…various things. Sometimes, I get started on a book, then start another, then another, and don’t finish any of them within a week or two, sometimes longer. That’s the case this week, I’ve got three books going. Here they are:
A Requiem For Astounding by Alva Rogers. Advent Press, 1964, non-fiction.
I read the review on the fine blog by Jerry House (read it HERE) and just had to find a copy of this. I’ve just started it, but it looks promising.
From The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: “Alva Rogers (1923-1982) US author and artist. Long involved in sf Fandom, he drew the covers for a number of 1940s Fanzines. His Requiem for Astounding (1964), though nostalgic and largely critical, provides a valuable history, rich in story synopses, of Astounding Science-Fiction before the name change to Analog, which it convincingly deplores.” (Malcolm J. Edwards/John Clute)
Paradigm Shifts, Typewritten Tales of Digital Collapse edited by Richard Post, Frederic Durbin and Andrew McFeaters. Loose Dog Press, 2019, short story collection.
I bought this after reading a review on the Black Gate blog. I’ve so far read the first four stories, and am enjoying it. The typeface (font, these days) used is that typically used for typewriters in the day, Courier in most cases, a couple of others in a few cases. It’s used on the cover. That took getting used to, but by the time I finished the first story I was fine with it. The idea here is that there has been a worldwide digital collapse, and nothing involving computers or internet is operable. The response to this disaster (or is it?) varies throughout the stories. It’s the concept here that drew me in, and there is a second book of stories covering the period a little later in the un-digitalizing of the world. Naturally, various authors see things in different ways, which makes this very interesting.
The Shallows by Matt Goldman, Forge, 2019, mystery fiction.
I really enjoyed Goldman’s first two mysteries featuring private investigator Nils Shapiro, Broken Ice and Gone to Dust, so I grabbed this one as soon as I could get my hands on it. A prominent lawyer is brutally murdered, and it seems everyone connected to him wants Shapiro to protect them from suspicion. I won’t tell you more, because I haven’t read far enough to, but expect a review fairly soon.
Meanwhile, what are you reading?
I recently finished Dance Hall of the Dead by Hillerman, and loved it. I have a couple more by Hillerman but don’t know which I will read next. Before that I read Benighted by J.B. Priestley, which was adapted to film by James Whale, as The Old Dark House. We rewatched that film this weekend.
Now I am reading If the Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr. It has been nearly 7 years since I read the previous book by Kerr, so it is time I got back to the series.
Read The knife by Jo Nesbo. I am a Nesbo fan and was not disappointed although the book could have been cut by about 50 pages with no problem. Am now reading This Side of Night by J. Todd Scott. I milked his first two novels and am liking this one so far.
Tracy-Dance Hall of the Dead is one of Hillerman’s best. I have read all of Kerr’s books and especially love the Bernie Gunther series. Kerr died too young.
That’s the second recent thing I’ve read about Matt Goldman, though the last thing I need to find now is a new author.
Only finished book: MAGGIE BROWN & OTHERS, the latest collection from Peter Orner. Most of his stories are short – a few pages – though this also has a 120 page novella. Good but not great.
Current reading: Charlaine Harris, SMALL KINGDOMS & Other Stories. Four tales from EQMM about high school principal Anne DeWitt (definitely not her real name), who has a very interesting past (let’s just say I would not advise crossing her). I thought I’d read all of these before, but the second story was new to me. Recommended.
Linda Castillo, SHAMED. Latest in her series about Ohio Police Chief Kate Burkholder (formerly Amish) and a nasty crime in Painters Mill. A 60 year old woman is brutally murdered and one of her granddaughters – seven years old – is taken by the killer. Kate and her team are desperate to find her quickly. As usual, not everyone is telling her everything she needs to know. These are very fast moving books, but I recommend you start with the beginning of the series (SWORN TO SILENCE).
I put aside Chuck Wending’s Miriam Black debut (BLACKBIRDS) to read the Orner and Castillo, but will get back to it, and also have set aside the latest Emma Caldridge book by Jamie Freveletti, BLOOD RUN. I recommend you read the much more interesting (to me, at least) first couple in her series. I don’t know if it is the African setting or story line this time, but I am definitely not finding it as compelling reading as the earlier books in the series.
Naturally, two books from my ‘hold’ list came in at once, followed by two more ebooks on hold, so no shortage of reading material here.
I finished Lester del Rey’s final novel PSTALEMATE, which was also my FFB this week. Sadly, if del Rey challenged himself in writing this novel (which I think he did), he did not measure u to the difficulty of the challenge. Still, an interesting book, just not top-notch.
William Arden’s Three Investigators YA THE SECRET OF THE CROOKED CAT was more complicated than other books in the series I have read. This time the boys investigate strange — and possibly dangerous — doings at a carnival. This is one of my favorite YA series and Arden — the second writer to tackle it, after Robert Arthur — does it justice Arden was a pen name for Dennis Lynds.
The true turkey I read this week was Sax Rohmer’s THE SECRET OF HOLM PEEL AND OTHER STRANGE STORIES, a collection of eight (mostly early; four are pre-World War II and date back to as early as 1905) stories by the creator of Dr. Fu Manchu. The stories creak and thud their way to their conclusions An original Ace paperback, the cover proclaims this to be “a NEW book of Gothic mystery and witchcraft by the creator of Fu Manchu.” Sadly, no Gothic mystery and no witchcraft. The only fantasy in the book was a poorly developed and poorly executed story about a cursed house. The book does contain one story about Fu Manchu (published two years before Rohmer’s death) and it’s a dud. There’s nice cover art from George Ziel, though.
I continued my short story jag, reading mainly tales for NEW WORLDS and ASTOUNDING.and finishing three anthologies: Tom Boardman’s SCIENCE FICTION HORIZONS NO.1 (1968; there was no NO.2) and OUT OF THIS WORLD 3 and OUT OF THIS WORLD 5 edited by Amabel Williams-Ellis and Mably Owen, Some good. rousing yarns in all three.
I’m glad I tipped you on to A REQUIEM FOR ASTOUNDING, Rick. It’s one of the reasons I was spurred to dip into old issues of ASF this week.
Have a great week, sir, as we bid aloha to July and say aloha to August.
For the first time in 2019 I’m completely caught up on Library Books. I went to a Library Book Sale last week and found: music CDs! Someone had donated their classical music collection and I bought dozens of great DG discs for a pittance. I’ve been listening to classical music every day!
I have a copy of A Requiem for Astounding! Let me know how you get on with it, and I’ll give it a whirl. I tried reading it a few years ago, but there was just too much other stuff going on at the time and I couldn’t concentrate on it.
The Richard Polt antho – I heard a rumor that the stories are in different typefaces, true?
I just finished The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, it’s a bit of a punch to the gut. I needed something light, so I’m reading a Japanese novel that’s connected to a TV series that I’ve watched. I’m not familiar with the specific events in the story so far, but I know who all the characters are, so it’s like “what hijinks will they get up to this time?”.
Grateful for ssharing this