Review: Deceiver, by C.J. Cherryh

Deceiver (Foreigner #11) continues where Conspirator (Foreigner #10) left off, with Bren and his aishid, and with Cajeiri, Ilisidi and Bren’s brother Toby (and Barb…) still at the seaside estate of Najida, recuperating from the events that transpired only days ago, while simultaneously making preparations for assaults to come.

In this eleventh book the storyline that started in Conspirator shifts gears, from local to something larger, and with the paidhi trying to improvise on a mix of lack of sleep, too much violence, and fast politics. Business as usual, in other words. And as usual Ilisidi provides a key… a key that leaves one Bren Cameron & aishid in a very tight and uncomfortable spot.

The story is ever more tightly written, with a breathless pace and Cherryh’s trademark humour and a delight in surprising the protagonists.

When the the last page is turned I can only agonise that the concluding book while already written, and named Betrayer, has a year to go before it hits the bookshops. (Update – CJ recently said the cover is being made NOW and that this usually is about 6 months prior to publishing…)

This series is only getting better with each book.


Words matter: Shops bans use of money?

I could not NOT react when the headline said “Shops may ban use of money” (sorry, swedish only). WHAT?!

Of course it’s not money they want to ban but cash payments, to prevent robbery. But this shows how important the choice of words are – synonyms exist because no, they don’t mean exactly the same thing.
And there are cases when the consequences are of a far more serious nature than in this specific case…

Radio: Music from around the World

While I’m wringing my hands and bending my brain over a couple of posts on democracy, belief and some other things that seems to have stuck somewhere just prior to clear articulation I’m going to add a few words on something that’s far easier – music, on line.

OK, not that THAT’s an easy topic either, not if we’re going into copyright and stuff, but right now I just want to add a suggestion for listening – SR Världen. Music from around the world, not necessary “World Music” but definitely not hit lit forgettables or brain worms, and no ads or talk – only the odd jingle reminding the listener what channel’s on.

The page is in Swedish but click on the white text saying “Lyssna direkt” in the right hand column and a player will open in a pop up window.

Definitely my preferred source of soundtrack, and every day I find something that I really like that I would not had discovered else. Like yesterday I found Malouma, a female musician from Mauretania. And while I was on it I realised I know next to nothing about that country so started to read up on it, so now I’m a bit wiser as well.

Thank you, Sveriges Radio, for doing such great things with my tax money.
It almost makes me forgive all the truly bad radio out there…

Review: Green Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Back in the beginning of December, when I had just finished Red Mars, I ached to get on with the sequel, Green Mars. But first it took me some time to find it and then I started to read other things, always with Green Mars looking at me – I think I started or intended to start reading it about once a week for months.

Then, finally, about a week ago, I picked it up, determined to read it. And this time I did. Writing a review is hard, though. Almost just as hard as getting started with the book.
Part of it is that like Red Mars it’s so obviously a part of a trilogy that it’s more like part two of a one tripartite book than anything else. But part of it is my over all impression of it, which is hard to sort or define.

This time the telling feels even more distanced than in Red Mars. In Red Mars people were passionately angry or loving or pro or con something or the other – this time it’s just a shrug of the shoulders. Even when things are bad.
Granted, some passages had me reading on without wanting to put the book away but those were mainly in the first half of the book – the second half I often had a strong feeling of disbelief, something which worked to distance me even further from the goings-on. The book never touches on the psycho-social effects on society of prolonged lifespans, only on the socio-economic and then only at a distance, and the original cast, those who survived Red Mars, just lives on and on and on, without much problems other than a sense of disconnection and some insomnia. And some of the other stuff is just plain unbelievable. Like the “resistance” being able to covertly build hidden silos AND missiles for ground to space warfare.
So, this is definitely Big Ideas fiction, in the grandest sense, but this time with insufficient drive and energy.

That said this is not the worst book I’ve ever read and I have a profound feeling that I will not be able to judge this book, this trilogy, until I’ve read the last one – Blue Mars. So that’s what I’ll do – read the last one. Then my verdict will fall.