Apologies for the long gap between postings. It’s been a busy month.
Like everybody else, a look back at some things worth noting in 2010.
The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway. A surrealistic quasi-comedy masquerading as an SF novel. The writing style often reminded me of Neal Stephenson. Taking apocalyptic SF one step further, most of the world literally goes away. The novel goes into how and why and what happens after, but it’s mostly an examination of a person rather than of an idea. Plus there is lots of kung-fu.
Surface Detail, by Iain M. Banks. Banks get back to form with another Culture novel, building on what can happen when societies can simulate reality. Not ground breaking but I thought it was his best novel since The Algebraist.
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. Basically a mildly entertaining Miles Vorkosigan novel, I thought the last few pages, which don’t have anything to do with the rest of the novel but have a lot to do with the ongoing story of Vorkosigan, were truly excellent writing.
John C. Wright has been around for a while but I first started reading him in 2010. His novels are slow-moving but packed with ideas and I would recommend them highly for the SF or fantasy fan. He wrote a sequel to Van Vogt’s Null-A novels which replicates the style of the originals precisely while being both more coherent and more strange.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Another book I first read in 2010. A truly excellent fantasy, writing at the level of Gene Wolfe. Unfortunately it’s written as the first of a trilogy, and the next book has been postponed several times.
Winter’s Bone, directed by Debra Granik. An incredible movie about poor families in the Ozarks. The teenage heroine faces a believable threat of violence from every male character, but interestingly all the actual violence is committed by women. Jennifer Lawrence gives an incredible performance.
The Town and The Fighter. Both good movies in general, but also both good Massachusetts movies. There is a strange small surge in Massachusetts movies these days.
Love and Other Drugs. Not a good movie, but interesting because it was almost soft-core pornography attached to a movie that was little better than disease-of-the-week with good actors. It seems like the easy access to pornography on the web is pushing movies toward being more explicit when it comes to showing sex.
On to 2011!