working a job for the short while before corporate threw me out gave me time to get into a rhythm of regularly reading, so I’ve been burning through a few books. I feel slightly more like a person now.
Finally finished High Rise. That gets weird and disgusting but it sure stayed interesting!
Read through The Last Wish, which is turns out is the second Witcher book written, though chronologically first. I consider this to be a thing that worked out for the best. The stories and writing in this are really good, and consistently surprisingly self aware. There’s a chapter that starts out a goofy cryptid hunt and does a 180 turn and becomes about how the sins of colonialism can never be absolved. My favorite chapter, though, is an interlude that is entirely one “dialogue” between Geralt and a silent nun. He overshares and even mansplains meteorites and it felt very tongue in cheek to me.
I’m currently on The Sword of Destiny, which is the first written Witcher book, and it’s…not really pleasing me so far. Doesn’t feel like it has the self awareness of Last Wish so far, though I’m only some 100 pages in out of ~380. Female characters in both books have their fair share of sexual peril, but Last Wish tried either to validate them or make commentary on them being unable to achieve validation and the society that causes that. So far Sword of Destiny just kind of has it, or even tries to joke about it. Pretty weird! Bad taste in my mouth.
I also read through Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, which is extremely good speculative fiction/fantasy. Very informed by Black American experience, to the point that a few chapters in I found myself baffled at the oppression of the characters not being called out before realizing, uh, duh, that cognitive dissonance is integral to the experience it was conveying. Also, transness and polyamory and trauma/mental illness just played straight with no attempt at contextual justification, which was a welcome change of pace. Essun is a 40 something darkskinned woman who can control the planet with her brainstem and she has no interest in anyone’s bullshit.