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Astromech

February 2018 Reads

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I've been bingeing on country noir/hick lit the past few reads. This time it was Brian Panowich's Bull Mountain. An enjoyable page turner set in rural Georgia featuring  hillbillies, bikers, meth, guns and one massive dysfunctional family.

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I finished "The Invincible" by Stanislav Lem. Mid-60s hard SF with a fairly slow start and very little character development and none of the humor of later Lem but maybe one of the first (and a very thorough and plausible) takes on

Spoiler

replicators the size of tiny insects that can form powerful "clouds" and that evolved in a machine struggle for life long after their sentient masters had left the planet.

 

Edited by Jo498

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I just posted this in the January thread.  I thought perhaps we were going to skip the February thread at this stage.

I finished The Fall Of Dragons by Miles Cameron, the fifth and concluding volume of the Traitor Son Cycle.  Good conclusion to the series.  I’ll post more in the dedicated thread.  Recommended for anyone looking for a battle-heavy high fantasy.  It feels like a blend of The Black Company with Wheel Of Time, but finished in just five books. 

Then I lashed through Ross O’Carroll Kelly: The Teenage Dirtbag Years, roysh.  That’s number 2 in that series.  I laughed, chortled and chuckled my way through it within a single day.  A great read for anyone who likes to mock Southsiders, Northsiders and Celtic Tiger Ireland in general. 

I’ve now started Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk.  I know I’ve read Fight Club before, and I think one other but I cannot recall which.  He’s a very good writer who injects pithy observations and turns of phrase into genuinely creative and weird scenarios.  But the worldview pervading his work is so nihilistic that it actually makes his characters seem entitled: they are bitter that the world didn’t hand them the happy existence they think they are due, so their response is not to show any agency in or ownership of their own happiness but instead a destructive impulse to burn it all down because they weren’t just handed what they expected.  It’s a profoundly immature perspective; it’s like the disillusioned male version of the princess syndrome. 

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I finished The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  It's an YA story with psychics, ley lines, entitled teenage boys, a smart but poor teenage girl and a friendly haunting.  It was fun and the author turned some lovey phrases and overall I quite enjoyed it.  Next up is The Scorpio Races by the same author.  

Edited by Nasty LongRider

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I'm still reading Unseen Academicals, I'm almost 75% of the way through.

Yesterday I finished reading Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo--and Still-Mo by Sam Campbell.  This is the third book in Campbell's Living Forest series and honestly it just shows that my memories in childhood on this series can't be relied upon as I thought the titular animals were raccoons not red squirrels, but that's why I'm reading them right now.

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Frank Bill's Donnybrook may be the most bat shit crazy, hyper-violent novel I've ever read. Multiple crazy ass hopped up fighters converging on a three-day bare knuckle contest in southern Indiana and backstabbing each other along the way, leaving a trail of blood and bodies. Highly, highly recommended. Think Joe Abercrombie writing hick lit, but possibly even more violent.

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Currently reading John Langan's The Fisherman. Had to get it on paperback as no ebook is available in the UK, and despite his somewhat daunting Wall of Text writing style, I'm really digging it. It's some seriously creepy cosmic horror.

 

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2 hours ago, AncalagonTheBlack said:

Paperback + free ebook directly from publisher - http://wordhorde.com/product/tf-bundle/

ebook can also be bought via Weightless Books.As far as i know, they don't use any geo-restrictions according to their FAQ.

Thanks for this, though the first link costs USD40 when shipping costs are added. The Weightless thing looks hopeful but their website is crashing my phone. Will have a look on my desktop when i get home. 

I'm kinda glad i ended up having to buy the paperback. It's got a great cover that i can barely take my eyes from. 

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Just read Gnomon by Nick Harkaway. It was easily my favorite since his debut novel of Gone Away World. His craft has clearly grown, and the novel and plot is really complexly interwoven. A crazy mix of Chandler detective noir meets Neal Stephenson meets Inception. 

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7 hours ago, AncalagonTheBlack said:

ebook can also be bought via Weightless Books.

Hooray! Their website works fine on my desktop, and I now own the ebook. Thanks for your assistance. :cheers:

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14 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Hooray! Their website works fine on my desktop, and I now own the ebook. Thanks for your assistance. :cheers:

Happy to help.:)

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Finished the Southern Reach trilogy and enjoyed the ride, though the ending was underwhelming.  Writing reminded me of Bakker, with a really tight and though out front-end, and a prosey, weird last book.

Starting The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson next, which is only 200 pages so I should be done by next week.

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I read Lisa Tuttle's The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief. I liked the short story featuring Jespersen and Lane in GRRM's Rogues anthology so I thought the first novel featuring the characters might be entertaining as well. I thought it was good fun and a nice contrast in tone to the apocalyptic gloom of the Broken Earth trilogy, I liked the characters and the Victorian setting although the plot felt a little bit too contrived at times and it felt like the villain should have been caught some time before the climax of the story.

It's not hard to work out what Tuttle's literary inspiration for this is, even if a story featuring two Victorian detectives wasn't enough a clue, their first meeting has Jespersen doing the classic Homes-meets-Watson deductions by observing Miss Lane although it had a nice twist that Lane immediately dismisses his deductions as being things anyone with half a brain could have deduced and pointing out what he got wrong.

Next up I'll continue with N.K. Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate, I'm interested to see where the story goes in the second book.

Edited by williamjm

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I just read Turtles all the way down. It's a wonderfully accurate depiction of OCD, which my brother has, and is so awfully misunderstood by the public at large.

That said... I couldn't stand the character Daisy, and think she's a bitch and no friend at all. I won't go into spoiler territory but what she does is almost unforgivable. :(

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I finished Iron Gold a few days ago by Pierce Brown. If you liked his first trilogy, you'll probably like this one as well. It moves at a similar clip and has some interesting developments to the overall story. Good, entertaining read though I was hoping for a bit more depth given the potential of the subject matter and what he said he wanted to explore.

Edited by Mexal

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Finished Survivor by Chuck Pahlaniuk.  Good writer but a dull book.  It doesn’t capture lightning like Fight Club did. 

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A long flight preceded by a long delay allowed me to finish another book very quickly.   Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: The Orange Mocha Chip Frappuccino Years is the third in the series.  Very, very funny again.  The central POV’s vanity and self-absorption are less surprising now, but instead we get to see small glimmers of personal growth.  A great parody of Irish culture during the Celtic Tiger. 

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Finished Unseen Academicals, it was fine but felt the story was all over the place with too many voices I guess the best way to describe it.

Now rereading The Wars of Gods and Men by Zecharia Sitchin, the third book in his The Earth Chronicles ancient astronaut theory series.

Also started A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too by Sam Campbell, the fourth book of his Living Forest nature series, as my weekend read yesterday.  I'll finish it next weekend.

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I got a few old books from a used books pile and read "Bear Island" by Alistair MacLean, an author I loved as a teenager but this is not one of his better ones, I think. Neither well written nor all that plausible.

Now a small anthology with 1960s? SF by Eric Frank Russell: Somewhere a voice, U-Turn, Seat of Oblivion, Dear Devil (all in German translation), fun and a few nice ideas but nothing all that memorable so far.

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