December 2020 Reading Thread

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BigBadBob141

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REF: Dask.
In the November reading list you had a copy of "The Third Eye" by Theodore Cogswell, you might be interested in another short story collection of his titled "The Wall Around The World", I've read title story in the Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus and pretty good it was too!
P.S. For anyone interested the Penguin SF Omnibus is a very good collection, I highly recommend it!
 

Danny McG

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I've just finished Warhorse by Timothy Zahn @Parson you were right, it is a good read.

Now I'm straight on to Heaven's River by Dennis E Taylor
 

Parson

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Finished Valor's Duty by Kal Spriggs. This was an improvement from book 2. This book appears to wrap up the military school part of the epic with some really interesting tech and some espionage mixed in. I have book 4 Valor's Cost queued up and ready to roll.
 

Danny McG

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I'm having a re-read now, inspired by a recent question in the Book Search thread.

Second Contact by Mike Resnick
 

BigBadBob141

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I hate lectures in fiction, I would roll my eyes when I was reading "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" it's a very good story but some times there would be a mini rant about Swedish politics and social matters here and there, as the late, great John W. Campbell would say, if you want to send a message use Western Union!
 

Bick

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Finished A Time of Changes by Robert Silverberg. I enjoyed it - a thoughtful book.

This is my review:

Very much a product of its era, this novel comes from the middle of Silverberg's most productive period of quality, award-winning SF. Published in 1971, A Time of Changes won the 1972 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and was also nominated for both the Hugo and Locus Awards. On the world of Borthan it is forbidden by religious covenant to use personal pronouns, a moral crime known as 'self-baring'. Use of I or me is dreadfully rude and can lead to arrest. The Septarch's (monach's) younger brother, Kinnall Darival tells his tale by way of an autobiography.

As suggested, this is a product of its time - the novel explores the idea that psychotropic drugs can expand consciousness and be highly beneficial and it also contains a good deal of sexually-explicit scenarios. These are both hobby-horses of Silverberg, of course, so it's not surprising to come across such themes by him in a book from this era. Silverberg always manages to write about such themes from a very adult perspective, however, so they rarely seem at all gratuitous. But don't give it to your younger kids to read!

During his travels through the northern continent of Velada Borthan, the prince encounters a man from Earth, who introduces him to an illicit drug from the less-developed southern continent of Borthan. This drug opens up a connection between mutual takers of the substance. This connection reveals to Kinnall the benefits - love, respect and togetherness - that self-acknowledgement can bring.

The setting for the novel is unusual. It's certainly SF, as Kinnall meets an Earthman, Schweiz, and also discusses the historical settling of Borthan by those who came from Earth and spread across the galaxy. However, the culture seems quite primitive in most respects, and in tone and setting it bears resemblance to fantasy. In this respect, it shares some similarity to Silverberg's own Majipoor books. Overall, this is a well-written, thoughtful and successful book. Silverberg tackles some interesting themes, and his idea of a culture that bans consideration of 'self' is certainly thought-provoking.
 

biodroid

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Nophek Gloss - Essa Hansen. I think it's a space opera similar to Firefly, I don't read these kinds of books so I thought I would try this one. It's good so far, entertaining with heart.
 

Foxbat

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Decided to retry Kenny MacAskill’s Radical Scotland. I still found it a bit dry but managed to finish it this time around. I did learn one piece of history that I was ignorant of: the massacre of Tranent in 1797. Interestingly, 18 people died at Peterloo in 1819 and is much better known. At Tranent, 22 people died at the rifles and swords of British troops but is hardly known about at all.
 

Vertigo

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I got Surface Detail as a present long ago but haven't read it, coz it's part of a series or can it be read on its own?
One or two Culture books are best read in order but most are stand alone and that is certainly the case for Surface Detail. However it is a pretty weird (in a good way) book and probably not the best introduction to Banks' Culture books.
 
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