Monday, February 03, 2014

SFFWorld Welcomes Mark Chitty + Mark Yon Reviews Jo Walton

Last week, SFFWorld welcomed Mark Chitty to our reviewer ranks. Mark and I have been pals online for quite some time, he's a member in the SFFWorld forums, he was the purveyor of the (sadly now-closed) blog Walker of Worlds and we follow each other on twitter.

With his blog closed (for the moment) Mark still wanted to review books and he is doing just that for SFFWorld. His first review is of Neal Asher's Jupiter War. This novel is third installment of Asher's Owner series:

What works in Jupiter War is the way Asher has pulled together all elements from the previous novels into a coherent whole, answering questions that are raised and continuing the character development nicely and without any unwarranted changes. Saul continues on the path to godhood, combining ever more with technology and moving away from his human side. This is particularly evident in his dealings with those on board Argus, even with his sister, Var. Galahad is truly the villain, and is everything you could ask for in a character. Her conviction that she’s doing what is right for the planet doesn’t waiver, but her confidence and arrogance push her to megalomania. She’s fascinating to read, perhaps more so than the Owner, and seeing her in action often brings a smile even when that’s not the intention. Of course, with two personalities such as these present in the story there is bound to be conflict, and when it comes the outcome never seems to be certain, despite everything we know.
Mark Yon reviewed What Makes this Book So Great, a compilation of selected posts from Jo Walton between 2008 and 2011. (A copy arrived for me yesterday):

Of the selection here, there’s a lot of fun to be had. The first essay sets out the stall with the title ‘Why I Re-read’. It makes a good case for re-reading, and I found myself pretty much agreeing with what was said. The idea of the joy and perils of re-reading pops up in a couple of places elsewhere in the collection, as Jo explains ‘The Suck Fairy’ (what happens when you re-read an old favourite and it doesn’t quite match what you remembered) and the re-readability factor, when sometimes you just have to reread an old favourite, as a guilty pleasure, despite the wealth of riches out there.

The book is peppered with such ideas throughout: whether you should skim books, whether swearing in genre books is a good idea or not, why the anticipation of an unfinished series is sometimes a joy, or indeed why you should enjoy the feeling you can get when you start the first of what will be a long series, or the first of an author’s lengthy body of works. There’s even a case put forward to re-read books you didn’t like.

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