||[Jan. 23rd, 2010|09:08 pm]
Since musicalkipper reminded me... here's the start of this year's book list. I'm going to be less verbose this year....
#1: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett
The witches of Lancre take on the vampires of Uberwald. Seems the king invited them into the country... This book captures well a lot of the tension between the old "vampires as monsters" take and the more recent "vampires as romantic, brooding antiheroes" approach. Naturally, Pratchett runs them right into each other, and the ensuing conflict is a lot of fun.
#2: Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku
Investigating the physics behind force fields, time travel, energy weapons, and the like. He classifies much of science fiction into three classes of "impossibilities": class 1 are those where the laws of physics fully permit it, and the technology is not yet available but seems within reach. Class 2 impossibilities are those which are technically legal under the laws of physics, but the technology needed is so far off as to be functionally impossible at the moment. (Certain technologies which require harnessing galaxy-level sources of energy fall into this class.) Class 3 impossibilities are those which would require major changes in our understanding of the laws of physics before becoming possible. It was a fun read, but it felt a little immature, as if the author felt he needed to be writing towards a bunch of teenaged geeks.
#3: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
World War I is breaking out, between the steam-driven "Clanker" powers (Germany, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire) and the gene-tweaking "Darwinist" powers (Britain, France, and Russia). Ideological tensions are rising, when someone decides to force the issue and kill off an Austro-Hungarian archduke... and his son must be spirited away for his protection.
I'd picked this up a while ago and had forgotten it was a YA novel in the meanwhile, so I tore through it fairly quickly. It's quite an engaging story, though, and the illustrations are pretty amazing.
Next up: John Scalzi's The Android's Dream. Yay, books.