19. "Range of Ghosts" by Elizabeth Bear
Review at Tor.com, here.
20. "Zone One" by Colson Whitehead
A dull, sloppily constructed book with beautiful prose. Whitehead can turn a sentence like nobody's business, but that's the only thing that Zone One has going for it--and unfortunately, he has a habit of loving those pretty sentences so much that four or five of them in a row will tend to say the exact same thing with different words. The construction of the narrative is wandering, sloppy, and prone to the sort of repetition that doesn't achieve an artistic effect but only shows how Whitehead seems to think that the reader needs to be explicitly told things, over and over, if they're going to understand what he's trying to say. Zone One is an exemplar of the worst habits of "literary" fiction--vacuous emptiness covered by lovely, poetic prose, especially.
I finished it mostly through a grim determination to make it to the end and see if he at least tied off the story properly, and in a way, yes--it's the ending we've been told will be coming since the first page. So, still unbelievable dull, but at least sensible.
( Books Read 2012Collapse )