Current Reading: Wilson, Cartmel, Grecian

darwiniaI finished Robert Charles Wilson’s Darwinia (1998). I got a paperback copy (Thank you Red Reviewer!) but then the ebook copy arrived from the library and I ended up reading the book on the iPad. I’d read a few reviews of the book, so I thought I had a good idea of what to expect, but I was wrong.

In 1912, overnight, a large portion of Europe is replaced by an alien, unpeopled landscape. A scientific expedition sets forth to explore and if possible discover how and why this has happened. I would have liked more on the exploration, less of the politics (perhaps that’s a reaction to current events), and a little less of the way-out cosmic “explanation” for the whole business. Still, an intriguing book.


I returned two other library books as I had no time to read them before they came due. Now I’ll get back to The Vinyl Detective – Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel, which I was about halfway through when the library book came. I’m not used to setting a book down at the midpoint and picking it back up a week or two later, but I was enjoying it so I’m sure it will be fine.

Barbara finished Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre, which, she didn’t like as much as the previous books by the author she has read. Now she’s reading Lost and Gone Forever, by Alex Grecian, the latest in the novels of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad. It’s a series she’s been enjoying a lot.

What about you?
What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in current reading, Mystery, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Current Reading: Wilson, Cartmel, Grecian

  1. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Read Michael Connelly’s excellent new novel The Wrong Side o Goodbye. Read Ron Hansen’s novel about Billy the Kid called The Kid. Liked it but didn’t love up. Not as good as his earlier novels Desperadoes and The Assassination of Jesse James. Now rereading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. One of my favorite SF novels. And dipping into a short story collection by Adam Nevill-Some Will Not Sleep.

  2. Deb says:

    I picked up two Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Bill Slider mysteries: HARD GOING and KILL MY DARLING. I’d read them both before, but I needed some comfort reading, and few series give me that sense of comfort as being back with Bill, Joanna, Atherton, Norma, and the rest of the Shepherds Bush gang. I daresay once Wednesday rolls around–whatever the outcome of the election–I’ll be able to concentrate more on reading some new-to-me books.

    I have been able to read one new book: CAN I GO NOW? Brian Kellow’s biography of Sue Mengers, dubbed Hollywood’s first “super agent”. If, like me, you spent much of the early-to-mid 1970s reading Rona Barrett’s Hollywood gossip magazine, Mengers was frequently mentioned (even if I was unsure then exactly what an agent did) along with her well-known clients: Streisand, Hackman, Caine, Ryan O’Neal, Ali McGraw, Candace Bergen, etc. Mengers flew high from the mid-1960s to the early-1980s, but her loud, abrasive personality was a poor match for the more buttoned-down Reagan era–and she spent the last 25 years of her life in relative obscurity. Fun fact: Dyan Cannon gave a great impersonation of her erstwhile agent in the murder-mystery “The Last of Sheila”.

    • I’m not at all sure Wednesday will bring any closure to the election. I expect rants, challenges (I’m assuming Clinton wins), recounts, bad counts, delayed counts, confusion and who knows what else. I may be in a small dark room with my fingers in my ears singing la-la-la-la.

      No, I never read a word of Rona Barrett or anyone else’s gossip column. Unless you want to call the sports page gossip. When I finish the book I’m reading now, I have a wide-open field of choices. TBR beware.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        For a while they actually had her doing her gossip on our local Eyewitness News show. Sardonic anchorman Roger Grimsby was famous for sticking it to her. He’d often make sure they scheduled a story about raw sewage or the like, so he could segue, “Speaking of raw sewage, here’s Rona Barrett.”

  3. Jerry House says:

    I made good on last week’s threat to read more of the Danny Dunn series by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin, reading the remaining three I own: DANNY DUNN AND THE FOSSIL CAVE, DANNY DUNN, TIME TRAVELER, and DANNY DUNN, SCIENTIFIC DETECTIVE. They were interesting, but nothing to get really excited about. All three are short YAs, taking a little over an hour to read each.

    My Forgotten Book this week was a graphic novel by Dick Lupoff and Steve Stiles, THE ADVENTURES OF PROFESSOR THINTWHISTLE & HIS INCREDIBLE AETHER FLYER, a sort of proto-steampunk extravaganza that I thoroughly enjoyed.

    Lastly, I tore through six — count ’em, six — Isaac Asimov anthologies: TANTALIZING LOCKED ROOM MYSTERIES (edited with Charles G. Waugh and Martin H. Greenberg), ISAAC ASIMOV PRESENTS THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION FIRSTS (ditto — each story the first to present a science fiction theme, concept, or gimmick), SPACE MAIL (edited with Joseph Olander & Greenberg — the stories here were all in epistolary form), THE FUTURE IN QUESTION (ditto — with the title of each story being in the form of a question), ISAAC ASIMOV PRESENTS THE GREAT SF STORIES 7 (1945) (edited with Greenberg), and PURR-FECT CRIMES (edited with Carol-Lynn Rossel Waugh & Greenberg — mysteries with cats, real or imagined or symbolic). Good collections all.

    We’ve had beautiful Fall weather here all week — something I could get used to. And even though the end of Daylight Savings Time meant we get an extra hour of election politics, I’m happy that we have just one day left before that national clown car experience will be behind us. Barring, of course, recounts, more recounts, protests, riots, and the end of civilization as we know it. Vote early and often, my friend.

  4. macavityabc says:

    I felt pretty much the same way you did about DARWINIA. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I missed that you posted it yesterday. I’ve had Deb’s problem. 1. This election is driving me nuts (it is not helping my blood pressure either. We are leaving for Vegas very early Wednesday morning) and 2. I’ve picked up several books and returned them to the library because they just didn’t speak to my needs. Part of the problem is, when you read something really good like the Connelly book (that Steve mentioned), other books pale.

    What did I read? Two ebooks (both bought a while ago) in favorite series: JACKPOT by James Swain, in the Tony Valentine series, which is only an ebook. Just as entertaining as the rest of the series, but you should read them from the beginning (GRIFT SENSE). In between I read a very good short story collection, IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper, edited by Lawrence Block (trade pb, a gift from a friend – thanks, Beth!). Many were historical. Standouts were Megan Abbott, Joe R. Lansdale, Block (“Autumn at the Automat” brought back memories), and Michael Connelly (his most famous painting, “Nighthawks” – a Harry Bosch story).

    Lastly was another very fast read, Brett Battles’ sixth (I think) Jonathan Quinn book, THE COLLECTED, another ebook original. Quinn is a “cleaner” who sanitizes crime scenes, disposing of the bodies and making it look like it never happened, and he’s the best. But after the last book (he was wounded) he’s taking time off. But his assistant, Nate, is continuing to take jobs, using Quinn’s name. Something goes very wrong in Mexico – the cops have clearly been tipped off and are waiting for him – and he is in deep trouble, plus the people who have him think he is Quinn. I highly recommend you read the first in the series (THE CLEANER), which is available as a
    “real” book as well as an ebook, and go from there. If you like thrillers, he’s right up there.

    Once again this week, I have NO library books. I have, however, downloaded one from the library which got a couple of “A” ratings in Deadly Pleasures, THE SECOND GIRL by David Swinson. I’ll see how that goes. I have the ebook of THE VINYL DETECTIVE on hold. I’m reading a very hardboiled collection of stories (ebook too), Fred Zackel’s OF NIGHT AND BEYOND. I very much enjoyed meeting him last year in Raleigh and these stories are real grabbers, especially the first one.

    • I posted just before midnight your time. See my comment to Deb on election. I have no library books, nor any on hold. I have plenty here at home. More later, I’m off to get the Subaru serviced (a wiper motor box recall).

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Deb, I almost picked the next Harrod-Eagles/Slider book (FELL PURPOSE) off the shelf to read, but went with the Kindle instead. And I’ll be taking the Kindle to Vegas for obvious reasons.

    DARWINIA sounds intriguing indeed, but I’m just not sure.

  7. Since my College is giving me ELECTION DAY off, I’m actually reading a Big Fat Book: GASLIGHT.

  8. Jeff Meyerson says:

    IN NYC, the public school kids are off but the teachers have to report. We vote in the local high school cafeteria.

    • We ave mail in, but we drop our completed, sealed, signed voting envelopes into the locked box st the library. Very convenient. There are drop sites all over the place for those who waited after the mail deadline, which was last Wednesday.

  9. Redhead says:

    Wow, you got through Darwinia fast! The twist is one of those things you’re either gonna love or be “meh” about, but you gotta admit it’s a different kind of alternate history type thing.

    I finished FIX by Ferrett Steinmetz, and cried through all the last few chapters. That man sure knows how to pull all your emotions out. In a good way.

    Still slowly making my way through THE NARRATOR by Michael Cisco, and looking for a fast paced thriller, this morning I started THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS, by Jason Arnopp. The titular character is an overconfident and cocky journalist, and I keep hearing Anthony Bourdain’s voice everytime he says something.

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