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May 2017 reading

Science Fiction Fans

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Edited: Jun 12, 12:37pm Top

Dusty's reads in May
SF/F reads
David Brin - Heaven's Reach
Greg Bear - Dinosaur Summer
Jack McDevitt - Starhawk
Joe Haldeman - Forever Peace
Jeff Vandermeer - Authority
Charlaine Harris - Day Shift
C J Cherryh - Visitor
C J Cherryh - Cuckoo's Egg
Melissa Conway - Xbestia
RAH Short stories;
By His Bootstraps
All You Zombies
- And He Built a Crooked House
Our Fair City
Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag
The Roads Must Roll
other genres
Ellery Queen - Spanish Cape Mystery
Nora Roberts - Dark Witch
Arthur Ransome - Swallowdale
J D Robb - Echoes in Death

May 1, 5:31am Top

Currently reading Great Sky River by Gregory Benford...

May 1, 10:59am Top

Didn't post in last month's thread, when I read The Best of British SF 1 (and reviewed it. This month I've started with Miracle Visitors by Ian Watson (but I'm discouraged by seeing the 2.61 rating!)

Edited: May 1, 1:55pm Top

May 1, 3:03pm Top

Finished The Doomsday Book just before the end of April, and liked it a lot. A dark story, and not for the faint of heart, but very well done.

Plowing into New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson - something of a sci-fi mystery novel, and very interesting so far.

May 2, 11:09am Top

Still reading Too like the lightning. It's a good read but is taking me a long time because of needing to concentrate and not miss all the little details.

May 2, 9:26pm Top

After a long hiatus, I'm resuming the Expanse series with Cibola Burn. A little different in plotting/tone so far - other reviewers have described it as a "transition book" which bridges the Earth/Mars/Belter conflict with the new worlds opened up by the gate. I am enjoying it. (Love the TV show too!)

One tiny drawback of watching the show - I now picture the characters as they are shown on TV, even though the book descriptions don't always line up.

May 3, 10:14am Top

I just found an alternate history by Kim Robinson of Red Mars fame titled The Years of Rice and Salt in a used bookstore. So far I have just thumbed the pages as I am currently reading a crime novel... but this book looks interesting.

May 3, 10:43am Top

>8 Lynxear: It didn't float my boat. YMMV. Interesting premise of the Western world wiped out by plague. The 'same' characters pop up in different eras as the world develops. Didn't write a review, unfortunately.

May 3, 10:44am Top

>8 Lynxear: I had ordered it second hand but it got lost in the mail/never sent and I got a refund... they didn't have another one in stock :( Too bad because it really intrigued me and I like KSR books a lot.

May 3, 11:41am Top

>8 Lynxear:

I found a copy at a friends of the public library used book sale, and I do plan to get to it eventually.

May 3, 4:20pm Top

I'm about done with Deathworld 2. If I was underwhelmed by the first volume, this one didn't improve anything. Next I'm taking a break from SF to read some Sword and Sorcery fantasy.

May 3, 4:49pm Top

>8 Lynxear: The Years of Rice and Salt is a curious alternate history/fantasy. I rarely read alternate history, finding the real thing more appealing, but gave this one a try because I'm a big fan of the author. It worked for me, even though it was quite a departure from the works by Robinson I'm familiar with.

May 3, 10:48pm Top

>6 Sakerfalcon: I listened to Too Like the Lightning last year and recently finished listening to the sequel Seven Surrenders which may have been even better. Really great series.

May 4, 1:59am Top

Necessary Ill was good, now reading Mappa Mundi, which I had apparently missed reading when it came out.

May 4, 9:10am Top

>8 Lynxear: The Years of Rice and Salt is the KSR book I like best. The ending seemed rushed though.

May 4, 2:42pm Top

Finally got around to Europe in Winter - the tone and the story is closer to the first than to the second book so I am a happy reader so far (which does not mean I did not like the second - it was just... different).

May 5, 7:11am Top

I had to abandon a couple of books because evidently their previous owner was a smoker. Fortunately I've just received an untainted copy of Carson of Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is the one book in the series that is actually a re-read for me, having read it randomly back in the day.

May 5, 2:15pm Top

Thanks all of you for your comments... I am a week away from reading it... I am finishing a Michael Connelly book the Lincolin Lawyer and even though I have seen the movie and the book follows the movie... it is a great book as it gets into the Lawyer's head the way a movie cannot.

I look forward to The Years of Rice and Salt

May 5, 2:57pm Top

Finished Gaia's Toys -- reminding me once again how under-recognized Rebecca Ore is -- and started Raising Steam.

May 5, 3:05pm Top

I've just finished Jack McDevitt's Starhawk, a prequel to the other Priscilla Hutchins novels. Jack takes a lot of flack for being old-fashioned and over praised, but I always enjoy his books. Not everything has to be a post-cyberpunk dystopia set in a crumbling third world environment ( I exaggerate, but you know what I mean).

May 5, 3:56pm Top

Finished the deeply affecting Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents duology. As distressing as many parts of these books are to read, the thread of hope and imaginings of bigger and better horizons for humanity that Butler imagines keeps not only the protagonist, but also the reader, going. I'm sorry to reach the end and am also saddened that Butler suddenly passed away before having a chance to return to this series as she had planned. That said, things do come to a relatively satisfying conclusion at the end of book 2.

I have also begun a re-read of Gene Wolfe's New Sun series. Currently about 1/3 of the way through The Claw of the Conciliator and getting so much more out of these books the 2nd time around.

And... my Overdrive hold for Authority finally came through last night so I'll likely start on that this weekend.

May 5, 4:14pm Top

>21 lansingsexton:

Absolutely agree :) That one I had not read yet but I enjoy reading him.

May 5, 6:19pm Top

>21 lansingsexton: >23 AnnieMod: I have only read one McDevitt to date. That was The Engines of God. I thought it had some really great ideas but the characterization fell a bit flat for me. It also seemed rather long and dry in places. Nevertheless, for big ideas, it was pretty impressive. I expect to return to that series one of these days so it's good to hear that others have good things to say about McDevitt's writing.

May 5, 6:27pm Top

>19 Lynxear: et al... I still haven't read any KSR but I have a few titles on the shelf. The Years of Rice and Salt is one of them. Would you all recommend starting with that or is something like The Dreaming Void a better jumping-off point?

May 5, 6:34pm Top

>24 ScoLgo:

I found the first in his Alex Benedict series more compelling than the first in the Academy one - so ended up reading them first. One left... so I will be back to the Academy after that. He does have issues but if you need a good adventure story, it usually works :)

Edited: May 5, 6:36pm Top

>25 ScoLgo: The Dreaming Void? This is Hamilton (5th in a series to boot), not KSR :)

May 5, 7:01pm Top

>26 AnnieMod: Thanks. I will have to look into the Alex Benedict series.

>27 AnnieMod: Whoops! You're right! See? I really have not read KSR yet. Haven't read Hamilton either and I mashed them up when posting, (been a long week).

I just checked Overdrive and there are a huge number of KSR titles available for borrowing. Recommendations for a good place to begin are still welcome.

May 5, 7:40pm Top

>28 ScoLgo:

I loved the Mars trilogy but they were one of the first SF non-classic work I read... so they kinda worked - try the Red Mars if you want - it starts slow though. They tend to be too wordy for the readers these days :) The Years of Rice and Salt is not bad as a start into his works - and it is a standalone :)

PS: If you want a recommendation for where to start with Hamilton -- Pandora's Star followed by Judas Unchained (and then the voids and so on) or if the topic sounds better - the three books in the Night's Dawn trilogy (both cases are single LONG novels split into separate not quite novels). And he tends to write long chapters (so in some novels you do not meet the guys from the first 50 pages until page 200 or so) :)

May 5, 8:08pm Top

>29 AnnieMod: Thank you! I will probably start with The Years of Rice and Salt then, (one of these days ;).

May 6, 5:38am Top

Finally finished reading Too like the lightning, a demanding but rewarding read. I've not read anything quite like it, for the way it blends SF with Enlightenment-era philosophy. There is a large cast of characters and many factions to keep up with, and the politics are complicated. The narrative style demands concentration too, but it is well-paced as the narrator Mycroft times his revelations carefully. I found this a fascinating read and it's up there with The obelisk gate as my favourites of this year's Hugo Best Novel nominees (haven't read the Cixin Liu though).

Now I've started The ghost brigades for something a bit easier!

May 6, 9:23am Top

>25 ScoLgo: this is my first Kim Robinson book. I think it is a good entry into this author's books as it appears to be a stand alone so I am not tied to a series.

Edited: May 6, 12:45pm Top

I have reluctantly tried to read KSRs Blue Mars as my latest Hugo winner (#53/65) and am finding it all as boring as ever,so repetitious of Green Mars in places that I could have picked that up by mistake! lol. 130 pages in, we are at yet another political congress,boring,and I am going to put it aside for another month. Its on my list for this year,so I will grimly finish it somehow,but not this month.
I have a 600 page junior book,Arthur Ransome's Swallowdale,due back next week and it cant be renewed,so I must buckle down to that book if I am to finish it in time..Also I am expecting C J Cherryh's Visitor through the letterbox in a couple of days,so most other books will have to make way,so I can immerse myself in the doings of the paidhi.Hope this time there is more of him and less of Cajeiri. Bye for now,Blue Mars.
Boy,I am so not a fan of this series! lol
AND its 800 pages long. Cruel and unusual punishment IMO.

May 6, 8:33pm Top

>33 dustydigger: I adore Swallowdale and all Ransome's other Swallows and Amazons books. I liked Blue Mars, but I'll never read it again, whereas Ransome's stories are always worth a re-read.

Edited: May 7, 4:36am Top

>34 tardis: I'm on a nostalgia kick again this year,rereading classic children's lit,and even finally fitting in classics I had never read.Coming up soon are Richmal Crompton's Just William,George MacDonald's The Light Princess Eve Garnett's The Family from One-End Streetand Louisa May Alcott's Eight Cousins.Good stuff.
What strikes adults rereading Ransome today is the freedom the kids have to go off sailing,camping and exploring without adult supervision. But I still remember as a child of perhaps 9 going off for the day with a bottle of water and some sandwiches to explore the Amazon in a hidden dene miles away from home . Recently at a funeral - about the only time we get family gatherings these days! - I was gratified when two cousins actually remembered that ''expedition'' way back in 1957.Now parents are so terrified of their kids being lured away that they drop them off and pick them up at school and never let the kids go off in that way. Such a pity.It was a chance for physical activity,bonding with friends and letting the imagination soar.

May 7, 5:45am Top

I'm about half-way through Sylvain Neuvel's Sleeping Giants and finding it very dull indeed. It's written like a screenplay for a cgi-heavy blockbuster with a ludicrous premise, featureless characters and jarring plot points. Even if I finish this one I won't be reading the rest. On a more cheery note, I've just ordered a couple of the Clarke Award shortlist books which should arrive next week.

May 7, 7:49am Top

>35 dustydigger: The Light Princess is one of my special favorites; I hope you enjoy it.

May 7, 2:13pm Top

I have just started The Years of Rice and Salt. I am only about 40 pages in but so far I don't find his writing to be very descriptive. He doesn't seem to make me feel as though I am along on the journey with the main character, Bold Bardash... I have been taken past many many empty villages but for the life of me I cannot really describe them other than sometimes there are a pile of bones near a temple and they are empty. I hope it gets better than this....

May 8, 1:20pm Top

Finished up The Masked City (B) over lunch; there's something a little too twee about this series for me to wholeheartedly embrace but that Cogman ups the ante on the politics of her multiverse is enough to keep me interested. To elaborate on the caveat my book group read the first novel in the series and one of our circle thought she was being pandered to a bit as a fan with the concept of an ultimate library that was the center of metaphysical espionage that she was supposed to love because she loved books.

May 8, 4:53pm Top

After finishing Europe in Winter (which apparently won't be the last one in the series). It wraps up pretty much all the storylines (as neat as it makes sense in some cases) so I am not sure where the 4th book will go (not that there isn't enough threads to use). So waiting for the next one again...

Meanwhile, reading the new Kessel's The Moon and the Other (first novel from him in 20 years or so?) which so far is pretty good. The cover description reveals way too much way too fast though...

May 8, 10:40pm Top

Finished All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. It did nothing for me.

May 9, 4:23pm Top

>30 ScoLgo: The first novel I read by Robinson was The Memory of Whiteness. Pretty much sold me on this author. Galileo's Dream and Antarctica are also good stand-alone novels by him.

May 10, 4:10am Top

About to start Elantris for a book group. I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but hoping for the best.

May 10, 7:29pm Top

Added The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison to my reading rotation.

Edited: May 12, 2:14am Top

I gave up on The Years of Rice and Salt ... It has been a while since I stopped reading a book after the 100page test. I gather this book has something to do with reincarnation. I am not much into religious Scifi, however the story is very weak... From being introduced to the main character, Bold, in 20 pages or so he travels thousands of mile with almost no description in his journey.

I was so bored

Edited: May 12, 7:54am Top

>45 Lynxear:. I struggled through The Years of Rice and Salt when it first came out, and was ultimately glad that I did. It is a book that I have thought and talked about frequently since I read it. It is not about reincarnation or religion at all--that is simply the time travel vehicle used to explore the alternate history that is the book's raison d'etre.

Simply put, the book speculates a history in which the plague wiped out virtually all of western europe. Its conclusion about what would happen in that event is quite spectacular. In fact, I believe that it may be prophetic because the same history may yet unfold, after a long delay during the long international rise and decline of western europe.

I'm reading When She Woke which is a dystopian novel with themes similar to The Scarlet Letter and The Handmaid's Tale. I'm finding it a compelling read so far.

May 12, 11:13am Top

>46 vwinsloe: That may be so... But I did not like the lack if detail of the story... perhaps it improves as you go into the book but I spent a week (definitely not a page turner ) to read 100 pages... I have invested enough time in this book. I could not believe how fast the book progressed from Magar(SP?) plains to the lower coast of Africa in a slave ship passing through several ports each of which has the very poor description of being bigger that he had ever seen before. It was a typical he went here-then he went there-then he did this-he did that... not my type of book.

May 14, 12:18am Top

Finished The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison. Odd book, but I enjoyed it. Next up is the second Road to Nowhere book, The Book of Etta.

Edited: May 16, 4:03am Top

Finished Jeff VanderMeer's rather stodgy and repetitious Authority,book 2 of the Southern Reach trilogy.Another dysfunctional narrator,and as this book wasnt first person narrative,didnt explore Area X,and had very little action it barely grabbed my attention enough to complete it.We spent dozens of pages near the end with the protagonist searching for a character,and the action was confined to the last page.I will continue with the final book,Acceptance,but must admit I just dont see what garnered so much attention. Oh well,perhaps a new young generation will see the appeal of the weird fiction genre,and read some of the classics!

May 14, 12:14pm Top

I just finished the YA novel Carbon Diaries: 2015 which was written in 2009 and predicted devastating climate change by 2015 causing Great Britain to introduce energy rationing for every citizen. Told from the point of view of a 16 year old girl there is the usual romantic entanglements but also a look at what our profligate life-style might lead us to if we don't get a handle on CO2 emissions. Found it as the result of an article in The Guardian about the best climate-change novels. I had read the other 4 on the list so I figured I'd better read this one.

May 15, 8:57am Top

Finished Elantris and though it took a long, long time to get going - I would have given up after 100 or so pages if it hadn't been for a book group - it turned out to be pretty entertaining. I'm starting A Closed and Common Orbit now, with Ninefox Gambit at the top of my TBR pile next.

May 15, 10:24am Top

Just finished the latest collection of Dave Langford columns from SFX, All Good Things. Having a little break with some non-fiction on Soviet airmen, then plunging back into the William Hope Hodgson omnibus, where I've gotten up to 'The Ghost Pirates'.

May 16, 1:08am Top

Just started The Wine of Violence, James Morrow's first novel.

May 16, 10:48pm Top

I've been meaning to give Marko Kloos a try for awhile now since he was honorable enough to disengage himself from the Rabid Puppies' ballot-stuffing shenanigans of a few years ago and I've just finished Terms of Enlistment; on the whole, job well done. The material is basic military SF but Kloos does bring his own flair to the enterprise; I'll certainly be continuing with the series.

May 19, 9:09am Top

I've just finished reading James Branch Cabell's The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck: A Comedy of Limitations. It's a late volume in his fantasy masterpiece, The Biography of the Life of Manuel. This book is set in Virginia at the turn of the century, about thirty years after the Civil War (it was originally published in 1915) and it has no fantasy elements. It does have an ironic manner reminiscent of Oscar Wilde and a concern with the inadequacies of the chivalric dreams of the old south as a strategy for living in the new century.

F. Scott Fitzgerald sent a letter to Cabell saying that his southern wife Zelda was especially fond of the book.

P. S. Does anyone know where to by a real paper knife designed for cutting uncut book pages?

Edited: May 19, 12:42pm Top

>55 lansingsexton: P. S. Does anyone know where to by a real paper knife designed for cutting uncut book pages?

I always found the penknife fob on my pocket watch very fine for the purpose. (Not joking.)

May 19, 12:16pm Top

>56 paradoxosalpha:

Although many people say you do not want a sharp edge on a paper knife.


Edited: May 19, 12:37pm Top

>57 andyl:

Right. That penknife isn't very sharp. Its two main purposes are cutting pages and cleaning dirt from under fingernails. Still, the sharpness (and metal composition) is more similar to a letter opener than a paper knife.

Nice linked article!

May 19, 4:33pm Top

>57 andyl: Thanks very much for the interesting article.

May 19, 5:06pm Top

And based on the article, the answer to the closing question of >55 lansingsexton: may be:
Look for "page turners" on ebay?

May 19, 5:46pm Top

Had been on a SF streak last few weeks (and forgetting to post) so:

The Moon and the Other by John Kessel was awesome in a way I did not expect - it is less... sarcastic than some of his other works but I really enjoyed his play and exploration on the roles of gender, family and science. And it has uplifted animals (just casually mentioned, as if it was just something normal... plus a few more standard SF tropes like that which were there as a background). Don't read the description on the cover though - unless if you want to know what happens on page 500 (from 600).

Killing Gravity by Corey J. White was decent adventure in space - nothing too special though. A little too busy not to step on anyone's toes while building his future (gender and race-wise) to actually make it stick properly. And there is a cat. Or something like that. And a person that can kill a ship with their mind. It does sound weird but it somehow works. Plus it is so obviously a part one of a bigger story that you wonder why he did not push and make it a complete novel instead of series of novellas. And he needs to pull it off a bit - the mental powers effectively make anything impossible achievable.

Pawn by Timothy Zahn is another start of a series but this time it is also a complete novel (surprise!). I have a bit of an issue with the main character and her decisions but it was a decent story (and the ship where everything happens is fascinating). And as with White's story, there are special mental powers... although different (and better handled).

On the other hand Carrie Vaughn's Martians Abroad is short, sweet, almost juvenile coming of age story of a pair of siblings from Mars coming to Earth for the first time when they are enrolled in a elite school. It may not be a great novel but the world through the eyes of a teenager that gets uprooted from her planet and sent to a new place has the feeling of the old stories about boarding schools (plus space in this case).

John Scalzi's The Collapsing Empire is yet another start of a series. In chess there are some standard openings which are used to move all your figures to where you want them. That's what this novel is like - a great universe (which is connected through the Flow - a weird time/space continuum that allows fast travel between some points), political machination, a great villain family and a big secret. But when the novel finishes, you feel as if you read the prologue to something - it wet your petite... and then stopped. Add a few places where he pushed hard with the language (I have no issues with language in books when it makes sense and more often than not, it did here.. but where it did not - it grated).

At the same time, his novella The Dispatcher is a complete story even being 2-3 times shorter. And the concept of murder victims returning is interesting - and the story's explanations of what it leads to is even more fascinating.

And now I am reading Six Wakes which is a bit annoying in places but it keeps my interest so we will see (never read anything else by Mur Lafferty before so not sure how much is style..)

May 20, 1:29pm Top

I needed a book to read on a bus journey and hospital appointment on Thursday afternoon,and as everything I was reading was either a large hardback,or an e-book,I just grabbed C J Cherryh's Cuckoo's Egg off the TBR shelf. Of course once I started I couldnt put it down,and read it every spare moment all day yesterday. And since I have been lured into rereading Bob Heinlein's short stories,I have gone completely off track from my stated TBR. Oh well,Forever Peace,Brin's Heaven's Reach and VanderMeer's Acceptance and some other stuff will still be there next month! :0)

May 20, 2:46pm Top

>61 AnnieMod: Six Wakes ended up disappointing me, but I may be in the minority.

May 20, 5:14pm Top

>61 AnnieMod: >63 jnwelch: Hm, I had just picked that one up but have not started it yet. Ah well, fingers crossed!

I haven't read much SF this month, but in addition to Six Wakes, I now have Farthing by Jo Walton and Memory by Linda Nagata out from the library.

May 21, 4:33pm Top

Made a start on William Hope Hodgson's The Ghost Pirates as the third novel in the omnibus edition I'm working through. Because he seemed to be working at slightly longer length in this one, the weirdness quotient isn't ramping up all that quickly, though he keeps saying "Something truly uncanny then happened..." and then it's only slightly odd - nothing hair-raising the way it was in The Boats of the Glen Carrig. Mind you, it shares that story's load of naval proto-technobabble and I keep thinking of Edmund Blackadder's encounter with Sir Walter Raleigh "and his Golden BeHind". Still, China Miéville warned us of this in the omnibus' introduction, so I shouldn't be surprised.

May 21, 11:07pm Top

Finished 'The Southern Reach' trilogy, (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance), this weekend. A rather uneven narrative spanning 3 volumes that, all told, works out to a novel of ~900 pages that I'm not entirely sure was worth the effort - although I would kind of like to take a trip to Florida's 'Forgotten Coast' now...

By contrast, I'm back to being fully focused on The Sword of the Lictor. The strange travels and adventures of Severian are simply a wonder to re-experience.

May 21, 11:35pm Top

>63 jnwelch:

Six Wakes - My expectations dropped after the first 50 pages (the style was really grating for me) so at the end I kinda liked it. It should have been a lot shorter (in a novella form, it would have been perfect I think), the villain was too... one-dimensional and most of the other characters were more types than people. On the other hand, the connecting of the separate stories worked (almost too) perfectly. If you ignore the main mystery (its answer is telegraphed through most of the book) and the attempts to instill character treats where they do not come natively, it was not a bad space adventure. I think I want to read more from the author - so will give her another chance - expecting another popcorn novel.

Next - Orbital Cloud by Taiyo Fujii - after 200 pages (out from 500), it needs a bit of shortening but so far is not so bad - a spy story in the very near future with a lot of physics, spacecrafts and IT (some of the latter makes me laugh but oh well). More when I finish it.

May 22, 5:44am Top

>64 Euryale:
Memory by Linda Nagata

I love her nanotech stuff.

Started Ninefox Gambit. It's a bit heavy on the MilSF so I'm leavening it with a random Pratchett re-read, Lords and Ladies.

Edited: May 22, 6:01am Top

>66 ScoLgo: I have still got to read Acceptance,am not to enthused with the saga so far. The style of excessive scrutiny of the mind of the narrator plus detailed explanations of his prosaic descriptions of mundane affairs,with perhaps a sentence offhandedly throwing in a plot development then ignoring it for a chapter before going back to add some more details( perhaps going back yet another time for more details) frankly irritated me rather than intrigued me in Authority. At least in Annihilation we had first person narration of an exotic environment and some weird dark events to keep our interest,I never had a frisson in the whole of the second book. Things had better heat up in book 3! lol.
I have yet to tackle the last of Gene Wolfe's Severian saga Citadel of the Autarch,it will be sometime this year sometime this year Hoping there is some sort of resolution there,because the further Severian has traveled through the world,the more incoherent and bewildering it all seems! Good stuff though.Not sure if I could tackle a reread!
btw,you are doing great on the Pick 'N Mix over on WWEnd.25 books already!Thomas is going to have to buck up his ideas if he is going to achieve his target! :0)

Edited: May 22, 6:02am Top

>65 RobertDay: I have The Night Land coming up soon (once I finished my binge of RAH short stories!)I found House on the Borderlands a bit of an oddity,but very enjoyable,so I hope Night Land will be OK
Ah,a fellow Blackadder fan.I adored series two especially,and its probably my fave comedy series of all time (Red Dwarf is also a favourite) Now I am a grumpy old woman I cant bear comedy on TV I just dont find it funny at all! lol. But I can still go into kinks over Blackadder. Our family can quote whole chunks of it,and still fondly remember Percy and his''green'',or Hugh Laurie reaping his ''reven-gay'' after his humiliation in the wonderful dungeon scene.

May 22, 8:07am Top

>70 dustydigger: I was very interested in 'House on the Borderlands', if nothing else for its iconic reputation, and it is certainly the stylistic progenitor of a lot of fantasy and horror writing. I found the imagery striking. However, so far the thing I've been struck by has been how these creeping horrors that keep occurring have no apparent origin and the protagonist of the story never gets to the bottom of them (or, indeed, shows any sign of wanting to get to the bottom of them).

I'm reading the Gollancz 'Fantasy Masterworks' omnibus which includes 'The Night Land' as the final story in the volume. I'm feeling that the book overall is a keeper, though it may get relegated to living in my storage unit.

I also think series two of Blackadder is the best; Rowan Atkinson looks really good as an Elizabethan gentleman (or so my other half assures me, she having a different view to me on such matters :-) ); though there are excellent moments in the other series, they are a bit more hit-and-miss. I've always had the uneasy suspicion that Miranda Richardson's portrayal of Elizabeth may well, if we only knew, be an extremely - and worryingly - accurate depiction of Gloriana.

I heard Tony Robinson on the radio a few weeks ago telling the story of how the final scene in 'Blackadder Goes Forth' was filmed, and how it ended up. What was eventually transmitted - and which can still reduce me to tears - was not what was filmed, as the scene was filmed in one take, only one take was possible before the production was finished, and the scenery was all cheap expanded polystyrene representing the No Man's Land of the Western Front, which just looked ridiculous as the actors fell into it. Some of the most effective film/tv can sometimes come about through serendipity.

May 22, 10:07am Top

Abandoned Fire with Fire a sexist, badly written, leaden paced attempt at an action thriller. Why this series got 3 Nebula nominations is beyond me. The Hugos with their Puppy nominations I would believe. Must have been some serious log-rolling going on.

May 22, 12:51pm Top

Finished Raising Steam, halfway through Larklight

Edited: May 22, 1:04pm Top

>72 justifiedsinner: Uhoh... I have this one waiting for me to get around to it... starting to wonder if I want to.

>66 ScoLgo:
I read half of the first and I am yet to pick it up again - despite all the noise and acclaim, something was off. I was thinking it was my mood but who knows. And I had had zero interest in picking it up again

May 22, 1:53pm Top

Writing more than reading, these past few weeks (trying to finish a project and get it out of my system, in a manner of speaking), so I'm still reading New York 2140 by Robinson. Liking it a lot, so far. Reminds me a lot of the Mars trilogy, though it's more about economics and finance than politics. Good balance between exposition and action, with a nifty little shot at the concept of "infodumps" near the beginning.

At the rate I'm going, this may end up being my only "May read."

May 22, 3:17pm Top

>70 dustydigger: If oddity is something you enjoy you should absolutely love The Night Land. Unless it's the wrong kind of oddity, of course.

Edited: May 22, 5:10pm Top

I'm re-reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. (I have the old "movie tie-in" edition from 1982.) It's rather an early re-read because it's little over a decade since I first read it, but I think it's a sufficiently complex novel to make it worthwhile.

May 22, 5:15pm Top

>72 justifiedsinner: Is everything published by Bean terrible military SF? That's the impression I have.

May 22, 6:06pm Top

>78 SFF1928-1973:

Most of it these days is however they do publish some pretty reasonable stuff. Lois McMaster Bujold and Susan R. Matthews. They also do a few decent anthologies such as Clones!. But the majority of what they do these days is dreck.

May 22, 6:25pm Top

Just finished up The Speed of Dark (B) this afternoon. As a character study of the autistic mind it seems like a real accomplishment, but I'm not sure I care for the plot that character study is embedded in. Not to begrudge Moon her Nebula I have the sneaking suspicion this novel is not going to be any kind of enduring classic.

May 22, 11:49pm Top

>77 SFF1928-1973: One of my all time favorites. The film was groundbreaking, but the book is so much richer. The new religion was left out completely and my favorite scene, the destruction of the ostrich, wasn't in the movie since they only scratched the surface of the mass extinction guilt.

May 23, 6:29am Top

I finished Too Like the Lightning, and it was more challenging than I expected. Focus is required. The author is smart and ambitious, and has created a future for us that is very different in social structure, with complicated politics and complicated characters to go with it. There will be two more after this, and I'm game for the next one.

I've also got Ninefox Gambit teed up, and I'm watching for the comments on it here.

May 23, 9:50am Top

>78 SFF1928-1973:, >79 andyl: They also publish the Liaden universe series which is good.

>82 jnwelch: We seem to agree on Too like the lightning - a lot of effort but worthwhile. I personally thought it was better than Ninefox gambit - more original in the worldbuilding despite the "calendrical heresy" gimmick of Ninefox - but I look forward to seeing what you think.

Edited: May 23, 11:47am Top

>83 Sakerfalcon: Yes, we do agree on Too Like the Lightning (per usual), Claire. I'll let you know about Ninefox Gambit. I think I'm going to read Neil Gaiman's essay collection next (View from the Cheap Seats), and then Ninefox Gambit.

Edited: May 23, 11:30pm Top

Have added Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee to my reading rotation.

May 24, 9:31am Top

>84 jnwelch: I really want to read the Gaiman collection, and I own a copy that I bought used, but I can't find it among the piles of books in my flat!

May 24, 2:27pm Top

Orbital Cloud was good... although one of the spies was almost used as a deus ex machina when things were getting a bit too tight. Add a few too many coincidences and it left me wonder why it had to be so tightened. On the other hand the story itself was good enough to overcome the issues. And as far as I can say, the science even make sense (the IT talk - not as much - not sure if it is the translation or the original but some parts were... weird). Worth reading if you like spy SF novels :)

Need to get around to writing a few reviews...

Next - Emma Newman's Planetfall.

May 25, 2:12pm Top

Finished Larklight, started Yendi.

May 26, 2:56pm Top

Planetfall was not bad -- I enjoyed some of it, some of it really got me annoyed. A combination of a mentally ill narrator (no, she is not seeing things - it is a different one) and a not-so-mysterious mystery works better than I expected but it is a bit too long (and I really cannot buy the self-delusions of the whole colony. Nice world though. And a complete story - not just a start of one. Will pick up the second one to see where it goes.

Staying in SF with Doctor Who: Royal Blood - the DW books may not be high literature but I like them usually.

May 26, 6:06pm Top

I'm reading Empire Games by Charles Stross right now. I've never read anything by him before but I see he has won numerous SF awards. I'm not far enough in to really decide if it will be a favourite but so far I like it.

May 27, 4:00am Top

>86 Sakerfalcon: Ha! I know the problem, Claire. Books should respond, and let us know where they are, when we call out their titles. It would make life so much easier.

May 27, 4:13am Top

Well, Ninefox Gambit has definitely confirmed that I don't care for MilSF. There's a lot of technobabble about weapons, rank and formations, and I couldn't work out who was fighting who, or why. I wouldn't have minded hearing a bit more about the servitors - small, generally animal-form sentient robots with an amused and slightly patronizing attitude to their human companions, but unfortunately they were only a sidebar to the piles of bodies.

Anyway, I've got a few NF books to get through next before starting Wool for a book group.

May 27, 11:33am Top

In my William Hope Hodgson omnibus, I've finished The Ghost Pirates - lots of nautical technobabble and guess what? The ghosts turned out to be pirates at the end, after all! WHH does turn out to have reveals, but they're pulled out of the hat - in this one, the narrator turns out to have his mate's ticket, but that hardly really influences what happens even though the ship's captain suggests it might. Ends very suddenly. All die. O the embarrassment (as Joe Haldeman once wrote). Next and last: The Night Land.

May 27, 10:02pm Top

Still plowing through the Expanse series - just finished Nemesis Games. I'm impressed at the authors' ability to maintain quality as the series progresses, and make each book a little bit different in plot, pacing and tone. This installment took a dark turn...the body count went WAY up.

May 28, 9:56am Top

Finished my re-read of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. I won't attempt any analysis of the book here, but I did get a lot more out of the book on the second reading. I recall being dissatisfied with the ending last time, possibly because I couldn't connect it to the movie. Like The Man in the High Castle, the book rather meanders to a halt.

Next up I'm re-reading Recalled to Life by Robert Silverberg.

May 28, 11:33am Top

Added an ARC of Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom: A Novel of Retropolis by Bradley W. Schenck into my reading rotation after finishing The Book of Etta by Meg Elison.

May 29, 5:29pm Top

Finished reading New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson. A fascinating take on the possible consequences of current climate change for people living in large coastal cities. I would it to be an essentially optimistic story and stimulating collection of ideas in the best "what if?" tradition of science fiction. Which is to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Next up, C.J. Cherryh's latest: Convergence.

May 30, 9:06am Top

>91 jnwelch: Ha! That would be great! I have managed to find my copy, and have started dipping into it.

>92 SChant: That's pretty much how I felt about Ninefox gambit.

I'm reading an odd Australian novel, Souls in the great machine. I'd never heard of it but borrowed it from a friend because the duelling librarians in the cover blurb sounded intriguing. It is a pretty good read.

Jun 5, 12:12pm Top

>98 Sakerfalcon: It has a sequel, The Miocene Arrow, and is itself a re-working of a two-novel sequence, 'Greatwinter' (Voices in the Light. Mirrorsun rising). McMullen is a pretty good writer and his stuff is worth seeking out. He has had a few novels published in the US.

Jun 5, 3:50pm Top

>69 dustydigger: Thanks, Dusty. I am doing 4 separate challenges on WWE but your 'Pick & Mix' is the largest by far at 40 books. Currently 28 finished with 12 to go. Also doing three books for the 'Collections' challenge, 13 for 'Grand Mistresses of Genre Fiction', and 12 for 'Women of Genre Fiction'. So that is 68 books for the year with a few other non-challenge reads thrown in here & there... Considering how much time I am forced to spend working, I'll be doing pretty well to finish all that by xmas! ;)

Sorry to say that Acceptance will likely not save the trilogy for you. There is resolution there but I found it unsatisfying, (hoping I lower your expectations enough that you might like it, if only a little).

Resolution is also found in Citadel of the Autarch. At the same time, the story remains mind-bendingly elusive, (Severian is such a charmingly unreliable narrator). While it's a challenging read, I believe that the best way to piece together all the hints and hidden meanings interlaced in the narrative is with a re-read - daunting as that idea may seem.

>74 AnnieMod: I thought the best book in the trilogy was Annihilation. I'll be interested to see how the film turns out. I expect/hope it may be better in a visual presentation.

>75 ThomasWatson: Are you writing in your 'War of the Second Iteration' universe? Or is this something new? I've read the first two WotSI books and enjoyed them quite a bit. Really need to make time to return to the rest of the series.

>78 SFF1928-1973: Baen also handles titles by James H. Schmitz. Hard to go wrong with those. The Demon Breed is particularly good, (found in the collection titled The Hub: Dangerous Territory or as an out-of-print stand-alone).

>89 AnnieMod: Interesting. Thanks for your thoughts on Planetfall. I have that one coming up on my WWE Women of Genre Fiction challenge list.

Jun 6, 7:54am Top

>99 RobertDay: I found the two sequels at a charity shop, so will be reading them soon!

Edited: Jun 7, 11:25am Top

>100 ScoLgo: Very happy to know you've enjoyed what you've read so far. The new book is a new universe, completely apart from the series. I do intend to return to the Second Iteration universe, very likely with the next novel I write. It would be set then and there, with some familiar characters, but would not be a direct continuation of the five part series.

Jun 7, 2:23pm Top

>102 ThomasWatson: Cool. I will have to keep an eye out for when you publish.

Edited: Jun 8, 7:50am Top

I'm in a total reading slump, but determined to finish Northshore which I started the beginning of March and haven't touched since early April. It's not the book's fault as I was enjoying it; I am just feeling blah about reading at the moment. I've only read 3 other books so far this year and 2 of those were re-reads.

Jun 8, 11:56am Top

>103 ScoLgo: I'll give you a heads up via the LT private message system.

Jun 8, 1:15pm Top

>105 ThomasWatson: Yes, please do!

Jun 12, 10:07am Top

I've just read After Atlas, the follow-up to Planetfall. Both are excellent books - AA would appeal to anyone who likes crime fiction as well as SF.

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