What are we reading in December 2022

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What are we reading in December 2022

Dec 1, 2022, 8:46 am

Another month,another pile of books. What plans do you have for December

Edited: Dec 31, 2022, 12:31 pm

Dusty's TBR for December
Paul Cornell - Severed Streets
Nalini Singh - Archangel's Sun
Karen Chance - Lover's Knot
Shannon Messenger - Keeper of Lost Cities
Lester Del Rey - Rockets through Space
Leigh Brackett - The Big Jump
Jim Butcher - The Law
Eric North - The Ant Men
Murray Leinster - Gateway to Elsewhere
Renee Jagger - Drafted ✔
Ilona Andrews - Clean Sweep
from other genres
Susannah Hardy - Killer Kebab
Casey Hill - One Little Mistake
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 11:58 am

Once I finish Memoirs Found in a Bathtub it will be back to Ambergris for Shriek: An Afterword and then either Galactic Empires, Volume 2 or Consider Phlebas.

Edited to add: Oh, and I need to read Le Fanu's Mysterious and Horrific Stories. Also, near the top of my non-fiction pile is Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America, 1870-1930.

Dec 1, 2022, 11:29 am

Dec 1, 2022, 11:55 am

Currently wading through a book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, after which the plan is to dive into Perhaps the Stars.

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 12:00 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 12:02 pm

>6 RobertDay: after which the plan is to dive into Perhaps the Stars.

Too Like the Lightning is definitely on my radar.

Dec 1, 2022, 12:15 pm

>8 paradoxosalpha: I've found the whole Terra Ignota series to be highly intriguing, even if I somehow doubt whether it represents a world I'd be comfortable in.

Dec 1, 2022, 7:24 pm

Still working on In the Serpent's Wake.

Dec 2, 2022, 2:08 am

Prime Directive by Judith Reeves-Stevens. Going for a little Star Trek nostalgia!

Dec 2, 2022, 7:31 am

Just started Nona the Ninth.

Edited: Dec 2, 2022, 10:13 am

I am about a third of the way through Blood Music. I am enjoying the aspect of the narrative that deals with the human response to the technology (noocytes) but as a biochemist am stumbling over the mistakes in some of the “hard science” Bear wove into his story. For me it is a bit like reading a Jules Verne novel where the story is interesting but the science is out of date. Which means that it is really difficult to write science fiction that can last the test of time.

Dec 2, 2022, 10:10 am

Dec 2, 2022, 10:12 am

>15 anglemark: whoops! I often get Brin and Bear mixed up. Corrected my post. Thanks for the catch!

Dec 2, 2022, 11:11 am

>14 Neil_Luvs_Books:
I remember spotting a mistake in Verne's kinematics equations in From Earth to the Moon and thinking that was the state of knowledge at the time the book was written. In 2005 I attended WorldCon in Glasgow and there was a panel discussion about the Science fiction of Verne. Brian Aldiss was on the panel, as was a French SF writer. Most people in the audience and the majority on the panel loved the works of Verne. The french author said that many French people hated Verne because of their school experiences. He said he hated Verne because one of the exercises they were give was to read From Earth to the Moon and identify the error in the kinematics equations.

It turned out I was wrong in assuming the discrepancy I detected was the knowledge of the time. Verne had actually made a mistake in his use of the kinematics formulae.

Do not ask me to describe the error. It was years ago when I read it. I was very well aware of the kinematics formulae and the error jumped out at me. I am afraid I would now have to go and dig out my old mathematics notebooks, or consult another source, to refresh my knowledge. I would then have to reread From Earth to the Moon and hope I could spot the mistake again.

Dec 2, 2022, 12:59 pm

Here's a compilation of scientific errors in From Earth to the Moon published in 1934 by Pierre Devaux:


No equations as such are given, but one mistake --among many other -- was Verne's having the speed of electricity (basically, light) at 400 000 km/hour. Funnily, in correcting this Devaux makes his own mistake: 300 000 km/hour instead of 300 000 km/s.

Dec 2, 2022, 2:53 pm

>18 LolaWalser: One of the illustrations made me think of Monsieur Hulot, but I found that someone had made a Monsieur Hublot movie: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3qxufi

Dec 2, 2022, 5:53 pm

>17 pgmcc: I seem to remember that discussion, though I have no recollection of going to that panel at the Scottish Convention.

But what you report about French dislike of Verne because of the way his books were taught at school reminds me of the reaction of a Polish colleague when he saw me looking at Stanislaw Lem's website one lunchtime. It seems that Lem was taught in Polish schools in the way Shakespeare was taught in English ones - that is, badly. His reaction to Lem was highly negative for that reason, though he was boggled by the fact that I even knew of him.

Dec 3, 2022, 12:37 am

>17 pgmcc: >20 RobertDay: Thanks for those stories about how the French view Verne and the Poles view Lem similar to how many English students view Shakespeare. Very interesting!

Dec 3, 2022, 7:28 am

>16 Neil_Luvs_Books: I did the same on another thread about Bear's recent passing. So embarrassing!

Dec 3, 2022, 3:53 pm

I finished Memoirs Found in a Bathtub and posted my review. While I agreed with another reviewer's comparison to The Third Policeman, the novel I found most similar was VanderMeer's Authority. I now need to read a Peter Straub novella ("The Buffalo Hunter") before I take on Too Like the Lightning, which I snagged opportunistically at the public library this week after my previous remarks in this thread.

Dec 6, 2022, 11:35 am

Finished (and loved) Lud-in-the-Mist -- curious why the detail page lists her name as Mirrless when nothing else does. Started Conklin's 1952 big-book anthology The Omnibus of Science Fiction.

Dec 6, 2022, 11:54 am

Finished Enkel biljett till nattens ände by Johan Frick yesterday. I liked it a lot - unfortunately there isn’t any further sf to read by him as it was his first book and he died (at age 50, of cancer) before quite finishing it.

Edited: Dec 6, 2022, 12:37 pm

>24 ChrisRiesbeck: You've entered the name wrong on your copy, I think.

Dec 6, 2022, 1:10 pm

>25 AndreasJ: Damn, I hate it when they die comparatively young in their writing career.

Dec 6, 2022, 1:41 pm

>26 Stevil2001: >24 ChrisRiesbeck: Yep, the book links (as opposed to work links) show the title and author as cataloged by the user the book record belongs to and not the work data. That needs fixing in >24 ChrisRiesbeck:'s catalog.

Dec 6, 2022, 2:02 pm

Ah -- and odd, since I don't know why I would've overridden what the ISBN returns in "add books". Fixed I hope.

Dec 6, 2022, 2:43 pm

>29 ChrisRiesbeck: You did not - Amazon messed up: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345258487/

I've reported the misspelled author, hopefully they will fix it. But yours went into the proper work because it was already there under the wrong name as well.

Dec 6, 2022, 10:44 pm

>24 ChrisRiesbeck:

Lud-in-the-Mist remains one of my favourites, as well.

Dec 7, 2022, 2:53 am

>25 AndreasJ: I liked it as well. I mourn him, not just because he was a wonderful friend but also because he didn't get to write more fiction. He planned his own funeral in detail, and it was a wonderful funeral.

Dec 7, 2022, 3:12 am

>32 anglemark: Sad story! I took a look at the google book description of the book: https://books.google.dk/books/about/Enkel_biljett_till_nattens_%C3%A4nde.html?id...

Tidigt femtiotal i Frankrike. Mänskligheten får ett unikt erbjudande: stig ombord på ett främmande rymdskepp och följ med till en högteknologiskt utvecklad del av universum. Några hundra personer antar erbjudandet. Men när skeppet efter 300 år når sin slutdestination visar den sig vara något helt annat än vad de väntat sig.

Enkel biljett till nattens ände är en stämningsmättad blandning av klassisk rymd-science fiction, noir och jazzromantik.

Tusenskönan Rosalind – festens givna mittpunkt, privatdetektiven Slim Jim, frilanspiloten Valentina Cruz, och Solange – ännu en Brigitte Bardot-klon som röker cigaretter i en sunkig bar medan hon längtar bort från Port Michèle. Det är bara några av de till lika delar luggslitna och glamourösa existenser som befolkar Johan Fricks universum i en galax långt, långt bort.

I den nya världen där rymdskeppet L’Harmonie Du Monde landade frodas krig, konflikter och brottslighet. Och frågan är om inte vapnet xenotech är värre än något som finns på jorden? Följ tusenskönor, skuggpojkar, profeter och gangsters i det changerade Port Michèle, besök drakråttornas hemvist Claudette och Nouveau Versailles – staden där allt har ett pris men inget har ett värde.

Bokens alla delar går att läsa fristående, men glider också samman på oväntade sätt och vidgar berättelsen till något mycket större. Ett tungt debutverk och en blivande klassiker.

Librarything has a mungled version:

Unik blandning av jazznoir och klassisk rymd-sfTidigt femtiotal i Frankrike. Mñskligheten fr̄ ett unikt erbjudande: stig ombord p ̄ett frm̃mande rymdskepp och fl̲j med till en hg̲teknologiskt utvecklad del av universum. Nḡra hundra personer antar erbjudandet. Men nr̃ skeppet efter 300 r̄ nr̄ sin slutdestination visar den sig vara nḡot helt annat ñ vad de vñtat sig. Enkel biljett till nattens ñde r̃ en stm̃ningsmt̃tad blandning av klassisk rymd-science fiction, noir och jazzromantik. Tusenskn̲an Rosalind festens givna mittpunkt, privatdetektiven Slim Jim, frilanspiloten Valentina Cruz, och Solange ñnu en Brigitte Bardot-klon som rk̲er cigaretter i en sunkig bar medan hon lñgtar bort frn̄ Port Michl̈e. Det r̃ bara nḡra av de till lika delar luggslitna och glamours̲a existenser som befolkar Johan Fricks universum i en galax ln̄gt, ln̄gt bort. I den nya vr̃lden dr̃ rymdskeppet LHarmonie Du Monde landade frodas krig, konflikter och brottslighet. Och frḡan r̃ om inte vapnet xenotech r̃ vr̃re ñ nḡot som finns p ̄jorden? Fl̲j tusenskn̲or, skuggpojkar, profeter och gangsters i det changerade Port Michl̈e, besk̲ drakrt̄tornas hemvist Claudette och Nouveau Versailles staden dr̃ allt har ett pris men inget har ett vr̃de. Bokens alla delar gr̄ att ls̃a fristēnde, men glider ocks ̄samman p ̄ovñtade st̃t och vidgar bert̃telsen till nḡot mycket str̲re. Ett tungt debutverk och en blivande klassiker. Elib

Any idea on how to fix the LT version?

Dec 7, 2022, 3:54 am

>32 anglemark:

While I'd read some books translated by him long ago, I wasn't really aware of him until, of all things, I got Port Michèle as a freebie with a new e-reader. It seemed intriguing but the e-reader died before I got around to reading it or even saving a copy somewhere else, but happily it turned out the local library had the whole collection.

(The replacement e-reader, which had a different set of freebies, is now in for repairs, or possible replacement. Either I'm very unlucky or Bookeen needs to seriously improve their quality control.)

Dec 7, 2022, 11:54 am

I made the mistake of picking up Starlight Enclave by Salvatore earlier this year without looking into it first, now I'm trying to get through it. It isn't great.

Edited: Dec 7, 2022, 1:55 pm

>33 bnielsen: As far as I know we can only downvote that top book description, not add our own. Perhaps Staff can clean up those junk imports, I have no idea.

>34 AndreasJ: Johan developed severe RSI in his hands and had to stop translating, but if you ever bought any books from SF-Bokhandeln in Gothenburg ca 2008-2015 you might have met him, he worked there after giving up translating.

Dec 7, 2022, 3:18 pm

>36 anglemark:

It’s possible, though I don’t think I visited it more than a handful of times in those years.

Dec 8, 2022, 1:13 pm

Setting aside Shards of Earth, which is very decent, but perhaps best described as workmanlike, in favor of Nona the Ninth.

Dec 11, 2022, 5:45 pm

The LT login page just stopped me with the "identify cookbooks and other books about food and drink" page. No probs.

But I was amused to see that two of the challenge books were Dragon's Egg - which is definitely not about cookery, and Niven & Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer, which does have a running food joke in it, but hardly makes it qualify.

(Oh, all right then. The approaching comet that will impact the Earth gets called a 'hot fudge sundae' by a tv science populariser, and this gets expanded into a meme: "...Hot Fudge Sundae, which falls on a Tuesdae this year".)

Fortunately, LT's use of AI doesn't extend to knowing this factoid about one of the challenge books, and as you can see, I'm logged in.

Dec 11, 2022, 6:11 pm

>39 RobertDay:
Well done on out-smarting the AI.

Dec 11, 2022, 10:55 pm

Just finished a reread of A Door into Ocean by Slonczewski. Enjoyed it as much as the first time.

Dec 12, 2022, 7:56 am

>41 rshart3:. Good to know. That one has been on my wish list for a long time.

Dec 12, 2022, 8:47 am

Dec 12, 2022, 1:38 pm

>42 vwinsloe: >41 rshart3: Yup, A Door Into Ocean is also still waiting in my TBR pile.

Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 3:55 pm

I just finished Blood Music. What an interesting story. It started a bit rough for me with a bit of the science feeling out of date. But by page 100 the story hit its stride and then it became a delightful read. Very imaginative and well worth reading. Greg Bear was certainly deserving for the accolades he received for this novel. It did have some of the feel of Stephen King’s The Stand but was much more optimistic in outlook.

Dec 12, 2022, 4:05 pm

>45 Neil_Luvs_Books: I'm going through Conklin's Omnibus of Science Fiction and there's a Blish story "The Box" from 1949 which does King's Under The Dome in about a dozen pages -- without the horror riffs of course.

Dec 12, 2022, 7:10 pm

>46 ChrisRiesbeck: I’ll have to look for it. Thanks for the heads-up!

Dec 13, 2022, 7:42 am

Nona the Ninth turned out to be not quite what I expected, par for the course considering what Muir has done in this series, but anyone who liked the first two books ought to have positive feelings about this one. Now to see if Muir can stick the landing.

Dec 14, 2022, 7:36 am

As for Tchaikovsky's Shards of Earth, my book group was discussing it last night and our general conclusion is that the author did himself no favors in the way that he structured his story. It's a toss-up whether I continue with these books.

Dec 14, 2022, 5:54 pm

Just started Perhaps the Stars. As there's been a bit of a gap between the third book in the series and this one, I might have problems with picking the story up, in its details if not the overall outline. We'll see.

Dec 15, 2022, 2:49 am

>50 RobertDay: My plan for next year is to just start over with the series. I read (and loved) the first two years ago, but I only remember the plot vaguely...

Dec 15, 2022, 3:06 am

>50 RobertDay:
The fact that you are reading the fourth book in this series indicates to me that you think it is worthwhile. I had a look at a description of Perhaps the Stars and am tempted. It strikes me as prophetic in relation to current global affairs.

Dec 15, 2022, 9:05 am

Dec 15, 2022, 9:11 am

I finished Nona the ninth and loved it. I've also read Cryoburn which was a great Vorkosigan adventure.

Dec 15, 2022, 10:42 am

>50 RobertDay:, >51 divinenanny:, >52 pgmcc:

I'm now about 80% of the way through Too Like the Lightning, and I have found a lot to like about it. I don't find it entirely credible as a future, but it is saying things about the present that are significant, and it's terribly clever. (For "cars" read "internet.")

Dec 15, 2022, 1:21 pm

>55 paradoxosalpha:

Ada Palmer's series has been on my recon list for a while now, and pace comments here and elsewhere it's time to move it onto my wishlist.

Edited: Dec 15, 2022, 3:26 pm

I got it a few months ago but couldnt focus enough to settle down to read it Its on the TBR for 2023.
I have just binge read old urban fantasy books,and some SF fluff on Kindle Unlimited this month. I am compiling my TBR,my 50 titles basic list for 2023,and its almost all old stuff,and rereads,and apart from Children of Time and Too Like the Lightning there are almost no award winners or nominees or modern stuff. I'm 75 in January and intend to have a self indulgent year of mainly fluff and pulp! :0)
As usual I will post my list at year's end on here.
For now,I need to complete The Severed Streets and two Winston SF juveniles,Lester Del Rey's Rockets Through Space and Eric North's The Ant Men.
I am doing the Books Read in 2022 challenge on WWEnd,trying to read 100 books this year. I'm on 94/100 read,but finding time to squeeze in 6 more books,well I still have crime novels to complete for other group challenges,I had better buckle down!

Dec 15, 2022, 4:12 pm

Not sf, but kind of adjacent: I am reading Of Dice and Men, which is a mix of a history of Dungeons & Dragons and a memoir from a player trying to explain its appeal.

Dec 15, 2022, 4:39 pm

>55 paradoxosalpha: The concept of what are, effectively, non-geographical states based on individual affinity has been around for a while; Neal Stephenson had it as a background in The Diamond Age, but didn't explore its inner workings as much as Ada Palmer has. I found myself in admiration of the rigour with which she worked through her society, but at the same time found myself conflicted over whether I thought such a society would be a Good Thing.

I'm about two chapters in so far, and whilst I remember the general events of the previous book, none of the characters are making much sense to me. But then again, as the narrator has changed for this last volume, I might not expect their idea of the characters and their motivations to be the same as Mycroft Canner's. I did toy briefly with re-reading the last chapter of The Will to Battle, but I feared that I might have to drill back down more than one chapter, and by the time I was done, I'd be re-reading the whole thing and I sort of felt that would just be too much of a problem. So instead, I'm treating the characters as whole new figures, as if I were coming to a stand-alone novel, or made the mistake of picking this book up first. After all, I did read Cities in Flight in reverse order...

Dec 15, 2022, 5:32 pm

>55 paradoxosalpha:
There is a phrase I came across a long time ago that I think makes a lot of sense. It is, “If you want to tell the truth, write fiction. If you want to tell the truth about today, write science fiction”.

The comments about this series remind me of that saying. I have found the science fiction books I really like all tend to follow that approach.

PS I cannot remember who said it or where I read it.

Edited: Dec 15, 2022, 5:46 pm

>59 RobertDay:

I might take short breathers between the volumes, but they are all at my local public library, and (on the evidence of the first) I expect I'll work through them pretty directly.

Dec 15, 2022, 5:58 pm

>60 pgmcc: Goodreads reckoned the source of the quote was Joshua Halberstam. I'm fairly certain I've heard it quoted recently, probably on the radio.

Dec 15, 2022, 11:45 pm

>62 RobertDay:
Thank you for the source.

Dec 16, 2022, 9:18 am

My two bits about Ada Palmer's "Terra Ignota" quartet is that it's truly ambitious enough that I'm prepared to continue with it; even if I don't always get it!

Dec 16, 2022, 10:07 am

I just finished Jack Campbell's Dauntless, which was a fun, old-style space opera. I'll continue with the series in the new year. No SF in the plan for the last bit of December, although I hope to get to Od Magic.

Dec 16, 2022, 2:36 pm

>65 Jim53: Thanks again for giving those a try! I have no scifi on my list, been on a fantasy reading track this month, including Od Magic.

Dec 16, 2022, 3:49 pm

>66 Karlstar: Thank you for the suggestion! It was a very good fit for what I've been up to lately.

Edited: Dec 17, 2022, 12:36 pm

I just posted my review of Too Like the Lightning, and the hold fairy has summoned me to retrieve Seven Surrenders.

Dec 17, 2022, 4:47 pm

Done with Kundo Wakes Up; another worthy addition to Hossain's gonzo, post-dystopian, serial epic.

Edited: Dec 18, 2022, 11:04 am

I haven't been reading much SF lately (I'm rereading L.E. Modesitts The Magic of Recluce novels, but when I finish them up his The Octagonal Raven is up for a second attempt. Heinlein is on my radar after a recent conversation so I may sneak away from fantasy for a dip into a few short Heinlein novels.

Dec 18, 2022, 11:05 am

>70 elorin:

You could stay with fantasy and read Heinlein with the underrated Glory Road ...

Dec 18, 2022, 11:14 am

>71 paradoxosalpha: Glory Road is excellent but I am thinking more Have Spacesuit, Will Travel or Tunnel In The Sky. Maybe The Rolling Stones. The shelves are really calling to me, so I see a Heinlein binge read in 23

Dec 18, 2022, 1:12 pm

I was happy to get Jim Butcher's The Law on Kindle Unlimited,making 97/100 books read for my WWEnd challenge. Now reading a Doc Savage tale in Kenneth Robeson's The Blue Meteor. Its such fun following the man of bronze,who is almost a superman,without alien pedigree or superpowers achieving great things. Great fun.
For some reason I am finding Paul Cornell's The Severed Streets hard to read. Progress is slow,the story is a bit convoluted,I read for what seems a good while,and find myself perhaps only 15 pages further on! lol. A mere 300 pages left to read......sigh.......

Dec 18, 2022, 7:24 pm

>70 elorin: "Heinlein is on my radar after a recent conversation so I may sneak away from fantasy for a dip into a few short Heinlein novels."
His earlier young adult novels are much better than the bloated, polemical stuff he wrote later on. I still have fond memories of Red Planet and Podkayne of Mars.

Edited: Dec 18, 2022, 7:43 pm

>74 rshart3: >70 elorin: I enjoy RAH a lot. But you are correct that his later stuff is not of the same quality. A couple of years ago I finally got to The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. They were just ok but better than The Number of the Beast which I really disliked. I think The Door into Summer which I read in my grade 9 English class back in … what … 1976 I think is what got me hooked on SF. I think my favourite is his future history collection, The Past Through Tomorrow. I wish his follow up to that Time Enough for Love had been as good. But yes a lot of his stuff written for youth is really good. I remember Double Star and The Puppet Masters being really fun. I never did finish Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. I need to go and find a used copy and finish that 5 decades after starting it!

Dec 18, 2022, 7:46 pm

>75 Neil_Luvs_Books:

The mature Heinlein's work suffered a bit from his success, with editors no longer countering any of his excesses or sloppiness. The books were sure to sell anyway, at that point.

Edited: Dec 19, 2022, 1:33 am

>76 paradoxosalpha: I agree. A good editor can spin gold from straw.

Dec 19, 2022, 5:47 am

Have y'all read The pleasant profession of Robert A. Heinlein? I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Edited: Dec 19, 2022, 6:33 am

>78 anglemark: Yes, I agree, it's great.

Dec 19, 2022, 6:52 am

Reading The vanished seas, an SF mystery set on a desert planet. I've really enjoyed the books in this subseries from Catherine Asaro, though the one book I read in the main Skolian empire series left me unimpressed.

Dec 19, 2022, 7:40 am

>70 elorin: Have Spacesuit, Will Travel is probably my favorite Heinlein novel.

Dec 19, 2022, 7:49 am

>78 anglemark: That book is on a number of my TBR lists.

Dec 19, 2022, 8:39 am

>1 dustydigger: I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for introducing me to the Worlds Without End website..

Dec 20, 2022, 9:32 pm

Just started the Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch.

Dec 20, 2022, 10:41 pm

>25 AndreasJ: Interessant å se en skandinavisk SF bok her. De er ikke mange at jeg har klarte å finne, ingen å se siste gang jeg var i Norge. Den høres morsomt, synd at den antagelig aldri blir oversatt til engelsk.

Dec 20, 2022, 10:59 pm

>75 Neil_Luvs_Books: I read The Number of the Beast when it first came out, the whole time in stunned disbelief that such a good writer could produce something so bad. I believe that Alexai Panshin thought Heinlein's juveniles would stand the test of time better than his "adult" works. I certainly enjoyed them better than anything that came after The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Dec 21, 2022, 6:35 am

>85 wbf2nd: Have you checked out Nye Nova? It's brand new web zine in Norwegian.


Förmodligen ett bra ställe att få veta om nya böcker på norska också.

Edited: Dec 21, 2022, 10:37 pm

Finished reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. That was a tale well told, with a very satisfying ending.

Next up, Out Of Their Minds by Clifford D. Simak. Sounds more like fantasy that SF, but it's by one of my favorite authors, so...

Dec 22, 2022, 5:01 am

Finished The vanished seas which was excellent. Now reading Cetaganda.

Edited: Dec 22, 2022, 11:26 am

>83 davisfamily:
Glad you like WWEnd. I am obsessed with all those lists! lol.3 years ago I was on the point of finishing a Locus a list,best Sf novels of all time,pre 1990,had read 49/50. All that was left was Chip Delany's Dhalgren. Aarrgghh! A mere 789 pages long. I trudged through 300 pages and hated it - dropped it. In 2022 I tried again,managed 350. Its annoyed me so much that I couldnt add Locus to my completed Hugo and Nebula awards,so I have started again. I find the first 350 pages almost soporific,but I am now on page 450. Its finally getting my interest,though its still rather incomprehensible. Its getting more bizarre and sexually graphic, but its certainly gripping and fascinating in a way that eluded me in the first half. I hope to finish it in January,and will jump for joy at FINALLY completing my third list. :0) Better late than never.

Dec 22, 2022, 12:31 pm

I just finished reading The Contract with God Trilogy (review posted), so now I have the bandwidth to crack open Seven Surrenders.

Edited: Dec 22, 2022, 3:41 pm

>90 dustydigger: It's been a few decades but the main thing I recall about Dhalgren is how challenging of a read it was. I still have my copy but need to tackle The Fall of the Towers omnibus before I attempt a re-read.

Worlds Without End is a fun site. I'm just about finished with my WWE Challenge reads for 2022; a little over halfway through Stolen Skies and finding it to be another weirdly worthwhile romp by Tim Powers. Also nearing the halfway point in my 2nd attempt at Gideon the Ninth, a book I DNF'd earlier this year. It's going better this time around, even if it does seem to be bit of a re-hash of And Then There Were None.

(edited to enable touchstones - they didn't 'take' on first post for some reason)

Dec 22, 2022, 2:31 pm

>90 dustydigger:, >92 ScoLgo:

I enjoyed Dhalgren when I first read it a couple of decades ago. It's on my list to re-read.

Dec 23, 2022, 8:27 am

Not strictlySF&F, but just picked up a copy of Terry Pratchett: a life with footnotes from my local library.

Dec 23, 2022, 11:51 am

>93 paradoxosalpha: >90 dustydigger: >92 ScoLgo: I really enjoyed Dhalgren when I read it during the summer before I started university. I also found it a tough read but still enjoyable. At the end I concluded that the book was simply a journey and the destination really was not the point. I plan on rereading it also at some point in the next couple of years.

Dec 23, 2022, 12:44 pm

>95 Neil_Luvs_Books: etc
I don't remember having a strong reaction one way or the other to Dhalgren. My favorites of his have been The Einstein Intersection, Babel 17 (interesting to compare The Languages of Pao by Vance), and Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand. I guess I should revisit some of them; it's been many years.

Dec 23, 2022, 1:37 pm

>94 SChant: Speaking of him, I started the second Tiffany Aching book, A Hat Full of Sky, the other day.

Edited: Dec 23, 2022, 5:33 pm

I am actually now enjoying Dhalgren. The first 300 pages were a real slog,and as I progressed I began to be fascinated.
The first few hundred pages set up this hallucinatory,bizarre city,with its violent unpredictable set of character,almost all of whom are unlikeable.Twice I got this far then abandoned it. This time I am approaching it carefully and seriously,and I have now reached 554/879 pages. I have at least a grip on setting and characters,which were bewildering at first. Also the beginning of the book has a lot of description,wandering around the city and the like.
Now there is a lot more dialogue. The strange SF sort of elements,the timeline dislocation etc are engaging my attention. The graphic sex and explicit language are difficult for me,but I am seeing the purpose. The book is making me think of Kurt Vonnegut's ''Slaughterhouse Five'',which also depicts a dislocation of time as the protagonist struggled with his sanity after horrific war experiences. I am very sure Chip Delany had studied that book closely.. His stress factors were very different. Black and gay were not a popular background in the early 70s for an author. Chip Delany met all his bigoted enemies head on and unashamed.You'll understand the lfe of blacks in the wastelands of the city much better from reading this than a dozen sociology tomes.
To me the city of Bellona,with its burnt buildings,looted stores.rootless population is an obvious metaphor for the the wastelands of inner city black life,back then in the 70s,and hardly better today. In this book of the 70s white readers delved into black city life,its mores its violence etc,its harsh humour and often unexpected kindnesses among the cruelty and depravity. Finding an understanding of a whole new world. It made Delany famous,and after that he wrote almost no SF,he preferred to be an essayist,speaker,academic,black activist.
I am glad I persevered though the very slow,fragmented,bewildering build up.I can now see more implications,but it still vague,bizarre and disturbing.
This is why I try to plod on with SF classics,in the end they are fascinating ,even thought provoking.I may not like them,but they stay in the mind. But so not easy reads!
Hey,in a little while I will FINALLY say I have completed this Locus list,a mere 4 years later than expected :0)

Edited: Dec 23, 2022, 6:21 pm

Over the last year or two, I read Delany's four Neveryon books, which are a very unusual take on the sword & sorcery genre. He wrote those in the 1980s, and they aren't as stylistically experimental, but they are (ironically?) even more engaged with contemporary reality than Dhalgren was.

Dec 23, 2022, 6:21 pm

>98 dustydigger: "...in a little while I will FINALLY say I have completed this Locus list..."

Congratulations! That is quite an accomplishment! I'm still working on finishing the Hugo winners. At least there is a fair amount of overlap between them so catching up on the Hugo list also chips away at the Locus, (and Nebula to some extent as well!).

Dec 23, 2022, 6:24 pm

>87 anglemark: Tusen takk! Den hadde ikke jeg hørt om. Vanskelig å holde fatt om slik mens en bor i USA.

Dec 24, 2022, 3:15 pm

>98 dustydigger: that will be an accomplishment! Congrats! I look forward to how you approached the end of the book and have to deal with the narrative overladen by journal notes. I reread that twice immediately after each other where I tried reading both simultaneously page for page and then going back and reading just the journal all the way through and then the narrative all the way through. Clearly Delaney wanted us to read them at the same time being on the same page, but I have never been clear on why he choose that structure for the end of Dhalgren. Anyone have any insights?

Edited: Dec 26, 2022, 2:40 pm

Finished The Omnibus of Science Fiction from 1952 -- the whole big book, not the paperback subset. It had the expected turkeys, but a number of surprises. The standout for me was Katherine MacLean's "And Be Merry..." which seemed very modern and not at all like anything else in Astounding in 1950. Ironic endings were numerous but the most disturbing was H B Fyfe's "Manners of the Age" from Galaxy, 1952 -- available on Project Gutenberg.

Non-SF next with Fred Allen: His Life and Wit, which so far is really excellent.

Dec 26, 2022, 6:50 pm

Mother Christmas brought me Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes, which reminds us that TP's first professional sale was to John Carnell's Science Fantasy at the age of 15, with a story entitled The Hades Business, which appeared in the August 1963 edition.

Dec 26, 2022, 11:57 pm

I got only one book among my holiday gifts: Roadside Picnic, which has been on my wishlist for years.

Dec 27, 2022, 3:50 am

>105 paradoxosalpha:

It’s a good one.

Dec 27, 2022, 8:03 am

Finally reading Project Hail Mary. I found the protagonist's voice a bit too cute at first, but the plot is certainly interesting.

Dec 27, 2022, 9:27 am

Finished Sword-Bearer by Jennifer Roberson. Enjoyed it.

Dec 27, 2022, 11:32 am

>107 vwinsloe: That's a good one!

I received The Kaiju Preservation Society as an e-book for Christmas, currently reading that. It's a lot of fun.

Dec 27, 2022, 1:30 pm

Hi all. New here, but a serious sci fi reader. Just started The Praxis.

Dec 27, 2022, 4:11 pm

>110 majkia: Hi! Be sure to let us know what you thought of it.

Dec 27, 2022, 4:25 pm

>110 majkia: Welcome!

Dec 27, 2022, 7:47 pm

There were so many RAH comments, and this thread didn't seem appropriate, so I'll simply smile and nod and thank everyone for their opinions. Special thanks to >78 anglemark: I hadn't heard of it. It is now on my wishlist.

Dec 28, 2022, 7:22 am

I got a copy of my fave Naomi Novik book,Uprooted, off Santa,plus the first 6 C J Box Joe Pickett mysteries in a box set, and the next Lindsey Davis Flavia Albia tale,A Comedy of Terrors . Then it will be back to Dhalgren,only 280 pages left to read. Never thought I would get to this point.
Finished Leigh Brackett's The Big Jump,as part of an Ace Double,still have the book on the flip side to read,PKDs Solar Lottery. I am so not a PKD fan. I am always amazed when I look at the earlier section of the SF Masterworks list. Between numbers 13 and 73,there are no less than 13 PKD books. Surely disproportionate IMO

Dec 28, 2022, 11:40 am

>113 elorin: Feel free to start a thread!

Edited: Dec 27, 2023, 4:29 pm

Woo-hoo,prepared my basic 50 SF/fantasy reads for 2023. Mind yo I rarely cover them all,I go off on some off plan,and of course read lots of other books instead :0). For 2023 I am reading mostly old stuff,some pulp,some rereads,but a lot less heavy stuff. Also cant see well now,cant cope with old physical books,they can be small print,hard to read. But I am quite looking forward to this list.

Dusty's List for 2023
Brian Aldiss - Non-Stop
Pol Anderson - Star ways
Eleanor Arnason - Woman of the Iron People
Kage Baker - In the Garden of Iden
J G Ballard - Wind from Nowhere8
Iaian M Banks - Inversions
H Beam Piper - Fuzzies and Other People*
James Blish - Cities in Flight
James Blish - Black Easter*
Algis Budrys - Who?*
Mikhail Bulgakovov - Master and Margarita
Octavia E Butler - Dawn
Orson Scott Card - Xenocide
C J Cherryh - Wave Without A Shore*
G K Chesterton - The Man Who Was Thursday
Arthur Conan Doyle - Land of Mist*
Samuel R Delany - Dhalgren*
Daniel F Galouye - Dark Universe
Charles E Gannon - Fire With Fire
Faith Hunter - Bloodring
Lord Dunsany - King of Elfland's Daughter
George R R Martin - Nightflyers*
Ward Moore - Bring the Jubilee
Larry Niven - Fallen Angels
Naomi Novik - Uprooted*
Fred Pohl - Drunkards' Walk
Alistair Reynolds - Revelation Space
Alistair Reynolds - Pushing Ice
Kenneth Robeson - The Polar Treasure*
Kim Stanley Robinson - 2312
Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn
Charles Sheffield - Summertide*
Clifford D Simak - Destiny Doll*
Joan Slonczewski - Door into Ocean
E E Doc Smith - Children of the Lens
Ted Sturgeon - Venus Plus X
Jodi Taylor - Second Chance*
Adrian Tchaikovsky - Children of Time*
J R R Tolkien - Lord of the Rings*
Wilson Tucker - Year of the Quiet Sun
A E Van Vogt - Slan*
Jack Vance - Book of Dreams
John Varley - Wizard
Vernor Vinge - Marooned in Real Time
Philip Wylie - The Disappeared
Rreadoger Zelazny - Eye of Cat*

read - 17

Dec 28, 2022, 6:52 pm

Dec 28, 2022, 8:06 pm

>116 dustydigger: what a great list! There are a few there that are also on my TBR and TBRR lists.

Dec 29, 2022, 8:35 am

>116 dustydigger: A good list, I wish you well with it.

Dec 29, 2022, 8:41 am

As for myself, I've finished up Until the Last of Me, the middle book of a secret history of a clandestine feud between aliens over the fate of humanity. Rather low key for the stakes involved but it dawned on me that the author is really writing character studies, as opposed to a quasi-thriller, and that's how you need to approach this trilogy.

Apart from that I've been wrapping up the year with some genre-adjacent non-fiction: Space Odyssey on one hand and Slugfest on the other.

Edited: Dec 29, 2022, 9:44 pm

My 2023 plans include the remainder of Terra Ignota, my newly-acquired copy of Roadside Picnic, the second and third books of Ambergris, and the new Elric novel The Citadel of Forgotten Myths. I may finally start in on The Culture as I have been long threatening to do.

Edited to add: Oh, and Galactic Empires, Volume 2.

Dec 29, 2022, 12:56 pm

I am on to Wayward, book 2 of the Wayward Pines trilogy. The first book met my expectations of a fun thriller with some cool twists and an interesting premise. Prose is a...step down from Tolkien however.

Dec 30, 2022, 11:03 am

Couldn't finish The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September-October 2022 edited by Sheree Renée Thomas. Not what I was in the mood for.

Edited: Dec 30, 2022, 12:55 pm

Finished William Gibson's Agency, a couple years sitting on my shelves and a couple more after finishing the first in the Jackpot Trilogy. I'm a fan and this did not disappoint, though I see grounds for critics to find it derivative of himself. My review will be awhile yet, I've eight titles ahead in the queue.

Still not motivated to seek out the TV adaptation, though it seems it may be the best Gibson-book-to-screen effort thus far (and one Gibson himself appears to be pleased about).

Dec 30, 2022, 5:51 pm

>124 elenchus: I finished The Peripheral just a couple of weeks ago just so I could watch the limited series on Prime. I enjoyed the book. I may get to the Prime adaptation for New Year’s Eve. First I have to finish HBO’s version of Pullman’s His Dark Materials. The 3rd and final season has not been as good as the first so far (about half way through).

Dec 31, 2022, 8:27 am

I need to get back to reading Gibson's most recent works.

Dec 31, 2022, 11:35 am

Edited: Dec 31, 2022, 12:11 pm

Just got my turn to borrow Children of Time.There are 7 people on the list behind me,so I only have 2 weeks to read it,and its 600 pages long.With my wonky eyes where I read barely 20-25 pages an hour,I will have to really focus on it. The 3 people ahead of me returned the book in about 2-3 days,so either they are fast readers or gave up! lol.

Dec 31, 2022, 2:08 pm

>109 Karlstar: Yes! May Project Hail Mary inspire a generation of science teachers.

Edited: Dec 31, 2022, 4:36 pm

I just finished The Battle of Corin. It was better than the previous two volumes in the Herbert and Anderson Legends of Dune trilogy but still not up to par with Frank’s original Dune trilogy or the last three he published before he died. I am going to take a pass on the Schools of Dune trilogy and continue on with Dune: House Trilogy before finally rereading the original six and the two by Brian and Kevin that finish off the series. Not sure how long that will take as I have to read a palate cleanser before continuing with the Herbert Anderson novels. So why am I persisting? I simply wanted to read the entire Dune series in chronological order rather than publication order. Call me a sucker for punishment. Maybe I’ll have this project completed by the time Villeneuve’s Dune part 2 gets released in theaters in a couple of years.

Dec 31, 2022, 6:55 pm

>125 Neil_Luvs_Books:

I'm interested to read your take on the Prime adaptation, once you screen it. I'd be interested in purchasing a DVD / Blu Ray edition if that becomes available, and same for the HBO Pullman adaptation. I haven't looked into it but suspect neither is motivated to release on physical discs, preferring to drive viewers to their streaming platforms. I'm not interested in that.

Edited: Dec 31, 2022, 8:08 pm

>125 Neil_Luvs_Books:, >131 elenchus:

I still haven't read His Dark Materials, although I have been somewhat curious about it for decades.

Dec 31, 2022, 7:49 pm

>132 paradoxosalpha: I very much enjoyed His Dark Materials. It is well worth reading. And I believe Pullman is in the midst of writing the third volume of a prequel trilogy called The Book of Dust. My daughter read the first two and thought they were just as good as the original trilogy. So a couple more titles added to my TBR pile.

Dec 31, 2022, 10:32 pm

>132 paradoxosalpha: I've always been amused that the US religious right wing has made such a big deal about the Harry Potter books because they mention wizards and magic -- and the same people have ignored His Dark Materials. The Potter books have a very traditional ethics & world view; whereas in the Pullman series, God IS the enemy.

Dec 31, 2022, 10:35 pm

>125 Neil_Luvs_Books: >131 elenchus: We are watching the Amazon prime show and enjoying it, I haven't yet read the book.

Jan 1, 2023, 1:48 am

>134 rshart3: That is weird isn’t it. I wonder why Pullman isn’t on the radar of the religious right whereas Rowling is?

Jan 1, 2023, 5:15 am

>134 rshart3: >136 Neil_Luvs_Books: Possibly has something to do with the lines of children in shops as each new instalment of HP appears. There might seem to be the potential for corruption of the children. Doesn’t matter that Pullman is an out and proud atheist, since the religious right are generally not great readers.

Jan 1, 2023, 8:55 am

Pullman was very much on the radar of the religious right back when the books/original film came out. I was in college at the time, and went to an Ohio university with a fairly conservative/religious population (our biggest student group was Campus Crusade for Christ), and I remember lots of my fellow students joining facebook groups about boycotting the movie because of its anti-religious overtones, and other students joining opposing facebook groups about the books being okay despite their anti-religious overtones, with names like "I read The Golden Compass but still believe in God."

I myself founded a counter-counter group called "I read The Golden Compass and DID become an atheist" but couldn't get anyone to join it other than my girlfriend.

I think His Dark Materials was just never as big as Harry Potter, and certainly hasn't had the lasting cultural impact of it, so the movement opposed to it isn't as big or significant, either.

Jan 1, 2023, 8:55 am

My last read of 2022: Take a Look at the Five and Ten by Connie Willis. Enjoyed it muchly.

Jan 1, 2023, 12:34 pm

>138 Stevil2001: Interesting. Thanks for the context. I missed the hubbub when the movie came out due to being overwhelmed by a new position and didn’t get around to reading them until my daughter received them as a gift.

Jan 1, 2023, 5:06 pm

>131 elenchus: His Dark Materials is appearing om DVD in the UK, as it is a BBC/HBO co-production and so there isn't the same impetus to drive viewers to the equivalent streaming service (BBC iPlayer), though interestingly they've dumped the whole lot onto iPlayer in one go instead of adding them shortly after the weekly screening of new episodes. Still hoping for sell-through DVDs of The Peripheral, though given that The Man in the High Castle still hasn't made such an appearance here in the UK, I'm not holding my breath.

>133 Neil_Luvs_Books: The Book of Dust is a mixture: the first volume, La Belle Sauvage was a prequel, but then the second The Secret Commonwealth jumped the trilogy and is a sequel.

Jan 1, 2023, 5:09 pm

>138 Stevil2001: Oddly, the film of The Golden Compass disguised the Magisterium - albeit fairly transparently - behind fantasy trappings, whereas the tv series follows the novels much more closely in clearly making the Magisterium - and the Authority - unmistakeable.

Jan 1, 2023, 6:10 pm

>141 RobertDay: I didn't know that The Book of Dust was a mix of a prequel and a sequel. Interesting...

And I also noticed that the theatrical release of Golden Compass with Nicole Kidman had hidden the magisterium's true identity to a greater extent than the current HBO series. The 3rd season of the HBO series makes that abundantly clear from the get-go much more so than the previous two seasons.

Jan 1, 2023, 9:49 pm

>141 RobertDay:
>142 RobertDay:
>143 Neil_Luvs_Books:

I've seen the Hollywood film with Kidman, it was a disappointment. I've read along the HBO/BBC adaptation with much more interest, and the comments about the Magisterium is a big reason for that.

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