kept not actually happening) and now want to reread with it in mind! (But I did really like the idea that there's such strong ingroup/outgroup spaces, and that people get Spaces Of Their Own, and so on.)

Date: 2016-04-12 06:05 pm (UTC)
damerell: (reading)
From: [personal profile] damerell
I read it all (after the stern half of House of Shattered Wings) the day I travelled back, which I guess is an endorsement... but I did sort of wish Stross had written it, at times.