Sunday, January 14, 2007

Interesting Times

I've actually read two books so far this year. Alastair Reynold's Pushing Ice (science fiction) and Terry Pratchett's Interesting Times (fantasy). I won't try to compare them as they're nothing alike.

Pushing Ice was pretty good, but not particularly original. Very Rendezvous with Rama, if you're familiar with that work, if the humans hitched a ride on Rama and rode it to a conclusion. Mash in a little bit of Robert Charles Wilson's Spin, and you've got almost the whole plot, except for the disgusting puppy aliens who ride a gristleship and pee on things to mark them and get them to bind together (like their ship). What I like about Reynolds, is that he doesn't need to make you love the characters. Some of them truly suck and aren't people you'd ever want to know. Nothing as bad as Iain Banks' character(s) in Use of Weapons, mind you, but definitely characters with grudges that are above and beyond reason (as is possible with humans).

Interesting Times was above average for one of the Discworld books. Mean Mr. Mustard might be interested to know that my version doesn't look like the one in the picture on the left, but is an older version with Rincewind's Wizzard hat on the cover. He was a little annoyed with me the other day because I made a joke about the hat and the legged luggage to Klund and he had to wiki it. Interesting Times takes place in a country that's a mix of Japan and China and mocks a few things, including their culture, barbarian (Western) culture, the English school system, the Lord of the Rings, et al. I think it was "raining cats and food" might be a little over the top, but the rest was pretty funny. I liked one of the 90-year old barbarians (part of the "silver horde") stating:
"Right, D'you know, when I went after that Five-Headed Vampire Goat over in Skund they said I shouldn't on account of it being endangered species? I said, yes, that was down to me. Were they grateful?"

"Huh," said Caleb. "Should've thanked you, giving them all those endangered species to worry about."


klund said...

Assuming you've read the Discworld books sequentially, you're at a good place. The following books are almost universally strong ("The Last Continent" provides a slight drop). "Feet of Clay" is definitely top-notch, and only two books away!

Scooter said...

My library doesn't carry most of them, including 90% of those after Interesting Times (and I bought that one). It's very annoying. Of course, they're ending up with copies of the entire series as I read the ones they don't have and donate them.

klund said...

You know you can get other libraries to send the books to yours, don't you? Do you actually think the St. Peter library has more than three Pratchett books?