Friday, January 5, 2024

Friday Book Recommendations (January 5)

The Baron of Magister Valley (Steven Burst):This is a light, frothy confection great for whiling away the hours on a winter day. It's not as good as the first two Khaavren romances but it's fun, funny, brisk paced and sometimes surprising. As a big fan of the Khaavren romances I wasn't disappointed, but I also wasn't expecting terribly much. 

Machine (Elizabeth Bear): Bear's _White Space_ novels (this one and Ancestral Night) are both great explorations of self-biochemical hacking, asking the question "if we give ourselves the ability to stop being assholes, what does that mean?" and from the enemies point of view "sure your vast multi-species society has created a place where everyone is cared for and feels valued, but is it worth it if I, personally, can't be an asshole to people?" Bear doesn't phrase it quite that way, but the answers to those questions are surprisingly nuanced and compelling. On top of all this ethical stuff are great SF stories with adventure and risk and big broad concepts. This one in particular is a love letter to James White's _Hospital Station_ novels, which I also love. 

Record of the Lodoss War: Discovered through Ben Milton's _Glatisant_, this is a fascinating cultural artifact of the magazine column that introduced Japan to D&D. 

Baking Yesteryear: The Best Recipes from the 1900s to the 1980s by B. Dylan Hollis: Speaking of frothy confections! If you haven't watched Hollis' TikToks, they justify the existence of that platform. His recipe collection culled from old cookbooks and his past episodes are just as delightful and full of joy. I can't wait to try some of the things in here. 

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