Book Queue

In the queue, or done, or nearly so:

Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper, Building Harlequin’s Moon. I’d written off Niven when Ringworld Engineers came out in the early 80s (I read that, and couldn’t believe how bad it was). I don’t know how much is Cooper and how much is Niven, but this is the most enjoyable Niven I’ve read in twenty-plus years. 50pp from the end I can smell the coffee; it’s not going to get wrapped up, and we’ll see another book to actually finish things (I could be wrong). This wouldn’t necessarily be bad.

Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas. 50pp in, very well written, fascinating characters set in the Pacific Northwest. Will probably finish this book next.

Neal Stephenson, The Confusion. 250pp in, I can say that this moves along a lot quicker than the first book in the Baroque Cycle. There’s about a hundred pages involving a pretty satisfying “caper” of Half-Cocked Jack’s, and even the financial aspects of things are interesting this time around. I keep wanting to dig up my old textbooks on French history, so this can’t be too bad.

Advanced Renderman. I’ve yet to actually do any serious twiddling around with RenderMan, and I’ve probably had this book for a couple of years. Despite the word “Advanced” in the title, it’s pretty easy to understand, and there are a bunch of really good tutorials and SigGraph courses available from renderman.org. Recommended.

Beginning CSS (Wrox Press). Finally took a few hours to whip through what seemed like a pretty decent book on CSS; nowhere near as arbitrary or convoluted as I thought it was going to be.

The Year’s Best Science Fiction, 21st Annual Collection. Included Vinge’s The Cookie Monster (which wasn’t that good, but I did want to re-read it), and the simply dazzling Out in the Night (which gave me a couple of nightmares, I think). A pretty good collection.

Charles Stross, The Hidden Family. Second volume of a probable series of four (or ten! — read his blog entry on a cold-hearted approach writing fantasy); neatly wraps things up the way that The Guns of Avalon wrapped stuff up for the first Amber books. Neatly done and entertaining, if a little predictable, can’t wait for July’s Accelerando….

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