FF: What Happened Or Why?

Persephone the Friend-Shaped

A couple of the books I’ve read recently have held few surprises for me by way of major details, but while for one this made the plot a bit flat, for the other it didn’t matter.  This has had me musing as to why the difference, and I’m not really sure.  Any thoughts?

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 


The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss.  Audiobook.  A book oddly lacking in suspense because the characters keep breaking the fourth wall, so weak on plot, although strong on characterization.  Setting is pulp Victorian, with some logical incongruities.

From Sawdust to Stardust: the Biography of DeForest Kelly, Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy by Terry Lee Rioux.  I’d call this one bittersweet.

Excess by H.P. Holo and Jacob Holo.  Monster Punk Horizon Three.  A very short novel (about twenty percent of my e-book was extra material) with lots of action, hyped-up descriptions, and some very personable characters.  For a book about hunting monsters, it’s very friend-shaped.

In Progress:

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Audiobook.  From reading the Miles books, I know much of the “what happened,” but I’m finding the details of the “how” more than enough to keep me interested.

Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim Powers.  Before he became renowned as the master of “secret history” tales, Tim Powers wrote this strange take on post-apolcalyptic LA.  I haven’t read it for years, but I’ve been sucked right in.


Finished the latest Smithsonian and a copy of the Berkshire magazine I got as a freebee.  The latter is like reading life in an alternate world in some ways.


6 Responses to “FF: What Happened Or Why?”

  1. James Mendur Says:

    Sometimes, it’s not about plot. It’s about exploring somewhere or something new, or hanging out with an interesting person, or visiting with old friends (if a series). To use a TV example, I don’t think anyone watches “Midsomer Murders” for the whodunnit. They watch it for the utterly ordinary but good guy police detective interact with the truly strange people who live in his area and get involved in murders. When an author can bring out some other part of the story to grab one’s attention, a weak plot can be pushed back as you enjoy the ride.

    Finished: Re-read of “The Hammer of Darkness” by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

    Started: “The Fires of Paratime” by L.E. Modesitt Jr. (new to me).

    “Hammer” is an old favorite. It makes no logical sense in so many ways (1000 years (in the story) with no technological advances?) but the story is about Martel and his choices.

    I’ve never been thrilled by Modesitt’s other books I’ve tried, although I understand some of them are quite popular. It’s his world-building. It’s an awful lot of work to assemble the jigsaw of his worlds, the way he reveals the pieces. “Paratime” started with a half dozen ill-defined characters in an odd civilization that I’m still trying to figure out, but I’ll keep with it for now. I just don’t like my pleasure-reading to be that much work.

    I haven’t gone back to “15 Minutes” yet. Maybe later.

  2. Beverly Martin Says:

    I checked out a new series, Veronica Speedwell by Deanna Rybourn. The first book, A Curious Beginning, introduced the main character and her love interest. I was strongly reminded of the Phryne Fisher series with a dash of Stephanie Plum (the question of will they, won’t they). As you were discussing, no surprises, but it was good enough that I finished the book.

    I finished The Shlomance series by Naomi Novik. The Golden Enclave is a good conclusion to a rather dark story about a world of magic. There are dark beings that go around eating magical people – especially children. I enjoyed Ms. Novik’s series about dragons more, but I will read more books by her.

    Finally, I struggled through Coconut Cowboy by Tim Dorsey. It is supposed to be a satire based in Florida. There are 2 stories that eventually merge. One is about Serge Storms and his sidekick traveling across Florida and the other is a small town’s corruption. The satire was too overblown and violent! I had forgotten I had read a book in this series before and didn’t enjoy it. Maybe I will remember that in the future!

  3. Josh Gentry Says:

    I found the Goss book charming, but I agree not suspenseful. Her short stories are weirder and worth reading, if you haven’t. I quite like this collection, https://bookshop.org/p/books/in-the-forest-of-forgetting-theodora-goss/8329933?ean=9781907881183.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thanks, Josh. I’ll definitely keep this in mind. I’m not necessarily needing suspense, but I feel I’m getting mixed signals. “Oh, no. X is missing/injured/ill…” X is also snarking from the background.

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