Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt
I'm really enjoying this book. I've enjoyed the first four of McDevitt's Academy series and the blurb on this one caught my eye. I'm shocked at how all over the board the reviews are, but it hasn't changed my enjoyment of it.When Adrian Shel Shelbourne's physicist father disappears and leaves behind a time-travel device, Shel and his friend Dave Dryden, a language expert, search for Shel's father in Galileo's Italy, Selma during the civil rights marches and other famous times and places. Realizing that time resists paradoxes and history can't be changed, the two friends seize the opportunity to live enriching, truly humane lives from Thermopylae to a few minutes in the future.
I tend to see the McDevitt as a guilty pleasure: they're solidly entertaining, good page turners, but old-school style, and usually with so many coincidences/convenient plot hooks that I can see it would annoy some readers.
I do like them, a lot, but if you're looking for stuff that pushes the genre envelope this isn't it. And that might explain why the reviews vary so much.
Rather like, say Anne McCaffrey or Terry Brooks.
While I had a heavier fantasy reading schedule recently with the new Snyder series, the Brandon debut and the Kinden 7, I am planning to read some sf soon and I have first Ice by Anna Kavan considered her masterpiece - the newer edition I have is with a preface by Christopher Priest - and then I started two upcoming books, Count to a Trillion by JC Wright (Dec) and In the Lion's Mouth by M. Flynn (Jan) as well as two steampunk upcoming Hearts of Smoke and Steam by A Mayer (Nov) and Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon by M. Hodder (Jan) and of course I plan to get The Iron Jackal next week too
I finished Dan Simmon's Flashback yesterday; it was a good read, though probably a bit too long (which I've found with many of his books), and had a little too much of the author's personal opinions embedded in the book.
As a crime thriller, it was quite a good read; and I liked the idea of the protagonist cop being able to investigate the case using the Flashback drug to look back in time. The side story with his estranged son also linked in well, and the Japanese bodyguard character Sato was one tough individual (though the frequent reminder that he pronounces his R's as L's was a bit cliched).
But I felt he could have explored the drug and it's effects in a lot more detail, but instead spent too many pages in effect lecturing his right leaning politics. It didn't bother me a great deal but came up a bit too frequently to not be a bit annoying.
Which is a shame as it could have been a much better book.
Now about 50 pages into Ready Player One and loving it!
I've got around to reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. I've got fairly high expectations for this one after all the positive comments I've seen here. I'm not far into it:
I've just finished the chapter in which Miller quells the Belter riot caused by Holden's broadcast.
However, I can already see why it's popular; it's written in a very accessible style and the action pretty much kicks off from the start. Both these characteristics make it quite a page-turner. I'm also drawn to some of the details of the world-building; I like the fact that g-forces experienced during space travel are hard on human bodies and that the physiology of Belters has evolved differently to humans who have been born and raised in gravity wells.
I just finished Orphanage by Robert Buettner. Even though I was well aware of the similarities with Heinlein's Starship Troopers before I started reading, I wasn't expecting so many. Some acknowledgement in a foreword would have been classy. Besides the persistent feeling of déjà vu, I had other problems with it, especially in the first half of the book pertaining to the main character's lack of credibility. For an eighteen year old who has dropped out of high school, his inner voice was far too mature and I often felt as if I was reading the fifty year old author's social or political commentary instead of his character's. The second half of the book (aka the war stuff) was much better and partially redeemed the earlier pitfalls. I haven't decided yet whether I should invest in the rest of the series.
Just started reading 'Final Days' by Gary Gibson. Good tight paced thriller with good ideas and sci fi innovations.
Reading Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge. It's good and interesting, though annoying sometimes - that is protagonists doing stupid things and reader know they are stupid. Also characterization is not stellar. Good reading but not Vernor Vinge at his best.
Yesterday, I cracked open Philip Palmer's Hell Ship and blew through the first 140 or so pages. I'm liking this one quite a bit, reminds me a bit of Zelazny's Eye of the Cat. I'm very interested to see wehre Palmer takes the story.
I finished Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts. I think he is a very good writer and I will be interested in reading more from him, but YBT was a disappointment for me. I'll post more when the discussion will start next month, but basically there was too much setup for a paltry 10 page solution at the end. Add to that the mean and ugly attitude of the author towards the Russian people and culture, making this story less about science-fiction and more about perpetuating the clichees of cold war propaganda.
Given my chaotic organizational skills, I will probably read next month Ready Player One, that is this month book club choice.
Just starting on my plan to chew through a pile of Alastair Reynolds books over the next month or two. Starting with Revelation Space.
Reading Cold as Ice by Charles Sheffield. This book started out great but half way through I thought it really slowed down. It didnt pick back up until the final 50 pages or so, and I just want to hurry up and finish it. A big let down for me was the exploration of Europa. He set the story up in the beginning with a character that is a deep sea explorer. Right after that you know that he will eventually be exploring Europa looking for life. Sounds really exciting and I was looking forward to that the whole way through. But when it does finally happen it feels rushed and is only used to advance another side of the plot.
Not read too much this month. Finished Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F Hamilton (still annoyed it's missing The Suspect Genome, despite the reasons Peter told me for not including it) and also polished off Blackest Night vol 1.
Now I'm back on to the Honorverse and up to Flag in Exile. I really do enjoy David Weber's writing and love Honor as a character,I just hope the story continues to gain strength as it has been so far.
I finished with Vinge's Children of the Sky. Actually I just stopped reading it, skipped to the end and confirmed I've missed nothing interesting. Initial impression was wrong. - this whole book can be skipped. Hope the next will be real SF.
Nothing happen in the book. Incredibly stupid and unsympathetic protagonists, a lot of boring political maneuvering and no less boring travels. And circus. Yep. circus. Guess Vinge got feeling the book is no fun and so he added circus.