May Reading Thread

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Fabulous film (providing you can ignore the religious overtones!). Be interesting to hear your report of both the book and how closely the film stuck to the author's vision.
Not far into the story yet but it is very well written so far. Enjoying :)
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

I really didn't like this book. It seemed like a load of purple prose-poetry and wink-at-the-camera irony without much content.
I finished Emily Tesh's space opera Some Desperate Glory, which I thought was a very good first novel. The protagonist has been raised on a space station populated by a few thousand humans where every moment of their lives is focused on preparing to fight against a galactic civilisation with a population in the trillions. Their education has been mostly indoctrination so that she will serve loyally in the military so it can be frustrating perspective to read at first because they initially find it very difficult to comprehend anything that doesn't fit with their training. Her understanding of the world she has been raised in and the wider world outside it does evolve through the course of the book, and as a result the book does become more enjoyable to read as it goes along. This is a standalone story and a lot happens in its 400+ pages, while some of the early plot developments might be predictable there are some big twists in the second half of the book. I thought the characterisation was good, there is one character who does seem to be an outright villain but other than that the other characters do have believable motivations even when they might sometimes be doing horrific things.

I'm now reading Jodi Taylor's A Symphony of Echoes. Like the first book in the series the plot is progressing at a breakneck pace, the first subplot featuring an unwise use of time travel to investigate the Jack the Ripper murders was creepy and surprising but it's barely been resolved before the next subplot kicks off.
I really didn't like this book. It seemed like a load of purple prose-poetry and wink-at-the-camera irony without much content.
I haven't picked up on the irony aspect thus far but for me it's making a show of its intellect but is wholly lacking any heart, and the words that are springing to mind at present are pretentious and too-clever-by-half.

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds.
Co-incidence! I read that just a few weeks ago. I look forward to reading your take on it.
Taking a break from The Great Hunt for a fairly short 1972 YA (or what would be YA now, except it wouldn't be published) Stag Boy by William Rayner. I'd never heard of this book (or the author) until an old uni friend mentioned it the other day as having been a childhood favourite. It wasn't in the catalogue of my local library service, and there seemed to be only a couple of copies for sale in the country. In the end I had to pay 32 times the cover price (of 50p, so no great hardship).

It seems to be one of those stories in which the 1970s excelled, which blended nature and mysticism (think Garner, Cooper) with a somewhat isolated protagonist. Since this one is focused on Exmoor stag hunts, and the MC is going to develop a mystical connection with stag-kind, I have a feeling this might be going somewhere dark. The 1970s was the era of The Wicker Man, after all.
Finished it. Loved it. An amazing story, an incredible work of imagination with some sensuous nature description. I can't believe it's almost sunk without trace when it's as good as (similarly themed) books by say Alan Garner.
Finished Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. A fun romp - necromancers (and cavaliers) in space, well, in this case, they end up in a crumbling castle on a waterlogged planet, and then skeletal constructs and dead bodies start showing up.
Hobgoblin Night by Teresa Edgerton. This sequel to Goblin Moon finishes the "Mask and Dagger" series, but still leaves me wanting to know what happens next. There is so much of this world to explore. We never really meet the fairies, learn quite how the hobgoblin civilization developed, what happened to the doctor who was left with the Trolls, or discover the origins of the Duchess' indigo ape. This series should be continued, or there could be more short stories associated to add to the ones already included at the end of the book.

On a related note, I really enjoyed the story of Oberon and Titania. A Midummer Night's Dream is my favorite Shakespeare play.
Leonard Woolf "An Autobiography 2: 1911-1969"
A collected edition of the last three volumes of his autobiography, written, remarkably, aged 84 to 88.
It was a complete surprise to find myself reading the first two volumes, but having read those I was hooked.
I knew little about him, or Virginia, and I found his account of their relationship both interesting and deeply poignant, including of course the times when she was suicidal or deluded. Although wealth could keep you out of the asylums of pre WWII times, it seems there was little else in the way of 'treatment' other than bed-rest in a darkened room, plenty of milk and four attendant nurses in shifts of two at a time. (Of course some will argue that that's better than what's on offer today).
He's a very interesting man, who set up his own printing press and publishing house - publishing among others Eliot's 'The Waste Land' and Freud's Collected Works' as well as Virginia's books. He was also deeply involved in politics (the Labour Party), and writes at times with great wit. For instance this comment on Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister: he was an opportunist who genuinely confused the highest political principles with the personal interests of James Ramsay Macdonald; he was neither on the Left nor on the Right, he was always bang on the Centre, and the Centre was James Ramsay MacDonald.
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I finished Jodi Taylor's Symphony of Echoes, the second part of her Chronicles of St Mary's series of time travel stories. Like the first book it is a quick and fun read, but also frustrating at times. Although often quite light-hearted it does have some darker moments in it but because it is bouncing from one plotline to another so quickly the attempts at more serious dramatic moments often lack weight. For example, near the end of the book the main character has to grapple with the moral consequences of preserving the historical timeline and they are disturbed by what they are having to do but there's very little time spent reflecting on this. The increasingly contrived roadblocks to the relationship between the main character and her love interest are also very tedious.

I've now started Ann Leckie's short collection, Well of Souls. So far, the title story's first contact tale is the highlight.
Suspense,survival novel .

Great Author
100 CULT FILMS ,by Ernest Mathijs,Xavier
A lot of foreign films.
Time to talk about two of my latest reads.

Admiral's Choice: Liam-Saga by Rob Blanton was advertised as a "Space Opera" and to be fair it did have a nice set-up and interesting world building. But as the book went on it became more and more a Space set Romance Novel. I read a long ways hoping against hope that the "romance" thing was just a phase or would at least tone down to more palatable levels. It did not! To show how frustrated I'd become, I was a mere hour or so from finished but found the story at this point to be completely unpalatable.

Avoid --- Not Recommended --- Flawed --- Okay --- Good --- Recommended --- Shouldn’t be Missed

The Object by Joshua T. Calvert was advertised as "Hard Science Fiction" and this time my understanding of the term and the author's was the same. This is the story of a near future (50 years? less?) where humanity discovers something entering the solar system and the longer it's observed the more mysterious it becomes. The story focuses on what is pretty much a one woman crusade to convince the powers that be to send a mission to meet the object. Which she eventually is able to see completed and then about the trip to the Object and what they find. All the science/tech of the story (save one piece) is completely or in a few cases almost believable. The ending is believable and the story raises a bunch of ethical and political questions that the reader is forced to consider and decide where each line should be drawn. This is a "First Contact" kind of story and it accomplishes this in a pretty unique way. I don't remember any other story which goes about it like this. Probably the story that is closest, but not really that close at all, is Rendezvous with Rama. It's not likely to be as classic as that, but it's very good and there will be no sequel (or at least that's what the author intends.)

Avoid --- Not Recommended --- Flawed --- Okay --- Good --- Recommended --- Shouldn’t be Missed
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