What are we reading in June 2023

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What are we reading in June 2023

1dustydigger
Maio 31, 2023, 1:42 pm

Better read some of those swaying TBR piles before they topple. Tell us your plans for the month

2dustydigger
Editado: Jun 29, 2023, 1:36 pm

Dusty's TBR for June
SF/Fantasy
P Djeli Clark- A Dead Djinn in Cairo
A E Van Vogt - Slan
John Hindmarsh - No End in Sight
Algis Budrys - Who?
Raymond F Jones - The Year When Stardust Fell
Rachel Aaron - Nice Dragons Finish Last
Rachel Aaron - Minimum Wage Magic
Rachel Aaron - Part Time Gods
Nathan Lowell - Milk Run
Nathan Lowell - Suicide Run
Nathan Lowell - Home Run

from other genres
Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Heather Graham - The Dead Room
Cyril Hare - That Yew Tree's Shade

3ChrisG1
Maio 31, 2023, 3:17 pm

Chris' June TBR:

SFF:

The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons
The Farthest Shore - Ursula K. Le Guin
Children of Dune - Frank Herbert
Red Rising - Pierce Brown
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Dying Inside - Robert Silverberg
Fiasco - Stanislaw Lem

Non-SFF:

The War of the End of the World - Mario Vargas Llosa
Bark to the Future - Spencer Quinn

4ChrisG1
Maio 31, 2023, 3:27 pm

>2 dustydigger: I read King of Elfland's Daughter recently - enchanting prose. And I'm a huge fan of the Jeeves/Wooster stories!

5dustydigger
Maio 31, 2023, 4:31 pm

>4 ChrisG1: I am intending to reread some PGW works over the next year or so. Not just seeing the gormless Bertie trying to cope with his dreaded aunts,but also visiting Blandings . Its been a good while since I leaned on the wall beside Lord Emsworth to visit The Empress! :0)

6RobertDay
Maio 31, 2023, 4:57 pm

Currently half-way through Hidden Wyndham; then, after reading a political memoir, I'm going to tackle Gwyneth Jones' Bold as Love, which has been on the TBR pile for way too long.

7andyl
Maio 31, 2023, 5:39 pm

>6 RobertDay:

I really enjoyed the entire Bold As Love series but I don't know how the first book will have aged.

8karenb
Maio 31, 2023, 6:32 pm

TBR for book clubs:

- The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
- The ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings

Plus the random selection of books brought by the library hold fairy.

9paradoxosalpha
Editado: Maio 31, 2023, 7:07 pm

I've recently started The Player of Games.

On deck I have Radiance.

And it's not so much sf as I understand, despite the title, but I'm nearly ready to pick up the hoary old tome of American esoterica A Dweller on Two Planets.

10Betelgeuse
Maio 31, 2023, 7:59 pm

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

11Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 1, 2023, 12:27 am

I just started reading Gene Wolfe’s Litany of the Long Sun. I hope to finish it and its sister volume Epiphany of the Long Sun this June.

12UncleMort
Jun 1, 2023, 4:40 am

Rereading Voyage by Stephen Baxter Excellent read, especially for those interested in the early days of space travel (as I am) Used to be a great fan of his novels but his recent novels I find a little disappointing.

13SChant
Editado: Jun 2, 2023, 3:53 am

Having just finished M R Carey's Infinity Gate - good but not up to his usual standard for me - I've now started Louise Carey's Outcast the follow-up to her Inscape. So far it's OK but not riveting.

14Shrike58
Editado: Jun 17, 2023, 11:07 pm

It looks like I'm going to have the opportunity to read Witch King, the new novel by Martha Wells this month. Other likely choices include After the End of the World, Vallista, and The Dawnhounds. The fifth book is yet to be decided.

As of today (6/17), Constance Verity Saves the World is going complete my genre reading menu for the month.

15drmamm
Jun 1, 2023, 11:05 am

Finished Aftershocks, by Marko Kloos, which is the first book in the Palladian Wars trilogy. It's not Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, but very good military SF. I have started the second book, titled Ballistic.

17AnnieMod
Jun 1, 2023, 2:36 pm

Currently reading Dave Hutchinson's Europe at Dawn - the 4th in the Fractured Europe sequence. It may sound a bit disjointed while reading it but it is one of my favorite series lately (and it makes sense at the end - even though most of the fun is in the details).

18seitherin
Jun 1, 2023, 6:50 pm

19rshart3
Jun 1, 2023, 7:34 pm

>13 SChant: Your link leads me to a book by Sara Douglass.

20SChant
Jun 2, 2023, 3:54 am

>19 rshart3: Looks like all my links were dodgy. That's what I get for posting from my phone! Fixed now, thx.

21dustydigger
Editado: Jun 6, 2023, 10:37 am

I enjoyed P Djeli Clark's A Dead Djinn in Cairo,nice to have a fresh setting for such tales.
Now reading a Winston Classic,Raymond F Jones The Year When Stardust Fell and John Hindmarsh No End in Sight.
Then it should be King of Elfland's Daughter

22RobertDay
Jun 2, 2023, 5:59 am

Finished Hidden Wyndham; very interesting. Reading now taking a back seat for the weekend, replaced by books - I'm off to the Hay Festival!

23pgmcc
Jun 2, 2023, 6:11 am

>22 RobertDay:
Enjoy Hay. I look forward to hearing how you enjoyed it.

24amberwitch
Jun 2, 2023, 4:08 pm

Got agency by william Gibson linde up for june. Just finished the first in the Series the peripheral, which was great, but dense.

25karenb
Editado: Jun 2, 2023, 9:34 pm

>22 RobertDay: Lucky you! A perfect event for any bibliophile.

In the midst of Emily Tesh's newest book, Some desperate glory. Far future SF, with aliens, after the Earth has been destroyed, only a small pocket of humans left on a hidden rebel space station Gaea.

It's very different from the first novel of hers that I read, the fantasy Silver in the wood. I like it when writers have different books in them! Tesh is good, so it's be a nice surprise.

26rshart3
Jun 2, 2023, 10:48 pm

>21 dustydigger: Thank you so much for naming The Year When Stardust Fell! I've been trying for some time now to remember the book or story where a comet caused all machinery to fail with the predictable fall of civilization. I couldn't seem to find it. Clearly this is the book I'm remembering. Now, to track it down (hopefully without needing any moving metal parts).

27Karlstar
Jun 2, 2023, 10:50 pm

>9 paradoxosalpha: I hope you enjoy!

I just finished a re-read of an old post-apocalyptic classic, The Breaking of Northwall. It was a Kindle edition with a new intro from the author, written in 2005, which was interesting.

28daxxh
Editado: Jun 3, 2023, 8:18 am

>26 rshart3: The Year When Stardust Fell is $0.99 on Kindle.

I am reading Lockdown Tales by Neal Asher. First one was good.

29dustydigger
Editado: Jun 3, 2023, 6:24 pm

>26 rshart3: Its wonderful when you finally root out such a book whose author and title elude you. It available to read on Project Gutenberg if you want to check if it is really the book you want,as physical copies are quite pricey,though the UK kindle edition is only £1.46! :0)
You can read in also in the free speculative fiction online archive check : https://www.freesfonline.net/authors/Raymond%20F._Jones.html

30Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 3, 2023, 9:16 pm

>24 amberwitch: I also really enjoyed The Peripheral when I read it a few weeks ago. I haven’t yet tracked down a copy of Agency. I look forward to hearing what you think of it and whether it is a worthy sequel.

31ChrisRiesbeck
Jun 4, 2023, 12:44 pm

Finished The Tides of Time by Brunner from 1984 that for 10 of its 12 chapters read like a David Mitchell construction. Annoying wrap up though. Probably City of Truth next.

32paradoxosalpha
Jun 4, 2023, 3:19 pm

>31 ChrisRiesbeck: 10 of its 12 chapters read like a David Mitchell construction

!! I've never read anything by Brunner, but all signs have pointed to me enjoying when I eventually do.

33Sakerfalcon
Jun 5, 2023, 5:08 am

I'm reading Eyes of the void, which is the middle volume of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Architects trilogy. It's fast moving and there's a lot of action in the complicated plot.

34ChrisRiesbeck
Jun 5, 2023, 1:15 pm

>32 paradoxosalpha: His long career varied, from early quickly written pulp stuff to probably his strongest period in the mid1960s with Stand on Zanzibar, The Jagged Orbit, The Sheep Look Up, The Whole Man, and others of that period.

35ChrisG1
Jun 5, 2023, 7:40 pm

Finished The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin. Third volume of her Earthea cycle. A reread, although it's been so long since I'd read it, I remembered none of it. But I enjoyed it immensely. Le Guin's prose in this series is borderline poetic compared to her science fiction writing. You have the feeling you're reading a classic epic.

36Shrike58
Jun 5, 2023, 10:03 pm

Finished Vallista, in which Brust sticks Vlad Taltos in a locked-room mystery. Apart from the immediate challenge facing Vlad, one is also given some sense of how this series might be winding up, and it might be a cosmic big bang.

Witch King will be up next.

37Stevil2001
Jun 6, 2023, 11:15 am

Starting my last Pern novel, All the Weyrs of Pern!

38drmamm
Jun 6, 2023, 3:13 pm

Finished Ballistic and on to the 3rd (and final?) installment of the Palladium Wars series by Marko Kloos, "Citadel." Marko needs to title his books differently - too many titles in the touchstones! It's a good series. Good mix of character development and plot/action.

39majkia
Jun 6, 2023, 3:41 pm

Blitz by Daniel O'Malley was far better than book 2, as good as book 1 I thought. I've also finished Ancillary Sword which was a lot easier for me to follow than book 1 of that series.

Currently reading Greenwitch by Susan Cooper, and Triumphant by Jack Campbell, my very own crack series. Not sure what I'll do when I finish it!

40Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 6, 2023, 6:44 pm

>35 ChrisG1: Yes, those first three titles in the Earthsea Cycle are truly special. The ones that come after starting with Tehanu did not resonate as much for me. Still, I plan on re-reading the entire cycle once I retire.

41karenb
Jun 6, 2023, 10:31 pm

I finished Flux by Jinwoo Chong, out this spring. It mainly mixes time travel and a detective TV show, but it also talks about families and assimilation and grief (note: sudden death of a parent). Plus some commentary on the present, such as tech startups. If you like that sort of thing, please check it out.

42amberwitch
Jun 7, 2023, 5:52 am

Finished Agency by William Gibson and sad that I have to wait for the last in the trilogy.
Great writing, really interesting premise and amazingly textured world building.

I also read Just one damned thing after another, which is a lot more conventional take on time travel than Agency, with a more levity, but ultimately not as good as I had hoped.

In other genres I’ve read A longer fall and The Russian cage in the alternative history series gunnie rose by Charlaine Harris.

43vwinsloe
Jun 7, 2023, 6:50 am

>35 ChrisG1: & >40 Neil_Luvs_Books: Tehanu is my favorite, so you never know.

44SChant
Editado: Jun 7, 2023, 8:13 am

Reading Meru by S B Divya. It's started out with a lot of genetic engineering and post-human society on Earth about 500 years into the future and looks like it will turn into a space opera - travelling to distant palnets. Intriguing so far.

45seitherin
Jun 7, 2023, 10:42 am

Finished The B-Team and Walk the Plank, both by John Scalzi. Added the 3rd in that series, We Only Need the Heads, to my rotation.Liked the 1st one meh on the 2nd.

46elenchus
Jun 7, 2023, 12:53 pm

Recently completed a re-read of Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music and though I remembered next to nothing of plot, enjoyed it as much as I'd hoped. I've read considerably more noir since my first reading, and Lethem's take on the noir story is top notch. The sfnal bits were simultaneously amusing and a wry social commentary, pitch perfect for me.

Agree with recent statements about Earthsea being a wholly satisfactory read, I've only read through the first four so far, but find it outstanding: worldbuilding, prose, and a deep understanding of human psyche.

>30 Neil_Luvs_Books:
I suspect Agency will be fully worth reading, given that you enjoyed The Peripheral. Some LTers express irritation at "nothing much happening" but ... that was not my experience.

47ChrisG1
Jun 7, 2023, 12:53 pm

Just finished Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I believe I last read this in a high school literature class, but appreciated it a great deal more this time around. It seems to me that we're moving closer to a world of the kind of social control that Huxley imagined - particularly control by limiting information & encouraging pursuit of comfort & pleasure above all else.

48Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 7, 2023, 7:22 pm

>43 vwinsloe: Well, I certainly plan on reading Tehanu again at some point. It was decades ago when I read it my only time. What I remember about Tehanu is that the narrative seemed much more evocative than the original Earthsea trilogy. The plot seemed … veiled, or almost told in a dreamlike fashion. I found it difficult to follow what exactly was going on. But that was my 30 year younger self. Maybe three decades of lived experience will allow me to better read between the lines on a re-read. 😀

49Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 7, 2023, 7:24 pm

>47 ChrisG1: Yes, our modern world is more like Brave New World than it is 1984. In Neil Postman’s words, we are Amusing Ourselves to Death.

50dustydigger
Jun 8, 2023, 5:36 am

I am reading The Year When Stardust Fell about a comet whose dust causes all machinery to fail. Could have been written today where science and scientists become hated by swathes of the population. All the characters needed was to be given MAGA hats and its bang up to date! lol.
When I started The King of Elfland's Daughter I immediately thought of the first few chapters of Vance'sThe Dying Earth with its lush landscape descriptions. I'm sure Vance must have read Dunsany. The prose is so lush,intricate and dreamlike that I cant really read the book off straight off like a typical novel. I am going to read one or two chapters a day,taking time to savour.
I am also doing something similar with C L Moore Northwest of Earth,reading one story at a time with rests in between,from the complete collection of all the Northwest Smith short fiction. Moore was such a unique voice for those times of rather rough swashbuckling derring -do tales found in the pulp magazines ,stories often with a strong horror or weird fiction tinges,with strong lush prose,a joy to read but not to rush through.
Something rather different is my reread of Slan. Van Vogt was one of the earliest SF authors I read in the early 60s. He blew my young ignorant mind at the time.He was a very big deal at the time. I keep pausing to reread a sentence in Slan,not like with Dunsany and Moore above because their writing is to be savoured,but because Van Vogt's style is choppy and awkward and clunky, and I need to try to understand what he is actually trying to convey! lol

51vwinsloe
Jun 8, 2023, 7:13 am

>48 Neil_Luvs_Books: That wasn't my experience at all. But I do think that Tehanu was written for a more mature audience, and, of course, from a female POV as well. It does have a wonderful dragon!

52paradoxosalpha
Jun 8, 2023, 10:04 am

>50 dustydigger:

I never really thought of the Vance-Dunsany connection before, but I'm sure you're right.

53Karlstar
Jun 8, 2023, 10:49 am

>36 Shrike58: I enjoyed Vallista, I still need to catch up on Iorich, which I somehow skipped and get to Tsalmoth, soon.

>48 Neil_Luvs_Books: >51 vwinsloe: I haven't read Tehanu in ages and not since I re-read the original trilogy a couple of years ago, I'll have to give that one a re-read as well.

54paradoxosalpha
Jun 8, 2023, 5:01 pm

I've finished my read of The Player of Games and posted my review. Now it's on to Radiance.

55Shrike58
Editado: Jun 9, 2023, 7:41 am

Finished Witch King, which is good Martha Wells, but not great Martha Wells. If there seems to be a consensus in the reviews that I looked at it's that Wells came up with a very complicated world that needed some more refinement. Particularly if this is intended to be a free-standing novel.

56elenchus
Jun 9, 2023, 1:12 pm

>54 paradoxosalpha: I was a little disappointed that the complete opacity of the Culture's relationship to terrestrial humanity was not at all relieved in this book (from paradoxosalpha's LT review)

That was an abiding interest of mine after spotting some signs throughout the various books. The clearest statement is made not in a novel, but the title story in his collection State of the Art. Primary characters from that short story featured in Weapons, and there's an explicit link to Terra in that novel's appendix.

57amberwitch
Jun 9, 2023, 1:37 pm

>55 Shrike58: Sorry to hear that - I have been looking forward to her new book.

58ChrisG1
Jun 9, 2023, 3:13 pm

Just finished Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg. Widely considered to be Silverberg's "masterpiece," it's far from a typical science fiction novel. I'd describe it as a deeply introspective character driven novel. The only science fiction-ish element is that the central character is a telepath - and the "dying inside" of the title is that he realises he is gradually losing that power & thus his sense of identity, as his entire sense of self has been wrapped up in this power which he has mostly kept to himself his entire life. The book was written in 1972 & is very much a product of it's time & place - New York - and the contemporary events of the character's life. Highly recommended.

59Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 9, 2023, 7:22 pm

>58 ChrisG1: I agree with your assessment of Dying Inside. I read for the first time 3 years ago and really enjoyed the prose and the meditation on what it means to lose abilities with aging. Not your typical SF as you say, but still a really well written story.

60Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 9, 2023, 7:25 pm

I just finished the first half of Litany of the Long Sun (i.e., Nightside the Long Sun). It was a little slow to get started but by the ending of this first Long Sun novel Gene Wolfe starts throwing in these hints that there is way more going on than a priest of some sort trying to save his monastery. Very enjoyable.

61rshart3
Jun 9, 2023, 11:38 pm

>59 Neil_Luvs_Books: ,>58 ChrisG1:
Robert Silverberg indeed is all over the place, including nontypical & genre bending. Like many prolific authors, the output is uneven at times, but it's amazing how many very good, and different, things he's written. I'm fond of The Book of Skulls, certainly a strange one but compelling.

62Shrike58
Jun 10, 2023, 7:26 am

>57 amberwitch: It's still worth reading, but Wells alludes in her acknowledgements that it was a hard work to complete.

63gypsysmom
Jun 10, 2023, 10:15 am

Not sure if I would really consider this science fiction but I am currently listening to A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay.

64ChrisRiesbeck
Jun 10, 2023, 10:25 am

Finished City of Truth, started Teckla.

65pgmcc
Jun 10, 2023, 11:52 am

I am almost half way through Caliban's War, the second book in The Expanse series. I am really enjoying it.

66Neil_Luvs_Books
Editado: Jun 10, 2023, 1:39 pm

>65 pgmcc: All 9 volumes in The Expanse are really enjoyable reads. I read 6 last summer and read the last three just this I past May. Clearly, I had a hard time putting them down. Which likely accounts for my sleepy May: I stayed up far too late on too many evening unable to put the novels to bed for the night.

67pgmcc
Jun 10, 2023, 2:00 pm

>66 Neil_Luvs_Books:
I can understand the late night reads. You are not the first person to tell me the series keeps up the pace and quality the whole way through.

68Stevil2001
Editado: Jun 10, 2023, 8:27 pm

Finished Twenty-First Century Science Fiction today, which I've been reading in spurts between novels for two months. Excellent anthology.

69UncleMort
Jun 12, 2023, 3:56 am

Just given up on Ancillary Justice. I know it's a multi-award winner but I found it slow, dull and confusing.

70vwinsloe
Jun 12, 2023, 8:52 am

>69 UncleMort: Oh, that's too bad. The confusion is absolutely intentional on the part of the author, and unravelling it is part of the unique reading experience. Perhaps you can give it a try someday in a different frame of mine.

71Sakerfalcon
Jun 12, 2023, 9:52 am

I've just started Some desperate glory. Intriguing set-up, with an unpleasant (intentionally) lead character.

72drmamm
Jun 12, 2023, 9:54 am

I finished Citadel, the third (but not final) installment in the Palladian Wars series by Marko Kloos. Very enjoyable read, although it could have been a straight trilogy with some editing. I think Kloos is building another universe with an ongoing arc, punctuated by several sub-arcs that are resolved in 1-2 books.

Hopping over to Fantasyland to read Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie.

73Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 12, 2023, 11:00 am

>69 UncleMort: Yes, that is too bad that it took to long to start for you. I have really enjoyed all four books in the Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie. It was difficult at first to follow the character given that they can inhabit multiple bodies at the same time. But as >70 vwinsloe: says, that was part of the interest for me was trying to figure out what was going on.

74andyl
Jun 12, 2023, 11:46 am

I am about to read Plutoshine by Lucy Kissick as it is one of the books on the Clarke shortlist this year.

75rshart3
Jun 12, 2023, 3:34 pm

>70 vwinsloe: >69 UncleMort:
That quality of "figure it out as you go along" almost qualifies as a sub-genre -- or more, a readers' advisory factor. I have friends who love being thrown into a strange world & situation without any explanation or help, and figuring it out as they go. I have other friends who absolutely hate that. I think it cuts across genres, too.

76ChrisG1
Jun 12, 2023, 3:41 pm

>69 UncleMort: I almost did the same, but ended up glad I stuck with it. Don't blame anyone, though, if they don't. I tend to give an author "just so long" to grab me & it's their fault if they don't.

77Stevil2001
Jun 12, 2023, 3:54 pm

>75 rshart3: Jo Walton calls the way some sf/fantasy texts fill you in only indirectly "incluing," sort of the opposite of "infodumping." For me, it's part of the pleasure of sf, but of course there are some texts so inscrutable it ceases to be pleasurable-- and of course the kind of clues an advanced reader can pick up on will be much greater than others. Some science fiction is clearly designed to only be intelligible to people who've already read other science fiction!

I actually think Ann Leckie is a master at the incluing/infodumping balance; confusing enough to be interesting, but periodically brings you up to speed without belaboring it if you were lost. Ancillary Justice is one of my faves. (But I didn't care much for the sequels.)

78Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 12, 2023, 4:27 pm

>75 rshart3: This is so true and also applies to films. My spouse and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum. She hates films or books that require viewers and readers to fill in the blanks, in essence becoming co-creators of the movie or novel. Me, on the other hand, really relishes that opportunity to imagine what might be or to decode the clues. On the other other hand my spouse really enjoys mysteries and likes to hypothesize how it will end based on the clues. But if there is no bow ribbon by the end, she is very frustrated. So like you say, there is clearly a balance that will be different for different people. YMMV.

79paradoxosalpha
Editado: Jun 12, 2023, 5:18 pm

I admire and enjoy demanding books and movies, although I happily "slum" in stories with more transparent narratives and conventional exposition. The novel I'm currently reading Radiance is definitely in the former category. It's in a weird parallel 20th century where the solar system has already been thoroughly colonized. It has something of a Dr. Grordbort steampunk space opera thing going on, but focused on cinema rather than warfare. Most of it is excerpts of documentary transcripts, screenplays, and entertainment press. I'm at about the 1/4 mark, and I'm sure I don't have a thorough understanding of either the setting or the principal characters, but I'm definitely interested enough to continue.

>77 Stevil2001:
Is Gene Wolfe perhaps the preeminent incluer?

80rshart3
Jun 12, 2023, 10:57 pm

I think SF is one of the genres most susceptible to figure-it-out, Incluing (I love that term - thank you, Stevil2001) stories. It may well be due to the importance of world-building in SF - which of course includes cultural "worldbuilding". And yes, Gene Wolfe is a master. One thing required to enjoy those works is a high tolerance for ambiguity, which I have, but quite a few people don't. Suspense novels also require that.

81vwinsloe
Jun 13, 2023, 7:09 am

>79 paradoxosalpha: I liked Radiance, although the reviews seem really mixed. For me, the atmosphere that she created in that book is virtuosic.

I'm reading Angelmaker now, on paradoxosalpha's recommendation. 60 some odd pages in, and I'm just starting to get it. It's Harkaway's wit that has carried me along.

82Shrike58
Jun 13, 2023, 8:30 am

Chiming in late on this discussion, I had a little bit of an issue with that tendency in Witch King, and that was knowing ahead of time that Wells is a paid-up member of the "C.J. Cherryh School of Inscrutable Antagonists." The question is whether Wells is holding back information for another book set in this milieu.

83andyl
Jun 13, 2023, 9:15 am

Having read a chunk of Plutoshine I wonder how many Americans will pick up that the sign language used by Lucian and Nou is BSL (and not just wonder why the sign for yellow is 'wrong').

84SChant
Jun 13, 2023, 9:23 am

Finished Charles Stross' Season of Skulls - the New Management series is not a patch on the original Laundry Files to my mind. About to start Dave Hutchinson's Cold Water, the next in his Fractured Europe series.

85Neil_Luvs_Books
Editado: Jun 13, 2023, 9:39 am

>77 Stevil2001: >79 paradoxosalpha: >80 rshart3: Apparently, incluing is what I love about Gene Wolfe.

86RobertDay
Editado: Jun 13, 2023, 9:54 am

About a third of the way into Bold as Love. I've always struggled a bit with Gwyneth Jones, but I've determined I shall persevere because people whose opinions I respect have called her work Significant. I've probably been guilty in the past of rushing her books; now, as a retired person, I don't have that excuse.

But: I'm finding the premise and characters in Bold as Love not to my liking. I've always had something of a semi-detached relationship with the counterculture; and I suppose I identified as a Young Fogey back in the days when I was still young. Though my knowledge of and contact with the counterculture was always sufficient for me to know about it, identify those places where I was in tune with it, and smile indulgently at everything else. That also meant that sometimes, I picked up on issues that others didn't immediately see, and my grasp of stuff sometimes confounded people who'd think things like "How does tweedy Robert know so much about lesbian symbiology?", which amused me. But hey, I've been to festivals and slept under canvas. My political alignment helps, too.

And yet, I'm reading the novel and thinking "I don't identify with these characters." There's one character who looks and behaves like a walk-on nihilist grunge villain from Gotham. The novel, published around 2000, throws us into a near-future scenario that is now on a wholly divergent timeline. And Jones' idea of what Whitehall civil servants and politicians were like was perhaps ten years out of date in 2000; Tony Blair's "Cool Britannia" seems to have either passed her by or been treated as mere window-dressing, whereas that generation of politicians and officials were more in touch with the counterculture than people realise - even some of those supposedly in the loop, such as certain SpAds (special advisors), who put out an appeal for "weirdos and misfits" to join government whilst overlooking those already working away under their noses. Well, I've written about that before (https://robertday154.wordpress.com/2020/01/18/weirdos-and-misfits/), so enough said.

I'll press on with Bold as Love for the moment, but I'm definitely contemplating declaring DNF if I don't get any better vibes off it by the 50-60% point.

A bit of a shame, especially as the Gollancz hardcover is a lovely thing with an Anne Sudworth cover.

87paradoxosalpha
Editado: Jun 13, 2023, 10:42 am

>84 SChant:
I liked the second Tales of the New Management book better than the first, and I have high hopes for the third. But that's supposed to wrap up that arc, as I understand it. It seems like Bob will never be the star of any further novels, but it would be nice to get back to some of the later Laundry recruits and find out what has happened to them. (Edited to add: Another book about Cassie would be especially welcome!)

>85 Neil_Luvs_Books:
I like Wolfe's remarkable incluing, but I'm equally smitten with his worldbuilding, metaphysical and political themes, and prose style generally.

88Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 13, 2023, 11:03 am

>87 paradoxosalpha: Yup! I am with you there on those other aspects of Wolfe’s writing. Last night I finished another chapter in Litany of the Long Sun which ended with one of Silk’s dreams. Incredibly evocative but unclear as to why it is narrated at this point in the book. I went to bed scratching my head, wondering. Which means it was a good read for me. 😀

89paradoxosalpha
Jun 13, 2023, 1:34 pm

Reading the whole Solar Cycle at one go was hugely satisfying. I just threw Free Live Free on the formal TBR pile, since I have an unread copy.

90Neil_Luvs_Books
Editado: Jun 13, 2023, 6:09 pm

>89 paradoxosalpha: I am pacing myself reading The Solar Cycle. Last year was Urth of the New Sun. The year before that was Book of the New Sun. This month and likely July is Book of the Long Sun. And then next year after the teaching term is done I’ll read Book of the Short Sun. On my TBR list after that are The Wizard Knight, Peace, and then The Fifth Head of Cerberus. And I have a collection of Wolfe’s short stories, Endangered Species that I’ll delve into sporadically. So far, I think I am enjoying Long Sun the most. But Book of the New Sun had such lovely escapades and set pieces. I remember how Sword of the Lictor opened with Severian contemplating the sad mood that his partner, Dorcas was in. It was an incredibly beautiful passage.

Yeah… I like Gene Wolfe. And after reading all those, I understand that his writing is even more satisfying on a re-read. I look forward to that.

91paradoxosalpha
Jun 13, 2023, 7:36 pm

I tried Wizard Knight decades ago and bounced for some reason. I'm sure I'll get back to it eventually. Fifth Head of Cerberus is just awesome.

92AndreasJ
Jun 14, 2023, 2:53 am

If and when I feel I've got the time to read novels again, The Book of the Long Sun is near the top of the list.

93andyl
Jun 14, 2023, 4:45 am

>86 RobertDay:
The thing with Bold As Love is that I don't think it is supposed to be totally realistic portrayal (remember the full title is "Bold as Love: a Near Future Fantasy"). Obvously some parts draw more on reality than others - the reception for pop and rock stars seems very Blair, the attempted massacre (of the Greens) not so much. The festival scenes I think were a very deliberate mash-up from the 80s to the late 90s with some new tech involved too (I wasn't around in the 70s).

I will admit that the first third (maybe more) of the book is hard going. There is a lot happening, much of it very bleak. There is a large cast and we don't know any of the characters sufficiently to care. However the three main leads do become much more prominent, and I did care about them very much at the end of the book.

What the early part of the book is doing is setting up a war-torn England as a canvas for the story that Jones wants to tell, which is a twisted Arthurian fantasy.

One interesting thing is that one of the books in the series is YA - the standalone novel The Grasshopper's Child.

94ChrisG1
Jun 14, 2023, 9:19 am

Just finished The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons. This book completes the duology started in Hyperion. It's not hard to see why it rates so high on so many "best of" lists. Easily also on my personal Top 10 in Sci Fi. Moving on to Children of Dune.

95majkia
Jun 14, 2023, 9:58 am

Currently reading Gallant which is, as is usual for the author, odd. Good odd. Finished Gods and Men: Ruins of the Earth. Also reading Infamous Reign.

96RobertDay
Jun 14, 2023, 11:23 am

>93 andyl: Thanks for those useful observations. I passed the 50% mark last night and yes, the going does seem a bit easier.

Perhaps I should have taken more notice of that subtitle, as fantasy isn't really my thing, especially if the writer is trying to combine it with a more ostensibly "realistic" setting at the outset.

There are also some other things I'm finding problematical. There's a major thread in the first two books of rock musicians and child abuse. The attitude in Bold as Love seems to be "Everyone knew but no-one said." I'm sure that's true; it's what people said about Jimmy Saville (after the event). Sadly, that rather holes the argument about it being "fantasy" under the waterline, and some coming to this book now may want to reject it on those grounds. There is also some overt Islamophobia that goes unchallenged, but that theme still looks as though it's being worked through.

97pgmcc
Jun 14, 2023, 2:35 pm

>94 ChrisG1:
I consider Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion as two volumes of one story. I found them to work perfectly together.

98Neil_Luvs_Books
Editado: Jun 15, 2023, 9:45 am

>97 pgmcc: >94 ChrisG1: Though not as good, I still did really very much enjoy the next two volumes in the Hyperion Cantos: Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. I seem to be rereading those four novels every 3 to 4 years. I find the story incredibly engaging.

99ChrisG1
Jun 14, 2023, 10:46 pm

>98 Neil_Luvs_Books: Those are definitely on my list!

100Shrike58
Editado: Jun 18, 2023, 11:27 pm

Finished The Dawnhounds, which turns out to be a rather chaotic secondary-world fantasy of imminent apocalypse. At least that's what I think I read; for all I know it's some sort of lost space colony book. We might be in China Mieville territory here. I liked it well enough that I'm interested in reading the follow-up book.

101RobertDay
Jun 15, 2023, 9:22 am

>93 andyl: And suddenly, I'm enjoying Bold as Love, as you predicted. Especially Ax and Sage and Fiorinda. Still twitchy about the child abuse angle, though.

102ChrisRiesbeck
Jun 16, 2023, 10:19 am

Finished Teckla, began Kuldesak.

103Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 16, 2023, 7:11 pm

I joined our community book club and so am now reading The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin. So that means I have four books on the go:
* Lathe of Heaven
* Litany of the Long Sun
* Wonderful Life by SJ Gould (for my family book club - we are hiking to the Burgess Shale in a few weeks! 😀)
* Darwin and Design by Michael Ruse (for work)

104Stevil2001
Editado: Jun 17, 2023, 10:43 am

Starting Le Guin's Changing Planes today.

105amberwitch
Jun 17, 2023, 12:56 pm

Finished The Serpent in heaven by Charlaine Harris - alternative history.
Next up is Zero History, the last William Gibson I haven't read. Don't remember much about the other books in the series, so may have to do some re-reading as well.

106dustydigger
Editado: Jun 19, 2023, 7:21 am

I found Van Vogt's Slan very clunky and hard going,but back in the day,1940 it was a sensation,the one SF book everyone had to read.But at last I have been able to tick it off my TBR.
Another golden oldie which still some charm and interest was Raymond F Jones The Year When Stardust Fell. One of the Winston Classics series of books for young teens. The young protagonist always wins through really tough circumstances to win. I think this was the darkest in the whole series in terms of tone,brutality,and violence.When the tail end of a comet sends a strong cosmic dust to fall on the world,destroying all machinery and enveloping the world in a violent end of the world scenario things become grim. Religious bigots and a dangerous ignorant hatred of science and scientists in the midst of hunger and pestilence doesnt help either. Lots of sharp things to apply today,I could definitely see the magahats! lol.
Jones is quite a nice author barely known today. I have read This Island Earth too,and liked it,so I will keep an eye out for more of his books.Next up is Budrys Who? and Andre Norton Star Man's Son.The latter should soothe me when the paranoid McCarthy era Cold War stuff gets too much.

107Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 18, 2023, 5:15 pm

>106 dustydigger: What an interesting reading safari you are on!

108elorin
Jun 18, 2023, 6:56 pm

I've been caught up in an urban fantasy series of books by Rachel Aaron. I read the 5 Heartstriker novels and I am on book 2 of another series set in the same universe.

109gailo
Jun 19, 2023, 9:56 am

Over the weekend i read Translation State by Ann Leckie and We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen. The Nguyen edged further over into horror than I like, I prefer space opera. I still stayed up until after midnight to finish it.

110RobertDay
Editado: Jun 19, 2023, 5:59 pm

A bookshop trip today yielded The Thousand Earths. As I was waiting for my garage to finish with my car, I made a start on it and quickly found myself 200 pages in before I knew it!

I shall have to alternate this with Bold as Love as I have now really gotten into it, just as andyl predicted.

111Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 19, 2023, 6:02 pm

>109 gailo: What do you think of Translation State? I was in a bookstore just a couple of hours ago looking at it and almost picked it up. Is it as good as her previous four books in her Imperial Radch series?

112Karlstar
Jun 19, 2023, 9:01 pm

I had Beyond the Gap by Turtledove on my TBR list for a long time, finally getting to it now. Pretty standard fantasy, I'm enjoying it. I'm actually glad I waited to read it, as it is now part of a trilogy.

I also started The Aeronaut's Windlass, which jumps right into action immediately, pretty typical Butcher.

113gailo
Jun 20, 2023, 12:36 am

>111 Neil_Luvs_Books: I thought Translation State was very good. I haven't read the previous ones in the series, though I plan to pick up Ancillary Justice soon. I tried to read it the year it came out and bounced, but I think I just wasn't in the right mental headspace to enjoy it at the time. It should go better this time.

114ChrisG1
Jun 20, 2023, 10:42 pm

Just finished Children of Dune by Frank Herbert. The third installment in Herbert's famous series. This one took awhile to set up, but it was well worth it. Next up - Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

115Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 21, 2023, 12:12 am

>114 ChrisG1: I think the most difficult Dune for me that Frank Herbert wrote was The God Emperor of Dune. That was a hard slog for me to get through when I read it decades ago. I am also doing a re-read of the Dune series but I am still mired in the prequels written by his son and Kevin Anderson. Will get to House Harkonnen in a few weeks.

116vwinsloe
Jun 21, 2023, 8:54 am

>115 Neil_Luvs_Books:. I always thought that the first two books should have been a duology. He kind of lost me with The God Emperor of Dune when virtually all of the characters that I knew where gone, and I couldn't related to the worm god. Read all 6 of Herbert's but just didn't think they measured up to the first two.

117Shrike58
Jun 21, 2023, 10:20 am

I read The God Emperor of Dune when it first came out in serialized form in "Analog," and then the novel. I was impressed, but I was young and much easier to impress!

118ChrisG1
Editado: Jun 21, 2023, 3:11 pm

I actually liked Children of Dune a bit more than Dune Messiah, but the first one is still the best in my mind.

119dianeham
Jun 21, 2023, 10:24 pm

I’m reading 14

120Shrike58
Editado: Jun 23, 2023, 8:38 am

Part of this year's agenda of reading books that have been hanging fire forever, I knocked off After the End of the World. Not Jonathan L. Howard's best work (that would be the "Johannes Cabal" cycle), but if he was allowed to at least write a concluding book I'd be happy to see it.

121Neil_Luvs_Books
Editado: Jun 23, 2023, 11:43 am

>116 vwinsloe: Yes, I agree. I think the original Dune is by far the best. But I did find the last two that Frank wrote, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse Dune interesting. The plot seemed to quicken somewhat after God Emperor of Dune. And I am looking forward to finally reading the last two instalments by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune. I am not expecting them to be of the same calibre as Frank’s books, the prequels were certainly not as good, although they were still interesting. But as all readers of Dune found when reading Frank’s last book, Chapterhouse Dune, it certainly ended on a cliffhanger. Based on some of the threads left untied in Brian and Kevin’s Legends of Dune trilogy, I think I know where they are going to take the story. But still, I want to read the entire narrative. I might be finished by the time the 2nd Dune movie is available on Netflix…

122RobertDay
Jun 24, 2023, 11:01 am

Now finished The Thousand Earths. Enjoyed it, though it's not without some clunkiness. My review: https://www.librarything.com/work/28812961/reviews/242562489

Now reading some Italian history, to be followed by an Austrian book on a trans-Alpine railway that never got built (so perhaps the foundation for some counter-factualism). Next SF in the TBR pile will be Abaddon's Gate.

123Cecrow
Jun 24, 2023, 2:59 pm

>121 Neil_Luvs_Books:, after reading them I preferred reverting to treating Chapterhouse as the end, lol, but ymmv.

124baswood
Jun 25, 2023, 9:12 am

Finished The Outer Reaches which is a collection of short stories edited by August Derleth in 1951. Stories by the usual suspects: Asimov, Simak, Ray Bradbury, A E van Vogt, Theodore Sturgeon and others. One of the others was Clive Cartmill whose story 'The Green Cat" contains the phrase "It was writing, but not as we know it", which just may have been the first time this phrase was used. Of course the similar misquoted phrase from Star Trek has taken on a life of its own since then. A solid collection 3 stars.

125rshart3
Jun 25, 2023, 9:28 am

I'm now in the Stillness in the beginning of The Fifth Season by Jemisin. Altogether a darker scenario than the Inheritance books, at this point anyway. Definitely an incluing book, though I appreciate the inclusion of appendices explaining some of the terms, which gives me a chance to "cheat" by looking things up. I don't like the way one of the story threads is narrated in second person, a mode I dislike. Otherwise it's very compelling so far.

126Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 25, 2023, 11:07 am

>125 rshart3: If I remember correctly, the reason for the narration in the second person becomes clear later in the trilogy.

127Stevil2001
Jun 25, 2023, 12:55 pm

It will be clear by the end of book one.

128dustydigger
Jun 26, 2023, 4:49 am

Just spent the last week reading fluff,but enjoyable fluff,Hornblower in space light reads by Nathan Lowell. Wasnt up to reading more serious stuff,too weak physically and mentally to cope. Nothing better than sailing the solar winds,visiting the space station docks,and uncovering saboteurs and criminals while maintaining the engines or taking the watch.. Great fun.

129vwinsloe
Jun 26, 2023, 7:15 am

>125 rshart3: I hate 2nd person narration. But I appreciated it in this case, even though it took me a while to figure it out.

130Neil_Luvs_Books
Jun 26, 2023, 6:22 pm

I just finished Litany of the Long Sun. What a great way to end the first half of The Book of the Long Sun. I laughed out loud with palm to forehead! On to Epiphany of the Long Sun.

131baswood
Jun 26, 2023, 7:03 pm

The Drowned World - J G Ballard
Earth reverts back to the Triassic age in Ballard's unforgettable The Drowned World. Published in 1962 and now part of the science fiction masterwork series. I read this as a teenager and picking it up today nearly sixty years later, it all came flooding back; the lagoons and the claustrophobic, melancholic atmosphere, the feeling of impotency, powerlessness and an eventual bowing to the inevitable; unforgettable.

132paradoxosalpha
Jun 26, 2023, 11:13 pm

I finished Radiance and posted my review. It was one of those books that I enjoyed more and more as I read it, and then even more when I thought back on it to write the review.

133karenb
Jun 26, 2023, 11:29 pm

I just started The mountain in the sea by Ray Nayler for a book group. At least partly climate fiction.

134ChrisG1
Jun 27, 2023, 7:01 pm

Just finished Red Rising by Pierce Brown. A sci-fi dystopian future-ish novel. This one took much longer to read than it should have & I almost DFA'd it a few times. I found the premise & the world building to be...implausible. I guess it's a kind of marxist parable of sorts, in terms of a highly stratified society with very defined social classes brutally enforced. The main character is impossibly noble and self sacrificing. And yet. And yet, the further I got into the story, I was able to set aside my objections and go with the flow and halfway enjoyed it. Will I read the sequels? I'm not sure. I may at least give the second one a shot. We'll see.

135Karlstar
Jun 27, 2023, 8:52 pm

>134 ChrisG1: I finished Red Rising, didn't enjoy it at all and did not proceed on to the rest of the series.

136Shrike58
Jun 28, 2023, 8:17 am

Knocked off Constance Verity Saves the World, fluffy adventure with a playfully ironic edge.

137seitherin
Editado: Jun 28, 2023, 10:31 am

Finished We Only Need the Heads by John Scalzi and started the next story in the sequence, A Voice in the Wilderness.

138ChrisG1
Jun 30, 2023, 5:49 pm

Just finished Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells, #6 in the Murderbot Diaries. I'd say if you've read one Murderbot, you've read them all, and that's not a bad thing. I'm not bored by it - let's call it consistency. After a few heavy reads, I get a kick out of Murderbot's sarcastic musings.

139ChrisG1
Jun 30, 2023, 6:00 pm

June reading summary:

Books read: 9

Pages read: 3031

Longest book: Children of Dune - Frank Herbert 609 pages

Shortest book: Fugitive Telemetry - Martha Wells - 168 pages

Average book length: 337 pages

Book of the Month: Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Dud of the month: None - I DNF'd one book 20 pgs in, but I just wasn't in the mood for it & won't judge it.

140ChrisG1
Jun 30, 2023, 6:13 pm

July Reading Plan:

The Stone Sky - N.K. Jemisin
Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Kindred - Octavia Butler
To Your Scattered Bodies Go - Philip Jose Farmer
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
Swamp Story - Dave Barry
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
Around the World in Eighty Days - Jules Verne

141dustydigger
Editado: Jul 1, 2023, 4:54 am

>139 ChrisG1: Sorry Chris,I was late adding this month's thread,a bit under the weather.
We seem to have similar reading tastes. I've read all those except the Dave Barry,which looks amusing,and the Cormac McCarthy,which I wont be reading.Not my idea of fun! >0).On my WWEnd I have several lists nearing completion,and its annoying that I wont complete them because they include all the Ice and Fire books,The Road,and some other modern fantasy I just dont want to read.
I intend to read as many of the Hugo nominees as I can ,as I am up to date with the Hugo,Nebula and Locus winners,and then probably just read like fluff mainly in future,or 30s to 50s pulpy stuff. I certainly sem to have little affinity to modern SF

142ChrisG1
Jul 1, 2023, 9:40 am

>141 dustydigger: Sounds like a good list. The reason I added Blood Meridian was because 1) McCarthy's death made me want to read something of his, and 2) Blood Meridian has been sitting unread in my Kindle library for quite awhile. I do eat my vegetables once in awhile....

143Neil_Luvs_Books
Jul 4, 2023, 1:31 am

>142 ChrisG1: “ I do eat my vegetables once in awhile....” 🤣

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