I was down in Invercargill during the month for my brother’s 50th birthday celebrations, Boston T.. I stayed with Southern Dave and took the opportunity to browse through his extensive library for things I should read. Over five days I had time to read four of his books.

  • I shall wear midnight, the most recent Terry Pratchett. I had heard that this was darker than his earlier books. Before reading it I had put it down to the fact that the onset of Alzheimer’s disease had given him intimations of mortality. On reading it I found it to be deliciously dark and enjoyable. He also re-introduced one of his earliest characters whose fate I had always wondered about and identified several paragraphs before being revealed in the text.
  • The Fuller Memorandum by Charlie Stross. The latest in the Laundry series. That man is evil!
  • The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. I’ve gone off the Russian Night Watch series. There seems to be little choice between the libertarian Dark and the paternalistic snobbery of the Light. Gack! I’m not sure if this book had anything to add.
  • Peter and Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham. Willingham takes characters from his successful Fables title in Vertigo and writes a book. It’s a reminder to me that characters from visual media: graphic novels and television, do not easily cross over into written media. They come across as two-dimensional in books to me.
  • Since returning to Dunedin I have bought a copy of Kraken by China Miéville. It’s not so much Gosh Wow as his New Crobuzon novels but it has several moments of the fantastic descriptions that have become his trademark. Because it’s set in London it feels closer to his earlier novel UnLunDun in its story telling. Two of his villains feel like a hat tip to the archetype that Neil Gaiman used in Neverwhere as Croup and Van Der Meer (I think that was their names). I would be happy to get Goss and Subby out of my head. They are creepy and terrifying! One moment in the denoument had me cheering because Metadata Is Important! Only a cataloguer can appreciate that moment.

    Also it was nice to see a character who’s a member of a squid cult who is motivated by its distinct ethos and theology. It makes a nice difference to fleshing out a character.

    And finally FreakAngels volume two by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield arrived in at Pop Fiction this week. I have asked to get the next volume for me. Both Kraken and FreakAngels are welcome additions to my book shelves.