Science Fiction: The Best of 2003, edited by Karen Haber & Jonathan Strahan
- I enjoyed just about every story in this comp, which is a really good hit rate. Actually the only one I didn't like was the Le Guin story; all the others were great. I especially liked "A Study in Emerald" by Neil Gaiman, and "The Cookie Monster" by Vernor Vinge.
Singularity Sky and its loose sequel Iron Sunrise, by Charlie Stross
- (Hi autopope!) Really entertaining space-opera where our heroes are running around trying to prevent interplanetary wars while avoiding the wrath of a post-human godlike intelligence who likes to smash planets whenever someone comes close to violating causality. Both books are packed with cool ideas. And also there's a morally ambiguous party clown.
RedRobe by John Courtenay Grimwood
- Anti-hero assassin killing for the church in space. I didn't like this one very much; it was just kind of ugly and bleak all the way through. By far the most interesting character was an AI-powered handgun, but the gun doesn't get much screen time. I preferred his previous book, ReMix.
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
- This was crap. It was mostly a mystery, and it wasn't very mysterious. It felt like it was written to be a TV series or something, with each chapter having a contrived cliffhanger, ending on a note like, "they gazed with shock at the words that were revealed!" and then you get to find out what those words were two pages into the next chapter.
I suppose it would have been more suspenseful if I hadn't already known the legends about the Merovingians and Templars and the Grail bloodline and all that, but even already knowing all about the "surprise", I expected a more interesting story. I guessed every twist except the identity of
Dr. Mabuse"The Teacher", and by then I didn't really care.
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