I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas
Disturbing. Most of the characters are completely unlikable, especially the men: the worst are outright misogynists and racists, even the best act like superior assholes to everyone else.
Mamatas doesn’t pull any punches in exposing the sexism and harassment that happens at fan conventions. It makes for tough reading, both because the female protagonist is constantly experiencing it and because the male narrator, whose death she’s investigating, is one of the superior assholes it’s hard to sympathize with.
Worth reading, though, if nothing else than as a “Do I act like this?” check.
Three things it taught me about writing:
- - Can get away with very skimpy descriptions -- or none at all -- if you choose the proper perspective to tell the story from (in this case, a corpse's).
- Protagonist's motivation for pursuing the mystery can be thin, if the reader's interest is piqued enough for them to want to see it solved
- Characters will always rationalize their behavior. Even when dead.