February's Fastidious Foraging For Fabulous Fiction

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Victoria Silverwolf

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The New Russians by Hedrick Smith (1990) -- I picked this up because I had read the author's 1976 bestseller The Russians and greatly enjoyed it for the insight it gave me (an ignorant American) into Soviet society. Smith attempts to do the same thing for the Gorbachev years. The main problem with the book, of course, is that world events made the book out of date as soon as it was published, since it does not include the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite that unavoidable disadvantage, the book is an interesting look at a remarkable time and place.
 

dask

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Just finished re-reading Night Lamp by Jack Vance. One of his later books, and one of the less-mentioned. All the usual Vancean tropes. A delight.
I really enjoyed it. A bit slow at first, but about half way through when an unexpected guest arrived at the main character's door, the story revved up and didn't stop until the last page. No joke.
 

hitmouse

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The Omni Interviews (1984) edited by Pamela Weintraub

This is a bunch of interviews with science-type folks from Omni magazine. Pretty much of historical interest nowadays. (Anybody remember Gerard K. O'Neill's proposed space colonies?) The people interviewed vary from world-famous to unknown to me. The stuff discussed ranges from hardcore science to borderline wackiness. Best predictions: John McCarthy (AI guy) pretty much describes the Internet, and O'Neill pretty much describes GPS systems.

I used to get Omni back in the late 70s and early 80s as a teenager. It was a real treat. I loved the heavy feel of the magazine, the design, and the graphics, quite apart from some very good fiction. It was very American, and really quite exotic for someone growing up in dull provincial Winter-of-Discontent, Black & White TV with only 3 channels and a rusty Ford Cortina Britain. Production was lavish: Omni was published and edited by Bob Guccione, who owned Penthouse (which was not relevant to me at the time.) It was also edited by Ben Bova.

I recently picked up the first 4 copies for a song on eBay. Quite a time trip: I even remembered the adverts.
 

hitmouse

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Bloody relevant to me as a teenager in the 70s and 80s...
Well yes... the tantalising aspect top shelf magazines in the pre-internet era was not lost on me at that stage. The finer points of who was publishing what was not particularly interesting. I just wanted ray guns and alien worlds and wristwatch telephones and spaceships by Chris Foss. Pornography of a sort I grant you.
 

pyan

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Having read just about everything that David Weber has out in the Honorverse (no convert like a recent convert!), I've just started a series entitled collectively Quantum Gravity (goodreads page), by Justina Robson.

An interesting mix - Cyborg meets Faerie...
 

Ringti

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I have decided to go ahead and read the entire Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. I have no doubt that this will be an undertaking of epic proportions.

After that I'm probably going to re-read Empire State.
 

Jeffbert

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I started reading the Pickering and Chatto version of Arabian Nights a few months ago, but as I had read Sir Richard F. Burton's translation some years ago, it is going rather slow. I have no idea how the one compares with the other, except that the P&C version is said to be more explicit than the B version. Some of the stories are rather long, considering they were supposed to have been told on one night each. I checked the word count, & found some over 25,000.:D
 

Grunkins

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Finished Kevin Hearne's Trapped, the fifth book of his Iron Druid Chronicles. As usual with Hearne's books, it was a fun read. The plot was a bit messy. There were a bunch of unresolved plot threads left for future books (I assume). But Atticus, Granueille (sp?), and Oberon have the necessary amount of adventure (and banter) with enough odd gods and goddesses and other magical folk that I didn't mind. The only thing I really demand from the Iron Druid books is fun, and I got that.

Not sure what I'm going to read next. My reading time has been sadly diminished for the past month or so, hopefully that gets back on track.
 

Lord Soth

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Well finally finished The Red Knight by Miles Cameron - really enjoyed it, it's a bit of a doorstep but that has never bothered me as long as the writing holds (and it did). Definitely picking up the rest of the series, and will check out the other books by his other pen-name too (Christian Cameron).

The only thing I remain to be convinced by is the very ending of the book (those of you who have read it should guess what I mean). I'm not sure if it will fall flat, but the second book is out know so it will not be too long to find out.

For a change of pace (and everything else) i'm trying Control Point by Myke Cole next, it has some glowing recommendations by some great authors so things are looking good.
 

JunkMonkey

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I currently giggling with inane (sic) delight at The Grove of Doom a bloody dreadful 1933 adventure featuring The Shadow. Seriously bad.
 

j d worthington

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I started reading the Pickering and Chatto version of Arabian Nights a few months ago, but as I had read Sir Richard F. Burton's translation some years ago, it is going rather slow. I have no idea how the one compares with the other, except that the P&C version is said to be more explicit than the B version. Some of the stories are rather long, considering they were supposed to have been told on one night each. I checked the word count, & found some over 25,000.:D

I've not read the P&C, so I can't comment on that, save to say that I did (about 30 years ago) read the bulk of the Burton translation... and if the other is more explicit, scatological, or erotic... then I would be more than a little surprised....
 

antiloquax

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I am still on a personal mission to read more books written by women. I have just read Kelly Link's Magic For Beginners which I enjoyed for its experimental narrative strategies. (Short) review here.
Currently I am reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. I really enjoyed The Secret History and The Little Friend. So far, her latest lives up to the promise of those earlier books. I am really enjoying it!
 
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Ogma

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I really enjoyed Doomsday Book. Its a unique yet believable story intertwining a horrible period in the past with the future.


I finished Doomsday Book and I have to echo Kythe's assessment. It was a great book.


Next on the list is The Black Cloud.
 

dask

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Next on the list is The Black Cloud.
If that's the one written by Hoyle, I read it a long time ago and thought it was pretty good.

Am now reading THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London. Violent and bloody, unrelentingly merciless and cruel (they let kids read this?), this is a gritty glimpse of life in the far North towards the end of the 19th Century. If you're an animal lover, especially of dogs, think twice before starting this.
 

kythe

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Am now reading THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London. Violent and bloody, unrelentingly merciless and cruel (they let kids read this?), this is a gritty glimpse of life in the far North towards the end of the 19th Century. If you're an animal lover, especially of dogs, think twice before starting this.
I don't know. My 13 year old read Call of the Wild a few months ago - by choice, not as a school assignment. She loved the story. I'm not sure where she heard of it, but she does read a lot of animal stories. She wants to be a veterinarian, and she seems to have a pretty good handle on the fact that working with animals does not equal puppy and kitty cuddling, etc.

If you think about it, Black Beauty can be pretty gritty as well. Also fiction, it too reflects a time when animals were not always treated well and laws did not protect them.
 

Grunkins

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Finished Scott Westerfeld's The Risen Empire, part one of a two part space opera.

It was a great read. The book was very fast paced and jam packed with fun SF ideals. This space opera lives in the neighborhood of Iain M Banks' books with its civilization's undead upper class, microscopic warships, controlling AIs (I particularly enjoyed the self-propagating and self-designing house), inventive torture techniques...etc.

I was disappointed to find that this two book series is the only space opera Westerfeld has written, and the only adult literature for that matter (he's very successful in the YA market).

The book ends with a cliffhanger. I think the two books were originally supposed to have been published as one, but by whatever twist of industry strangeness they were separated. Despite the cliff hanger, The Risen Empire is compelling and fun, and surprisingly well written. I have the second book in my stacks, ready to go. I usually don't read books in a series back to back, but this time I might.
 
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