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Posts Tagged ‘glasshouse’

April Updates and March Reflections

April 1, 2015 1 comment
April Updates and March Reflections

Boston’s space savers got repurposed into ice falling warning signs.

Hello my lovely readers!

I mentioned at the beginning of March that I was hoping to start doing a monthly post reflecting on my reading and writing, blog happenings, and mentioning any updates that need to be mentioned.  Here’s the first one!

I did quite a bit of work on the blog this month.  You already know that I upgraded to my own domain name.  I also totally revamped my astore.  For those who don’t know, an astore is a listing of items hosted by Amazon.  I use mine to conveniently list out books I have read and reviewed on this blog that I recommend.  Every book listed in my astore has received 4 or 5 star reviews on this blog.  Previously the lists were mostly just divided into fiction or nonfiction.  That was getting unwieldy.  They are now divided into much more convenient genres, such as historic fiction or urban fantasy.  As always, my astore is linked to in the sidebar of the blog under “Shop 4 and 5 Star Reads,” or you can click through to it right here.  I hope my readers find it useful when looking for something to read for themselves or to pick up as a gift for another.

I’ve been book blogging since March 2009.  I was thinking that it would be nice to highlight some of the older books I reviewed and really enjoyed.  So every month there is now going to be a book of the month.  The book highlighted will be one I read and gave 4 or 5 stars to in the same month of a previous year.  The book will be featured in the blog sidebar and also in the landing page of my astore.  For the month of April, the book of the month will be:

Glasshouse by Charles Stross
First reviewed in April 2011.
“I recommend this to scifi fans, and highly recommend it to GLBTQ readers and advocates.”

My monthly updates will briefly mention the book of the month.  I hope you all enjoy the monthly throwback!

The final change to the sidebar is I have added links to my publications.  So be sure to check that out!

One final addition to the blog is a new page (pages are linked to on the header).  The new page is called “TW Lists,” and you can view it by clicking here.  Basically, I realized that I frequently find myself noting the content of rape or attempted rape in books that I am reviewing whose blurbs gave no hint as to having that content.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with a book having a plot point of rape or attempted rape, but some readers seek to avoid them for personal reasons.  Some readers just don’t like reading about rape or attempted rape, while others find reading about rape or attempted rape to be triggering for a mental illness they may have, such as PTSD or OCD.  It is for the latter reason that a content note like the one I am providing is often called a “trigger warning,” often shortened to an acronym of “tw” followed by the content note.  For instance, “tw: rape.”

The content I by far find myself needing to note in my reviews more than any other is rape or attempted rape.  I thus decided to curate this list of books I have reviewed on my blog that contain rape or attempted rape.  A book being included on this list does not necessarily mean I consider it a bad book or a badly written book.  It is purely a content note.  To see the list, click on out to the TW Lists page.  I hope my readers who need to a content note on rape or attempted rape will find this listing helpful.

That’s it for the blog updates!  How was my reading, reviewing, and writing this month?

March books read: 3 (1 urban fantasy, 1 scifi YA, 1 paranormal romance)

March reviews: 6

Other March posts: 1 update, 1 short story, 1 giveaway, 1 reading challenge sign-up

March writing: My current project is progressing, and I am excited at a new direction I came up with thanks to a helpful chat with my fiancé.  I also posted an older short story to this blog.  You can read it here.

Coming up in April: Get ready for an influx of fantasy, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology, thanks to my participation in Once Upon a Time IX (sign-up post).  I have also finished reading the first of my accepted ARCs for 2015.  That review will be posted, along with a giveaway!

Happy April and happy reading!

Book Review: Glasshouse by Charles Stross

April 21, 2011 3 comments

Abstract art.Summary:
Robin lives in the 27th century where your consciousness can be switched from body to body (and not just ortho-human ones) indefinitely.  Frequent back-ups in an A-gate protect you from ever really dying.  Of course, sometimes people go in to get some memories wiped.  This is the closest thing to a chance at a new life.  Robin wakes up in one of these facilities with a far more extensive memory wipe than usual.  People are trying to kill him, and he finds himself signing up for a social experiment where the experimenters are attempting to recreate the second dark ages–the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century.  He thinks he’ll be safe here, but he might not be.  Is he really at risk though or is he just messed up in the head?

Review:
This future where Earth no longer exists and a person is a person because of their consciousness and not their bodies is incredibly richly imagined.  It is abundantly clear that Stross has a clearly laid out society in mind when writing.  This is all taking place within a world within a certain timeline within a certain culture.  That is what makes for the best scifi reading experience, and Stross pulls it off quite well.

The plot is endlessly surprising and nearly impossible to predict until the last few chapters.  Of course any plot involving people who can change bodies with a complex civil war previously fought involving a computer virus that enters people’s consciousness via the A-gates would be complex.  But don’t be deterred!  It is really not difficult to follow, although you may have to stop to think about it a few times.

I also want to say kudos to Stross for writing such an incredibly GLBTQ friendly piece of scifi that isn’t necessarily about gender or sexuality.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the terms “cis-gendered and trans-gendered” used in a scifi book.  In this future where people can pick whatever body they want, it’s natural for everyone to spend at least a few lifetimes as both a male and a female, although they all ultimately tend to choose one over the other.  In fact, a plot-point for the book involves the researchers randomly placing someone who identifies predominantly as female in a male body and the resulting depression from that.  Similarly, characters identify as mono or poly, meaning both monogamous and polyamorous sexualities are recognized as equally valid.  It is an incredibly welcoming environment where people are encouraged to be themselves that only makes the experiment set during our own time period all the more jolting.  I could see any queer person finding this story very relatable.

Unfortunately, the strong set-up kind of lost me toward the end.  I’m still not quite sure exactly what I should have taken from the ending, but I felt that it didn’t live up to the incredibly high bar Stross set for himself early on.  I’m still glad I read it as it was a very different, unique experience, but I do wish he’d spent a bit more time figuring out an ending worthy of the meat of the book.

Overall, I recommend this to scifi fans, and highly recommend it to GLBTQ readers and advocates.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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