Books I finished reading in January 2024.
My second book in French has been an ongoing project for several months now and I finally finished it this month. Geist: Les héritiers de Nikola Tesla is an alternate-history murder mystery. The language it uses is significantly more complex than La Planète des singes and contains many words made up by the author for the story. So it took me a while to get through it. I'm quite certain I missed a lot of nuance, but I got the general story.
Set in Paris, it tells the story of an investigator on a murder case in a world of psychic powers and wireless electricity--set in motion by Tesla.
The Phantom of the Earth Omnibus has been in my ebook library for 7 years, but the ~1000 pages had been dissuading me from diving in. But I finally got around to it.
Humanity has retreated into the depths of the earth to escape a rapidly-mutating bio-warfare agent that has spread across the surface of the planet and kills in seconds.
But that's all somewhat ancillary to the story, which is about a dystopian dictatorship and the motley crew of rebels trying to overthrow it.
Doors of Sleep is the book the girls picked out for me for Christmas.
Zax has a problem. When he falls asleep he is transported/teleported/jumped to an alternate universe. When he finds somewhere safe and comfortable he stays awake as long as he can. When he lands somewhere dangerous he drugs himself into a quick escape.
Life is pretty bleak--and then it gets worse--but also better.
Blackout and All Clear are a single story told as a duology.
Connie Willis draws us into a universe where time travel exists, but can't be used to change history or get rich and so its use gets relegated to historians at Oxford.
She has other stories in this universe as well, including the short story I read in a science fiction anthology, Fire Watch, which introduced me to her work many years ago.
One thing Willis does better than any other author I've read is developing a scene of chaos / hecticness. You can feel the frazzled nerves, the frustration of being interrupted, and sense the time slipping away toward disaster.
In this story, a group of historians is studying World War II when everything goes wrong and they find themselves gaining a much deeper understanding of the history they're studying than they intended.