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What Else Are You Reading? > What Else Are You Reading - December 2018

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message 1: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
December is here, what's on your reading agenda before the New Year?


message 2: by David (new)

David (farrakut) | 751 comments I've got a few random issues of SF/F magazines from earlier this year to read, and then I'll probably work on the Craft Sequence. Here's hoping I get some done before 2019!


message 3: by Allison (new)

Allison Hurd | 200 comments I don't think I posted last month!
I read:
An Unkindness of Ghosts - grim but fascinating.
The Consuming Fire - lots of detail and friends, wanted more humor.
Rosewater - so unique!
The Song of Achilles - gorgeous writing.
Stories of Your Life and Others - amazing concepts. Some really great stories, some okay.
The Word for World is Forest - the angriest her books have yet made me. She's so talented.
Passing Strange - started great, ended fine, the middle I could have done without.
The Cloud Roads - fun popcorn read, cool setting.
The Ophiuchi Hotline - noped out of this one.
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories - enjoyable retellings, but only 3 that felt like they added something to the genre.
The Black God's Drums - all sorts of interesting, except for the story.

Now reading The Lathe of Heaven which is super trippy and creepy, Jade City (finally!) and dipped my toe into Gardens of the Moon which I'm really enjoying though I don't know how to pronounce Ganoes.


message 4: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Now reading Jade City (finally!) "

What a slacker!


message 5: by Allison (new)

Allison Hurd | 200 comments Rob wrote: "Now reading Jade City (finally!) "

What a slacker!"


I know, I've been in a real slump. ;-D


message 6: by Stephen (last edited Dec 01, 2018 04:18PM) (new)

Stephen Richter (StephenofLongBeach) | 923 comments Are you like me and are lagging behind in your personal challenges? Then try these Hugo nominated novellas by Lois McMaster Bujold. I will list then in reading order if you want to keep the stories in order 1. Penric's Demon, 2. Penric and the Shaman, 3Penric's Fox. 4Penric’s Mission, 5 Mira's Last Dance: A Penric & Desdemona Novella in the World of the Five Gods and 6 The Prisoner of Limnos. Each novella is about the price of a cup of cappuccino or do as I did and get the novellas via Overdrive audio. The narration of the stories is done by Grover Gardner who did the 3 volumes of Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1, Reader's Edition so his voice is always the voice of Mark Twain in my head as those audio books combined are 75 hours. So it is like Mark Twain reading me a 4 hour story. Perfect for those long holiday road trips. In quality these tales are as good as the Dunk & Eggs stories with humor and innovation. Also you need not to read the novels in the World of the Five Gods series as theses novellas are self contained.
So that is week one of December for me. My local copy of Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr at the library is missing! So Monday I will do my own search as I find it hard to believe someone would be dastardly enough to steal it. It might be in the Nature section instead of Fiction. I should end the year with Oathbringer but it may bleed into 2019.
Finally, a good luck wishes to all who seek to finish their reading Challenges.


message 7: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments Stephen wrote: "Are you like me and are lagging behind in your personal challenges? Then try these Hugo nominated novellas by Lois McMaster Bujold. I will list then in reading order if you want to k..."

Excellent tip, thanks Stephen!


message 8: by Matt (new)

Matt | 14 comments I finished Ka - I was really surprised how fast it read for me. I thought after reading the opening few pages that it would be a slow trudge, but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down.

Also just finished Ash Princess. This was a decent YA fantasy that fills all the current tropes in that genre.


message 9: by Silvana (last edited Dec 02, 2018 05:51PM) (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments I am 70% into Ka. Loving it.

And also enjoying a (third?) reread of a long time favorite middle-grade fantasy with a cheeky djinni: The Amulet of Samarkand


message 10: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments Stephen wrote: "Are you like me and are lagging behind in your personal challenges? Then try these Hugo nominated novellas by Lois McMaster Bujold. I will list then in reading order if you want to k..."

I plan to read Penric novellas next year. Glad you enjoy them. And so sorry about the Ka copy :(


message 11: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1899 comments Finished The Chessmen of Mars, read The Master Mind of Mars in something close to one sitting (it was short) and started A Fighting Man of Mars.


message 12: by John (Taloni) (last edited Dec 03, 2018 06:46AM) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments finished up Look to Windward and decided to straight on to the next Culture book, Matter. I don't usually care about covers, but I have to note that this is a smashing cover.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


message 13: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments Finished with the delightful The Amulet of Samarkand and starting Ringworld. A book I've been wanting to read for a long time, I hope I'll enjoy it.


message 14: by Ben (new)

Ben | 53 comments I started Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition today. I really like it, but I'm also a big fan of the author :)


Jacqueline (Fall In Love With The Sound of Words) (jackey_Oh) | 4 comments I am finally delving into some China Mieville; thinking The City & the City probably wasn't the best starting point! x-/. I am also gearing up to start Mark Lawrence's Grey Sister, I can't wait for Holy Sister next year!!


message 16: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1899 comments And now it's Swords of Mars.


message 17: by Sheila Jean (new)

Sheila Jean | 112 comments All my library books are ready at once. This is going to be tricky:

Audio: Sins of Empire
Audio: Manners & Mutiny
Audio: In the Labyrinth of Drakes (Hoopla)
Text: Static Ruin (finished, cuz Novella. loved this series)
Text: Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr

I'm also next up to check out these, but I've suspended the electronic holds:
Ebook: The Dream Gatherer
Audio: Moon Over Soho


message 18: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 605 comments Sheila Jean wrote: "All my library books are ready at once. This is going to be tricky:

Audio: Sins of Empire
Audio: Manners & Mutiny
Audio: In the Labyrinth of Drakes ..."


Smile


The same is happening to me, luckily the library ebooks and audio are drm free so I can stack an read later

Lies Sleeping
Thin Air
The Silence of the Girls
Spoonbenders
The Mortal Word
An Unremarkable Body

I also have Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr in ebook form and am reading From a Low and Quiet Sea: Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2018... ahhhhhhh.


message 19: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments Iain wrote: "The same is happening to me, luckily the library ebooks and audio are drm free so I can stack an read later"

Lucky! I've been known to load to my rarely used Kindle Fire and turn off wireless when close to the end of a loan period and I'm not done with the book yet.

As for the list above, I vote Manners and Mutiny first. A good finale to the Finishing School books.


message 20: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 605 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "Iain wrote: "The same is happening to me, luckily the library ebooks and audio are drm free so I can stack an read later"

Lucky! I've been known to load to my rarely used Kindle Fire and turn off ..."


Search for calibre, kindle and plugins

I do not recommend doing this...


message 21: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2193 comments Iain wrote: "The same is happening to me, luckily the library ebooks and audio are drm free so I can stack an read later
..."


Stealing library books? Seriously?


message 22: by Iain (last edited Dec 04, 2018 10:29PM) (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 605 comments Rick wrote: "Iain wrote: "The same is happening to me, luckily the library ebooks and audio are drm free so I can stack an read later
..."

Stealing library books? Seriously?"

No borrowing them and reading them once.

I do this to get them out of borrowbox which I cannot read from (font and layout issues and declining eye sight). It almost avoid the one chapter to go syndrome where it can return a hard copy back a few days lay and pay a fee. End effects on a very long book are a problem with ebooks and a long wait list.

I also do this with amazon purchases as kindle on an iPad is awful.


message 23: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 3665 comments I took a detour from S&L-type books to read Becoming, which I finished last month, the day before seeing Mrs. Obama on her book tour. Then I jumped into 3 light "mystery" type books. Rounding out December, I hope to finish Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr and Skyward. If there's still time after those, maybe I'll try Zeroes again.


message 24: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments About Look to Windward: Decent book, held together well. Good character study despite some frustrations.

And what are the frustrations? Mostly to do with Culture books overall. Each takes a topic and does a slow reveal well. But for me the Culture doesn't hold up on biological or scientific concepts.

Firstly, the Culture is made up of humans and allied aliens. So, the humans. They aren't from Earth. Earth is a backwater off to one side where they've decided not to interfere. Yet the Culture is biologically human, apparently of multiple races of human that arose on multiple planets around the same time and unified. The whole thing smacks of a human expansion into the galaxy followed by a fallback and eventual re-rise to civilization, but Banks didn't postulate that. Instead humans apparently arise independently on multiple planets for no good reason. Gah! Star Trek's hand waving was better justified, with each crinkle nosed or folded forehead alien at least having its own rise to sentience. Back in the 1950s Asimov did better with his Galactic Empire books.

Then the science. So they all live on Orbitals, mini Ringworlds. Nice idea. But where Ringworld held together scientifically to the point of defense lasers against asteroids and day/night shadow squares, the Orbitals are held together by...well, nothing. "Force fields" is the justification given. Oh please, amaze me with the depth of your scientific vision. It might as well be magic.

This story continues on in that vein. The main character is a predator of some species that's nominally alien but otherwise acts entirely human. They drink mulled wine and eat bread. Er...predator, right? Kzinti were better established within the first 50 pages of Ringworld.

Apparently the huge AI "Minds" that run vast vessels and Orbitals are also pretty much just human in scope. They show a wide eccentric bent in Excession. In Look to Windward apparently they also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the point of, well, to not spoil I'll say "extreme actions."

The book fails on the "interesting aliens" metric, and at most includes a sop to that in the use of vast aliens living in an enclosed all-gas Airworld. Everything else is some flavor of human, no matter how dressed up.

In the end the character study ends well. It is the study of a despondent person and what depths he will go to. But despite the allegedly alien nature of that character and other aliens in the story, it's a tale that could have been told of WW2 participants with little change. The book largely fails as science fiction.


message 25: by Rick (last edited Dec 05, 2018 07:15AM) (new)

Rick | 2193 comments You're mistaken about the Culture being humans. They're not. They're humanoid and somewhere IIRC Banks noted that he did this both because he felt the bipedal, humanoid shape might be common and also because it's familiar. Note his Idiran aren't humanoid and he has quite a lot of other aliens who are decidedly not humanoid in the various books. He's simply telling the story of the Involved faction that IS humanoid.

As far as the various fields Banks has the Culture use, I think you need to just get over it. The second you postulate FTL and associated tech, you're already past what we know is possible. The entire idea of Minds is that they have a much deeper grasp of how reality functions and can manipulate it. It's basically the excuse when talking about any galaxy spanning force that uses FTL etc; physics as we know it is incomplete and we're missing something very deep about how the universe really works.

You seem to have a fixation on Niven as if he's some kind of standard. He's not. I mean... a civilization that builds ring worlds but uses lasers as a defense? It would be like us using bow and arrow to protect naval aircraft carriers.

At this point I kind of wonder why you're reading the books as each time you talk about them, you don't seem to have liked them. Me, when that happens, I move on.


message 26: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments I like them fine. I think they could be better. TBH though I am reading them partly as filler when other books aren't available, and also partly because I keep hearing how Hydrogen Sonata is awesome, but you can't just read it as a stand alone.

As for the Culture, they are repeatedly referred to as human in the books. There was a reference to the orbital being pan-human in the last book. This implies they can interbreed as well. Bleah.

Sorry, not going to take your advice and skip. I feel just fine pointing out the bad along with the good.


message 27: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2193 comments Hydrogen sonata is in deed good but I think you're hearing it's awesome from people who like the series. No idea what you'll think of it.

BTW you could easily read it now. You just need some grounding in what the Culture is and the larger galaxy in which it exists. There's nothing in the series that means you need to read all of them.

The human thing bores me. Like complaining about FTL etc - do you really think any actual human can write really alien viewpoints? I don't. I've not, in 40+ years of SF reading. Banks sidesteps that, assumes some kind of coincidence, and tells the stories.

And no, they're not all 5 star books - but picking at things like the tech feels small to me. You can do that in almost any SF if you want.


message 28: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 605 comments Screamed through Lies Sleeping which is another excellent entry in the sequence.

Peter Grant is the opposite of a Marty Stu, slogging his way through and relying on police procedure to get him there in the end. A brilliant cast of characters. I only wish they came out more often :-)

Now onto Thin Air


message 29: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Rader | 27 comments Finishing off a reread of Assassin's Fate. I am listening to the audiobook. Also working on Wrath of Empire. I realized that I re-listen to at least 1-2 of Robin Hobb's books about Fitz each year. I have truly come to love the characters in those trilogies!


message 30: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1899 comments Time for Synthetic Men of Mars, which is not the greatest book in the series, but which actually kind of prefigures a lot of 1950s monster/horror movies.


message 31: by Scott (new)

Scott Ely | 77 comments Just finished Alif the Unseen which was pretty good!
Now I am re-reading The Traitor Baru Cormorant because a) it was fantastic (and a former S&L pick), and b) the sequel The Monster Baru Cormorant is now out, but I need a refresher on the characters.


message 32: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments Finished with Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr (one of the best books I read this year, what an experience!) and Ringworld (Ugh. I think I should stay away from old SF for now, or maybe just the BDO stuff).

Starting some non-fictions, including a fascinating photo essay by China Miéville titled London's Overthrow. Also available online here: http://www.londonsoverthrow.org/


message 33: by Mark (last edited Dec 09, 2018 06:44PM) (new)

Mark (mmtz) | 1027 comments Silvana wrote: "Ugh. I think I should stay away from old SF for now, or maybe just the BDO stuff"

LOL! I guess I'm acronym-challenged because I had to lookup BDO. Here's a Tor.com article on the topic with a list of BDO books to avoid. ;-P

http://www.tor.com/2018/01/08/a-brie...


message 34: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 605 comments Mark wrote: "Silvana wrote: "Ugh. I think I should stay away from old SF for now, or maybe just the BDO stuff"

LOL! I guess I'm acronym-challenged because I had to lookup BDO. Here's a Tor.com article on the t..."


Kind of hard to beat Rama.


message 35: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
I finished listening to Kings of the Wyld - ★★★½☆ - (My Review)


message 36: by AndrewP (last edited Dec 10, 2018 05:51PM) (new)

AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 2184 comments I'm reading Lord of Chaos and Revelation Space, which I suspect will have a BDO in it :)


message 37: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments Hah! I've read all of the early ones on that list and still drool over Ringworld. Even read the increasingly crappy sequels. BDOs are not for everyone but they are definitely for me.

I rather liked Orbitsville and even enjoyed the lesser quality followup Orbitsville Departure.

Rama isn't just a BDO, it's one that goes unexplained. Well, went. I was puzzled as a teen, then realized later that Clarke was choosing to not explain the unexplainable. It was a brave creative decision. And then...then Gentry Lee came in along with a stack of cash and they *shudder* explained Rama. (Luke Skywalker voice) Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!


message 38: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments Thanks for the article, Mark.

My BDO experience has never been a good one....remembering Blindsight *shivers*


message 39: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments AndrewP wrote: "I'm reading Lord of Chaos and Revelation Space, which I suspect will have a BDU in it :)"

Let me know please, since I am planning to read Revelation Space next year.


message 40: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (Nevets) | 994 comments For me as long as BDO doesn’t cross over into horror, I’m usually fine with it, and sometimes really enjoy it ( Pushing Ice is a favorite of mine). But when it does cross over, oh man is that the worst kind of SF to me. Blindsight being a great example of something not for me.

I’m trying to remember what was actually in Revelaton Space, vs it’s sequels. I guess I enjoyed the writing enough, that it didn’t matter that part of it was about a few BDO’s.

So isn’t most of the Expanse series about BDO’s, or are they smarter then that? Also, yes there is a lot of human on human conflict as well.


message 41: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments Yep, I was thinking about the Expanse too but BDO is not a central theme and neither do the vomit zombies.


message 42: by Mark (new)

Mark (mmtz) | 1027 comments Silvana wrote: "Yep, I was thinking about the Expanse too but BDO is not a central theme"

Agreed. The BDO in the Expanse drives people's decisions, change in their circumstances, and I hope no one ever fully explains it.


message 43: by Keith (last edited Dec 10, 2018 03:45PM) (new)

Keith (KeithATC) | 452 comments I haven't read much science fiction this year, and I haven't read much Heinlein. So, rather than pick one of his beloved classics, I went immediately for the late-career sleazy stuff: Friday. Also reading Ross Macdonald's The Moving Target and just finished Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War. The worse the trains get in New York, the longer my daily reading session.

Friday by Robert A. Heinlein The Moving Target (Lew Archer #1) by Ross Macdonald Five Came Back A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris


message 44: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1899 comments The end is nigh -- after reading Llana of Gathol in something approaching one sitting, I am starting John Carter of Mars, the last of Edgar Rice Burroughs's books about, well, John Carter of Mars.

(And I admit that I'm cheating a bit -- I'm skipping entirely over the first novella in the book, the execrable and ghost-written "John Carter and the Giant of Mars" and only reading the second, "Skeleton Men of Jupiter".)


Julie (RadiantPages) (radiantpages) | 54 comments Picked up Record of a Spaceborn Few and it’s blowing Ka out of the water for me.


message 46: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments The mostly Science Fiction short stories in Friday Black were quite good. My review: http://gsbyvalentinoschoolwear.co.uk/review/show...


message 47: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1899 comments Bidding a fond farewell to Barsoom, I've now just started Blackdog by K.V. Johansen.


message 48: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 3665 comments I Lem’d Ka pretty quickly but then devoured Skyward. Now I’m back to non-SFF light things for the rest of the year.

Also, I saw a car when I parked at my grocery store tonight...http://www.instagram.com/p/BrQ-LseBY...


message 49: by T (new)

T | 2 comments Enjoying the Space Team series http://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/...


message 50: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments Triiiike! Was it you who recommended Year Zero? It's hilarious! I read the first 10% and thought "the rest of the book can't keep this up" but I'm now at 20% and it is still smokin'.


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