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July 2019: Reading Thread

Bick

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So I finished Relic by Alan Dean Foster last week and have since started another Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael novel - the second one in the series, One Corpse Too Many, which is very good so far.

Relic was a book I had been really looking forward to reading; its a new treatment of the last-human-alive trope; its Foster's latest novel I believe, and it is quite nicely done. But I think it bore more resemblance to CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series and alien species interrelationships, than the darker side of the sub-genre I was perhaps looking for. It's actually written in quite a light, positive style, which slightly surprised. That said, its ADF, so its an easy read, full of some nice ideas and scenes and it does have some good moments of tension and pace. Overall I'd say it was a B+ SF novel, perhaps not Foster's very best, but a very good go at an interesting concept. His aliens are quite well realised, which helps make it Cherryh-esque perhaps. I'd just have liked it to be a bit moodier and dark, as would seem to suit the sub-genre, but that's just personal taste - the subject matter would suit a fairly grim, SF thriller style I think. However, it's good to see Foster continues to write thoughtful SF as standalone novels at this end of his long and successful career.
 

dannymcg

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So I finished Relic by Alan Dean Foster last week and have since started another Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael novel - the second one in the series, One Corpse Too Many, which is very good so far.

Relic was a book I had been really looking forward to reading; its a new treatment of the last-human-alive trope; its Foster's latest novel I believe, and it is quite nicely done. But I think it bore more resemblance to CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series and alien species interrelationships, than the darker side of the sub-genre I was perhaps looking for. It's actually written in quite a light, positive style, which slightly surprised. That said, its ADF, so its an easy read, full of some nice ideas and scenes and it does have some good moments of tension and pace. Overall I'd say it was a B+ SF novel, perhaps not Foster's very best, but a very good go at an interesting concept. His aliens are quite well realised, which helps make it Cherryh-esque perhaps. I'd just have liked it to be a bit moodier and dark, as would seem to suit the sub-genre, but that's just personal taste - the subject matter would suit a fairly grim, SF thriller style I think. However, it's good to see Foster continues to write thoughtful SF as standalone novels at this end of his long and successful career.
Cheers for this review @Bick
TBH I'd forgotten about my query on this book, however I've been, of late, really catching up on my tbr list and will, very shortly, need more books.

This sounds, definitely, like it'll be one of my early August purchases - I'll be getting between six and ten depending on prices (but I'll start, as always, with a stroll around the charity shops and used book shops) :) (y)
 

AE35Unit

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.

Relic was a book I had been really looking forward to reading; its a new treatment of the last-human-alive trope; its Foster's latest novel I believe, and it is quite nicely done. But I think it bore more resemblance to CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series and alien species interrelationships, than the darker side of the sub-genre I was perhaps looking for. It's actually written in quite a light, positive style, which slightly surprised. That said, its ADF, so its an easy read, full of some nice ideas and scenes and it does have some good moments of tension and pace. Overall I'd say it was a B+ SF novel, perhaps not Foster's very best, but a very good go at an interesting concept. His aliens are quite well realised, which helps make it Cherryh-esque perhaps. I'd just have liked it to be a bit moodier and dark, as would seem to suit the sub-genre, but that's just personal taste - the subject matter would suit a fairly grim, SF thriller style I think. However, it's good to see Foster continues to write thoughtful SF as standalone novels at this end of his long and successful career.
I love ADF's books, they are nearly always easy to read without being childish. His Icerigger series is fantastic. And his Pip and Flinx series are (mostly) fun.
 

Ian Fortytwo

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I'm reading A Dollar to Die For, hy Brian Fox. It is one from the Dollar western series, originally played by Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti western films. The Man With No Name.
 

Brian G Turner

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Read and enjoyed Star Light by Martin M Clark, aka our own reiver33:

It wasn't a long book, but it had a great sense of voice and setting.
 

Hugh

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Roger Zelazny; "Eye of Cat" (1982)
This was much better than I expected. Given it was one of his last non-Amber books, and written between the relatively bland "Changeling" and "Madwand" , I expected it to be fairly mundane, but it has surprising depth, and I found it gnawed away at me. It's setting is the shamanic cosmology of the Navajo, and, given that it came out in 1982 long before the popularisation of neo-shamanism, I think it was way ahead of its time. It also does a good job of interweaving the western psychic/spiritual tradition with the shamanic. There are echoes here of Le Guin's "Wizard of Earthsea" (though somewhat more visceral) and Frank Waters' "The Man Who Killed the Deer", both of which I'm sure he must have read, but in no way is it derivative. I know nothing of Navajo myth, so am in no position to pass judgement on his use of it, but given he researched this book as thoroughly as the "Lord of Light", spending over a year on the research and visiting the significant places in the book, I think it very likely that he had a good understanding of his material. Zelazny and his family had moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1975, and he soon found himself increasingly drawn to the local Indian cultures. Apparently this was one of the five books that he valued most in his writing. Although written a tad "experimentally" I found it very readable (unlike his earlier "Creatures of Light and Darkness" that was too obscurely personal and which I gave up on real quick on every attempt).

One other point: it is dedicated to Joe Leaphorn, Jimmy Chee and Tony Hillerman. I see that the first two are Navajo police officers in a series of novels by Tony Hillerman. I will take a look at one or two of these. Has anyone read them?

If you're interested, there's an excellent discussion of "Eye of Cat" here. Initially it just focuses on the various covers, but it gets much better as the article progresses.
 

Rodders

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I've finished Infernal by F. Paul Wilson.

Jack is reunited with his brother, Tom, after the death of their Father. Tom persuades Jack to go to go to Bermuda where they end up finding the "Lilitongue of Gefrenda", one of the seven Infernals. Jack also goes after the Terrorists that murdered his father, but time is limited.

This was the weaker of the Repairman Jack books that I have read so far. It was enjoyable enough, though. Jack's brother is a real A. hole.

Now on to Harbingers (Repairman Jack book 10.)
 

Vertigo

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given that it came out in 1982 long before the popularisation of neo-shamanism
If anyone had asked my I'd have said 'neo-shamanism' began much earlier than that. I would have put it at the end of the '60s beginning of the '70s with books from people like Carlos Castenada.
 

Randy M.

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One other point: it is dedicated to Joe Leaphorn, Jimmy Chee and Tony Hillerman. I see that the first two are Navajo police officers in a series of novels by Tony Hillerman. I will take a look at one or two of these. Has anyone read them?
Hi, Hugh. I haven't read them, but I've heard of them over and over and always rated as an excellent series, and especially after Hillerman brought his two protagonists together as a team. The series was early in the wave of mysteries of the '60s/'70s to bring in non-white detectives and gained plaudits for ushering in a perspective new to the genre. Hillerman's respect for the Navajo culture gained him access to their leaders which, I believe, gave his work verisimilitude.

Randy M.
 

Brian G Turner

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Am currently reading The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen, mainly focused on the biggest five extinction events of Earth's history (since complex life began).

As someone who has had their childhood interest in palaeontology recently re-fired, I'm finding the book fascinating.

However, the description of what the Earth was like after the Permian extinction is frightening. Even worse is that the biggest extinction event the planet has ever seen is blamed on a sharp rise in CO2 levels, one we are currently exceeding in modern times - and that is truly terrifying! :eek:
 

Randy M.

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Finished Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill. A very good collection of short fantasy stories, fairy tale-like presentation merged with magical realism and maybe a touch of surrealism, delightfully written -- one blurb evokes Bradbury and that's not far off -- and thoughtful. I won't swear I "got" every story, but her prose alone is entertaining. The final story, "The Unlicensed Wizard," a novella that won the World Fantasy Award, is worth the price of the book. People who like their magic defined and science-like may be put off by the wildness and unpredictability of magic in Barnhill's stories. Still, I think anyone who enjoyed Theodora Goss' In the Forest of Forgetting, Angela Slatter's A Feast of Sorrows or perhaps stretching a bit here) Holly Phillips' In the Palace of Repose would find this of interest.

Just starting The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.

Randy M.
 

Hugh

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If anyone had asked my I'd have said 'neo-shamanism' began much earlier than that. I would have put it at the end of the '60s beginning of the '70s with books from people like Carlos Castenada.
Sure, Michael Harner too, but in literature? Those books were before multiple training courses in how to be a shaman, and trees being weighed down with tied bundles (UK anyway). These days it's difficult stepping out the door without meeting someone who's training in Olmec/ Mayan/Romany/ you name it shamanism. ( I exaggerate of course). Don't get me wrong, I have no objection.

Edit: Hmm... wikipedia has an entry, for what it's worth, dating the neo-shamanism "label" to the 1980s.

I was totally gobsmacked by the early Castanedas, the first four anyway, and was so disappointed when I realised/read that there was a creative author at work.
 
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Hugh

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Hi, Hugh. I haven't read them, but I've heard of them over and over and always rated as an excellent series, and especially after Hillerman brought his two protagonists together as a team. The series was early in the wave of mysteries of the '60s/'70s to bring in non-white detectives and gained plaudits for ushering in a perspective new to the genre. Hillerman's respect for the Navajo culture gained him access to their leaders which, I believe, gave his work verisimilitude.

Randy M.
That's great! Many thanks. I'll definitely have a read.
 

dannymcg

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I've dumped Delta-V (dull and bland)
Now into....
The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren

I'm actually quite enjoying this book.
The blurbs waffled on about "Jason Bourne meets Blade Runner" and similar statements.
However to my mind it's (apart from weird aliens) more reminiscent of the futuristic secret agents in The Darkness on Diamondia by Van Vogt
 

tobl

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I'm actually quite enjoying this book.
The blurbs waffled on about "Jason Bourne meets Blade Runner" and similar statements.
However to my mind it's (apart from weird aliens) more reminiscent of the futuristic secret agents in The Darkness on Diamondia by Van Vogt
ah, from null-a ... not really my cup of tea lolo in any case i might try the gambit and see it...
 

pambaddeley

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Catchup:

So far in July have read: When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman, Fortress Malta by James Holland, Scap Flow by Malcolm Brown and Patricia Meehan, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones, three Inspector Rebus novels by Ian Rankin: Tooth and Nail, Dead Souls and A Question of Blood, The Lost Village by Neil Spring, four in Jodi Taylor's Chronicles of St Mary series: Just One Damned Thing After Another, A Symphony of Echoes, A Second Chance and Lies, Damned Lies, and History, Dunkirk by Joshua Levine, People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck and book 7 in the Indigo series by Louise Cooper, Revenant.
 
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