Our reads in November 2021

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Our reads in November 2021

1dustydigger
Nov 1, 2021, 3:58 am

Another month,another pile of books.
Hope everyone is getting near the end of 2021s TBR. Whole new enticing set of goodies will of course be piling up end of December. I'm already making my 2022 list! :0)

2dustydigger
Editado: Nov 21, 2021, 4:21 am

Dusty's TBR for November
SF/F reads
Clive Barker - Weaveworld
Cixin Liu - The Dark Forest
Gene Wolfe - Fifth Head of Cerberus
Brian Aldiss - Hothouse
Algernon Blackwood - The Camp of the Dog
Alan Dean Foster - To the Vanishing Point

reads from other genres
Charlotte McCleod - The Terrible Tide
Patricia MacLachlan - Sarah Plain and Tall
Barbara Cohen - The Chocolate Wolf
Aesop - Fables ✔
Aeschylus - Agamemnon ✔

3Shrike58
Nov 1, 2021, 6:54 am

Light of Impossible Stars and Hawk are the certain reads; after that, we'll see what grabs me, or what the Library Hold Fairy comes up with.

4anglemark
Nov 1, 2021, 8:40 am

It's November, which means NeNoReMo (Neglected Novel Reading Month), as always organised by the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/249591978525991. We'll see where that takes me this year.

5ScoLgo
Nov 1, 2021, 11:41 am

I finished Divergence yesterday. The 21-book (so far) Foreigner series has been a solid 4 stars throughout.

Will be starting Slade House tonight.

6SChant
Nov 1, 2021, 12:06 pm

Starting a re-read of Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan for a book group.

7Sakerfalcon
Nov 1, 2021, 12:07 pm

Still reading Vagabonds and finding it interesting.

8dustydigger
Nov 1, 2021, 4:22 pm

Aarrgghh! Its taken me 3 weeks to battle through 200 pages of Cixin Liu's The Dark Forest. A mere 300 still to go.:0(
I'm sorry,I may be dense but I cant understand the fuss about this series.I found Three Body Problem so bland that 3 years later all I remember of it is the endless history lessons of Mao's era,and the VR game the conspirators used to communicate with each other. As for Forest,I have never seen a more incredible plot,cardboard characters with difficult to differentiate chinese names,bewildering illogic antics of characters,or just silliness in general.Obviously I am missing the whole point somehow,but dont care.Its irritating me to death! lol.
I will continue on stubbornly,but I will need to read a lot of nice pulpy,unpretentious SF to comfort and support this unintelligent person through the ordeal.:0)
I will rest my mind for a couple of days by reading a crime story and the last 100 pages of Weaveworld

9wez
Nov 1, 2021, 5:33 pm

Happy November everyone!

I finally finished Darkness. Half the stories are decently disturbing. And now back to my usual programming ...

I recently bought a copy of A Scanner Darkly (Just when I thought I was all P.K.D'd out), this is going on my November TBR.

The Hitchhiker's Trilogy in Five Parts, the next candidate for my TBR, has been waiting on my shelf far too long. I read the first two books, years ago, so a reread is in order.

I impulsively bought a copy of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, which I will be dipping into from time to time.

10seitherin
Nov 1, 2021, 5:35 pm

Still reading Odd Thomas, Piranesi, and Gideon the Ninth.

11paradoxosalpha
Nov 1, 2021, 7:03 pm

I'm still working on Cosmogramma, and thinking I might start a novel while I continue it. Maybe Neveryóna, to further a series I recently started.

12daxxh
Editado: Nov 1, 2021, 8:42 pm

I am currently reading The Body Scout - ok so far. I am also reading Idylls of the King.

13Shrike58
Nov 2, 2021, 7:30 am

>8 dustydigger: I'm looking forward to the visual adaption! My problem with the first book in the trilogy is that nothing else in that work was up to the power of the initial chapter, dealing with a mob of Red Guards run amok.

14Karlstar
Nov 2, 2021, 9:52 am

>8 dustydigger: >13 Shrike58: Are you saying that all the fuss is just due to the first chapter of the first book?

15Neil_Luvs_Books
Nov 2, 2021, 11:09 am

I am finishing up Child of Venus by Pamela Sargent. I am about 2/3 of the way through and am enjoying it. So far it is not quite as strong as the first two in her Venus trilogy, but still an excellent read.

After that I may get on the Dune bandwagon and start reading that series in chronological order rather than publication order starting with The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. I have not read Frank Herbert’s original trilogy since junior high school in 1977 and didn’t read his second trilogy until 2002. And I would like to read Brian and Kevin’s two books that complete the series based on Frank’s posthumous notes: Hunter’s of Dune and Sandworms of Dune. My suspicion is that none of them will be equal to the original Dune that Frank first published in 1965. That novel really took me away on a trip - so enjoyable. But I think it will still be fun to try and grasp the entire saga. I’ll see how it goes!

16rshart3
Nov 2, 2021, 1:28 pm

>9 wez: I love Blade Runner. The rooftop scene with Roy & Deckard near the end, is one of the great moments of SF film. I still get chills watching it.

17Shrike58
Nov 3, 2021, 9:25 am

>14 Karlstar: Mostly I'm just talking my personal reaction to the book.

18justifiedsinner
Nov 3, 2021, 10:18 am

>14 Karlstar: >17 Shrike58: I felt much the same way. It was the most interesting part of the book. I wished he had written historical fiction instead. I didn't bother reading any of the sequels. They SF parts of the book rather reminded me of E. E. Doc Smith.

19ScoLgo
Nov 3, 2021, 1:27 pm

Really enjoyed Slade House. Nice little ancillary piece to The Bone Clocks and a decently spooky Halloween-time read. The connection to The Bone Clocks was not apparent at first but the final installment brought them together. Can't say I enjoyed the very end though; too transparent of a setup for a sequel. I guess we'll see if Utopia Avenue addresses that once I get to it.

Now reading Tigerman, the only Nick Harkaway fiction book I have not yet read. A bit slow in the early going but an interesting set up - and I'm liking the characters I've met so far.

20dustydigger
Nov 3, 2021, 4:35 pm

Clive Barker's Weaveworld was not too bad,but it was far too long at 752 pages! lol.Reluctantly I will get back to The Dark Forest,and get started on a planned reading of some classical greek plays.

21Karlstar
Nov 3, 2021, 11:09 pm

>18 justifiedsinner: Pressor and tractor rays! Space torps and disintegration beams! That's some good stuff there. :)

22Stevil2001
Nov 4, 2021, 7:32 am

I'm onto my last Best Novel Hugo finalist, Harrow the Ninth. I bounced off the first one, and am finding this one pretty baffling.

23Shrike58
Editado: Nov 4, 2021, 8:45 am

>18 justifiedsinner: Just the other day John Scalzi made a comment on his twitter feed on how he finds that there is a very "Golden Age" vibe to a lot of the Chinese SF he's read.

24Shrike58
Nov 4, 2021, 8:43 am

>22 Stevil2001: I think that Muir is trying, in part, to give a realistic depiction of mental disassociation, of which she has had the misfortune to have personal experience with (see the afterword). At a certain point one just rolls with this novel to see what the hell happens next. That Muir is expanding the epic to four books does make one wonder how much control she had over her material, and this is keeping in mind that I do like this epic.

25SChant
Nov 4, 2021, 10:31 am

Well I finished my re-read of Tricia Sullivan's Occupy Me and it was even more fun than I remembered. Chaos theory and causality; time travel and Hilbert space. And a pterosaur. You really have to pay attention to this one!

26ScoLgo
Nov 4, 2021, 12:06 pm

>25 SChant: I read Occupy Me when it was first published and remember really enjoying it. Good to hear it held up for you.

27seitherin
Editado: Nov 4, 2021, 5:50 pm

Finished Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Liked it better than I thought I would. Next up is Touch by Claire North.

28Stevil2001
Nov 4, 2021, 6:27 pm

>24 Shrike58: I am starting to get into a groove. It would help if I remembered the first book better!

>23 Shrike58: I haven't read a lot of Chinese sf, but that rings true of the ones that have been collected in the Neil Clarke Best Science Fiction of the Year series. Very much "look at this neat idea I had!" with little more to it.

29Shrike58
Nov 5, 2021, 7:08 am

Finished up Light of Impossible Stars yesterday evening. I liked it, but boy does Powell like a deus ex machina. To be honest, the first two books in the trilogy felt stronger, and that was apparently also a problem with Powell's first trilogy.

30seitherin
Nov 5, 2021, 4:07 pm

Finished Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. She has a particular talent for writing dull books. Currently taking a dip into Fan Fiction by Brent Spiner.

31SChant
Nov 6, 2021, 5:07 am

>30 seitherin: Sorry you didn't seem to care for Piranesi, I found it hypnotic, surreal and quite gripping.

32dustydigger
Nov 6, 2021, 5:16 am

N K Jemisin's short story Emergency Skin was a nicely ironic take on artificial intelligence,space colonisation and several other things packed in a mere 29 pages.Good fun.
The Dark Forest has picked up a bit after 200 plodding pages,but I still feel that the dark forest idea is quite basic,Cixin Liu doesnt do much development of his ideas really. He has a very depressing view of humanity.lol. I recently read Seveneves where the whole of humanity strived to get a few people up in space to save a tiny remnant of mankind when the earth is facing destruction.Of course,they didnt have sophons messing everything up,only politicians. :0)
Still 280pages to go,though....(sigh)......

33seitherin
Nov 8, 2021, 1:46 pm

Finished Fan Fiction by Brent Spiner. Meh. Added Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan to my rotation.

34RobertDay
Nov 8, 2021, 6:40 pm

Finished Provenance, which I enjoyed. Leckie's world-building is quirky and leaves lots of scope for more exploration. (Though as the Raadch ambassador complains, you can't get a decent cup of tea on Hwae).

Now started a re-read of Feersum Endjinn.

35ChrisRiesbeck
Nov 9, 2021, 1:56 pm

36SFF1928-1973
Nov 9, 2021, 4:36 pm

I'm about to make a start on Triple Detente, which I believe is a brand of toothpaste.

37SChant
Nov 10, 2021, 5:42 am

I'm about half-way through This is How You Lose the Time War and finding it very lyrical and poetic - couldn't be a greater contrast to my last read, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson :)

38paradoxosalpha
Nov 10, 2021, 10:52 am

Cosmogramma is going slowly enough that I read a whole novel in between stories: What the Hell Did I Just Read.

39dustydigger
Nov 11, 2021, 5:08 am

The dark Forest nearly killed me,but finally finished it. Wont be reading book 3,Death's End
Finally completed Aesop's Fables. I have been reading a few at a time for months. Talk about an author's longevity,Aesop collected these tales 2600 years ago. Still going strong today,and as charming and wise as ever.
For just sheer fun,and to pamper myself after my not very happy brush with Chinese SF,I am loving Alan Dean Foster's pulpy but fast paced and fun To the Vanishing Point
Then it will be on to the next episode of Doc Smith's lensmen saga Grey Lensman
It will be mostly SF Lite the rest of the year,what with Xmas prep etc,as I delight in planning my next year's reading.
OMG 2022 is only 7 weeks away!Did Father Time nip in and steal a couple of months?Up to September just dragged horribly,and now suddenly there's only 7 weeks left in the year?Better get into list making pronto! :0)

40SFF1928-1973
Nov 12, 2021, 10:20 am

I'm re-reading The Ginger Star by Leigh Brackett, a rather jolly sword-and-planet adventure and the first book in a trilogy which I never finished.

41seitherin
Nov 12, 2021, 6:03 pm

Stopped reading Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. Bored me silly.

42SF_fan_mae
Nov 12, 2021, 9:48 pm

Add me to those re-reading Dune. I must have read the original trilogy around 1980. I liked the first book well enough, but forced myself to finish the second and third and had no desire to pick up any of the extended sequels, prequels and in-betweens written since. I don't remember many details, but remembered enough to follow the new movie. Decided after seeing it to re-read at least the first book and see if I felt any differently about it after all these years. I did like the David Lynch version, but that may have been for the casting (RIP Dean Stockwell).

43Karlstar
Nov 12, 2021, 10:02 pm

I finished Tad Williams' newest, Brothers of the Wind and a WWII novel, now moving on to Foundation.

44Shrike58
Nov 13, 2021, 9:15 am

So, I finished up Hawk yesterday evening, which was basically comfort reading for me, though Brust does move the story along significantly in this iteration of the series. As for the rest of the month I'm committing to Architects of Memory and The Tower of Fools; books I've been toying with the whole year. I might get to What Abigail Did that Summer.

45ChrisRiesbeck
Nov 14, 2021, 9:37 pm

46SFF1928-1973
Nov 15, 2021, 2:39 pm

The Ginger Star being satisfactory I'm pressing ahead with the second book in the Skaith trilogy: The Hounds of Skaith. I believe this is another re-read because I recognize the cover. I don't recall anything of the text.

47seitherin
Nov 15, 2021, 3:21 pm

Finished Touch by Claire North. Really enjoyed it. Added A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel to my rotation.

49wez
Nov 15, 2021, 4:01 pm

Finished A scanner darkly. Really enjoyed it, and I took my sweet time too.

50Maddz
Nov 15, 2021, 4:33 pm

>46 SFF1928-1973: I used to own the trilogy in paperback many years ago; I don't really remember why I got rid of them - I suspect I found them too pulp-ish. If I could find cheap ebook versions I might give them a re-read.

51ScoLgo
Nov 15, 2021, 5:27 pm

>46 SFF1928-1973: I bought The Book of Skaith omnibus in hardback last year but haven't made time to read it yet. Likely will crack it open in 2022.

52Karlstar
Nov 16, 2021, 9:45 am

>46 SFF1928-1973: I bought the Planet Stories editions for the first two books a few years ago, but haven't read the third yet. I'm a big fan of Planet Stories.

53Karlstar
Nov 16, 2021, 9:46 am

Finished Foundation and it bears almost zero resemblance to the TV series, they've really botched that 'adaptation'. I'm moving on to Prelude to Foundation, I'm starting to think they took some material from there and mixed it in with the original trilogy.

54Neil_Luvs_Books
Nov 16, 2021, 10:16 am

>53 Karlstar: I plan to reread Asimov’s entire robots, empire, foundation series sometime in 2022 after I finish rereading the Dune series including the prequels by his son… well… the first two trilogies he and Anderson wrote. Not sure I can also do the schools trilogy or the Paul books. I am in the middle of Dune: The Butlerian Jihad and while it is interesting, it is not something I would recommend reading. It is very plot driven. Brian and Kevin don’t develop characters or intrigue nearly as well as Frank did. But I am continuing to read it so … I guess I am finding it interesting. It is just not nearly as engrossing as Frank’s Dune.

55Karlstar
Nov 16, 2021, 2:01 pm

>54 Neil_Luvs_Books: I've been meaning to revisit some of the Robots books as well.

56ScoLgo
Nov 16, 2021, 2:17 pm

>54 Neil_Luvs_Books: >55 Karlstar: I read through all of the robot novels last year. If you are able to find them, I highly recommend diving into the extended works as well, especially the trilogies by Mark W. Tiedemann and Roger MacBride Allen. I was only able to finish 2 out of 3 of Mickey Zucker Reichert's trilogy but also really enjoyed Have Robot, Will Travel by Alexander Irvine.

57dustydigger
Nov 16, 2021, 4:52 pm

Finished the first novella of Gene Wolfe's Fifth Head of Cerberus,and need to take a break before reading the rest, to let the ideas percolate .
Strange,strange book. I was strongly reminded,not in actual story details,of Alice in Wonderland,especially the wonderful Jonathan Miller 1966 TV version,where Alice wandered almost emotionless through a bizarre world. She was almost without affect,and met the strange people and situations with equanimity and almost indifference.
I started out having sympathy for the young narrator of Cerberus, but I was wishing I had read this in Spooky October,as it was more chilling and creepy than anything I read then.lol.His reaction to the four armed slave was absolutely chilling. A real scientist,like his father...and a certain Dr Mengele?Some similarities there.
Oh boy,I hope I dont have unpleasant dreams tonight........

58ScoLgo
Nov 16, 2021, 5:48 pm

>57 dustydigger: There is a lot to unpack in that story. You might find it interesting to listen to the Alzabo Soup podcast, (there is no harm in fast-fowarding thru the lengthy lead-ins). I picked up on a ton of stuff by listening to Phil & Metz discuss the story by listening to each episode just after reading that section, while everything was freshly in mind.

59rshart3
Nov 16, 2021, 6:08 pm

>57 dustydigger: That's a favorite Wolfe of mine. The whole theme of "what is really happening here", of layers of reality & illusion, is so archetypically Wolfe.

60dustydigger
Editado: Nov 16, 2021, 7:38 pm

>58 ScoLgo: I did follow the Alzabo Soup podcasts quite a bit.And I enjoyed our own Ian Sales article explaining the book, quite fascinating,but I was somehow left feeling I now understood only half of what I had assumed I knew before reading the article! lol
Nothing like Wolfe to blow the mind:0)I'll wait a while before tackling the other two novellas
>59 rshart3: The use of unreliable narrators by Wolfe obviously started long before Severian! :0)

61Karlstar
Nov 17, 2021, 6:56 am

>56 ScoLgo: I have one of the Allen trilogy, for some reason the third book, Isaac Asimov's Utopia I didn't even know the others existed!

62humouress
Nov 19, 2021, 1:01 am

This month's Storybundle is science fiction.

63Sakerfalcon
Nov 19, 2021, 7:54 am

I'm finding Vagabonds a bit of a slog. I'm nearly at the end though.

64Neil_Luvs_Books
Nov 19, 2021, 3:49 pm

>56 ScoLgo: thanks for the suggestions! I wasn’t aware of these.

65RobertDay
Nov 19, 2021, 5:07 pm

Enjoyed my re-read of Feersum endjinn: the first time I read it, I tackled it in very small chunks and it made little sense. This time, I went at it in longer sittings and got on far better with it - even if I did end up vocalising Bascule's phonetic speech as if it were a foreign language.

Now reading Michael Ashley's Out of this world; science fiction but not as you know it, a large-format book released to coincide with an exhibition of the same name at the British Library in 2011.

66pgmcc
Editado: Nov 19, 2021, 5:21 pm

>65 RobertDay:
I loved Feersum Endjinn

67ScoLgo
Nov 19, 2021, 6:09 pm

>61 Karlstar: >64 Neil_Luvs_Books: I'm a big fan of Mark Tiedemann, (my favorite writer that most people are unfamiliar with), so I knew he had written a trilogy in the Robot Universe before I started my re-read of Asimov's stories. I was unaware of the others at the time but found them when looking at the RU wikipedia page. Tiedemann's and Allen's works are both well worth reading, IMHO. Each trilogy is stand-alone from the other but each needs to be read in order as they both contain an overarching story line/mystery that spreads across all three books.

68Karin7
Nov 20, 2021, 1:28 pm

Hi, back from the beyond! Okay, I spend more time on GR, but do miss this group.

This month I read a pretty poor scifi book, Zodiac by Romina Russell.

69ChrisRiesbeck
Nov 20, 2021, 3:08 pm

Finished Cold Allies, started Cryptonomicon. Since I read in bed, the Stephenson may lead to a serious case of sunken chest syndrome.

70dustydigger
Nov 21, 2021, 4:59 am

Just to finish off any brain cells still surviving after Fifth Head of Cerberus last week,I am rereading,after several decades, Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness
What fun!. Totally bonkers and over the top,of course,but even while up to his most wild New Wave shenanigans RZ grabs you and doesnt let go. Still one of my favourite authors..... oh-oh! I think I feel a reread of Lord of Light coming on!:0)
And just for fun,although I only did my probably 5th or 6th reread of two years ago,
I feel a another visit to Roadmarks on the horizon :0)
Any Zelazny fans here? My faves are This Immortal.Lord of Light,Roadmarksand Nine Princes in Amber

71paradoxosalpha
Editado: Nov 21, 2021, 12:11 pm

I've just started reading Lord of the World, an allegedly seminal dystopia written in 1907, set in 2007. Some Catholic leaders including the current Pope seem to think that it had important things to say about today's world situation, despite offering an alternate narrative of the 20th century that's quite removed from our reality.

72justifiedsinner
Nov 21, 2021, 1:20 pm

>70 dustydigger: Haven't read him in years but back in prehistoric times he and Farmer were my go to boys. Lord of Light is an all time fave.

73RobertDay
Nov 21, 2021, 4:34 pm

>70 dustydigger: I read quite a bit of Zelazny in my student days; The doors of his face, the lamps of his mouth was a favourite collection, and I also enjoyed Roadmarks. But I never got around to stuff like Lord of Light or This Immortal, both of which are now at least on my TBR pile.

74Shrike58
Nov 21, 2021, 7:43 pm

>70 dustydigger: I'm actually contemplating a deep dive in Amber for the coming year. I'm probably also due for a Lord of Light reread.

75Karlstar
Nov 22, 2021, 12:20 pm

I finished Prelude to Foundation. Not nearly as good as the original trilogy, but not bad. They did take some material from it for the TV series.

76Neil_Luvs_Books
Nov 22, 2021, 1:35 pm

>75 Karlstar: yes, Prelude To Foundation was not as good, but I still enjoyed it.

77Neil_Luvs_Books
Editado: Nov 22, 2021, 1:38 pm

>70 dustydigger: I read This Immortal for the first time last spring and enjoyed it. Lord of Light and Nine Princes in Amber are on my TBR list. I wasn’t as impressed with This Immortal as I expected to be. But like I said, I still enjoyed reading it.

78ScoLgo
Editado: Nov 22, 2021, 3:41 pm

>73 RobertDay: I was first introduced to Zelazny with the original five Amber Avon paperbacks when they were published as a set in 1972. Didn't get around to Lord of Light until November of 2012. I rated it 5 stars and a favorite. The story features a confusing opening that comes together brilliantly if one perseveres through the start.

I re-read This Immortal a year ago and rated it at 3.5 stars. Pretty good book but not sure it deserved to share the Hugo with Dune. Time, and the zetigeist, has been more kind to Herbert's classic than to Zelazny's, I suppose.

Another favorite Zelazny for me is 24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai, a novella found in the Frost and Fire and some editions of The Last Defender of Camelot collections. Sadly, my MMP copy of Frost & Fire only has the text without Hokusai's woodcuts. There used to be an online version that included the illustrations but I can't find that link now..

EtA: Found the link to 24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai (illustrated)

79RobertDay
Nov 22, 2021, 5:28 pm

>78 ScoLgo: Thanks for he link. I shall make some time to read that (I don't usually read online.)

80ScoLgo
Nov 22, 2021, 6:06 pm

>79 RobertDay: I try to avoid reading online too but this one is worth it IMHO; the woodcut illustrations add a dimension that is lacking in the text-only versions. Each chapter also gets its own web page so it's not too painful to consume this short novella in small bites.

81RobertDay
Nov 22, 2021, 6:28 pm

>80 ScoLgo: You are obviously more familiar with this than I, so perhaps you can tell me - is there supposed to be text associated with the final view, No.24 ("Mount Fuji in a storm")?

I ask because the link you give works fine up to the last page, when there are neither links to view no.24 from the preceding page nor from the work index page. I tried my usual tester's trick in such cases - editing the URL directly in the browser bar - only to find that I landed on the correct page with the illustration but no text.

82ScoLgo
Nov 22, 2021, 6:57 pm

>81 RobertDay: Oh! That's interesting. I had not noticed that there is no active link to #24. I just confirmed in my copy of Frost and Fire that the text of the story ends with #23, Mt. Fuji from Edo.

I also found this: http://www.stmoroky.com/reviews/gallery/hokusai/24views.htm

83rshart3
Nov 22, 2021, 10:54 pm

>70 dustydigger: Definitely the Amber books, and Lord of Light. I remember liking Changeling and Madwand a lot, and being frustrated at there not being another book; but it was so long ago that I really can't remember much about them.

84Sakerfalcon
Nov 23, 2021, 5:46 am

I've just started reading Native tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin.

85SChant
Nov 23, 2021, 9:16 am

Just started the novella The Impossible Resurrection of Grief, an evocative meditation on extinctions in the natural world and what it means for human emotions, set in the all-too-near future. I love her writing style.

86drmamm
Nov 23, 2021, 11:56 am

I just started Neal Stephenson's new doorstopper, Termination Shock. I'm huge Stephenson fan, but his recent stuff has been very uneven. I'm hoping he gets back into his groove with this one.

87pgmcc
Nov 23, 2021, 1:56 pm

>86 drmamm:
I dropped Stephenson from my, “buy-his-books-as-soon-they-are-published” list after Seveneves. I will wait to hear your verdict on the new book.

88andyl
Nov 23, 2021, 2:54 pm

>87 pgmcc:
I too have just started Termination Shock. I will let you know how it goes.

89pgmcc
Nov 23, 2021, 3:01 pm

>88 andyl:
Much appreciated.

90ScoLgo
Nov 23, 2021, 3:05 pm

>86 drmamm: >88 andyl: I too will be interested in reading what you both think of Termination Shock.

91dustydigger
Editado: Nov 23, 2021, 4:10 pm

>78 ScoLgo: Thanks for the Hokusai prints link.They are amazing.In the dreadful aftermath of the 2011 tsunami,that print of the big wave became ubiquitous.
I was reminded of a nice quote about fantasy and Mount Fuji by Terry Pratchett :-
"J.R.R. Tolkien has become a sort of mountain, appearing in all subsequent fantasy in the way that Mt Fuji appears so often in Japanese prints. Sometimes it’s big and up close. Sometimes it’s a shape on the horizon. Sometimes it’s not there at all, which means that the artist either has made a deliberate decision against the mountain, which is interesting in itself, or is in fact standing on Mt Fuji."

— “Magic Kingdoms” (1999), Terry Pratchett.

92pgmcc
Nov 23, 2021, 5:30 pm

>91 dustydigger:
I like that quote.

93Karlstar
Editado: Nov 24, 2021, 11:38 am

>86 drmamm: >87 pgmcc: >88 andyl: >90 ScoLgo: Sign me up as interested in that review, I need a positive review before I'll get into Stephenson again.

94Sakerfalcon
Nov 24, 2021, 11:49 am

95ScoLgo
Nov 24, 2021, 1:38 pm

>91 dustydigger: That is an excellent quote, thank you. I love how Zelazny incorporates Hokusai's incredible work. It really shows what inspired the story.

96seitherin
Nov 24, 2021, 1:58 pm

Finished Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan. Meh.

97LolaWalser
Nov 24, 2021, 2:14 pm

A tale of two clocks (AKA "Legacy"), by James Schmitz. I've liked a couple other books by Schmitz but this one I could barely concentrate on. New characters seemed to pop up on every page and I got no sense of what the plot was supposed to be, except that it involved some psychic entities with vast but undefined powers. Unfortunately these beings were called "plasmids" which distracted me no end...

Am waiting for Liu's Death's End from the library before setting on Dark Forest so there is no wait between the books.

98Shrike58
Editado: Nov 27, 2021, 8:42 am

Finished up Architects of Memory yesterday evening and it turned out to be pretty good, and generally rose above the cliches being invoked. Though I'll be trying to read the follow-up book sooner rather than later, the ending of the novel ended makes me wonder how much more story the author really has in this milieu.

99SChant
Nov 25, 2021, 8:26 am

Continuing my reading of Octavia Cade's work with her short story collection The Mythology of Salt. She's such a lyrical, atmospheric writer.

100Petroglyph
Nov 25, 2021, 8:57 am

>91 dustydigger:
Like the French author Guy de Maupassant, who hated the sight of the newly-completed Eiffel tower, would often lunch in its restaurant, because it was the only place where he could look out over Paris without seeing the monstrosity.

101SFF1928-1973
Nov 25, 2021, 5:02 pm

The Hounds of Skaith wasn't as compelling as the previous book, but there are some interesting details to note. A man named Stark comes out of the North with a pack of scary hounds. And one of the minor characters is an annoying boy named Jofr.

102Neil_Luvs_Books
Nov 25, 2021, 7:29 pm

>101 SFF1928-1973: I had to read that twice! At first reading I thought your were talking about Game of Thrones: (Ned) Stark, scary hounds (direwolves), and Jofr the annoying boy (Joffrey).

😀

103SFF1928-1973
Editado: Nov 26, 2021, 11:12 am

>102 Neil_Luvs_Books: Winter is coming!

104RobertDay
Nov 26, 2021, 5:24 pm

Now reading something non-fictional, but as close to science fiction as you can get in the real world - Project Orion, George Dyson's account of the atomic spaceship project that the Americans actively pursued in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His father, Freeman Dyson, worked on it, but it was so top secret he was unable to tell anyone for years, instead becoming known amongst the likes of us for the concept of the Dyson Sphere. Some of the material on Orion is still classified, especially the stuff about controlled yield atomic micro-munitions.

105andyl
Nov 27, 2021, 6:34 am

So I have now finished Termination Shock.

Firstly it is too long for the story it is trying to tell, but you kind of expect that. Apart from the Queen of the Netherlands crashing a plane and the giant feral hog at the start it is slow to get going but the pace does pick up.

Secondly I think that it is definitely more a thriller and less SF than I would have expected. That said I thought it was better than Seveneves and much better than Fall; or Dodge in Hell.

I don't think that Stephenson portrays the consequences of the climate situation with the same visceral horror that KSR does in his The Ministry For The Future. Also I found some of the characters veered a bit too much towards caricature for my liking.

Of course it is Stepheson so we don't get much of a proper ending and it left me wondering what the point of the book was. In the end I came to the conclusion that it was a mere entertainment with very little actual meat.

So if what you want is entertainment in the thriller mode, and you can cope with a slow start, then the book delivers that. It isn't deep, there isn't much SFnal about it, the characters may be a little thin at times, but it is a globe-spanning novel which picks up pace with a geo-engineering backdrop.

106vwinsloe
Nov 27, 2021, 8:13 am

>105 andyl: Thanks for the review of Termination Shock. It sounds to me like it is akin to Reamde.

107ScoLgo
Nov 27, 2021, 11:58 am

>105 andyl: Thank you for the write-up.

>106 vwinsloe: Same impression here.

108Stevil2001
Editado: Nov 27, 2021, 12:23 pm

I've been reading the Library of America of Kindred / Fledgling / Collected Stories. Kindred itself is a reread, but most of the rest is new to me.

109pgmcc
Nov 27, 2021, 2:36 pm

>105 andyl:
Thank you for your comments on Termination Shock. Like >106 vwinsloe: said, your write-up put me in mind of REAMDE, which I enjoyed a lot. It is the only Stephenson I have read that I thought had a satisfactory ending. With the other Stephensons I have read I enjoyed the ideas and the adventure and accepted that I was unlikely to get a good ending. That was a price I was willing to pay for enjoying the ideas.

110paradoxosalpha
Nov 28, 2021, 6:16 pm

I've finished Lord of the World and posted my review. Now I need to get back to Cosmogramma.

111elenchus
Nov 28, 2021, 11:41 pm

An impulse buy of Martha Wells's All Systems Red led to me interrupting my various other books and reading the novella in a day. I'm a fan. Downloaded the two pieces of micro-fiction listed in LT's series entry, and just read the first one. I'll read the other where it appears in the series, between two novellas.

I've not read any other of Martha Wells's fiction, and I suppose it's possible the later novellas won't be as impressive. I'm looking forward to finding out.

112vwinsloe
Nov 29, 2021, 8:32 am

>111 elenchus:. All Systems Red is next up for me. This will be my first Martha Wells read as well. I hope that I have a similar experience!

113Sakerfalcon
Nov 29, 2021, 9:11 am

>105 andyl: Thanks for this! I think I'll wait for the paperback.#

He might not be far off with his mention of a giant feral hog according to this piece in the Guardian

114paradoxosalpha
Editado: Nov 29, 2021, 9:52 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

115paradoxosalpha
Nov 29, 2021, 9:52 am

>111 elenchus:

I didn't much like the only Martha Wells I've read, her contribution to The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft. But I could try something else by her.

116justifiedsinner
Nov 29, 2021, 11:20 am

>111 elenchus: >112 vwinsloe: They are addictive. I've read all the Murderbot series over the course of a few months.

117Sakerfalcon
Nov 29, 2021, 11:33 am

Finished Native tongue which was interesting as a thought experiment rather than a good novel. Very well developed ideas and concepts but flat black/white characters and worldbuilding that you have to handwave away. I have the sequel so will be reading that soon.

118paradoxosalpha
Editado: Nov 29, 2021, 11:34 am

>111 elenchus:, >112 vwinsloe:, >116 justifiedsinner:

I just put in a hold for All Systems Red at my local public library.

119elenchus
Nov 29, 2021, 12:57 pm

>118 paradoxosalpha:

I'll be curious how this one lands, based on your HPL experience. I did find it interesting that she's apparently most established as a Fantasy writer, I don't often find that success in one genre translates into the other. Though in this case, the primary attraction for me is the character and interpersonal dynamics, so perhaps that serves as a touchpoint for her fiction.

Her worldbuilding is not particularly innovative, so far, but it's crafted very well and the particulars are both convincing and fit the characters and plot.

120paradoxosalpha
Nov 29, 2021, 1:50 pm

>119 elenchus:

In the story I didn't like, it seemed like she was trying to shoehorn some of her other work into Yog-Sothothery. I suspect she's altogether more satisfying on "home turf."

121pgmcc
Nov 29, 2021, 4:36 pm

I have started Beyond The Hallowed Sky by Ken MacLeod. I am enjoying it.

122karenb
Editado: Nov 29, 2021, 6:42 pm

Just finished Shatter City, the middle book in a trilogy (later in the Uglies universe).

Before that, read Light from uncommon stars by Ryka Aoki. Science fiction about a classical musican, specifically a violinist. And belonging, and donuts, and selling one's soul, and craft, and music. Featuring a trans woman protagonist. Recommended.

123paradoxosalpha
Editado: Nov 29, 2021, 9:00 pm

>121 pgmcc:

Ooh! A new one leading off a trilogy?
I am a fan.

Edited to add: But I might wait until all three are in print, because I really tear through his books quite quickly.

124Stevil2001
Editado: Nov 29, 2021, 8:54 pm

I am reading (almost done with, in fact, it's quite short) Clifford Simak's Why Call Them Back from Heaven?, which isn't great, but does have some pretty neat ideas about freezing people long before Alcor.

125pgmcc
Nov 29, 2021, 9:45 pm

>123 paradoxosalpha:
I was delighted to see the new book announced. My approach to trilogies is to leave some space between them so I am happy to have a forced gap between reading them. Ken tends to be reliable in terms of not having too much time between the publication dates of his trilogy books.

I read the first volume of “The Corporation Wars” the day I got it and shared my review of it on Twitter about 2am a couple of days later. When I woke up the next morning I saw two Twitter notifications; a like and a share. Ken had liked it and shared it. Yes! I was feeling smug.

126dustydigger
Editado: Nov 30, 2021, 8:16 am

Once again I have put aside Brian Aldiss Hothouse. I am not very scientific minded so can accept a lot of dodgy ideas in SF,and I do understand Aldiss is not at all bothered about making his novel of the far future scientifically accurate in the matter of evolution,hehas a very different agenda)but even my easygoing tolerance is badly stretched in this fix-up novel.I manage about 50 pages of this preposterous scenario,and have to leave it for a week or two and then return for another foray through the 1000 mile long banyan tree forest.
( from wikipedia) - ''James Blish called the stories "utter nonsense", and chastised Aldiss for ignoring basic rules of physics. The magazine editor actually sought scientific advice about one aspect of the book. He was told that the orbital dynamics involved meant that it was nonsense, but the image of the Earth and Moon side by side in orbit, shrouded with cobwebs woven by giant vegetable spiders, was so outrageous and appealing that he published it anyway.''
Well,the original Hothouse did win the Hugo,but I am never really an Aldiss fan,his whimsy doesnt hit the spot for me.But I'll keep on returning to this nonsense till I finish,hopefully before year's end. :0)

127andyl
Nov 30, 2021, 8:41 am

>121 pgmcc:
I have that planned for my next book. I'm just finishing up Something More Than Night by Kim Newman - Raymond Chandler and Boris Karloff investigate a weird crime.

128SChant
Nov 30, 2021, 10:16 am

Just started one from 1966, Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown, set in the "future" 1990s, featuring a hardboiled detective, galactic drug crimes, aliens, motherhood, and nice frocks. A strange mixture, but makes an interesting change from the tough he-man heros often seen in the SF of that era.

129Neil_Luvs_Books
Nov 30, 2021, 11:01 am

>126 dustydigger: I agree with your assessment of Hothouse. I read it this past spring based on the award and some reviews but I also found the poor grasp of evolution and planetary physics to get in the way of my ability to suspend disbelief. I almost threw the book across the room when I got to the part of the sentient fungus and the implication that human self-awareness and intelligence was a result of an eons old symbiosis between fungi and Homo sapiens. But I persevered and finished the book by thinking of it as a fantasy rather than a Sci Fi novel. It’s weird because I have read some Brian Aldiss that is really excellent. For example his 1993 short story Friendship Bridge is very thoughtful and reflective - I was really struck by that one. I still intend to read his Helliconia Spring at some point. It is sitting on my bookshelf waiting its turn.

130seitherin
Nov 30, 2021, 12:22 pm

131AnnieMod
Nov 30, 2021, 12:30 pm

I am on a Octavia Butler binge for some reason - after reading the remaining 4 novels in the Patternist series this month (and the two new stories in her Bloodchild second collection, I am heading for the Xenogenesis trilogy next month (plus picking up the last two stories by her).

Meanwhile, Nino Cipri's Finna is very readable (although it did try too hard to point out how non-binary and so on the characters are at the start - to the point of making it distracting for the story but it evened out later on and folded it into the story properly).

132pgmcc
Nov 30, 2021, 1:29 pm

>127 andyl:
That one caught my eye. You might have pushed it into my near-future reading.

133ScoLgo
Nov 30, 2021, 1:32 pm

>131 AnnieMod: Xenogenesis was my introduction to Butler. It made me an instant fan and, after reading most everything else she wrote, she easily makes my top 5 authors list. In the Patternist series, I really also liked Survivor, which Butler disliked so much that she insisted it go out of print. It is really difficult to find an affordable copy these days but there is a PDF of it floating around somewhere out there in the æther. Well worth finding IMHO as it helps tie the other books together. There is also a prequel story, (A Necessary Being), to Survivor that appeared in Unexpected Stories, which was posthumously released in 2014.

134AnnieMod
Nov 30, 2021, 1:43 pm

>133 ScoLgo: My library's Interlibrary Loan department came to the rescue for "Survivor" and got me a copy - so I did read it this month :) I can see why she may have disliked it but I enjoyed it and I think that the series is much poorer without it. I also think that reading them in publication order is much much better than chronological order - they are novels of exploration and discovery; when you order them chronologically you remove a lot of that and it can get almost mundane (and I cannot imagine reading Patternmaster last - if you know everything from the previous books already, there is almost nothing left to discover). Plus not reading them in pub order will not allow you to see some of things developing early enough - knowing what is coming, you can see it getting built.

I am keeping Unexpected Stories for the final dessert - although I may decide to read them in between the trilogy. We will see.

The only problem I have at the moment is that after these 3 novels and 2 stories, I am out of stories/novels by her to read. :(

135Karlstar
Nov 30, 2021, 1:44 pm

>133 ScoLgo: Is that the correct touchstone for Xenogenesis? I've been thinking of trying some Octavia Butler but I'm not sure where to start.

136AnnieMod
Nov 30, 2021, 1:47 pm

>135 Karlstar: That's the first one for that series - yes.

I started with the Bloodchild collection (the first version) and I fell in love with her writing after the 5 stories (even if I did not like all of them really). :)

137Stevil2001
Nov 30, 2021, 2:11 pm

I am mildly optimistic that the Library of America will convince the Butler Estate to include Survivor when they do their edition of Seed to Harvest.

138AnnieMod
Nov 30, 2021, 2:25 pm

>137 Stevil2001: I hope so. :)

139ScoLgo
Nov 30, 2021, 2:32 pm

>134 AnnieMod: Happy to hear you were able to acquire a copy of Survivor! And I agree 100%; I read the Patternmaster series in publication order & now can't imagine it any other way.

"The only problem I have... I am out of stories/novels by her to read. :("

There are always re-reads, right?!? ;) I am considering making 2022 my "Year of the Re-Read!" If I commit to that, Xenogenesis will definitely make the list.

140AnnieMod
Nov 30, 2021, 2:37 pm

>139 ScoLgo: Well, yes but I read (or will have read when the year is over) through all of them this year - so even though they can be reread, I probably won't turn around and read them again so fast. I think I will need to pick another author for next year - or I need to ramp up some of my "read a few books per year" authors reading a bit. :)

141ScoLgo
Nov 30, 2021, 2:56 pm

>135 Karlstar: As I mentioned before, Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago was my first foray into Butler so I personally think it's a good place to start. That said, Kindred is easily my favorite Butler tale.

>137 Stevil2001: I will definitely pick that up if they do! I already have the LoA volume with Kindred, Fledgling, and Collected Stories. A Patternmaster volume would look very nice indeed sitting next to it.

>140 AnnieMod: Ah, gotcha... It's been almost 8 years since I read Xenogenesis so I'm ready for a re-visit. Yep, I found Butler's works kinda late as well.

142AnnieMod
Nov 30, 2021, 3:22 pm

>141 ScoLgo: I love Kindred but it is a very different tale compared to anything else - its speculative elements are the least of its story (unlike in all other novels) and are there to tie the story more than to drive it (as in Fledgling for example). It can be used as a start - but it may lead to disappointments later if that becomes the expectation. Just thinking aloud. :)

143Stevil2001
Editado: Nov 30, 2021, 4:07 pm

Kindred was my introduction to Butler, and it drove me on to her other stuff, which I loved. But I do suspect that a more casual sf fan might find the alien-ness of the Xenogenesis trilogy off-putting. (I am an English academic, and I know a lot of academics who have read and liked Kindred, but the people I know who have read anything else by Butler are usually print sf fans.) I taught Dawn to college students once, and I think most were baffled, but a couple really loved it, so I counted that as a win.

>141 ScoLgo: I'm working my way through the first LOA volume right now; I have just Fledgling and a couple short stories to go. Gerry Canavan and Nisi Shawl did a great job. Good supplemental materials, great contextualization.

144Shrike58
Nov 30, 2021, 8:12 pm

Octavia Butler I miss, if only for her support of SF conventions in the Washington area. I really need to look at Fledgling some time.

Besides that I knocked off Equoid, due to the delay in the recently promised "Laundry" novella; not peak Stross and I wonder if he'd handle the sexualized violence of the story differently if he had to do it all over again.

145vwinsloe
Dez 1, 2021, 7:19 am

>142 AnnieMod: and >143 Stevil2001:. I agree that Kindred is almost more magical realism than any other subgenre of speculative fiction. It is a five star read, but not representative of the rest of Octavia Butler's works.

Fledgling and Xenogenisis have similar themes, although the first is a vampire novel and the second is aliens.

For me, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents (her dystopian novels) were her best.

146dustydigger
Dez 1, 2021, 7:28 am

I thought Bloodchild was excellent too, a great blend of SF and horror. Butler can change genres with ease.

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