I often have two books going at the same time, between the Kindle and physical books-with-pages. Right now, they're Sir Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites and The Nightmare Stacks, the seventh (!) of Charles Stross's "Laundry Files" novels.
This makes for some odd resonances; despite differences in tone, style* and setting, both are lurking on the edges of H. P. Lovecraft's universe, peering out at it from very familiar bastions: a hidebound (in fact, stuffy) University culture and stifling-yet-muddling-through bureaucracy as only the UK can truly achieve.† While Sir Terry's world was slowly hauling itself into a modern age -- Century of the Fruitbat, after all, one must keep up -- and Stross's is teetering on the brink of cosmic annihilation, their characters face the challenges with similar determination and (occasionally reluctant) verve.
--I highly recommend both books. If Charlie Stross's politics/SF alignment bother you, you're missing out. I read authors all across the Puppies mess (maybe not at the very farthest extremes) and my head ain't totally exploded yet. Good fiction is good fiction and some dude voting (and being kinda unhappy just now) in the UK is no threat to domestic U.S.politics.
* Although I must admit that both of them have the same thing about asterisks that I do, or similar anyway. Make of that what you will.
† In the States, we create all manner of end-runs, work-around and clear-cuts when results are desperately needed; the Russians clamp down, empty the prisons of the clueful and pile up bodies until things work and the Germans throw ideas at the wall while going down in flames. If you want to gather a skilled group of amateurs and invent, oh, RADAR or scientific cryptography, you need Her Majesty's Government and a tall stack of forms that have very little to do with the task at hand but must nevertheless be properly filled out. I have no idea how the French cope with similar circumstances; they all clam up and pretend not to speak English when asked, which may in fact be a large part of their method. Anyone with a freestanding 1000' tower over a hundred years old in their capital city is welcome to criticize this approach.
5 weeks ago