“I miss it, you know. Being a bartender. But the people. I mostly miss all the people.”Most dying robots do. People gave us purpose.
The Nebula Awards will be announced May 19, 2018. The awards are given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. This post is the second in a series of reviews of the nominees for this year’s Nebula award for best novella. The Nebula defines a work as a novella if it is between 17,500 and 40,000 words. These are short books.
It’s not a caper. It’s an operation.
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey should be one of my favorite books of all time. It’s an alternative-history western heist story involving a gathering of diverse, eclectic, violent individuals to accomplish a risky task. With hippos. It is as if the book had been custom designed to check off All the Stuff Byron Likes.
And yet, I don’t love it.
“I was reaching for my pistol when Charlie stepped from behind a tree and casually shot the prospector as he ran past. It was a head shot, which took the back off his skull like a cap in the wind. I dismounted and limped over to the twitching body. My leg was stinging terribly and I was possessed with a rage.”
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt is a western about about two infamous hitmen brothers named Charlie and Eli Sisters (the Sisters brothers….get it?) who are ordered by their boss to travel to San Francisco to kill a guy.
Told from the first-person point-of-view of one of the brothers, this disturbingly violent, darkly funny road trip story feels like a Coen Brothers movie populated by the insane side characters of Red Dead Redemption. The dialogue and events are realistic, but with just a touch of the absurd to even the most seemingly mundane interactions. There is a propulsive, cinematic pace to the action, with the brothers dealing with some obstacle (usually violently) every short chapter, typically while bickering with each other.
“The earth is mostly just a boneyard. But pretty in the sunlight.”
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning epic Western about two former Texas Rangers who attempt to drive a herd of cattle to Montana.
I bought this book when I got it into my head to read all of the novels that have won the Pulitzer Prize. I didn’t have a great deal of experience with western novels, and I hadn’t seen the famous miniseries based on this book. My copy of Lonesome Dove is 945 pages long, and it sat on my shelf unread for a while because its length intimidated me. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to finally give it a shot. I’m glad I did, as it’s now one of my Favorite Books.