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swynn

swynn

Joined March 2018

Librarian - sf/fantasy addict - runner - germanophile - he/him or they/them
review
swynn
Derailed | Mary Keliikoa
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Pickpick

First in a series featuring Portland PI Kelly Pruett. In this one, Pruett investigates the (maybe not so) accidental death of a young woman who stumbled in front of a light rail train. It hits a couple of false notes for me, but does what it needs to do at an entertaining pace.

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swynn
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It all begins with a single drop of water.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

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swynn
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And there's my #BookSpinBingo card for December.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! Good luck!! 2d
30 likes1 comment
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swynn
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My #BookSpin and #DoubleSpin picks for December: a discussion of humanity's cosmic significance, which I coincidentally started yesterday ("How significant are we?" so far: Not much. Also, maybe, a lot.); and a memoir about being Black in twentieth century Germany. Looking forward to that one too.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2d
27 likes1 comment
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swynn
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.... and there's my #BookSpinBingo card for November. And now I wait for Dec. 2 and the next game.

@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! Fantastic month!! 3d
27 likes1 comment
review
swynn
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Pickpick

This is an introduction to a set of mathematical problems inspired by shoe lacings: how can lacings be classified? What is the shortest lacing? The longest? The strongest? The weakest? It's a fun set of problems for people who find this sort of thing fun (me!) The author has a YouTube channel for popular math, where you can see him talk about this material: https://youtu.be/CSw3Wqoim5M

This book is that video, with fewer jokes and more math.

Dilara Thank you for the link. That video was fantastic! I'm not sure I'm ready for the book, but I certainly enjoyed the 30-minute video explanation. 3d
swynn @Dilara So glad you liked it! 3d
28 likes2 comments
review
swynn
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Mehso-so

"Spies From Earth" (1964)

Last episode, Terrans first encountered the "Blues": saucer-headed aliens whose interplanetary empire rivals the Terran/Arkonide one in size and power. To learn more, Terran agents disguised as Blues infiltrate a secondary planet of the Blues empire. But things do not go as planned. It's a fun entry.

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swynn
Wheels | Arthur Hailey
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My #BookSpin #DoubleSpin #BookSpinBingo list for (ack!) December. Looking forward to wrapping 2021 with BookSpin games!

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 5d
36 likes1 comment
review
swynn
The Jumbie God's Revenge | Tracey Baptiste
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Mehso-so

(2019) Third and most recent in Baptiste's middle-grade series drawing on Caribbean folklore. In this one, events of the first two books have annoyed a god, who intends to silence the annoying humans and jumbies with a devastating storm. It's okay, though it sometimes felt too busy to me, and I didn't buy the resolution. OTOH I'm not the target audience, so take that FWIW.

review
swynn
The Hidden Law | Michael Nava
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Pickpick

(1992) Fourth in Nava's series featuring gay Latino lawyer Henry Rios. In this one, Rios defends a young addict accused of murdering a prominent Latino state senator, while also dealing with a personal breakup and confronting difficult feelings about his relationship with his father. I love this series and this one is a strong entry.

review
swynn
Napoleons of Eridanu | Pierre Barbet
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Mehso-so

(1976; French original 1970)

Peaceful aliens, who have forgotten how to fight, abduct soldiers in Napoleon's army from the snowy fields around Moscow, and convince them to fight on the aliens' behalf against hostile invaders. It has a few clever bits and is mercifully short, but mostly feels clunky and dated.

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swynn
Napoleons of Eridanu | Pierre Barbet
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1. The Napoleons of Eridanus by Pierre Barbet
Spione von der Erde by Kurt Mahr
The Hidden Law by Michael Nava

2. Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

3. Winter Counts by David Heskli Wanbli Weiden

#WeekendReads
@rachelsbrittain

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swynn
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Die Menschheit steht kurz vor einem entscheidenden Ereignis – vielleicht dem gewichtigsten ihrer bisherigen Geschichte.

Humanity stands on the brink of a decisive event -- perhaps the most important of its history so far.

#FirstLineFrudays
@ShyBookOwl

review
swynn
One by One | Ruth Ware
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Mehso-so

A business retreat at an alpine mountain chalet is complicated by an avalanche trapping the chalet's residents snowbound with a murderer. It's okay, but also contains several narrative pet peeves that had me rolling my eyes.

vivastory I started reading this & only got a few pages in before I set it down. I found the introductions to the different employees grating. 1w
swynn @vivastory Oh yeah, the introductions via hipster marketing copy! Good news is, that style choice changes pretty quickly. 1w
41 likes2 comments
review
swynn
Race to the Sun | Rebecca Roanhorse
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Pickpick

It's a middle-grades book about a middle-grades monster hunter, based on Navajo folklore. It's fun, and knows its audience.

37 likes1 stack add
review
swynn
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Mehso-so

It's a surreal novella set in a segregated city where White and Black districts are separated by railroad tracks for a train carrying ghosts. Black homes and citizens are targeted for erasure. The narrator finds she is losing her skin color and language and eventually her home. Others disappear altogether. Powerful stuff, but it's rarely clear just what is happening, nor what is a dream. I admire parts of it, but it is not an easy read.

review
swynn
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Pickpick

(1964) A group of scientists investigate a vast multilevel labyrinth beneath an abandoned temple on the planet Eysal and discover that, while the temple may be abandoned, the maze is not. Thus humans' first face to face encounter with the mysterious "Merciful" is led by academics unprepared for hostilities. Plenty of action in this one, in a setting used to good effect.

This was my #DoubleSpin for November.
@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2w
31 likes1 comment
review
swynn
Love Story | Erich Segal
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Mehso-so

This was the bestselling novel in the US in 1970. I've been aware of it forever ("Love means never having to say you're sorry," FFS ?) but it's not really my kind of thing, never seen the movie, wasn't interested. Pleasantly surprised to find it very short-- barely 100 pages-- and pretty readable: bland, but direct. It won't take much more than an hour of your time, if you're interested. I'm still not a fan, but have read many worse bestsellers.

thegreensofa I love your review. 2w
Crazeedi Remember vividly reading this when it came out 2w
swynn @Crazeedi That may have been the best time to read it. The thing that will probably stick with me most is how the doctor doesn't share Jenny's diagnosis with her but tells the husband and suggest he hide it from her as long as possible. And husband does! WTF?!? It probably made sense in 1970 .... 2w
31 likes4 comments
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swynn
Jack of Swords | E. C. Tubb
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Pickpick

Fourteenth in Tub's space opera adventure series featuring galactic traveler Earl Dumarest. In this one, Dumarest gets roped into a search for a legendary treasure planet. It's fun as usual. The resolution involves one too many unlikely coincidences for my taste, but it delivers on action, suspense, and exotic settings.

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swynn
In an Absent Dream | Seanan McGuire
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Pickpick

Fourth in McGuire's "Wayward Children" series featuring refugee children from portal fantasy worlds, this time set in a "Goblin Market" world, where principles of fair trade are magically enforced. WC is my favorite of McGuire's series, with just the right mix of fantasy, adventure, and melancholy, and this entry fits right in.

BehindthePages Love this series ❤ 2w
31 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Ihre kurzen, raschen Schritte hallten tappend durch die schmale Gasse, die die Explosion gerissen hatte.

Their short, quick steps echoed softly through the narrow alley that the explosion had torn.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

review
swynn
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Pickpick

It's a look at early-19th-century American utopianism through the stories of five movements: the Shakers, the Owenists, the Fourierists, Icaria, and Oneida. My knowledge of these groups and of utopianism in general was minimal and mostly belittling. So I was fascinated by Jennings's account of how many movements there were, their ideological diversity, and the surprising relations between them. It's good stuff, engagingly written, and recommended.

35 likes2 stack adds
review
swynn
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Pickpick

Here's a collection of nine stories by "two-spirit and indigiqueer" authors, with themes of apocalypse, kinship, and identity. No duds here, but my favorite was Adam Garnet Jones's "History of the World," an affecting story about conflicting loyalties in a situation of imperfect information.

Chrissyreadit I agree- all of the stories were good. 2w
32 likes1 comment
blurb
swynn
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01. Love After the End (Joshua Whitehead, ed.)
The Shoelace Book (Burkard Polster)
Paradise Now (Chris Jennings)

02. The Big Burn (Timothy Egan)

03. Oh yes, always. Right now it's:
The Silence of the Wilting Skin (Tlotlo Tsamaase)
One By One (Ruth Ware)
Checkmate in Berlin (Giles Milton)

#WeekendReads
@rachelsbrittain

review
swynn
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Mehso-so

I think I need to take a break from this series. The jokes are all sounding the same, and this one asks me to believe that restoring a hereditary monarchy is a solution, which ... yeah, no it's not. I'll probably pick it up again sometime because the character, cast, and world do still appeal to me.

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swynn
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Pickpick

"Contact Ship Terrania" (1964)

With help from a new ally, Terrans locate the Schreckworms' homeworld, where they go to offer their one-time nemeses a mutually beneficial arrangement.

26 likes1 stack add
review
swynn
Freedom | Sebastian Junger
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Mehso-so

Author Junger walks the rails (illegally, which is part of the point) in the northeast US, while contemplating freedom, drawing object lessons from history and prehistory. It's short and consistently interesting, but also lacks resolution. I'd have preferred a longer book with clearer conclusions.

swynn Forgot to mention: this is my #BookSpin read for November. @TheAromaofBooks 2w
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 2w
34 likes2 comments
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swynn
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📖 Tagged.

🍁 See inset. That good boy makes me smile every dang day

📚 Phonetically-rendered dialect.

#thoughtfulthursday
@MoonWitch94

MoonWitch94 Awwww too cute! Thanks for playing 🍂📖✨ 3w
Ruthiella Cute pup! ❤️🐶 3w
28 likes2 comments
review
swynn
Raybearer | Jordan Ifueko
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Mehso-so

This one gets a lot of love, and I'm glad it's found its audience. Unfortunately, it was mostly a miss for me. (Surprise! Old dude finds YA book too angsty for his taste! Details at 11!) Hope those who loved it enjoy the sequels too.

wanderinglynn I find a lot of the highly raved about YA books also too angsty. Must be a middle-aged thing. 😆 3w
Soubhiville I‘m with both of you @wanderinglynn . 🤣 3w
swynn @wanderinglynn @Soubhiville 😄 Excellent to have company! (Also excellent to know there's enough of these book-things to go around and that the target audience is being fed.) (edited) 3w
33 likes3 comments
review
swynn
A Rage in Harlem | Chester Himes
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Pickpick

(1957) It's a crime novel set in mid-20th-century Harlem, with a cast of not especially sympathetic characters trying to get their hands on a trunk of gold ore. It's twisty, violent, bitterly funny, and I loved it.

38 likes1 stack add
review
swynn
Flight To Opar | Philip Jose Farmer
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Mehso-so

(1974) Sequel to Farmer's "Hadon of Ancient Opar", though it's not so much a sequel as book two of a two-volume novel, which is not so much a novel as a long piece of Tarzan/Quatermain fanfic. It's okay for what it is. I expect it would appeal most to those who know the Burroughs and Haggard novels well enough to catch the references better than I do.

review
swynn
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Pickpick

(Under the Spell of the Giant Planet) (1964)
On Impos, an Earth-sized moon of the giant planet Herkules, scientific teams are investigating the artifacts of a long-vanished alien civilization. Then an instrument reading shows that Herkules's center of mass does not match its geographical center. In fact, its center of mass seems to be *moving*. Intrigue and peril ensue -- and also a clue to the mystery of Schreckworms.

quote
swynn
Flight To Opar | Philip Jose Farmer
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Hadon leaned on his sword and waited for death.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

review
swynn
Hadon of Ancient Opar | Philip Jose Farmer
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Mehso-so

(1974) In the Tarzan series, Opar is a lost city of fabulous riches deep in the jungle. This book and its sequel imagine the adventures of a native of Opar back when it was a thriving city on the shore of an inland African sea. It's okay, though it shares some problems of the Tarzan series, along with a few of its own. This is a reread, since the sequel is next in my DAW challenge and I realized I didn't remember book 1 well enough to read book 2.

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swynn
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... and my #BookSpinBingo card for November.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
23 likes1 comment
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swynn
Freedom | Sebastian Junger
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The #BookSpin fates smile on me this month: a couple of short reads that should be no problem -- although in case #DoubleSpin there are a couple other volumes that must be read first.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 1mo
19 likes1 comment
review
swynn
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Panpan

"Chess With the Demon" (1978)

Ghost-Hunter John Sinclair plays chess with a demon for the lives of his friends. It's kind of a mess because the villain's motives are never clear, and for a chess-playing demon he sure makes a lot of clumsy mistakes. Between parts that haven't aged well and parts that don't make sense, there's little to like in this episode.

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swynn
Rage in Harlem | Chester B Himes
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After a couple of months off, here's my #bookspin #doublespin #bookspinbingo list for November.

@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
johncadams Great list!
1mo
28 likes2 comments
review
swynn
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Mehso-so

"The Second Empire" (1964) A fleet of the Terran/Arkonide Empire meets a fleet from the mysterious civilization known only as "The Merciful." Battle is joined, but neither side has weapons to defeat the other's defenses, so casualties are few. Much of the plot centers on a futile attempt by Terran teleporters to board a Merciful ship, and the unlikely (one might say ridiculous) events that follow.

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swynn
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I may be in a reading slump, but that's no reason to deny myself a haul at the Lions Club annual booksale, right?

review
swynn
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Pickpick

It's an engaging, sometimes horrifying, account of the founding of the National Forest Service and its losing fight against the Great Fire of 1910, which burned over 3 million acres of timber. There is nothing not to like here, from fascinating history that throws light on current policies, powerful personalities in conflict, and extreme peril. Recommended.

Suet624 Sounds great. Stacked! 2mo
swynn @Suet624 Hope you like it as well as I did! 2mo
43 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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swynn
Untitled | Anonymous
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1. No

2. LibraryThing, where I maintain a thread in the group, "75 Books Challenge" https://www.librarything.com/topic/334429

I mostly avoid other social media.

3. Air in my lungs. Blood in my heart.

Thanks for the tag @Eggs !
#WondrousWednesday

Eggs ❤️ #3 🙌🏻😻🎃 2mo
29 likes1 comment
review
swynn
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Pickpick

It's a pretty good collection of essays on mathematical subjects, mostly at the level of a general audience. My favorites included essays on the mathematics of gerrymandering, integer sequences, and 3d optical illusions (like these: https://youtu.be/oWfFco7K9v8)

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swynn
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Mrs swynn: Are you going to read any scary books for October?

Me: Yeah, I was thinking maybe ...

She: Oh, never mind. I see you've already started.

Smartass.

vivastory I'm going to have to agree with her. I'm terrified. 😂 2mo
wanderinglynn 🤣🤣🤣 2mo
Ruthiella I am frightened just looking at the cover! 😱😂 2mo
See All 6 Comments
Chrissyreadit 🤣🤣🤣 2mo
bthegood 😂 😂 2mo
BkClubCare Yay!! 2mo
45 likes6 comments
review
swynn
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Mehso-so

"The Deal With Death"
For Terran agents are trapped on a spaceship of unknown origin, speeding on autopilot to an unknown destination. With them in the ship is a deadly and near-indestructible Scheckworm, who is also trapped and does not wish to ride the ship to its programmed target, but cannot operate the ship's controls. For mutual temporary benefit, humans and worm strike an uneasy truce. Plot holes in this one are even wider than usual.

Ruthiella You‘ve been away awhile. Glad to have you back! 😃 2mo
swynn @Ruthiella Thanks for the welcome-back! September has been crazy, and the craziness isn't over, but I'm hoping to be a little more regular again. 2mo
29 likes2 comments
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swynn
Das doppelte Lottchen | Erich Kstner
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Pickpick

Lotte and Luise meet at summer camp, surprised to find they share the same face and the same birthdate and the same birthplace and wait a minute ...

It's creaky sometimes, but given that it's a children's novel from 1949 about twins who reunite their divorced parents (it's the source of "The Parent Trap"), I'm surprised that it hasn't aged worse. The author's respect for children is strong, and that helps a lot.

julesG I was similarly surprised how well this one aged. I read it with my daughter a year ago. 3mo
37 likes1 comment
review
swynn
The Big Bounce | Elmore Leonard
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Mehso-so

This was Leonard's first crime novel, after several westerns. It's not bad: it's the kind of bad-people-behaving-badly story he later perfected. The prose and dialog are already sharp. The plot feels thin, though, and the ending contrived. And while it feels a little weird to complain about it in a book about crooks and thugs, I could have done without the casual racism and misogyny. (Violence and larceny are fine -- they're what I came for.)

review
swynn
Perilous Dreams | Andre Norton
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Mehso-so

Mixed feelings about this collection of four stories set on Ty-Kry, where the idle rich can pay psychic Dreamers to bring them into shared dreams for adventure and diversion. Norton's stiff prose is a barrier for me, complicated here by stories that lack resolution and a world whose rules are opaque. OTOH, there are some terrific set pieces, like the hold full of bodies shown on the cover. (Tho in the text, it's the heroine who saves the hero.)

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swynn
Tales from the Loop | Simon Stlenhag
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Pickpick

It's an art book with a small amount of text, depicting an alternative later-20th-century with robots, dinosaurs, hovercraft, and weirdness. It's brilliant and gorgeous and enthusiastically recommended.

Now I can watch the Amazon series, though I'm already pissed that they moved the setting from Sweden to &@#€ Ohio.

Zoes_Human I was disappointed in the TV series. 4mo
swynn @Zoes_Human Dang, I'm disappointed to hear that. Although frankly, I sort of expect it. 4mo
Zoes_Human @swynn You may like it better than me, but I felt it missed the mark on recreating the atmosphere of the books. 4mo
36 likes3 comments
review
swynn
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Mehso-so

An academic discussion of utopian, futurist, and science fiction writing, and the literary role of sf texts, in context of German-language science fiction. It's pretty dry, and I'm certain I missed subtleties of the author's argument. But I was all eyes on a series of chapters discussing sf subgenres, with summaries of representative German novels.

Reader, my TBR grew like a radioactive sewer rat.

This was my August #BookSpin

Ruthiella I would have thought you‘d already read every German Sci-Fi book from the 20th century! 😜 What is an example of a book or author that‘s new to you/your radioactive TBR? 4mo
swynn @Ruthiella I wish! In an appendix, Cornils offers a list of about 70 titles he regards as essential to German sf - I was aware of about half of them, but have read only three. 🙄 An example of a new-to-me title is Marlen Haushofer's “Die Wand“ (1963, translated to English as “The Wall“ 1990), about a woman vacationing in the Austrian Alps when one morning she discovers that she has been cut off from civilization by an invisible wall. 4mo
36 likes2 comments