Category Archives: What I’m reading

What I’m reading: Let Maps to Others by K.J. Parker

I recently read “Let Maps to Others” by K.J. Parker which appeared in Subterranean in 2012.

Absolutely marvelous.  I loved it even more than Parker’s similar 2010 story “A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong,” which also touches on issues of academic rivalry and dishonesty.

“Let Maps to Others” reminded me of two books I’ve recently read and can recommend without reservation. First, non-fiction: Greenblatt’s recent The Swerve on the subject of manuscripts.  Second, Galbraith’s 2001 The Rising Sun, a novel set in the real-life historical episode of the attempted Scottish settlement of Panama.  Indeed, I can’t help but wonder whether Parker was influenced by Galbraith’s book.

What I’m reading: Beautiful Boys by Theodora Goss

I recently read “Beautiful Boys”, by Theodora Goss, Asimovs 2012 (reprinted in Strahan’s anthology).

Nice lyrical opening and the intriguing science fictional idea (distantly related to the disturbing “The Screwfly Solution”, 1977, Sheldon). It was also cool that she kept things ambiguous (possible unreliable narrator). And the use of Omni POV was quite effective (in the part about of waitress/boyfriend).

What I’m reading: Edmund Crispin

Last week I reread The Moving Toyshop (1946) by Edmund Crispin,  one of a series of mystery novels featuring Gervase Fen, the eccentric detective and Oxford don. Literate, funny, and highly entertaining.

It was interesting to reread this with my writer’s eye, only newly-acquired. This time around, I noticed Crispin’s POV shifts and other tricks.

My favorite book by Crispin is Buried for Pleasure. Hilarious. The book has a mood and flow that really come together, with never a false note. Scene after scene hits the mark, with high points including the testimony of the “mullocking” couple, Fen’s speech to his political meeting, and the memorable and mellow final scene. They don’t write books like this anymore.