Friday, June 27, 2008

Today I finished Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters, a steampunk fantasy novel.

The setup/background of the novel is never described or explained very clearly but seems to involve two gods having taken over part of London and slowly consuming or converting the inhabitants thereof. Where they came from, or what they are trying to build/create is never very clear.

And that is indicative of a general problem with this book - the author has some interesting ideas but doesn't do enough to properly set them up or describe them so that it is clear to the reader what is happening.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yesterday, I finished Brasyl by Ian McDonald.

Brasyl starts out feeling very vintage cyber punk - dystopian near future where high tech mixes with societies under-classes - but then branches out to include a historical section, secret societies and the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum physics, and then wraps it all up neatly in the end.

The only weak part of the book is that the usage of Brazilian slang and unfamiliar terms is almost overwhelming. It turns out there is a glossary in the back, but I didn't realize that until I had finished the book. This adds a nice colour to the text but strongly lowers the readability. I had to either stop numerous times to puzzle out what was being talked about or to skim some passages, absorb the general feel of it and not worry about understanding the specifics.

This book is one of the nominees for Best Novel in the 2008 Hugo Awards. So far I've read four of the five, and wrote about the others here, here and here. Of those four books, Brasyl is my favourite.