October 31st, 2011, 06:52 PM
Reading in November 2011
This is where you talk to us about your monthly SF Reads: whether good or bad, we want to discuss with you what you thought.
Our Fantasy Book of the Month is Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle. Discuss here.
Our SF Book of the Month is Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts. Discuss here.
Last edited by Erfael; October 31st, 2011 at 08:16 PM.
November 1st, 2011, 09:44 AM
Well, I'm not reading fiction, but I'd guess what I'm reading belongs here. I'm halway through Margaret Atwood's new book of essays, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination.
There are some fabulous concepts in there. In one of the essays she speaks about SF being the last real genre that deals with myth and monsters. Now that we've mapped our world, we no longer have "here be dragons" on our maps. The unknown is now known. So, the only place left to us is space. Demons and monsters and gods and benevolent beings no longer have a place to hide here, but they can on Planet X.
I'm thoroughly enjoying this read. There's some earlier papers/articles she wrote from when she was working on her thesis, and they're quite interesting as well.
November 1st, 2011, 11:54 AM
I read one more story in Solaris Rising, the Reynolds For the Ages one and it was typical serious cosmological stuff interspersed with human interest that made AR the leading hard sf voice of our time. Reminded me how much I missed a Reynolds novel this year...
So far the three stories I bought the anthology for (Hamilton, Roberts, Reynolds) delivered and more and now I am starting reading the rest with the Brown/Brooke collaboration Eternity's Children that is about one of their favorite theme (see Accord, Kings of eternity for novels from either author); the Fenn story and the Ken McLeod are also big priorities and should be next
I am also thinking of reading Count to a Trillion as I've just seen a very strong review; i started it and it si cool but as a late December novel, i thought of going through the October/November books I want to review first (Wooding, Jemisin, Mayer and maybe McDevitt), so i'll see
November 2nd, 2011, 08:02 AM
I finished Solaris Rising and overall it had 5 very strong stories, 3 strong stories, 3 ok to good ones and 7 that did not do much for me, but with the exceptions of the Ian McDonald one and the Lavie Tidhar one, the rest were from authors I do not like so I did not expect anything else, while the Tidhar one being about a communist murderer of the 20th century that somehow got romanticized by leftist intelligentsia was sure to annoy me.
Overall the best story was from Adam Roberts Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?, with close contenders from A. Reynolds For the Ages and Keith Brooke/Eric Brown Eternity's Children, while Peter Hamilton's Return of the Mutant worms and Jaine Fenn's Dreaming Towers Silent Mansions round up the A+/++ level stories.
Then the stories by Stephen Baxter Rock Day, Stephen Palmer Eluna and Paul di Flippo Sweet Spots were pretty good too, though not quite at the level of the above 5, while the stories by Ian Watson How We Came Back from Mars, Ken McLeod, The Best Science Fiction of the Year Three and Steve Rasnic Tem, At Play in the Fields were ok but at least in the Watson and McLeod case far from their best and more of a filler/by the number stuff; still both are excellent writers and even their filler is decent.
Then in addition to the aforementioned McDonald and Tidhar stories, the ones by D. Hutchinson, Pat Cadigan, Tricia Sullivan, Jack Skilingstead and Mike Resnick and Laurie Tom did nothing for me, but as mentioned i never expected anything since I do not like the writing style of any of these authors and avoid their books.
Overall Solaris Rising is a very strong eclectic anthology with something to please any lover of contemporary sf.
Last edited by suciul; November 2nd, 2011 at 08:08 AM.
November 3rd, 2011, 11:53 AM
Halfway through Leviathan Wakes and can't stop. I now see what all the talk was about when it came out.
After that, finally getting around to finishing up Hamilton's Void books. Can't wait, first one was great.
November 4th, 2011, 08:48 AM
I just finished Kris Longknife:Mutineer by Mike Shepherd. I never heard or read anything by him before so I took the plunge strictly based on blurb written on the back cover (this is before I found this excellent website). I was expecting a sort of popcorn space opera but was pleased to find it well written with some engaging characters. It reminded me a lot of something Elizabeth Moon would write so if you liked Moon, you'll probably like Shepherd as well. The plot is a bit like Cherryh's Earth-Union series where distant space colonies start to break away from the inner Earth planets and conflict is looming though this is only the first book in the series so the storyline may well take a different course. I liked it enough to look into getting the next book in the series.
November 4th, 2011, 10:07 AM
That's good news.. considering I bought the whole series and haven't even started them yet. thanks for the review!
Originally Posted by DDCOrange
Last edited by Hobbit; November 6th, 2011 at 05:44 AM.
Reason: fixed quote
November 6th, 2011, 04:44 AM
I've just finished All Clear by Connie Willis. It was a mistake for Spectra to split the two books. I was uncertain about Blackout; it seemed like a historical novel with a science fictional trope (time travel) tacked on. All Clear reveals these two books to be very good science fiction; the time travel elements are very well thought out and integral to the Capra-esque story of everyday heroism. I have to admit I think The Dervish House still would have been my choice for the Hugo winner, but I don't begrudge these books the win at all.
November 7th, 2011, 01:17 AM
I'm just starting Hammered, by Elizabeth Bear. I've never read any of her Science Fiction before, but quite a bit of her fantasy. Should be interesting comparing the two.
November 7th, 2011, 05:03 AM
I'm still reading Flag in Exile by David Weber, the fifth Honor Harrington book. Not making much progress simply because I haven't been in the mood to read anything, or have the time to really get into it properly.
However, I did start a new book last night too, Penumbra by Eric Brown. I was bored, didn't fancy HH and this leapt off the shelf being one of the few books by Brown I've not read. Starts off nicely, but it's immediately recognisable as something Eric Brown would write with a starship pilot, Indian setting for one thread, and characters that clearly have lots going on in their history. I think I'm going to enjoy it
November 7th, 2011, 08:48 AM
Just finished Reamde by Neal Stephenson. To sum it up I was disappointed. It wasn't a bad book - just given its length and the fact that I finished it means I liked it on some level. I thought it was way too long. I liked the beginning and where I thought it was going to go, but then it just turned into a spy thriller with them just chasing each other around.
My recommendation would be if you don't mind a spy thriller with terrorists and a virtual world sprinkled in lightly, give it a shot. If you're looking for a Stephenson novel with some great ideas, tech and sci-fi elements it might not be for you.
November 7th, 2011, 07:45 PM
Finished up Chasm City last night. For the most part, I thought it was awesome, but it seemed to get a little flaky near the end. Working on Redemption Ark right now. I'll probably start injecting some non scifi in between Reynold's books to break them up a little. Thinking about some China Mieville, that should be a nice change of pace!
November 9th, 2011, 11:10 AM
\m/ BEER \m/
I'll be starting David Weber's How Firm a Foundation, the fifth and (as of this post) most recent Safehold novel. This was one of my more anticipated novels of 2011 so hopefully it matches that anticipation.
November 10th, 2011, 02:59 AM
I finished up Flag in Exile by David Weber yesterday, the fifth Honor Harrington novel. While I enjoyed it, it's probably my least favourite of the HH books to date, and also a little long-winded. It's very similar to Field of Dishonor in that it is a more personal story, but does have military aspects that helped considerably. The whole 'woman in a man's society' has been played out over the past few novels where Grayson and their heavily religious society is concerned, but this one is focused on that aspect from start to finish. I understand that it needs to be examined, but it doesn't make for a very exciting story. However, Weber has this way of writing a stand-out chapter, this time fairly late in the book, that changes my opinion of the story for the better. It doesn't make the faults go away, but it does make the slog worthwhile. I hope #6, Honor Among Enemies, raises the game a little, don't think I want another book with such a narrow focus after the last two.
November 10th, 2011, 08:04 AM
While i am still slogging my way through the mammoth 1150+ dense pages Parallel Stories/Nadas which at least so far about 600 pages and 2 out 3 parts in, turned to be far from what i imagined and the blurb implied and alternates very boring stuff with flashes of brilliance, I did some more quick sf reading.
First a fast read of Firebird/McDevitt the 6th and hopefully last Benedict/Kolpath novel as even the author's great storytelling skills cannot save the very dated world building where the world of thousands of years in the future looks like the US of the 50's; better than Echo and again testifying to said storytelling ability, a book that made me turn the pages despite the heavy weight of the world building that at any moment was ready to crash my suspension of disbelief; still I wish the author would write something more up-to-date as the Academy novels or even Time Travelers Never Die were.
I also read 1/2 of Hearts of Smoke and Steam by A. Mayer, sequel to The Falling Machine and a really fun book so far which i will finish most likely tonight and review next week