Genevieve Cogman, The Masked City: Irene, the junior Librarian, has to rescue her dragon apprentice Kai from the Fae who’ve kidnapped him in an effort to start a war between the Fae and the dragons. Many adventures ensue, including on a train that is actually a horse and in a fantasy Venice where it’s always Carnival. Good fun, though I really wish Irene were down for threesomes with her hot apprentice and her cool detective friend.

Joe Haldeman, Guardian: Short, strange book about a woman who, in the early twentieth century, flees an abusive husband with the assistance of a talking raven and ends up in Alaska, where she’s taken on a spiritual journey and makes a change, or moves to a changed world, in which the change saves millions of lives. It’s a nice thought, but we don’t live in her world.

Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda, Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening: Elaborate fantasy with elements that seem to be drawn from Egyptian, European, and other sources, including the Cthulhu mythos. Maika, a girl who’s lost her forearm somewhere between the concentration camp she was held in and the present, is seeking to learn more about what happened to her mother. They’re Arcanic—descendants of mixed blood between immortal Ancients and humans—and Maika also has a deadly secret inside her, one that ended the most recent Arcanic-human war by convincing humans that Arcanics had a powerful weapon. Lots of politics, including among the human witches who kill and torture with impunity and the human politicians; very interesting beginning. Also it’s punctuated with lectures on history from a cat.

The Oatmeal, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You: Cute cartoon collection, with a lot of fart jokes. I was happy to support the Oatmeal but there’s nothing really outstanding in here.

Ryan North et al., The Midas Flesh, Vol. 1: What if Midas’s touch was enough to turn everything he touched to gold, including oxygen molecules, and what if anything in contact with the stuff that was touching Midas carried the same properties? And what if, a long time later, a group of rebels came to the solid-gold Earth looking for the one weapon they think might be able to help them defeat the Federation? For whatever reason, the crew includes a hijab-wearing woman as well as a dinosaur. Interesting, though the situation of the woman—a pilot who thought she wasn’t going to have to kill nearly as many people as she ends up killing—is both gruelingly sympathetic and also frustrating, in that she clearly was getting into a mass-killing situation.

Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter, Hamilton: The Revolution: Nope, not getting any less obsessed any time soon. Like the NPR documentary, the Hamiltome makes very clear that genius takes hard work and doesn’t start out with perfection; also that collaboration is fundamental to making the fruits of genius as tasty as they can be. I liked the idea of interpretation as an American pastime, a musical culture built on standards, “songs meant to be reworked endlessly,” no less than the concept of equality in the Declaration of Independence. Also experimentation, trying everything, as the way the musical was created and also as an American habit. (Unfortunately, there’s also the strain that Churchill identified when he said we’d always do the right thing, after trying everything else, which seems to predominate today.) Tidbits: in the choreography, Burr moves in straight lines “because he sees no options,” and Hamilton moves in arcs, “because he sees all possibilities.” Cut from Cabinet Battle #2 were lines about Angelica, cut for better transitioning to the next song but still awesome: Hamilton: “She’s never mentioned you.” Jefferson: “She’s not the type who shares./But since you’re so interested in foreign affairs …” Also, I’m now listening to the Cabinet Battle #3 demo about slavery, and it’s understandable why it was cut—it doesn’t move the story along, as Miranda says, because they didn’t do anything about slavery. Getting to the end, where the black first president meets the first black president, is particularly hard to read now that Trump has been elected, a repudiation by a too-influential minority of everything the musical offers.

John Scalzi, The Dispatcher: Novella (narrated in audiobook by Zachary Quinto) about a man whose job involves killing people who might otherwise die accidentally, in a world where anyone who is deliberately killed is almost always (999/1000) resurrected at home, free of whatever injuries took place shortly before death. Death by natural causes or suicide does not lead to resurrection. The protagonist is brought along on an investigation of the disappearance of another dispatcher who may have been involved in shady dealings. There’s some exploration of the implications, but not nearly enough for me—it’s a relatively short story. For example, people are resurrected in a place they feel safe, usually home. But what about, say, abused kids? Would there be a whole new CPS model for investigation? How would abusers react to the fact that escalating to killing is almost risk-free?
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