Greenwood: Michael Christie

Nicely layered, like the trees it venerates. Circular story starting in future, going to the past and closure back to the original future.

Focuses on a rambling dysfunctional “family,” most of which are not actually related to each other.

The first part is the best, and I wish more space had been given to the ‘Dust’ that has destroyed society and how that has transformed us.

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets/Svetlana Alexievich

Oral history of the people who “lived” through the transformation of the new Russia from the old fragments of the Soviet Union. In the West, we have vague recollections of the horrors of Stalin and his ilk, recoil in disgust from many of the actions of Putin, but we forget how completely the USSR collapsed and what an abysmal state it was in Yelstin’s time, a time when violence and death dictated the economic landscape and turned Russia into a lawless land devoid of rule of law, into a country of obscenely rich oligarchs who stole the nation’s wealth with Putin’s blessing and vast swathes of poor, beaten-down ordinary people who little more freedom than they did under the Bolsheviks.

Proxima: Stephen Baxter

Proxima isn’t quite up to top-tier space-based SF like THE EXPANSE or ENDER series, but it’s solidly in the middle tier. The science is realistic and doesn’t interfere with the story.

Like most fiction of this genre, it’s better because it switches back and forth between the life on the alien world and what is going on “back home.”

I’m looking forward to reading the continuing next part.

A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran: Reza Khahlili

The only thing astonishing in this book is the fact anyone would think it’s astonishing. Instead, it reads as a mishmash of old hearsay and propaganda packaged as “real.”

Despite that, we should not doubt the main thesis that the Iran of Khomeini and afterwards was and is a corrupt and evil force.

For a spy and supposed senior member of the Revolutionary Guard, the author is extremely naive and incompetent.