Christopher Rowe

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"I do not love my new education."
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I'm making an effort to be an educated Nebula voter by reading as many of the works on the preliminary ballot as I can, starting with the novels. I read Sean Stewart's fantastically good Perfect Circle literally within hours of its release, and last fall sometime made the slow, page by page study of The Knight that's pretty much always been what's required for me to access Gene Wolfe's demanding fiction (not a bad thing at all, that personal requirement, The Knight is a grand book, or at least a grand half of a book, having been artifically truncated from The Wizard by its publisher).

Over the last couple of days I've been reading Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Bujold wins lots of awards and is apparently wildly popular, but I'd not actually ever read one of her books before. I'm happy to report that I liked this one a great deal and I'll try to get to its prequel soon (this is apparently the middle book in a loosely connected series).

The title of this post, by the way, is not meant to suggest that reading all of these works is a slog. It's my favorite line--and I think it's a wonderful line, in context or out--from Paladin of Souls.

Gwenda has a few of the books from the Philip K. Dick Award short list out of the library at the moment (she was wildly enthusiastic about my old teacher Geoff Ryman's Air) and I might hit some of those next. That ballot looks very strong.

After this flurry of award reading, I hope to get into a rotation of new book of fiction (brand new, I mean, published in 2005 new)/"great book"/older novel/non-fiction. I plan out my reading like that sometimes. Some years I pick an author and read everything published by that person, along with criticism and biographies and so on, but not this year. This year I want to read a lot of novels by a lot of different people from a lot of different countries written in a lot of different styles and genres.

But for now, as I said, the Nebula ballot. Next up, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (available as a free download, here) by Cory Doctorow.

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