November Reading Thread

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The Judge

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Not a lot of reading done last month again, though I did manage to finish Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett. One of his last books and certainly not one of his best -- to my mind the plot was thin, the jokes laboured, many of the characters seemed to act out of character and the moralising seemed too heavy-handed. Not one for my Pratchett collection.

Not sure where to go next -- to try and move forward with the books I've started, or to venture onto something new.

What are you reading this month?
 
Sounds very good. I've not really forgiven Reynolds since he 'wasted' quite a bit of my reading time with Absolution Gap, which was DNF and made the preceding Revelation Space books pointless. This is a standalone and separate from that universe? Does it wrap up nicely, and should I maybe give Reynolds another go?

@Bick I couldn't reply in the thread as it's now closed. So here! Eversion is absolutely a stand alone and it does fully resolve at the end. It is a very clever book than spans multiple times and multiple styles from age of sail adventuring to pulp Buck Rogers sf which might sound a bit incoherent but is actually very coherent! It also might sound like it involves time travel, which worried me particularly as I'm generally not fond of time travel stories, but again it absolutely doesn't. It is pure SF but I'd struggle to say more without spoilers. I do recommend it!

I did enjoy some of his Revelation Space space books but would agree that Absolution gap was not one of them (I do like the Prefect Dreyfus ones). But I also feel now that they were some of his weaker work. I think I've generally enjoyed his standalone books more than his series; for me House of Suns was a standout that is now joined by Eversion.

Regarding the Plenty books, I have to say the first was not the first SF Masterworks bad experience I've had. I do find them a bit hit and miss.
 
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Last night I finished Normandy '44 by James Holland, and started Winkle by Paul Beaver, a biography of the the late British test pilot Eric "Winkle" Brown. Brown had a very interesting career -- not many would dispute that he is the greatest ever test pilot, though Chuck Yaeger pipped him to the sound barrier -- but Beaver hasn't yet convinced me that he is a very interesting character, and the book is hampered by the fact that many of the claims Brown made about his early life in his autobiography have turned out to be suspect. So far it hasn't really added anything (except doubt) to an hour-long documentary I watched a few years ago, so this might turn out to be a DNF.
 
@Bick I couldn't reply in the thread as it's now closed. So here! Eversion is absolutely a stand alone and it does fully resolve at the end. It is a very clever book than spans multiple times and multiple styles from age of sail adventuring to pulp Buck Rogers sf which might sound a bit incoherent but is actually very coherent! It also might sound like it involves time travel, which worried me particularly as I'm generally not fond of time travel stories, but again it absolutely doesn't. It is pure SF but I'd struggle to say more without spoilers. I do recommend it!

I did enjoy some of his Revelation Space space books but would agree that Absolution gap was not one of them (I do like the Prefect Dreyfus ones). But I also feel now that they were some of his weaker work. I think I've generally enjoyed his standalone books more than his series; for me House of Suns was a standout that is now joined by Eversion.

Regarding the Plenty books, I have to say the first was not the first SF Masterworks bad experience I've had. I do find them a bit hit and miss.
Very helpful, many thanks. Maybe I can should give Eversion a go at some point.
 
Well I'm struggling to finish The Jonah by James Herbert, far from his best and its almost a DNF.
After this I want to go back to where I started when I joined this forum, some classic SF
 
The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon

Solid thriller, well-conceived and written. McMahon does wonders merging the memories of Iris and Vi, thirteen-year-olds in 1985, of the movies Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with their lives and the theory of eugenics, revealing bit by bit the events that led them to where we meet them in 2019.

The core of the novel is that relationship between the girls and between them and their grandmother, raising issues of morality and trust and the damage often caused by good intentions.
 
Finished Starter Villain by Scalzi last week. Waited until now to comment as posting on a closing thread seemed silly.
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As you can see the from the cover, the book involves characters taking interesting roles although not even Scalzi would actually put a cat into a tie. Cats+ are important but supportive, not leads.
If you read Kaiju Preservation Society you know that Scalzi enjoys taking a whako premise and having fun with it.
It's not giving away too much to say that the lead character is thrown into the family business with little warning.
Statements on the flowers at his uncle's funeral typifies the great solemnity of the occasion and the spirit of the book.
"Suck it Moth------er" Also, "See you in Hell" and "Not soon enough."
And then it's off to the races
I know that the above reveal is extreme, but the quotes are on pages 34-35 and I am trying to suck you in.

My one caveat is that the conclusion is a little too neat. I would have preferred something a little more open ended as I enjoyed smiling and would have appreciated a sequel.
 
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@The Judge - huh, I love Raising Steam - but I did spend years in my teens helping out on a preserved steam railway and there is so much in there I recognise.

I'm on a re-read of Katie Waitman The Merro Tree - which follows a Master Performer, starting with him in jail awaiting a tribunal and then back to the start of his life, with his lousy childhood and the start of his training as a Master Performer. It's science fiction and has plenty of aliens and the concept of the master performer is a wonderful one.
 
Oh dear. The old Simak paperback I'm reading is falling apart. In fact its fell apart and is pretty unfixable. I'll do my best to finish reading it then put it in a bag on the shelf
 
Oh dear. The old Simak paperback I'm reading is falling apart. In fact its fell apart and is pretty unfixable. I'll do my best to finish reading it then put it in a bag on the shelf
Wish I were there. I am not an a genuine craftsperson, but I have had a lot of experience fixing my decrepit collection with glue, tape and reinforcements. Sad when old friends die.
 
I'm reading The Chanur Saga by C. J. Cherryh, a space opera saga. The 700-page book is composed of the first three novels of the series (The Pride of Chanur, Chanur's Venture, and The Kif Strike Back). So, yes, I'm reading all of them.

Basic premise is how a feline alien race stumbles upon a political situation when a captured human, fleeing from an insidious alien group, came to them for aid. I don't know where that goes, but I'll find out soon enough.
 
Oh dear. The old Simak paperback I'm reading is falling apart. In fact its fell apart and is pretty unfixable. I'll do my best to finish reading it then put it in a bag on the shelf
Sounds just like my copy...
 
Read
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Although it is the current Hugo prize novel, I do not recall any commentary here. Probably missed it due to intermittent participation.
Anyway. It's a dark fantasy that deliberately echoes old Grimm tales. There are even direct references. A witch says, "I don't want to dance myself to death" (approximate quote). Similarly there are a half dozen internal references that the adventure is some sort of Fairy Story.
But the originality of the participants, the tasks that they accomplish the gradual character development and interrelationships , all raise it above being a simple rehash of old stories. Four major people plus three animals. With original magical occurrences. A little slow at the start as the author sets the background and gets the story rolling. But that's deliberate craft. Read it.
 
@pogopossum Read it at least twice, possibly thrice and it is excellent. Any book that manages to get chickens right....:D The ending I did not see coming at all. The main characters are so real, and funny, and squabbling and things I won't spoiler. (Cussed is one of them.)
 
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