Book log 2014 – 1) Charles Stross — Overtime

I have not abandoned the book log for last year, but I’m going to get caught up with this month’s while I can still remember them.

Cthulhu Christmas-themed novelette set in the Laundryverse, a couple of books into the series timeline. There’s just about enough backstory that I think someone completely new to the Laundryverse could enjoy this, but you’ll get a lot more fun out of it if you already know at least a little about the world it’s set in.

Bob Howard works for a branch of the British secret service which is devoted to putting off for as long as possible the forthcoming invasion of our universe by the eldritch horrors from beyond time and space. Except it’s still the civil service, with all that implies about audit trails and HR…

Being confined to a hospital bed by your last field assignment is no excuse for not putting in your annual leave request on time, so Bob’s left minding the office phone over Christmas as Duty Officer. The upside is triple pay. The downside — sometimes you have to earn that triple pay. It’s Christmas Eve, and the Bringer of Gifts will be visiting all the boys and girls, even the ones at work. And especially the ones who work in the Laundry.

Lovely satire of the office Christmas party and life in the civil service under austerity measures, with a large helping of geeky jokes, and good fun to read. It was a Hugo nominee for good reason.

Originally published and still available as a free read at Tor.com, but also now available formatted as a cheap DRM-free ebook.

Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo, Tor.com

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book log June 2013

Onward with the book log… Again pretty skimpy, but check out (30) because it’s good and it’s in the BVC 50% off sale until 6th Jan.

26) Ian Rankin — The Flood
Picked this one up, and put it down again within a few pages — not because I thought it was poorly written, but because I discovered that I really wasn’t in the mood to read this style of story. I’ll probably give it another go at some point.

27) Agatha Christie — A Pocket Full of Rye
Re-read of Miss Marple novel, previously reviewed here: http://www.librarything.com/work/29788/reviews/71474847

28) James Blish – Jack of Eagles
“Oh, look, SFGateway is republishing books I haven’t read in years!” It has some issues seen through 21st century eyes, but is still a worthwhile exploration of psi powers.
http://www.librarything.com/work/199007
http://www.sfgateway.com/books/j/jack-of-eagles/

29) Francis Durbridge — Tim Fraser Again (audiobook)
Another case for engineer turned secret agent Tim Frazer, definitely of its time but a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Unabridged on 2 CDs and read by Anthony Head. There are some good detailed reviews on Amazon UK. It’s available on Amazon US, but might actually be cheaper to order from the UK at the moment.

30) Chris Dolley — Reggiecide

(Note: I received a free review copy of this through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.) An entertaining steampunk pastiche of Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories. It’s one of a series of shortish stories about gentleman private detective and silly ass Reggie Worcester, his automaton valet Reeves, and his fiancee Emmeline, In this one, the chaps have to investigate the disappearance of Guy Fawkes, who has been revived as a Promethean by one of his descendants. Alas, Fawkes has but one thought left in his head… I found that it worked well even though I hadn’t read the earlier stories. Good fun if you like speculative fiction and Wodehouse.

It’s also in the BVC sale – 50% off until 6 January… http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/reggiecide/

31) Margery Allingham — Police at the funeral (audiobook)
Re-listen of an Albert Campion abridged audiobook.

32) Nisi Shawl (Editor) — Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars
Limited edition fundraiser anthology from Book View Cafe, which is superb and deserves a proper review when I’ve re-read it. No longer available, alas.