Reading in October 2008

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Hobbit, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    This is where you tell us what you're reading in Fantasy this month. Good or bad, please let us know what you thought.

    Over to the Book Clubs....

    The Fantasy Book Club discussion is on A Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia.

    The SF Book Club's had a great discussion lately HERE about what to look at next. They have decided to look at three books over three months (October to December 2008) with a common theme. (Can you guess what it is from the books chosen?)

    These are:

    Iain (M) Banks's Excession (HERE)
    Greg Bear's Eon (HERE) and
    Arthur C Clarke's Rendevous with Rama (HERE)

    There will be a cross-thread discussion opened in November (HERE) to allow a discussion of the key ideas and themes.

    Join in if you can.


    October is always a good month for Horror. I suspect there will be Forum discussions at some point about what to read during this month, (like THIS), especially the end of it.

    Happy Halloween everybody!

    Mark / Hobbit
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  2. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I finished Thirteen by Sebastien Beaumont. This was a book I picked by browsing Myrmidon's website - the small independent UK publisher of the marvelous Gift of Rain and the funny Isambard Smith series - and its description about a night shift taxi driver and his journey into surreality intrigued me and then the excerpt hooked me.

    The novel is excellent - page turner but also makes you think and I had to reread it once to pick up some extra clues and even then the ending while quite fitting left me wondering a lot.

    Stephen Bardot a down on his luck Englishman in his late twenties - he was the CEO of his dad' small widget company since he was 20 and his father died and rode the technological wave into bankruptcy - lets school friend Graham pick up a job for him as a last resort to get out of his extended depression.

    Graham asks Stephen to work a year as a night shift taxi driver, and soon his excursions into unreality start when he discovers that a house at number thirteen on Wish Road where he used to pick a young dying woman for her treatment does not exist.

    Investigating the mystery, Stephen enters the world of Thirteen and meets its denizens, leading him to great joy but great danger too, especially that once you enter, Thirteen does not look kindly upon you wanting to leave...

    Superb book and Mr. Beaumont's new novel The Juggler due Nov 08 became a buy on publication read on arrival book for me
     
  3. Astra_

    Astra_ Sony Reader PRS-650

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    A Sundial in a Grave by Mary Gentle

    So far, one pleasant surprise :D
     
  4. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Ash-ometer notices Mary Gentle comment. :D

    Have you read ASH A Secret History, Astra?

    Mark / Hobbit
     
  5. Astra_

    Astra_ Sony Reader PRS-650

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    Nope. It is unavailable as ebook yet.
    Some people say it is better than Sundial?
     
  6. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    It is quite a tome. 1200 pages of fairly small print for the full version.
    Yes, IMO it is better, though Sundial is good. If you have a search around the forums (try 'Gentle' and 'Secret History') you will find some of my comments about it. It is a pet rave: one of the most surprising and best books I've ever read.

    I tend to go on and on about it: but keeping it simple, if you like Sundial (even with the parts meant to shock) I reckon you'll love ASH.

    Mark / Hobbit
     
  7. Astra_

    Astra_ Sony Reader PRS-650

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    Well...in the beginning there were some disgusting parts but they turned out OK later...:cool:
     
  8. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, that's a Gentle trademark. There are nasty moments in ASH, and Ilario too for that matter, but it is always with a purpose and logical. ASH was a book I really wasn't expecting to like, but it really surprised me.

    Mark / Hobbit
     
  9. Astra_

    Astra_ Sony Reader PRS-650

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    If I like sundial, then one day I will read Ash as well.

    So far, it reminds of books I read some 20 years ago....by A. Dumas :)
     
  10. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes: it is meant to be, I believe. My UK copy says as much in the Introduction.

    OK: one before it goes up on the official reviews:
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod
    (Spellcrackers.com Book 1)
    364 pages
    ISBN: 9780575084285
    Published by Gollancz, September 2008


    OK: another urban fantasy vampire novel.

    It can be difficult to sound positive about books of this nature when there are (seemingly) so many at the moment. However, there are some in the mass that may be worthy of your attention. And this one, in my opinion, (if you forgive the bad pun) is a cracker!

    Genevieve (Genny) Taylor is a Sidhe fae who works for Spellcrackers.com – ‘Making Magic Safe!’ – in contemporary London (albeit a contemporary London where vampires have legal status.) Her occupation of spellcracker, ie: someone who looks for magic and removes it before it becomes a problem, is seemingly a happy one. When a vampire (Mr October, named after his appearance in a bestselling calendar) is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Ginny is asked by her boss, Stella, and the father of Mr October, to solve the mystery of who killed Melissa. The story becomes increasingly complicated as Ginny’s investigation draws in vampire cliques and factions (despite her distaste for such creatures), granite troll coppers and distinctly odd Faerie folk.

    As the first in a proposed series, then part of the reason for this novel is to introduce characters that will no doubt appear in later books or at least create a setting. The setting is quite good, with some nice sly jibes at contemporary cultural issues – office politics, the world of fashion and celebrity. The characterisation is wide and varied, both in range and execution, clearly in order to construct the world-setting needed for later books in this series. Genny is a character who definitely grows on you as the plot progresses and her world unfolds. She is agreeably sexy, not as overt as Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake’s more recent efforts, though clearly adult.

    There’s some nicely original touches – vampire orgies are called ‘fang-gangs’, there’s a nice parallel between vampirism and HIV/AIDS type illnesses (here the vampire illness is called 3V – Vampire Venom and Virus Infection, which extends human life through its transmission, yet makes them a vampire’s blood-slave), servant-like brownies (not the Girl-Scout kind), Beater goblins who monitor vampire-human interaction (and who ensure their cooperation with silver-foil covered baseball bats) not to mention a range of disreputable vampires in a reasonably refined society.

    There are lots of glimpses at backstory, which at times make things a little too complicated for the tale and characters used then pretty much abandoned. In the middle of the book things did slow down a little whilst perversely the characters seemed to spend a long while running about.

    Often debut novels show lapses in plot, characterisation and logic, where the writer’s enthusiasm is overshadowed by their limitations. To be fair, in small places this could be said here, though on the whole I found this debut novel was surprisingly assured and pleasingly engaging. However, the plot’s revelations become a little bit too much at the end and, as the mystery is resolved, there was a feeling that there were too many plot devices being kept in motion for a wholly successful denouement.

    Good fun on the whole though and nice to read a British style ‘Dresden’ or perhaps a Rachel Caine. If you like those books and want a similar-yet-different perspective, this might be one for you.

    Mark Yon / Hobbit, September 2008
     
  11. benh

    benh benh

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    I'm reading A Storm Of Sword 1: Steel And Snow. By George R. R. Martin. Unknown guy, I know.

    It's pretty good... though... I'm not really CONNECTING with anything in it, you know? I connected with Hobb's books. I can't connect with his. It's clever though...

    It's like listening to genre-smashing metalcore. It's clever and all, but wheres the soul?

    Doesn't stop me from loving it, however.
     
  12. annabelle

    annabelle Registered User

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    I'm 3/4 of the way through Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley and quite enjoying it, though not as much as Winterbirth.

    After that it will be the french translation of The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts.

    Hopefully by this time, Hero of Ages (Brandon Sanderson) should be released. Can't wait to dig my teeth in this one ! :D
     
  13. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I finished The Way of Shadows - book 1 of the Night Angel series - by Brent Weeks. I liked it a lot and it hooked me so much that I stayed way too late last night to finish it.

    I posted my impressions in the - once "eaten by the database" - thread about the book but I will post them here just in case that thread has problems again.

    I definitely enjoyed the book much more than The Steel Remains, and actually this book is quite dark in a more interesting way than Morgan "shock everyone at any price and maybe have a story somewhere there too" and it is one of the best epic fantasy debuts of the year on par with Empire in Black and Gold.

    The series continues at the end of October and then November so we will see if the author can fulfill the immense promise of this book.

    Without too many spoilers - the story/world of the book is a generic fantasy one, nothing original the way Tchaikovsky had the insect Kinden in Empire, but the characterization, pace of the action and storytelling are superb. This is a book driven by action, by making you care what happens to the main characters, especially Azoth/Kylar but the rest too, the bad guys are bad in a disgusting evil way more than pure evil way, the good guys are ambiguously good at best...

    The book ends at a natural point with the story to be continued this month.

    Since the next two books are to be released in the next two months, it's hard to rank the book for now, but I am on board for the next one and I will get it asap...

    A page turner from beginning to end and highly, highly recommended.
     
  14. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    Since it's October, I'm reading horror.

    I've finished the newer stories in Cold Print, a collection of Ramsey Campbell's Lovecraftian tales. The older stories were juvenilia -- he published his first collection with Arkham House when he was 17 years old, all of the stories pastiches of Lovecraft; I read one or two awhile back and skipped the rest.

    The more recent stories (most post-1980) are smart and well-crafted. The focus on description slowed me down some, but I understand why he was so particular: the evil in HPL is often in the details. I particularly recommend "The Faces at Pine Dunes" and "The Voice of the Beach" as examples of how Lovecraftian fiction can be written without becoming slavishly immitative.

    Now I'm fifty pages into Campbell's novel, Ancient Images. It has the kind of premise guaranteed to intrigue me: A film historian dies shortly after salvaging a copy of a long lost Karloff-Lugosi film, The Tower of Fear, before he can present it to the world. The film is lost or stolen and a friend of his is now hunting for it as a last act of respect. Campbell gives teasing little descriptions of the film (it's a fictional Macguffin) and the story (also a fictional construct) it's based on, "The Lofty Place." So far it has the feel of an extend M.R. James ghost story and I'm enjoying it greatly.


    Randy M.
     
  15. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Fatal Revenant, by Donaldson (in an attempt to catch up on the pile)

    Afterward however, I'm going to engage in the selfish pleasure of putting another book at the head of the line (hey!, no cutting in) that I'm happy to have received and eager to read...Empire in Black and Gold.
     
  16. AdultCrash

    AdultCrash New Member

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    I'm reading the second Scott Lynch book - Red Seas Under Red Skies. Been great so far.

    I'll need to get something else as I'm going to the UK for work. Maybe the book club book, Secret History of Moscow?
     
  17. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    Almost finished with K J Parker's "Colours in the Steel" - very good, so i guess the next 2 book in the Fencer trilogy will keep me occupied the rest of the month. I'm somehow surprised how many similarities exists with the engineer trilogy: like the author has some preferred building bricks [seeing people as pieces of a huge mechanism] that it rearranges and reuses to come up with two different plots but with same type of characters in the same kind of moral ambiguity. The major difference so far in the Fencer is the presence of magic : a well implemented system that relies on subtlety and mystery and not on Rand al'Thor fireballs or teleports. Here it's [probably] something to do with telepathy and an awareness of the diffrent possible paths to the future [reminds me of Paul Atreides inner eye]. I've also ordered The Etched city.
    For fun I've read another Christopher Moore romp : "Practical Demonkeeping" - OK, but I liked Stupidest Angel more.
     
  18. Gildor

    Gildor Gentlemen!!!

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    Awesome book is awesome.

    Halfway through Evil for Evil by the mysterious Parker at the moment, and it's proving to be just as enjoyable as I remember Devices and Desires to be. Although in this latest one, I don't know if it's just me or not, but i'm detecting a heavy strain of satire and almost self mocking humour in the characters and in the culture's like the Perpetual Republic and the Cure Hardy. I can't remember detecting that in the previous book, although that could just be time fading the details of the first volume.

    Also got some Vance and Abraham to look forward to. goody.
     
  19. Papazak

    Papazak Escapist

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    I just finished R.A. Salvatore's Paths of Darkness series on the 1st. Well I skipped "Servant of the Shard", for now. I thought the three I read were very good. Obviously I'm a little biased being a big fan and all. The characters went through some big life changes which I personally needed to happen to be satisfied that all their hard work wasn't wasted.

    Most importantly if Drizzt and Cattie Brie didn't start acting on their feelings I was gonna explode! We women hate wasting romance! Even though he never really explains them acting on it, not that.... just a kiss would have told me enough, come on!

    As of this moment I am in the middle of Brisingr!! I am sure I will finish "The Wyrmling Horde"-David Farland and the Earthsea triology by Ursula LeGuin before Nov. I am very excited about LeGuin's books, never heard of her until I watched "The Jane Austin book Club" movie and then when I found this forum (my first about books) I seen that most people loved her.

    A customer from work recommended LeGuin's "Left Hand of Darkness" even though its SciFi he said I just had to check it out. So I will try to squeeze that in to. Anyone read that one?
     
  20. Mithfânion

    Mithfânion Lord of the Wild Hunt

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    I'm struggling with Daryl Gregory's Pandemonium. This book seemed interesting with a great cover, intriguing synopsis and quite a few professional advance reviews that lauded it as a superb debut in the spec fiction field. I'm not feeling it. It's written in a fairly quick style, but I am finding it very easy to put down and there is not a lot of compulsion to pick it back up again. I'll persevere.