On Friday, as Jim Winter, I will have three crime fiction books I want to read this year on Sleuthsayers. I read widely, alternating fiction and nonfiction on Audible, keeping a set rhythm in print and on Kindle that makes it easier (but not always easy) to pick a read. I start with nonfiction – history, self-help, a memoir – then crime, then science fiction. This is followed by an indie pick, and I have to read A Bag of Dick’s, not only because I have a story in it, but the anthology forms a loose story arc of which I’ve only read three entries: my own, one to kick off the antho, and another story I beta read. After the indie is a classic, either going through the canon of Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, or William Shakespeare, or plowing through Harold Bloom’s list of novels in How to Read. Crime and Punishment I’ll have to do on Audible. According to a couple of people who speak Russian, the translations do make it hard for English and French audiences. Something gets lost in the translation, and no one seems to understand how to get around it. Finally, I wrap up with Stephen King’s backlist, minus a couple of screenplays. And the Bachman books will be read separately. Yes, I have the out-of-print Rage, but as I’m not likely to shoot up a school, I can revisit it. (Sidenote: I agree with King’s decision to let that one die.)
So what’s on the scifi list this year?
Ranks of Bronze
David Drake turns in a novel about aliens enslaving a Roman Legion. Apparently, you shouldn’t let primitives keep their swords. Someone gave me this as a wedding present.
Yeah, I’m that guy, the one who continues to buy or borrow books when there are unread novels on my shelf.
I’ve already seen the 2021 version of this and am looking forward to the sequel. No more of David Lynch’s stylized to the point of incomprehension film or SyFy’s lame attempt to dumb down the series. No, this was exactly what Dune required: A real-world telling of the story with some of the book cut out. Let’s be honest. A novel and a movie are two different types of storytelling, and Denis Villeneuve managed to keep enough of the original to carry the spirit of Frank Herbert’s novel onto the screen. Also didn’t hurt he cut the book in two at a very logical stopping point. But it’s always good to revisit the source material, especially since I last read it when I was fifteen.
Shards of Earth
I’ve had several people recommend Adrian Tchaikovsky’s book in recent months. This book is one of two, which seems to common now instead of the almost requisite trilogy.
Shards of Earth looks at enhanced soldiers created to protect humanity from the aliens who destroyed Earth. But with the war over, they’re obsolete, discarded, making their living on the fringes. Until one named Idris discovers an artifact. But did the enemy leave it behind? Or are they coming back?