January 2022 Reading Thread.

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Vertigo

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Dr Bloodmoney by Philip K Dick - weird elements, even by dick's standards, but unusually straightforward plotting. More here.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway - a strange but excellent mix of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and thriller. More here.
Merlin’s Gun by Alastair Reynolds - Really only a slightly long short story rather than the claimed novella and whilst it is the last in the Merlin stories, I’m not sure that it wasn’t one of the first actually written! Regardless, it does finish the sequence off but not very satisfactorily. It has a couple of nice twists, but it wasn’t really enough to justify Reynold's various other stories written about the eponymous Merlin. 3/5 stars

[I have just noticed that Roberto Bolano (an author I love) once described Dr ~Bloodmoney as a 'masterpiece' which I find very interesting.]
 
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pogopossum

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Robert A. Heinlein: “The Green Hills of Earth” (1951)

Classic collection of ten SF short stories. Ages since I’ve read some of these – many of the titles were unfamiliar – but as I read through them, in almost every story something fell into place at some point and I remembered it as one that I had enjoyed many years ago.
If you like Green Hills, try The Past Through Tomorrow, Heinlein's hefty compendium of not only Hills, but all of his early Future History series. When I moved and gave away 9/10ths of my collection I kept that one even though my overall criteria, not expecting to re-read in the forseeable future, did not apply.
 

Hugh

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If you like Green Hills, try The Past Through Tomorrow, Heinlein's hefty compendium of not only Hills, but all of his early Future History series. When I moved and gave away 9/10ths of my collection I kept that one even though my overall criteria, not expecting to re-read in the forseeable future, did not apply.
Thanks! I've made a note to check it out.
 

Danny McG

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I'm now reading Djinn City by Saad Z. Hossain.

It's an odd blend of sci Fi and fantasy, very entertaining.

I recently read Cyber Mage by the same author and a lot of the characters have similar names, I think maybe one's a "next generation" sequel of the other.
 

Bick

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I finished van Vogt’s Empire of the Atom, which was an ‘old solar system’ romp set in 12,000 AD. More thoughtful and planned than I expected, of only middling quality perhaps, but with some nice ideas and more of a story arc than you might expect from van Vogt.

I’m now starting Past Master by the inimitable R. A. Lafferty. If the van Vogt was not as mad as I expected, this will surely meet that brief.
 

Extollager

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Reading again The Silmarillion. This'll be my 6th time reading the First Age material therein. I'm not sure how many times I have read the Akallabêth (Second Age) or the Third Age material, but several times each, I suppose.
 

hitmouse

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I finished van Vogt’s Empire of the Atom, which was an ‘old solar system’ romp set in 12,000 AD. More thoughtful and planned than I expected, of only middling quality perhaps, but with some nice ideas and more of a story arc than you might expect from van Vogt.

I’m now starting Past Master by the inimitable R. A. Lafferty. If the van Vogt was not as mad as I expected, this will surely meet that brief.
Past Master is one of Lafferty's more accessible works in my experience.
 

Fiberglass Cyborg

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Dr Bloodmoney by Philip K Dick - weird elements, even by dick's standards, but unusually straightforward plotting. More here.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway - a strange but excellent mix of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and thriller. More here.
Merlin’s Gun by Alastair Reynolds - Really only a slightly long short story rather than the claimed novella and whilst it is the last in the Merlin stories, I’m not sure that it wasn’t one of the first actually written! Regardless, it does finish the sequence off but not very satisfactorily. It has a couple of nice twists, but it wasn’t really enough to justify Reynold's various other stories written about the eponymous Merlin. 3/5 stars

[I have just noticed that Roberto Bolano (an author I love) once described Dr ~Bloodmoney as a 'masterpiece' which I find very interesting.]
The Merlin stories are in the collection "Zima Blue," According to the author's notes, "Merlin's Gun" was written first, then "Hideaway" a few years later, and finally "Minla's Flowers." The two later stories are so much better written. I imagine that once he was more experienced, Reynolds had second thoughts about what he'd done with the Merlin story idea and decided that the journey was more interesting than the destination.
 

J-Sun

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I'm surprised to find that I may be in the minority but I loved "Merlin's Gun." If anything, the prequels, being prequels, were a little less impressive. Though which order you read them in may have something to do with it, as I read it first in its magazine appearance.
 

Vertigo

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The Merlin stories are in the collection "Zima Blue," According to the author's notes, "Merlin's Gun" was written first, then "Hideaway" a few years later, and finally "Minla's Flowers." The two later stories are so much better written. I imagine that once he was more experienced, Reynolds had second thoughts about what he'd done with the Merlin story idea and decided that the journey was more interesting than the destination.
There is another one, quite good actually, called the Iron Tactician which is still novella length but properly so this time.
 

worldofmutes

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I just finished Gregory Benford’s In The Ocean of Night (Galactic Center #1).

What if we discovered Sasquatch on the moon? What if we gave bigfoot a pulverizing laser gun?

When I think Benford I think of Tim “The Tool-man” Taylor. George R.R. Martin even put in a little blurb for him. “An important, eloquent and evocative book…”

As for me, this was pretty standard paperback sci-fi. Although Benford took way too much time on the chapter about his triad relationship with his wife, moribund with lupus- and his side-chick, Shirley. Then we never heard from Shirley again. Pity.

Overall it was amusing. I think the kind of science fiction that I enjoy is discovering extraterrestrial intelligence. I know it’s out there. I believe there are sasquatch on the moon. I want to believe.
 
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AE35Unit

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I just finished Gregory Benford’s In The Ocean of Night (Galactic Center #1).

What if we discovered Sasquatch on the moon? What if we gave bigfoot a pulverizing laser gun?

When I think Benford I think of Tim “The Tool-man” Taylor. George R.R. Martin even put in a little blurb for him. “An important, eloquent and evocative book…”

As for me, this was pretty standard paperback sci-fi. Although Benford took way too much time on the chapter about his triad relationship with his wife, moribund with lupus- and his side-chick, Shirley. Then we never heard from Shirley again. Pity.

Overall it was amusing. I think the kind of science fiction that I enjoy is discovering extraterrestrial intelligence. I know it’s out there. I believe there are sasquatch on the moon. I want to believe.
Great Sky River is the best place to start in that series. Those two early books are pretty dull.
 

AE35Unit

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I'm afraid to say I bailed on Belgarath the Sourcerer last night. I'd had enough. Didn't feel like it was going anywhere and its like, centuries, millenia pass in the blink of an eye and I found myself wondering what the hell is going on and why am I still reading this!
First DNF of '22
 
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