- Gene Mapper (Taiyo Fujii, translated by Jim Herbert): a bit of a random pick up from the library, but also part of a slightly deliberate attempt to read a bit outside my normal comfort zone of moderately hard sci-fi. Very simple plot summary is near future and dealing with the socio-economic impacts of genetically engineered crops - and I enjoyed it enough to munch through in a couple of days, which is pretty rare these days. Can't let the glaring crypto hole go uncommented though: no, you cannot reverse engineer the input given only a hash, no matter how much brute force computing power you have.
- Skeen's Leap (Jo Clayton): your typical RPG thief ends up stranded on a medieval technology world and has to get back to her nice high tech environment. Along the way, she acquires a party of diverse companions and has various adventures. Unfortunately, the plot is about as generic as it sounds, and the writing isn't good enough to elevate it. It's also only half a story, ending just as it should be getting going. Meh.
- Yesterday's Kin (Nancy Kress): apparently peaceful aliens have landed in New York. What do they want, and are they truly peaceful? Sounds like yet another bit of pulp fiction, but Kress spins it through the eye of one (dysfunctional!) family and how it affects them. Enjoyable enough in what is effectively a novella format, but just lacking that... something which would make it want to pick up the trilogy its become.
- The Stars are Legion (Kameron Hurley): I know this one has got a bunch of adoration for its feminist themes, but... sorry, it's just not a very good story. Just too many points at which the "grand plan" could have got one or other of the protagonists killed, and then the whole thing would have fallen apart without its message meaning very much at all. A real struggle to get through.