What are we reading in Qctober 2023

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What are we reading in Qctober 2023

Set 30, 2023, 2:57 pm

Another month,another pile of books. Are you doing Spooky October this year?
Share your plans with us.

Editado: Out 30, 2023, 6:42 pm

Dusty's TBR for October
(R) means reread
SF/F reads
Stephen Leather - Nightfall
Robert W Chambers - King in Yellow(R)✔
Amanda Stevens - The Restorer(R) ✔
Richard Matheson - Born of Man and Woman(R) ✔
Peter J Woods - The Serpent's Fury
K M Shea - Hunted
K M Shea - United
K M Shea - Fated
from other genres
Michael Gilbert - Death in Captivity
Edmund Crispin - Swan Song
Mark McCrum - The Festival Murders

Set 30, 2023, 5:09 pm

My local library has come up trumps again and delivered The Best of World SF volumes 1 and 2. That should keep me going for a good bit of October.

Set 30, 2023, 5:39 pm

>1 dustydigger: It's been ages since I reread The Hallowe'en tree for October. Hmm.

I will definitely be reading Sue Burke's latest, Dual memory, for a book group I'm hosting.

Set 30, 2023, 6:22 pm

I already have Wild Massive, Ascension, Infinity Gate, and The Deep Sky lined up. I'll also probably get Starter Villain this month.

Editado: Out 1, 2023, 9:15 am

I picked up Galaxy Awards 1, a collection of Chinese science fiction, in order to read one Hugo-finalist short story. Now that I'm done with Hugo reading, I've turned back to it and am reading all the other stories.

Editado: Out 2, 2023, 1:03 am

>6 paradoxosalpha: I remember playing Starship Titanic on my PC using CD-ROMs but never finished it. Purchased it on sale a couple of years ago on Steam. Still haven’t finished it. I had no idea it was written into a novel. It’s now on my TBR list. Although I never finished the game (twice) I still thoroughly enjoyed the play.

I am taking a break from SciFi to live up to a couple of reading commitments in other genres:
1. My friend and colleague, Marina Endicott just published her most recent book, The Observer: A Novel a few weeks ago. I had promised myself I would read it when it came out after so enjoying her Good to a Fault this past summer.

2. I always read the Massey Lecture when it is released every fall. The 2023 book was published a few weeks ago: The Age of Insecurity. So that one is up next.

3. Lastly, my community book club is reading Margaret Atwood’s book Alias Grace which has been sitting on my shelf staring at me since it was published almost three decades ago. Time to strike that one off my TBR list. But that one is not being discussed until Dec so I should be able to fit in some SciFi between then and now.

I am looking forward to retiring in another couple of years. I am really resenting work getting in the way of my reading!

Out 1, 2023, 5:00 pm

October Reading Plan

Revelation Space - Alastair Reynolds
A Memory Called Empire - Arkady Martine
To Die in Italbar - Roger Zelazny
Stringers - Chris Panatier
Axis - Robert Charles Wilson
For We Are Many - Dennis Taylor
Legacies - L.E. Modesitt
The Pride of Chanur - C.J. Cherryh

Out 2, 2023, 6:47 pm

Just finished To Die in Italbar by Roger Zelazny. The story revolves around a man whose body collects diseases - he contracts them & overcomes them, and can use his immunity to save lives, but he also becomes periodically contagious. Interesting premise & made for a decent story. It turns out this is a sequel & not a standalone novel, which explains why it took awhile for me to get oriented. Worth a read, but probably better if you read Isle of the Dead first.

Out 3, 2023, 9:07 am

I'm about to start reading A half-built garden.

Out 3, 2023, 9:32 am

>11 Sakerfalcon:
I'll be interested in your impressions. I've really enjoyed Emrys' Innsmouth Legacy books.

Out 3, 2023, 9:43 am

>12 paradoxosalpha: I loved those too, so I have high hopes for this. Looking forward to seeing what she does in a different genre. (Subgenre?)

Out 3, 2023, 12:59 pm

Out 4, 2023, 8:18 am

Wrapped up Wild Massive, which is something of a shambling comic inferno, but basically left me with enough positive feelings that I'd try another book by Moore.

Next up: The Deep Sky.

Out 4, 2023, 10:46 am

I finished and reviewed A Wizard of Earthsea. Having thus invested in the first book of a series, I'll now tackle the fifth and last of another by proceeding to In the Green Star's Glow.

Out 4, 2023, 10:02 pm

>16 paradoxosalpha: Nice review! I had previously only read the original trilogy & started a reread a few months ago. I finished Tehanu a few weeks ago & will be finishing all of the series in the next couple of months. You're right that her writing is far superior to most of the contemporary YA authors.

Out 5, 2023, 5:25 am

Am rereading Stephen Leather's first book in the Jack Nightingale tale,Nightfall. Leather is such a enjoyable author ,very smooth and fast paced,with likeable interesting characters. Delighted to find 2 more of the series on kindle unlimited,so it looks like I will be watching Jack battling with demons for quite a while,with 6 or 7 in the series available.Cool.
Also rereading The King in Yellowso strange and eerie. Much of the spooky stuff is just glimpsed or alluded to very briefly,which adds to the sense of unease........
This week I am devoted to non genre stuff. I am reading Michael Gilbert's Death in Captivity. Set in an Italian POW camp for Brit officers. Think Colditz and The Wooden Horse,or The Great Escape with murder added!.Good fun. Published in 1952,same year as Colditz,and Gilbert knew his stuff,as he was in a POW camp and actually managed to escape! Excellent characterization and suspense,but to us today the class system is really a glaring issue.Fascinating as a social document as much as a crime story.

Editado: Out 5, 2023, 11:15 am

The King in Yellow is such an oddity that it has inspired its own tiny genre. Given that one of the genre's themes is artistic creation, it has resulted in higher quality, more reflective works than the neighboring (and sometimes overlapping) Yog-Sothothery from Lovecraft, his circle, and their heirs.

Editado: Out 7, 2023, 6:22 am

Completed The King in Yellow. Elder gods,cursed books,madness and terror,who could ask for more! lol.
I think I should read a little Poe this weekend for my Occult Detectives challenge,or perhaps Seabury Quinn's Justin de Grandin Pulp rubbish? Maybe,but such fun!

Out 8, 2023, 11:34 am

>20 dustydigger:
Maybe Poe, but you could also go back to Bierce's "An Inhabitant of Carcosa."

Editado: Out 8, 2023, 11:43 am

Seven years after starting the Green Star books--including a long hiatus from a onetime glut of sword and planet--I have finally wrapped up my read of the fifth and last volume In the Green Star's Glow. I'm now picking up Moorcock's Blood as a bit of seasonal reading.

Out 8, 2023, 12:00 pm

Just finished The Best of World sF volume 1 and enjoyed it very much. Like most anthologies there were a few stories that just didn't work for me, but most were very good - interesting concepts, well written, novel perspectives on traditional SF&F tropes. There were quite a few authors I already knew, but almost half were new (to me) and definitly worth keeping an eye out for. Highly recommended.

Out 8, 2023, 4:37 pm

I've now finished Nemesis Games and enjoyed it. Some readers have said that separating the crew of the Rocinante impaired their enjoyment, but I found that for me, it meant each crew member got their share of the story. Also, this book is where the tv show and novels appear to part company in terms of plot and characters.

Now reading The True Knowledge of Ken Macleod, a collection of essays on the works of that author (although as it dates from 2003, it only really covers the The Fall Revolution and Engines of Light series.

Out 9, 2023, 1:41 pm

Finished L is for Lawless, started Endling: The Only, the third in the Applegate's Endling trilogy.

Out 9, 2023, 7:33 pm

Finished Legacies by L.E. Modesitt - the first volume of an epic fantasy series. I picked up a huge ebook bundle on a promotion - 36 of Modesitt's bibliography. Well, Modesitt doesn't write short books - this one at just about 600 pages. But they are of the light adventure style, so it goes quickly. I enjoyed it for what it is. He's a good storyteller & created an interesting world to explore. The are 7 more books in the series & I expect to continue at one every month or two.

Out 9, 2023, 10:21 pm

October reading is well under way. First up was The Last House on Needless Street. Pretty good but didn't really live up to the hype IMHO. Still, Ward's writing style was decent enough and the pace good so... 6/10.

Next, I finished Ghostwritten, which doesn't really have a ghost, (or does it?). Hard to believe this was Mitchell's debut novel. I enjoyed it immensely.

Now nearing the halfway point of RJB's The Troupe. Not a huge fan of magical realism but Bennett is very good at character development, plotting, and dialog. This one is also a touch YA, (16-year old protagonist), but the side characters are a varied and somewhat creepy bunch so I'm happily going along with things.

Also getting back to genre by cracking open A Memory Called Empire. Barely into the first chapter but the comparisons to CJ Cherryh I have heard about are already apparent - which means I will probably like this one.

Editado: Out 10, 2023, 6:56 am

>21 paradoxosalpha: I came across a handy little website when looking for the Bierce An Inhabitant of Carcosa yesterday,called Librarium Cthuluvius,which neatly packages all the Mythos tales of HPL and his friends,with a few related tales from precursors like Bierce,Blackwood,R W Chambers and Machen. Nice little ''Cthulhu File'' has articles and info on the mythos.I enjoyed trawling through it all
check out - http://www.cthulhufiles.com/index.htm

Out 10, 2023, 2:21 pm

Started in on The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Volume 7. This will take me some time, as I slip stories in between other books I am reading. Next up is The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber.

Out 10, 2023, 7:44 pm

As promised, reading Sue Burke's Dual Memory, which deals with (among other things) art, artificial intelligence, and microbial life from other planets, in a future Earth partially destroyed by climate change.

Out 11, 2023, 12:00 am

>28 dustydigger: Neat site -- thank you! I'm surprised they don't offer bus tours of Arkham. Not that I would go: the bus would probably drive into an underground parking garage filled with trapdoors, and leave us there.

Out 11, 2023, 8:09 am

The bus to Innsmouth is the one that's trouble.

Editado: Out 13, 2023, 9:24 am

Finished The Deep Sky, a reasonably interesting first novel that's hard-SF from a basically literary writer. I could quibble with elements of it in terms of pacing, but it was good enough that I'd give the author's next novel (already in the pipe-line) a try.

Next up: Starter Villain.

Out 11, 2023, 11:41 am

>32 paradoxosalpha: Thank you for the chuckle! ;-)

Out 11, 2023, 12:43 pm

Also avoid: the Route 33 bus.

Out 12, 2023, 2:57 pm

Qctober is zooming along. Can Nqvember be far behind? Finished Endling #3: The Only and about to start Pretty Monsters.

Editado: Out 13, 2023, 2:00 pm

Just finished The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh. This has been on my "been meaning to get around to it" (imaginary) list since the '80's, when it came out. Good fun space opera. It's unique feature is that the main character is non-human (sort of a standing upright lion) in a multi-species collection of societies (The Compact), when a human character emerges as the "alien" and shakes things up. Lots of action & the view of the human as the alien made for an interesting angle. First of a series & I do think I'll get around to continuing.

Out 13, 2023, 2:05 pm

>37 ChrisG1: If (when) you do, keep in mind that novels 2-4 in the series are a single story and work better when read closely together (Pride is essentially a prequel/lead-in and Legacy is an extended Epilogue set in the future).

Out 13, 2023, 10:52 pm

I've actually been reading SF this month. I finished Hellburner, which I quite enjoyed despite the lack of action. I then picked another book from way down on the TBR pile, Citizen of the Galaxy.

Out 13, 2023, 10:54 pm

>37 ChrisG1: I think Cherryh refined this theme quite a bit in her Foreigner series. I like the Chanur books quite a bit, but I think the Foreigner series is better, though I haven't finished it.

Out 14, 2023, 9:43 am

Just finished The True Knowledge of Ken Macleod, which although very erudite was not written in the sort of dense language normally associated either with Marxist theory or literary criticism. Next up is a re-read of the late Graham Joyce's The Facts of Life.

Out 14, 2023, 12:05 pm

>40 Karlstar: In truth, Cherryh has not yet finished the Foreigner series either. ;)

Here in the US, the 22nd book releases this coming Tuesday.

Out 14, 2023, 1:03 pm

>41 RobertDay:
I read your review and am feeling the need to reread the early novels, and, possible, read The True Knowledge of Ken MacLeod.

Out 14, 2023, 1:07 pm

I read and enjoyed both Engines of Light and the Fall Revolution books not so long ago, and the idea of a critical synthesis is certainly intriguing.

Out 14, 2023, 1:35 pm

>41 RobertDay: The Facts of Life! I loved that book so much. Such a loss to literature when Graham passed away.

Editado: Out 14, 2023, 3:03 pm

Really enjoyed my reread of Amanda Stevens The Restorer,the first in the spooky Graveyard Queen series.
Next up will be some short horror tales.

But I am really happy to report after long long delays yesterday I had my eye op,and can see so much better. I realized how blurred my vision was,but now I can see just how bad it really was. Everything is light and bright and colourful! lol. All they did was use a laser to drill a hole in the eye to let out the fluid buildup there that obscured so much. A weird feeling when there was a runnell of water flowing down my face. Eek. But no pain,and it took a matter of minutes - after more than 2 years waiting for it.
Any hoo,a week or two for the eyes to adjust to each other and hopefully I will be able to do much more reading. Cool!.

Out 14, 2023, 7:10 pm

>46 dustydigger:

Congratulations! That's exciting.

Out 14, 2023, 7:35 pm

>46 dustydigger: What wonderful news! Glad to hear it.

Out 14, 2023, 8:23 pm

>46 dustydigger: That is wonderful news!

Out 14, 2023, 8:30 pm

>39 Karlstar: I also really enjoyed Hellburner. But it was interesting how there was lots of maneuvering and setup until the end when the action exploded to an incredibly fast pace that lasted only a few pages. Similar to Heavy Time I wonder if Cherryh was trying to give a sense of how much dead time there is in these situations. And then when the action heats up it typically ends quite fast. I remember Rimrunners also being similar this way. I thought all three were clever this way. But very different from Downbelow Station which had a number of pinch points or action set pieces.

On the other hand I didn’t appreciate her Cyteen or Faded Sun trilogies as much. They were interesting but just not near as engrossing.

Out 15, 2023, 3:36 am

>50 Neil_Luvs_Books: I found Cyteen to be abolutely engrossing - all the political machinations, different character perspectives, and double-crosses. My favourite of hers, though the follow-up book was pants!

Editado: Out 15, 2023, 5:09 am

I am often left,after reading an Alliance novel,feeling just how circumcribed and limited the characters lives are in those tin cans ,rather like submariners. I love the way Cherryh has a variety of cultures set up in the ships. The family ships ,for instance,are very different from say the ship in Rimrunners. And to this day I wonder just what happened to them after the stories. In Tripoint they went off in the dark,and presumably became Mazianni. I like Cherryh because we get the personal points of view of all the factions,from their own perspective,without justifications or disapproval,its just their life.We get to be immersed in their hopes and fears.
I feel that all her stories are people at odds with their particular cultures,lonely and desperately just wanting a home,somewhere they fit in,can make true friends. This gives that extra satisfaction to the political events,and any action sequences,as we watch for some resolution for our protagonist.
Cherryh is much underated,especially here in UK,where you just dont see her work in the bookshops. :0(
I will have to wait till the paperback edition is published,the hardbound costs £23!!!. I remember way back in time when I always had to order a copy of the latest Foreigner outing through my bookshop,and they would get it from USA for me. Took forever! From 2010 onwards I had my own computer and could order online,but it still took a while to get a delivery. So I am always a year behind on reading the latest,studiously avoiding any reviews etc .lol. But delivery times are much shorter now.

Out 15, 2023, 9:32 am

>52 dustydigger: At one point Cherryh had her own publishing program going, as she was irked at how demand for some of her novels could only be satisfied with used copies of paperbacks going at what she considered outrageous prices; that she wasn't getting a cut of! Ill-health and an inability to deal with the IT demands seem to have put paid to that effort.

Editado: Out 15, 2023, 12:30 pm

>53 Shrike58: Interesting. Sorry about the ill health too. Must confess I get a bit worried about getting a satisfactory ending to the Foreigner series.She is after all 82 years old!. I did a lot of grumbling when she started publishing the Alliance Rising series. I was shouting at the computer,''No,no,no!.Finish Foreigner first!''.Got some very strange looks from Mr Dusty,who is not a reader at all. :0)
It can be quite hard finding print copies,and there are few or none in ebook form.
Good to know that I have amassed paper copies of 43 of her books,they take up almost 2 shelves of my bookcase.
Was relieved to see that Open Library had added many of her works in 2021 and 2022. But who knows if Open Library will survive at all.

Out 15, 2023, 4:55 pm

>51 SChant: I have heard that from so many people who consider Cyteen one of Cherryh’s best novels. I may have to give it another go at some point.

>54 dustydigger: I look forward to reading Alliance Rising. Has anyone here read it yet? Is it good?

>52 dustydigger: I really enjoyed both Tripoint and Finity’s End. But I have yet to read anything from her Foreigner series.

Out 15, 2023, 9:38 pm

>40 Karlstar: The Foreigner series is another on my "meaning to get to list."

Out 15, 2023, 9:56 pm

>46 dustydigger: Yay! Better vision is good.

Editado: Out 16, 2023, 9:12 am

I also want to read an M P Shiel story this month.Not much talked about these days,but fellow authors of the time and later were influenced by his dark style.

Out 16, 2023, 9:40 am

>58 dustydigger: One of my local supermarkets has a charity shelf, and someone has been occasionally discarding SF and fantasy titles, which sometimes results in some surprising finds for very little money. A recent one was M.P. Shiels' The Purple Cloud which I promptly added to my basket!

(Some decent titles on classical music also appeared, which I picked over with pleasure. I wonder if they came from the same household?)

Out 16, 2023, 11:53 am

The only Shiel I've read is The Purple Cloud, but I found it fascinating and even ended up teaching it in a couple college courses.

Out 16, 2023, 1:45 pm

>46 dustydigger:

Wonderful news!

Out 17, 2023, 12:36 am

I finished Blood: A Southern Fantasy and posted my review. Started on The Tombs of Atuan.

Out 17, 2023, 12:48 am

>40 Karlstar: >37 ChrisG1: Funny -- I had the opposite reaction. I loved the Chanur series & have reread it twice; but I read the first 2 (or 3? can't remember) Foreigner books and lost interest. They share with Cyteen the distinction of being the only Cherryhs that didn't work for me (and I've read lots).

Out 17, 2023, 12:51 am

>46 dustydigger: Neat! And just in time for the Halloween scary reading.

Out 17, 2023, 12:57 am

I've just started a reread of the Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon; finished Trading in Danger today, about to start Marque and Reprisal. Aunt Grace's fruitcake has already made its appearance....

Editado: Out 17, 2023, 12:41 pm

I've just finished Velocity weapon, by Megan E. O'Keefe, a fast-moving space opera that was perfect for a couple of plane rides. Looking forward to reading the sequel.

Out 17, 2023, 6:35 pm

I finally read Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale. Not a word or concept out of place. Truly stunning and probably scarier now than when it was originally published.

Out 18, 2023, 7:57 am

Knocked off John Scalzi's "Starter Villain" (the link isn't working), a satirical take on the whole notion of the evil mastermind. Next up: Ascension.

Out 18, 2023, 9:51 am

Just finished my re-read of The Facts of Life. I first read this in 2016 and time hasn't changed my opinion of this book, although I think I wept a bit more at the end of it. My review tells all: https://www.librarything.com/work/49220/reviews/44730713

Now taking a break from genre with Clive James' North Face of Soho.

Out 18, 2023, 8:13 pm

>67 rocketjk: Just picked up Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tail, The Testaments. I’m looking forward to reading it. So far my favourite Atwood is the MaddAddam Trilogy. My community book club is currently reading her Alias Grace. I am about 50 pages into it and am greatly enjoying it.

Out 19, 2023, 8:20 am

>70 Neil_Luvs_Books: I'll be very interested to learn what you think of The Testaments. I've read some less than ecstatic reviews. The only other Atwood I've read is The Blind Assassin, which I thought was great.

Editado: Out 20, 2023, 10:40 am

I re-read The Tombs of Atuan and posted a review. Now I've begun Flatterland, an opportunistic borrowing from my local public library.

Out 20, 2023, 2:15 pm

Finished Pretty Monsters, about to start Way Station, last read many decades ago.

Out 20, 2023, 4:24 pm

Out 20, 2023, 4:27 pm

>73 ChrisRiesbeck:

I see that Pretty Monsters is tagged YA. I have read a handful of Link's stories--including "The Specialist's Hat," which is evidently included there, and I thought they were all pretty fully "adult." Was this collection aimed especially at younger readers in any way you could tell?

Editado: Out 21, 2023, 9:34 am

I have been reading some horror short stories in honour of Spooktober,classic vintage horror from Weird Tales times.
Richard Matheson's first published story,aged 22,was the harrowing Born of Man and Woman starts off as a tale of child abuse as a child has been imprisoned since birth,chained to the wall by his parents,beatenand abused. But as we go on we discover the child is a monster,which drips green ooze,scuttles across the ceiling wjth an abundance of legs.Eek! He is planning to kill the parents .next time they come to punish him. I felt a complex emotional response to the tale. Child abuse was not usually a common theme back in 1952!.this story is justly anthologized many times.
On a lower,pulpy level but still very enjoyable were Henry Kuttner Its Walks by Night,and The Graveyard Rats. Got to love creepy graveyards,underground tunnels,and slithering evil dead things! lol.And rats,very vicious rats...very large hungry rats......
Something that gave me the creeps was Edmond Hamilton's Murder in the Grave. A man is trapped in a coffin with a rattlesnake by the husband he contemptuously cuckolded.
I am starting to watch out for the beginnings of these tales. If the protagonist is an adulterer,or a graverobber,I dont expect a sudden ''saved by the bell'' ending in these tales,but brace myself for a very very nasty ending :0)

Out 21, 2023, 12:17 pm

>75 paradoxosalpha: Only in that all the characters were YA, which meant that their lives were driven by YA themes. But otherwise the stories were just as complex and open-ended as those in Magic for Beginners, IMO.

Out 23, 2023, 7:59 am

Knocked off Ascension, which starts out giving one expectations of Lovecraftian horror, but which firmly winds up in sci-fi territory. If you liked Jeff VanderMeer's "Area X" books you might like this one, as Binge is also playing with a situation that is almost beyond Human comprehension.

Out 23, 2023, 11:11 am

I am currently listening to The Atlas Six and I still can't decide whether I like it even though I'm about 3/4s finished.

Editado: Out 23, 2023, 1:10 pm

Project Gutenberg is a handy website for free SF reading, such as the novella from a 20th century author -- Richard McKenna - that introduced me to the entire genre: https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/60695/pg60695-images.html

Out 23, 2023, 2:55 pm

>80 MaureenRoy:
That is interesting. I associate Gutenberg with much older texts. Perhaps I am just trying to avoid thinking about works I consider relatively recent being out of copyright already.

Out 23, 2023, 7:16 pm

>81 pgmcc:

Since 2015 or so they've been digitizing some of the pulp sf magazines from the 40s and 50s, such as Amazing Stories, Space, If, and Galaxy.

Out 23, 2023, 10:52 pm

>82 Petroglyph:
Thank you! That is good to know.

Editado: Out 24, 2023, 10:24 am

Starting Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni, an historical fantasy novel.

Editado: Out 25, 2023, 6:07 pm

Finished Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. Reynolds is one of the more popular SF authors out there & I finally decided it was high time I read him. This was his first novel & it's a dandy, but not for the faint of heart. It's pretty science-y & longish (529 pages). His story-telling style requires some patience. But boy, does it pay off. I'll certainly read more of his books.

Out 26, 2023, 1:21 pm

Finished Way Station and started The Counterfeit Man.

Out 27, 2023, 12:10 pm

Just finished listening to Sea of Tranquility and I thought it was fantastic. The audiobook is 6 hours long and normally that would take me at least a week to listen to but I finished it up in 2 days because I was so interested in the story.

Out 29, 2023, 8:57 am

Wrapped up Infinity Gate, which is my first real exposure to Mike Carey, and which is a good take on the whole "multiverse" concept.

Next up: The Strange.

Out 29, 2023, 8:37 pm

Just downloaded Upgrade, by Blake Crouch.

Out 30, 2023, 3:12 pm

Continuing my re-read of some of the old scifi classics that are hanging around. Most likely I read these a long time ago, but have not read them since starting to use LT. The selection this time is The Machineries of Joy by Bradbury. A short stories go, this is good stuff.

The first line of 'The Vacation': "It was a day as fresh as grass growing up and clouds going over and butterflies coming down can make it."

Out 31, 2023, 7:59 am

>79 gypsysmom: I liked that book, but it is to be admitted that it features an annoying cast of characters.

Out 31, 2023, 9:03 am

Editado: Out 31, 2023, 9:45 am

I've wrapped up my read of Flatterland and posted a review. Now I'm really working to put to bed A Dweller on Two Planets. These books are on two unusual margins of the sf genre, and I expect to return from them to State of the Art. I'm invested in a lot of series reading right now, and November looks like it will include The Culture, Earthsea, and Second Ether in some rotation or other.

Out 31, 2023, 10:36 am

After a break from genre fiction, about to start Babylon's Ashes.

Out 31, 2023, 6:24 pm

Recently finished:
  • A Memory Called Empire. A complex galactic empire/space opera that echoes the stylings of CJ Cherryh and Ursula Le Guin. Liked it a lot and will be starting the sequel soon.
  • Sweet Dreams. Liked this one too.
  • Little, Big was a DNF after about 100 pages.
  • Winter Tide is an excellent exploration of the 'Deep Ones' mystique that turns Lovecraft's racism and xenophobia back on itself by changing the viewpoint.
  • The Mountain in the Sea: Wow! Loved this near-future cli-fi story. No extra-terrestrials per se, but still a top-notch cyber-thriller of a first-contact story. How Kuang's Babel beat out both this book and Spear for the Nebula is a mystery to me.

Now reading:

Out 31, 2023, 7:06 pm

>95 ScoLgo:

Sorry that Little, Big didn't do it for you. It's an all-time favorite for me.

If you haven't read The Litany of Earth, I recommend it. It's the earlier story of Aphra Marsh, shorter and even better than Winter Tide, and free online.

Out 31, 2023, 9:37 pm

Just finished Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky. 2nd volume of The Final Architecture trilogy. I'm enjoying this series quite a bit - great world-building, interesting characters, well written & paced. I'll probably tackle the final volume in a few weeks.

Out 31, 2023, 11:00 pm

>96 paradoxosalpha: Yes, Litany of Earth was great. It is included at the end of my print edition of Winter Tide. I sort of wish I had read it first, but I didn't realize it was there until I reached the end of the novel. Oh well...

I might come back to the Crowley some day. It just didn't click with me on this first attempt.

Editado: Nov 4, 2023, 11:12 am

>98 ScoLgo: It is included at the end of my print edition of Winter Tide.

Cool! I have a 1st edition hardcover Winter Tide with no Litany of Earth. I first read "Litany" online, and I liked it so well that I bought the collection Cthulhusattva in order to have a bound copy.

Nov 1, 2023, 12:21 pm

>99 paradoxosalpha: Apologies, I was mistaken. It is the e-book version of Winter Tide that includes the original novelette. I too own the first edition hardcover and had begun reading there. When I went on vacation last week, instead of hauling a physical book along I borrowed the e-book via Overdrive to finish reading on the kindle.

I don't yet own New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird or New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird. When I acquire copies of those (soon!) I will have a print copy of The Litany of Earth as it is included in the 2nd volume.

Nov 4, 2023, 11:00 am

>98 ScoLgo: Little, Big is also probably my favorite book, even though I'm far more a fan of SF than fantasy. It was the writing not the story that carried me along. On a re-read, a lot more of the story became apparent. Many enjoy Gene Wolfe that same way, though most of his books haven't grabbed me the way Little, Big did.

Nov 4, 2023, 11:06 am

>101 ChrisRiesbeck: The critic Harold Bloom included Little, Big in his The Western Canon

Nov 6, 2023, 11:40 pm

>101 ChrisRiesbeck: For those wanting to try Crowley, and who prefer SF to fantasy, I would recommend an early Crowley which is still my favorite of his books: Engine Summer. It's a beautifully imagined and written, slightly melancholy (autumnal a better word?) tale in a far future post-apocalyptic world. It's a good illustration of a quality Crowley excels in, of sprinkling his books with almost throw-away concepts and images, sparkles in the flow of the story.

Nov 7, 2023, 1:13 am

>101 ChrisRiesbeck: >103 rshart3: Thanks. I have thought about chasing down a copy of Engine Summer but will probably give Little, Big another try first. I'm a huge fan of Gene Wolfe's style of story-telling, so it's likely I was simply in the wrong mood for Crowley on this first go-round. One difference of note between Wolfe and Crowley's novel is that Wolfe writes - not always but nearly so - in first-person and is very fond of unreliable narration. That happens to be a favorite mode for me as it is more clear that I'm being lied to, (or at least that the narrator is giving me only their version of events), and I must therefore read carefully in order to glean the 'truth', which lies between the lines.

Nov 7, 2023, 2:07 am

>104 ScoLgo: I like those aspects of Wolfe too, though another aspect I love is the "Dying Earth" mode of the New Sun series. Crowley isn't as much into unreliable narrators, but his work does have the element of trying to figure out just what's happening. Engine Summer is in that mode.

Nov 7, 2023, 10:59 am

>104 ScoLgo: There is a traditional Irish tune called Si Beag, Si Mhor which roughly translates to Little Fairy Mound, Big Fairy Mound. I've always wondered if the title had an influence on Crowley.

Editado: Nov 7, 2023, 12:13 pm

>106 justifiedsinner:

Ooh. Good chance it did! Nice.

I'm a fan of Arthur Machen's weird horror stories of the "Little People," and it was only after years of reading them that I discovered that the Welsh name Vaughan often featuring among Machen's characters means "Little."

Nov 7, 2023, 6:48 pm

>101 ChrisRiesbeck: >104 ScoLgo: >105 rshart3: Little Big has been on my TBR list for a while now as a result of being a Wolfe fan and having it recommended to me by other Wolfe fans. I must get round to it.

Nov 8, 2023, 2:16 am

>106 justifiedsinner: I have walked around for 35 years assuming that it means "she's small, she's big" without reflecting much on it, never realising the "Sí" is old spelling "Sidhe". D'uh. :)

Nov 8, 2023, 11:07 am

>109 anglemark: Don't feel too bad... It took me until just recently to realize that 'Kaiser' is the German word for 'Caesar'. It's so obvious now that I've realized but I'm still not sure how I missed that for so long. As you said, "D'uh."

Nov 8, 2023, 1:59 pm

>110 ScoLgo: That's a fun word. 'Kaiser' almost correctly reflects the standard Latin pronunciation around AD 1, 'Cæsar' doesn't. And it's the same word as 'Czar' as well.

Nov 9, 2023, 1:08 pm

>110 ScoLgo: >111 anglemark: But why is it a Kaiser roll?

Nov 9, 2023, 1:16 pm

>112 justifiedsinner: Because you eat it with a Caesar salad...?

Nov 9, 2023, 6:49 pm


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