Author Topic: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding  (Read 3133 times)

Alberon

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SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« on: April 19, 2020, 12:05:14 AM »
In no particular order this is what I’ve been reading lately. I’ll add to this later, probably.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

A first novel set in a fantasy world with no apparent magic or supernatural elements. As a young girl Baru’s island country is annexed by an empire across the sea. Sent to a school set up by this empire she is judged a genius and on reaching adulthood is catapulted into the role of Imperial Accountant in another conquered country where she is sucked into a growing rebellion.

It’s the first of a trilogy (as just about everything is these days). I enjoyed this one and I’m currently reading the second book The Monster Baru Cormorant of which I can’t say anything about except recommended.

Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds

This is the last of a trilogy set in a rather original and yet derivative far future Solar System. It’s basically 17th Century pirates in space. Reynolds makes it work though some of the dialogue can grate a bit. The first book read a bit like it had been intended as a Young Adult title, but the next two books seem to have dropped this. The central mystery is interesting, but the series is good rather than great.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Now this one from a top Chinese author has been getting a lot of attention in the SF world and has been appearing on a few award shortlists so I thought I’d give it a go.

And it’s fucking awful! The story reads like something out of a bad potboiler from the 50s. Characterisation is basically nonexistent. Only one character has anything like an original personality and he’s not one of the main characters. Maybe it’s the fault of the translator, but praise for this does feel like the Emperor’s New Clothes. I’m all for different voices from all over the world in SF but this particular one doesn’t seem able to write.

Mister Six

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2020, 02:46:17 AM »
Sad to read that about the Three-Body Problem. I was living in China when it first blew up, and people I know who are big sci-fi buffs seemed to be impressed, so if it is naff I wonder whether that's because their expectations were low for a Chinese sci-fi author (not many of them about) or because it just reads better in the original language. Deffo plan to read it at some point though.

Dewt

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2020, 02:51:21 AM »
The story reads like something out of a bad potboiler from the 50s.
That's actually making the case for reading this, for me.

Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2020, 02:14:12 PM »
I read Three Body Problem recently too and I kind of agree.

I found the cultural revolution stuff interesting, and the beginning mystery kept me going for a while but overall the mixture of hard sci-fi exposition (Scientific papers mentioned in footnotes? No thanks) and more pulpy bits didn't really work together.

Alberon

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2020, 02:43:27 PM »
Yeah, while stilted, the opening sequence is the strongest. When it reaches the modern day it goes off a cliff.

The main character in the modern day section has a wife and son who are barely mentioned let alone seen. And it’s not like he’s estranged from them, he’s still living with them!

I’d love to know what someone fluent in both Chinese and English thinks of the original and the translation and please, Dewt, have a bash at it.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2020, 04:20:31 PM »
False Value by Ben Aaronovitch

Urban Fantasy. I hate Urban Fantasy. Though it turns out there are a couple of series that I do like. This is the eighth book in the series of an apprentice wizard who is also a copper and has a demigoddress of a river as a girlfriend.

It’s fun and amusing, but generally has good plots and characters. The author makes a good attempt to marry actual police practices to the action, but since the lead character is one of only two magic users in the police he often does have to act alone, but never by choice. This book is the start of the second main arc and while more inconsequential than normal seems to be setting up for the future.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2020, 05:49:14 PM »
Drowned myself in the fiction of science the last couple of months after avoiding it for years.  Seemed to get back into it chronologically, too.

Started with a bunch've early sci-fi by folks like Stanley G. Weinbaum, who did things like invent the concept of V.R. games on Pygmalion's Spectacles, before dying at something stupid like 30.  Then I went crazy with all the pulp era material by guys like Robert Sheckley, Fredric Brown, H. Beam Piper and Andre Norton.  Sheckley came across like a less Outsider Artist Philip K. Dick.  The shorts are usually pithy and fun, while the books were like the smarter source material for never-made Arnie movies (oy, I think one of them was actually adapted into an Emilio Estevez vehicle).  Mind Swap was a big influence on Hitchhiker's Guide apparently, which isn't necessarily a good thing for me as I always found Douglas Adams and Pratchett's take on humorous writing being to lazily free associate.  Fredrick Brown made a whole bunch of sort of sci-fi crossword pun one or two-page jobbies, and they're good, but I really dug his book What Mad Universe, about a dude sucked into a world where all the pulps are real- including purple tentacle monsters and such.  H. Beam Piper filled his books with weird Randean shite, but I usually can get something out of writers with select idjut opinions if they're good at their job.  He was variable at his.  Andre Norton was one of innumerable female sci-fi authors sporting a male nom de plume.  She's no James Tiptree Jr. in that arena, but she did make dozens of space opera dime store adventure novels the likes of which I'd find with a tattered cover at the back of my family friend Big Chris' knackered couch.

Then I went full-on into one of my favourite sci-fi author Cordwainer Smith's universe.  He grew up in China, and called Sun Yat-Sen, the first ever president of the Chinese Nationalist Party, his godfather.  So fluent in military strategy and Chinese was he, that he even tricked thousands of Chinese soldiers into surrendering honorably through some cunning linguistic wordplay.  Supposedly there was a military psychiatrist who had one patient who claimed to genuinely believe himself one foot inside an extremely far-flung futuristic culture complete with extremely elaborate, quasi-spiritual, laws of its own.  Sounds a lot like Cordwainer Smith.  The stories are all sharp and well-written and whatnot, but I genuinely believe there was something off about this guy.  A lot of them are about the plight of human-animal hybrids, and their battle to be taken seriously by the Instrumentality of Mankind (an organisation in charge of keeping humanity vital by ensuring our lives are relatively short- like, say, 350 years- and interesting). I get the vibe he really wanted to fuck a cat.  Nostrilia is his only novel and along with the short stories they make for my favourite sci-fi universe.

After that caught up on some R.A. Lafferty I'd missed (A Thousand Grandmothers is one of the best sci-fi short story collections out there, next to Barrington Bayley's The Knights of Space and James Tiptree Jr./Alice Sheldon's Her Smoke Rose Up Forever), got caught up in the dry but impressive race-building of C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series, and John Varley's randy but trippy Gaea books.  Nicked the plot of Carol Emshwiller's The Mount- about a race of little gnome things with atrophied legs called Hoots who use humans as their horses- so I could tell the story to my little sister over the phone when she was hard up for lockdown entertainment.  Enjoyed Vonda Mcintyre's Dreamsnake.  It's like a really earthy Mad Max told from a female perspective with a very mature- as in grown-up- take on sex.  Got a few Gateway Omnibus books on the way by John Sladek, D.G. Compton, Keith Roberts and Edmund Cooper.  Really good series, by the way- just packs in three or four books by some underrated sci-fi author in one usually cheap volume. https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=gateway+omnibus&page=2&qid=1587573757&ref=sr_pg_1

Kryton

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2020, 08:05:04 PM »
I've just finished Joe Abercrombie's 'First law' trilogy. Incredibly gritty and violent. The battle scenes are wonderful and the story flows nicely.

However I can't help feeling I find it hard to root for any single character. They're almost all flawed shades of grey, which is fine in this 'grim dark' world - but at times I found myself feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all the brutality and gore and nastiness.

Currently on 'Best served cold' which is a brutal revenge story and I kind of feel the same way about this too. Who am I rooting for? Why should I care?

chveik

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2020, 09:02:46 PM »
I get the vibe he really wanted to fuck a cat.  Nostrilia is his only novel and along with the short stories they make for my favourite sci-fi universe.

heh, possibly. I don't read much scifi but this one is also my favourite.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2020, 09:41:28 PM »
heh, possibly. I don't read much scifi but this one is also my favourite.

At least he got to have 100s of years of simulated furry loving at the end of Nostrilia.  I wonder if he made it just a simulation because he thought his publisher would lose their rag if it were real man-on-catwoman sex.

There is something different about him (besides the above).  I think it was his conviction.  He wrote all these short stories that no one knew were part of an interlinked world as they were published years apart in different small-publication magazines, if they were published at all, and yeah I wouldn't be surprised if some part of him thought he was more channeler than writer.  Supposedly by the end of his life he simply never left the house.  True of quite a few people who decide to create their own worlds, like that Vivian Girls guy and Austin Tappen Wright's Islandia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islandia_(novel)). I also appreciate all the allusions to ye old Yuang Dynasty literature, especially The Dream of the Red Chamber.

Glad you're a fan!

chveik

  • vampires have it easy
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2020, 09:58:15 PM »
I think I particularly enjoy the elliptic nature of it, those big scifi universes always feel too heavy and detailed to me. each short story represents a singular moral dilemma that comes from a specific change or a 'progress' of the Instrumentality. and regardless of the alleged eroticism of them, I find the way he treats the hybridations between species very interesting.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2020, 10:29:20 PM »
That gristly narrative tightness was a feature of that era, I guess. There is also some deep shit afoot in that universe.  There's this subtext coursing through much of man's future-history that the reason why we keep fucking up time and time again and can never quite be happy is because we gave up the beast in us too soon.  Almost literally expunged it and turned it into a bunch of different sub-species.  And then in the end of one of his last proper works, Nostrilia, it takes the Eagle-Jesus to wrest man's fate from its own hands and remind us how to keep it real.  I remember reading some scribblings by a bored Bodhisattva. They were kvetching about how much enlightenment sucked because once you reach it you can't sustain the fucker like you always imagined: you spend the rest of your life yoyo'ing up and down between being venal and human and aloof and transcendent.  Sounds pretty similar to Cordwainer's vision of the future.

Kryton

  • Disregard the Constabulary
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2020, 09:05:45 PM »
Just finished 'The Heroes' by Joe Abercrombie.

Ultimately a book detailing the futility of war. Bloody good (assuming you know the characters from previous books). Surprisingly gripping and the author managed to make me feel sorry for characters I'd previously despised. Not as adventurous as the previous book, but certainly more grounded in relatable themes and tragedy.

Some of the weaving between action and characters was especially good in the fog of a confusing, brutal war. With the corpses of men being looted and thrown into muddy pits, being the same characters you've just witnessed being heroic or living through heart-wrenching moments. Greed, corruption, innocence and the desire for power are all themes explored.

Now I'm about to start 'Red Country' by the same author. I hear it has more of a Western theme to it.

Alberon

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2020, 05:22:22 PM »
The Human by Neal Asher

To be honest I’ve only just started this one but it is another in a long line of books set in The Polity - an AI run human empire. And each book is much the same. There are some homicidal alien crabs running around called Prador, someone is usually monkeying around with Jain tech (The Jain being an extinct race whose tech always seems to seek to destroy all other sentient life) and there are sarky ex-war drones running around usually in the shapes of scorpions or the like.

The prose is quite flat and workman like and it’s hard to differentiate from most books in the series. To be honest I’d be hard pressed to remember the plots of most of them. This latest book seems to have the actual return of the Jain themselves so we’ll see where that goes.

But as an easy simple action novel it’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with turning the brain off once in a while.

In general it’s a good book for the beach. Since it seems unlikely I’ll get to one this year I’m reading it in my back garden.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2020, 08:42:49 PM »
Drowned myself in the fiction of science the last couple of months after avoiding it for years.  Seemed to get back into it chronologically, too.

Started with a bunch've early sci-fi by folks like Stanley G. Weinbaum, who did things like invent the concept of V.R. games on Pygmalion's Spectacles, before dying at something stupid like 30.  Then I went crazy with all the pulp era material by guys like Robert Sheckley, Fredric Brown, H. Beam Piper and Andre Norton.  Sheckley came across like a less Outsider Artist Philip K. Dick.  The shorts are usually pithy and fun, while the books were like the smarter source material for never-made Arnie movies (oy, I think one of them was actually adapted into an Emilio Estevez vehicle).  Mind Swap was a big influence on Hitchhiker's Guide apparently, which isn't necessarily a good thing for me as I always found Douglas Adams and Pratchett's take on humorous writing being to lazily free associate.
I was a huge fan of Sheckley when I was first getting into sci-fi as a teenager, but I've not read anything of his in forever. I watched "Freejack" (the aforementioned Emilio Estevez vehicle) a few months back and this persuaded me to buy the book it was based on, "Immortality Inc.", and that's next on the pile to read.

Alberon

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2020, 10:21:47 PM »
The Human by Neal Asher proved to be unreadable. It was a novel-length battle sequence and it just proved impossible to read.

I’ve now moved on to War of the Maps by Paul McAuley

Now here’s a much better author with a long and varied publishing history. I’m only a quarter into this one and it’s set on a vast artificial planet three million miles in diameter built around the dying ember of our sun. Unlike a classic Dyson sphere the inhabitants live on the outside of the globe.

Civilisation has reverted to about mid-20th Century levels and we follow an ex-policeman pursuing a man let go by his government for unspecified political reasons. Despite the situation the story so far has been quite mundane, but I’m interested to see where it goes.

Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2020, 10:47:30 PM »
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Now this one from a top Chinese author has been getting a lot of attention in the SF world and has been appearing on a few award shortlists so I thought I’d give it a go.

And it’s fucking awful! The story reads like something out of a bad potboiler from the 50s. Characterisation is basically nonexistent. Only one character has anything like an original personality and he’s not one of the main characters. Maybe it’s the fault of the translator, but praise for this does feel like the Emperor’s New Clothes. I’m all for different voices from all over the world in SF but this particular one doesn’t seem able to write.

I very seldom read Sci-Fi but got a collection of his short stories from the library and loved it.  He has a fantastic facility of imagining outrageous events but grounding them in plausible science.  Yes, characterization isn't strong but in a short story that isn't a fatal flaw. 

The only novel of his I've read is The Supernova Era which after a terrific opening fell apart into poorly thought out scenarios on a Lord of the Flies theme.  I will give the Three Body Problem a go though: even the guy's fans - I learned later -  dismiss The Supernova Era.

Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2020, 11:10:18 PM »
I've just searched Tyler Cowen's Marginal Revolution blog for mentions of Liu, as I seemed to remember he was a fan.  Sure enough he does recommend the books, but does add a couple of caveats.

Quote
These are the works of fiction I am most enthusiastic about since Elena Ferrante and Karl Ove Knausgaard. I say read a plot summary of the first volume before starting the book, unless you are inclined to read it twice, as I did.

And on another occasion:
Quote
Note the first volume is tough sledding for quite a while.

And another:
Quote
Just to recap, I like volume one the most, and it is the most complex, but for many readers disorienting.  You don’t find out the real plot until p.272, so perhaps spoilers will help you.  Volumes two and three are more in the style of classic science fiction, a’la Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke.

surreal

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2020, 09:35:18 AM »
I've been trying to get back into reading lately after not really reading much of anything for the past few years, attention span destroyed by the internet and netflix. During lockdown I'm finding I can actually sit for extended periods and get through stuff though, so at the moment I'm reading The Labyrinth Index by Charles Stross - this is the latest in the Laundry series, which is kind of a mash-up of spy / espionage and Lovecraftian mythos.  It's based around a government department in charge of the occult affairs, and Stross does try to keep it fairly accurate and "current" - he's said a number of times that the last 4-5 years have made it increasingly difficult as there has been so much more mad stuff going on.  Entertaining stuff for the most part.

Next up I really want to read Dune before the movie, and then on to Banks "Culture" novels I think.  Oddly it's almost the overwhelming number of things I'd actually want to read that is holding me back from starting.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2020, 11:55:35 AM »
I’ve felt the last few Laundry novels have struggled a bit, but he is one of my favourite authors. He has a very interesting blog which discusses real world issues.

There was supposed to be a third book in the near future Scottish series of Halting State and Rule 34, but Brexit and economic uncertainties have made it impossible to write because it takes a couple of years from being commissioned to the book making it to the shelves. Almost literally anything could happen in that time.

surreal

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2020, 12:56:18 PM »
I’ve felt the last few Laundry novels have struggled a bit, but he is one of my favourite authors. He has a very interesting blog which discusses real world issues.

Same, it took me a while after The Annihilation Score (with the "superheroes") to get round to The Nightmare Stacks (the invasion of Leeds), but I found the Delirium Brief a bit better and I'm liking The Labyrinth Index quite a lot so far, but that may just be me getting used to reading again.   Next one is October I think but it may be just a tangential novel in the same universe rather than the next actual chapter I think.

There was supposed to be a third book in the near future Scottish series of Halting State and Rule 34, but Brexit and economic uncertainties have made it impossible to write because it takes a couple of years from being commissioned to the book making it to the shelves. Almost literally anything could happen in that time.

Oddly I was just listening to an interview with him bringing that up.  I never made it all the way through either of those but will have to give them another spin.

I'm curious about his actual hard SF, Accelerando etc, and also the Empire Games books as they seem to be well regarded.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2020, 06:09:53 PM »
I got "House Of Earth And Blood" by Sarah J Maas out of the library the other day, and it looks interesting. She was apparently a YA author for many years, and this is her first adult novel. I must have put it on my wishlist at the local library after reading a good review of it somewhere, no idea where as it was before it closed for COVID so I could have reserved it in February.

Last one I read was "Immortality Inc" by Robert Sheckley, that was turned into "Freejack". I preferred the movie, honestly - the book was crazily sexist and there's lots of subplots in it that aren't all that interesting.

Alberon

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2020, 06:34:48 PM »
I think it got a good review on the monthly SF book review column in The Guardian. Let me know if it’s any good as I was considering it.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2020, 02:38:02 PM »
I'm about halfway through "House Of Earth And Blood", but it's a beast (nearly 800 pages) so I'll be there a while yet. Just wanted to talk about it a bit.

First up, never read Goodreads reviews for anything. The people on there are either "I just read for fun, stop bothering me with ideas about what books mean" or the most intense dismantling of one sentence to find evidence of the author's attitude to X or Y. Ye gods.

But the book. The first hundred pages or so is tough going, as Maas kinda breathlessly sets up her world, and the sheer number of different races and massive amount of history means it's a lot to take in. But it settles down after a while.

This might be the horniest book I've ever read. Every character is extremely attractive, and they all want to have sex with everyone around them at all times. There'll be a really serious bit of a murder investigation, and the author will make a reference to the colour of the main character's underwear. People purr and growl a lot. The main character, Bryce Quinlan, is lusted after by everyone she meets, and I've already read a number of descriptions of her perfect thighs and ass, and she's not even had sex with the very obvious love interest yet!

There's fae and shifters and angels and demons and vampires and witches and wraiths and all fucking sorts; it helped me quite a bit to imagine the world of the novel as like that of the Alan Moore comic "Top 10". I gather this variety of creatures is a commonplace in modern fantasy / urban fantasy (which this is, set in a world with laptops and mobiles and that), but I've read relatively little of it compared to sci-fi, and my era was stuff like Thomas Covenant, comedy fantasy, or your Dungeons & Dragons style.

I am enjoying it a lot though. Maas is a fun writer and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Inspector Norse

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2020, 03:08:10 PM »
Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds

This is the last of a trilogy set in a rather original and yet derivative far future Solar System. It’s basically 17th Century pirates in space. Reynolds makes it work though some of the dialogue can grate a bit. The first book read a bit like it had been intended as a Young Adult title, but the next two books seem to have dropped this. The central mystery is interesting, but the series is good rather than great.

I've read the first two in that series and enjoyed them, hadn't noticed that there was a third out but will look out for it. I liked Reynolds' early books a lot, one of the very small handful who can make "space opera" work for me because he captured the emptiness, scariness and otherness of space rather than filling it with overblown worldbuilding, drawn-out science tedium and teenage wank fantasies like some others I tried reading; he seemed to have faded a bit but these books were zippier and more fun than he has been before.

Quote
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Now this one from a top Chinese author has been getting a lot of attention in the SF world and has been appearing on a few award shortlists so I thought I’d give it a go.

And it’s fucking awful! The story reads like something out of a bad potboiler from the 50s. Characterisation is basically nonexistent. Only one character has anything like an original personality and he’s not one of the main characters. Maybe it’s the fault of the translator, but praise for this does feel like the Emperor’s New Clothes. I’m all for different voices from all over the world in SF but this particular one doesn’t seem able to write.

Yeah I found that too. Intriguing premise but the prose and characterisation were staggeringly bad. Might be because of the language and cultural difference, but it was a really awkward read.

The only other sci-fi I've read in recent memory was Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which won some awards. It has a fascinating premise, with a terraforming accident on a new world leading to spiders becoming the dominant society, and is presented pretty intriguingly from alternating perspectives - the humans in orbit and the spiders on the planet - but the plot felt a bit drawn-out over 600 pages, and I got the feeling that much of it was kind of tagged on to provide a consistent counterpoint to the tale of the spiders' evolution (though to be fair it's interesting to contrast the humans' inability to move on from their self-destructive tendencies with the development of the spider civilisation).
There's apparently a sequel where basically the same thing's happened on another planet except it's squid or something. Not sure I'll bother.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2020, 10:18:26 PM »
I just finished House Of Earth And Blood, and I'd recommend it. You'll be able to see roughly where the plot is going, but it's a lot of fun and the 800 pages fly by. Interesting world the author has built, too.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2020, 09:01:53 PM »
I’ll have to give it a go. Meanwhile I’ve read

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

First fantasy from someone who has produced an acclaimed SF series. It felt a very short novel to read, but it’s not really. Unlike most fantasy epics it’s very contained and mostly takes place around a fairly small tower. It’s a world filled with minor gods whose power can be built up by worship and sacrifice. These gods have to be careful, everything they say will come true - if they have the power. If they say something that isn’t true the power drain needed to rewrite reality could kill them.

The story is told by one god and is interspersed with its origin story from when it first became conscious millions of years before. It takes a while for it to become clear which god is narrating the story and the use of telling the story in the second person to one of the human characters takes a little getting used to.

I did enjoy it though and it’s nice to read something which isn’t book one of twelve for once.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

This is a series of novellas (and one novel) about a security ‘constuct’ (a robot with organic components). It hacked its governor and is essentially rogue, but continues taking orders to hide in plain sight. It doesn’t want to have much to do with humans which it feels uncomfortable with, much preferring to watch pilfered escapist dramas on its own.

Inevitably, it’s drawn into protecting different groups of humans as it eventually goes properly rogue and runs. I’m into the third novella now and it’s getting a little samey now. There’s also the small problem of the central character coming across as too human, though I suppose that’s difficult to avoid. Up next is the first proper novel so I’ll see how it goes. As a light entertaining quick read it’s good enough.

One big issue that has caused some comment is the price. Each novella (except the first, usually) is priced as a novel and that has understandably generated complaints.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2020, 09:54:32 PM »
Ann Leckie is an alumna of the place I work, and regularly does signings and suchlike in the local indie bookshop. If I see her doing a thing, and you're interested, I'll get you a signed book or summat.

(I also really liked her Ancillary books)

surreal

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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2020, 04:16:21 PM »
Next up I really want to read Dune before the movie, and then on to Banks "Culture" novels I think.  Oddly it's almost the overwhelming number of things I'd actually want to read that is holding me back from starting.

Well I got Dune done and really enjoyed it once I got past the first tricky bit - didn't bother reading all the appendices at the end, I presume that is just more in-depth about the climate and religion or something?

Was considering The Player of Games next, but actually I think I'm going to jump into Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) instead.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
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Re: SF and Fantasy wot I ave been reeding
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2020, 07:00:55 PM »
I love the Culture series. Iain M Banks was such a great writer, I'm only bummed I don't get to read them again for the first time.

But the Expanse is probably pretty good too.

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