Jan. 27th, 2010

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Okay, I may have failed to keep updating what I read in 2009, but I still have most of the books on one shelf, so will try and do a catch up post soon.

Meanwhile, I'd better start this year's list while I can still remember them.

1) Matter by Ian M. Banks.

Bought this ages ago, and took on Christmas holiday to France with me. On the basis that it would save me having to take 3 smaller books :)

The main "problem" with the Culture universe is that the Culture are at the top of the pecking order. Creating conflict within this utopia is tricky, so most of the novels are set at the edges. This is book that set largely outside their sphere of influence. This novel is largely centred around characters from a relatively primitive culture who are fully aware that they are several levels down from the movers and shakers of the galaxy.

Personally, this was a downside for me. The bits of this novel I enjoyed the most were the massive scale epic space opera moments. I just wasn't terribly interested as to what was happening to the these people's culture.

2) The Brentford Triangle by Robert Rankin

2nd in the The Brentford Trilogy

Hanging around with [livejournal.com profile] jamesb made me realise I'd been ignoring Rankin's books too long. Having bounced off The Da-da-de-da-da Code, when I won a review copy at the BSFA raffle, I eventually read The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of The Apocalypse and loved it, so went back to the start (pauseing briefly for Radio 7's broadcast of The Brightonomicon).

I felt this book flowed better than the The Antipope. Massively chaotic and surreal fun. Loved it. Glad I picked up the 4th book in the trilogy (with a Josh Kirby cover) for a song at the Novacon auction.

3) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

"Not Science-Fiction" my arse. I preferred cut for very minor structural spoilers. No plot spoiler. )

{ETA: Ooh! "what makes this [edition] unique is that the ending was rewritten for the Corgi edition, so dedicated fans will want to track this one down, to find out what happened in the original ending."}

4) Generation X by Douglas Coupland

I'd describe the protagonists of this as the 90's equivalent of "turn on, tune in, and drop out". The book follows three twenty somethings, who have chosen not to Be All They Can Be, but instead to work low paid, low responsibility jobs, until they've saved enough cash go backing round some far odd part of the world searching for themselves. The book is largely made up of series of stories which the characters tell each other, and serve as vignettes of the attitudes young adults in the late 80s.

I picked this up because I red a couple of his later novels last year. Personally, I preferred them, as they had a less fractured narrative.

The neologisms presented throughout in the footnote meet the "ignoble" test for me. First they make you laugh. Then they make you think.

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