April Reading Thread

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Silverberg’s finest writing period was between the years (approx) 1969-1975. I think I’ve read all his novels from this period with one or two exceptions and the following all are excellent, to be honest:
The Man in the Maze (1969)
Nightwings (1969)
Downward to the Earth (1970)
Tower of Glass (1970)
The Second Trip (1971)
The World Inside (1971)
A Time of Changes (1971)
The Book of Skulls (1971)
Dying Inside (1972)
The Stochastic Man (1975)
Conglomeroid is a collection of the stories he wrote for Bova/Sheckley at Omni plus a couple of others from that period. So far all excellent.
Have read (and have) just about everything Silverberg wrote - missing some of his magazine stories that have never been collected. Most of it is good, some of it excellent, very little so-so, and I don't recall any I thought were bad (though some is "naive").

Currently reading The Hobbit for the umpteenth time (though the last was some years ago). Had almost forgotten how lovely it is. And am reminded what a travesty the film was (I only suffered the first).
Strange coincidence. I had been trying to get the daughter, who from a young age was a reader, interested in SFF with little success. Left a copy of Witches Abroad out on a chair by the bathroom. Since it was something that I had not pushed, she picked it up. Since then she (now 42) has always loved Pratchett. She polished her French before a junior year in France by reading him in French, has turtle t-shirts and lots of turtley sculptures in her house. Only downside is that I have few pterrys at home now. She stole all of them.

A noble sacrifice.

I continued being a glutton for punishment by reading Into The West by Mercedes Lackey, which made the interesting choice of

Running a big plot about will they find their new homeland for 75% of the book...

... then a bunch of people they've never met before turned up and just offer them a sweet home...

... which would seem to be a tense matter, but that's solved in three seconds through truth spirits...

... but wait! There's still awful monsters around!

... don't worry, a magical creature will come out of nowhere and save them[/spoiler}

This choice took what was already a dull and preachy book, and make it ludicrous and pointless on top.

If the ARC for Lackey I picked up isn't better, I'll be done.
I read Susanna Clarke's short story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu, and other stories, which I had on the shelf for many years without reading it. A couple of the stories are directly connected to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the others have similar themes about faeries and magic and could also be set in the same world, with the exception of one which is in the setting of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. I thought the highlight was the title story, which features an appearance by Jonathan Strange but is using a different perspective to the novel. Despite being published 8 years before the novel it does tie in well with the story. Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower and Tom Brightwind or how the bridge was built at Thoresby were also good. Some of the other stories felt a bit slight, particularly the Stardust story The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse.
Read: A Wolf at the Door and Other Rare Tales by Tanith Lee. The 13 stories making up this compilation are a mixed bag for me, but I particularly liked Venus Rising on Water, which is has a creepy, dreamlike quality [A journalist is exploring an ancient ruined city in a lagoon (something like Venice) and comes across an unusual painting]. And The Return of Berenice. Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short story titled "Berenice" [Berenice by Edgar Allan Poe]. This is what happens afterwards. A nice gothic and creepy tale, not to mention a very fitting continuation and ending to Poe's story.

Also read: Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire. This installment of the Wayward Children series is darker than the previous novellas. This novella is also different in that the reader learns more about the nature of Doors and a Door nexus (and the hidden price of opening Doors), than just exploring a single portal world. The reader is also introduced to the Shop of Lost Things, which is a fascinating place to explore. Interesting and sad. I do, however, think that McGuire wrote her six year old protagonist too mature for her age,and she is a bit heavy handed with her messages.

Finally finished: A New Science of Heaven by Robert Temple, which is about plasma physics and other weird (related) stuff. Interesting and provides food for thought (and extra research), but the man needs an editor to tighten up the structural ordering of the text and delete all the personal commentary. Temple is "dear friends" with nearly everyone. I want to read about plasma physics, not his Christmas Card list!​
Heading into Gormenghast for the first time.
Tried that twice many years ago and didn't get very far; it didn't grab me. Tried again about a year ago, pushed on a bit and then enjoyed it.
Got sidetracked though and stopped after the first book. An error that needs to be rectified.
I finished a reread of  Dragonsong by Anne McCaffery. The Harper Hall Trilogy have always been my favorites of her Pern stories.

I also read The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I love Gaiman's way of seemlessly blending mysticism with reality. This story is a nostalgic look at how a small child makes sense of the world around him.
Feed Them Silence by Lee Mandelo

Between the growing personal and empathic "one-way" relationship with a wolf and Sean's disintegrating relationship with her wife, this is a visceral and emotional novella. In light of Elon Musk's neuralink experiments, this novella is more speculative fiction than future or science fiction. I have no trouble believing that the events and the attitudes portrayed by corporations and characters. Well written, dark, thought-provoking and heart-breaking.
I’m giving up on Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton - DNF for me. Im reminded why I’ve read so little by him. It’s structured dreadfully, and soon becomes boring. We start with a great concept of an alien craft on a distant world and a group is sent to check it out. All good. Then we go into the future from there and get treated to 15 pages of pointless description of some kids playing a made up SF sports game, told in great detail, yet still impossible to follow, and there’s no apparent point to it. Then we go to the past for a bit of backstory for two of the team who have gone to check out the alien craft. This backstory is supposed to be exciting, but is actually dull, told in great detail with masses of info dumps, and is unrelated to the main story and takes… 100 pages! I’ve not read a book more in need of editing in 20 years.

It’s funny - I thought I ought to read more best-selling modern British space-opera, but seeing as books and series by Hamilton, Reynolds, Asher and Tchaikovsky have all been DNF for me, maybe I shouldn’t.
I read Reynolds' Pushing Ice and enjoyed it. However, Blindsight (Peter Watts) albeit fascinating, was difficult to get though. He could write about people sharing a pizza and you'd have a hard time understanding what was happening. I understand that the concepts in Sci-fi might be difficult to understand (which is par for the course), however the prose shouldn't have to be.
I haven't read the book but the saw the quite brilliant TV adaption.
I saw that as well. I just started season 2 (which isn't based on the book). I thought season one was very good, however it raced through the story (leaving a lot out) and embellished plot points that diminished Simmons' tale. However, for an adaptation it was very good, especially the performances.
I think it would be very difficult to do any Simmons book in one season. I also started S2 but after the first couple of episodes I never went back.
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