Friday, 2 December 2016

Dust Cover Dust-Up 2016: Round Two, Part One

All right, I finally made it to the second round. Every book remaining in the competition has taken down at least one other book, and from here on out, the decisions get more agonizing. Let's see where it takes us!

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill vs. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Sorry, Jenny Offill. Dept of Speculation was fine, but it didn't strike a really strong chord with me. Even more, though, it's up against Station Eleven, which was a book that I just purely loved. Mandel's thoughts on the post apocalypse are deeper and more interesting than any I've ever read. 

Winner: Station Eleven

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson vs. I Was a Teenage Katima-Victim! by Will Ferguson

Another extraordinarily easy choice. On one side, we have an amusing but slight tale of a youth program in Canada, and in the other, my absolutely stunning introduction to Marilynne Robinson and her books that have moved me beyond measure this year. This first book, the thoughts of an aging and failing father to his young son, is quiet and strong.

Winner: Gilead

Whiskey and Water by Elizabeth Bear vs. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Interesting. Genre vs. genre, but oh so different. We have a book about the politics of the fae as they intersect our modern world, and we have a book about China's Cultural Revolution and the effects on science, tied up with the discovery of an alien species that lives on a world with three suns. Both were interesting, but Bear's is my personal favourite of the two.

Winner: Whiskey and Water

Wise Children by Angela Carter vs. Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson

Not really a tough choice. I did like Mona Lisa Overdrive more than I often like William Gibson books (which is to say, I like them but rarely love them), but it's up against a romp of Shakespearean proportion about the English stage, told by two aging twins who trod the less reputable boards. Carter's got to take it.

Winner: Wise Children

Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks vs. Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

I have tried so valiantly to like Iain M. Banks, and the closest I seem to get is a grudging respect. Lois McMaster Bujold's books are easy to love, and Cryoburn, Miles' romp through the underpart of a planet that gives its cryogenically-frozen citizens equal voting rights, has to win out over a book I barely remember.

Winner: Cryoburn

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