December 2018 reading thread

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
5,995
The novels I'm reading now are Charles Williams's War in Heaven and Anthony Trollope's The Small House at Allington.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
13,606
Location
California
There are certain scenes in War in Heaven that still give me chills when I remember them, though it's been at least twenty years since I read it.
 

Fedos

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
125
I just finished up reading Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson the thirteenth book in The Wheel of Time. As an aspiring fantasy author I felt it was important for me to read through this series. I've said before that I absolutely adored The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt and certain parts of The Shadow Rising for instance--and I cannot deny that Lord of Chaos has certain stirring portions--and Robert Jordan certainly has some interesting concepts running throughout his series; yet I feel that he was stringing readers along, bloating his books to the point of absurdity, and now that I've finally come to the last book in the series it's going to be a relief to finally finish it. Next up is A Memory of Light.
 

Parson

This world is not my home
Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
7,977
Location
Iowa
I finished the Historical Novel My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamole. I found this to be a satisfying and interesting read. It might have been a bit slow on the uptake but it was worth the effort to get into the story. Eliza Hamilton was the wife of Alexander Hamilton, a participant in the revolutionary war, the victim in likely the first sex scandal of the American Republic and a force to be reckoned with in the cause of liberty, slavery, and the destitute. She lived into her 90's and her story is one that truly needs to be told.

Not sure where I'm going next.

Edit: This book was also interesting to me, because some of the minor characters were known to me due to their connection to my denominational home. ( I also serve on the History Commission of that denomination.)
 
Last edited:

Hugh

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
873
“Necessity is...The Early Years of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention” by Billy James (2001). Well worth reading if you’re interested in the early Mothers. The focus is on the band members, many of whom have recorded with the author.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
22,526
Location
Highlands
Read and enjoyed Mick's Archaeology by Mick Aston. It was interesting to see just how experienced he was in terms of both archaeological methods and historical periods, as well as his key interests and sites. However, it was a rather short book, that will probably mainly be of interest just to his fans from watching Time Team - like myself. :)
 

soulsinging

the dude abides
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
2,207
Shortly before the holiday I finished off Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Burdago. It was a pleasant surprise actually, especially given that I thought the first one was good but nothing special. I still think the supposed age of the characters (they're ostensibly teenagers) strains credibility, but it's also completely irrelevant to the story really, so the occasional times it's awkwardly mentioned (I suspect to ensure marketing to the more lucrative YA market) it's easy enough to ignore.

I also sort of sputtered out on Mistborn, Final Empire by Sanderson. I don't know what it is about him that I don't love because there's plenty to like, but I was underwhelmed by Elantris and am underwhelmed here. I can see why he got tapped to finish WoT... this series has the same thing where all the leads have huge untapped wells of hidden power. The "magic" system is nifty, but I'm not that into the mechanics/consistency of magic so in the end I just wind up visualizing Dragon Ball Z or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon... which would make total sense given the author's age/generation. He also has a bad habit of scheming/palace intrigue discussions that often seem drawn out chiefly to break up the action set pieces. Still, his writing is clear and the overall plotting is clever, so I can see why this has been so popular. I just don't think I'm up for another 1800 pages of it.

What I am reading and enjoying is We Are Legion (We Are Bob) which I find pretty interesting. Makes me think of a few other SF reads lately where the character has taken a backseat to interesting concept but the concept is handled well enough to maintain interest, specifically The Martian and Dark Matter. It's a quick read so far!
 
Last edited:

Paul_C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Messages
482
Location
Northampton UK
The Obelisk Gate finished. I liked it a lot and it fairly whooshed by, which is always nice :)

Next I think I'll try the second book in The Expanse series, Caliban's War - though it's been so long since I read the first one, I'm half-tempted to read that first.
Just finished Caliban's War, which I enjoyed enough to bump the next one up my to be read pile. They feel a little slight somehow, but still interesting enough to hold my attention.

Next up is the last of the Broken Earth series, The Stone Sky
 

Parson

This world is not my home
Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
7,977
Location
Iowa
Finished Hunt them Down by Simon Gervais. This is a thriller and the first in a series book. The author spent time in law enforcement in Canada, and it shows in the kind of gritty realism in this book. On the other hand the last half or more of the book was one incredibly close escape after another that I started to weary of the book. --- Strange criticism I know, but at least it is honest to my feelings.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
22,526
Location
Highlands
Finished reading Corinth: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Greek City-State by Charles River Publishers. It does a great job of doing something sorely lacking in popular academia - and that's provide a focus only on Ancient Corinth. But this is a very short book - 79 pages, including illustrations and references - and while it does go through a good range of sources, it never really goes into anything to any real depth. Additionally, there's no sense of theme, narrative, or speculation - merely, superficial facts. In the end, it feels more like a series of Wikipedia articles than anything else, hence why my review score may seem rather harsh. Even still, as a very basic introduction to Corinth it serves its purpose.
 

Av Demeisen

Prime Detester of God The Infernal Wizard
Joined
Jul 1, 2015
Messages
108
I finished The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken. What a bombshell! To me this was hands down the best SF book of 2018. The world Künsken has created here has tremendous potential for future novels.

The book is the story of a complicated heist pulled off by a team led a by post-human called Arjuna Belisarius, a member of the Homo Quantus. They can enter a savant mode at will, and also have the ability to enter an objective quantum intellect mode which plays a big part in the story/con. There is a lot of physics and other science. If you have read up a bit on recent popular science books on quantum mechanics, the technical details of the con are rewarding. Known physics is expanded upon in order to create a rich fictional universe of exciting possibility.

There are two more bioengineered species of post-human, the third of which are called the Puppets. Their storyline involves one of the most hilarious, sick fictional religions you'll ever encounter, the details of which become slowly clear as the con is set in motion. Best not to spoil anything in advance.

I wish this had been published as a hardcover. What a great book. :)
 

biodroid

Expensive Gadget User
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
Messages
2,484
War of the Flowers - Tad Williams. Lovely writing, wierdly it has a Stephen King vibe to the prose, and the story feels dark. My kinda book.
 

Paul_C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Messages
482
Location
Northampton UK
I finished The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken. What a bombshell! To me this was hands down the best SF book of 2018. The world Künsken has created here has tremendous potential for future novels.

The book is the story of a complicated heist pulled off by a team led a by post-human called Arjuna Belisarius, a member of the Homo Quantus. They can enter a savant mode at will, and also have the ability to enter an objective quantum intellect mode which plays a big part in the story/con. There is a lot of physics and other science. If you have read up a bit on recent popular science books on quantum mechanics, the technical details of the con are rewarding. Known physics is expanded upon in order to create a rich fictional universe of exciting possibility.

There are two more bioengineered species of post-human, the third of which are called the Puppets. Their storyline involves one of the most hilarious, sick fictional religions you'll ever encounter, the details of which become slowly clear as the con is set in motion. Best not to spoil anything in advance.

I wish this had been published as a hardcover. What a great book. :)
Just picked it up from Amazon for 99p (kindle) :)
 

Parson

This world is not my home
Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
7,977
Location
Iowa
I finished The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken. What a bombshell! To me this was hands down the best SF book of 2018. The world Künsken has created here has tremendous potential for future novels.

The book is the story of a complicated heist pulled off by a team led a by post-human called Arjuna Belisarius, a member of the Homo Quantus. They can enter a savant mode at will, and also have the ability to enter an objective quantum intellect mode which plays a big part in the story/con. There is a lot of physics and other science. If you have read up a bit on recent popular science books on quantum mechanics, the technical details of the con are rewarding. Known physics is expanded upon in order to create a rich fictional universe of exciting possibility.

There are two more bioengineered species of post-human, the third of which are called the Puppets. Their storyline involves one of the most hilarious, sick fictional religions you'll ever encounter, the details of which become slowly clear as the con is set in motion. Best not to spoil anything in advance.

I wish this had been published as a hardcover. What a great book. :)
I also picked it up. Without your recommendation I had already given it a pass. With the word "Magician" in the title I had it pegged for a Fantasy book of some sort.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
5,995
Earlier this year, I reread Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici. Now for the first time I'm reading Browne's Hydriotaphia / Urn Burial. I'm relishing it. Here's how it starts:

IN the deep discovery of the subterranean world

a shallow part would satisfy some inquirers;

who, if two or three yards were open about

the surface, would not care to rake the bowels of Potosi,

and regions toward the centre. Nature hath furnished

one part of the earth, and man another. The treasures

of time lie high, in urns, coins, and monuments, scarce

below the roots of some vegetables. Time hath endless

rarities, and shows of all varieties; which reveals old

things in heaven, makes new discoveries in earth, and

even earth itself a discovery. That great antiquity

America lay buried for thousands of years, and a large

part of the earth is still in the urn unto us.


---Do you pick up that sense of wonder that, for many of us, drew us to science fiction and fantasy? Browne is dealing with history and geology, but they are important for his imagination (as well as curiosity, interest in the accumulation of facts, etc.). And for sure there's something in Browne's imagination that reminds me of that of the master of the antiquarian ghost story, M. R. James.

It would be something, to hear this read by a first-rate reader.

Just got this nifty book, btw:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0198797656/?tag=id2100-20
 
Last edited:

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
13,606
Location
California
Have just finished reading Toby's Up To The Throne. Lots of action and excitement. Interesting characters. I look forward to the next book in the series.
 
Top