Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My January Reading: 80s, Gliders and Space

My January books are introduced to you by Nora! ^u^

Silvia Moreno-Garcia “Signal to Noise” [Mexico, Canada]
Siri Kolu “Kesän jälkeen kaikki on toisin” [Finland]
Ольга Онойко “Сфера-17” (Olga Onoyko “Sphere-17” ) [Russia]
Ales Kot: Wolf, Vol. 2: Apocalypse Soon [Czech Republic, USA]

A short story:
Tlotlo Tsamaase “Virtual Snapshots” [Botswana]

Signal to Noise
“Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends -- Sebastian and Daniela -- and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love...
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?”

Misfits, music and magic. I thought I'd love this story, but unfortunately the main character Meche is horrible. She treats her school “friends” so badly! She insults them all the time, orders them around and PLOT SPOILERS from now on: hexes her friend Sebastian so he gets into an accident (he breaks his arm, and if another witch hadn't intervened he probably would have died; when Meche thinks about it she feels joy from his pain, she thinks he deserved punishment for stealing her vinyl) AND soon after that Meche threatens to hex Daniela too if she doesn't obey. And then, when her friends no longer want to be pushed around and hexed by her, she dramatically runs away, playing a victim, boohoo. When she meets Daniela and Sebastian two decades later, she's still rude to them, has no remorse about what happened, and describes her teen self as merely “a bundle of irritated nerves and impatience.” and her current rudeness as “It just came out all wrong. I'm not exactly a perfect orator.” And Sebastian (I rolled my eyes really hard there) apparently is still in love with her after all these years (breaking people's arms is romantic, right?), and they become a couple in the end of the book. Ummm….. The Mexican setting was fun, though, and it was nicely written.

One more quote: “That sad, defeated tone. Like she had just stabbed his hand with a fork. Like she had just run over his favourite puppy. Like she was this awful person. She wasn't. Not when you looked at it all rationally.” I can't with this “friend”. Bad people rationalizing their behaviour, ugh.

Kesän jälkeen kaikki on toisin
“Peetulle itseksi tulemisen hinta on kallis. Niin kallis, että sen maksaa kaikesta huolimatta.
Peetu on saanut kasteessa nimen Petra, vaikka Petra hän ei ole ollut koskaan. Ei se pikkutyttö, jonka äiti muistaa.
Syyskuun ensimmäinen Peetu täyttää 18 ja pian sen jälkeen hän menee korjausleikkaukseen. Ennen sitä Peetu vain odottaa. Odottamista helpottaa se, että isä vie Peetun lentämään. Purjelentokoneeseen, melkein taivaan reunaan kiinni. Kymmenen lennon ajan Peetu ja isä jakavat keveyden, jossa sanatkin tulevat vapaammin ja voi puhua, ihan kaikesta.”

Finnish YA novel about a trans guy Peetu spending one summer flying in a glider with his father. There isn't much plot, its mostly vignettes of his thoughts and feelings. Most of the story is about being trans and overall I liked it but I was really bugged by Peetu's girlfriend Aamu. She identifies as a lesbian, speaks about liking women and is worried that after Peetu transitions they will be seen as a straight couple. She's dating a man and still says she's attracted to women only. I don't know if she's not truly seeing him as a man or if she just interprets the label 'lesbian' differently for herself… Is Peetu an exception for her, then? One thing that stood out was that Peetu had to prove his manliness to doctors and he chose not to wear a floral-print shirt when meeting them, even though he bought that shirt from a male clothes section. Cisgender men can wear that, but for trans men it's too feminine, apparently. :/ Gotta be stereotypically male to get a permission to transition!

Сфера-17 (Sphere-17)
“Если вас интересует будущее человечества, то эта книга ваша. Ауренга – автор, который может заглядывать за горизонт. И она увидела, что наше грядущее грандиозно и страшно. Люди, конечно, не останутся жителями только одной планеты. Они заселят всю Вселенную. Наши потомки обживут тысячи планет. Однако даже через тысячи лет суть гомо сапиенс не изменится. К сожалению, наши потомки унаследуют все пороки своих предков. И поэтому проблемы останутся те же: борьба сверхмощных корпораций, грязные политические интриги, шпионские игры, экономические блокады, борьба за независимость, вырождение целых империй.
Но сохранится и главная ценность, ради которой человек всегда, во все времена шёл на подвиги и совершал самые отчаянные поступки – это любовь. Классическая космоопера ставит перед нами – представителями нынешней цивилизации – главный вопрос: на что можно пойти ради своей Родины, а на что ради любви?”

Russian space opera. Didn't like it, it was tedious, the twist was predictable and where are women? It's nice that there are Russian science fiction books with gay characters like this one, but it was many dudes talking for pages and pages and pages and pages, as if I were reading one of those old school science fiction books written by men and populated by men, expect this book is recent and written by a woman. o_O

Wolf, Vol. 2: Apocalypse Soon
Spoilers for Volume 1
“Five years later: Antoine Wolfe is in prison, Anita Christ is nearly eighteen years old, and the apocalypse is coming. As their paths cross again, histories collide and dead come alive.”

I certainly liked this one more than volume 1 but it's still confusing and so weird. =D Very gory, as usual.

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