The Martian, by Andy Weir. An enjoyable book, very good physics feel and plausible problems. It’s a mostly solo adventure, a bit of a shipwrecked feel updated to really hostile environs. There some good internal development and a number of interesting peripheral characters. It’s well done, though it lacked the total Wow! that many reported feeling from it.
Basically, it’s a great disaster repair struggle; lots of competent, creative problem solving. It only goes wrong in the Earth chapters; the sustained attention on his plight struck me as… very surprising. Particularly sustained over so many months. (A 20 day countdown, I could envision getting a chyron, but sustained year plus interest seems… difficult in this distractable world.) The politics of mission control seem reasonable, though the characters feel much thinner.
Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. A fascinating near future; the world has gently shifted its focus to India and Africa. The cultures are interesting, as are the parallels between the two stories. It’s weird and surreal (particularly the modern Meena story), while Mariama’s story is more steadily straightforward, though from a younger viewpoint.
Actually, this review lends a great pull quote: My experience reading The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne can be boiled down to: this was an amazing novel until it wasn’t anymore. I loved the world and setup; the characters, particularly the unreliable narrators, were interesting. Meena’s story was the one I most identified with, which makes her breakdown revelation at the end incredibly bitter. Mariama’s story was less engaging, probably because she was so young and (after making the decision to flee) so acted upon.
While this one only mostly worked, I’ll be interested to see what else the author puts out in the future.
Several issues of the Fate Codex. (Mostly a quick reread and skim for my upcoming Fate Deyrni scenario.)
Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. I’ve only begun reading it now.
Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien De Castell (reread). I’d forgotten that I’d read this before. I wonder what I’ll find on the new read through.