Reviews and Comments

polymerwitch Locked account

Joined 2 years, 7 months ago

I like speculative fiction and political philosophy

This link opens in a pop-up window

David Graeber, David Wengrow: The Dawn of Everything (2022, Allen Lane) 4 stars

A breathtakingly ambitious retelling of the earliest human societies offers a new understanding of world …

Frustrating at best

2 stars

I usually find Graeber's work a bit annoying as I agree with the conclusions, but I find his arguments for how to get there lacking. I had high hopes for this book as the premise was interesting. Unfortunately, this book was even more frustrating that his others. I enjoyed the critique of eurocentric views on civilization, and I liked that the book argues against a narrative of progress through feudal lords and then capitalism.

However, a main argument in the book is against the idea that large population governance is not inherently oppressive. I wholly reject this idea. The arguments Graeber and Wengrow make are hundreds of pages long and never get beyond "well there is no evidence of a monarchy so they must have had people's assemblies and been democratic." The city, they infer, is therefore a structure we can have without oppressive relations. There is then much advocating …

reviewed Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Tamsyn Muir: Gideon the Ninth (EBook, 2019, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

"The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some …

dark fantasy for the jaded millennial

4 stars

I loved the characters in this book. Enough so that I greatly look forward to the next in the series. I did find the story structure telling a little light, and it often reminded me of epic adult Scooby Doo. It's a hybrid of the jaded millennial reluctantly participating in society (but on their own terms) and a Shakespeare-ian 5-act play, where the protagonist forms a band who tries to unmask the monster clue by clue. The telling was still lots of fun. I guess it just felt like it couldn't decide if it was quirky pop comedy or something deeper.

Samuel R. Delany: The Einstein intersection (1998, Wesleyan University Press, Published by University Press of New England) 4 stars

Wanderung zwischen den Zeiten

Der junge Lo Lobey ist ein Mutant. Er und andere seiner …


4 stars

I have no idea what I just read, and I think that might be the point. It was beautiful though like an acid trip is beautiful. In this case it probably does have some slightly more profound meaning, but for now I kind of just feel like I'm coming down and everything is a little less real.

Rebecca Roanhorse: Black Sun (2020, Gallery / Saga Press) 4 stars

The first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of …

Wonderful Fantasy

5 stars

First fantasy book I've enjoyed in years. The setting was so refreshing and new, but it also felt like a real place. Maybe it's a world I've visited in my dreams? It surely will be a world I dream visit in the future.

Rebecca Roanhorse: Black Sun (2020, Gallery / Saga Press) 4 stars

The first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of …

I'm loving this book. The setting pulls from a such a rich cultural history that the world is very real. The people remind me of friends and acquaintances in real life with their unique outward expressions and patterns of reasoning. Not quite a third through this book, and I already feel like the characters are people I know in real life, and would love to talk to.

Margaret Killjoy: A Country of Ghosts (2014, Combustion Books) 4 stars

Dimos Horacki is a Borolian journalist and a cynical patriot, his muckraking days behind him. …

The book is very enjoyable. If you are interested in utopian anarchist fiction I would call it a must read. The framing of freedom in a setting of war isn't my favorite. I really like the idea of exploring struggles in supposed utopias, and I think experiencing Hron in peace time would have been more to my liking. That's personal preference though.

Susanna Clarke: Piranesi (Paperback, 2020, Bloomsbury Publishing) 4 stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, an …

A beautiful book that quiets and comforts my mind

5 stars

If we were born in another world what form would the shadows cast upon the walls of our cave take? What mythologies and art would inform our identity? What are the limits that malicious people have to do harm through warping and confining our realities? How does the society around me shape the person I am at any given time?

Piranesi explores these questions in a labyrinth of an endless house full of statues that is flooded by the sea. The answers are in the faces of our neighbors and in the hushing pose of the faun.