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RedEyedGhost

June '18 Reading - Something something witty.

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Reread neverending story a couple weeks ago, then The Disaster Artist and then Philip K Dick’s Ubik and bought two more of his books to read soon but right now I’m reading Pride a companion piece of sorts to the excellent film from a few years back 

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I've not read much new fiction this year, but I did finish Valente's Space Opera recently.  I liked it quite a bit, though I thought the second half wasn't quite up to the level of the first half.

21 hours ago, williamjm said:

I think it does take a while to get into the mindset of the series. I think each book is better than the previous one (particularly the third and fourth books).

I thought the first three books of the Long Price were very good, but I've never been able to finish the fourth.

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I started The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler, #2 of Shadow Campaigns.  I dropped it at 25% by Kindle count, so probably 30% of the actual book.  Although I enjoyed the military campaign setting in the first book, this one is just a generic palace intrigue with stock characters, plus the main POV has spent the entire time so far veering between survivor guilt and infatuation for her twue wove.  I kept waiting for it to get better but life is short.  It took me almost two weeks to read that far because it just couldn’t hold my attention and I’d switch to work non-fiction instead.  If you’re a fantasy author losing your reader to technical treatises on yield curve dynamics, then shame on you.  

Next I read Kemp: The Road To Crecy by Jonathan Lunn.  A new author to me, a purveyor of historical fiction quite similar to Bernard Cornwell.  In fact, key events in this book are very similar to the first book about Thomas Of Hookton, but without the Grail conspiracy.  The invasion of Normandy, sack of Caen, fording of the Somme and battle of Crecy are all there.  Plus the POV character is quite like Richard Sharpe transplanted to the 100 years war.  But quite well done and it was a decent read.  There are more in this Kemp series. 

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Finished The Great Hunt and tried to take a break from my WoT reread.  Didn't work.  Now I'm reading The Dragon Reborn.  I guess I'll just continue like this and if I want to stop at some point I will.  Sure I will.

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I read Lois McMaster Bujold's new Vorkosigan novella, The Flowers of Vashnoi. The plot and setting recall the early Miles Vorkosigan story The Mountains of Mourning, I think it's perhaps not quite as good as that story, it's lighter in tone which perhaps lowers the stakes a bit but I still liked it. While a new Miles story would have been welcome, it was interesting to read something written from Ekaterin's perspective.

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I read these threads to find new authors and so picked up Paul Kearney's The Road to Babylon.   After a few pages in I realized I had read it a few years ago and since I didn't remember much about it, I kept reading.  It's a story of an author being taken into the world of his book.  Interesting concept, so so execution.  I'll finish, but it's just OK. 

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I recently finished The Stone Sky which was good, as I'd expected, but I'd been putting off for a while because I was expecting it to be pretty depressing. It actually wasn't too bad relative to the other books in the series.

Now I've started Starless by Jacqueline Carey.

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Last Tuesday I finished Zecharia Sitchin's Genesis Revisited, he was very precise about explaining how "recent" (1990) scientific discoveries supported his ancient astronaut theory.  A nice companion piece to his series and a nice little diversion read.

Last Wednesday I finished Orbit of Discovery by Don Thomas, a former NASA astronaut who wrote about his second space shuttle flight as well an autobiography.  I bought the book after hearing him speak at a local college on "Pi Day" (March 14) before he headed to where I went to high school, glad I bought book.

On Thursday I started reading The Stuart Age: England 1603-1714 by Barry Coward, been interested in this period of history for a while and finally getting to know it better.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eusebio da Silva ljkeane said:

I recently finished The Stone Sky which was good, as I'd expected, but I'd been putting off for a while because I was expecting it to be pretty depressing. It actually wasn't too bad relative to the other books in the series.

For a series about the end of the world in which lots of horrific things happen Jemisin does manage to avoid it being relentlessly depressing.

Speaking of end of the world stories, I've just started Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I thought I should read it before the TV adaptation comes out.

Edited by williamjm

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Finished The Rose And The Crane by Clint Dohmen, a picaresque historical fiction.  The first third feels like a less reverent version of Clavell’s Gaijin as an English pilot on a Venetian ship circa 1480 reaches Japan during Shogunate civil war, sticks around long enough to assist in some minor skirmishes and then leaves with a ronin of improbable skill.  He eventually returns to England to participate with ronin sidekick in the Battle Of Bosworth. 

First, the historical detail of the War Of The Roses and it’s culmination at Bosworth are quite well done.  And I’m sure all ASOIAF fans will recognize a lot of source material for GRRM.  Second, the lead POV is constantly wise-cracking with his companions and that is central to the tone, so be forewarned.  On one hand, too many historical fiction heroes are too stuffy, noble and humorless (especially Bernard Cornwell’s) and humor wasn’t just invented in the 20th century, but on the other hand the style of humor and idioms feel too modern: “that’s what she said” turns up in an early chapter. 

But overall it works.  It’s a quick read, fun and slightly glib, while providing a high tempo, action-filled recounting of a genuinely interesting and well described portion of history.  Worthy of a read if you don’t mind it feeling glib. 

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13 hours ago, williamjm said:

For a series about the end of the world in which lots of horrific things happen Jemisin does manage to avoid it being relentlessly depressing.

Speaking of end of the world stories, I've just started Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I thought I should read it before the TV adaptation comes out.

I really really love Good Omens. Particularly amusing to read in public places for me as I can never help smiling and at times giving a fully audible guffaw at the book. Every time it’s mentioned here I want to reread. Gaiman and Pratchett just complement each other so well as co-authors

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Finished Muscle For The Wing by Daniel Woodrell, #2 in his Bayou trilogy.  Like the first, it’s a solid noir set in a fictional bayou town.  It feels a bit like LA Confidential in style, but the setting is closer to S1 of True Detective.  It feels lush, louche and seedy.  It’s a solid read but still not of the quality he delivered in Winter’s Bone.  I’ll finish the trilogy at some point but it hasn’t delivered what I had hoped.  

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On 6/23/2018 at 6:03 PM, williamjm said:

I read Lois McMaster Bujold's new Vorkosigan novella, The Flowers of Vashnoi. The plot and setting recall the early Miles Vorkosigan story The Mountains of Mourning, I think it's perhaps not quite as good as that story, it's lighter in tone which perhaps lowers the stakes a bit but I still liked it. While a new Miles story would have been welcome, it was interesting to read something written from Ekaterin's perspective.

This.. Was nice to be back on barrayar.. Expected more than a retake on Mountains of Mourning 

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Read the first Dresden book, was underwhelmed, will read the next two to see if there is improvement. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Read Claire North's The Sudden Appearance of Hope last week.  I thought it was good, though a bit depressing (and the ending was rather an anticlimax) but I was definitely struck by how similar it felt thematically to The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August.

One thing I was half-expecting which either didn't happen or I missed:

 

Luca Evard, the Interpol agent, owns a copy of a book 'The Lemon and the Wave' by R.H. which he believes was written by a man who committed a number of murders in Europe and escaped to North America.  I assumed 'R.H' would turn out to be somebody we'd met -- Parker, maybe? -- but I don't think this comes up again after the first half of the book.

 

On 6/25/2018 at 2:34 PM, Helenas Musikautomat said:

I really really love Good Omens

Yeah, Good Omens is great.

Edited by Plessiez

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7 hours ago, Plessiez said:

Read Claire North's The Sudden Appearance of Hope last week.  I thought it was good, though a bit depressing (and the ending was rather an anticlimax) but I was definitely struck by how similar it felt thematically to The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August.

There are definitely things the two books have in common, and I think it also has some similarities to Touch as well although I think they're different enough not to feel formulaic.

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6 hours ago, williamjm said:

There are definitely things the two books have in common, and I think it also has some similarities to Touch as well although I think they're different enough not to feel formulaic.

Anyone read her new one yet, 84K?

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1 hour ago, unJon said:

Anyone read her new one yet, 84K?

I've been waiting for some reviews, age the massive disappointment that her last book was.  It was so bad that I can't even remember the name of it right now, and I can't be bothered to look it up.

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I listened to the audio versions of the parallel books Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper, and then the John Scalzi version, Fuzzy Nation.

It was surprising to me how well Little Fuzzy had aged.  A lot, and I mean A LOT of Science Fiction written in 1962 has aged very badly indeed, to the point of some things that were very popular in 1962 being almost unreadable today.  And yet Piper's story is entirely readable and enjoyable today, rarely ever including artifacts that jar the reader out of the story or interrupt the suspension of disbelief.  I really enjoyed Little Fuzzy.

The Scalzi re-working of the story was fine, but I predict that the contemporary hallmarks of the story will not have aged as well to the reader in the year 2070 or so.

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