We are officially a quarter of the way through the year. The clocks have changed, spring is in the air, and TBRs across the world are rich with new life. My own TBR is sagging a little under its own weight. In fact, there are so many books in that stack (48) that I can’t fit them all in a single photo, so it’s probably time to start digging my way through the word mines again.
Right now my TBR falls into two main categories. First up is a great big block of tie-in fiction. I’ve got five Warhammer 40,000 books, eight Star Trek novels, and twelve Halo novels. Because I didn’t get around to running WarhamMarch in a satisfying manner, I’m putting off the Warhammer books until May for WarhamMay. The Trek books have been there longer than anything else on my TBR, so I’m keen to get into those, and that Halo selection is threatening to crush me in my sleep, meaning I should get to that for safety’s sake, if nothing else.
The other half is a real smorgasbord of genre fiction. Incredibly, I have three fantasy novels in there, penned by Leo Carew, Brandon Sanderson, and Adrian Tchaikovsky. These mark some of the only fantasy authors I’m keeping up with, and will provide a perfect break between science fiction books. Being fantasy, they’re also all fairly lengthy. So if I end up going quite for a few days, you can blame one of those authors.
And then there’s the science fiction. The reason we’re all here. Having enjoyed all of his previous work, I’ve taken the plunge on a bunch of Stephen Baxter novels. I’ve also got Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Memory and Christopher Ruocchio’s Ashes of Man hanging around, waiting to bring me up to speed on some of my favourite current series. Other than that, it’s largely composed of older works that I’ve picked up second-hand. There’s everything in there from John Brunner to James White, by way of David Drake, H. Beam Piper, and H.G. Wells.
With so much to choose from, I’m finding it difficult to formulate a proper reading schedule. I need to get those tie-in stacks under control before they take over my life, and I’m also in a good position to start completing some series that have been ongoing for a while. On the other hand, I’ve got a lot of standalone novels that I can safely nibble at without committing to anything extreme. What’s a reader to do?
The choice I have made is largely an abdication of choice. I’m bringing back my random book selector. As a seasoned D&D player, I’ve got plenty of dice floating around. So what I’ve done is assign a number to each genre/franchise in my TBR, and then within that assigned a number to each individual author. All I need to do in order to choose my next read is roll some dice and see what numbers come up. Free from the burden of free will, I’m going to let chance decide. And id I don’t like what chance says, I can always intervene.
So there you have it. No reading schedule for this month. Just a random allocation of books. The dice are telling me that my first read is The Long Mirage, by David R. George III, so I’ll have a report on that soon, plus reviews of the books I didn’t get around to reviewing last month.
Now that farm work has become slightly less manic, I’m hoping to have more time to plan posts, which means I should be able to put together some proper articles this month. Among my vague plans at the moment are a look at various attempts to create SF canons through the years, a dive into what makes British SF distinct, and a personal canon of sorts, in which I talk about the books and shows that influenced my perception of what science fiction should be. None of that is set in concrete yet, but one article I’m almost certain to get to is my much-delayed review of the Halo, games, because I can’t really talk about the books until I’ve covered the source material.
By now you should know that what i actually write will have very little resemblance to these plans, but I hope you’ll stick around long enough to read what I eventually post.
With the exception of a select few Black Library hardbacks I want to grab before they go extinct (Minka Lesk, looking at you), I am on a book buying hiatus until I trim the fat from this TBR tower I’ve grown. But the world goes on without me, and it never hurts to keep abreast of publishing developments. So here are three books coming out this April that are worth keeping an eye out for.
11th – Descendant Machine, by Gareth L. Powell – I had a few issues with the first Continuance book, but this second one only shares a universe, so I’m looking forward to seeing if Powell can reclaim the magic of his other novels.
23rd – Star Wars: The High Republic #5: Cataclysm, by Lydia Kang – At this point, I’m unlikely to get into the High Republic anytime soon. Maybe once there’s a clear endpoint in sight I’ll make time. But one thing I am impressed by is how many new (to me) authors are coming up through this series. It bodes well for the future of Star Wars.
27th – The Final Architecture #3: Lords of Uncreation, by Adrian Tchaikovsky – The end of Tchaikovsky’s most traditional space opera trilogy is one I am looking forward to. I don’t rank it among his stronger works, but the man is a master of inventiveness, so this is sure to be another solid entry in his library.
As always, if I’ve missed something out, or there’s something you’d like to see me tackle, just let me know in the comments. I can’t promise to follow up on anything, but I’m willing to give most things a try.
Leave a Reply