Comfort Reading

 Posted by at 4:31 am  Fiction  No Responses »
Jun 242009

Comfort reading is like comfort food, only not fattening. It’s an indulgence that you give yourself when you’re stressed or tired and want something familiar and beloved. Over the years I’ve discovered that my comfort reading list is really quite short: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks; the original Wild Cards series edited by George R.R. Martin.

And officially, as of right now, Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean Age duology The Stratford Man: Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth (aka, from Bear’s blog entries while she was working on it, Will and Kit’s Bogus Journey — which joke you’ll totally get if you’ve read it). I devoured it when it came out last summer, and it was the first thing my hand went to a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for something to read and none of the stuff in my unread pile looked appetizing.

And even though I know what’s coming, Bear is still making my breath catch in my throat. And I’m just as in love with Kit and Will and Tom and Lucifer and Morgan and Murchaud the second time around. Maybe moreso.

Geek Moment

 Posted by at 7:12 am  History  1 Response »
May 302009

First thing I thought of when I woke up this morning and saw the date on my computer?

416 years since Christopher Marlowe was killed in Deptford.

Not accounting for the change of calendars in the 18th century, of course.

The Intelligencer

 Posted by at 9:24 am  Fiction  No Responses »
Oct 052008

I don’t read a lot of thrillers, but this one caught my eye at a charity book sale because it’s written in two time periods, and the historical setting is England in May of 1593. And the POV? Yup. Kit Marlowe. In the last couple of weeks before he died.

Admittedly, I started it with the intention of forcing myself through the modern-day plot just to get to the Elizabethan-era storyline. But Leslie Silbert’s Kate Morgan is an interesting character in her own right, and she won me over pretty quickly. And I did find myself caring who it was that wanted that collection of four hundred year old intelligence reports, and why.

Silbert’s Kit is charming. A cynic and a romantic simultaneously. He knows he’s playing a deadly game, and he knows he’s doing it for an ideal that can never truly be realized. I also found myself begrudgingly liking her Robert Poley. And even though I knew it was coming, I was near tears over Thomas Kyd’s confession scene. And that inevitable moment in Deptford? The writer-voice in my head that never shuts up when I’m reading would have handled it differently, to be sure, but it was still wrenching.

The ending wasn’t quite as smooth as I would have wanted. And I was a little annoyed at the way Silbert just skipped over things Kate knew, because she didn’t want the reader to know them just yet. And I’d have preferred to have experienced Kit’s last scene from a different POV entirely. But overall, a fun read, with lots of lovely details for history fans, including some fascinating stuff about Elizabethan cryptography.

Want More!!

 Posted by at 2:59 pm  Fiction  3 Responses »
Sep 132008

Elizabeth Bear needs to write faster. I am rapidly devouring her entire catalog and I don’t know if I can handle not having another of her books already out there in the world, waiting for me to go and buy it.

I have read four of her books since July. Enjoyed them all thoroughly. Brilliant world-building, heart-grabbingly broken characters, and the language… oh, Gods, this woman is a world-class chef who uses words as ingredients. I swear, I’ve gained weight just from reading these books. And I don’t care.

The books? Yeah, I’ll tell you about the books.

New Amsterdam. What can I say? Vampire detective. Government sorcerer. Transatlantic airship voyages. An America that never broke away from Britain. And Tesla. Oh, yes. Even Tesla.

Dust. Angels. Sort of. Biotech so advanced it’s practically magic. And two young women with a whole world full of problems. (Hey, Bear? Lots more Tristen in Chill, please?)

And finally, the Promethean Age duology that started life as one very big book called The Stratford Man: Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth. Written from the alternating points of view of William Shakespeare and Christofer Marley (Christopher Marlowe). Everything you could possibly want in an urban fantasy set in Elizabethan times. Faerie queens, including Morgan le Fey. Gloriana herself, of course. Robin Goodfellow. Sir Francis Walsingham. Lucifer Morningstar. Ben Jonson. Earls. Elf-knights. Catholic-Protestant tension. A troll under a bridge. Romance. Conspiracy. Magic. Violence. Sex. Poetry. All gorgeously written in a pseudo-Early Modern English that really felt like the characters’ voices. No small feat considering Will and Kit were both poets.

And now I have a hopeless crush on a man who died hundreds of years ago, supposedly stabbed above the eye in a tavern brawl.