Last night I started Ecko Rising
which is the first novel by Danie Ware, who works for Forbidden Planet (I'm sure I'm not the only wigber who will have chatted to her at one UK event or another). The only reason I put the thing down last night was that I physically couldn't keep my eyes open any more. A really interesting plot that keeps on making staggering left turns (starts out police procedural, gets a bit future dystopia, turns into something like The Terminator then really
switches lanes.) No idea where this one is going, but I'm really enjoying getting there.
Before that, Dracula Cha Cha Cha
by Kim Newman. Came to the Anno Dracula books late (as in last year) but have hugely enjoyed spotting the references and allusions. (Puts on deep voice) "In a world where Jonathan Harker tried to fight Dracula and failed... Your favourite cinematic tropes are subverted." First book had Sherlock Holmes in a concentration camp in Surrey, the second had Biggles as Britain's undead ace fighter pilot. This one is La Dolce Vita
with fangs. And a secret agent, who drives an Aston Martin and is a vampire, who introduces himself with the immortal words "The name's Bond. Hamish Bond..." There's even a bad guy and a fluffy white cat. Hilarious - and I hear the fourth book in the series comes out later in the year. Can't wait.
, I read John Scalzi's Redshirts
which starts off as a Star Trek pisstake, morphs into something extremely meta, and then ends up as a meditation on love and loss. There's some emotional and mature writing, and it's quite possibly the best thing Scalzi's ever written.
In non-fiction, I've binged. Having seen Rush twice in the last month I grabbed a couple of Neil Peart books. I've just started Traveling Music
, which is an account of a road trip Rush's drummer went on a couple of years ago, but this journey is by car rather than by motorcycle, and as his CD collection plays on the car's sound system he focuses on the music he grew up with and gets rather autobiographical. This is mixed in with some interesting and introspective musings on just about anything that springs to mind, really.
I used to work in the Mansion at Bletchley Park when it was a BT training school, so I tend to buy anything and everything about the place that I find. Unfortunately I need to develop some quality filters for this, because Sinclair McKay's The Secret Life of Bletchley Park
is boringly written, toadying to the upper classes and full of cliches, with distinctly right-wing sniffiness about Turing. It's the sort of book you'd get if a hack who wrote for the Mail on Sunday decided to churn something quick and dirty out about the place, in fact.
Far better is Alan Turing: The Enigma
, by Andrew Hodges. It's an astonishingly deep look at Turing's life, and it's very obviously written by someone who actually understands the maths involved in Turing's work. Highly recommended.
By complete contrast, the other biography I'm reading at the moment is Ginger Geezer
by Chris Welch of the Melody Maker and Lucian Randall. It's the story of the creator of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, the narrator of Tubular Bells, the author and presenter of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and as Stephen Fry puts it, "One of the most talented, profligate, bizarre, absurd, infuriating, unfathomable and magnificent Englishmen ever to have drawn breath", Vivian Stanshall
. I adored him as a small child; when I moved to Bristol I discovered that local landmark The Thekla
was brought to the city by Stanshall's partner as somewhere he could stage performances. If you've never encountered the work of this (sadly, departed) genius then you are missing out.
Next on the stack, waiting to go, are (of course) The Shining Girls
by Lauren Beukes (who has become a wigber favourite, it seems; somebody get her to sign up here!) and Mieville's Railsea
. And about half a dozen others after that. So many books...