Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dust Cover Dust-Up 2013 - Round One, Part Ten

Snow Crash vs. Cetaganda

          Winner: Snow Crash

So, my favourite Neal Stephenson so far (out of two, and I had major issues with Cryptonomicon) or my least favourite Lois McMaster Bujold? (Out of three or four.) Cetaganda was still a lot of fun, but lacked some of the fire of her Vorkosigan books I've liked more. And the ideas behind Snow Crash were a lot of fun. I can't say it was my favourite book of the year, but this take on neurolinguistics and pizza delivery wins out.

A Bigamist's Daughter vs. Gypsies

          Winner: Gypsies

Another one of those where the science fiction mediocre book wins out over the mundane mediocrity. Gypsies is far from Robert C. Wilson's best, but this world-hopping fantasy at least held my attention more than single women 1980s angst in New York City.

Double Act vs. Pandemonium

          Winner: Pandemonium

It's so rare that you read something that feels genuinely new and innovative, and so I am happy to award this match to Pandemonium. Double Act was young adult, and fine but unexciting. Pandemonium, on the other hand, gave me a world full of demonic possession, but recognizable demons with recognizable patterns of possession. What were they and why? Fascinating.

Joyland vs. The Native Star

          Winner: Joyland

Perhaps only the second Stephen King novel I've ever read (no horror for me, thanks. Can't deal with it, enjoy sleeping too much.) And it was a good one. This is much less a mystery than it is a meditation on growing up. And that easily lifted it above the California vaguely steampunky fantasy that is The Native Star

The Affinity Bridge vs. Tau Zero

          Winner: The Affinity Bridge

Usually, I'd expect Poul Anderson to win. But Tau Zero was curiously bloodless, and while provocative, also a little boring. The Affinity Bridge was far from a masterpiece, but its steampunk was at least more interesting, even though it took until the final pages of the book for one character to really make an impression.

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