November 2022 Reading Thread

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Randy M.

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Cheers, I didn't know about this book, but I've downloaded it now and stuck it into my TBR file ;)

I've been reading one after the other and not falling into the daze I sometimes fall into with collections. His style, approach, and subject changes enough to keep the stories interesting for me.
 

HoopyFrood

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Listening to my first ever audiobook. Haven't got the wherewithal for reading fiction these days, but I found an Agatha Christie on Spotify Crooked House. It's my first Christie, have wanted to read her for a while though. Remarkable. Such skill at making me start to suspect someone, then someone else says or does something and you're off onto another line of thought. Could be any of them. Or none. Right now I even suspect the kids.
 

PadreTX

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A Midsummer's Night Dream. With not reading Shakespeare for 38 years, I forgot how difficult it could be to read his writing. It probably would have been better to see the play first.
 

CasualDebris

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Continuing with my obsession with short fiction, I have decided to read all the stories on the ISFdb Top Short Fiction list. I also plan to write articles on each. (Let's see how far I actually get.)
Ok, so now that I've finished The October Country, a biography of Edgar Allan Poe & a couple other minor items that were dragging, I can better focus on this project. I am so far nine stories in out of the 155 (all of them quite good so far). The reason I'm doing this is to encourage readers to rate the stories they've read on the ISFdb, because the Top Short Fiction list is a potentially great resource. Unfortunately, since many users don't rate the stories, the list is made up of more popular fare, & includes primarily the more popular authors. Which is frustrating. So there!
 

CasualDebris

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A Midsummer's Night Dream. With not reading Shakespeare for 38 years, I forgot how difficult it could be to read his writing. It probably would have been better to see the play first.
When I was a teen I loved theatre & went to see performances of Shakespeare's plays. If I wasn't familiar with the play, I'd read the Mary Lamb Tales of Shakespeare to get the basic plot. I then enjoyed the plays so much more, since, you know, I knew what was actually going on. I think watching the performance first might make it more challenging, but MND is among his more accessible works, at least on stage.
 

AE35Unit

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Finally finished World of Ptaavs by Niven. Not a great read to be honest. Oh well it is his first.
It does mention sentient sunflowers a few times though, which later turn up in Ringworld
 

Rodders

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Judge Dredd: Kingdom of the Blind.

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williamjm

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I finished Ian McDonald's Necroville. It has an intriguing premise - revolutionary nanotechnology has enabled the dead to be resurrected with their memories and skills intact and without some of the physical limits they had before death. However, due to the law not regarding them as citizens and due to have to pay off the costs of their resurrection to the corporations they largely form an underclass. Despite the dead being the main focus of much of the plot the five protagonists are still among the living, five (somewhat estranged) friends whose plan to meet up in Los Angeles' dead enclave during Day of the Dead celebrations gets sidetracked by growing unrest.

I think the biggest problem I had with the story is that the five main characters are all fairly insufferable. They almost all come from very privileged backgrounds but seem to excel at feeling sorry for themselves, I found Santiago and Camaguey to be particularly annoying and self-centred. It also takes a long time in the book for the plot to take shape, it's difficult to follow at first and although it does come together towards the end and become a more interesting story it felt like some of the plot threads were redundant and in some cases got forgotten about along the way. This is a pity because there is a fascinating world here with a lot of potential for interesting stories and at times it realises some of that potential but it felt a lot less than the sum of its parts. I think Ian McDonald is always an interesting author but he's written much better books.

I've now started Adrian Tchaikovsky's latest, Children of Memory. I think the first two books in this series were excellent and this is off to a good start so far.
 

dask

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Finished this. Read a lot of his comic book adventures but this is the first novel of his I read:
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Now finally getting around to this, the first volume of a trilogy:
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Quokka

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Really enjoyed The Postman Always Rings Twice (James M. Cain, 1934), its dated not surprisingly but its also an entertaining read and I wish more authors tried to tell their stories in 116 pages.

I'm tempted to stick with a winning formula with crime but instead I'll take another swing at getting my science fiction mojo back with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Robert A. Heinlein, 1966).
 
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Fiberglass Cyborg

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Recently absorbed: two very different after-the-fall novels.

Momenticon by Andrew Caldecott (author of Rotherweird). Bit of a mixed bag: the setup is superb, but as the plot gets into the third act the writing becomes so fast and sketchy, I had trouble figuring out who was in each scene, where they were, and what was even supposed to be going on. Its a shame the title "hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world" is already taken, as it would fit. Set on a future Earth covered in a corrosive atmosphere, where most of the survivors are ruled by one of two ruthless yet whimsical dynasties. Two artistically gifted outsiders find themselves caught up in the endgame. Full of surreal and vivid references to classic paintings and "Alice in Wonderland". I just wish he'd given the whole thing more room to breath.

"Beyond the Burn Line" by Paul McAuley - I accidentally read the whole thing in an afternoon, it's that good. It's my favourite book of his so far. Starts a couple of hundred thousand years after the extinction of humanity, as a civilisation of mild-mannered little mammals has spread out across the Americas. McAuley does a great job of showing both their utopian aspects and the ways this can get a bit stiffling. Pilgrim Saltmire, an asexual scholar with a dodgy leg, sets out on a quest to complete his late master's research into UFO sightings. It has the twisty, where-is-this going plotting of "Something Coming Through," but with a far more warm, lyrical tone.
 
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