The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
This book has somebody else's name written on the inside cover, so I have no idea where it came from. It's hilarious how many books I say that about.
Generations ago a war destroyed all the cities in the US. Since then the government has passed laws that no town can grow past a certain size in order to keep the population dispersed and protect the couuntry against a reccurance. Cities have since become synonomous with sin and the laws are treated as God's will.
This book was written back in the 50's and it shows. It's well written but I find the central premise kind of dubious. Also the main character needs to make up his bloody mind which side he's on already.
Definitely mine. I adore Vonnegut, but this is not my favourite thing he's ever written. There isn't really a story here. It consists of excerpts of a book he was struggling with, interspersed with snippets from him own life. Entertaining if you want to know more about the man.
Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick
This one has a great big sale sticker on the front, so I probably picked it up from a bargain bin.
A version of the Faust story where Mephistopheles is actually an alien being that is able to move through many more dimensions than we can. For reasons of their own the alien hates humanity and teaches Faust all the biology, chemistry, and physics necessary to advance science to the point where we can hopefully wipe ourselves out.
It's an entertaining take on a classic story. There is never an adequate explanation as to why the science that Faust learns end firmly in the 20th century. (Including neo-liberal economic theories.) But otherwise it was a fun take on the story. Faust is a self-involved jerk of course, I'm pretty sure that's a given in every iteration.
Alanya to Alanya by L. Timmel Duchamp
BC asked me to put this in our Library, she suggested that I might like to read it first.
The story takes place in 2076. The culture war is over and we've lost. Most of the world's governments are ruled by the "Executive" class and clean water and real food are resources only the wealthiest can afford. An alien race called the Marq'ssan suddenly arrive on earth and hold the planet's technology hostage, demanding that each government send three women to negotiate. Only women on earth are very much second class citizens and those who are in charge would rather see the planet burn than give up a fraction of their own power.
This was a fun book. The aliens and their technology are the major drivers of the story, but Duchamp doesn't dwell on them too much, so most of the writing is straight up cold war spy thriller. I found the text a little dry - I wasn't surprised to find out that she's originally a historian - but given how much happens in a book that is already pretty thick, that's not necesarily a bad thing. Apparently this is the first of a five-book series.