Anyway. I did do Stuff yesterday too, not just read fiction. Quite a lot of housework - it's amazing how much washing up we can generate in 2.5 days, I need to rethink the no chores at weekends thing if it takes that long to do the washing up on Monday morning ;) I also played some single player Q3 last night - got right through to the end of Tier 3 without dropping a game on Bring It On difficulty level (2nd from bottom, default). I am getting better, I think I used to play it on the lowest difficulty level, and I'm not convinced I ever got past the end of Tier 1. I didn't stop because I lost, either, I stopped coz Tier 4 is space levels, and I'm the Queen of falling off so I couldn't be bothered to do them last night. And my arms hurt a bit anyway. So anyway, I rock ;)
J fixed Alexandria for me, so there's no need for me to put ISBNs & finishing dates for books in my journal, yay :)
The first three of the library books I read were "The Family Trade" by Charles Stross, "Skyfall" by Catherine Asaro and "Freehold" by Michael Z. Williamson. As I said yesterday there was a definite connecting theme between the three books - that of a woman suddenly, unexpectedly and unwantedly plunged into a different culture and having to learn to deal with it. In "The Family Trade" Miriam, a biotech journalist who's just lost her job in the opening scenes, discovers she's got the starring part in every little girl's dream - she was adopted (which she's known all her life), and her real parents are rich aristocrats from another world, she's in all but name a Princess. Only, she's 32, she's got a succesful life (even the job loss looks more like a temporary setback than an end to all hopes and dreams) and her 'real' family have a nicely medieval attitude to women - do as you're told, look pretty, marry who you're supposed to. I liked this one - it felt more real than a lot of 'person from our world crosses over into other medievaloid world' stories do, and Miriam's reactions to the whole situation were just what a capable adult woman would do and feel.
"Skyfall" on the other hand is a romance, really. Oh, it's in sf/f trappings, but all Catherine Asaro's stuff comes across to me as romance rather than really being sf/f. Roca is on her way to an important meeting, she's ditched her bodyguards because they're really employed by her son and he would rather she didn't show up because if she doesn't then he can vote her votes for the war she'd rather vote against. Cue getting stranded on a low-tech planet, with a cute man. There's more to it than that, but that's the essentials. I didn't, in this case, feel that the characterisation worked as well - Roca didn't feel like a 50 year old with the body of a 20 year old (important to the story) trying to evade her son, she felt like a 20 year old running away from Daddy accompanied by some adolescent pouting and whining later on in the story. It was still a fun read on its own terms, but very much a piece of fluff.
"Freehold" is Heinlein-esque, so quite a different flavour to the other two. I'd previously read "The Weapon" which is the sequel to this one, and it had reminded me of "Starship Troopers" which is one of my favourite books so I was pleased to see "Freehold" in the library. Again it's reminiscent of "Starship Troopers", in that the society of the planet of Freehold is almost pure capitalist, and in the story's (and society's) focus on miltary training and military personnel. Kendra Pacelli is a sergeant in the UN army (UN rules Earth and most of the colonies) who gets wrongly accused of embezzlement and escapes just before arrest. The only place to run is Freehold, which is independent of the UN. The story follows her fitting into Freehold society and the inevitable conflict between the UN and Freehold which has been brewing for a while. I enjoyed the story, and the feel of the story. But there were definitely times when the info-dumping conversations about how truely wonderful Freehold is and how evil the UN run Earth is got on my nerves. In particular, maybe you can extrapolate from current USA social circumstances to the UN-run Earth portrayed in the book, but I don't think you can extrapolate from European society to there let alone the non-white, non-Western parts of the world. Sure, it deals with this partly (in "The Weapon" more than "Freehold") by moving those societies off onto planets of their own. But I just don't buy a homogenous Earth society with only the worst of US values. I suspect that if I was both more right-wing and from the US then I'd not notice that as being so jarring.
I think I'll write up the other book another time, this has become a monster entry. Just a couple of iconny things to finish. I have my banner from 100contest:
icon_vibes closed voting, winners here, I'd entered:
The theme was borders, I wasn't sure if the first of those would count as I'd used a different part of the picture as the border.