November 2018 reading thread

Toby Frost

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Some Ellroy stuff is great, in my opinion, and some of of the later material verges on being literally unreadable.

I went to a steampunk event, and started re-reading James P Blaylock's Homunculus, which I like very much (even though he says 'blocks' when referring to London streets!). I've also read a really weird Osprey book called Cthulhu: Ancient Rome by Mark Latham. It's a sort of fake history book about the influence of Lovecraft's gods on the Roman Empire. It's rather short, but very well-executed, and the illustrations are superb.

I'm bracing myself to read Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton. It sounds monumentally depressing.
 

Parson

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I finished the single/novella All Systems Red - The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. It was like a breath of fresh air after The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham. All Systems Red is a fairly original SF story about cyborg (I'm not sure that terminology fits. It's more like a half biological and half mechanical robot made from human tissue.) How "human," "Murderbot" as the leading character thinks of itself (for some reason I want to make the it an her.) is one of the key questions of the book. The story telling and action was really good. The bad? --- the next single/novella is being sold for $9.99 and there are 3 novellas past the first. SIGH!!! I don't know if I can justify that kind of money for an ebook, especially a novella.

For now I'm off to C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
 

Vertigo

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I finished the single/novella All Systems Red - The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. It was like a breath of fresh air after The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham. All Systems Red is a fairly original SF story about cyborg (I'm not sure that terminology fits. It's more like a half biological and half mechanical robot made from human tissue.) How "human," "Murderbot" as the leading character thinks of itself (for some reason I want to make the it an her.) is one of the key questions of the book. The story telling and action was really good. The bad? --- the next single/novella is being sold for $9.99 and there are 3 novellas past the first. SIGH!!! I don't know if I can justify that kind of money for an ebook, especially a novella.

For now I'm off to C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
That pricing stopped me dead. I didn't realise how short the first book was when I handed over my money and I won't be handing that amount over again for an equally short book. That combined with seriously struggling with the plausibility of the characters; murderbot itself in particular. I found the book to be exactly what it is; a fantasy author's first foray into SF.
 

Av Demeisen

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I'm currently enjoying reading Jeff VanderMeer's Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy. Beautiful writing. The UK hardcover omnibus is sturdier than the US edition. Nice dust jacket design around a blue hardcover with black lettering.
 

Parson

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That pricing stopped me dead. I didn't realise how short the first book was when I handed over my money and I won't be handing that amount over again for an equally short book. That combined with seriously struggling with the plausibility of the characters; murderbot itself in particular. I found the book to be exactly what it is; a fantasy author's first foray into SF.
All systems red.jpg
I was a bit more fortunate. The first book was priced for $1.99 otherwise I might not have gone for the novella. But that gave me a double shock when I found the rest of them sold for $9.99. It did win the Hugo and the Nebula Awards for the best novella in 2018. Along with two awards I do not recognize without looking them up: Alex Award and Locus Award.

Edit: I now realize why I think of murderbot as female. The cover makes me think female.
 

Brian G Turner

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The Grey Bastards - a gritty fantasy about half-orcs - was on offer at Amazon yesterday. I didn't have any real interest in it, but I thought I'd take a look anyway. Not only did it draw me in, it's one of the best examples of how to do infodumping well in a first chapter. I may have to refer to that in later threads here. :)
 

Hugh

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Jack Vance: Vandals of the Void
I'd hoped that this one might be about delinquent zen monks, but no, it's a 1953 YA romp in which fifteen year old Dick Murdock takes on the Basilisk and his crew of Space Pirates.
 

Randy M.

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A little over half-way through Joan Aiken's The Haunting of Lamb House. The first part is an account by the fictional Toby Lamb of his early years at the (non-fictional) Lamb House and the tragedies that struck the family. The second part, which I've just started, concerns Henry James' residence at the house. In the last part E.F. Benson resides in Lamb House.

Toby's story , told in first person, is compelling, a young boy whose birth was so traumatic it left him lame, with an ill mother and a distant father, whose only solace is his sister Alice. But then Alice has to leave.

In the second part, taking place around 100 years later, Aiken takes on what so far has been a pitch perfect emulation of Henry James' writing style without it becoming strained or tiresome.

So far, I think anyone who enjoys Susan Hill's The Woman in Black or her other ghost stories might find this of interest.


Randy M.
 

hitmouse

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Jack Vance: Vandals of the Void
I'd hoped that this one might be about delinquent zen monks, but no, it's a 1953 YA romp in which fifteen year old Dick Murdock takes on the Basilisk and his crew of Space Pirates.
His first novel and the only one I haven't read. Print copies are expensive. I need to get it on Kindle.
 

Hugh

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His first novel and the only one I haven't read. Print copies are expensive. I need to get it on Kindle.
Yes, I resorted to Kindle for this one (as I have for several elusive short stories).

I wasn't aware it was his first novel: so there's some curiosity value to it....
 

Paul_C

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I finished the single/novella All Systems Red - The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. It was like a breath of fresh air after The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham. All Systems Red is a fairly original SF story about cyborg (I'm not sure that terminology fits. It's more like a half biological and half mechanical robot made from human tissue.) How "human," "Murderbot" as the leading character thinks of itself (for some reason I want to make the it an her.) is one of the key questions of the book. The story telling and action was really good. The bad? --- the next single/novella is being sold for $9.99 and there are 3 novellas past the first. SIGH!!! I don't know if I can justify that kind of money for an ebook, especially a novella.

For now I'm off to C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
You're not alone, I grumbled about this in Feb, and someone else raised the issue between then and now.

I enjoyed the first part of the four, I won't be buying the rest unless/until they're a fair (IMHO) price.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Continuing with H. Beam Piper, I am about to start the collection Federation (1981), which assembles stories set during the earlier part of his future history. Original publication dates vary from 1957 to 1962, with one previously unpublished, posthumous story.
 

biodroid

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Odd Hours - Dean Koontz. Book 4 in the Odd Thomas series, it's now getting a bit odd (pun intended). Nicely written in a whimsical way but still dark, Dean Koontz is known as the master of menace, I'm just glad these books are short because I don't know what else he can write in the Odd universe. It is an enjoyable book so far.
 

janeoreilly

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Attempted to read Victor Dixen Ascension but it was so unbelievably awful that I abandoned it after 100 pages. It had definitely lost something in the translation (it was originally written in French) but TBH teens do blind date in space was always going to be a difficult one to pull off.
 

Happy Joe

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Did the first 3 books of the Dresden files by Jim Butcher;
Storm Front, Fool Moon and Grave Peril
...got started in this track by Turn Coat (out of sequence) ...
They are pretty god so far but each is a bit too long to read in one sitting...
I think that I will skip to Blood Rites since I want to find out how the main character gets together with a Foo dog.

Enjoy!
 

The Big Peat

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Tried reading RF Kuang's The Poppy War but am probably going to give up 10% of the way in as the storytelling is too obvious and the characters are underfleshed.
 

williamjm

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I finished Ben Aaronovitch's Lies Sleeping. I always enjoy the Peter Grant books and this one was no exception. It was nice to see some long-term story arcs being concluded, although I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about some elements of the ending. It'll be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

Next up I'm going to start on GRRM's Fire and Blood.
 

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