What We Are Reading: Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Danger, Will Robinson! You may get buried under your TBR stack with the suggestions from this thread!
I am reading Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold. my second book by the author. Theme is genetic engineering.
>3 Kristelh: Ah, I like that Bujold--she does have great ideas.
I'm finishing up the seventh in the Kate Elliott series Crown of Stars. I've read the Jaran series and the Shadow Gate series. This is the most ambitious and there is a lot I have loved about it--but I have to admit I am flagging a wee bit here at the end, although that may just be that I am reluctant to let go and say good-bye to this world I've lived in now for about two months! I loved the Shadow series, only three books, a tighter weave.
I'm about halfway through Ready Player One, an 80s pop culture romp. Great fun!
I'm reading Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos - not sure how I missed this one earlier- it is scarily prescient, as Vonnegut is wont to be.
>3 Kristelh: I've been reading my way through Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, but am not yet up to Ethan of Athos. Loving the series, though!
>6 drneutron: Loved Ready Player One! Lots of nostalgia - plus I recently learned that Ernest Cline is from Ohio!
I'm currently reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, which I am enjoying quite a bit.
A friend posted this on my FB page: a site that is giving away a whole bunch of science fiction and fantasy ebooks through January 15. I haven't looked through the entire batch yet, and I don't know anything about the website that's offering the free ebooks, but I thought I'd share in case anyone is interested. http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/#fantasy
Back to add that I finished Deception Well and then picked up Vast but put it down, just didn't compel me sufficiently.
I've just finished Naomi Alderman's The Power which was a rather good look at young teenage girls developing a devastating power, one they can use to kill or overpower males. Society throughout the world undergoes a transformation.
Just finished The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams. Such fun!
>19 Kristelh: Oh, I really want to get to the Dirk Gently novels. I watched the Netflix show over the holidays and loved it, which gave me another push. Maybe this summer - Adams always makes for great summer reading.
Now reading The Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Must finish! Can't renew at the library; there are multiple holds on this book.
Yeah, Heinlein is becoming harder and harder to read. Some of them last amazingly well, others don't.
Finished Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold,. My favorite of the Vorkosigan series.
Love the Vorkosigan novels!
Any Liaden nuts out there? I can't remember the significance of discovering you are a "dragon" say, as opposed to a Healer or a dramliza or whatever . . . I assume it means you are the primary defender of the Korval clan? Directly "inherited" role from Jela? Too long a gap between readings, obviously.
Trying not to spoil, so I won't mention what book I am reading!
Love both the Vorkosigan and the Liaden novels! In fact, I just spontaneously started a reread of the Vorkosigan series. Didn't mean to, but this year seems to be my Year of the Reread - fully half of all I've read so far has been rereads.
I don't know for sure about the significance of "dragon" but your idea sounds good to me. Looking forward to the new Liaden coming out this year - continuing the Theo arc.
Finished A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. What a great debut novel by Chambers. This is a fun adventure of the spaceship Wayfairer. She is a tunnel ship and her crew gets the opportunity for a large contract, but it's a long haul. The territory they are headed to is fraught with unknowns and the only known is violence. The characters were well developed and it was a fun adventure. I look forward to more adventures in this universe.
Started Old Man's War by John Scalzi!
Just finished Hyperion, Dan Simmons' epic space opera structured along Canterbury Tales' lines. Held up well on re-read after 30 years. :)
The Nebula Award nominations are out, and all are available at my library. I'm overwhelmed (only read two of the 12 books) and talking about it here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/247160#5948171
but you can find the list without my commentary here:
>37 jnwelch: wl'd Six Wakes
>38 luvamystery65: Loved Long Way etc.!
>39 drneutron: I have got to get to Hyperion!!
>40 ronincats: Uh oh, Nebula's - - I have found it best to wait a year or two unless people are simply raving about a book.
And I've picked up The Legacy of Gird - by Elizabeth Moon -- which is two novels in one huge volume, the first being Surrender None, the second Liar's Oath.
Got an email from HumbleBundle yesterday about their latest ebook bundle, women of science fiction and fantasy. This is a set-up where the more you pay, the more books you get, and $15 will usually get you the entire batch--well worth it. These are the ones announced so far, with more to come.
A HumbleBundle that is well worth the money for the top tier:
Current authors & titles with more to come:
Jo Clayton: Skeen's Leap
Katherine Kurtz: Lammas Night & Camber of Culdi
Octavia E Butler: Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Unexpected Stories
Elizabeth Hand: Wylding Hall, Black Light, Saffron and Brimstone
Kate Elliott: Jaran
Diana Pharoah Francis: Path of Fate
Robin McKinley: Sunshine, Beauty, The Hero and the Crown
Pamela Sargent: The Shore of Women
Jane Yolen: Sister Light, Sister Dark
I read Version Control this month. I liked it quite a bit. Set in the very near future and seemed believable. Time travel, physics, 1984 revisited.
Checking in here, from the May Martians and Magic thread. I'll have to come back and read through properly, when I'm feeling more limber and able to dodge book bullets.
Ok. You hit me with a book bullet. My library has the first one in this series, so I will put it on the reading list.
I finished Court of Wings and Ruin and was disappointed in this ending. The book seemed to me to have been written in a big hurry and the author pulled out all the current political, social, and cultural tropes she could and used them, including a major story digression that will obviously be resolved in a later novella or short story. I really wish authors would do this. They should concentrate on producing a quality novel instead of hurrying to satisfy fan clamor for a sequel.
I am now reading Summerland by Michael Chabon. This is a children's novel about summer and baseball inside of a, so far, delightful fantasy.
I'm back and have now read through the thread; am fairly unscathed except for a few twinges from old wounds, namely Liaden and a reminder to continue with the Vorkosigan saga. (I need a bit of a break though; I've just finished the Inda quartet, featuring another not-so-tall, scarred young military genius.) I could (re)read some Elizabeth Moon, but I have her on my shelves already (where she seems quite comfortable, thank you).
ETA: by the way - Inda quartet, by Sherwood Smith; highly recommended.
I really liked that series. Some people I know couldn't get past the first third of the first book, but if you can it is totally worth the ride. I thought book 2 was particularly strong.
>56 benitastrnad: I agree - I almost gave it up before the first 50 pages, it was difficult for me to keep going, but I kept telling myself there must be some reason it won the Hugo, Nebula and Clark awards. Now I know why!
Calling all scifi and fantasy fans! Penguin's First-to-Read program is offering a whole bunch of interesting-sounding early review books to their members. I chose Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra because I have been wanting to read it after having recently reread Ramses the Damned: The Mummy, but there were a couple others that also called to me so may request more than one this time around. I've read some really good early review books through this program (and a couple of meh ones, tbh, but nothing's perfect, right?), for nothing more than a review by a certain date, usually 3-4 weeks after you get the book. Good deal, huh? http://www.firsttoread.com/Default.aspx
I was looking at that one too, Roni. It sounds really fun. I may restrain myself so others can get books they want, because I got the Anne Rice book for sure (I "bought" it with some points). I'll look forward to knowing your thoughts on Reincarnation Blues.
>61 Storeetllr: Looks like it is US only... although I could always lie about my location I suppose!
Oh, darn! I forgot that it's only open to the US. I am sorry. I always wondered how it can be known where a person is when using the internet.
I just finished reading the best summertime book EVER!!!!! Summerland by Michael Chabon. Some people say it is magical realism and some think it is children's fantasy. I think it is just great! I have been reading it over my lunch hour at work. I sit outside to eat, and this book fit perfectly with the heat of the summer and an hour of time by myself. I agree with Mark that this book is too long - (500 pages) for a children's book and it seems that the author throws everything but the kitchen sink into the plot. However, the author, being Chabon, is forgiven. Maybe. If I had my druthers I would say that it could be a shorter tighter book and it wouldn't hurt anything. But, why quibble? What a huge celebration of endless summer!
I've just finished Sky of Swords: a Tale of the King's Blades by Dave Duncan, a story of the politics of succession in a medieval fantasy setting, without the blood and gore of A Game of Thrones. Convoluted and engaging, but if you're reading it, I would read all three in the series close together so you can keep track of details.
According to Duncan, you can read the books in any order, keeping in mind that there are differences because each is told from the perspective of different principal characters. I read The Gilded Chain first, followed by Lord of the Fire Lands and then this one and I think that sequence works well.
On the TOR blog there was a recent posting about 25 women authors who have series that are worthy of being made into a TV series or a movie and Mishell Baker was one of the authors listed. She has written a series called the Arcadia Project and Borderline was the first title in the series.
I found this novel to be a very inventive take on urban fantasy tropes involving all things fairy. The main character was very interesting and the supporting cast had a few outstanding characters that contributed greatly to the story. There was plenty of detective action along with a flawed main character that showed growth. The potential for more titles in the series showed in the first book. At times it read like a prospectus for a TV series, and I did find that somewhat annoying, but overall it was a good read. There are now three titles in the series and I most certainly will read the second one.
This isn't great literature on the lines of some SciFi/Fantasy I have read lately, but it was perfect relaxation material. Just right for summer. Not a summer novel like Summerland was, but a good read for taking it easy - mentally and physically.
I'm way behind posting here -- but I just picked up The Rift Uprising. We'll see. It might be a bit chirpy for me.
I think I forgot about this thread.
I read both of the Mishell Baker urban fantasy titles in August. They are part of a series that is being title Arcadia Project. They were good, so when the new one comes out in January I will have to look for it.
I also read the fantasy romance novels by Amanda Bouchet. A Promise of Fire and Breath of Fire these were fun vacation reading but I doubt I will read the third when it comes out next year.
Right now I am listening to the second book in the Septimus Heap fantasy series for children. Flyte is a rollicking good sorcerers book that centers around sibling rivalry. The narrator for this series is Gerard Doyle and he is so good that even a mediocre book is fun listening.
I'd forgotten too! Not that I've done much reading in the meantime. I've just finished Komarr in my re-read of the Vorkosigan series, which I'm drawing out to savour as long as possible (despite the group read being pretty much done). Enjoying it!
I listened to the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard on my vacation. This turned out to be a great series and even though it is 18 hours there and back it turned out to not be enough time to completely finish what I thought was a trilogy. However, I learned that this is an ongoing series and there are now four books in the series with the promise of more installments to come. That is a good thing as this series, while it sometimes gets overwrought with to much teen angst, has been a very pleasant surprise. The introductory title in the series, Red Queen was a world building novel that had an inventive take on the standard YA dystopian fantasy. The series did not suffer the second book slump syndrome. Glass Sword was as exciting a book as the first. The third book King's Cage was somewhat of a surprise as the author changed up the literary writing style by using a different point-of-view approach. Distinctive sections of the novel are written from the point-of-view of three characters. Mare, the heroine of the story is one character. Cameron, a secondary character introduced in the second novel is another and the third is Evangeline, who is an anti-hero in the previous novels. The addition of the last two as major players in the book was a surprise. And surprise! The surprise worked for me. It added some spice and kept the series fresh. It also helped that I was listening to this novel. The narrator for the series is first rate, but in this third novel there are two other readers. Each character in the novel gets their own distinctive voice, not only in the literary sense but in the literal sense. This technique worked very well.
If you are looking for a series to listen to - I would highly recommend this series.
>73 jnwelch: Ooh, I just finished the first in that trilogy and thought it was phenomenal! Usually I try to space out books in a series so I don't get tired of the storyline/characters/writing/whatever, but I put a hold on book 2 immediately and am hoping I get it soon to keep going.
>78 bell7: The conclusion is likewise excellent! It'll be interesting to see whether it gets the third Hugo for the series.
Recently finished The Way of Kings. While the physical book is a doorstopper, the story inside is not, it is a pageturner. Looking forward to book 2, but I'm reading some other books in my active pile first as once I start it I know I won't stop.
I am reading the third book in the Bobiverse, about which I have very mixed feelings.
Here's a great article about Nnedi Okorafor and fantasy! I've read three of hers and have another on the shelf.
>87 jnwelch: So one of the themes Lee seems to be pursuing is how what we believe determines our reality. Take the political discussions - "the world" as we see it depends on our view of hot button issues. Lee is taking this to extremes - reality is fluid, but is fixed by the consensus beliefs of the people. The calendar systems in the book are ways of organizing belief to firm up reality the way the leaders want. And when a competing calendar system is imposed, it shifts the nature of reality. Hence the emphasis on calendar heresy and such.
I wondered about the under-lying theme in this book. I sort of got the idea that the calendar was like a religious thing that fixed all the people in the far flung parts of the empire in a certain time and space and helped with cohesion. I didn't think of it as a belief system. That take on it explains the weird letters back and forth between the two conspirators. I was beginning to think that the revolution was just a game they made up.
I do like the characters and have just got to the part Nerevor plays in things.
The action scenes are superbly written. I think I am going to have to spring for the sequel because my library doesn't have it.
Just finished up Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead - first in a series that I think I will pursue, now to reread Jennifer Fallon's Wolfblade read originally in 2010, too long ago! It's one of those series with batches of threes and so Wolfblade is book 4 and I just collected 5 and 6. I think I kept the first three, but I don't feel the need to reread those too, thank goodness!
I've been warbling about a couple of recent reads on my own thread, and just realized I needed to post them over here too.
Book #130 1632 by Eric Flint (597 pp.)
This book has been on my shelf for several years, at least. I raced through it yesterday and today. It's an interesting premise, several square miles of West Virginia small town transported to the middle of 1600's Germany and what might ensue, plus lots of history along with political thinking and beautiful strong women. I enjoyed it, but I think one might be enough.
Book #133 Provenance by Ann Leckie (440 pp.)
Ah yes, THIS is why I fell in love with science fiction! Engaging protagonist, good side characters, wonderful world-building, action-fiLLED plot, not too complex but quite clever--totally entertaining. I read it straight through on Saturday despite not feeling all that well. Recommended!
Book #134 A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright (328 pp.)
This Kindle book came to my attention via the article below. Written (and forgotten) in 1988, it is being re-released now.
Like Leckie's book, this is science fiction space opera focused on individuals and yet with the scope of a galaxy. People you care about, adventure and action, space ships--another one that was very enjoyable and highly recommended.
With a nudge from Roni, I'm a little over halfway through Provenance and liking it.
>105 Storeetllr: mrsdrneutron finished the audiobook just a few days ago - her opinion pretty well matches yours. Different but good. I didn't know Dawson was the reader.
>106 drneutron: A little further on in the book, the protagonist is starting to get on my nerves. Also, I find it hard to root for characters who are basically criminals. I'll keep going, tho, because I loved The Martian so much and am hopeful his second novel is also enjoyable.
107> I know what you mean about rooting for criminals, but maybe when you learn more of her backstory, you'll cut her some slack. She's definitely made some costly mistakes in her life. When it comes to criminal characters, I tend to separate the law-breakers from the violent criminals. After all, in many dystopian novels, the government or "law" is oppressive and unjust.
>109 Storeetllr: I've got a similar problem. I started The Lies of Locke Lamora which is very nicely written - so far. However, apart from my general reading go-slow this year, I know that some LT readers had a difficult time with it, so I'm a bit wary about proceeding. Well, the kids finished school this week, so maybe I'll have more time to have another go at it.
>110 humouress: I'm one of those who couldn't finish Lamora. :) Good luck and I hope you enjoy it because so many people loved it.
Right now, I'm reading a series (mystery, set in London) where most of the characters annoy the heck out of me, but the stories themselves, and the bits about London, its past, its architecture, its hidden rivers, have kept me going. So I guess I can overcome distaste for characters if the story, etc. grabs me. I'll probably get back to Artemis after the first of the new year.
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