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Old 01-31-2011, 01:11 AM   #8053
ATDrake
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Posts: 7,034
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Roundworld
Device: Kindle 2 International & Sony PRS-T1 & BlackBerry PlayBook
So as a break from all the Sherlock Holmes mashups, went and read some different mashup fiction.

Did a quick re-read of Charles Stross' The Fuller Memorandum, latest in his Lovecraftian bureaucracy "Laundry" series before I had to return it to the library.

I don't regret buying the first two novels on impulse after having read the free short story, Overtime, and I'm definitely not going to regret buying The Fuller Memorandum once the e-book version goes down in price once the paperback's been released (Penguin Putnam or whomever are generally pretty good about that).

This installment, we finally find out:
  • the reason why the paper clip audits are so important
  • part of the reason why everyone's so scared of Angleton
  • that the iPhone comes with a class-four-plus glamour which enchants people who get too close to it to turn into glazed button-pushing covetous Gollums
But then, that last shouldn't really be a surprise.

It's a shame that Stross apparently didn't have the time to write an included essay about the classic spy-thriller influences that went into The Fuller Memorandum like he did for The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue, but that was a minor disappointment in an otherwise very entertaining book.

My new book for this weekend was Jo Walton's Farthing, which I'd gotten free several years ago when Tor.com first opened and offered a number of e-books as promos.

It's a very good mashup of upper-class Brit-twit lit, police procedural murder mystery, backstabbing political thriller, and historical period-piece set in an alternate universe whose point of departure was the British negotiating "peace" with the Nazis in 1940.

This novel starts in the divergent 1950s, as a murder takes place among the ruling political set and gets used to advantage. Narration switches between two viewpoints: a first-person view by a woman at whose family home the murder takes place, and a third-person POV of the police inspector assigned to investigate. Both find out fairly disturbing things on either end of the case.

I'm making this sound rather dry, but really, it's very good and compelling enough to make me seek out the next two books (this is apparently a trilogy) in the library in a couple of days' time and buy the second novel in the set, Ha'Penny, once Kobo comes up with a good discount coupon. The third novel, alas, is unreasonably priced at some $16.00 for something available in mass-market PB.

It did take me a couple of chapters to get into the switching viewpoints and get used to the upper-class not-actually-that-much-of-a-twit voice that was one of the narrators, but once I did, I think it really paid off and I can't wait to find out what happens next.

Highly recommended if you happen to like AU SF mystery/thrillers with this particular combination of ingredients.
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