The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge — Harry Harrison
I finished 2008 with The Stainless Steel Rat, and kept on going in the omnibus edition to start the new year. This time out Slippery Jim DiGriz saves the galaxy from a planet that's figured out how to conquer other worlds (something previously thought impossible in this universe), after having himself saved from the bad guys by Angelina. It's fun, but I couldn't help but wonder at the folks who thought what the bad guys were doing was so impossible when it was actually so obvious.
White Night — Jim Butcher
Damn, I miss The Dresden Files. I got the DVD set for Christmas, and it still pains me that the show was cut short. Of course, I also felt the same way when I got my Firefly Wonderfalls DVDs, and will likely feel the same when I get the Pushing Daisies sets. At least with Dresden there are the books, although they are a bit different in both tone and universe. In the books, at least the later ones that I've read, Harry is much more of an action hero, albeit a reluctant one. There's always a mystery, but the answer is usually revealed about halfway through, with the rest of the book showing the resolution. A wizardly procedural. Butcher doesn't have to worry about a special effects budget, either, so there's a lot of magical mayhem. In White Night, someone is killing witches, and it's up to Dresden to figure out who and why.
Reaper Man — Terry Pratchett
Esprit de Corpse...
Death is fired by the Auditors, and becomes mortal (sort of). He takes a job as a farmhand where he shows a natural talent for using a scythe. Meanwhile, folks stop dying (sort of), and the wizards try to figure out what's happened as life starts breaking out all over. There's lots of fun stuff here, as usual.
Deepsix — Jack McDevitt
Archaeologists in Spaaaace! Again!
This is the sequel to The Engines of God, which I liked except for one stretch where the characters had to make a desperate journey while under constant attack from alien fauna. It was pointless to the plot, and seemed just to be tacked on for . McDevitt takes that one aspect of Engines and stretches it out for an entire novel. Joy. And I could see it coming because he was pretty obvious about about putting the pieces in place for it. I almost stopped about halfway through, when my worst fears were being confirmed, but it is a page turner so I soldiered on.
It's twenty years after the events of Engines, and the hero of that book is ferrying some scientists home to Earth from a dig. They are diverted to explore some ruins that were discovered on a planet that is shortly about to collide with a rogue gas giant. Of course they wind up trapped on the surface as the other world nears. There are a couple of things that annoyed me. One is that most of the characters are just annoying, including the hero, who is dumb as a box of hair. But the thing that bothered me most is that there are all sorts of mysteries here that are never resolved and likely never will be, because they disappear into that gas giant at the end.