Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

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2018 books: Pet Noir, The Man-Kzin Wars

Pet Noir by Pati Nagle
Traditional or self-published: Self-published? (From the "publisher's" website: "Evennight Books is a small publisher specializing in fiction by New Mexico writers. Formed in 2010 to bring P. G. Nagle’s backlist back into print...")
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

A collection of mystery-ish stories told from the POV of Leon, a cat geneteched to have opposable thumbs, human-level intelligence, and the ability to speak. In a somewhat logic-stretching move, a "small town" space station's security department bought one of these very very expensive cats to help them solve a case. Each of the other five stories in the book involve Leon and his human cop/partner solving other cases.

The first story (Leon as a kitten, just arriving on the space station, everything new to him) was the best by far. I would have rated the book higher, if it were only that story.

One of the reasons this book sat in my To Read pile so long was the title. To be honest, I had picked up this book expecting it to be so bad that it might be amusing. It wasn't bad at all -- it was exactly what it billed itself to be. I'm not a mystery book reader though, and the whole 'noir' genre doesn't work for me, so through my own fault, the book wasn't a good match for me. As the stories went along, Leon's voice changed, and it was more and more sounding like noir, so eventually I bailed. I stopped reading at the 63% point, in the middle of the third story.

The Man-Kzin Wars by Larry Niven
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

What a confusing book. The ebook version I have has the cover of Book 4 of this series, yet the stories inside belonged to Book 1. Anyway! There were three stories in this book. The first, by Niven, was so amusingly dated. Published in 1966, though written long before that, astronauts on a spaceship smoked. The story's whole view of the future was so... cute? That humans would be so detached from violence that they couldn't even make themselves use words like 'war' anymore, they physically got sick and had to go into therapy if they did. I finished the whole story, but it did nothing at all for me.

The second story, by Poul Anderson, completely didn't work for me. Too hard science fiction-y, too dry, I skipped much of it. The third story, by Dean Ing, was more interesting (a human was captured by the cat-like Kzin and left as a prisoner on an empty planet), but still didn't hold my attention well enough to continue. Gave up on the book at the 74% mark.

Partial book credits:
Point reached in these books: 63% + 74%
Previous abandoned book total: 571%
New total: 708%

Currently reading: Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold. Edit: Hrm. Even though this is book #1, it's recommended as the second book to read? Oh well, it's the one I have, so sticking with it.
Tags: #1, 2018 books, book review, book: the man-kzin wars, pet noir
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