Science Fiction Reading Progress

I've been mentioning what I've been reading as part of my weekly "accomplishment" posts, but I wanted to take the opportunity to write a slightly longer review and reflection of some recent reading.

After delaying for far too long, I've finally gotten through the April/May issue of Asimov's. There are probably all sorts of reasons why double issues make a lot of sense for publishers, but I have to say that I find them a bit grueling to read. Maybe it was just this particular issue, but I found that the balance between novellas and short stories wasn't terribly good, but maybe it was these stories, and my own tastes rather than anything wrong with the editing itself. There were some great stories: I loved Kristen Kathryn Rusch's story, and I thought the cover story was fun but weird in that way that I don't think Steampunk always works as well as it seems like it should. Michael Swanwick's and Mike Resnick's stories were high on the poignant-factor and low on the larger meaning but they worked.

I've still not read the June or August issues, and I'm going to try and start reading Clarkesworld. Here's hoping I still have time to do other things after periodical reading obligations.

I also read (in about two weeks) Excision by Iain M. Banks. As I was moving to the east coast I made the decision to start going through all of the late 80s and 90s era space opera that I had totally missed, and I can't quite recall why I chose Banks. I think there's something about the grandiosity of The Culture that I really quite like. I found the first two really hard to grok, and now they mostly make sense. I think if I could do it again [1] I'd read Use of Weapons, maybe Excision, I'd make Player of Games optional but definitely 3rd if anything and then Consider Phlebas. I think Phlebas is among the best, but without the context of the others its a bit too odd.

I've also been listening to podcasts: The Outer Alliance Podcast, FLOSS Weekly, FaiF, and Escape Pod. Good content, great pacing for my now daily walks, and it's good to stay in touch with all of that content. Podcasts were something I'd listened to a lot when I was exercising or driving alone. I've not driven very much in the last year, and my exercise routine has only recently started to become regular. So it's nice to get back in that habit.

What are you all reading? [2]

[1]And if I weren't such an ardent traditionalist about reading series of books in the order of their publication.
[2]And, admittedly, listening to.
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