I never did write up my book log for June — not least because I was more than a little distracted in early July by Torchwood: Children of Earth. Here’s what I think I read:
E.F. Benson — Mrs Ames
Another of the out-of-copyright texts already loaded onto the Cybook by its previous owner. Someone else has written a very good review of it, so I don’t have to. :-)
Charles Stross — Saturn’s Children
Another of the books in the Hugo nominees package. I meant to read more of these before nominations closed, but this and Bears Shoggoths were the only ones already in a file format I could use on the Cybook. This was an interesting one for me, because I saw this in draft as part of Charlie’s crit group. I liked the draft a lot, but it is clearly that little bit better after going through professional editing — and I’d be hard put to point at exactly why. Truly, a good editor is the author’s friend, and a good author understands that.
This is Charlie’s riff on both late period Heinlein (specifically Friday) and Asimov’s robots, and a fine job he does with it. You’ll get more out of it if you’re familiar with the material he’s building on, and there are some fannish in-jokes you might miss even if you’re an active member of sf fandom, but there’s still plenty of meat in this book for readers who come to it cold. It’s often very funny, but it also takes a cold hard look at some tricky ethical issues, as it works through the implications of intelligent robots left running a solar system after the humans have died out — or from another perspective, an artificially created slave species proceeding to recreate the social dynamics of their vanished creators.
PD James — Unnatural Causes
Third of the Dalgliesh series, reviewed on 10 June.