Having read The Fifth Season last week I managed to finish its sequel The Obelisk Gate this week. I’m such a laborious reader of fiction that I couldn’t possibly have found time to do this if I’d been, you know, going to work every day, but again the combination of an audiobook in the gym and a paperback the rest of the time worked well and I chewed right through it.
Oh, also, it was very good! Inevitably there was a bit less worldbuilding than in the first book, plus less actual travelling and a more conventional structure that made it feel more restrained, but it did a good job of keeping up the pace of the big-picture plot and dolloping out a few more thrilling reveals.
One thing I particularly like about this trilogy is the tone of the writing: it’s serious enough when it needs to be, but generally it treads lightly and doesn’t get bogged down in backstory or po-faced lore. Also there are funny bits and swearing which do a lot to leaven the epic fantasy vibe. I get the overall sense that N. K. Jemisin is cool and fun which I think is an impressive achievement for any writer.
I’m looking forward to reading the final book, The Stone Sky, although I don’t know if I can sustain this pace without giving myself a psychic nosebleed.
In a damning indictment of my personality, I sometimes enjoy the delayed gratification of saving up a review more than I enjoy the thing being reviewed. It’s a fun dessert after the main course, particularly when (as with The Rise of Skywalker in week 1) the review is legitimately more entertaining than its subject.
I liked The Fifth Season & The Obelisk Gate a lot so it’s only a mild bonus that reading them has unlocked access to The Incomparable #346. More significantly, I’m not getting much out of Picard but this week’s RLM review was absurd enough to retroactively make the show worth watching.
I don’t understand what this Apple advert means: “Face ID only stores a mathematical representation of your face on iPhone, not a photo.” There are several different levels of pedantic nitpick available here — in what sense is a digital photo not a mathematical representation?, for example — but the more I think about it the more unsure I feel about the basic message they’re trying to communicate. What is the underlying fear being addressed? Who is the audience that will find the phrase “mathematical representation” reassuring? Galaxy brain: doesn’t everyone have a photo of themselves on their phone anyway?
I was gearing up for some travel next week which has now been postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is largely a relief but does mean I need to think of something else to do instead.