Our reads July 2023

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Our reads July 2023

Editado: Jul 13, 2023, 8:27 am

That TBR pile/mountain is tottering. So what will you be reading this month to try to reduce it? (futile but fun)


Editado: Jul 29, 2023, 3:37 pm

Dusty's TBR for July
SF/F reads
Kenneth Robeson - The Polar Treasure ✔
C L Moore - Northwest of Earth ✔
Peter J Woods - River Men✔
Charles de Lint - Someplace to be Flying
Algis Budrys- Who?
Isaac Asimov - David Starr,Space Ranger
Arthur C Clarke - A Meeting With Medusa ✔
Jack McDevitt - Engines of God
Charles Sheffield - Summertide

from other genres
Kay Hooper - Blood Dreams✔
Patrick Quentin - Puzzle for Fiends
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex

Jul 1, 2023, 5:42 am

I was recommended The Amberlough Dossier by Lara Elena Donnelly. It is a very good alternate history set in an imaginary country that could be considered to really have happened, or be happening, in a number of countries.

Thank you for the recommendation, Sakerfalcon.

Jul 1, 2023, 5:50 am

>1 dustydigger:
I almost wished you luck in your attempts to reduce Mount TBR, but then realised reducing our TBR library is not only futile, as you said, but it is also not something any of us really wants to do. In reality, reducing our TBR queue means giving away unread books, not acquiring new books, reading faster, or some combination of these. On that basis I am going to say, Happy July reading.

Jul 1, 2023, 6:31 am

Speaking of Mount TBR, this month is largely about reading books that have been hanging fire for awhile: The Broken Kingdoms, Gather the Fortunes, Tread of Angels, For the First Time, Again, and Sweep of Stars.

Editado: Jul 1, 2023, 7:58 am

I just started Chiller, an sf thriller by Gregory Benford about an Alcor-like organization doing cryogenic preservation.

Jul 1, 2023, 8:07 am

>4 pgmcc: I have had 5 bagfuls of books sitting behind the couch for over a year,waiting to go to charity,and still a bit reluctant. even though actually most of them are really old tatty SF books,with tiny print and very brown paper. My eyes cant cope with the tiny print,they are too old or shabby. I have them all available online if I want to read them,but actually getting rid of them?.... not yet.;-)

Jul 1, 2023, 8:58 am

Just started The Prefect. I adore Alastair Reynolds and his complex futures.

On deck:
Record of a Spaceborn Few
Ancillary Mercy

Jul 1, 2023, 11:25 am

>7 dustydigger:
I understand you. :-)

Jul 1, 2023, 4:30 pm

>4 pgmcc:

Why wouldn't one want to read faster?

Jul 1, 2023, 4:34 pm

>2 dustydigger: I think you'll find Who? was written by Algis Budrys rather than van Vogt.

Jul 1, 2023, 6:18 pm

>10 AndreasJ:
I would love to read faster, but there is a limit to how fast I can read. There are also some books that I find are better read slowly, e.g. A Gentleman in Moscow. Reading this book too quickly would reduce the pleasure to be derived from reading it at all. Hence, reading faster to reduce Mt. TBR has limitations and can lead to reduced enjoyment.

Editado: Jul 1, 2023, 8:11 pm

reading forerunner factor for a real life book group. an interesting start hope that continues. I dont think Ive read a book by her but certainly recognize the name from my all scifi all the time stage. ETA I just read thro the list of her books and have no idea why I havent touched hers before.If this book stays good, Ill try a few more,

Jul 2, 2023, 1:09 am

Lois McMaster Bujold has enchanted me with Curse of Chalion. I read the last 20 pages this morning and I bought Paladin of Souls immediately. I shall be ensconced in her fantasy for a while.

Jul 2, 2023, 3:50 am

>12 pgmcc:

What I’d like to be able to do to reduce the TBR pile is spend more time reading. Unfortunately, responsibilities like work interfere.

Jul 2, 2023, 4:39 am

>15 AndreasJ:
I retired in February and can spend more time reading. It has no effect on Mt. TBR. Now that I have more time to read I also have more time to acquire books. It is s two-edged sword.

Jul 2, 2023, 7:22 am

>14 elorin:. I don't keep many books because I don't reread much and if I wanted to, I could probably get the book easily enough. That being said, I still have The Curse of Chalion and the two others in the trilogy, and intend to read them again someday.

Editado: Jul 2, 2023, 12:41 pm

I had a boss who bought lots of books but didn't have time to read. He said they were for when he retired. I like that philosophy and don't feel guilty when I buy books faster than I can read them. My Mount TBR is a whole mountain range at the moment.

The flea market near me has a book store in it and I have picked up some Laser books and some Ace doubles. They are very musty and are airing out so I can read them without sneezing.

I am currently reading Translation State. I am liking it so far.

Jul 2, 2023, 1:11 pm

>17 vwinsloe: Lois McMaster Bujold is the only author I have read entirely electronically. So I have all of the Vorkosigan novels and the Sharing Knife books on Kindle. I am glad others share my high opinion of The Curse of Chalion though!

Jul 2, 2023, 6:30 pm

I just finished Looking for the Mahdi by N. Lee Wood. This book came out in 1996 and, while the year in which it is set isn't mentioned, I would presume it is supposed to be sometime in the 21st century, perhaps even fairly close to our present time. So, yes, she doesn't get everything right but what she does do is present a really interesting look at artificially produced humanoids which reminds me a lot of the discussions by Isaac Asimov about robots. The setting is an Arab nation that doesn't have any oil and Wood has some really interesting things to say about relations between Arab nations and the rest of the world and whether peace can be achieved.

Jul 2, 2023, 10:16 pm

>20 gypsysmom: I remember reading & enjoying that back in the late '90s. I bet it might stand up to a reread.

Jul 3, 2023, 4:57 am

>18 daxxh: i just got Translation state in the mail. Will be next once I finish Magic Claims. Hope it is a worthy entry into the Ancillary series

Jul 3, 2023, 8:12 am

Finished The Broken Kingdoms, what is now a work from the early period of Jemisin's career. I should have read this book years ago, as it pales in comparison to her last five novels, but even "okay" Jemisin beats the hell out of a lot of authors' best work.

Jul 3, 2023, 7:46 pm

I just started The Ferryman, Justin Cronin's newest novel. I LOVED The Passage, so I bought it solely based on the author.

Editado: Jul 3, 2023, 10:40 pm

I am about a fifth of the way through Epiphany of the Long Sun. I’m really enjoying it but do long for a sciencey explanation for all of the apparent possessions that are going on in this book. Right now they happen regularly and it feels a little like fantasy for that part of what is otherwise really interesting science fiction. But I guess that is par for the course for Gene Wolfe. After Epiphany I plan to read some fantasy: The Order War. It’s been on my TBR for a couple of years now.

Jul 4, 2023, 12:05 pm

Just finished The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. The final installment of a truly exceptional trilogy. All three books won the Hugo Award, the only time that's ever happened. One can argue if it's THAT good, but it ranks right up there for me. Highly original, richly conceived, believable characters, it had it all.

Jul 4, 2023, 4:36 pm

About to start in on The Shadow of the Torturer.

Jul 4, 2023, 6:38 pm

Made a start on Abaddon's Gate.

Jul 4, 2023, 11:50 pm

>26 ChrisG1: I agree! I really enjoyed The Broken Earth trilogy. I found the parallel with Gene Wolfe interesting in that it wasn’t clear, to me at least, until the end that what seemed to start as fantasy ended up being science fiction.

Jul 4, 2023, 11:56 pm

>27 Stevil2001: What a great story The Book of the New Sun! When you have finished it, check out the Rereading Wolfe podcast. For the past couple of years they have been doing an episode per chapter close analysis of the book. They are almost done The Claw of the Conciliator.


Jul 5, 2023, 6:01 am

Reading Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes - an entertaining popcorn space-opera where Captain Eva Innocente and her rag-tag crew become entangled with bad guys while hopping about the galaxy having jolly adventures.

In contrast, also Lockdown Tales which are Neal Asher's usual mixture of ichor-dripping alien monsters and mindless violence.

Enjoying both, in their different ways!

Jul 5, 2023, 9:12 am

So I've reached the point in Abaddon's Gate where the media team come on board the Rocinante, and whilst I don't remember the journalist's name from the tv show, I'm certain it wasn't 'Moira Stuart' as it is in the novel. Because as a Brit of a Certain Age, to me Moira Stuart will forever be the BBC's first black female tv newsreader back in the 1980s. :-)

Jul 5, 2023, 2:21 pm

>32 RobertDay: I think it was Monica Stuart in the television series. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3230854/characters/nm1965525

Jul 5, 2023, 4:41 pm

>33 ChrisRiesbeck: You're right. And in the novel. It's me that's at fault, seeing 'Monica' and reading 'Moira'.

Sign of old age, I think.

Jul 5, 2023, 5:33 pm

Interrupted The Water King's Laughter to read The War of the Worlds, having come across the three-part BBC version from 2019 on Tubi. It was interesting how many little bits from Wells they incorporated into a fairly different plotline -- down to Mrs Elphinstone and a bit about going to France being harder to take than Martians. I love parts 1 and 2 of the seried, but hated part 3. Loved the book, of course, though I had forgotten so many things.

Jul 5, 2023, 5:41 pm

>34 RobertDay: Not age. Memory is reconstructive. People fault generative AI systems for hallucinating plausible but false facts, but experiments on eyewitness accounts demonstrate our brains do that too. Which is not to say generative AI systems think like people. Not even close.

Jul 5, 2023, 6:43 pm

Back to the Golden Age of science fiction and George O. Smith's Patterns for Conquest repackaged as a novel published in 1951. A space opera with some hard science fiction that got better as it went along 3 stars. Plenty of Smith's novels are out of copyright and so free on the internet.

Jul 6, 2023, 4:59 pm

>24 drmamm: Do you know if The Ferryman is going to be a stand alone or part of a series? I really enjoyed The Passage and the rest of that trilogy.

Jul 6, 2023, 10:18 pm

Reading John Grimes: Survey Captain by A. Bertram Chandler. This is an old 4 in one SFBC omnibus. The first one "Breaking the Cycle", is from the middle of the John Grimes series and the other 3 follow it. It wasn't a horrible novel, but any redeeming features it might have are cancelled by it being needlessly sexist.

Editado: Jul 7, 2023, 6:29 am

Just finished Translation State, the new Radch book by Ann Leckie.
Very good, as good as the first books in the trilogy. Highly recommended.
She write ‘others’ very well, in ways that aren’t just human with exotic skins (which was how I felt about the latest Wayfarer novel by Becky Chambers, The Galaxy, and the ground within).

Jul 7, 2023, 9:44 am

Jul 7, 2023, 12:47 pm

>40 amberwitch: How's that fit in with Provenance, or is it another independent novel?

Jul 7, 2023, 12:56 pm

>42 Karlstar: it is a stand alone, but there are links to the original trilogy in terms af recurring characters as well as a bit of continuation of plot.

Jul 8, 2023, 1:54 am

Finishing the Chalion trilogy by Lois McMaster Bujold with The Hallowed Hunt

Editado: Jul 8, 2023, 10:46 am

I have been steadily rereading C L Moore's Jirel of Joiry and Northwest of Earth 1930s fantasy hero and heroine. Subtlely different from the usual magazine fare,with interesting flawed protagonists. I read single stories,spacing them out as they are too rich to just speed through in a few sittings. Enormous fun,with glorious pulpy prose and beautiful haunting and spooky landscapes.
From the same 30s pulpy era I am happily striding through a Doc Savage tale,The Polar Treasure. Complete and utter nonsense of course,as is usual with these books,but they are such fun I cant resist them!. I love the Doc! Must share his biography with you -
A team of scientists assembled by his father deliberately trained his mind and body to near-superhuman abilities almost from birth, giving him great strength and endurance, a photographic memory, a mastery of the martial arts, and vast knowledge of the sciences. Doc is also a master of disguise and an excellent imitator of voices. He is a physician, scientist, adventurer, detective, inventor, explorer, researcher, and, as revealed in The Polar Treasure, a musician. Dent described the hero as a mix of Sherlock Holmes' deductive abilities, Tarzan's outstanding physical abilities, Craig Kennedy's scientific education, and Abraham Lincoln's goodness. He also described Doc Savage as manifesting "Christliness." Doc's character and world-view is displayed in his oath, which goes as follows.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do. Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.

Ah the good old days when young SFF fans who just swallow this wholesale with delight. .For us suspending all that disbelief is a hard job,but once you enter this crazy worldit is pure fun all the way..
.......wonder why his shirt is ALWAYS in tatters!?! :0)

Editado: Jul 8, 2023, 1:26 pm

>44 elorin: I have to get to that one, I've read the first two.

>45 dustydigger: Are you by chance reading the Planet Stories editions of the C. L. Moore books? I know that's where your second touchpoint goes, was wondering if that's actually the edition you have.

I haven't heard anyone mention the Doc Savage books in.... ever? I used to love those when I was a kid, I was really wondering how bad they would be as an adult. I may have to get some.

Jul 8, 2023, 2:01 pm

>40 amberwitch: Good to hear that Translation State is as good as the other Imperial Radch books. I look forward to getting to that one … sometime.

Jul 8, 2023, 7:24 pm

Knocked off For the First Time, Again. I had my doubts about the trilogy at the start but it wound up being a pretty good "secret history" with a reasonable ending. If Neuvel keeps writing I'll be inclined to give him another chance to entertain me.

Next up: Tread of Angels.

Editado: Jul 8, 2023, 10:20 pm

Currently reading Lockdown Tales by Neal Asher. I like the stories I have read so far. Just saw that there is a Lockdown Tales 2 when I was fixing the touchstone. I will be looking for that.

>22 amberwitch:. I think Translation State was definitely a worthy entry in the Ancillary series.

Jul 10, 2023, 5:56 am

Mizora: A Prophecy - Mary E Bradley.
Mary E Bradley is described in wiki as an American feminist science fiction author and teacher. She was one of the first women to have published a science fiction novel in the United States. Mizora was published in 1889 and so now falls under the genre of proto science fiction. Mizora is only inhabited by women their civilization has progressed to the point where there is no need for men, the sex who only contributed to the destruction of civilization. This book has everything one could wish for in shaping an utopian world. The format had been used before many times; ever since Sir Thomas Moore's original Utopia printed in 1516. It can become a little dull if you are expecting a narrative story, but this is perhaps one of the most complete and earliest examples of an all female Utopia. It is extremely well thought out and so: 4 stars

Editado: Jul 10, 2023, 9:30 am

Finished with Abaddon's Gate. More of the same, though as the Rocinante crew weren't really front and centre as a whole in the first half of the book, I missed Amos' wry humour.

Still concentrating on the differences between book and tv show and seeing how necessary changes in the story to adapt for the screen - combining characters, simplifying storylines - results in different things happening, and the sort of plot gymnastics needed to bring the story back to some of the landmark set-pieces in the novel. In particular, Captain Ashford in the novel isn't the same person as Claes Ashford in the show; their characters are totally different. Interestingly, whilst I have no problem visualising the main characters as their show depictions, that didn't happen for Ashford, no matter how much I tried.

Now reading some background material for building counter-factual stories set in the Alps - a book about trans-Alpine railways that never got built. After that, back to sf with The Corporation Wars: Insurgence.

Jul 10, 2023, 9:29 am

>38 clamairy: I'm not sure if The Ferryman is a standalone or not. I'm exactly at the halfway point, and it seems like it would need another book or two to completely flesh out the world.

I'm liking it so far. Doesn't quite pack the punch of the first Passage book, but it's a different tone - more introspective. The main character's POV is written in first person, which took some getting used to.

Jul 10, 2023, 11:04 am

>51 RobertDay:
I will be reading Abaddon's Gate soon.

I really enjoyed The Corporation Wars trilogy.

Jul 10, 2023, 11:31 am

Finished A Voice in the Wilderness by John Scalzi and started the next story, Tales From the Clarke.

Jul 10, 2023, 11:32 am

My last couple of books have been non-SciFi (Dave Barry's Swamp Story was a hilarious kick in the pants), but just started on Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This one is looking good!

Jul 10, 2023, 12:15 pm

I'm reading Constance by Matthew FitzSimmons which is about a woman who dies mysteriously which triggers the download of her memories into her clone. Unfortunately her memories have an 18 month gap and her life changed a lot in that period so her clone is trying to fill the gap and figure out who killed the original.

Interestingly, my library does not have this classified as science fiction, just regular fiction. I heard about this book on John Scalzi's blog where it was the subject of a Big Idea post by the author. It's true that sometimes non-sf books make it into the blog but I can't imagine why this wouldn't be considered sf. Maybe someone was asleep at the switch the day it came in for processing.

Editado: Jul 10, 2023, 2:49 pm

>52 drmamm: Thank you. I see the ratings here on LT are quite high, so I'm adding it to my OverDrive wishlist.

EtA: I am read Brandon Sanderson's latest Yumi and the Nightmare Painter.

Jul 10, 2023, 2:44 pm

Jul 10, 2023, 4:39 pm

>56 gypsysmom: Interestingly, my library does not have this classified as science fiction, just regular fiction. I heard about this book on John Scalzi's blog where it was the subject of a Big Idea post by the author. It's true that sometimes non-sf books make it into the blog but I can't imagine why this wouldn't be considered sf. Maybe someone was asleep at the switch the day it came in for processing.

Well, no rocket ships, no ray guns, no alien planets: how can it be science fiction? :-)

Jul 11, 2023, 7:52 am

>56 gypsysmom: When is science fiction not science fiction? When it's a near-future thriller! This might be a trend because things move so fast these days that the sort of world-building one sees in the best science fiction becomes a futile exercise when dealing with the near term.

Editado: Jul 11, 2023, 8:25 am

When else is science fiction not science fiction? When it's a "genuine" 19th-century channeled account of an adventure in Atlantis, like my current read A Dweller on Two Planets.

Jul 11, 2023, 9:35 am

>60 Shrike58: Well, Bill Gibson's Blue Ant trilogy could easily be defined as 'not science fiction' as it takes place in a very contemporary setting, with perhaps one technological advance that wasn't an invented thing at the time he wrote the books. In Pattern Recognition, Gibson wrote about "a project to build a new kind of visually-based search engine" which was fiction in 2002 when the book was written but which had been developed by the time I read it in 2011.

On a different tack, I remember when James Clavell's Shogun first appeared in the 1970s, some SF fan friends seized on it, saying "This is science fiction! It's all about someone from our society encountering a wholly alien one!".

Jul 11, 2023, 1:22 pm

Beginning my Hugo reading today with Legends & Lattes.

Jul 11, 2023, 2:56 pm

>63 Stevil2001: Oh, enjoy. I loved that one. I need to make some cinnamon rolls and re-read it.

Jul 11, 2023, 4:08 pm

>64 clamairy: To be honest, I am not convinced it is going to be my thing, but I am trying to be open-minded.

Jul 11, 2023, 4:53 pm

>65 Stevil2001: At least you're giving it a shot.

Jul 12, 2023, 9:39 am

I've just finished an SFnal murder mystery, The launch party. It's a locked room mystery where the locked room is a hotel on the moon. A group of 10 "lucky" people were picked to be the first guests at the luxury resort, but all is not as it seems. This was fun to read and kept me turning the pages when I should have been going to sleep.

Jul 12, 2023, 10:52 am

>67 Sakerfalcon:
Stop it Claire. I already have many, many books to read. As it happens I saw this one in a bookshop I browsed this morning and was mildly interested. Now you have turned my mild interest into a yearning.

Jul 12, 2023, 11:42 am

>68 pgmcc: I wish we lived closer, then I would happily lend you my books!

Jul 12, 2023, 12:01 pm

>69 Sakerfalcon:
In the remade Battlestar Galactica TV series, Admiral Adama gave the wise advice:
"Do not lend books. Give them. You are never going to get them back anyway."


Thank you for the thought.

Jul 13, 2023, 12:43 pm

Done with Legends & Lattes, so on to the next part of The Book of the New Sun, The Claw of the Conciliator.

Jul 13, 2023, 10:35 pm

>70 pgmcc: I remember that scene too and since then, I rarely lend books, I just get a cheap used copy and give it to the person.

Jul 14, 2023, 7:10 am

Finished Tread of Angels. Roanhorse acknowledges inspiration from P. Djeli Clark, and I suspect was also influenced by Aliette de Bodard, but I like the way those authors play with the themes of humans interacting with angels and demons more than Roanhorse's take. Still, if Roanhorse writes some more about this milieu, I'd be happy to give those stories a chance.

Jul 14, 2023, 1:43 pm

Jul 15, 2023, 9:21 am

Pausing The Claw of the Conciliator to read Adrian Tchaikovksy's finalist for the Best Novella Hugo, Ogres.

Jul 16, 2023, 9:28 am

I finished The Ferryman last night. I enjoyed it a lot, although it wasn't *quite* as good as Cronin's Passage trilogy. To be fair, it appears to be a standalone novel, so the author has less room to develop the world and characters (and it is a very complicated world!)

If I were to start with five stars then deduct for little things that bugged me, I would probably end up at 3.5 stars. A half star for sometimes overly florid prose (lots of internal monologues), a half star for pacing (the last 1/4 of the book really steps on the gas to the point that it felt jarring), and a half star for some continuity issues that may have been my fault - I'm still not 100% sure how it all fit together. He builds twists within twists within twists, and you have to pay attention. It reminds me a lot of a recent Netflix show, but I can't tell you the show because it would spoil some of the book's plot points!

I think it would have been better if he a) had written it more tightly and b) spread it out among two books. It would have allowed more world/plot development and he could have made the ending a little less rushed. Nevertheless, I would still recommend it!

Jul 16, 2023, 3:33 pm

About to start my first-time read of Use of Weapons, looking forward to it.

Jul 16, 2023, 4:19 pm

>77 Cecrow:

I'm looking forward to my own pending read of that one. I'm keeping an eye out for a copy, although I'm fully engaged with other reads right now.

Jul 16, 2023, 5:19 pm

>76 drmamm: Oh, that does sound a bit discouraging.

I finished Brandon Sanderson's Yumi and the Nightmare Painter, and though there were a few places where I thought it dragged a bit I ended up enjoying it very much.

Jul 16, 2023, 9:39 pm

>77 Cecrow: Great book, hope you enjoy it.

Jul 17, 2023, 12:53 am

Just a tarted the Long Earth series, and is currently reading The long war. Inoffensive and a bit bland.
Not what I expected from Terry Pratchett, but probably pretty much on the mark for my expectations of Stephen Baxter.

Jul 17, 2023, 6:09 am

>81 amberwitch: The Pratchett content declines rapidly as the series progresses. But the whole thing was Pratchett's idea going back to the days before Discworld.

Editado: Jul 17, 2023, 8:43 am

I'm reading The Binti Trilogy. It's clearly YA from its single narrative thread and viewpoint, but I am enjoying the imaginative world and the central characters. There is some violence, but not nearly as much as in her adult novel, Who Fears Death.

Jul 17, 2023, 12:56 pm

Jul 17, 2023, 5:28 pm

>81 amberwitch: I'm afraid those words are a good description of the entire series.

There are just enough flashes of that typical Pratchettian joy in there to make you believe prime Pratchett could've made this a great series, but this version isn't that. They are all quick and easy reads - otherwise I probably wouldn't have finished them all.

There's probably a timeline in the multiverse in which Long Earth becomes a 40 volume feast of humour, adventure and social commentary, but ours got Discworld instead. Not a bad deal.

Jul 17, 2023, 7:19 pm

>85 igorken: When I reviewed The Long Earth, I suggested that after a reasonable interval, the Pratchett estate might consider allowing other writers to play in that universe; after all, there's enough scope in the basic idea and room for everyone.

Jul 18, 2023, 7:08 am

I finished The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley. 1957 book, about aliens who come to Earth in support of the intelligent species on the planet: the whales and dolphins. Humnas? Meh. Could care less. Then after the invasion, a radio signal starts arriving.

Odd book. Interesting with some intriguing concepts. And Clones. Lots of clones.

Jul 18, 2023, 9:09 am

>87 majkia: I think there's a typo for the date of publication - should be 1977.

Editado: Jul 18, 2023, 9:57 am

Just starting Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men. I already like the unconventional format.

Jul 18, 2023, 10:35 am

Finished The transcendant by Nadia Afifi. Lots of action, especially towards the end.

Third book in a trilogy. I read this out of order, which means I missed the part where someone was impregnated without their knowledge or consent (for Science, apparently). Glad I missed that.

Editado: Jul 18, 2023, 11:49 am

>85 igorken: i just finished The long war, and I take the inoffensive back.
I am actually highly offended by the lack of continuity, consistency, or internal logic. As well as the retconning and the lack of respect for the readers time and intelligence.
A Very Disappointing Read. No plot, no story. Very little in the way of believable characters.

Editado: Jul 18, 2023, 2:09 pm

>91 amberwitch: The second is quite poor indeed. I thought the third was worse for about all the same reasons; the last two were better (even adjusting for far reduced expectations), but I won't hold it against you if you never get there.

Jul 18, 2023, 4:49 pm

>92 igorken: The last two were 95% Baxter.

Jul 19, 2023, 8:44 am

Slept poorly last night so I finished up Gather the Fortunes. Really excellent fantasy that I regret not reading considerably sooner. More like Neil Gaiman than anything else, on the basis that Camp is playing with archetypal gods as characters; definitely a big step up from his first novel, which felt more like a formulaic urban fantasy (though a good example of the type).

Will be finishing the month with Sweep of Stars.

Jul 19, 2023, 9:51 am

I'm doing more shelving than reading after my recent move. But in the process of ordering a new bookcase, I also acquired a cheap ex-library copy of Moorcock's Blood: A Southern Fantasy so that I can finally get around to reading his Second Ether series, of which I've long had a copy of the second volume.

Editado: Jul 19, 2023, 5:46 pm

>95 paradoxosalpha: The shoe has been on the other foot with me...finished packing about 55 cubic feet of books yesterday evening. And yes, book cases will be ordered when I get to Columbus (OH). Will start by buying at least two five-shelvers from Uline; I need fairly heavy duty shelves to deal with my collection of car, aviation, and the like reference books.

Jul 19, 2023, 3:36 pm

Have started my next Hugo novella, C. L. Polk's Even Though I Knew the End.

Jul 19, 2023, 3:53 pm

>93 RobertDay: I'm not entirely sure of the timeline, but considering Terry Pratchett's illness, that makes sense. If you read the later chapters of Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes: The Official Biography, this completely fits with the decline that Rob Wilkins describes. But let's not dwell on that. I'm just rereading Reaper Man, where he's really starting to hit his stride, and enjoying that.

And as this is the sf thread - I'm quite enjoying the Escape Pod antho at the moment as well. I have't listened to the podcast in years, but these stories have the same vibe.

Jul 19, 2023, 5:25 pm

>98 igorken: We saw TP when the Long Earth series was launched - he and Baxter did a slot at the Hay Literary Festival that year, and the progress of his disease was evident to both of us (my other half's mother had Alzheimer's), if not to a lot of people in the audience.

I was impressed with Wilkins' bio, especially his account of TP's early entry into SF fandom. I'd come across references to him in Pete Weston's With Stars in my Eyes, relating to the early days of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.

Jul 19, 2023, 5:28 pm

Just finished Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. While this one took me a long time to get through, it's not because it's poorly written, or slow paced. Mainly, I just had more going on in life than usual. I'd call this novel a story of how two different species' civilizations headed for an inevitable clash. It combined the rather common trope of a "ark ship" containing what was likely the last of humanity seeking a new home with the development of an intelligent species of spider on a planet terraformed by human predecessors. The story was well thought-out and executed, with ingenious turns & twists. This will surely be in my top 10 list at year end.

Jul 19, 2023, 7:13 pm

>100 ChrisG1: Oh, this is good news. I bought this one for my Kindle a while ago, but like so many books it's just been sitting and waiting.

Jul 20, 2023, 10:27 am

Just finished The Corporation Wars: Insurgence. Very much the middle book of a trilogy, but still decently involved and with a furious intelligence underneath examining the nature of power and our relationship to it, whether we are carbon- or silicon-based.

Looking at the publication dates, I'd say Ken started writing this not long after Iain Banks died; the opening lines are a direct lift from the opening of Consider Phlebas.

Now at the summit of Mount TBR: an anthology that's sat on the shelves waiting to be read for too long: New Legends.

Jul 20, 2023, 8:12 pm

I started my Vorkosigan journey with Shards of Honor. So far so good at 25%.

Jul 20, 2023, 8:56 pm

>103 drmamm: May you love the journey as I did!

Jul 21, 2023, 12:32 pm

I just finished Outland by Dennis E. Taylor. Best book of the year so far for me. Upbeat, sciencing, and engineering galore. What a fun book.

Jul 21, 2023, 9:51 pm

Back in New Orleans/NOLA to finish The ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings. Excellent story featuring two kids who have agency (and are supported by many, including their family members).

Jul 22, 2023, 12:13 pm

Finished To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer. Another in a long list of sci-fi classics I've wanted to get around to. Farmer builds a strange world in which the entire human race is resurrected along a seemingly endless river - the first in his famed "Riverworld" series. The protagonist is Captain Richard Francis Burton, famous 19th century explorer, writer, soldier, oriental scholar. Farmer used a number of historical characters, including Hermann Goring, Alice Liddel Hargreaves, and many others, to populate his world. Quite enjoyable & I expect I'll continue the series.

Jul 22, 2023, 12:38 pm

>107 ChrisG1: That book has stayed with me lo! these many years.

Editado: Jul 22, 2023, 12:53 pm

>107 ChrisG1: Same here, that one has been memorable for a long time and I think I've re-read it 3 times. The next book is ok, but the last 2 aren't as good. Fun fact: Riverworld appears in Ken Jennings' 100 Places to See After You Die .

Jul 22, 2023, 5:21 pm

>109 Karlstar: I love that - so like Ken Jennings!

Jul 22, 2023, 5:52 pm

Started Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor.

Jul 23, 2023, 7:02 am

>109 Karlstar: Jack Chalker, who was an acquaintance of mine, noted that Farmer's problem was that he was just winging a lot of the series and never had a good idea of how he was going to wrap it up.

Jul 24, 2023, 1:49 pm

Finished The Humanoids and started The Humanoid Touch.

Jul 25, 2023, 6:22 pm

Just finished Kindred by Octavia Butler. Butler's protagonist (Dana) is mysteriously transported through time & space from her home in Los Angeles to the antebellum South several times - each time to save the life of her slave owning ancestor (she comes to discover). I would call the premise more of a "magical realism" story than science fiction, personally, but it is certainly a brilliant novel. The danger & suspense experienced by Dana, as a black woman, in these encounters is palpable. The myriad ways in which slavery distorts human relationships is aptly depicted. Highly recommended.

Jul 26, 2023, 7:29 am

>112 Shrike58: No wonder it felt that way!

Editado: Jul 26, 2023, 9:58 am

>115 Karlstar: Chalker (who was something of an acolyte of Farmer), told this anecdote to make a point that if you were going to write extended series always know how you're going to end it.

Editado: Jul 26, 2023, 11:46 am

>116 Shrike58: Interesting, so you're saying he had a plot in mind for the Dancing Gods series when he started?

Jul 26, 2023, 11:53 am

I have just finished reading Abbadon's Gate. It keeps the standard of the Expanse series high and has me looking forward to the next six books in the series. My fears about how I would enjoy it having watched the screen adaptation were unfounded; I am really enjoying the books.

Jul 26, 2023, 4:37 pm

>118 pgmcc: I'm about at the same point. Although there are differences between the book and the series, I persist in visualising the characters in the book as their screen presences, even when their descriptions vary (i.e. Alex).

The one exception is Captain Ashford of the Behemoth. The characters are seriously different in book and show, and Claes Ashford was one of my favourites in the tv version. I could not visualise the Captain Ashford of the book as the tv show portrayal.

Jul 26, 2023, 5:04 pm

I started The Integral Trees this morning.

Jul 26, 2023, 5:40 pm

>119 RobertDay:
Like yourself I can only visualise the characters as portrayed in the screen adaptation. I am not bothered by the adjustments to the story for the screen.

My favourite character has to be Amos. Next up is a toss-up between Bobbie and Miller. These preferences are probably strongly influenced by the on-screen portrayals, but I still get the same vibe coming through on the written page. That is probably some sort of circular biasing mechanism, but hey, I am enjoying reading the books.

Jul 26, 2023, 6:56 pm

>121 pgmcc: It's exactly those differences that I'm finding interesting. I see a sort of butterfly effect; one small change made for the screen has a knock-on effect on how the story is told and how the showrunners had to bend things so that certain set-pieces occurred in both book and show in roughly the right place.

The books are nonetheless showing me more stuff than the tv show can explain. For example, I now know why Amos calls Clarissa 'Peaches'.

Amos' deadpan (and sometimes gallows) humour makes me laugh out loud. I like him a lot. Claes Ashford and Camina Drummer are perhaps two of my favourite 'side' characters, which is why the pretty big difference between the Ashford character in the book and in the show made such an impact on me. And Camina Drummer isn't in Abaddon's Gate, with some of her character arc being given to Bull - but he got killed off.

The other thing interesting me a lot is the Belter creole. I read somewhere that that was deepened for the tv show. I keep recognising odd words here and there and being intrigued by their origins.

Jul 26, 2023, 7:02 pm

>122 RobertDay:
I liked Drummer in the show.

Editado: Ago 1, 2023, 12:25 am

Now reading House of Gold by C. T. Rwizi. It's the second of their books that I've read. Far future, on another planet, featuring (I think) genetically modified humans designed to combat cybernetic threats. Interesting worldbuilding, for sure.

Jul 27, 2023, 12:58 am

Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota quartet is a stunning achievement. I find it difficult to believe that this is her debut as the writing ability is that of a seasoned veteran and the use of language(s) is simply... (*chef's kiss*).

I have spent the past couple of months slowly doing a read-along in both audio and print and have not experienced anything this complex, immersive, and ultimately satisfying since Wolfe's Solar Cycle. It's very different from Wolfe but at the same time is clearly influenced by him, (and myriad other authors and works from time immemorial). My rating is 10/10 throughout with the caveat that this series is likely not going to appeal to everyone. That said, not even one literary award? Puzzling...

Anyway, currently reading Children of Time and The Many-Colored Land, with Blindsight on deck.

Jul 27, 2023, 4:26 am

Reading SB Divya's Machinehood, an interesting exploration of how humans are forced to enhance themselves with pills and implants to compete in a small way with AI and robots. Very enjoyable and thought-provoking so far.

Jul 27, 2023, 8:03 am

Finished Sweep of Stars, an exercise in Afro-Futurist space opera. I think the author is ambitious, but I'm not that impressed with the way Broaddus structured his story; he's probably trying to do too much in the page count at hand. My impression is just positive enough that I'm prepared to give the follow-on book a try.

Will be starting Translation State soon. Moving from Virginia to Ohio early in August and will have to get the book back to the library before I hit the road.

Editado: Jul 27, 2023, 10:59 am

>125 ScoLgo: you might be interested in this interview with Ada Palmer in which she discusses The Book of the New Sun.


Also, her introductions to Shadow and Claw and Sword and Citadel in the Tor Essential releases of these books are really excellent.

Jul 27, 2023, 11:53 am

>128 Neil_Luvs_Books: Thank you, listening to the Palmer interview now. I don't have those specific editions of TBotNS but will read her intros via 'Look Inside' on Amazon.

Jul 27, 2023, 5:23 pm

Just started (and am almost done with) Into the Riverlands, my next Hugo finalist.

Jul 27, 2023, 11:35 pm

Not going to be in sci fi for a little while. Reading book 3 of the Imager Portfolio by LE Modesitt Jr. There's 12 in the series, although I might tackle the Heinlein juveniles in between for variety, trying to finish the reread of them.

Jul 28, 2023, 5:03 pm

Just finished Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. I had recently acquired a lovely Limited Editions Club edition of this classic & decided it was time to dive in. It was a fun little adventure story and made for a quick read. Not really anything particularly "science fictional" about it, though. Next, I'm starting Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein.

Editado: Jul 28, 2023, 6:44 pm

>132 ChrisG1: I still need to read Around the World in 80 Days. Been on my TBR list for a couple of decades now but it never seems to reach the top. One day…

Editado: Jul 29, 2023, 9:34 am

Finished New Legends and found it a pretty good collection, even though all the stories date from 1995; only a couple that didn't work for me, and very few of them lack some sort of relevance today. Worth looking out for.

Now started Lucius Shepard's Barnacle Bill the Spacer, though the title story has been spoilt for me so far by the pov character and others purporting to be British but talking in appalling Mockney accents, and Shepard thinking that Manchester is in the Midlands.

Jul 29, 2023, 12:23 pm

Finished The Humanoid Touch. Taking an SF break to do K is for Killer.

Jul 29, 2023, 8:07 pm

Finished Shards of Honor. I liked it! A good kickoff to the Vorkosagian saga. On to Barrayar!

Editado: Jul 30, 2023, 2:25 am

>136 drmamm: I first read that typo as "Vorkosagain" and thought it was on purpose and quite funny, considering the number of books she has written in that series! :)

Jul 30, 2023, 8:32 am

Not sf, but of interest to sf fans perhaps: reading another Hugo finalist, Wil Wheaton's updated memoir, Still Just a Geek.

Jul 30, 2023, 1:53 pm

>125 ScoLgo: Have you read The Many-Colored Land before?

Jul 30, 2023, 1:56 pm

>118 pgmcc: Abaddon's Gate is where I stopped with that series, I should give the next book a try.

Jul 30, 2023, 3:56 pm

>139 Karlstar: This is my first time. I'm about halfway through at the moment and am mostly enjoying it, despite the dated characterizations and the extremely long setup/character introductions. Now that the Green Team have finally made the journey and are embroiled in their split-up adventures, the book has become a lot more interesting. The confusing prologue has now also clicked into place.

Have you read the rest of the series?

Jul 30, 2023, 5:36 pm

>141 ScoLgo: I adore the Pliocene Saga. I think Marc is the most complex bad guy and adore his arc.

Jul 30, 2023, 9:02 pm

>141 ScoLgo: I certainly have, and all of the prequel books. I think it is a great series.

>142 majkia: I have to say, sometimes I'm team Marc too.

Jul 30, 2023, 11:23 pm

Just finished Bang bang Bodhisattva by Aubrey Wood. Takes place in a large city in 2032, but it's not quite our world: the tech is too advanced. Very cyberpunk, science fiction with actual murder mystery and noir detective added. Plenty of queer and nonbinary characters, if you care about that sort of thing.

Jul 31, 2023, 10:43 am

Finished Orphans in the Sky by Robert Heinlein. A generation ship from Earth that lost it's memory of it's mission. A single rebel rediscovers it's history & struggles to convince others. Nothing special, but enjoyable enough.

Jul 31, 2023, 10:54 am

July reading summary:

Books read: 8

Pages read: 2570

Longest book: Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky - 608 pages

Shortest book: To Your Scattered Bodies Go - Philip Jose Farmer - 220 pages

Average book length: 321 pages

Book of the Month: 3 books I starred (Children of Time, The Stone Sky, Kindred)...I'll go with Kindred

Dud of the month: No duds this month

Editado: Jul 31, 2023, 11:10 am

I'm still making slow progress on A Dweller on Two Planets, but I've just snagged the latest post-Laundry Tales of the New Management book Season of Skulls from the public library, so I'm pivoting to that for a few days. (I generally read those up in a blink.)

Jul 31, 2023, 9:54 pm

>124 karenb: Your touchstone link leads me to Scales of Gold by Dorothy Dunnett. Her two series of historical adventure novels are absolutely wonderful (this is part of the 2nd series) but not, I think, what you wanted.

Ago 1, 2023, 12:25 am

>148 rshart3: Thanks! Fixed.

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