drneutron's Attempt at 75 - Summer's Here!
This is a continuation of the topic drneutron's Attempt at 75 - Waiting' for Spring!.
This topic was continued by drneutron's Attempt at 75 - Breezin' into Autumn!.
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Gettin' time for a new thread!
54. Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
Sequel to the excellent The Monstrumologist. This time, our heroes head off to the wilderness of the Canadian north in search of a lost fellow monstrumologist, who disappearing while chasing the Wendigo - a spirit who eats people, and the more it eats, the hungrier it gets...
Great writing, the characters are fascinating (we learn more about the Dr's mysterious past). But as with the first, there are some fairly gruesome scenes, so fair warning.
Lovely new thread, Dr. Neutron! Can't wait to join you on more epic adventures! :D
Hi Jim! Congrats on the new summer thread! Hope your books are treating you well.
Dear Dr. Neutron:
I noticed that you are contemplating a Dicken's novel, and you asked if Great Expectations was a good place to start. I really enjoyed the book. Although it was written in serial installments, Dickens took the time to make it hold together. I loved it and found humor and beautiful quotations.
There is another book that I am considering reading. It is called Dombey and Son. I hope to read it sometime in the future. Oprah Winfrey recommends it, so it can't be too difficult. Good luck.
Hi Jim! Your old thread was kinda long and hard to catch up on, but this one is nice and short. It was nice to see you again at the DC meet up. Did the big birthday bash happen yet?
Nice, roomy new thread! You could join us on Our Mutual Friend in July if you are craving a Dickens.
Jim - the man who started all the fun - congrats on your latest thread.
Anne - the 100th birthday party is June 30. I'll post a pic or two...for those who haven't heard, the wife and I are both turning 50, so we're having a joint 100th birthday bash!
Thanks for the thread visits! It's nice to have friends stop by.
Hi Jim, I hadn't dropped by in a while as I'm generally less active on threads this year, but a new thread is nice to visit... less stressful!
Great idea about the 100th birthday bash!
55. Timeless by Gail Carriger
One I missed adding earlier - last of the Parasol Protectorate, and a fine ending to the series it is!
56. Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard
We first met Johannes Cabal attempting to retrieve his soul from the Devil in Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. In the sequel, Cabal, while appropriating an old necromantic book, gets caught up in the politics of a small Balkan-esque country - leading to a great thriller with touches of James Bond and Agatha Christie. Now, since it's Jonathan Howard, the hero's a sociopath getting used to his conscience again, the writing's tongue-in-cheek, and the plot's fantastic!
Highly recommended, but you should read the first for full effect.
Nice new digs you have here. Love the 100 birthday bash idea. I might steal that from you next year!
57. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Re-read in memory of the great one. It's as good as ever!
58. FDR by Jean Edward Smith
Franklin D. Roosevelt is, of course, one of the most well-known US Presidents. Beginning his presidency after the disastrous Herbert Hoover, FDR accomplished an amazing amount of legislation in his first 100 days, setting the standard for every subsequent administration. His four terms were unprecedented. His fights with the Supreme Court nearly derailed his plans for economic recovery. His handling of the run-up to war walked a fine line between the isolationist factions and the need to support our allies. Once we entered the war, his choices for both civilian and military leadership were critical.
Smith's biography of this fascinating man is a great place to start. It's well-written, and suitably in-depth. At 600-ish pages, I suspect there's still a lot to talk about, though. Once I finish the US Presidents challenge, I'm sure I'll be back to read other books on FDR.
59. Strindberg's Star by Jan Wallentin
In 1897, Nils Strindberg crashes in the Arctic on an attempt to find an entrance to the underworld - the Norse version. In modern Sweden, a diver finds a mysterious artifact in an abandoned mine, then after a media frenzy, is found dead. Don Titelman, an expert in religious symbols, finds his body, an is immediately labeled the prime suspect in his murder. This, though,is the first step in a plot that leads to secret societies, Nazi mystical Aryanism, and the depths of the Arctic.
So yeah, it's The Da Vinci Code, except Norse instead of Christian. But it's a fun knock-off. Wallentin's plotting is pretty good, and the translation is good. All-in-all, if this sort of thing is for you, give it a try.
Those both sound very worthy of reading... I am still deep in Caro's LBJ's book. Did you know he insisted he be called LBJ due to his admiration of FDR? Cool trivia, don't know if it is true but if Caro included it, I trust it.
I really should not read your reviews... makes me really want to enlarge the TBR piles. Or lengthen the requests list at the library... *wanders off muttering*
I love that LBJ wanted to be like FDR! I would guess it's at least mostly true if Caro says it.
Hi Dr N! Great reviews, much to my dismay as I look at my TBR list....!
By the way, my buddy is the Mission System Engineer for the Radiation Belt Storm Probe spacecraft launching later this summer. NPR did a story on the mission. Here's a link to the audio:
It's been a really interesting weekend. The wife and I planned our 100th birthday party yesterday evening, expecting about 50 people over. So Friday night, we lost power in the big storm that came through, a bunch of stuff blew around in the yard, lots of cleanup to do. Power was off all Saturday. The caterer made all the food and instead of losing all that money, we decided to have the party anyway.
It's hot. We have no power. Worse, we have no bathrooms since we're on a well/septic system. And just for good measure, several trees were down across the main road to our house, so folks had to take a long detour to get to our house.
In spite of this, nearly everybody showed up, the food was great, and we found enough ice to get the beer and wine cold. It was a great party! Plus, the power came back on about midnight!
60. The Sixth Gun Volume 3 by Cullen Bunn
Third volume in the excellent horror/Western graphic novel series. The artwork is still great, and the story continues to move along nicely. Start from the beginning with volume one!
#22 Glad to hear that you managed to have your party despite the weather.
Glad the party was a success! Sometimes, a little adversity makes a good time even better. (ANd with the power out, everybody is looking for a reason to leave their own house, right?)
I'm glad that your combined birthday party was a success despite the weather and power outage, Jim.
Good for you, making the party a success despite the storm. I'm glad to hear that you are OK, and that you finally got your power back.
Happy birthday to you two! :)
De-lurking to wish you and your wife a happy 100th. It will be hard to forget that celebration! Congratulations to you both.
Late Happy Birthday wishes!
And thumbs up on the Red Velvet 1-2-3 Cake! Yum!
Happy belated 100th birthday to you and your wife! Glad you guys made the best of it and had the party anyway
Happy 100th! Storm damage with a power outage may've made the party a bit awkward, but it does fix things in memory too.
Sounds like you've got a great story to tell at your sesquicentennial birthday, Jim!
Wonderful birthday party story, especially for a '100th'. Belated best wishes to you and the missus.
Thanks! We just finished the final cleanup today...and rumor has it another front with severe thunderstorms is coming through tomorrow! But it's supposed to cool off afterward. :)
61. Contrition by Robert E Hirsch
Hirsch's story is one of murder and redemption. He plays out the good vs evil theme in a fairly typical setting with fairly typical characters and plot. All in all, it's not a bad diversion. I just wish he didn't need to prove his vocabulary to the reader; the prose came off as more turgid than natural, and was a distraction.
62. Nightworld by F. Paul Wilson
Wrap up of the Secret History of the World cycle - both he Adversary series and the Repairman Jack series. If you haven't read them, be sure to read at least the Jack books first!
This is a reworked version of Nightworld to make it consistent with later books, especially those about Jack. I don't know if it was just me or not, but it seemed like Jack wasn't as fully fleshed out as in other books in the series and it was a bit jarring at times. I liked it, though, and I liked how the cycle ended.
63. The Serial Killer Whisperer by Pete Earley
As a teenager, Tony C. was injured in a Wave Runner accident that left him with serious brain damage. This left him with a host of problems: seizures, volatile emotions, difficulty relating with people. In his late 20s, Tony got interested in serial killers - partly as an attempt to understand his own issues. So he started writing to serial killers in prisons across the country. And surprisingly, they didn't just write back, he became friends with some of the worst. In the process, Tony's letters have become a valuable resource for insight into the serial killer mind, and he was able to get information that resolved some cold cases.
Earley's book tells Tony's story pretty well. Be warned, though. It's very graphic. The serial killers are arrogant, manipulative, and want to shock. This isn't for the faint of heart!
Is this a fiction or non-fiction book, dr newt? If non-fiction, I am impressed at Tony C.'s ability to make some lemonade out of his set of lemons. Wow.
Great review. Sounds like a fascinating book. After reading your review, I’ve mentioned it to one of the libraries where I work (a criminal justice library). They don’t have the book but based on your reading list, I think you would find it to be an interesting collection. It’s tough stuff though. Last week, after helping a student with research for a paper on international serial killers, she turned to me and said “this is why all I can do is watch Spongebob when I go home.”
For all the GRR Martin fans out there, you *have* to listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7lp3RhzfgI
64. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
Bell7 and I have been working through this one as a tutored read. Brian Greene's a very good popularizer of particle physics; The Elegant Universe is Greene's effort to bring superstring theory down to Earth from the heights of theory and is generally accessible to most. Expect to be freaked out a bit, though. String theory, and quantum mechanics as a whole, has some pretty weird aspects.
Unfortunately, I do have a couple of issues with the book. First, Greene is a proponent of string theory, so writes in many places as if the theory is fact. Second, the book was written in 1991. Even with an update in 2003, experimental results since then haven't yet found a reason to throw over the Standard Model for string theory. Having said that, the book is a good exposition of an interesting and useful theory.
65. The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by John Joseph Adams
A collection of short story pastiches by really big names in the fantasy/horror and mystery fields. Most of the stories are pretty good, but as with any single subject collection like this, it's hard not to get repetitive. Worth a try if you're a fan of the great detective, or if you want to see what some top-notch authors do with the subject.
66. Beyond the Blue Horizon by Brian Fagan
Well before Columbus crossed the Atlantic, skippers were piloting small craft over amazing distances in some pretty tough seas. Now, this wasn't a one-off. Folks made these journeys every day of their lives, even to the point of creating extensive trading networks. Fagan's book addresses the why - why would someone risk a dangerous journey into the unknown to find these routes - and the how - how did the knowledge to make these journeys get transmitted?
Beyond the Blue Horizon is divided into sections on Polynesian migration, early Mediterranean cultures, North Sea/North Atlantic trading and exploration, and Northwest Native American travels. His discussions are always interesting and the archaeology is top-notch. The really curious thing, though, is his conclusion: while the circumstances were different in each culture, what mattered most was the close daily association between these peoples and the sea and the integration of the sea into spiritual and cultural life. I guess people are people everywhere!
>49 : All of those sound fascinating, especially the two non-fiction ones. Must remember to add them to my wish list.
>48 Loved it! Saw GRRM at a book reading recently and he is a charming fellow, but admits it is hard to get all his needed writing done while also producing the TV shows, and other spin offs such as a recipe book, and a map book. I bought the recipe book and am having fun with it but do note - Martin says he is not the cook! The book is done by two fans, but the recipes do look like fun. I made one, a simple flavored iced milk and found it to be yummy.
Jim, those latest books sound interesting, especially Beyond the Blue Horizon.
You're making good progress toward 75!
Yeah, I'm on track for 120 books for the year - the most I've seen since I started keeping track!
"And remember, winter is coming—so don’t be afraid to put on a few pounds."
oh, in my case, work to maintain the few I've already added on..... :-P
>48 ROFL! And I've never even read the books (or watched the show). But forwarded to my son, who could have written the song.
67. Bloodline by James Rollins
Latest in the SigmaForce novels. The usual science-y thriller by Rollins purports to expand on the latest work on aging and aging prevention. Like all his books, the science is a stretch, but the story is great fun!
68. The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin
In a weird set of circumstances, Nicolas loses his wife in an accidental fall. But as part of this event, he begins to see ghosts - people replaying their death over and over, stuck in a loop. So Nicolas heads back home to sort things out. But while there, the murder of his boyhood friend resurfaces, and it turns out there's something much more mysterious and evil at work in his life. And he's the only one who can stop it...
The Dead Path is one of those few horror stories that really put a chill down my spine. The imagery is outstanding, and Nick's descent into darkness is very real-seeming. Highly recommended for Stephen King fans!
You can have my library copy; sounds intriguing but too scary for me!
69. Redshirts by John Scalzi
Every Star Trek fan knows what a redshirt is. Heck, a goodly number of non-fans know too. Here Scalzi tells us who Redshirts are and what they do between dying on missions. Funny, funny stuff with a nice dose of Jasper Fforde to boot. I loved it!
70. Eminent Victorian Chess Players by Tim Harding
Victorian England was a fertile time for chess. Early on, games were mostly played between amateurs in pubs and coffee houses. By the end of the century, British chess was organized into clubs, with professional chess masters regularly winning international tournaments and claiming the world champion title. Names like Evans, Steinitz, Bird, and Staunton - ones any chess player who's studied even a bit would know - all came from this era. Harding's book gives fascinating biographical sketches of ten of these, with important games sprinkled in.
As I said, these were fascinating characters. Evans didn't just invent his eponymous opening, he also invented the system of lights used on sea vessels world-wide to allow safer navigation. Steinitz was a strange one who eventually left for America To get away from the backlash against him. The community was characterized by squabbles and competition - all making for fun reading!
Recommended for chess fans. Others may not find it so interesting.
I saw Redshirts somewhere and wondered if it was actually about what I thought it was about:-D
Sticking Dead Path on the list. I like horror that's spooky and not just bloody.
Hi Jim ... I didn't know any pilots on LT, and as Kath pointed out, you're super smart .. so I should ask you ... I can understand why they may not want us to use our phones on the plane, but I can't see how an iPod and Kindle could possibly affect a plane's navigational or electronic system during take off and landing. Do you know why they make us shut these gadgets off?
Yep. So if there's a problem and they have to get people off the plane in a hurry, people are paying attention and can hear instructions. Personally, I think it's an over-reaction, but that's the reason.
So shouldn't they, by the same reasoning, have everyone put all books and magazines away and stop all conversations, too?
Yeah, I think they'd like that to happen, but there's only so much passengers are willing to take. Headphones make it harder to get someone's attention. Having a laptop out makes for a harder time getting people off a plane. I suspect they're picking their battles. :)
My (mostly tongue-in-cheek) theory is that the flight staff asks everyone to turn off their electronic devices so they can tell who the "problem children" are going to be. If you happily turn off your iphone when they ask you to, you're probably not going to be trying to use the bathroom during landing or switching seats or complaining about things taking too long. If you won't follow a simple instruction like turning off your e-reader, they'd better keep their eye on you!
I sat next to a pilot on a flight once, and she was very conscientious about turning her phone off when they closed the doors and not turning her e-reader on until we were notified. So I'm never going to doubt the rules, since I saw a pilot follow them.
You may very well be right! Unfortunately, whenever I think about this sort of thing, I keep flashing on Airplane, the scene where they assume the crash position... :)
>75: I didn't go there; instead my mind went straight to Matt Damon's character in 30 Rock and his description of Sky Law. *snork!*
Kath was right... you were the perfect person to pose this question to. I think Nora's got something too and it may help the flight crew more easily identify the passengers who would be more likely to give them problems during a flight and during emergencies.
Thanks, Jim. :-)
*** Note: if you haven't read Bitter Seeds, there may be spoilers here! ***
71. The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
In Bitter Seeds, Ian Tregillis tells how a group of British wizards and spies stopped the invasion of Britain in WWII by making bloody deals with alien life from outside outside our space-time, in the process breaking up a group of enhanced operatives associated with the Nazi SS. The personal cost for this deal-making was high for everyone involved, with nearly everyone involved suffering great loss.
In The Coldest War, it's 1963, the USSR is in control of most of Europe, and Great Britain is struggling to keep the Russian Bear at bay. Unfortunately, the Soviets got control of the Nazi experiments, and another invasion may be immanent. The Milkweed group is called back into service to once again attempt to protect Britain. Or stave off the end of the world.
So first of all, Tregillis knows how to write a flawed hero. None of the people in the story are what I'd call good - this is classic spy work where the good guys do bad things to get the job done, and nice will get you killed. His plotting is excellent, and the story, as a spy thriller should, keeps pushing forward to the end of the story. I can't say much without spoiling the story, so suffice to say I'll be first in line for the end of the trilogy!
So, so, late, but just wanted to add my belated congrats on your birthday, Jim! :)
72. The House of Wisdom by Jim Al-Khalili
The conventional wisdom of the history of science has it that the Greeks were the originators of science and scientific inquiry, then as Europe descended into the Dark Ages, the Islamic world stored this body of work until the Europeans were ready to wake up in the Renaissance. Ok, I realize that sentence is an over-generalization and that those who study the history of science have a more sophisticated picture of the way things developed. But when I was in school, the picture portrayed by that first sentence wasn't too far off what was taught. Fortunately, people like Jim al-Khalili write books like The House of Wisdom to remind us of how science really developed and of non-European development.
The House of Wisdom tackles this ear quite well. Now, it's a survey book that examines a several hundred year span of time, and it's a popularization that doesn't dig deep into any particular person or subject. But for those who don't know much about this era or these people, it's a fine jumping-off point. His notes provide the basis for further reading, although I wish his bibliography was a bit more filled out.
The only flaw here is that al-Khalili sometimes comes off as trying too hard. He'll make a claim that a particular individual say, had developed a theory of gravity close to that of Newton, then will immediately offer an "Of course,..." to excuse what clearly is a big gap between his claim and the real work. It's really not necessary to do this. The people and their work stand on their own in their own right just fine. Fortunately, these instances occur infrequently in a very worthwhile book.
I've seen Jim Al-Khalili present several programs on the BBC, and they've always been interesting. I think I remember seeing a review of this book when it first came out and I thought it seemed worth a look.
73. The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
This book is a classic example of what I love about steampunk - a flawed hero, a great sidekick, a twisting of history, a retelling of a weird Victorian urban legend, a great world-ending conspiracy. My first 5-star of the second half of the year, I think. Can't wait to read the rest!
I've never read steampunk, but that one almost sounds tempting, Jim . . .
I am right there with you, tymfos, peering with curiosity at the potentials.....
The Hodder series is on my To Read list so very happy to see your 5-star rating for it. Steampunk can be such a fun genre to escape into!
So *Spring Heeled Jack* is now on a list, but I'm amazed to find another Repairman Jack fan here. It's been a long time since I've read one, so thanks for the reminder!
#85: I get to dodge that particular book since it is already in the BlackHole. Sadly, my local library does not have it!
Stasia - it's been on my list for over a year, and our library just got it. I was about to give up and just buy the danged thing when it popped up on the new books list. I got to it first! :)
For those interested in steampunk, I can post a list. This sort of thing languished as a fantasy/sf subgenre since the late 70s, but over the last few years as really taken off.
Oh, and yeah, there's several Repairman Jack fans here. I'm one of the more rabid. :)
A list would be great, Jim. Are you the one who recommended Boneshaker? I'm reading that right now and really liking it so far. I have not read any of the Repairman Jack books, but they are on my WL - for some strange reason, our library does not have the first two, but it has the rest. Strange.
Hmm; steampunk doesn't sound appealing as a genre name, but all these books everyone keeps mentioning are tempting me to try it.
I can always use more steampunk recommendations since I love the genre, Jim. Please post a list!
Yeah, I'm probably the one that recommended Boneshaker. That series has been a favorite since the day they came out. :)
Jim, I thought of you when I saw this trailer.
It's being advertised as a steampunk kung-fu throwdown. Seems like steampunk is a word that is catching on in mainstream entertainment. :)
Yeah, steampunk seems to have gone mainstream. :) For the most part, I think it's a good thing. That movie - while as a bit of a purist, I wouldn't call steampunk, it looks awesome - is a good example of the mashups we're seeing these day. When they're good, I think they're very good!
Steampunk is derived from cyberpunk. From wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk_derivatives ):
American author Bruce Bethke first coined the term "cyberpunk" in his 1980 short story of the same name, proposing it as a label for a new generation of punk teenagers inspired by the perceptions inherent to the Information Age. The term was quickly appropriated as a label to be applied to the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, Rudy Rucker, Michael Swanwick, Pat Cadigan, Lewis Shiner, Richard Kadrey, and others. Science fiction author Lawrence Person, in defining postcyberpunk, summarized the characteristics of cyberpunk thus:
Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.
This has led to a number of -punk subgenres, mostly characterized by the time period of the setting and the level of technology present. So, stonepunk is set in the Stone Age with technology based around Stone Age tools. Yes, think The Flintstones, although Edgar Rice Burroughs did it first in Back to the Stone Age much earlier. Clockpunk is often set in the Renaissance or other pre-steam engine society, and the technology is based around clockworks and springs. Mainspring by Jay Lake is a recent very good example.
So what's a good definition of steampunk? Again, Wikipedia's not bad here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk ) :
Steampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, horror, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether in an alternative history such as Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"-era United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology, or futuristic innovations as Victorians might have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. This technology includes such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the contemporary authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld and China Mieville.
The thing that separates steampunk from other -punk derivatives is the culture that's grown up around the sub-genre. The steampunk aesthetic has bled into graphic novels, movies, music, even clothes and accessories more so than any other. In part, I think, because there's a bit more whimsy in steampunk than in others. There are pics all over the web of costumes and gadgets made by people. A quick Google search will turn up tons. My favorite in earlier years was a guy who turned his desktop Mac into a steampunk computer by rebuilding it - turning the keyboard into a typewriter keyboard, for example.
These days, we're seeing a lot of cross-over and slapping the steampunk tag on everything. That's ok, I'm not hung up on labels. The stew that gets made when creative people do this is pretty fun!
I'm going to post a book list later today, once I finish getting it all together.
Looks like I definitely found the right person to post that link. :)
All these different terms, genres, and sub genres that I'm learning about through LT is absolutely fascinating.
Have you read any of Stephen Hunt's books? I read The Court of the Air awhile back and this was pre LT days so I had no idea what steampunk was and so perhaps for that reason, the book was way over my head and I was utterly confused!
Wow, Jim! Thanks for that - I was just trying to explain to my 16 year old daughter what steampunk is, and this puts it out there so very nicely. I'm trying to talk her into reading Boneshaker with me - about half way through and loving it so far!
Note: This isn't a complete list, just my culling of the important stuff. LT shows 3500 titles tagged with some form of "steampunk". I've divided things arbitrarily into the original classics, the late 90s and early 2000s, and more current stuff out since 2007 or so. There are books in the intervening years, but the gaps represent a lull in the genre, at least IMO.
Oh, and there's a whole 'nother list for movies or graphic novels (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Yay!). I'm not even going to begin to attempt that! :)
K. W. Jeter - Morlock Nights (1979)
Tim Powers - The Anubis Gates (1983) , one of my all-time favorite books!
James Blaylock - Homonculus (1986)
William Gibson and Bruce Sterling - The Difference Engine (1990)
James Blaylock - Lord Kelvin's Machine (1992)
China Mieville - Perdido Street Station (2000). Folks tend to have a love-it or hate-it reaction to Mieville. YMMV!
Philip Reeve - Mortal Engines (2001)
S. M. Stirling - The Peshawar Lancers (2001). Haven't actually read this one yet, but it's on my list.
Jay Lake - Mainspring. Technically clockpunk, but gets a pass for being really good!
Gordon Dahlquist - The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters. Another one that gets strong reactions both ways. YMMV.
Stephen Hunt - The Court of the Air. Personally, this series doesn't do much for me. It's a complicated mess, IMO and I only read the first one. They seem popular, though, so I put 'em on the list.
George Mann - The Affinity Bridge.
Chris Wooding - Retribution Falls
Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan
Cherie Priest - Boneshaker, another all-time fave.
Cassandra Claire - Clockwork Angel
Mark Hodder - The Strange Affair of Spring-heeled Jack
Devon Monk - Dead Iron
Felix Gilman - The Half-made World
Gail Carriger - Soulless.
Chris Wooding - The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray
Tim Lebbon - The Island
Teresa Edgerton - Goblin Moon
Jim - That's incredible! Thank you so much for taking the time to put together that list and again for the definition of the genre that you posted earlier. I favorited it so I can find my way back.
I have both of Hunt's other books on my TBR mountain but after my experience with the first one, I am a bit hesitant to try his other books.
Yeah, they just didn't work for me. I bought the first, but it'll go to the used book store at some point.
74. Locke & Key: Clockworks by Joe Hill
Volume 5 in Joe Hill's excellent horror graphic novel series. I thought the last one lagged a bit. Volume 5 is definitely better!
75. Tin Swift by Devon Monk
Monk's Age of Steam series is high quality steampunk set in the Old West. It's got the right touches: great setting, nice use of technology, air ships (yay!), great villains, and mysterious goings-on. I highly recommend it for folks who like this sort of thing - her writing reminds me a bit of Tim Powers, who I love. Start with the first, Dead Iron, though!
And with that, I've finished 75 earlier in the year than any previous and I'm on track for 120 - a personal best if I get there!
Congratulations, Dr. Neutron! I hope you reach your goal of 120. ^_^
Jim- Congrats on reaching the coveted 75! I'm glad you enjoyed Clockworks. I love this series too and need to get over and request this one. Thanks for the heads-up.
Did you see Lemire has a new one out?
Congrats, Jim! And did I see correctly that you're the one who started the whole 75 challenge thing? Someone upthread said you were "the person who started all the fun....."
Amy - I didn't start the first group, but I've been getting things going each year since. Mostly, it's the people that make the group!
76. Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz
Latest in the Odd Thomas series. Folks following me in previous years might remember I'm a big fan of Odd - to the point of forgiving Koontz for his Frankenstein crap since these are so good. Unfortunately, this one's not up to the rest. Frankly, it felt like Koontz was going through the motions this time around. Not that it's bad, per se. It's just blah, and Odd has been a rare spark of creativity. Better luck next time...
Have you read Ship Breakers and The Drowned Cities? I am looking for someone's opinion on them. I kept wanting to say, "do you really think this is where we are headed?" Dystopia
I really should be careful when I read dystopian stuff. The Drowned Cities seems to include all the worst of wars we've been hearing for the last 20 years: child soldiers, looting of cultures, unbridled military insanity.
OK, now I'm getting on my soap box so I'd better stop and let you tell me if you've read them, and what you thought.
Hi Jim, I have set up the thread for September Series & Sequels . Could you add it to the wiki? Thanks.
Karen - I haven't read 'em yet, but have 'em on my list. I don't think we're headed to a dystopia, at least in the near future. Maybe it's the engineer and scientist in me that's optimistic about our ability to cope. Global warming is an example: somebody comes along that raises the issue, we argue about it for a while, the science becomes pretty clear, and folks start addressing the problem - to the point that I'm looking at hybrid trucks! :) Progress takes longer than we'd like, and it's a lot messier than it should be, but ultimately we get there.
I don't mean that life isn't difficult and that we have some hard issues ahead. Population growth, sustainable food and water production for all, energy production that doesn't kill the planet, human rights, even the consequences of technology are major issues we'll have to deal with in the near to medium term.
So why do I read dystopias? I think they do serve as good warnings about what can happen if we don't deal with these issues (perhaps virologists should be required to watch zombie movies so they know what not to do?). But mostly, while these stories can be set in a pretty disturbing world, they're ultimately about people, and the setting lets the author explore the human condition in ways that couldn't be done in more true-to-current-life settings. That's always been a part of science fiction.
Hope that helps!
Perfect. Just the type of level headed, and yet not unrealistic, thinking I was craving. I will say that since I've had a good night's sleep I am less freaked out. The books are not pleasant because the world he builds is very much predicated on the issues you mention, and we all worry about, but as you say he does explore how humanity's better angels might have some room in such a world.
I will be very interested in reading what you think of the books when you get to them.
To branch off slightly, Jim, what's your thinking on population growth? Looking at what resources we have left, do we need to reverse it?
Well, I think we already have too many people on the planet. At least if we go by rush hour traffic around DC! :)
Seriously, the planet has limited resources, and we need to make sure we have the ability to support all the population. Lots of problems are easier to solve if we have fewer rather than more people to care for - energy production, for instance.
I find it encouraging that as education level and economic condition increase, people tend to have fewer children later in life, so I think this is a problem that will sort itself out in the end. I *don't* support taking measures such as as China's one-child policy, etc.
Or you can build your family through adoption. We have one biological and two adopted. We scarcely balance out my sister who has 4 and my BIL who has 5 though. (He was the one who swore he would only have 1, too!) Bummed to hear Odd wasn't that good this time around.
Well, I said I wouldn't have any (noisy, smelly brats), and here I am with two of my own. I would have liked to have tried adoption, but my husband wasn't keen.
But whenever people talk about the problem of 'an ageing population', their solution always seems to be to bump up the current crop. Which seems to me that it'd only cause the same problems in another couple of generations, when that lot retire.
Well, I did my share: no bio kids. I was in college when Zero Pop was very popular and it did help me make the decision to not have children. But probably the biggest influence was the poor parenting I received. I'm the only one left standing from the poor mess that was my original family and I am so happy to see that my brother's decedents are wonderful, smart, and will be successful, from all I can see. I do hope the world finds its way to the solutions we obviously need.
We have one, who's matured into an awesome guy. He was home from college this summer, and for the first time it was like being with a colleague or a friend instead of a kid. Now he's back at school a day's drive away. :(
(Do they grow up, then? My 8 year old seems to have decided to turn into a rebellious teen)
I'm pleased for you (having someone you're proud of, not how far away he is).
We decided not to have any, and in my mid-40s I know this was the right decision for us. It wasn't really a population decision (although that would have limited us strictly to two if we'd had any), although that didn't hurt.
Our other attempt to be as environment-neutral as possible (although of course I know I have a big impact on the environment like everyone else) is that we've pledged never to build our own home if we can help it. The Houston market is saturated with empty houses that are only a few years old, because everyone wants to build their own and (supposedly) have everything the way they want it. Having witnessed my parents' experience building their retirement home, I think that no matter how much you spend, there were always be unanticipated complications such that your house is never exactly the way you want it. Well, maybe unless you're Bill Gates.
We also have a hybrid car, and I ride public transportation to work.
All this said, I know I have a lot of room for improvement.
Well, we have one child, seems like just yesterday he was a little tyke, and now he's taller than me and headed into his sophomore year of high school. I'm delighted that he's actually excited to be going back to school. They grow up so fast!
One biological and one adopted child for me! They are ten years apart and it truly was like raising two separate children.
By the way, I changed my profile pic to one taken with my son when we were on a cruise in Mexico in December 2010.
So who won the race in your profile pic? By the raised arms, I'm guessing you?? :)
It was pretty much a tie. But I don't mind bragging that I kept up with a 20 year old! :)
Very cute picture. You will both treasure that one for years, I'll bet!
77. Truman by David McCullough
McCullough is rapidly becoming my favorite presidential biographer. John Adams was terrific. Truman's better. I'm amazed at how real he can make these people - flaws and all. And I had no idea just how interesting Truman is. For example, he was elected Vice President as a compromise candidate as FDR's health was failing. Three months later he became President when FDR died, completely unprepared to lead the country through the end of World War II. Three months after that, he had to make one of the hardest decisions I can imagine - to use atomic weapons on Japan to force surrender or mount an invasion estimated to cost more than a quarter million American lives and unknown Japanese lives. Then as the war ended, he had to manage relations (such as they were) with the Stalinist Soviet Union, ultimately for him leading to war in Korea. And yet Truman never lost his every-man nature. He was intensely loyal, completely down-to-earth, but surprisingly politically savvy. McCullough never lets us lose sight of his humanity.
Jim, between your review of Truman and Amy's review a little while ago, I'm about ready to just go and buy the darn book instead of waiting to come to the top of the library reserve list! Well done.
149> Aboslutely! McCullough is among my "go-to" historians. The Adams bio was so well done, I don't think we'll need another one for a while. His 1776 should be required reading by U.S. history student.
Congrats on reaching 75 already!
Sorry to see that the new Odd Thomas book isn't up to snuff. I have it here waiting to be read.
Oh, i'd still read it. It's just that this one wasn't as outstanding as the rest. I blame Koontz for writing the others so well. :)
#149 - Glad you enjoyed Truman! I thought it was definitely worth the time - maybe even better than the John Adams book.
#130: Too bad about the new Odd novel. I enjoy that series.
Congratulations on passing 75, Jim!
Apologies to those who haven't had Threadbook or group wiki info updated recently. I just discovered that for the last week and a half I've been looking only at threads I've posted to previously. SO anything new was completely missed...Should be sorted out now.
Jim, are you the one that updates the threadbook whenever someone starts a new thread??
You are amazing...
This whole time I thought it was the magical 75 fairy who has been doing all the work! ;)
Time for a little catching up...
79. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
Jon Meacham did a bang-up job on Andrew Jackson with American Lion. Now in Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, he tackles the more difficult, deeper subject of our third President. There's no way any one book could do justice to Jefferson, so naturally Meacham focuses on a particular aspect of Jefferson: here he gives a picture of Jefferson's use of power - political, social, racial, economic - to get what he wanted. Fortunately, what he wanted worked out really well for us!
Jefferson was both an idealistic theorist and a practical politician in his use of power. Meacham's case that much of his life can be understood in the interplay between these two poles is a good one. It is, by nature, a simplification of Jefferson the man, but does help us understand why the man who wrote "We believe these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal..." could also keep his own children and mistress as slaves until his death. Or why the man who fought so strongly against a Federalist government could add so much to the power of the Presidency by completing the Louisiana Purchase, essentially without authorization from Congress.
I suspect the depths of Jefferson won't be mined anytime soon. Meacham's book is quite good, but shouldn't be used as one's only source on Jefferson. Read this one, then find one or two others to get different flavors of his life!
80. The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
Tad Williams is one of my favorite epic fantasy writers. His Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is a classic of the genre, and rivals Tolkien for depth, development, and characters. So I was intrigued and excited by his latest - of all things, a mashup of noir detective fiction and urban fantasy with angels and demons. Guess what? It works, and works pretty well. The world is as well developed as ever, the plot's as noir as it gets, and the characters are his usual well-done. Now, it's nothing ground-breaking; urban fantasy's been done lots lately. But if you're looking for an accomplished example of how it should be done, I'd start here.
The Dirty Streets of Heaven looks interesting. Like you I loved the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, but most of what I've seen of his work since hasn't really appealed. This one looks much more my sort of thing.
I may have to seek that one out, it sounds good yet very different from my usual fare. And I love the title, too.
*reels around, stumbling, and falling* Hit by the deadly Book Bullet!
I loved Williams' Sorry, Memory and Thorn trilogy, so I will definitely look for The Dirty Streets of Heaven. Thanks for the recommendation, Jim!
>166-171 : Uhh ... Maggie, me, too.
SandDune, pretty much what I was going to say. I'm not really into urban fantasy (prefer high fantasy), but Jim really sells this one.
And so I agree with everyone; off to put it on the wish-list ...
Got me, too, Jim, with the Tad Williams urban fantasy. I've not read him before, and I've got a sister who likes his books a lot. This sounds like a good one to try.
Jim, I see the new Tad Williams is the first of a series. Is it a complete story in itself--no frustration-shrieking-inducing cliff-hangers?
No cliffhangers, but there's clearly a story arc. If you wanted to, though, you could stop after the first.
*delurking* - I want one as well, The Call of Cthulhu - presented by Snoopy - if that is not great. LOL
mrsdrneutron and I took a 20-mile bike ride Saturday on the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Hancock, Md. Followed up with pie from Weaver's Restaurant there in Hancock. Here's us at the midpoint of the ride:
The Pennsylvania portion of that trail actually runs through our area, and is a favorite walking spot of mine.
Oh, what a great picture! And that sounds like a lovely Saturday. (Well, except for the, you know, exercise part. So, essentially, I like the sound of the pie.)
I've posted my cut at a Halloween reading list, figured folks might be interested. It's at http://www.librarything.com/topic/142342
81. The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by Roland Omnes
Believe it or not, I found this one in the trash. Ok, it was on a recycle bin after an office move. I've been slowly savoring it since the beginning of the year.
Physicists learn about the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics pretty early on - the statistical interpretation of the wave function, how to represent observables by linear operators in the Hilbert space of energy states, etc. But from a logic point of view, this interpretation is incomplete. An active research area is how to make QM logically consistent and how this interpretation leads to correct interpretation of experiments. Fun stuff, but pretty deep and not mathematically inconsequential.
82. Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom
Second in the Matthew Shardlake series of mysteries set in Tudor London under Henry VIII. As good as the first!
Great pictures of your family, Jim! As for the Black Skies, I'll let you know what I think once I'm finished the book. I've read every book in the series, so this is my 8th book and the latest installment. I think Arnaldur Indridason improves with each book in the series. I gave Voices 4 stars, but when I remember back to Jar City I have to say I think he has really improved as a writer. Though I am only a few chapters in, I'm already really enjoying Black Skies. A couple of murders already and Sigridur Oli is one the case....I enjoy the character development of the main three characters quite a bit from book to book.
I have to say that my mom and my niece went to Iceland together this past August and really loved it, found it extremely safe and were out in the evening - so I'd say Iceland is not a crime riddled as Indridason might have us believe :p
My favourite scandcrime writer is Karin Fossum. I've read all of the books in the series and I think she does psychological suspense best of all. She is an excellent writer. She features a couple of male detectives, Konrad Skarre and Jacob Sejer.
I'd love to go to Iceland sometime! I agree that Indridason keeps getting better and better. Fossum's on my list, but I want to finish up some other series first.
83. The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder
Ok, so I pretty much can't say much about the plot. Or the characters. Or anything. 'Cause if I did it would spoil not only this one but the first as well. Trust me. This is about as good as steampunk gets!
That's not a lot to base a book bullet on, Jim, but given it's you, onto the wishlist it just went!
Just be sure and read The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack first!
I'm going to Iceland in January! I'm pretty excited. I'd like to read some books that take place in Iceland before I go, but I'm not really into mysteries, so I guess I'm going to have to go with medieval literature and mythology . . .
>197: Haldor Laxness' The Fish Can Sing was pretty good and not at all mystery...
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