July 2021 Reading Discussion.

hitmouse

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I'm currently read Tuf Voyaging by George RR Martin, which is a lot more cartoony than I'd expected. Seems OK so far. I managed to get copies of Flowers for Algernon, The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed down the charity shop, so I might be re-reading them next.
I enjoyed Tuf Voyaging, though I felt he was starting to run out of steam a bit in the latter stories.
 

Vertigo

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I'm currently read Tuf Voyaging by George RR Martin, which is a lot more cartoony than I'd expected. Seems OK so far. I managed to get copies of Flowers for Algernon, The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed down the charity shop, so I might be re-reading them next.
The Dispossessed was one of my favourite student days reads (I even called my very anarchist cat Shevek!) but I only just got around to reading The Left Hand of Darkness and, whilst I appreciated its obvious qualities, I confess I found it a bit of a slog but I'm not quite sure why!
 

Toby Frost

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I remember finding it hard to get into, but once I was about 50 pages in, it seemed to get easier. Perhaps I just had to get the hang of LeGuin's style.
 

The Big Peat

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Re Lindsay Buroker chat - I've only read her fantasy stuff. I read the first of The Emperor's Edge and found it fun, but got stuck on the second book for reasons.


Anyway. Recently finished Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, which was fantastic, and Cherryh's The Well of Shiuan, which...eh, not sure.

Recently started An Alchemy of Masks and Mirrors by someone Craddock, which I wouldn't continue if it wasn't for a readalong, and Citadel of Fear by Francis Stevens, which I wouldn't continue if I wasn't doing a beginnings of fantasy research project. I've also got The Raven Tower by Leckie on the go, which isn't absorbing me, so I think I'll start another couple of books today or tomorrow.
 

Hugh

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Richard Matheson “The Shores of Space” (1957)
A collection of thirteen stories first published between 1951 and 1956.
Well written, but just a shade too dark for me to really enjoy.
 

Randy M.

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Richard Matheson “The Shores of Space” (1957)
A collection of thirteen stories first published between 1951 and 1956.
Well written, but just a shade too dark for me to really enjoy.
"[A] shade too dark" is pretty much what I do enjoy. :)

I'm over my armpits in books I'd like to read next, but I may have to dig this one out. Or maybe just get deeper in The Best of Richard Matheson than I have so far.
 

Hugh

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"[A] shade too dark" is pretty much what I do enjoy. :)

I'm over my armpits in books I'd like to read next, but I may have to dig this one out. Or maybe just get deeper in The Best of Richard Matheson than I have so far.
They're only a little "dark", not really dark: I don't want to get your hopes up unnecessarily...

Of the thirteen stories in "Shores of Space", I think three are in "The Best of Richard Matheson": "Blood Son", "The Funeral", "The Last Day" .
 

Randy M.

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Hugh, I think I've read "Blood Son," though so long ago I don't recall the story so much as the title. And I've read a few Matheson novels. He's not one of my absolute favorites, but he's someone I go back to when I have the urge for mid-20th century fantasy.
 

williamjm

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I remember finding it hard to get into, but once I was about 50 pages in, it seemed to get easier. Perhaps I just had to get the hang of LeGuin's style.
I found Genly to be an annoying protagonist which I think made it harder to get into the book although I thought it got stronger as it went along.
 

Vertigo

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I found Genly to be an annoying protagonist which I think made it harder to get into the book although I thought it got stronger as it went along.
To be fair, my enjoyment was certainly diminished by it being a poor scan of an old book. It really annoys me that established publishers scan their old catalogue and then put it back out for sale without bothering to proof read them; money for nothing as they say. And I really do mean without proof reading rather than poor proof reading; this edition had several places where single characters had been replaced with internet style escape sequences like "#%1234x" (I can't be bothered to look back for the exact sequences) instead of a single character. Even the most cursory attempt at proof reading should have picked that up. Also every (and I do mean every) time they commented on the inability of people to pronounce the 'L' in Genly's name it was either 'i' or '1'. To my mind that's just inexcusable.

But, yes, I found Genly to be an unpleasant character and, for someone selected for a diplomatic mission, extraordinarily lacking in empathy!
 

Vertigo

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Just not finding enough time to write up my reading at the moment so here's my recent stuff (most read in June) most of which was very good but none exceptional:
Slant by Greg Bear - though I quite enjoyed this I felt it ran off the rails a little towards the end. Just sneaking into 4/5 stars
Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri - my second Fabbri and first 'proper' Vespasian book. This was very good although it sometimes felt like history lessons took precedence over the story. That said the chariot race sequence managed to be both highly instructive and exciting. Although possibly very realistic I also felt the prose often revelled in the violence. One final complaint and a bit of a spoiler
was that the idea that a barbarian chief sparing his prisoners from death just because one of them had a pendant depicting their tribal, ancestral protector struck me as implausible
. But still a very good story with interesting characters. 4/5 stars.
Vortex by Robert Charles Wilson - a good conclusion to the Spin trilogy and better paced than the previous two, which had tended to be a bit slow. This one wasn't slow but did get rather weird! 4/5 stars
The infinite Sea by Jeffrey A Carver - I had it in my head that this was the last of three books in the series but it turns out there's another three still to come. And it also turns out I'm quite happy about that! This was more straight forward human/alien SF adventure with lots of interesting underwater detail based, according to the note at the end, on the author's own diving experience. Interesting aliens, well built characters and a good story. I thoroughly enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading future installments. Good hardish SF. 4/5 stars
The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds - considering how so many of his books are written on such a large canvas Reynolds is also remarkably adept at the shorter novella length story. This one is a good old fashioned style Space Opera with an enjoyable, if a little predictable, plot. 4/5 stars
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin - this is a very well known classic that I was hoping I'd enjoy more. It's hard to pin down exactly why I didn't, the main character was rather annoying but the story was sound even ignoring the various messages associated with it. But ultimately it dragged for me; I found The Dispossessed a far superior book. One salute I'd like to give it; the glacier travel detailed in the book was very accurate and, in particular, her description of what we nowadays call a whiteout was particularly accurate. And one stylistic grumble was two main POVs both presented in first person; I don't object to first person but I do object to more than one in a book. 3/5 stars.
Embers of War by Gareth L Powell - given all the accolades this book has received from authors I respect - Tchaikovsky, Leckie, Hamilton and others - I was expecting to like it more but... Purple prose - far too many long-winded overly flowery similes, episodic staccato pacing - 70 'chapters' in a 350 page book, massively overly melodramatic - I'm a soldier, and if I'm going to die I'll do it with dignity - Oh. My. Lord. Does this author ever love his melodrama and finally a stylistic grumble (the same as Left Hand of Darkness above) multiple first person POVs. I've not actually finished this yet but I don't think my opinion will shift in the final 80 pages. Sadly I doubt I'll progress with the series unless anyone can convince me the writing improves. I notice that he's recently put out a book co-authored with Peter F Hamilton. Hmmm I might give that one a try. 3/5 stars
 
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Danny McG

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@Vertigo

Are you sure about the author?
I have it as an ebook by Alastair Reynolds
The Iron Tactician by Peter F Hamilton - considering how Hamilton is best known for his doorstop sized books he's also remarkably adept at the shorter novella length story. This one is a good old fashioned style Space Opera with an enjoyable, if a little predictable, plot. 4/5 stars
 

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