Short Fiction Review: “Gods of Risk” by James S.A. Corey

Gods of RiskI’m eagerly awaiting the fourth installment of The Expanse this summer, but in the meantime I’ve managed to read the two novellas written that fit between other books in the series. Gods of Risk fits nicely between the action of Caliban’s War and Abaddon’s Gate, and gives a little bit of information about what is going on with Mars between the two books. At 69 pages in length, it really isn’t very long, but it is rather good.

There are two interesting things about Gods of Risk. First, the small pieces of time we get to see Bobbie dealing with the fallout of Caliban’s War, which she is taking much harder than I though when I was finished with that book. Second, the culture of the citizens on Mars and how the conflict in the solar system is impacting them. Mars has been conspicuously absent from the main books so far in the series, and it is nice to see what’s going on there.

The main plot of the novella focuses on David Draper, an intelligent student who works on the side making drugs for a local drug dealer. He is making all sorts of extra cash, keeping up with his studies, and hoping that someday he’s going to be able to escape the overbearing shadow of his parents and make a true name for himself. David is a bit clueless about social graces it seems, and he very quickly finds himself trapped in an escalating situation with the drug dealer for whom he’s supposed to be making drugs.

As a result, his aunt, Bobbie as it turns out, has to save his hide and prevent him from getting himself killed. While all of this is going on there are flashes of the unrest in the Mars colonies. Sometimes these snippets seemed a little disjointed, but it also provided a very nice window into Mars that we haven’t seen in the main books yet. Maybe someday one of the big books will focus on Mars for once, which would be nice.

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Looking Back at 2013

For the past two days I’ve been writing about my personal reading goals and the blogging goals I’ll be working on for 2014. Now, three days into the new year it’s time to take one last look back at 2013 and how things went. I sort of fell off the band wagon a bit in the second half of the year, really losing a lot of steam in regards to how often I was publishing new posts, especially book reviews. But, 2014 should be better.

Let’s start by taking a quick look at the last few books I finished before the new year. The weeks of the year saw me driving my way through six pieces of literature, just narrowly surpassing my total pages read mark from last year. They were:

The Daedalus Incident was an absolutely spectacular debut for Michael J. Martinez, so much so that I’ve added him to my “must read” list already. He took some amazing chances with his storytelling and put together a tale that is unlike anything I’ve seen. Abaddon’s Gate was a wonderful installment to the continuing story that is The Expanse and I can’t wait for the next book in a few months.

Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft gave me a lot of motivation and hope for my own fledgling writing dreams and I’m hoping I can incorporate some of the insights and lessons I took from it into my routines this year at some point. The other three items on the list were all short stories written by the authors to add a bit of depth to the universes they exist in between the most recently released books and the upcoming ones. I enjoyed all three of them immensely. It was a good month of reading for me in the realm of quality writing.

As far as reading statistics go, here are a couple that might be interesting:

  • Total Books Read: 84
  • Total Pages Read: 31,512
  • Average Book Length: 375 pages

I had sort of hoped I could get all the way to 100 books read, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I had to navigate my way through some unexpected circumstances during the middle of the year that took my focus away from blogging and put it elsewhere.

In the world of blogging statistics, 20four12 saw 7,600 unique visitors over the course of the year for an average of about 20-21 visitors per day. That’s not too bad, but I would like to see it be significantly higher by the time this new year is finished.

And, last but not least, let’s take a look at two lists. In reading 84 books and novellas over the course of the year it is inevitable that I would find some favorites and least favorites. Part of me thought I should only list my favorites, but then I decided I was interested in seeing if any of the ones on my least favorite list would incite some discussion. Maybe some of them are favorites to other people, or maybe even some of the books I considered my favorite from this year are hated by others. I always find that to be incredibly fascinating. In no particular order:

Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2013:

Honorable Mention

Ten Least Favorite Books I Read in 2013:

I feel compelled to note that of the books listed in the least favorite category, I only find two of them to be absolutely atrocious, but I’m not going to tell you which ones. All of the others I just didn’t like as much as I wanted to, or they just simply were not my style when all was said and done. Take, The Great Gatsby for example. Widely considered to be a premier piece of fiction, I can’t stand it. It’s a matter of taste.

So, there you have it, a snapshot of my reading and blogging experiences from 2013. It was an interesting year for me as both a reader and as a blogger, but ultimately I feel like I did an okay job with both. Here’s to 2014 and making 20four12 really shine!