1. josh: david j schwarz. superpowers.

    1. verdict: meh
    2. review:

      this book starts by making a big deal of how it's not "serious
      literature", it's journalism. a lot of very explicit "just don't worry
      about it, have fun" sort of stuff. kids wake up with superpowers, etc
      etc. then 9/11 happens... there's some detailed stuff about the super
      powers, the history of the powers, etc. basically it's about the
      mundane truth of being a superhero. it lays the futility of human
      endeavor on pretty thick. "sounds pretty schlocky" according to
      chad. it was ok, but as far as "best book of the year", seems like we
      could do better.

  2. interlude

    josh wants to clarify: he's not sure he accurately expressed how much
    he really liked the name of the wind. particularly in retrospect, he
    really liked that book and he's "fuckin psyched" about the new one.

  3. brandon: m t anderson. the astonishing life of octavian nothing.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      sarah recommended this book, it's a national book award, etc
      etc. "raised by a mysterious group of rational philosophers..."
      basically this woman and her son are the wards/prisoners of this
      eighteenth-century cabal of dudes. "is it steampunk?" "i don't know
      yet, there's some brass and steam..." so you wouldn't know from the
      start, from the cover, but it's sort of a race book. turns out the kid
      and his mother are african, slaves having been bought by the
      philosopher-dudes. anyway he's not done with this book and so can't
      say exactly where it's going, but presumably we'll hear about it next
      time. in any event it reminds chad of holy mountain.

  4. chris and chad: scott lynch. the lies of locke lamora.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      the most iportant thing to realize about this book, and this series,
      is that the main character is named after the main character from
      final fantasy 3. it's kind of a mix of pirates of the caribbean, robin
      hood, and... it's great, it's a definite "buy it". it's a book about
      thieves, and it's silly, but good silly. very melodramatic. it's
      really different from the first law in a lot of ways, but it has a few
      similarities. feels something like renaissance italy. i won't
      transcribe the whole plot synopsis, but it's a thief novel,
      basically. sounds good. the series seems pretty episodic, each book
      seems like a pretty complete story. or anyway this one, at least, is
      pretty self-contained.

  5. chad: scott lynch. red seas under red skies.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      this is the second book in the series. in some ways, he liked it more
      than the first one. in other ways, this was less well done. the first
      book was an urban intrigue, basically. this was different. casino
      caper and pirate story, more or less. "he really gets into the
      nautical stuff for awhile, so... it gets pretty nautical." this wasn't
      paced quite as well as the first one, but he drives a little deeper
      into the relationship between locke and his sidekick, which is pretty
      nice. the end seemed a little rushed, but the beginning was great.

  6. matt: thomas m disch. the word of god.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      this is a weird book. this is a good book in certain ways. dude wrote
      a lot of minor sci-fi classics in the 70's and 80's, kind of a phillip
      k. dick type of popularity. last book -- he ended up committing
      suicide. this is the book where he reveals himself to be god. he
      seems really bitter. reprehensible views. a large theme of this book
      is him making fun of religion in its various forms. was a gay guy who
      lived with his partner in new york. apparently cultivated personal
      feuds with people. this book is basically no sense even really a
      novel. it's basically a memoir. he talks in the first person about
      being god, talks about other writers, talks about things he's
      written. includes poems he's written, including footnotes to where
      they were published. philip k. dick, from hell, becomes involved in a
      plot to change the course of the 20th century to prevent thomas disch
      from being born (as the illegitmate son of thomas mann). the plot is
      successful. but thomas disch, being god, just undoes the results. it's
      a very strange book, not science fiction in any conventional use of
      the term. it's a good book, i liked it, but i don't know what to say.

  7. that's all, folks.