American Gods and other recent reading

So there weren’t nothing on the SF table in W’stones last visit, a couple of weeks back. But there were one or two tempting titles on the fantasy table. Not, um, so much the Data Analysis one: that’s there more to remind me that I am supposed to be brushing up on my Python…


Review in brief: Neuromancer by William Gibson

Okay so this one isn’t from the fantasy section, being most definitely SF. Thought I’d try this cause Paolo Bacigalupi is so commonly cited as being `Gibsons successor’. But PB loves his characters; on the other hand WG interests lie more in techno/cyber forecasting/predictions. And whilst he is clearly rather good on that front (esp considering when this was written), the writing, the characters, and the plot are otherwise frankly a bit crap. Or maybe its that I just like my books a little more lavish, and less Kerouacish these days? Not really my cup of tea.

Review in brief: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This however, I loved. It has so many sides. A great sprawling novel, it meanders through America and myth. Windows open into dark pockets of the past, some of which feed quite directly into the main storyline, some of which seem more picturesque. The road trip elements are wonderful and the writing immersive.

At the heart of the book is the need for the American Gods incarnate to be worshipped. Their needs are diverse. Some are more able than others to harvest their required sacrifices.

I read the extended 2011 version of this, and would have been happy for there to be another few hundred pages thrown in on top. Never again will I think of Gaiman purely as Terry Pratchett’s lesser sidekick :-).

Review in brief: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This starts with quite some promise; but it wasn’t quite the text I wanted it to be. By two thirds it felt like it had got into a pattern: Oh look, Kell has been injured, he is bleeding some more magic blood. Oh, look! Kell has been injured again; a bit more blood. Narrow? Suppose at least it didn’t get into burning witches, or warlocks. But the parallel worlds lacked substance. Still, Schwab does have enough promise that I’ll v likely look at some of her other writing.

Review in brief: Python for Data Analysis by Wes McKinney

Should really be reading a bit more of this one…


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