June 2019: Reading Thread

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Vertigo

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Sorry but still have to disagree. And I'm the person that uses those sort of terms to describe The Stars my Destination which I considered (and still do consider) to be hugely overrated but I did not find The Three Body Problem and its siblings to be so (actually I read and loved the first one before much of the hype had even begun).

I think it's a better example of a "marmite" book than an "Emperor's new clothes" book.
 

Hugh

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Volume Four of The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny
This comprises the "My Name is Legion" trilogy of novelettes, several Dilvish stories, various short stories, articles and odds and ends, as well as a summary of his life and writing of the late 70s. Oh! and a fair amount of his poetry.
All in all there's not a lot that you can't find elsewhere in "My Name is Legion", "Dilvish, the Damned", and the excellent short story collections "Unicorn Variations" and "The Last Defender of Camelot". However, this six volume edition by NESFA is so well presented that it's a joy to read. I'd forgotten how good some of these stories are, for instance it's been a while since I read "The Horses of Lir", and I'd forgotten there had been a follow -up to "Devil Car", "The Last of the Wild Ones". Likewise I'd remembered "My Name is Legion" as just another set of Zelazny stories set around an alpha male superhero-type, but I enjoyed them much more than I anticipated.
I'm afraid though that his poetry continues to be way over my head, a real pity as this was important to him.
 

The Big Peat

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Currently reading the Relic Guild by Edward Cox. Fun premise, good action, workmanlike prose - but its suffering from a split timeline and the current one is interesting, but the past one isn't selling itself to me - I don't think I spent enough time with the characters to be properly interested in younger them just because, and that's all the set up for it Cox gives. Shame.
 

vanye

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(...) can't go wrong with a little David Gemmell. :)
I don't know about that. My first by him was The Complete Chronicles of the Jerusalem Man and I thought it just barely passed muster. But since a lot of people whose judgement in all things bookish I trust implicitly love Gemmel, I gave it a second try: Ghost King. What can I say - this was much worse and I gave up on Gemmel as a lost cause for me personally. Many years later (not so long ago) I read some very good reviews of Legend, so I tried it and enjoyed the read.
 

vanye

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Have actually done some reading recently (joy :inlove:) and thought I'd share:

Neal Asher: The Warship is the second book of his Rise of the Jain trilogy. My critique of the first, The Soldier, still stands - his story has credibility problems, especially when you have read all the other books about this universe. I mean, how much "allmightier" than allmighty can you get?! However, the problem is not quite as prevalent as in the first book and it does not (often) interfere with the reading. And the background we get on the Splatterjay virus and the Jain is fascinating. So, if you like his style you should pick this one up, I reckon.

I also started in on a great new Sword & Socerer series: Amra Thetys by Michael McClung. Finished the first one (The Thief who pulled on Trouble's braids) and immediately followed up with the second (The Thief who spat in Luck's good Eye). It's been a long time since I read good Sword & Sorcerer stuff and it seems to have gone out of fashion. So I had totally forgotten how much fun it can be it it's well done (Marion Zimmer Bradley's collection is not in this class, by the way). And this one has lots of delightful humour and repartee and some very enjoyable characters. Already have the third book on my to read pile and very much looking forward to it.

Last in the list is Mark Charan Newton's Retribution, his second Lucan Drakenfeld novel. The first one (Drakenfeld) was already an absolute fun read, but in the second the author really hits his stride. This, to my mind, is a pure whodunit in a fantasy setting. Very well done and a joy to read. I certainly hope to read more about Lucan and Leana in the near future.
 

dannymcg

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hum thanks, didn't knew he had written a new one. read the preface... i don't know. seems like the same general thing he wrote before. i'll wait for your critic
If you've ever read anything by Elmore Leonard then you can skip this novel.
Same plot and tropes as everything he's ever written but transposed into a Thomas Harris book instead
 

Hugh

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Roger Zelazny "Roadmarks"
I thought this was a lot of fun. A re-read, but any memory of it turned out to be minimal. Very Zelaznyish with the protagonists driving along the road that travels through time, passing by all manner of turnings to different variants of history. One minor detail amused me: a brief appearance from a man named Adolph driving a battered black Volkswagen looking for the variant in history "where he won".
 

Vertigo

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From Darkest Skies by Sam Peters - police procedural, which is far from my favourite sub-genre. More here.
Stowaway to Mars by John Wyndham aka John Beynon - Very early Wyndham and very disappointing. More here.
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie - competent sequel to Ancillary Justice. More here.
 

williamjm

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I finished Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Ruin. Considering that Children of Time didn't feel like a book that needed a sequel, I think this has done a very good job of building on the first book by adding in many new plotlines and ideas while still staying true to the themes of the original book. Where the first book focused on the artificially accelerated evolution of a species of spider into an advanced civilisation and their encounter with a generation ship of human explorers/refugees, this time the spiders (and their new Human allies) are the explorers in a new star system. This system has two planets with life, a water world inhabited by octopuses who have undergone a similar evolutionary journey to the spiders in the first book and a second with a far more alien form of life. As in the first book, Tchaikovsky is excellent at making non-human perspectives seem very distinct and different while still being comprehensible at some level, and the new species don't feel like a repeat of the spiders of the first book.

This book has some hugely ambitious ideas (probably even more ambitious than the first book) and it does manage to use them to deliver a compelling narrative that remains coherent despite taking place over millennia. There are some very tense scenes (with the phrase 'We are going on an adventure' gaining some increasingly sinister overtones as the book goes on) and a genuine sense of a journey into the unknown, and despite the density of ideas the book does still seem fast-paced.

If I had a criticism it would be that the characterisation can sometimes feel a bit bland, particularly for the human characters. I think these books may have Tchaikovsky's best ideas, but I think his characters have been more interesting in his other books.
 

Parson

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Just an update. I continue very slowly reading The Gordian Protocol, not because of some plot problem (at least not one I'm aware of) but rather because I am studying Spanish and have taken on a hoe fix-it project. When these are added to my normal grand kid activities (and watching the Minnesota Twins) I haven't had much time.
 

Vince W

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Started Reamde by Neal Stephenson. I generally like his work but I'm only 20 pages in and they have been a slog. I hope it picks up soon.
 

tobl

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Started Reamde by Neal Stephenson. I generally like his work but I'm only 20 pages in and they have been a slog. I hope it picks up soon.
the only one i liked was the Con lolo
 

Bick

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I have a second book on the go: Ellis Peter's first Brother Cadfael book, A Morbid Taste for Bones. I read one of these years ago, but don't recall which one or what happened, only that I enjoyed it. I recall my mum liked them and read quite a few. Good so far, nice atmosphere. I watched a bit of The History Channel on the telly last night and saw a program that focused on life in medieval England, which prompted me to pick it up (I have three Cadfael's on the shelf that I picked up in a used book store a couple of weeks back. The store actually had almost all the series books there, someone must have brought their old collection in I think. If I enjoy this a lot I may go back and pick up 5 or 6 more).
 
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