I can't quite make my mind up about the new Pokemon Go stuff. On one hand, I have a Muk I single-handedly defeated in a raid, and I've collected more coins in the last week than four weeks previously. On the other hand, it's very hit-and-miss sticking pokemon in gyms (and I'm not even bothering attacking a full onne) - they either get kicked out after five minutes or stay for three days. And as for raids - I want to raid. But I want to fight and catch the pokemons I don't have, most importantly a Snorlax, and let's be frank: unless I'm in the library garden or maybe at Fisketorvet, if such an egg hatches, there's not going to be anybody around to help me, and it's going to suck. A lot.

So yeah, I'm ambivalent.

What I've recently finished reading

Siri Pettersen: Råddenskab
Or Råta in the original Norwegian. Second book in the trilogy and Hirka is now stuck in the world of humans. Our world. And I must admit - it's still very well-written and engaging, but I did not find it quite as engaging as the first novel. I liked a lot of it - including the detail of a fantasy novel style map of modern Europe on the inside of the cover - but somehow, it felt less original than the first. Also, it was annoying that as soon as Rime had taken the beak, he pretty much stopped having pov chapters, and Hirka's part of the novel started after she'd been living on Earth for a few months, meaning we got neither of their first glance reactions to our world. And nobody got to react to Rime's tail - damnit, kid, there better be a way to fix that!

Ben Aaronovitch: Rivers of London: Body Work
I must admit, I liked this a considerable deal more than most tie-in comics I've read. Partly I think it's because it's actually written by Ben Aaronovitch himself, meaning that it actually feels like a part of the main 'verse and probably counts as proper canon, unlike most tie-in comics. It feels like a nice, little, urban fantasy police procedural that might have happened while the bigger cases weren't pouncing all over Peter Grant. Of course, part of it is probably also that, since Rivers of London is not a tv show, the comic book artist didn't try to resort to that ugly, ugly photo realistic style that so many tie-in comics use. How can fan artists so very easily make lovely, easily recognizable pictures and comics of characters, but give the job to a professional and they make comics I can barely make myself look at?

Michael Flynn: Eifelheim
This could have been a really good book. It has an interesting premise - aliens crashland on Earth, except it's back of beyond Germany in the 14th century and the Black Death is getting into gear. The Krenkl are excellent aliens, even if most of their concepts and science feel too recognizably modern, and their alienness was just being giant mantisses with a hive social structure, and the village of Oberhochwald and it's characters are interesting and lively and subverts many expectations the reader might have of medieval Germany. The writing is a bit heavy, but this part of the story mostly works for me - though I could have done without the odd mix of English and the occasional German words, which feels more like characters treating it like a second language when it does appear, instead of their first.

What doesn't work at all is the framing story set in a supposed "Now", telling of Tom the Historian and his wife, Sharon the Physicist, and how they accidentally come together to discover that there were aliens in medieval Germany. First of all - it's not set in our Now. It's set in some sort of near-future or alternate Earth, where something called cliology (apparently invented in one of the author's other books - history as pure statistics and predictive models, a bit like Asimov's psychohistory. I know that there are RL approaches to history using statistics and such, but this book just - seems to assume that that is the only sort of history that matters, and that "narrative history(?)" is - quaint and bad and mostly worthless?) dominates. Where historians specializing in the middle ages don't go to the sources, but have to be literally kicked out of their apartment by a wife tired of him disturbing her ponderings on the nature of the multiverse to even consider using sources from outside the internet. WTF? (Apparently, the author is a statistician and engineer and supposedly writes hard science fiction - honestly? His concept of historians seem mostly invented by himself.) Apart from me getting annoyed with the pseudo-historian part of the "Now" chapters, they just felt - unfinished. They never seemed to provide Tom enough clues that it'd be reasonable for him to jump to the conclusion of "Aliens!" We hardly see him do any investigating.

And then there are the parts of the "Now" chapters that set up conflicts - which the book then cheerfully seems to completely forget. There's Sharon getting told to stop her research by the head of her department, who worries it'll prove controversial - which goes nowhere past the chapter. There's Tom venturing into a library - unlike apparently every other scholar in existence in this universe, making you wonder why the library even bothers with opening hours - and meets a lonely, mousy, Asian librarian - and the book keeps hinting at them almost having an affair, except they never quite do, and all the conflict never happens. The "Now" chapters are dull, and it drags the entire book down, down, down.

So, in conclusion: I like the medieval chapters. I might have liked the Now chapters more, if they had actually allowed Tom to show his work as an actual fucking historian and not some sort of weird barely-a-parody of one, and if the promise of Tom and Sharon working together to make an amazing discovery had, you know, been kept. As is, it would have been better off without the frame story. It's annoying. And now I will stop writing about how annoying I find it.

What I'm reading now

Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett's The Long Utopia.

What I'm reading next

Garbi Schmidt's Ebba, I think

Total number of books and comics read this year: 112


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