April 6th, 2012, 08:20 AM
Terminal World was a book with great ideas (for example the zones of thought where location on the planet defines what brain connections, what technology and science etc people can have) and great adventure with airships, but sadly the two never connected and the book read like two storylines put together and just glued to make a book rather than a coherent story; each of the storylines would have made a super novel on its own, so here the sum was less than each of its parts in a way
Originally Posted by Rob B
Back on topic, finished Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru
Gods without men is a very fascinating book though it left me a little disappointed in the end as I expected more coherence.
It is easier to set up an intriguing premise and throw in more and more complications and tantalizing stuff but harder to either bring some sense of completion or just keep things rolling but performing a magic trick on the reader so he or she is happy enough with the local resolutions.
David Mitchell did it in his masterpiece Cloud Atlas to which Gods without men compares - though here the unifying thread is a magical desert location as opposed to the story discovering story of Cloud atlas while the narrative range has breadth but still does not reach the Mitchell polyphony - and this book comes close but ultimately the tapestry remains unfinished
This being said the book is a joy to read and the various storylines read quite authentic for their times.
Overall a highly recommended novel though there were moments of sheer brilliance that left me expecting another Cloud atlas masterpiece and the novel stopped a little short of that; the book is suffused with sfnality (aliens, UFO's, unexplained powers..) but the author keeps it quite ambiguous all the way
Last edited by suciul; April 6th, 2012 at 08:23 AM.
April 6th, 2012, 08:49 AM
It never entered my mind
Finished Dhalgren by Samuel Delany - exhausting book but very intriguing, probably the best experimental piece of literature to tackle the post flower-power mentality. Welcome to Bellona - city of nightmares and endless experimentations - with sex, with violence, with poetry, music, politics or religion. How do you define yourself in a world where every rule of social intercourse no longer apply? Where laws of physics are random, there is no government, no infrastructure, no contact with the outside world. How do you separate the real from the imaginary and how do you put these things on paper when words and syntax structures no longer seem sufficient? The book is more about posing questions and being provocative , rather than offering answers.
April 9th, 2012, 10:44 AM
I'm finally finishing Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure with The Pnume. Love these books. The Phung are the coolest addition to my brain in quite a while. Wish there was more of them. The scene in (I think) City of the Chasch where a Phung picks up a sword and goes wild with it, striking anything around, whether it's Chasch, tree branches, air, or the fire is seared into my brain. Has to be one of the coolest species/races I've ever read.
April 10th, 2012, 02:01 PM
I went with a Classic and read Gateway by F.Pohl. I wasn't disappointed. Iit was a pretty great read!
Not sure where to go next, I might just point to a book on my to-read shelf and read that.
April 10th, 2012, 07:56 PM
\m/ BEER \m/
Once I shut down my PC, I'll be starting John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation. Figured I should read that one before Redshirts.
April 12th, 2012, 01:29 PM
Boba Fett Lives
Started The Hunger Games and am about 120 pgs in. I was so impressed with the movie I could not wait to start the book. It is in first person which is not my favourite but the writing is good and moves along at a quick pace without too much focus on describing the look of every character or scene. The picture is still pretty vivid though. So far so good!
April 13th, 2012, 06:35 AM
Finished Six Moon Dance by Sheri S. Tepper last night. A very intelligent book about gender, gender roles and reversals. Enjoyed it a lot.
April 13th, 2012, 12:39 PM
Just finished re-reading Revelation Space by Reynolds. I first read it about 5-6 years ago and loved it. However I never read the last book in the series, Redemption Ark. My plan is to read straight through all 4 books and then hit the Prefect and Galactic North to complete all of his Revelation Space books. About to crack Chasm City which was awesome the first time and I'm hoping will be again!
After that I hope to read all of Peter F Hamilton's books, back to back.
April 13th, 2012, 05:57 PM
I finished up the audio book of Orbus by Neal Asher during my long drive earlier this week. Excellent, just as I remembered, while the narrator adds another dimension to the story.
I started on the audio book of Stark's War by John G Hemry today on my drive back home, and quite liking it. As Rob says, it's got the familiar feeling of the Lost Fleet books, but not quite as polished. Still enjoyable, and good to read one where the action is on the ground rather than space-based.
When I got back home my order of Starship Winter by Eric Brown was waiting for me. It's one of my top anticipated books of this year (okay, I know it's only a novella), but I'm going to re-read Summer and Fall first before jumping into it.
April 13th, 2012, 08:40 PM
As I accidentally posted in fantasy/horror (), I am reading Cordelia's Honor By Lois Mcmaster Bujold. I'm really enjoying it thus far. I think this series is probably a winner.
Last edited by Danogzilla; April 13th, 2012 at 09:10 PM.
April 14th, 2012, 08:03 AM
i read two more sfnal novels
the 5th Jackellian novel - Jack Cloudie by Stephen Hunt; it seems that the odd numbered novels (except for #1 which I liked but #2 and #4 were still better) in the series are misses for me.
I cannot pinpoint why this one did not work that well, but some of the elements were the lack of female main leads, the stereotype Cassarabian setting, the domination of pulp elements and overall a complete lack of interest in what happened. No real sense of wonder or of mystery like in Beyond the Waves or Fire Sea (those two are still huge favorites and among the best sff of today), just a tired by the number story that had a "filler" quality
Second and much better, The Weight of Numbers by Simon Ings; a wonderful tapestry novel that works unexpectedly well. Not really sf as it takes place from the 1930's to the 00's and from England, to Mozambique to the Apollo missions, though infused with sfnal musings.
Following a diverse cast of characters who are related sometimes in obvious, sometimes in strange ways, Weight of Numbers is threaded together by the author into a coherent whole that is very satisfying.
The novel moves non-linearly in time, space and character arcs so it rewards careful reading and I actually reread the first 200 pages once I got there as quite a few early scenes take added significance later, but the pages turn by themselves and the author keeps it absorbing all the way.
I do not want to rehash the story arcs especially that discovering the connections between them is part of the novel's power, but I would like to make some comparisons.
For example you can look at Weight of Numbers vs Cryptonomicon as in Adam Roberts' Stone vs IM Banks Culture; in other words a darker, more "realistic" and with somewhat different conclusions take on similar themes.
In this view both Cryptonomicon and Culture are the typical sf books where things make sense, societies evolve and stuff has meaning (mostly), while Weight of Numbers and Stone form the more "literary" approach where stuff happens, there is no master plan, people live and die while life goes on...
Or you can look at Weight of Numbers in comparison to the recent Gods without Men (see my earlier post) and note that while the H. Kunzru book is indeed a more "literary" offering as prose goes (say China Mieville vs Leviathan Wakes to add more sf comparisons of recent significance), it is also ultimately less interesting as it piles stuff upon stuff and essentially leaves it there, while Weight of numbers actually concludes storylines and arcs and in very rounded and satisfying ways.
April 14th, 2012, 07:53 PM
\m/ BEER \m/
I finished up Fuzzy Nation today and while it tread a familiar path, I still enjoyed it a great deal. I generally like Scalzi's style and what he does with and to his characters and this one was no exception. He moved me emotionally in a few instances and I thought it was a very readable novel. I'd like to see him do more with these characters.
No, I haven't read Piper's original Little Fuzzy.
April 15th, 2012, 01:56 PM
Haven't had much reading time lately but did finally finish Moon Flights by Elizabeth Moon. In the end I found it uneven like most short story compilations and can't quite reccommend it unless one is interested in some of the hidden gems (which likely varies depending on taste). One thing is the this series is very heavy on fantasy which in my opinion Moon doesn't do as well as Science Fiction. Something I did like was that a lot of her stories had a healthy injection of humor which kept them from falling flat. The ones that I liked were:
- And the Ladies of the Club
- New World Symphony
- No Pain, No Gain
- Hand to Hand
- Sweet Charity
- Welcome to Wheel Days
The story set in the "Vatta's War" universe was a great big let down though slightly humorous.
April 16th, 2012, 11:52 AM
After an unexpected detour into some contemporary literature (a very charming Last Will by Bryn Greenwood which is completely non-sfnal though it features an important secondary character who believes herself to be an alien abductee so showing the penetration of sfnality in today's life), back to sf with two books I just got; Dead water by Simon Ings and Existence by David Brin
April 16th, 2012, 03:13 PM
I read all three this weekend. Really enjoyed them, and didn't personally see the criticism levelled against the third book by the Amazon reviews at all.
Originally Posted by Daddy Darth