Reading in June 2008

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Hobbit, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Give me liberty!

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    'Gateway' is an excellent read.

    The therapy sessions sort of date it, although probably the opposite was intended. We try and guess what contemporary features of our society will last, and which will be swept away by new developments. Often we turn out to miss the mark by quite a bit (none of us are driving around in egg-shaped electric cars or wear skin tight body suits on a daily basis, as some of the BBC speculative science shows of my youth would have had it). Pohl must have figured psychoanalsys would be all-conquering, but wondered how to update it... "Ah, yes: Let's have a robot as the analyst". It's mildly amusing in some way I can't quite pin down, something similar to seeing all those giant warddrobe-sized computers with their banks of flashing lights ticking away in the background of every SF B-movie you've ever seen.

    I'm still dithering between 'Drakon' by SM Stirling and Ringo's 'The road to Damascus'.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  2. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    Finished The Man with the Iron Heart by H. Turtledove

    It has a simple premise:

    What if Germany after the surrender in 1945 would have been like Iraq after the surrender in 2003? R. Heydrich is not assassinated in Prague in 1943 and prepares the resistance for 2 years.

    The action proper starts in May 1945, just after the surrender, with 2 US soldiers looking at a German civilian that seems to check out the wreckage of a truck to see if there is something that can be salvaged - of course we "know" that actually the German is planting an IED and soon the soldiers are blown to pieces - and so it goes. Dark, no sentimentalism, and a pure page turner.

    Very "realistic" too - from the reactions of the Russians - rape, torture and shoot everyone - though the German retaliations are gruesome too, to the US ones - no clear policy, so some officers shoot the Germans, some torture them, some treat them as POW's, and then there is a inevitable film roll of an US soldier taken captive and of a Russian one too - the reactions - the US tries to cover it up, the Russians take several German prisoners, cut them into small pieces and leave those for the German resistance to find...Then the moms organization to bring soldiers home, the opportunistic politicians, beleaguered president...

    The 1945-1948 setting blends very well with action from today's headlines, and the book while a page turner has no simple answers.
    Ultimately there is no moral judgment by the author between the "bring the boys home" and "try to pacify Germany to the bitter end" camps, no happy ending, though Heydrich and his thugs do not get easily off or are presented as heroic or anything like that.

    I liked the book though it's a pretty grim and depressing reading. But no more than your favorite dystopian novel and grounded in real history as well in contemporary headlines.

    Recommended.
     
  3. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    Finished MultiReal by DL Edelman, second volume of the bio-logic programming trilogy.

    It's an excellent follow up to Infoquake. Picks up where Infoquake ends and focuses on the multi-sided battle for control of the new and potentially world changing MultiReal technology - for better or worse depending on who controls it and whose point of view you take.

    Natch is still up to his old tricks and is one step ahead of most of his enemies, but can he stay one step ahead of his presumed allies?

    Jara struggles to keep the Natch/Surina fiefcorp together and do "the right thing" - but what exactly is the right thing?

    The leaders of the world are in-fighting as well as trying to keep upstarts at bay, while in the shadows obscure participants move.

    I really loved MultiReal though it took me a little to get into it since it's been two years since Infoquake and the wonderful and well drawn world of Natch, Jara and bio-logic programming is quite complex. There are lots of appendixes about it though so you can refresh your memory without opening your copy of Infoquake. The table is set for an exciting finish to the trilogy in the third volume.

    Highly, highly recommended
     
  4. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    Just to do a triple and since it seems few people read sf :(

    I read on Sunday Sideways in Crime the new Lou Anders edited anthology. I am too tired to post a breakdown of the stories, but they were very good to excellent, and there is one by T. Judson that for me was worth the price of admission just by itself. Other standouts were JC Grimwood, J. Meaney and J. McDevitt

    The only complaint I have is that the stories are too short and I would have loved novellas from some of them, while a full novel in the Judson alt-history setting would really be a treat for me.
     
  5. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    I keep seeing that Judson name mentioned about.... I really must get round to reading some. ;) Have you tried his two recent novels, suciul?

    I have SF in the pile but nowhere near the top yet; much as I'd like!

    Had David J Williams' The Mirrored Heavens arrive today: looks very good!

    Mark / Hobbit
     
  6. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I love T. Judson's novels, I definitely put a mini review of Martian General's Daughter somewhere here, and maybe even of Fitzpatrick's War. I read both pretty much on publication.

    I tried Mirrored Heavens but it was not my cup of tea, though for example Robert liked it a lot. In a "more time world" I may have read it, but I barely can keep up with really interesting - for me - books as it is, so I a gave it a pass

    Next is Gone Away World and Principle of Angels
     
  7. Pellinore

    Pellinore What, what, what?

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    I just finished The Way of the Pilgrim by Gordon Dickson, which I enjoyed very much, and am getting started on Dune Messiah. (I had read Dune in the past but never the sequels, so I recently reread Dune and am starting to work through the rest.
     
  8. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Give me liberty!

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    Lately I guess I've been reading less... But it's the summertime! I'm outside as much as I can.

    A few chapters into SM Stirling's 'Drakon'.
    The story picks up a few hundred years after "the final war" of the original trilogy, which saw the Draka Empire of genetically-engineered masters and slaves swallow up the whole earth ... With only a few colony ships escaping across space to set up a free society. It opens with a botched wormhole experiment which sends a mature Draka through space and time to a parlell earth... Our earth, circa 1995. A homicide detective in the city gradually realises that something bestial and highly intelligent is lose in his city, but is unaware that unless he stops his opponent she will build a machine that will draw other Draka through to conquer the planet.

    So far, it's more readable than most of the other Draka books. Somewhat less relentlessly grim in tone- perhaps because there's only one Draka to contend with, rather than a whole society. I can see plot elements which strongly echo movies like 'Predator' and 'The Terminator', whether intentional or not.
     
  9. thrinidir

    thrinidir dw4rf

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    [​IMG]

    I've had helluva' fun with John Scalzi's "Old Man's War". Here are my thoughts on the novel.
     
  10. s271

    s271 Repudiated Ursus

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    I think it's just more conventional. The "grimness" of other Draka books is in our perception - I suspect Stirling himself actually like his Draka. Draka-like society is recurrent theme in his books, and some of them depicted as "good" or better than our. Conquistador for example is mellowing Draka to generally acceptable level. In General series local Draka ("Chosen") are defeated, but their core escaped to establish "reformed" Draka, whatever the hell that mean, and protagonist observe that "something good may come out of it". Anyway Draka society completely unbelievable - What kind of economy they have ? State planning ? Where they got so much infantry to conquer the world ? What about the logistic and oil ? How it happen that their technology do much better than the rest of humanity before genetic modification made them smarter ? Whoever did some in depth reading into WWII history would just laugh.
     
  11. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I finished Principle of Angels by J. Fenn a fast paced debut sf adventure that I enjoyed a lot and left me wanting more books in that universe.

    Kheesh City is an orbital city, part of a triad of such orbital cities which are joint capitals of the human Concord, where official assassination by public vote keeps politicians on their toes.

    But Kheesh has many mysteries and when an Underworld urchin loses his Angel aunt - Angels are mostly female state assassins that have implants allowing them to fly - to an offworld Screamer - those are assassins from an allied/rival orbital city that can kill with their voice - and when a classical singer from a theocratic backwater visits Keesh ostensibly for a tour, age old secrets are revealed and threaten the very existence of the city.

    Fresh voice, excellent pacing and a very satisfying ending made this book a fast page turner for me. I hope the adventures of our heroes will continue in more volumes
     
  12. felixmeister

    felixmeister New Member

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    Matter - Iain M. Banks. - finished
    - Can't comment, completely biased, It's Banksie, nuff said.

    A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter Miller
    - thought I'd read it, turns out no I haven't :(, loving it so far)

    The Steep Approach to Garbadale - Iain Banks - finished
    - Again it's banksie, the guy loves screwing with your head.

    Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
    -Thought I may as well read it, actually liking it, another one of those "I should really read this even if it hurts and finding out it doesn't :)
     
  13. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Month™

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    I haven't read any SF for a couple of months - I haven't read TSATG either but the last book I read was Banks' The Crow Road and I absolutely loved it. His main characters are always just the right blend of compassionate, naughty and amusing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  14. mjolnir

    mjolnir Registered User

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    A couple days ago I finished John Scalzi's The Android's Dream, a near-middle distance future actioner with a fair dose of block-buster style politics, [i.e: entertaining first and anything else second], and humour. Also there are sheep, and these sheep are vital to the future security of the earth in the wider scheme of galactic politics. When I tell you this, and then assure you that I am not joking, you'll probably begin to get an idea of the sort of book Scalzi's written here. It is fun, entertaining, and for a novel that I believe Scalzi himself has described as a popcorn flick, his "summer movie book", manages to pack in some quite coherent satire and a good number of the touching, human moments that the author is so adept at slipping in alongside the big guns and explosions. The novel lets Scalzi do a number of things which he's exceptionally good at: specifically make up diverting alien species, blow a whole bunch of stuff up, and cuss a lot. The main character isn't quite on the level of John Perry from Old Man's War, being more of Scalzi's version of the all-American rugged hero who rocks at everything, but still comes along with some interesting personal baggage. I think that I still prefer the author's Old Man's War and sequels, which bring a little more gravitas along with gunfights and explosions of equally epic proportions, but you can still sign me up for the Android's Dream follow-up, The High Castle, right now. I'm reading some fairly dense fantasy just at the moment, and I found The Android's Dream to be just what I needed to off-set my other reading: a compulsively readable, entertaining action romp, written by a writer skilled enough to make the light fair a truly worthwhile reading experience.
    ________
    Paxil withdraw
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2011
  15. tomjefferson

    tomjefferson New Member

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    The Host

    Just finished "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer. I really liked it, mostly because of her story-telling ability. She just has a way of capturing the reader's attention, pulling them into the story and weaving some great, emotional, conflicted plots.

    Not my favorite book ever, but a fantastic read nonetheless. I often wonder how she (and other SFF authors) come up with some of this stuff...my brain just doesn't seem to work that way. But, I'm glad there are some with that talent!
     
  16. Corporal Blues

    Corporal Blues I like to rock the party

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    I recently finished reading Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. I really didn't like it at all. It was one of those books that I had high hopes for, so despite not liking it I kept on reading in hopes that it would suddenly take a turn for the better. It didn't. I didn't like any of the characters, they were pretty flat and unlikable, the plot was kind of boring to me, and I think Vinge's writing style just wasn't for me. I had a hard time with the book keeping my attention.

    It was kind of disappointing to have the first book of summer be such a let down. I'm gonna switch it up and read some fantasy for a bit before coming back to SF.
     
  17. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Give me liberty!

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    Just starting John Ringo & Linda Evans' 'Road to Damascus', a Bolos novel.

    I've read mixed reviews, but some of the criticism levelled at it actually leads me to believe that I might find it quite interesting (some suggestion that there is too much of a political element to the plot).
     
  18. JamesL

    JamesL Speculative Horizons

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    I've just finished Kethani by Eric Brown. I don't read much sci-fi, but I liked the philosophical approach and the fact that the novel focused more on humanity than alien life.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2008
  19. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    Reminder: review needed, not link.

    Mark / Hobbit
     
  20. peadarog

    peadarog Author of "The Inferior"

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    Sounds like something I'd really enjoy. Thanks for that.