Reading in October 2012

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Hobbit, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Seak

    Seak and I like to party.

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    Finished Revelation Space and I can now see why Reynolds is so respected. I was filled with wonder and awe, although other parts could be a bit boring at times. Overall, I'm definitely glad I picked it up.
     
  2. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    Finished Shadow of freedom by David Weber (earc, book tbp Feb 2013) I read it in a go and need a reread at leisure but a few points:

    - length, yes very short; I discount DW's books to about 2/3 size due to repetitions and the info dumps (here there is a Detweiler chapter and other stuff that I think is just c/p from earlier work), so the book at about 420 pages felt like an under 300 page one, but those ~300 pages were really, really good, better than 4-500 pages from almost anyone else

    - lots of new beginnings and new characters which I actually like; gives one the idea of both how big the SL and its "protectorates" are and why the series will last another 10 novels or more and this is again a positive

    - lots of great moments both funny and sad; the desperate resistance movements and the "now we have stopped trying to get you to see reason and it's five minutes to abandon your ships or die" were highlights, but the most I enjoyed the last part with the two "rats" and their escape attempt(s) and the "Of course, at the moment I haven’t found anything that wasn’t your fault, but I’m sure if we keep looking long enough we’ll find someone else who screwed up almost as egregiously as you guys" which is another Weberian quote for the ages

    Another great quote was when they were asking Helen about the Mesan allegation that her father blew up Green Pines with a nuke (the book starts after the Crandall hammering, goes through Yawata, the revelations, Filareta and Beowulf and ends at a great TBC point somewhere around the end of ART) and after giving the usual reasons why she does not believe it, she ends with the "if he was in a city-killing mode..., trust me, the hole would’ve been a hell of a lot deeper!”

    Overall an excellent good series installment that will become even better when the next few books are released
     
  3. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

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    I did it! It took ten months but I finally completed Peter F. Hamilton's massive Night's Dawn Trilogy completing The Naked God today. I absolutely loved the series which to me is the very definition of what a great space opera (or space fantasy for those of us who like to split hairs) should be. A futuristic tale told on an epic scale I loved all of it right along with the multiple and sometimes confusing plot threads, myriads of characters to keep track of as Hamilton wove a magnificent tale of edge-of-your-seat story-telling! I admit that at the start I wasn't sure of where this was heading but it was just Hamilton setting up a huge canvas for me to immerse myself in.
    Having lived so vicariously through these characters for so long it will be hard to let them go. I'll miss them all; even the most evil character I've ever read in any genre, Quinn Dexter! I would have never known of these books were it not for this forum and for that, my eternal gratitude to all those who pushed it forward. This alone has made all the time I spent hanging out here worthwhile.
    Well enough gushing, on to Leviathan Wakes!:)
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  4. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    Time Travellers Strictly Cash by Spider Robinson is the second collection set in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. I liked it almost as much as the first one, but only half the stories are about the bar, the drinking and the tall tales with aliens, time travel and parallel dimensions. The lack of original material is filled with several essays and speeches at conventions, showing that the author, like Jo Walton, is not only a writer, but a great fan and critic of the genre.
     
  5. krisbslick

    krisbslick Executor

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    sigh... i wish I could re-live all Hamilton's books for the first time again.. it was a great ride.
     
  6. livens

    livens Registered User

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    Finished Flood, now into ARK by Stephen Baxter. Great reads. Ark is really getting interesting, they are discussing the best way to leave earth. Where to go, how to go? They settled on FTL! lol!
     
  7. DurzoBlint

    DurzoBlint http://tinyurl.com/363ogv

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    I remember reading Flood and enjoyed it, although the ending was drawn out and I found the evolution of the humans that stayed on earth a little to convenient. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Ark when you are done.
     
  8. chitman13

    chitman13 Staff

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    Finished War of Honor by David Weber, the 10th Honor Harrington novel. I enjoyed it very much, perhaps more than the previous few because of how the situation has changed. Definitely going to be reading the next one, At All Costs, soon, and hopefully catch up with some of the side-series too.
     
  9. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I have been rereading the series recently in preparation for Shadow of Freedom and then after finishing that one (more or less from Crown of Slaves, Shadow Saganami and AAC though, plus some ss which are referred in the books like From the Highlands and Service of the Sword - those two are integral part of the main storyline as are Nightfall and Fanatic) and I think that while you still can read AAC without those two, Mission of Honor (which is next book with Honor herslef part of the cast) makes no sense without Storm from the Shadows to which is a partial sequel, and of course Storm does not make sense without Saganami to which it is a direct sequel; the Crown of Slaves and Torch of freedom books are important in so far stuff happens that is crucial to the main storyline (which as of now comprises both the Talbot books SoS, SftS and SoF and the Manticore/Haven books), but on a first read you may just learn it and then read later how it came about if you so wish.


    I loved War of Honor at the time too - I read a considerable part of it as snippets first and participated in the discussion with others that were doing so and it really was suspenseful to see three times a week a new chapter and what is next, though I agree it's the untidiest of the series books - as DW admitted, the book was rushed a lot and he had no time to edit it properly; in the Polish interview of June which is extremely comprehensive though I would not listen to it until after reading SoS and AAC as those two are the books that pivot the series to the next level and maybe not coincidentally are the best and most complete in themselves imho, DW explains how that came to be and how War of Honor contains all that he wanted to but maybe not in the final form he wanted...

    Back on topic - still rereading Honorverse another day or two and maybe after that some more adventure sf, the Weberian indie Alarm of War by Kenendy Hudner and JL Doty's Choice of Treasons another space opera indie adventure
     
  10. chitman13

    chitman13 Staff

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    Suciul, do you think reading At All Costs then the Saganami books followed by Crown of Slaves/Torch of Freedom is a good order before Mission of Honor? I'm really not sure which order to read them and it's why I've stuck with the main series for now. I'm pretty sure you've told me before which is the best order to read them, but for the life of me I can't remember where I read it! Still, very much enjoying the whole series and it's firmly in my top three series of books I've read.
     
  11. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    The main reason to read Shadow of Saganami before At All Costs (they happen very much in parallel, with AAC ending only a few days later after the end of SoS) is for chapter 5 in Sos and the (in)famous meeting there where two very important characters, Aldona Anisimovna and Isabel Bardasano, are introduced, so when the two appear in AAC (at an earlier and then later time from that meeting) and their "real" role is started to be revealed, you won't be "who are these?" And of course in the aforementioned later appearence, the main story from SoS is recounted by them, so you will know what happens in SoS to some extent, while of course reading SoS you won't have an inkling about AAC (as you will see when the ending events in both are superposed time-wise)...

    Also before reading Crown of Slaves, I would read:

    From the highlands - Anton Zilwicky (one of the two main protagonists of CoS. ToF) his daughters, Helen and Berry (Helen stars in Sos and the later Talbot books, while Berry is central to Cos) and Victor's (the other main protagonist of CoS. ToF, the two being later called the "dynamic duo") first main appearance in the series - Anton appears a little in Short Victorious war when his wife dies heroically defending the convoy carrying Anton and baby Helen, while Victor's mentor is Kevin Usher who appears also in the early novels and then becomes prominent later in the new Republic

    Service of the Sword - here we see Capt Overstegeen (High Ridge's nephew and of the same political orientation but also a very competent captain) who stars in CoS and then later in the series and Abigail Hearns, daughter and Heir of a Grayson steadholder and first Grayson woman officer who later stars in the Talbot books and becomes Helen's mentor to some extent

    Fanatic - Victor's second appearance, just before Saint Just's overthrow

    and maybe Promised Land the story with Judith's escape from Masada when pregnant with Ruth - Cos takes place 24 years later, Judith is now Queen Elizabeth's sister in law and in CoS, (Princess by adoption) Ruth is one of the important characters and driver of the action

    In the same vein but less important on first read, the two recent stories from In Fire Forged, Ruthless (Judith, Roger and baby Ruth in danger) and Let's dance (young HH kicking slavers butt, becoming friends with the Ballroom and only as protegee of Admiral Courvoisier barely escaping sacking by the powerful guys from Anton's list acquired in From the Highlands - this of course happens much later -) are useful adding depth and explaining a little better something from AAC


    So maybe reading Sos before AAC is a good idea, or you can read them in parallel for that matter and then go to StfS.
    Cos and Tof can be read after, just before MoH

    Edit: as an aside Victor Cachat (kick ass revolutionary from the slums of Nouveau Paris, hater of all things aristocratic and elitist) is Eric Flint's most notable character of the Honorverse and reminds one a lot of the powerful character of Gretchen Richter from 163*
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  12. chitman13

    chitman13 Staff

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    Thanks Liviu! I had started At All Costs, but only got a few chapters in and have switched to Shadow of Saganami now. Once I've read these two and SftS I'll get on those short stories for more background before tackling CoS/ToF. I must admit that this universe is so detailed, but not the easiest to read in order being new to it all! I suppose if all else fails I'll just read them in publication order, which is really what I should have thought of int he first place!
     
  13. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    The advantage of reading the novels in publication order is that indeed you will avoid spoilers (though CoS takes place before/during WoH when High Ridge and his crew was governing Manticore, so you will know how some of the big picture stuff turns); the disadvantage is that the same CoS is a weaker novel, or maybe just that is so different than the rest that it seems so - I am not overtly fond of those two Cos and ToF, they have their moments and they are important, no question about it, but the secret agent stuff does not excite me over all.

    This is why I think that SoS which is very Honor-like just with many other characters starring is a must, but for CoS you can read about its results in AAC and see the details later, same with Tof and MoH, though ToF is smoother and the secondary characters are very interesting with a lot of emotional moments; Anton and Victor's doings though are still super-secret agent stuff which is ok but not my favorite by far

    Anyway those two - SoS and AAC are my biggest favorites as individual novels go and one reason is that both are self-contained in a clear way and they pivot the series. From SftS on each novel feeds into the next (or is parallel to it), so it's good to read them one after another as you will want to find out what's next asap...

    The stories from the anthologies are useful as they flesh out episodes you learn about in the novels, from Rob Pierre and Esther McQueen last confrontation in Nightfall (which should have been included in AoV before the ending sequence), to the Earth events with Anton, Helen and Victor, to the Tiberian ones with Abigail and Oversteegen, to who is Princess Ruth and why some Masadans want her, to why is Honor friends with "notorious terrorists" like Jeremy X etc

    Edit: one more reason I love those books is that with Aldona and to a lesser extent Isabel, DW hit the perfect villain and they just lit up the page when they appear - Young was slime, Warnecke an inconsequential madman, we had a lot of understanding for Rob Pierre, Saint Just the "usual" ultimate terror bureaucrat, Ransom went over the rails fast, the Grayson reactionaries were a bit more than cartoonish and the Masadans even more so, Georgia did not get the time she deserved to make a great villain and High Ridge, Janacek and his crew were obvious incompetents set up for a fall, and there is a lot like that in the current crew of opponents, but with Aldona and her bosses (and some of her co-conspirators) we get the real deal and i simply love their chapters
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  14. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    I finished Van Name's Slanted Jack. Good series, especially a nice break from gritty...I'd just read Hurley's God's War before I started his first two Jon & Lobo books.
    Finally on to Gibson's Stealing Light!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  15. beniowa

    beniowa Registered User

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    I finished Alastair Reynold's Blue Remembered Earth. I can see why there were a lot of comparisons with 2312. And like 2312, I found the book rather dull and boring. Both books felt like sophomoric efforts to me, which is rather disappointing. Oh well.

    Now planning to start Rapture by Kameron Hurley and I'm really looking forward to this one.
     
  16. AuntiePam

    AuntiePam Cranky old broad

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    I'm on "chapter" 4 of Wool by Hugh Howey. I like the concept -- civilization confined underground -- and I like IT as the bad guys. :) My only complaint is that the villain (Bernard, the main IT guy) is twirling his moustache. He should be a bit more circumspect.
     
  17. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    "Read" two Doctor Who audio stories - 11th Doctor ones - and annoyingly in the wrong order.

    First was The Runaway Train, written by Oli Smith and read by Matt Smith (The Doctor). Fairly good story, and Matt Smith is a... competent narrator, perhaps better with practice. But Oli Smith had no real sense of pacing, and it just did too much in too little time, and I find it hard enough to keep up as it is without a break-neck story with poor scene transitions. Might be better for experienced audio readers.

    Second is The Ring of Steel, actually the first released, written by Stephen Cole and read by Arthur Darvill (Rory, but he isn't in this story). Darvill is a natural narrator, though his Doctor impression could maybe do with a bit of work. Found myself going in and out of focus with it (still not used to audio dramas), but I kept a fair hold on the story (just not some of the specifics). Could have worked fairly well as an episode of the TV show, too.
     
  18. livens

    livens Registered User

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    Finished Ark by Stephen Baxter yesterday. I read the prequel Flood right before that.

    Good books, both of them. I like reading post-apocalyptic sci-fi, and Baxter had everything very well thought out. The best parts for me were the discussions of 'what to do' to save humanity, if only for just a few of us. As the disaster unfolds you read very detailed accounts of what areas of the world would flood first and the effects this would have on the population. I trust Baxter to have gotten this pretty much right, and it did sound very believable. AT least up until the Ark bit... Ill get back to that.

    The human side of the story, the actual characters involved, were excellent. Right from the beginning and on through both books I was rooting for the original group of captives. Watching that group evolve and split and regroup kept me connected to the main story line. And no punches were held as to really bad, unfair things happening to people, such as in real life.

    Thats was the good, now the bad. Ill spoiler this part out
    As for the Ark of the second book. I had a hard time believing that with most of the world flooded we could pull together the resources to build an interstellar spaceship. Even if all of the separate technologies involved had already been developed just getting it all built and working would be near impossible. They had to build 100's of nuclear bombs for one thing to launch the ship and then stop it again around Jupiter. I say 100's, but Im not sure exactly how many. I remember it being 1 bomb every other second for some amount of time... And then the anti-matter they needed! They had 4 years to make all they needed using a particle accelerator they scavenged from under the flood. Seriously, Im betting on 10 years just to get the thing running in a non-flooded world. And when that idea went bust, Oh, lets just mine the radiation belt between Jupiter and Io, no problem! And at the heart of it all, the Alcubierre warp drive. They have this genius Asian scientist who keeps saying "Oh wait, I seem to remember..." then he goes back to some research paper he remembered reading about before the flood. Lots of that going on.

    The last thing, the worst for me, was the ending. All through the books when some milestone of the flood had been reached you had a select group of fortunates that were able to be saved and move the the next 'level'. At each of these it was very heart wrenching, good people left behind, families split up. Even when the Ark launched it was all chaotic and the crew wasn't as planned. But all that was just setting me for a very emotional 'happy' ending that I was really anticipating. But No. The story was setup so that even when we do reach Earth III, only so may can go down to the surface. 3 adults and 37 kids. Thats who is going to repopulate humanity. And the adults all had to leave their wives and children in orbit to die eventually couped up in a stinking, failing tin can. No one sent down could be related to each other. I was pissed! And one of the adults was Wilson! He captained the ship for a long period of time and took 13-14 year olds as lovers and beat the crap out of them when they got old enough to rebel. Well, screw all that, I wrote a much better ending in my head to substitute for Baxter's crappy ending:

    OK so the only remaining shuttle/glider could bring down 40. But instead of the rest of them wandering the solar system until life support failed, they found a way to convert the entire ship into a ad-hoc lander. They had a machine shop, they could have whipped up a simple glider to hold everyone else for a short time. Then use the rest of the ship as a sacrificial re-entry sheild, once down into the atmosphere enough the glider could be launched. Very risky, but much better that the alternative. Of course it works and all the families are reunited on the surface! Oh yeah, and Wilson had to pilot the sacrificial ship giving his life to save the rest of the crew. Yeah, happy ending!

    Even with the flaws I would read it again. And I plan to read some more of his work, starting with The Wheel of Ice!
     
  19. Hellions

    Hellions Felis silvestris

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    I finished The Electric Church by Jeff Somers, first in the Avery Cates series (1/5). It's cyberpunk set in a bleak future in which the great masses of the people live in the ruins of the previous era and suffer under the harsh rule of a corrupt police force. The protagonist is a foul-mouthed assassin for hire who finds himself thrown into a spiral of governmental intrigue. The action is relentless and the pages fly by, maybe at the detriment of the rest. The cast of characters never evolves beyond the "posturing badasses with guns" mold and the setting remains lost in general ideas. The author tends to hammer the point home and some repetitions creep in, especially in the first part. Otherwise, an entertaining techno-thriller.
     
  20. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    After glorying in Iain M Banks' Hydrogen Sonata (excellent book, consistent in quality with his previous Surface Detail), I decided to go back and give Peter F Hamilton another shot. I was unfair to poor Peter when last I tried to read Pandora's Star. Having just finished a fun, engaging space opera, I wanted to repeat That Exact Experience. Someone said Hamilton would do the trick. Of course there are no two books that repeat an exact experience, and that is especially true when the two books are written by two different authors. After about 400 pages I put the book down. Now, nearly a year later, I picked it back up with an open mind. I'm enjoying it much more. I'm only 600 or so pages in now, so lots left to go, but I'm having a good time and my disposition toward Hamilton is improved.