Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Currently Reading....

Recently I have found it easier to blog about the books I am reading that the games I am playing so I have decided to add a "Currently Reading" sidebar.

I hesitated for a while. Somehow, telling the world about books I enjoy reading feels like a more intimate revelation than writing about my gaming hobby.

I guess all bloggers have a certain exhibitionist tendency, putting our innermost thoughts out on the internet for all to see. Nevertheless a huge advantage of blogging over other public media is the fact that you get to keep your privacy. I can write about gaming in my blog without telling you anything about all the other stuff that goes on in my life but writing about what I am reading exposes a little bit more of my soul.

Anyone reading this blog in which I describe the fantasy/sci-fi novels I read and the fantasy computer games I play will probably deduce that I am a pretty one dimensional character. I hope that that is not true. I don't think it is anyway.

Anyway first entry on the list is Alastair Reynolds "Chasm City which I have just started after finishing the first novel in this series "Revelation Space".

My local bookshop did their best to put me off Alastair Reynolds. The were highlighting a glossy silver covered edition of Revelation Space that touted glowing reviews from the likes of "The New York Times", "Maxim" and "The Good Book Guide". Now I am sure these are all very august publications but I have been stung often enough to realise that the mainstream media are totally unqualified to review genre works. From the packaging and the reviews shown it was clear that the publisher was trying to tout this as a crossover novel, rarely a good thing.

Happily I managed to find a paperback edition with more traditional picture of spaceship on the cover and reviews from Stephen Baxter and Locust. I decided to risk it.

Revelation Space is a good read - enough to encourage me to immediately move on to Chasm City.

I have to say I didn't find Revelation all that original despite the review hyperbole. It presents a well drawn but fairly standard vision of a future space faring humanity with different factions embracing varying levels of accommodation with advanced technology. The big idea in this novel is the question as to why the galaxy is not teeming with intelligent life. Reynolds answer is a good one and sets the stage for an entertaining plot but it is not particularly original.

I still recommend the book as an entertaining read. After all if originality was he only measure of a novels quality then the fantasy genre would comprise of four books.


Zoso said...

I started with Chasm City (weirdly randomly, someone gave it to be part of a whole-family-fun-pack-hamper-thing and it was thought to be a bit too unusual for general appeal, so I swapped it for an old Wilbur Smith...) and loved it; went back to Revelation Space and on through the rest of the series. Must pick up Pushing Ice and/or The Prefect sometime...

mbp said...

Hi Zoso. Originally I though Chasm city was the direct sequel to Revelation Space because it was Reynolds second novel. I am only a few pages in now but it seems to be more of a prequel than a sequel. Seem good so far though.