July 14th, 2015



Alif the Unseen, by G Willow Wilson.

Although the plot suffers from some obviousness and just-in-time logistics, it's really a fun read. Half-Arab hacker in an unnamed Arab emirate starts with girl trouble, and winds up with supernatural trouble, with jinn and other elements of Islamic mythology. Sort of a crazy Arabian Night tale for the digital age. The author is a convert and lived in Egypt for some time, so there are a lot of interesting cultural details that are no doubt from her experiences. It's a little odd that the (rather secular) hacker has to get a bit in tune with his inner Muslim, but it follows from the premise that the supernatural in the world is based in the truth of Islam.

Salvage and Demolition, by Tim Powers.

A fine novella of time travel. A little unsatisfying because much is left unexplained, yet at the same time, padding it out longer with explanation would probably not make it any more satisfying, so maybe that's not a problem after all. Some nice illustration (as always) from JK Potter.

The Wind's Twelve Quarters, by Ursula K. LeGuin.

A collection of 17 short stories, including some that eventually mutated into novels. It's neat to see some of the origins of Earthsea. Less so for some of the other entries, or her 'psychomyths'. And it's hard to read "The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas" for a second time with fresh eyes.