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Our reads in July 2018

Science Fiction Fans

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Jul 1, 12:59pm Top

Relax in the sun - and read!

Edited: Jul 31, 2:28pm Top

Dusty's TBR for July
SF/F reads
Kate Griffin - The Minority Council ✔
N K Jemisin - Obelisk Gate
Michael Moorcock - Elric of Melnibone✔
Kalayna Price - Grave Memory ✔
Clifford D Simak - City ✔
Rick Yancey - The Fifth Wave ✔
Harry Harrison - Spaceship Medic ✔

from other genres
Margery Allingham - Cargo of Eagles ✔
Earl Derr Biggers - The Chinese Parrot ✔
Jasper Fforde - Lost in a Good Book ✔
Andrew Lang - The Yellow Fairy Book
Kathy Reichs - The Bone Collection ✔
Margaret Duffy - Murders.com ✔

Jul 1, 2:01pm Top

Still working my way thru A Closed and Common Orbit and The Quantum Thief.

Jul 2, 4:47am Top

Still reading Lilith's brood, I'm just getting into Adulthood rites now.

Edited: Jul 2, 7:03am Top

Spent a lot more time on Gnomon last month than I expected, it was rather dense and there were a lot of disruptions.

I've finally got around to starting on my May list with Spaceman of Bohemia, then on to the rest of the list below

Austral by Paul McAuley
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Jul 2, 9:13am Top

Taking a break from Amber to read Personal by Lee Child... then back to the Hand of Oberon....

Jul 2, 9:31am Top

>5 pan0ramix:

How'd you feel about Gnomon. I've got it sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, along with Tigerman, which is also by Nick Harkaway. I'm bouncing around to a lot of different authors, but those two books are happening sometime in the near future.

Jul 2, 11:22am Top

>7 Dr_Flanders:

At times it was brilliant, but it was too long. Many passages didn't add to the narrative at all and felt like filler. I've not read anything else by Harkaway so I don't know if this is a thing he does a lot, but it didn't work for me. It's a good story, but I think it would have been better 200 pages shorter.

Jul 2, 11:35am Top

July finds me better than 75% through Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey. Enjoying it, and planning to follow the entire series over time. Not sure what comes next, but then, I never am until I finish a book.

Jul 3, 1:40am Top

>5 pan0ramix: Was not impressed by Spaceman of Bohemia.

Jul 3, 3:31am Top

>10 iansales:

am almost halfway through, it's been ok but no more than that. It is a lot more Bohemia and Man than it is Space so far, I don't mind, but I worry a bit about the direction the story seems to be taking.

Jul 3, 3:33am Top

>9 ThomasWatson:

... and others who've read the Expanse novels, are they worth reading after watching the show? I like the series, but it's more well done entertainment than thought-provoking so I'm not sure it would be worth the effort.

Jul 3, 11:49am Top

>12 pan0ramix: I've only seen the first season of the TV adaptation, and read the first two books (just finished Caliban's War last night) and found them equally enjoyable. Different media telling the same story. Thought-provoking is relative, but for my money (and at this point) I'd say they're equally worthwhile.

Jul 3, 11:51am Top

Taking a deep breath and plunging into Gene Wolfe's Sword and Citadel. If you don't hear from me again before Labor Day, you'll know why. ;-)

Jul 3, 12:28pm Top

>11 pan0ramix: I thought the Bohemia bits way better than the space bits. (And space is never capitalised, which the book does annoyingly throughout.)

Edited: Jul 3, 2:41pm Top

In DC that could kill you!

As for this month's fiction that'll include Agents of Dreamland, The Cloud Roads and The Sunless Countries.

Jul 4, 7:56pm Top

Finished A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. Enjoyed it. Looking forward to the third book later this year.

Switching to fantasy for my next read with The Element of Fire by Martha Wells.

Edited: Jul 4, 8:24pm Top

Finished Simak's City.such a sad book. Like so many other authors of the time,Simak seems stunned by the horror of the recent world war,and burdened with despair as the shadow of the bomb looms over mankind.That era produced some great SF,but certainly not optimism or much joy.In much of his work when he feels the burden of flawed humanity's inability to live in peace,he sometimes whisks the hero away from the problems,like in Way Station when the protagonist goes off to the stars in the end,but this time his view of mankind's future is sad and bleak.Impressive,but I still prefer Way Station,since that is a whole novel,not a ''bitty'' fix-up.
I found Moorcock's sword and sorcery tale of the albino king Elric of Melnibone and his quest to find his beloved a bit odd. I am not into this genre at all,but it is an interesting style,rather like old Lord Dunsany style fantasy merged with the norse sense of doom,as I'm sure I got a very strong whiff of Beowulf in there,and even a darker more flawed version of John Carter of Mars! lol.I am too ignorant of the genre to really assess it but it does have an odd sort of charm. I needed to read a Moorcock book for my Worlds Without End Grand Masters of SF challenge to read at least one book from each Grand Master.That makes 33/34,I only have James E Gunn left to read.Any fans here,any recommendations? Open Library seem to have a lot of his books.

Jul 5, 9:15am Top

Currently back in Amber with The Hand of Oberon...

Jul 5, 10:17am Top

>18 dustydigger:

Elric of Melnibone is not, IMNSHO, the optimal place to start reading the Elric stories, although it's what I did as a teen. I don't think they are all that well served by being collected in the order of internal chronology, and are probably better read in order of publication. (A similar judgment applies to Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, for which the Elric stories are so largely a thematic and cosmetic reversal.) Some discussion of the first-published Elric story ("The Dreaming City") and its confused bibliography can be found here on LT.

I think my favorite Moorcock fantasies are the von Bek volumes The War Hound and the World's Pain and The City in the Autumn Stars. My favorite Moorcock novel is probably The Brothel in Rosenstrasse, though that's not F/SF and certainly won't be to everyone's taste.

Jul 5, 5:41pm Top

I just finished Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller. I was really intrigued by the set up, and found myself feeling less and less interested as I learned more about the Blackfish Woman. By the midpoint of the book, I felt ready for it to be over, partly because certain aspects of the plot seemed to fit together a little too neatly. I am happy to say that the ending made up for much of this complaint. I won't go into specifics, but I felt like a nice clean tidy ending was coming, and instead the book provided a much more challenging and thought provoking ending. I would've rated this book at 3 stars, but felt so good about the conclusion that I'd call it 4 stars now.

I don't disagree with a lot of the criticisms people have had of this book, but I feel like it is worth reading in spite of any shortcomings it may have.

>8 pan0ramix: Sorry it took me so long to reply. On Gnomon, I still haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but it sounds like a lot of people see it your way on the book. Harkaway does have the tendency to write long digressive books (though I have completely loved the two I have read), but Gnomon is clearly the longest, so I might end up feeling like you do about it. We will see. I am planning to read Tigerman next, which is also by Nick Harkaway. It is only around 350 pages or so, so maybe it is a little more concise.

Jul 6, 7:14am Top

Finished up The Sunless Countries yesterday evening and while I liked it there's no denying that it's a momentum killer to the series, in that you take this wide detour from Pirate Sun and its climactic events to basically do an explanation of the deep history of the crisis facing Virga.

Jul 7, 8:23am Top

Blew through the Courts of Chaos and now reading Trumps of Doom by Roger Zelazny - this is my first reread of the later Amber series featuring Merlin - I had forgotten all the references to magic....

Jul 7, 11:19am Top

>18 dustydigger: If you liked Way Station you might want to consider The Worlds of Clifford Simak. It's a collection of short stories and, for me, it has to be one of my top 5 favorite science fiction short story collections.

Jul 7, 6:34pm Top

Finished The Long Utopia, moved to Nemesis Games.

Edited: Jul 7, 9:57pm Top

Sea of Rust. Asimov's 3 laws of robotics are turned upside down. Also, an answer to the Terminator series.

Station Eleven. This is the story of what can Shakespeare and theater teach us about the end of the world.

Other genres:
Lilac Girls. The Nazis did not only go after Jews they also went after Polish girls.

Jul 8, 4:24am Top

>26 jerry-book: Sea of Rust is on the Clarke Award shortlist. It's also a terrible book.

Jul 8, 5:54am Top

I'm reading Night of Light by Philip Jose Farmer. A few pages in, the author is addressing his favourite subjects; religion, sex, and a rather sexy religion.

Edited: Jul 8, 2:28pm Top

>26 jerry-book: Jerry,long time no see!:0)
Cant believe its 2 years since we set up here on LibraryThing,via a wandering through LeafMarks on the way, after the ''Fall of Shelfari''! Still missing Shelfari enormously. :0(
>24 alco261: I may get to The Worlds of Clifford Simak next year,fully booked for this year! I am waiting for my reservation of Simak's Time and Again to turn up,that will be my 3rd and final Simak for this year.But I will certainly be reading more of his work in 2019!

Jul 8, 4:58pm Top

Just finished Wise Man's Fear. Now if he will ever get the next one finished?

Jul 8, 6:05pm Top

>1 dustydigger: For us in the antipodes it's become a wet winter, so more excuses for reading in front of the fire.

I'm reading Black moon by Kenneth Calhoun an end of the world story about insomnia, with only a few people still able to sleep the story is following their dealing with their families who can't sleep. Ironically also re-reading Beggars in Spain about the opposite, lack of sleep being a big advantage.

>29 dustydigger: yep still remember you guys from Shelfari.

Jul 8, 6:51pm Top

Just finished Charlie Stross' collection of short stories, Wireless. He makes a big thing out of talking about how short stories are good places for experiments in form or subject matter which don't justify the time and effort that go into writing a novel; then two of the stories in particular, 'Missile Gap' and 'Palimpsest', have more ideas casually tossed around in them than in most novels; indeed, someone like Harry Turtledove could run off a quartet of blockbuster doorstop-sized novels from the ideas in either of these two stories...

Taking a break from sf next with a return to Patrick Leigh Fermor's progress across pre-war Europe, Between the woods and the water.

Jul 9, 12:02am Top

>31 wifilibrarian: If I could remember the name of it, I'd recommend to follow them with the novel by Charles Sheffield where sleep researchers sleep their way to the end of the universe. Or there's always Orson Scott Card's Hot Sleep/Jazz Worthing series where the rich are only awake for a few days a year and so live for centuries. :-)

While I'm posting for the first time in a while, ran across a blog explaining how to tell if you've been abducted by aliens.

Just finished reading Code Girls, a non-fiction history of the work of US female code breakers from WWII. I found it fairly interesting and informative.

Jul 9, 4:31am Top

I'm reading Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth, a fun space opera.

Jul 9, 6:54am Top

Finished The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi. I found the gobbledy speak annoying and distracting. Did not enjoy the read.

Jul 9, 7:30am Top

Next up I'm re-reading The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert. I fondly remember it as being far from the usual SF novel. Unfortunately my current copy is the edition with the monster truck cover, which as best as I recall has zero connection to the text. A wise man once said "Never judge a book by the cover."

Edited: Jul 9, 7:39am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Jul 9, 7:54am Top

>36 SFF1928-1973: You mean this monster truck cover?


That's a later New English Library impression. Given the publisher, and also given that by then, it wasn't a new book and so didn't need much in the way of editorial input, I suspect that the commissioning editor a) didn't know a lot about sf, and b) confused it with Zelazny's Damnation Alley. (Of the 25 different covers shown in LT, fully 12 of them include monster trucks of some sort or another.)

Jul 9, 8:45am Top

Reading Blood of Amber by Roger Zelazny...

Edited: Jul 9, 10:53pm Top

>29 dustydigger: Shelfari, then Leafmarks. It was quite a crew of refugees for a while, hauling libraries from site to site. To bad we lost a few along the way.

Jul 9, 2:39pm Top

>36 SFF1928-1973: I have good memories of the Santaroga Barrier as well. Even though I read it circa 1980 it stuck with me for a very long time. Current reviews seem mixed on it. I'd like to give it a re-read one day.

Jul 10, 6:33am Top

>38 RobertDay: Yes it is, but...

My bad! It's Captain Marden's "bush buggy" which first appears on page 36, but which apparently didn't make much impression on me way back when! My apologies to all involved, particularly cover artist Tim White.

Jul 10, 7:13am Top

>42 SFF1928-1973: I have seen the future, and it is Monster Trucks! :-)

Jul 10, 7:24am Top

>43 RobertDay: Because I have a three-year-old daughter I am inundated with kids cartoons. There's one, Blaze and the Monster Machines, where every living thing on earth (except a few humans) is transformed/replaced by itself in monster truck form. A monster truck bird, monster truck dinosaur, monster truck ants etc. When watching I can't help but think about the origin story... Why is everything a monster truck? Is this a post-apocalyptical earth where there has been a robot/AI uprising and all life (except those few humans) was killed and they evolved to take the place of other living creatures? Is this an alternate timeline?

Jul 10, 5:32pm Top

I've embarked on 20.000 lieues sous les mers (Twenty thousand leagues under the sea) by Jules Verne. An abridged and translated version was one of my favourite books as a child, and now I decided to tackle the original. I'm almost halfway through, and it's as enthusiastically entertaining as younger me thought it was.

Jul 10, 6:26pm Top

>33 pjfarm: is it Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Charles Sheffield? Sounds like an interesting premise - going into cyro when your loved one has to go under, in the hopes they one day will be cured.

I'm quite liking Black moon, the idea that changing one simple thing, like sleep, could cause the end of civilization.

>35 seitherin: I felt the same and quit early.

Jul 10, 7:42pm Top

>46 wifilibrarian: No, Tomorrow and Tomorrow is about a musician, although it (spoiler alert) does go to the ending of the universe.

The story I'm thinking of may have been a novella by Sheffield instead of a novel. As I recall it, space scientists had a breakthrough with putting people in stasis but they had some problems they couldn't figure out. For some reason I don't remember, they couldn't just go to the top guy in the field. Instead, they told him people were falling asleep in their space suits. He quickly figured out that they had intentionally tightened the neck of the suit to cause unconsciousness and then wanted to know what they really wanted. The result was successful stasis and one major character who stayed alive until the end of the universe because he wanted to see it.

Hopefully someone will recognize the story. I doubt I'll put it over on the Name the Book section.

Edited: Jul 11, 5:15am Top

18 dustydigger, I read a lot of Michael Moorcock in my younger days. If I were to recommend anything, it would be his 'Dancers at the End of Time' series.

Jul 11, 10:20am Top

>48 dwhatson:

Yes, those were great. If I were to pick a re-read among Moorcock series, that might be it. And more SFnal than most of his output too.

Jul 11, 11:32am Top

>44 divinenanny: I too have a three year old daughter who loves Blaze and the Monster Machines, and I've been wondering this myself. ;)

BTW, I'm reading Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon.

Jul 12, 9:19am Top

I just finished reading Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor. Those two started a podcast of the same name a number of years ago, and wrote the novel set within that universe a few years later. It is billed as a stand alone story that can be enjoyed on its own, which is true, I suppose. I enjoyed the novel overall, but I think I would have been frustrated by it if I hadn't been familiar with the podcast. There are a lot of references to the podcast that I don't think would have made sense to me without having listened to the show for so long. It was a good read, though I was ready for it to wrap up by the time it did. It was as weird as I expected it to be, but surprisingly moving too. I'd recommend it to anyone who really likes the podcast, but I don't know about it if you aren't already familiar with the strange little town of Night Vale.

Jul 12, 9:22am Top

I am reading The Water Knife and finding it to be very frightening in light of the current climate.

Jul 12, 2:11pm Top

>52 vwinsloe: I just read The Water Knife recently and thought it was quite good. I actually have yet to read a Bacigalupi book that I didn't like. Just last week, I finished The Drowned Cities and it was probably my least favorite by him -- I thought the plot of Ship Breaker was a bit more intense -- but I ended up rating them both 8/10, (4 stars).

Have you read his collection, Pump Six and Other Stories? There are some real (disturbing) gems in there.

Jul 13, 7:34am Top

>53 ScoLgo:. I have read The Wind Up Girl and Ship Breaker but not the other two that you mentioned. I will definitely put Pump Six and Other Stories on my wish list. Thanks!

Jul 13, 3:39pm Top

I'm so sick (literally) of reading secondhand books that are contaminated by cigarette smoke that I actually bought a new book today. It's The Wind Up Girl by Paulo Bagliapuci. Or rather Paulo Bacigalupi.

Jul 13, 3:49pm Top

>55 SFF1928-1973:

I'm finding that less frequently as time goes on. I do have a number of books from a shop where the proprietor smoked constantly, and some of them are pretty gross.

Jul 13, 4:09pm Top

>52 vwinsloe: I read The Water Knife when it first came out and it scared me silly. I still think of it when we travel in the US Southwest. I don't see how they can sustain their water usage much farther into the future.

Jul 13, 4:13pm Top

I just finished listening to the last book in the Sleepless trilogy by Nancy Kress, Beggars Ride. I thought it was weaker than Beggars and Choosers and I see that most readers here on LibraryThing also felt that. The book takes place in 2121 which is about 100 years from now. I wonder if our world will resemble that one in any way. I don't think I would like giving up eating food but maybe some people would.

Jul 14, 6:48am Top

>56 paradoxosalpha: I don't want to worry you but that kind of third-hand smoke could be highly toxic.

Jul 14, 8:10am Top

>55 SFF1928-1973: & >56 paradoxosalpha:. It's the mold that gets me. I love second hand bookshops but there are some that I can's spend more than a few minutes in due to the mold spores.

Jul 14, 4:02pm Top

Speaking of mold spores I knocked off Agents of Dreamland (A) this afternoon; high-quality Lovecraftian horror.

Edited: Jul 15, 5:27am Top

I only read Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave because I needed a ''Y'' author for my A-Z author/titles challenge! lol.
I just whizzed through the book,and I dont think it missed a cliche,but I feel quite tolerant about that,the well worn tropes are actually all fresh and new to young teens,and I can see why they all raved over this book.I found the first half of the book much better than the rather farfetched latter bits,but it was still quite an enjoyable read.What is it about dystopias and catastrophes than attracts young people so much. My generation werent catered for with a full blown YA market,but we still reveled in things like 1984,Day of the Triffids,Fahrenheit 451 etc.Young folks just enjoy being depressed or in grim settings,I guess :0). The difference is that back in my day under the shadow of the bomb and WWII,the books mostly had a really dark ending. These days the plucky young kids somehow manage to fight back and even overcome the enemies to some extent - eg Hunger Games,Divergent,Maze Runner etc. An underlying confidence and optimism perhaps,which were in short supply back in the 50s here in the UK at least.
Books in progress include Jasper FForde's Lost in a Good Book another Thursday Next romp,great fun,plus Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate.I have been rather dutifully reading it,because I dont find any of the characters sympathetic,and ''on the road during an apocalypse'' is so not a fave genre of mine,but now at last the focus is on the obelisks and their purpose,so I am getting into it more.Unfortunately great chunks are written in the present tense which I dislike,not sure why,but instead of focusing on the story I am been irritated by the style! lol.

Edited: Jul 15, 8:54am Top

Taking a break from Amber with Lee Child: Make Me ...

Jul 17, 11:46am Top

I just finished Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick. It was a short but fun little read. It definitely felt a little more pulpy than some of his later novels, but as I understand, it was originally published as an Ace Double, so that is to be expected. I was surprised by how he was already playing around with some of the same themes that he explores in his most well known books. The paranoia was already there. I enjoyed it enough that I think I am going to seek out some of his other early novels and maybe start reading them in roughly the order of publication.

Jul 18, 4:46am Top

I'm exploring the history of the Liaden Universe in The crystal variation omnibus.

Jul 18, 3:24pm Top

Well, I'm half way through the first half of the second half of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun in its two-volume form. I read the first half of the overall work last year. I hope no one gets the impression from this that I'm given to half measures.

Jul 18, 3:35pm Top

I'm blazing through MacLeod's The Stone Canal, enjoying it a lot. It's the second volume of his Fall Revolution series, but there's a lot in it that reminds me of his later Engines of Light books, which I read with pleasure a few years back.

Jul 18, 5:39pm Top

>66 ThomasWatson: I dunno Thomas... sounds more like a 3/4 measure at this point... ;)

How are you liking the story thus far? Are you planning to read beyond the original tetralogy?

Jul 18, 5:44pm Top

>67 paradoxosalpha: I read all four Fall Revolution novels a short time ago and was well impressed, though I could see that there were references in them that I suspect many would miss. There was a (Patrick McGoohan) 'Prisoner' reference in The Sky Road that made me laugh out loud at Ken's audacity. In public. I'm lining up the Engines of Light books next in my MacLeod reading programme.

Edited: Jul 18, 10:42pm Top

>69 RobertDay:

I've got The Cassini Division on my shelf, although I may take a breather before continuing. I gather that the narrative chronology goes a bit sideways, anyhow. I liked The Star Fraction, and I see that the first two books share a narrative continuity, but I think I could have enjoyed The Stone Canal just as much without knowledge of the previous book. (Engines of Light, on the other hand, has a certain integral momentum over the three volumes that strongly commends them to reading in sequence.)

Jul 19, 7:26am Top

>70 paradoxosalpha: Yes, at some point MacLeod spins off an "Alternate" alternate history. Most of the Fall Revolution novels do stand on their own but a knowledge of the other books helps.

Jul 19, 7:39am Top

Yeah...MacLeod is one of those authors I need to start reading again at some point.

Jul 19, 8:41am Top

Back in Amber with the Sign of Chaos by Roger Zelazny....

Jul 19, 11:22am Top

>68 ScoLgo: Liking it would be an understatement, and yes, I will in time read on. I find Wolfe's style dense but beautiful. Not quick reads, but - well, what's the rush?

Jul 19, 1:31pm Top

>74 ThomasWatson: I read through all 12 books last year and it was quite a ride. Dense & beautiful style is a good descriptor!

If you're into podcasts, you might find Alzabo Soup, (great title, eh? ;), of some interest.

Jul 21, 3:50pm Top

I finished Dreams Before the Start of Time recently and was disappointed in it. I'm not sure if it was someone here that recommended it or if it was because it won the Arthur C. Clarke award but I had great expectations for it. For a science fiction collection of interconnected short stories I found that there was very little that placed the stories outside of the realm of modern day except for the new technologies for conceiving and giving birth. Did anyone else feel this way?

Jul 21, 6:27pm Top

Reading Annex (The Violet Wars) by Rich Larson. Received the copy in exchange for a review.

Edited: Jul 22, 12:26am Top

>66 ThomasWatson: As long as you remember everything, like Severian, you're all set.

Jul 22, 6:05am Top

>76 gypsysmom: Er, that was the point of the novel. It's about conception and birth and the impact of technology on it.

Jul 22, 6:55am Top

Okay I don't like to complain but I'm at the point in The Windup Girl where Anderson has energetic sex with a woman a few minutes after she's repeatedly stabbed and almost drowned. Shouldn't he at least get her to ER first? I'm just saying. Is there a doctor in the house?

Jul 23, 10:42am Top

Continuing with Merlin in Amber with Knight of Shadows by Roger Zelazny....

Jul 23, 12:50pm Top

Finished Nemesis Games, started The Long Cosmos.

Jul 23, 3:52pm Top

Basically wrapped up The Cloud Roads (A-) on the way home from work; great world building, good characters & dialogue, plot is certainly in third place as a virtue. Still should have read this ages ago.

Jul 23, 4:14pm Top

>79 iansales: Yes, I know that is the point but the author didn't really explain how the world came to be in the fortunate position of being able to concern itself with birth technologies. Given the climate change and environmental disasters we are currently facing many people I know are wondering about bringing more children into the world. And yet the people in the stories seem not to worry about anything other than procreating. It just doesn't seem well-rounded to me.

Jul 23, 5:42pm Top

About to start Vernor Vinge's Rainbow's End.

Jul 23, 11:30pm Top

Finally got to Provenance. I liked it, though it's not as good as the Ancillary books. It reads more like a first novel -- I wonder if it's an earlier thing that's come out now because of the Ancillary success?

Jul 24, 2:43am Top

>84 gypsysmom: Fair point. But I think if you're book is about something, then it's difficult to make about everything. After all, no one believes near-future sf is a serious attempt to predict the future (and who could have predicted Brexit? Or Trump?). I've seen a similar complaint levelled at American War, although I thought the book's biggest flaw was the elephant in the room it refused to acknowledge - the history of racism in the southern states of the US.

Jul 24, 2:44am Top

Currently reading Empery, after finishing Emprise and Enigma. The first two weren't good, but this third book is much better. Although still not great.

Edited: Jul 24, 4:45am Top

Just finished Harry Harrison's lightweight but enjoyable Spaceship Medic.A meteor smashes through the bridge of a starship during the daily meeting of the officers.Squelch.Only officer left is the doc and a few techs. Cue a host of dangerous emergencies,plus a plague and a mutiny,but of course our young hero gets them through,and with a lot less angst than Nick Seafort in David Feintuch's Midshipman's Hope :0) And in 200 fewer pages!
I was halfway through Obelisk Gate when my copy went missing. Ransacked the whole house,not to be found. I have a sneaking feeling that my great grandchild (20 months old) has put it in the rubbish bin - which has been emptied ! I have ordered a new copy,but my award winners reading is way behind,no way am I going to finish the last 10 Hugos and Nebulas this year as I wanted to achieve. Oh well,maybe by next spring - and the new award winners will be added to the list by then! lol.
Still reading Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book and Charlie Stross's The Nightmare Stacks but due to real life problems my reading is way way down by perhaps 4-6 books a month :0(

Jul 24, 7:15am Top

>87 iansales:

Would that racism in the US were a merely regional issue.

Jul 24, 10:53am Top

>91 Dr_Flanders: I agree that racism isn't simply a regional or southern state issue, but I do think it is a fair to make the argument that many of the problems are more pronounced and systemic in the southern states. I don't know if you attribute that to Jim Crow laws or segregation, but as someone who lives in the cultural south anyway, I think it is fair to say that the problem of racism is more visible here anyway.

I know that isn't what this thread is about, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

Jul 24, 12:32pm Top

Trying to read basilisk station and just can't get into it. Any encouraging words?

Jul 24, 2:08pm Top

>87 iansales: "... (and who could have predicted Brexit? Or Trump?)..."

Well... I don't know much about Brexit but, regarding Trump... one title that springs to mind is Butler's Parable of the Talents. Things here in the US have not gotten quite that dark as of yet, but the rise of a populist "America First" president is a large part of what drives the plot of that novel.

And then there was Ingersoll Lockwood. I haven't read his stuff but the parallels drawn in the linked Newsweek article are rather astonishing.

Jul 24, 2:52pm Top

>87 iansales:
>93 ScoLgo:
Isn't one of the go to meme's about Trump also Biff Tannen in alternate 1985 in Back to the Future? I see on Wikipedia that Trump was actually used as inspiration for that character.

Jul 24, 3:10pm Top

>94 divinenanny: Hah! I hadn't thought of that but sure, now that you mention it... Although I don't think Trump was all that well-known outside of NYC in 1985. Still, it's within the realm of possibility...

Another title that occurs to me is Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, where Charles Lindbergh becomes POTUS and gets cozy with The Third Reich. Written as an alternate reality biographical by Roth, that book was rather chilling.

Jul 24, 7:23pm Top

>95 ScoLgo: The Plot Against America was a heck of a read. Like many people, I read it since the 2016 elections. It feels a little too close to home.

Jul 24, 8:06pm Top

>92 cindydavid4: Found that one fun enough but the series failed to keep my interest after the second book, so the words of encouragement won't come from here I guess.

Jul 24, 8:59pm Top

Well this is a book group read, so I don't need to worry about the second. Maybe this one might be a case of checking the Amazon reviews and going with that.

Jul 25, 8:40am Top

I remember liking those books back in the day but that day was a long time ago.

Edited: Jul 25, 8:47am Top

There's an argument that the real American history that should have happened is that Robert Taft became president in 1952 with Richard Nixon as his VP. The people who really support Trump have always existed as a faction but have mostly been treated as useful idiots by the globalizing elites of the coasts for the last few decades, at least until the GOP lost the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Edited: Jul 25, 9:23am Top

>93 ScoLgo: >87 iansales: I just finished reading Pratchett's The Long Earth published in 2012 and one of the bad actors is a populist party called "Humanity First" who demonize the Long Earth's other hominins.

Jul 25, 10:29am Top

Pratchett wrote that with Stephen Baxter, author of one of my fav sci fi Time Ships. Loved the collaberation between those two. Tried reading the sequel and didn't finish it.

Edited: Jul 25, 10:54am Top

I have started reading the Dark Forest, the second in the 3 book series by Cixin Liu. Reading a "real book" this time after I could not find an e-edition. You will think I am making this up but my index finger twitches when I see a word or phrase I would like to look up on the internet. I have come within an couple of inches of trying to highlight a word in the book and then click on it - several times.

The second book is taking a while to get off the ground for me I am busy with this & that and have to skim back a few pages when I put it down. It might be a fantasy but I like to think the way Liu processes everything that happens through a "political evaluation of consequences" gives me an insight into how China functions in real life perhaps.

Jul 25, 1:59pm Top

>103 DugsBooks:
When reading a 'real' book for the first time in.... 39 books at least, in the first few pages I tapped the right side of the page after reading the entire page...

Jul 25, 2:43pm Top

>96 Dr_Flanders: Same here. I read it in December of 2016, just a few weeks after the election. I found the parallels disturbing. The ensuing 19 months have done little to alleviate that feeling.

>101 justifiedsinner: I might have to try that one. To date, I have only read The Colour of Magic, and his Gaiman collaboration, Good Omens. I found the humour in both a bit forced for my tastes. I have heard that TCoM is not the best place to start with Discworld though so I may try another title one of these days. I also have not read any Baxter yet. I do have a few of his titles on the shelf but I never seem to get around to them for some reason...

>102 cindydavid4: I had not heard of The Time Ships but it sounds good. I notice LT reviewers seem to either love it or hate it - probably my kind of book then!

>103 DugsBooks: I don't think you are making that up as I often find myself doing the same thing!

Edited: Jul 25, 9:33pm Top

>105 ScoLgo: Below is an excellent list of discworld books, in various categories depending on what you want to do. I esp like the selections for "one bookstand' stand alone DW books that give you a good flavor of what Pratchett is going for. These are actually the first of his I read (after Good Omen); Id just add in Soul Music as well.

After you do that, reading via themes or characters if there is a strand that interests you (I was always aiming for the Witches and DEATH books at first)

I would not try reading them in order, because frankly the first few imho were not that great when compared to ones that came later

hope that helps!

How to read Discworld

Jul 25, 10:36pm Top

>106 cindydavid4: Thank you! Looks like Mort is highly recommended as an early 'dip your toes' title. Might just give that one a try.

Jul 26, 1:42am Top

Just finished reading Embers of War by Gareth Powell. I recommend this one, especially if you like Space Opera.

On to Revenant Gun.

Jul 26, 2:36am Top

>95 ScoLgo: >96 Dr_Flanders: I have that on the TBR somewhere.

>102 cindydavid4: I read his authorised sequel to War of the Worlds, The Massacre of Mankind. It's pretty good.

Finished Empery. The entire trilogy suffered from a crap "energy dimension" premise, which resulted in crap aliens.

Now reading a collection of Frank Herbert's Unpublished Stories. They're mostly mainstream.

Jul 26, 1:42pm Top

>106 cindydavid4: Thanks for sharing that link. When I decided to give Discworld a try the majority of the recommendations I received regarding a starting point were for Guards! Guards! Enjoyed it, but I found myself wondering which way to turn next. This will help.

Jul 26, 7:00pm Top

>107 ScoLgo:, >110 ThomasWatson: my pleasure! Let me know what you think!

Jul 26, 7:37pm Top

Added Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers to my reading rotation.

Jul 28, 11:32am Top

Rereading the Expanse series, finished Leviathan Wakes, waiting on Caliban's War from the library. I need a refresh before book 8 comes out this fall. About to reread Provenance now that I've read the Ancillary series, to see what I missed the first time. Finally read Body Work.

Other reading--Beartown for book club (a reread for me), Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Rules of Civility, and a number of more forgettable works.

Jul 28, 9:52pm Top

Finished Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. Liked it only slightly less than the first two books.

Jul 30, 6:29am Top

I'm reading some science fiction non-fiction in Rocket fuel, the free collection from tor.com.

Jul 30, 2:16pm Top

>115 Sakerfalcon: How it is? I just downloaded that offering the other day but haven't had much time to check it out yet...

Jul 30, 5:05pm Top

I recently finished Tigerman by Nick Harkaway, continuing my trek through his four novels. It was good, I didn't think I liked it as well as his earlier novels The Gone-Away World and Angelmaker. The world seemed not to hold together as well, but the highlight of the book was the narrator's relationship with a young, possibly orphaned boy whom he feels paternalistic toward. The ended was well done. I've been reflecting on it afterwards and realizing that I like it better than I realized initially. If it is my least favorite Harkaway, then that is no criticism, because I have liked all three pretty well.

The last Harkaway book to read is his most recent, Gnomon. I'll probably read a few other books before I start in on it. In fact, I am reading The Telling by Ursula K. Le Guin right now. I am almost finished with it, and that will complete a reading of all the Hainish novels and stories. I only discovered Le Guin last year, and I can't say enough good things about her writing. It is simply a pleasure.

Jul 30, 5:50pm Top

>5 pan0ramix: I can now understand why you spent a lot more time on Gnomon than you expected. I am finding the same thing. I usually read quite quickly but with Gnomon I am barely making 50 pages a day. Part of the problem is it is so big so I can't carry it around with me when I leave the house. It's due back at the library soon and there is a hold on it so I am not sure if I can finish it.

Jul 31, 6:25am Top

>116 ScoLgo: It's good so far, with pieces ranging from an in-depth look at the character of Galadriel, to the importance of writing queer characters well in SF. I've read some of the articles before on the site, but it's nice to have them collected together. If you read tor.com at all, this will probably be just what you'd expect.

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