Our reads in May 2021

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Our reads in May 2021

1dustydigger
Maio 1, 2021, 3:19 am

Another month,another pile of intriguing books. Whats on your agenda in May?

2dustydigger
Editado: Maio 30, 2021, 12:57 pm

Dusty's TBR for May
SF/Fantasy
George R Stewart - Earth Abides
Christopher Priest - Inverted World
Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Joanna Russ - Picnic on Paradise
Henry Kuttner - Fury
Edgar Rice Burroughs - Llana of Gathol
Harlan Ellison - Jeffty is Five
Lee Correy - Space Doctor
Murray Leinster - Exploration Team
Ted Chiang - Tower of Babylon

from other genres
Donald J Sobol - Encyclopedia Brown
Herge - Red Rackham's Treasure
Chris Van Allsburg - Polar Express
Jim Kelly - Nightrise
Anna Katharine Greene - That Affair Next Door

3Shrike58
Editado: Maio 3, 2021, 7:04 am

Just about done with The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, otherwise I will read The Human. After that, we'll see; the "Book on Hold" Fairy is about to come through for me on a number of fronts.

Just to note about Zen Cho's novella, I liked it quite a lot but it's still rather slight. That there might be more stories in this settling intrigues me though.

4daxxh
Maio 1, 2021, 9:30 am

I am currently reading Daemon by Daniel Suarez. The Books on Hold Fairy, the only way to get books from the library at the moment, has The Snow Queen, The Children of the Company, Road Out of Winter and Triumphant ready for this month.

5seitherin
Maio 1, 2021, 1:00 pm

Not reading any SF at the moment. Just leaving my mark to keep up with the thread.

6drmamm
Editado: Maio 1, 2021, 3:08 pm

I finished The 7-1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I liked it but didn't love it. It has a very interesting premise with a few cool twists and turns befitting any well-written whodunit. (In this case a period-piece whodunit that is in a Groundhog Day universe). However...something about the writing style rubbed me the wrong way. There were LOTS of internal monologues (which makes sense, given the premise of the story), but it really slowed the book down and actually made it difficult to follow all of the threads. My mind was mush as we approached the climax, and there were some events near the end which seemed put in the story to make everything come together.

If you like "Downton Abbey + Sherlock Holmes + Groundhog Day," you will love this book!

In a way, I think this would be a better single-season, eight episode TV show. I think the visuals of the characters doing their thing would better help me track the many interlocking threads, and production techniques could cut out some of the fat by condensing the page long internal monologues into a few under the breath sentences along with some clear physical reactions.

To put it another way, one of my favorite shows of all time is Dark (also an incredibly complex mystery with family drama and time travel), and I'm not sure I would have finished it if it were in book form.

I am about to start Excession which I think is the only Culture novel I haven't read yet. (I was surprised to see that it is also the only Culture novel that isn't available on Kindle in the U.S.).

7igorken
Maio 3, 2021, 4:56 pm

With a lot of reading to do for work and the novel I just finished burning me out on reading for a bit, it's time to get back to The hidden girl and other stories and savour some of Ken Liu's short stories this month.

8Sakerfalcon
Maio 4, 2021, 9:09 am

I'm reading Jeff Vandermeer's latest, Hummingbird Salamander.

9pjfarm
Maio 4, 2021, 11:16 am

Just finished Singularity's Ring by Paul Melko, didn't read it when it came out in '08. By the end of the book, I was alternating between interest and horror at his scenario for the future of mankind. Certainly got me thinking.

10dustydigger
Maio 4, 2021, 4:03 pm

Wow! Earth Abides was quite a read,becoming sadder and darker as it went on.Impressive.
That made 49/50 of the Locus Best SF Novels completed. Only the daunting Dhalgren left to finish the course. Probably in June and July. Could be August,it is a massive tomeand you often have a tussle with our Chip Delany's work,not the easiest of stuff.
That will be the final book to complete my plan to read the Hugo,Nebula winners,and the Focus Best SF list. I started out to achieve this when I discovered the oh so tempting lists on WWEnd way back in 2012. I got diverted into reading all sorts of SF,and a very small smattering of fantasy,and am quite amazed now when I see ''Best Of'' lists and have often read a high proportion of them. In 2012 not so much! lol.In fact it was pretty pathetic.
For now I am reading The Man Who Sold the Moon and LLana of Gathol. Plus making my third attempt at Christopher Priest's Inverted World Oh dear,it moves as slowly as the city on rails in the story (0.1 miles per day). I really must do it this time,even if at 10 pages a day,like medicine.

11iansales
Maio 5, 2021, 2:47 am

>10 dustydigger: I've read 44 of that list, although I have five of the unread ones on the TBR. I have no desire to ever read anything by Orson Scott Card.

12SChant
Maio 5, 2021, 3:35 am

Started A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge, about a young girl in the time of the English Civil War. It starts off so creepy and unsettling that I wonder what a child would make of it!

13andyl
Maio 5, 2021, 4:41 am

I'm currently reading Body Tourists by Jane Rogers although I haven't got very far into it yet.

14Stevil2001
Maio 5, 2021, 7:54 am

>12 SChant: A Skinful of Shadows is great!

15justifiedsinner
Maio 5, 2021, 10:11 am

>10 dustydigger: Only list on WWE I've managed to complete although I pretty close to finishing the (current) Classics of SF list.

16haydninvienna
Maio 5, 2021, 11:50 am

Last month dustydigger put me on to reading Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon. I’m now finished it. Great book—a bit of a struggle for the first hundred pages or so, coloured as it is by Stapledon’s philosophical views, but once we get away from that and the Second Men appear, things pick up quite a bit. It ends up as The City and the Stars, but better.

We know C S Lewis read it—he mentions it specifically in one of his essays. Most of the way through Last and First Men, on p 253 I find:
For so restricted was the land surface, that great areas of ocean had to be given over to specially designed marine plants, which now formed immense floating continents of vegetable matter.
Stapledon is describing the terraforming of Venus by the Fifth Men. Last and First Men was published in 1930. Were Stapledon’s “immense floating continents of vegetable matter” an influence on Perelandra, first published in 1943 or thereabouts?

17BigBookReader
Editado: Maio 5, 2021, 12:50 pm

I'm new here and just wanted to join in on the thread. I am currently reading a book that is just science based. It's about whether aliens exist in our universe or not and I think Michael Wall the author (sorry couldn't find a touchstone for him nor the book, although It is somewhere on the website.) touches on some very important topics and is very straight forward in this book. For my alien believers I strongly recommend this book.

18pgmcc
Maio 5, 2021, 2:35 pm

>17 BigBookReader:
Welcome to TL. I hope you enjoy it.

19nx74defiant
Maio 5, 2021, 3:36 pm

Death of a Clone

A very enjoyable young adult - science fiction - mystery. Leila is a clone working on mining of an asteroid. When her sister is murdered the Overseers don't care. But Leila who is a fan of old detective novels decides she will solve the mystery. She can not give up asking questions to find out the truth about her sister and their existence.

20rshart3
Maio 5, 2021, 10:54 pm

>16 haydninvienna: "Stapledon is describing the terraforming of Venus by the Fifth Men. Last and First Men was published in 1930. Were Stapledon’s “immense floating continents of vegetable matter” an influence on Perelandra, first published in 1943 or thereabouts?"
Interesting observation! Seems quite likely, doesn't it?

21BigBookReader
Maio 7, 2021, 12:34 pm

>18 pgmcc: pgmcc:
Thanks, I'm glad to be here. :)

22Karlstar
Maio 7, 2021, 3:05 pm

I'm muddling through a re-read of The Man in the High Castle, mostly to refresh my memory now that I've watched most of the show.

>17 BigBookReader: Welcome!

23justifiedsinner
Maio 8, 2021, 9:41 am

>22 Karlstar: The show is very different from the book.

24SFF1928-1973
Maio 9, 2021, 8:53 am

>10 dustydigger: Inverted World worked very well as a novelette. Expanding short fiction to novel length is a risky endeavour!

25DugsBooks
Maio 9, 2021, 12:36 pm

26dustydigger
Editado: Maio 9, 2021, 3:06 pm

Thank heavens! I have had a dreadful week struggling to do posts on LT,and found it impossible.Couldnt save posts nor open old ones to edit
Tried all the browsers and finally I find that things work with Opera.So good once more being able to open and edit booklists,update my TBR etc. No idea why things went so pear shaped on Microsoft,Firefox,Internet Explorer and Chrome,and I have nothing set up the way I like it here on Opera,which is a bit irritating.But at least I can communicate now:).
But I'm off to make supper. Here's hoping this post saves and is still there tomorrow! lol.Its been a most frustrating few days

27ChrisRiesbeck
Maio 9, 2021, 3:41 pm

28Shrike58
Maio 9, 2021, 3:44 pm

Finished The Human: The Rise of the Jain yesterday evening. I think that Asher stuck the landing but I can see how people might feel bludgeoned by a blow-by-blow accounting of an all-out battle. Next up will probably be A History of What Comes Next.

29LShelby
Maio 9, 2021, 9:38 pm

Just finished Search Image by Julie E. Czerneda. As always with Czerneda's work the story was compelling and the aliens simply awesome. :)

30Sakerfalcon
Maio 11, 2021, 7:05 am

Finished Hummingbird Salamander, now continuing with the dystopian vibe by reading A song for a new day.

31Shrike58
Maio 11, 2021, 8:37 am

Knocked off A History of What Comes Next. In the process I was reminded that the secret history is not my favorite theme and secret wars by aliens determining the course of Human history is not my favorite trope. Still, I'm interested enough to see what the author does with the follow-on books. Now we wait to see if we get our hands on Hench this month, otherwise, the next novel will either be Middlegame or The Moons of Barsk.

32iansales
Maio 12, 2021, 3:47 am

Finished Crimson Darkness, which got quite gripping in the last third. Not sure why the Puss in Boots cameo. And some of the conlang vocab was witty. Very deep worldbuilding, though - apparently he's been working on it on and off since the 1970s. Three books of a projected nine currently available, but I'm not holding my breath for the rest.

Speaking of series which extended past their creator's life, I've now started A Crown of Swords, the seventh Wheel of Time book. It's a reread - mostly, as in I gave up at book ten last time. Still, it's an easy book to skim-read as Jordan insists on explaining in mind-numbingly detail what happened in the previous books. Finding the actual plot buried among all the padding is the difficult bit.

33Stevil2001
Maio 12, 2021, 7:30 am

About to start A Desolation Called Peace. I am excited, based on how much I enjoyed A Memory Called Empire, but man it is big!

34Karlstar
Maio 12, 2021, 11:00 pm

>23 justifiedsinner: It absolutely is and I'm being reminded of that as I do the re-read.

35Sakerfalcon
Maio 13, 2021, 6:50 am

I'm enjoying A song for a new day despite the scarily spot-on pandemic plot line. And I've also started A desolation called peace which, like >33 Stevil2001:, I am excited about!

36dustydigger
Editado: Maio 14, 2021, 4:28 pm

Dragged myself through Inverted World Someone said that this book was like a blend of Arthur C Clarke and P K Dick. Yup that does seem apt,ACCs pedestrian workmanlike prose and flat characterisation blended with mindbending weird ideas a la PKD.lol.
I have no maths background so I couldnt grasp all the hyperbolas,optimums etc.,not a clue,and couldnt care less either. :0)
Oh well,at least I've finished it.....
Also read a cute little pulp Dr Kildare in Space type of tale Space Doctor good fun as med staff sent up to a solar panel array in space have to cope with the varied problems of space. Ten times more fun than being on that blighted train I just left!
Also read Jeffty is Five and next up is Ted Chiang's Tower of Babylon.

37RobertDay
Editado: Maio 14, 2021, 5:24 pm

I've gone back to the dark origins (in possibly more ways than one) of fantastic fiction with 'The Call of Cthulu and other weird stories' (touchstones don't point to my particular edition). Perhaps I've been around too long and seen too many parodies by divers hands, but the first two stories have left me as underwhelmed as their narrators are overwrought. The selection is edited by S.T. Joshi who revels in his role as a Lovecraft scholar, and each story is weighed down with references and critical commentary. But the book itself, a Penguin UK 'Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition' is easily the most gorgeous volume of mass-market paperback fiction I've handled in a long time, printed on good paper with the pages deckle-trimmed and covers in a gloriously sensual matt finish heavy card with faux hardback wrappers.

38ScoLgo
Maio 14, 2021, 7:57 pm

Taking a small break from the Foreigner series. Recently finished book #12, Betrayer. Great series for me thus far.

Paprika and Everfair were both disappointing. Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy is much more to my liking. Just about to crack open book #3, Rapture. Also have the associated collection, Apocalypse Nyx waiting on the TBR.

Gene Wolfe's The Devil in a Forest was more glum than expected and very much not SF or F in any way that I could discern. Ethel Mannin's Lucifer and the Child was astonishingly good while Jo Walton's Or, What You Will was good, but not great. I have loved some Jo Walton books in the past but this one I merely liked, (anyone that is into Shakespeare will probably enjoy it more than I did).

Along with Rapture in print, I am e-reading The Poppy War, which is starting off YA-ish and features some annoying contemporary slang in a historical setting. The story seems interesting though so we'll see how it develops.

39paradoxosalpha
Maio 14, 2021, 9:20 pm

>38 ScoLgo:

The Devil in a Forest is definitely the least Wolfe I've read, and I'd count Pandora by Holly Hollander in there.

40Sakerfalcon
Editado: Maio 15, 2021, 7:47 am

I finished A song for a new day and really enjoyed it. It's scary how relevant the book has suddenly become. I did find Luce a more compelling protagonist than Rosemary, but it was good to see how the latter grew as the story progressed. Pinsker does a great job of representing the thrills of playing and listening to live music in her prose, something that very few authors manage - the fact that she herself is a musician may have something to do with why those scenes come alive. I have Pinsker's short story collection on my TBR pile and will be starting it soon.

I'm struggling a little with A desolation called peace. I don't remember the style of the first book being quite so ... chatty. Or having italics to tell you which words the speaker (and third person narrator) is emphasising. It gets a little irritating.

41Karlstar
Maio 15, 2021, 2:23 pm

Just finished The Man in the High Castle. It is really different from the TV show, though the TV show did a great job without a lot of material.

42Neil_Luvs_Books
Editado: Maio 16, 2021, 12:25 am

>10 dustydigger: I really enjoyed Dhalgren when I read it as a university student back in the 80s. It is on my list to eventually re-read. But don’t expect anything to “happen”. Just let it wash over you. Sort of the way I am now reading Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun. I think Dhalgren is easier to follow than TBotNS.

43Neil_Luvs_Books
Maio 16, 2021, 12:30 am

>16 haydninvienna: Good question about the possible influence on Lewis’s Perelandra. Does anyone have an answer?

44iansales
Maio 16, 2021, 12:42 pm

Finished The Memory Police, which was apparently shortlisted for the International Booker. Not impressed at all. The central premise may be left unexplained, but the way it's implemented makes no sense and is contradictory. Oh, and then there's no plot.

45SFF1928-1973
Maio 16, 2021, 2:00 pm

When I get up to date with my chores I can read The Light That Never Was by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.. How's that for incentive?

46rshart3
Maio 16, 2021, 9:39 pm

>16 haydninvienna:,>43 Neil_Luvs_Books:
All I could find, in a quick check of books I own, was this from a recorded discussion between Lewis, Kingsley Amis, & Brian Aldiss in 1962:
"The starting point of the second novel, Perelandra, was my mental picture of the floating islands. The whole of the rest of my labours in a sense consisted of building up a world in which floating islands could exist." {Of Other Worlds, 1966}
He doesn't say whether he got the idea from something else, or perceived it as his own.

47Stevil2001
Maio 17, 2021, 7:35 am

>40 Sakerfalcon: I haven't read A Song for a New Day yet, but Pinsker's Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea is one of my favorite single-author collections. Lots of gems.

I am enjoying Desolation Called Peace so far but not as much as I remember liking Memory Called Empire. I think the stakes for Mahit are less obvious, especially at first. She supposedly is under threat on Lsel, but it feels to me like she just kind of sits there, and a lot of the Lsel politics fly over my head.

48ScoLgo
Maio 17, 2021, 12:00 pm

>47 Stevil2001: I really enjoyed A Song for a New Day but have not yet read Sooner or Later, Everything Falls Into the Sea. Sounds as though I should bump it nearer the top.

49iansales
Maio 17, 2021, 12:38 pm

Now reading The Switch by Justina Robson. Not sure where it's going yet. Seems a bit like a Shadowrun tie-in novel so far.

50ScoLgo
Maio 17, 2021, 1:09 pm

>39 paradoxosalpha: While browsing a used bookshop in another town recently, I stumbled upon a copy of Pandora by Holly Hollander. Haven't read it yet but plan to soon-ish. In my experience, even if the story isn't all that great, a mediocre Wolfe is still better-written than a lot of other stuff that gets published.

51paradoxosalpha
Maio 17, 2021, 1:43 pm

>48 ScoLgo:

Chipping in with my approbation for Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea. Choice stuff.

52justifiedsinner
Maio 18, 2021, 9:05 am

>47 Stevil2001: et al. A Song for a New Day is an extended version of the short story Our Lady of the Open Road which is in the collection Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea. I much preferred her short fiction to the novel. The Our Lady story was my least favorite in the collection. I much prefer listening to music than reading about someone else listening to music. I also felt her world building was minimal and cliched. To tell the truth what I most felt was bored.

53Stevil2001
Maio 18, 2021, 10:57 pm

>52 justifiedsinner: I really liked "Our Lady of the Open Road." I usually dislike reading about music, but Pinsker is a writer who can actually do it.

54Shrike58
Maio 19, 2021, 8:20 am

Whelp, the Library Hold Fairy just came through with Fugitive Telemetry, so that goes to the top of the reading pile.

55iansales
Maio 19, 2021, 9:10 am

Well, The Switch was not what I expected it to be. Started out as Shadowrun, then went all Banksian, and still managed to stay tethered to Robson's earlier novels. A lot better than I'd initially thought it would be. Now reading The True Queen.

56SChant
Maio 19, 2021, 9:49 am

Started M. John Harrison's The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again. It's beautifully written and descriptive, but the characters and story seem somehow distanced and listless. So far I can't connect with any of it.

57pjfarm
Maio 23, 2021, 10:18 pm

Read a library copy of Fugitive Telemetry. Still like Martha Wells' Murderbot stories.

Followed it with a short book on some local history.

Next up is probably The Messengers. It's a YA SF conclusion to Margaret Peterson Haddix's Greystone Secrets series.

58iansales
Maio 24, 2021, 2:11 am

Finished The True Queen. Didn't enjoy it as much as Sorcerer to the Crown. Some of the dialogue still seems not quite right for the period. Then read Rocketship Galileo. I had low expectations for it, and it more or less met them. It may have been published 22 years before Apollo 11, but some of the details of the trip to the Moon did't seem to ring true even given the knowledge of the time. And some of the slang was cringe-inducing.

59Sakerfalcon
Maio 24, 2021, 6:17 am

Finished A desolation called peace and enjoyed it, though it took me longer to get into than the first book.
Now I'm reading Beholder's eye by Julie Czerneda.

60Stevil2001
Maio 24, 2021, 11:04 am

>59 Sakerfalcon: Yes, I also just finished it. It was fine, but I don't think I would put it on a Hugo ballot. (I did vote book 1 for first place on last year's ballot.) Felt less focused and with less of a clear throughline, especially for Mahit, who was more of a side character here.

I have started Tiamat's Wrath, the second-last Expanse book.

61dustydigger
Maio 24, 2021, 11:44 am

Henry Kuttner's Fury was interesting,very pulpy with brutal characters and rough events,but I sense the fine hand of Kuttner's wife C L Moore there providing motivations which at least explain people's actions,not a normal thing in this subgenre,and there was even a rather interesting couple of female characters who werent just normal stereotypes of 1950. Not bad.
Now reading Joanna Russ' early work,Picnic on Paradise.

62ScoLgo
Maio 24, 2021, 3:01 pm

I am back to the Foreigner universe with the 13th installment, Intruder. Loving this series so far.

Just finished the Bel Dame Apocrypha series last night with Rapture. A great ending volume to a fiercely original trilogy. Not for the squeamish though!

The Poppy War didn't really work for me. The first 1/3 was interesting but once we got to the war stuff, the detailing of atrocity became mind-numbing. I get that Kuang was re-creating the Rape of Nanking in historical fantasy form but it didn't work for me - mostly due to poor character growth.

The Goblin Emperor... well... 3 stars. In 2015, this book won the Locus award. The only other entry I have read from that year is City of Stairs. If it was just between these two books, Bennett should have taken home the Locus, IMO.

Also still chipping away at Tales of the Dying Earth. A bit turgid in places but the adventures are rather fun. At 700+ pages in trade paperback, it is a bit daunting and I find I have to force myself to pick it up. Once I do, I rather enjoy each entry.

63nx74defiant
Maio 24, 2021, 3:55 pm

Finished The Martian

I had seen the movie.

64SFF1928-1973
Maio 25, 2021, 5:45 am

>62 ScoLgo: I never understood the current trend for massive books. Tales of the Dying Earth is actually four volumes squidged into one. Vance's Dying Earth is actually a delightful universe to dip in and out of.

65SFF1928-1973
Maio 25, 2021, 5:46 am

As penance for my sins I'm reading The Winds of Altair by Ben Bova. This is going rather slowly, as real life keeps interrupting.

66iansales
Maio 25, 2021, 10:50 am

Breaking out of genre for a couple of books - Snow, a crime novel whose solution is blindingly obvious from the first chapter, although to be fair it's more about its time and place (1950s Ireland), and Wigs on the Green, in which Nancy Mitford took the piss out of her Nazi-loving sister, Unity, and fascist sister, Diana Mosley.

67Maddz
Maio 25, 2021, 12:52 pm

>66 iansales: I like Mitford - isn't The Pursuit of Love on telly now?

68pgmcc
Maio 25, 2021, 1:12 pm

>66 iansales: Have you read any Banville before?

69haydninvienna
Editado: Maio 25, 2021, 2:06 pm

>66 iansales: Wishlisted Wigs on the Green, partly on the grounds that Diana M’s youngest son Max just died.

70Maddz
Maio 25, 2021, 2:26 pm

71haydninvienna
Maio 25, 2021, 3:15 pm

>70 Maddz: I saw that when I added Wigs … to my wishlist, but it’s available in dead-tree form also.

72Karlstar
Maio 25, 2021, 9:45 pm

>62 ScoLgo: Sorry you didn't enjoy The Goblin Emperor more, I really liked that one a lot. I'm currently reading Otherland: The City of Golden Shadow by Tad, which is a re-read. I guess I should find something newer next.

73Karlstar
Maio 25, 2021, 9:46 pm

>63 nx74defiant: How'd you like the book?

74ScoLgo
Maio 25, 2021, 10:09 pm

>72 Karlstar: Eh. I didn't hate it, just didn't find it better than City of Stairs. Have you read Bennett's trilogy?

The Otherland books are the only Tad Williams I have read and thought it was quite good. The two middle volumes dragged a bit but the creativity was excellent throughout - and he really wrapped up the ending nicely, which I appreciated.

75Maddz
Maio 26, 2021, 1:00 am

The Ice King by Michael Scott Rohan. Difficult to know what to say about this one - it's not normally something I would read, being more on the side of horror than urban fantasy.

A team of archaeologists excavate a Viking ship burial in a NE England coastal town and disturb very unpleasant things man was not meant to know (TM). I wasn't entirely convinced by the way they went about the excavation (build coffer dam in the estuary and severely annoy the local fishing fleet, pump out water, excavate as opposed to 'proper' underwater archaeology), but who am I to say...

76iansales
Editado: Maio 26, 2021, 2:34 am

>67 Maddz: and >70 Maddz: I seem to vaguely recall seeing it advertised, but I've not checked the BBC iPlayer recently. And that's the version I have, the Penguin Complete Novels.

>69 haydninvienna: Mitford is a lot like Waugh - they both write (mostly) about Bright Young Things (I think the term was coined to refer to Mitford's fiction) of the 1930s. Waugh is perhaps the better writer, but he's also racist, sexist and often contemptuous of those he writes about. Mitford has a lighter hand, and her humour is more absurd than cutting. Plus, Waugh was a terrible snob, and desperate to join the upper classes. Mitford didn't need to be.

>68 pgmcc: Yes, I've read several books by Banville, and by his alter ego Benjamin Black. That's what makes Snow such an odd and unsatisfactory read - it's not really a crime novel, although it's about the solving of a murder, and the crime gets in the way of everything else.

Now reading Mortal Remains by Christopher Evans, a reread, last read in 2004.

77haydninvienna
Editado: Maio 26, 2021, 2:46 am

>76 iansales: I read Christmas Pudding By Mitford and enjoyed it. Like P G Wodehouse but more acerbic.

78SChant
Maio 26, 2021, 10:41 am

Started Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear. Looks like it's going to be a big, sprawling Space Opera - just the thing for cheering up a cold, wet month.

79drmamm
Editado: Maio 26, 2021, 8:18 pm

Finished Excession, which finishes my journey with the Culture (at least in novel-length form). Definitely top half of the Culture novels, but I don't consider it one of the best. Lots of different storylines, and I was still scratching my head and googling stuff the day after I finished. It was still very good, though. I think the rave reviews pumped up my expectations to an unrealistic level.

80Karlstar
Maio 27, 2021, 7:01 am

>74 ScoLgo: I haven't, I'll take a look at them!

81iansales
Maio 27, 2021, 11:41 am

Finished Mortal Remains. Apparently I last read it in 1996, not 2004 (I misread the date). Which probably explains why I'd remembered pretty much none of it. Definitely a Varley's Eight Worlds vibe to it, although it's all biotech.

Now starting Morning of Creation, the second of the Destiny Makers quintet.

82nx74defiant
Maio 27, 2021, 12:41 pm

>73 Karlstar:

I enjoyed The Martian Andy Weir gives a lot of thought to the details that would be required to survive. Than Watney brings humor in as his coping device.

83Maddz
Maio 27, 2021, 3:32 pm

Tales of the Werewolf Clan, by H Warner Munn

This is the combined Werewolf Clan stories, originally published as short stories in the 1920s, and collected as 2 hardbacks in 1979. It's been a while since I read them; there's a definite Klarkashtonian vibe in the explanation of how the clan came about. Stylistically rather dated now (being rooted in the pulps), but still a good read.

Basically the story of a clan of werewolves from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, told from the point of view of various family member who usually end up dying horribly.

84dustydigger
Editado: Maio 27, 2021, 5:04 pm

Finished We are Legion(We are Bob). Pleasant enough read,but not up to all the hype IMO.
Partway through John Carter of Mars,which will complete the whole Barsoom series. Quite a while covering this. I read the original trilogy way back in 1961,with several rereads over the decades,and have been reading the much weaker other entries at about 1 or 2 a year over the last few years,just to say I have read them all! :0)

85Sakerfalcon
Maio 28, 2021, 5:08 am

Finished The children of the Company which was a good instalment in the series. Only 2 more novels to go until the end.

86karenb
Maio 28, 2021, 6:06 am

Took some time off from more substantial reading after getting vaccinated (hooray, vaccination!). Trying to get back into it via Persephone Station by Stina Leicht. Not bad so far, but I've barely started it. Normally I'd be eating it up: X years after first contact, a working crew that pulls off an assassination, artificial intelligence. This pandemic has eaten far too much of my brain.

87Maddz
Maio 30, 2021, 7:59 am

The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories, by Charlaine Harris

All the Sookie Stackhouse short stories that have previously been anthologised elsewhere. Nice, light shorts to dip into at my leisure or when I have 15 minutes to spare.

Recommended, although the US gun culture is very much to the fore in some of the stories.

88dustydigger
Maio 30, 2021, 1:35 pm

Wow! Ted Chiang's Tower of Babylon was so good on many levels. Who would have thought you could have a hard SF story set in ancient Babel?. Chiang scrupulously describes that world using the cosmology of ancient times with flat earth,concentric circles of sun moon and stars, all under a granite firmament,with waters above that.Yahweh didnt make a Babel ,a cacophany, of different tongues to cause confusion and division of people this time
Instead he used mathematical concepts to send those who want to invade the heavensclimbing to the highest levels,touching the vault,only to find they are back at the beginning.After all,the Psalmist made it clear,''The heavens belong to the LORD ,but he hath given the earth to the children of men.'' :0)
Yahweh actually was quite benign in both cases,he could have destroyed the lot of them,as with the Flood.
Also read All Systems Red. OK,but once again I felt that like with We Are Bob and Binti the story was an amiable, pleasant read,but nothing new really for so much hype.

89igorken
Editado: Maio 30, 2021, 5:43 pm

>88 dustydigger: I really need to get around to reading Stories of Your Life and Others soon.
edit: Yikes: it's almost 20 years old now.

Well-written and accessible stories seem to get a lot of hype, but I guess that's just the result of good reviews and wide circulation. Unfortunately many lighter sf stories appear to be poorly edited, poorly marketed or just churned out by monkeys with typewriters.

90pgmcc
Maio 31, 2021, 3:55 am

>89 igorken: it's almost 20 years old now.

Please do not say that. I read it when it came out and remember it as clear as yesterday. No! Not twenty years!

I remember enjoying the stories but felt that with some of the stories, Ted Chiang suffered the same ailment Neal Stephenson experienced with many of his novels; "Great ideas, great adventure, but how do I end it?"

The ones that standout in my memory are, "Tower of Babylon", "Hell is the Absence of God", and "Seventy-two Letters". I think My favourite was, "Division by Zero".

91dustydigger
Editado: Maio 31, 2021, 5:15 am

To me classic authors are Heinlein,Simak,Sturgeon,etc 50s and early 60s. William Gibson and Greg Bear and Greg Benford are new kids for me,and I saw them this week as classic writers on a list! lol.
How can it be 37 years since Neuromancer was published,41 years since Shadow of the Torturer,37 since Handmaid's Tale? Hyperion is a mere stripling among these at only 32 years old.:0)
Wow! Just checked,Forever War was published in 1975..I think I will have my personal cut off point for old age status to be books over 50 years old. I just cant bring myself to count 80s and 90s books as golden oldies. I have actually only read most of them off WWEnd Defining Books lists in the last 4 years or so,so they still feel new and fresh to me.! :0 ) I was away from the genre for almost 30 years,so my time frames are screwed up. Most of you read those decades as fresh and new,and in your youth. 3 or 4 decades certainly put things well in the past! lol. To me because of WWEnds great lists,all of SF is just a smorgasbord,delicacies just to be selected at will.

92Shrike58
Maio 31, 2021, 7:00 am

Knocked off Fugitive Telemetry over the weekend, a good straight-up mystery in the continuing series; the novella format probably suits the Murderbot better.

93Karlstar
Maio 31, 2021, 11:29 am

>91 dustydigger: Hard to believe it has been so long! I definitely think of Hyperion as 'newer' scifi!

94rshart3
Maio 31, 2021, 1:22 pm

>91 dustydigger: I'm still happy at the "new" situation of so many women authors -- scarcely news, any more, but for years after I started reading SF women were using initials, or a man's name, trying to be accepted. The arc of justice does move (usually slowly).

95ChrisRiesbeck
Maio 31, 2021, 2:31 pm

Finished Brin's Existence, about halfway through Faust's Desperate Measures.

96igorken
Editado: Maio 31, 2021, 3:13 pm

>90 pgmcc: Sorry for making us all feel agewise advantaged.

I've personally never had a problem with Stephenson's poor endings. He's still an auto-buy for me, even though his more recent works haven't been brillant. In short stories o.t.o.h. not tying it up nicely seems to bother me more for some reason...

Edit: I wonder what a Stephenson short story would look like. I guess it'd be either a normal-sized novel or a non-fiction article. Perhaps a user manual? ;) Has he ever actually published any?

97pgmcc
Maio 31, 2021, 4:50 pm

>96 igorken:
I've personally never had a problem with Stephenson's poor endings.

I enjoyed Stephenson's ideas and the stories up to the end. Those elements were good enough for me to not care about the weak endings. I thought the book with the most satisfactory ending was, REAMDE.

Like yourself I bought his books as they were released but that stopped with Seven Eves. I was so disappointed in that book I gave up on my policy of buying his books as they come out.

98iansales
Jun 1, 2021, 2:03 am

>94 rshart3: There were plenty of women authors being published throughout the 1970s and 1980s - more so in the US than the UK - and few of them used initials or male names. That's a myth. True, women didn't feature heavily in awards, but even the Hugo is only voted on by at most a couple of thousand of fans. But the history of sf was slowly rewritten during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the women writers were written out. Most blame this on the cyberpunks.

99rshart3
Jun 1, 2021, 10:52 am

>98 iansales: Andre Norton? James Tiptree Jr? C.J. Cherryh? I'm sure I could expand. And yes, there were a number who used female names, but not often achieving top rank or, as tiy say, winning awards. I did readers' advisory for years and I can't count the number of times guys refused an SF recommendation because it was by a woman. But you're right about there being a number of women, and I didn't mean to erase them.

100Karlstar
Jun 1, 2021, 1:02 pm

>99 rshart3: Just for the heck of it, I picked up three of my old C. J. Cherryh hardcovers and checked the jacket. All 3 referred to 'her' and one of them even had her picture.

101iansales
Jun 2, 2021, 2:30 am

>99 rshart3: Three examples do not make a rule. There was also Anne McCaffrey, the first female writer to be nominated for a Hugo, and Ursula Le Guin, the first female writer to win a Hugo. Also very popular in the 1950s and 1960s were Marta Randall (who became present of the SFWA), Doris Piserchia, Judith Merril, Katherine MacLean, Leigh Brackett, Margaret St Clair, and many others.

102Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 9, 2021, 7:38 pm

>91 dustydigger: couldn’t agree with you more about classics being Heinlein et al and Hyperion being recent … even though it is decades ago now. Where does the time go…

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