July 2021 Reading Discussion.

Randy M.

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I finished Day Zero this morning,

( C. Robert Cargill)​

then right on to Sea of Rust
I'd be interested in hearing about that, Danny. Cargill was screenwriter on Sinister, which I saw recently and was surprised by how good it was.
 

Danny McG

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I'd be interested in hearing about that, Danny. Cargill was screenwriter on Sinister, which I saw recently and was surprised by how good it was.
IMO you could not bother reading Day Zero ... basically the same tale as Sea of Rust from a different perspective.
However Sea of Rust impressive, thirty years after all humanity was killed in the robot apocalypse and now things don't look too good for the robot population
 

Danny McG

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Max Berry.
The 22 murders of Madison May.
A alt universe stepping serial killer needs tracking
 

tobl

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good book by daniel silva. the ceilist. good spy books, good tradecraft. honestly i was nevera big fan of graham green or la carre, aldo i do like the smiley books. i always liked jack higgins and maclean better.
as for jonathan maberry... it's a good book but... look i understand his point of view that supernatural is just science we don't understand,and i happen to agree but.... that being said... his dms books/joe ledger beguin with science has the main focus and scientific explanations for things. nowadays there's more mambo jambo and much less science and it irks me. a lot.
 

Parson

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I'm reading the Freedom's Fire box set by Bobby Adair. I've finished the first 3 books and am now 714 pages into a total of 1392. It's been a decent series. The first 3 books were written in first person, but book 4 appears to be some sort of third person (only read the first page so far.) The first three books have told the story of Kane who is one of the leaders of a rebellion against the human oppressors, the Grays. Book 4 promises "History of the Grays: Part 1" so perhaps we are off on another kind of adventure. I'll keep everyone informed.
 

kythe

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A bit of fluff - I just finished the Star Trek book "The Lives of Dax", a series of short stories by different authors for each of the symbiont Dax's previous hosts. I had hoped it would be something of a history of the Trill. Their symbiotic lives provide a great potential to explore.

It was alright, but the stories were somewhat uneven in quality. Several relied too strongly on famous people in the Federation, using known characters as a crutch rather than allowing the new characters to hold their own. Overall, it wasn't even the best Star Trek book I've read.
 

Vertigo

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I've recently finished reading Lanark: A Life in Four Books by Alasdair Gray. I'm not sure I'm up to writing a full blown review of it - an idea I'm finding more than a little daunting - but thought I'd say a few words here. I embarked upon reading it largely because I had read that it was a major influence on Iain Banks, he apparently said that it opened his eyes to the possibilities of what can be done with the novel, and I can certainly see how it would have influenced his literary experimentalism and playfulness. So in that it was very interesting, but beyond that I confess that, whilst I could see its literary cleverness, brilliance even, I really did not enjoy it. Bits of it, yes, but the entirety no. Started in 1954 when Gray was a student it was finally published in 1981 and is described by Gray himself at the end of the book as being fairly autobiographical in nature, particularly the middle two realist books. And this is where it gets weird; books one and two are a realist Bildungsroman of the young life (and death) of a Glaswegian artist named Thaw (Gray) and books three and four are a weirdly surreal account of Thaw's afterlife as Lanark in a mirror Glasgow called Unthank, but these four 'books' are read in the order 3, 1, 2, 4 so that the realist books are enclosed by the surreal (also the prologue and epilogue pop up in the middle rather than the beginning and end - oh and the epilogue is a conversation between Lanark and the author which gets particularly weird as the authors explains the he hasn't yet written some of the sections of the story that Lanark has already experienced!). The surreal books three and four felt to me like a blend of Gormenghast and the Beatles film The Yellow Submarine. I did enjoy parts and the writing is without doubt quite outstanding but my enjoyment was spoilt (quite possibly intentionally) by the, frankly, unpleasant main character of Thaw/Lanark; Thaw more so than Lanark. In the end I'm glad I've read it but it was a long and sometimes disagreeable slog.

I've also failed to finish Titanborn by Rhett C Bruno. I had high hopes Bruno would turn out to be a new author to me that I could get into. This was largely due to a few reviewers on Goodreads who I had come to think shared my tastes, but I guess I have made the mistake of assuming that, just because these authors seem to like the same books I like, they would also dislike the books I dislike. Clearly this is not the case. Although Titanborn was only published in 2018 it shares all the worst faults of the pulp SF of earlier years: complete disregard for scientific realism, macho bullsh** and totally implausible world building. The list of flaws is too long to go into but after less than a hundred pages of the total two hundred and thirty I just can't go on any further. In fairness many of the issues I have with this book I also had with the first Expanse book Leviathan and which stopped me from continuing with that series, so I guess my thoughts are maybe not a good measure for this type of book.
 
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Galactic Bus Driver

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I'm reading the Freedom's Fire box set by Bobby Adair. I've finished the first 3 books and am now 714 pages into a total of 1392. It's been a decent series. The first 3 books were written in first person, but book 4 appears to be some sort of third person (only read the first page so far.) The first three books have told the story of Kane who is one of the leaders of a rebellion against the human oppressors, the Grays. Book 4 promises "History of the Grays: Part 1" so perhaps we are off on another kind of adventure. I'll keep everyone informed.
I'm glad you're enjoying those.

Currently almost finished with "Windwitch" by Susan Dennard. It's the second book of the Witchlands series and while it has it's share of borrowed tropes, it has a fairly fresh premise and Ms. Dennard has an interesting writing style. Once done with the series, I'll be looking for more of her work.
 

The Big Peat

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I finished David Gemmell's Swords of Night and Day, and Patricia McKillip's Book of Atrix Wolfe yesterday.

Swords of Night and Day was better than I was fearing - it came out in a period full of series extenders and character resurrections that I didn't enjoy do I noped out on it quickly back then, but it's good and a little sad and I think it all makes sense for the series.

The Book of Atrix Wolfe is just a trip. It's all imagery and mystery and I love it, even if it I don't understand it.

Anyway, I decided to reward myself for finishing two books by starting five new ones.

Namely

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Black Wolves by Kate Elliot
The Councillor by EJ Beaton
 

HareBrain

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I've recently finished reading Lanark: A Life in Four Books by Alasdair Gray. I'm not sure I'm up to writing a full blown review of it - an idea I'm finding more than a little daunting - but thought I'd say a few words here. I embarked upon reading it largely because I had read that it was a major influence on Iain Banks, he apparently said that it opened his eyes to the possibilities of what can be done with the novel, and I can certainly see how it would have influenced his literary experimentalism and playfulness. So in that it was very interesting, but beyond that I confess that, whilst I could see its literary cleverness, brilliance even, I really did not enjoy it.
I read it maybe twenty years ago, and though I can't in all honesty say I enjoyed it much either, it has haunted a part of my mind ever since.
 

hitmouse

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I read it maybe twenty years ago, and though I can't in all honesty say I enjoyed it much either, it has haunted a part of my mind ever since.
Similarly here. I remember enjoying the beginning and having to slog through the end of the book.
 

Fiberglass Cyborg

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That's a central point in the early going of Lovecraft Country, both book and mini-series. Given Sandra Bland, among others, it's still a risk.
The first episode of "Lovecraft Country" is phenomenal. When you finally get to the blood-guts-and-tentacles stuff, it comes as a relief from the creeping, oppressive horror of everyday life. Reading up on it later, it seems the depiction of "sundown towns" is pretty accurate, which is just horrific.
 

kythe

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After seeing all of the references to Ursula Le Guin earlier in the month, I realized has been a very long time since I have read A Wizard of Earthsea.

I just checked it out of the library.
 

Foxbat

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I’m currently about 75% through Nine Princes Of Amber and I just don’t get why this book is so highly regarded. I’m determined to finish it despite finding it tedious. When you strip away the surface, this novel is simply a series of lists (list of siblings and their characteristics, list of landscapes described and journeyed through, lists of casualties in the various battles etc.). I could go on and, unfortunately, so does this book.
 

hitmouse

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I’m currently about 75% through Nine Princes Of Amber and I just don’t get why this book is so highly regarded. I’m determined to finish it despite finding it tedious. When you strip away the surface, this novel is simply a series of lists (list of siblings and their characteristics, list of landscapes described and journeyed through, lists of casualties in the various battles etc.). I could go on and, unfortunately, so does this book.
No, I think it is more than that. Intriguing multiverse/magic/family intrigue saga etc, which back when I was a young teenager really enthralled me.
I have to say that re-reading it last year, I found the book to be stylistically very dated.

Your criticisms apply much more to the final books in the series.
 

Danny McG

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I'm reading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (JKR)
The fifth in the Cormoran Strike detective series, this is a cold case from the seventies.

I think it's time to finish these, the story is getting tiresome and I'll probably DNF it.

(Question....how common were barbecues in the UK in 1974? Several times they're casually referenced in the book but, thinking back to those days, I can't recall ever going to one or knowing anybody who'd been to one)
 
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Victoria Silverwolf

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I have started The Diary of a Bookseller (2017) by Shaun Bythell, which is exactly what the title promises. The author owns a used bookstore in Scotland, and this volume records his day-by-day experiences. I also have a couple of books by the same author on the same subject. So far, it can be summed up as proof positive that you don't want to be a bookseller, given the precarious financial aspects and the many annoying aspects of both employees and customers.
 

HareBrain

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(Question....how common were barbecues in the UK in 1974? Several times they're casually referenced in the book but, thinking back to those days, I can't recall ever going to one or knowing anybody who'd been to one)
I'm pretty sure they weren't common then. I mean, how would you barbecue a prawn cocktail or sherry trifle?
 

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