Gold and Iron – Jack Vance

An Earthman and a woman from another, more advanced race, are taken captive by the Klau. Gold and iron play no more than a metaphorical role in this early Vance story. The original title, Slaves of the Klau, while considerably less poetic, is more accurate. The story concerns an Earthman and a woman from another, more advanced race, who are taken captive by the Klau. This is a very John Campbell-esque story, in that it’s…

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Galactic Effectuator – Jack Vance

Miro Hetzel is an effectuator – in effect, a private investigator. This book contains two of his cases. Despite the unusual-for-Vance title “Dogtown Tourist Agency”, the story is straightforward Vance, with effectuatory Miro Hetzel traveling to the planet Maz to track down a mysterious shipping company. Maz contains the usual mix of weird races and aloof characters, though the fun language and footnotes are toned down a bit from the Vance usual. It’s a fun…

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Transition – Iain M. Banks

Members of the Circle can move from their own minds into those of people in alternate realities. A struggle for power involves multiple people and worlds. Transition is an intensely political novel. Not in the Katherine Kurtz Deryni sense, but in the sense that it was clearly written in reference to recent and ongoing real-world events. It’s not subtle, but neither is it overbearing. One of the benefits of reading (or, I can say, writing)…

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The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction – Gene Wolfe

A collection of speculative stores by Gene Wolfe. As I suspect many do, I came to Gene Wolfe via the The Shadow of the Torturer. I was late to the party, but I liked the book well enough that I picked up the rest of the series, and eventually several of his other books. Most of them have left me with a similar feeling – that this is a very competent author, but that the…

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The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson

Millennium #3 Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest picks up immediately after the end of The Girl Who Played With Fire, dealing with the aftermath of the violence in Gosseberga. While The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo seems to have been more of a stand-alone book, its two sequels were clearly written as a pair. Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest picks up immediately after the end of The Girl Who Played With Fire, dealing…

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The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson

Millennium #2 Journalist Holmkvist’s works to help colleagues investigate sex trafficking in Sweden. I prefer to read original language rather than translation, am suspicious of sudden hits, rarely read crime novels, and virtually never start a series partway through. In this case, however, I needed some thick travel books for a long layover, and I took what was available at home – the final two books of the Girl who/Millennium series. I’m clearly one of…

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