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Gerald Kersh - Men Without Bones (1962, though individual stories date back to 1937)
Subtitled "and other haunting inhabitants of the wide, weird world". Which is fair enough really. I read this for the Jomsthing on Kersh because it was the one book of his I owned. I discovered that Kersh wrote fanfic: The Madwoman - a Shakespeare fan fic, and The Ape and the Mystery which is a Leonardo da Vinci fan fic. I discovered how Ambrose Bierce spent his last days (or not, as the case may be). I met Simple Simon, who travels the world urging people to worship Jesus but can't recognise his saviour when he meets him, and George Wainewright (with an 'e') who might or might not be a murderer. I met the imagineary Annibal and his real sister Bella Barlay. I met the poor hapless Colonel Tessier who rode the wrong way, and the even more hapless Rodney whose wife is allergic to him. At times I stopped and read bits out loud to Brian. At times I left the book on my bedside for days together. Kersh seems to be one of those writers you either like or you don't, and in fact I like him on some days and not on others. He wrote over 400 short stories and I shall be reading more.

Kim Stanley Robinson - Antarctica (1997)
I read this (1st UK edition hardback, signed) for the London Science Fiction Research Community discussion, and because it was the oldest KSR book still unread on my shelves, and because I turned out to be in the mood for langurous meditations on icy landscapes. I found its 400 pages from multiple viewpoints compulsively readable, lost myself in the history, geography and future of the Antarctic, swallowed its cornucopiastic bounty in a few long, luxurious sessions. I read passages out loud to Brian from time to time (p43: "X's hands were now so cold"). It feels like a companion piece to the Mars trilogy, and indeed it was discussed as such by the LSFRC. It demonstrates all of the virtues I am familiar with from his earlier work, so easily read as vices if you are not in the mood, and you will love or hate it as you love or hate his other books.

Nnedi Okorafor - Lagoon (2014)
First contact, African style, brings humans, Gods and aliens onto the strees of Lagos to discover in the chaos whether they can live together and if so how to go about it. Diana Wynne Jones in Nigeria, I said, when someone asked me why they should read Okorafor's books, and I was thinking of Akata Witch. It's not strictly accurate - I don't think Diana ever had a soldier or an alien as a viewpoint character, but it will do for this too.

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Caroline M

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