Thread: Reading in October 2012
October 10th, 2012, 09:33 AM #31
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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 by suciul; October 10th, 2012 at 09:39 AM.
October 11th, 2012, 06:27 AM #32
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!
October 11th, 2012, 07:42 AM #33
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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 by suciul; October 11th, 2012 at 07:54 AM.
October 11th, 2012, 03:56 PM #34
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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 by Kazz Wylde; October 20th, 2012 at 08:22 PM. Reason: sp
October 11th, 2012, 06:22 PM #35
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.
October 13th, 2012, 02:15 PM #36
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.
October 13th, 2012, 03:06 PM #37
"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.
October 13th, 2012, 05:16 PM #38
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!
October 14th, 2012, 05:55 AM #39
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.
October 14th, 2012, 11:06 AM #40
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.
October 14th, 2012, 11:16 AM #41
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I'm very much of that opinion, Dan: sometimes you're just not into that book at that time. Took me three goes at Dune when I was about 16.
October 14th, 2012, 05:16 PM #42
Read Alastair Reynold's The Prefect and thought it was another of his imaginative, character-driven books full of futuristic technologies. The Prefect's set in the Revelation Space Universe and follows two detectives (prefects) as they investigate the destruction of a habitat and hundreds of lives. What follows is an engrossing story with numerous plot twists, although some times I thought the author added too much and made things overcomplicated.
Overall a good read but not one of his best.
October 14th, 2012, 07:15 PM #43
Started Michael Cobley's Seeds of the Earth, the first in his Humanity's Fire Space Opera trilogy. Quick reading so far and enjoying it. The bare-bones of the premise remind me a bit of David Weber's excellent Safehold.
October 15th, 2012, 12:47 AM #44
The bare-bones of the premise remind me a bit of David Weber's excellent Safehold.
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October 15th, 2012, 04:21 AM #45
I finished Katya's World yesterday. I enjoyed it, though it wasn't the full-on sci-fi I expected after reading the first chapter. Katya was a good character, so was Kane, though it got a little annoying that every time Kane was about to give some background something came up to stop him. It also had plenty of convenient moments, and stretched believability a little with Katya being involved with so much of the story and events. All in all I came away pleased, and if nothing else it was a fast-paced novel.