Just finished John Scalzi's OLD MAN'S WAR and quite enjoyed it. Plenty of conflict, but not really much plot per se; a touch of romance; a lot of characterization; and a slight flavor of Heinlein when I liked him the most (acknowledged by the author).
I believe there is at least one more novel in the series, and this one may have been more set-up in the "what is going on here" sense (hence the not much plot). Anyway, I'm looking forward to spending more time with Captain Perry.
I just finished "Heart's Blood" by Juliet Marillier. This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in Ireland. I liked the richness of the story even though the villain was fairly easy to discover. I recommend her book "Wildwood Dancing" which I liked better. It is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses.
Reading the fourth book in the Parasol Protectorate right now called "Heartless". As always it is a fun mixture of steam punk, Jane Austen, and the supernatural. I would not recommend this one to teens however, she can get a little explicit in parts.
For lack of a better place to put this...the other day, I saw this book, Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi. I wondered what it could be about, thinking of the H. Beam Piper "Fuzzy" series. I looked at the cover---and there was one of Piper's Fuzzies, right there.
A closer look showed that it was some kind of "reimagining" of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy. I was horrified. I know Piper's work has largely fallen into the public domain, but, really, did it deserve this? "Reimagining" a classic? All the pokes at Internet Fan Fiction, and here's something just like it but published by professionals?
I just finished, Michelle Paver's, WOLF BROTHER. I read it which is to say I liked it. It wasn't one of my favorites. The story was entertaining enough, but and I hate to say it, was rather generic feeling. I dont recommend it on the I am not drawn to read book 2. I might, if I find it in one of the used book stores, but I feel no rush to go out and by it, the way I did with Scott Westerfield's UGLIES. I dont mind a basic story, but something has to stand out, and for me, it generally means the character, and I didnt feel it with Wolf Brother.
Right now I am trying to decide where to go for the next read, THE YOUNG SAMARAI, by Chris Bradford. Or maybe its time to give in and read,HUNGER GAMES. But then, that darn Harry Dresdin is summoning me again, so maybe I will go that route.
[This message has been edited by Tiergan (edited July 07, 2011).]
Robert I've seen the hardcover issue and read what it was about but I missed that it was a "Reimagining". I'm not sure what that means. A retelling???? I figured it was the Fuzzy story told from the POV of a different character. That I would not mind. It's been way too long and I don't recall the names of the Characters so I wouldn't recognize any names if it was a retelling. But that would be.... Not Good.
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Tiergan I believe I have seen "Wolf Brother" even though I can't recall what it is about. "Hungry Games" I think had mixed reviews here but I have seen blurbs about the book in my local paper.
As to Dresden Files... Is that "Changes" or "Ghost Story"?
I am in the middle of "Changes" since I wait for the paperback version and I had some books in front of it so it had to wait it's turn even though it was calling me and may have bumped up a couple of books. And even though my wife has never touched the previous Dresden books she started reading this one... Anyway, Talk about changes, egads and since I had to look up the title of "Ghost Story" I know how "Changes" end.
Hmmm, that's the second hero who has been placed in the same predicament that Butcher places Dresden in. Simon Green has done it recently also. Wonder if they belong to the same Pros club and if there will be any other heros done the same way.
That is not the first time I had that thought about writers getting together. John Levitt used a certain creature-one I don't recall hearing about before-- in one of his books, about the same time C. E. Murphy used the same creature. They did different things with the creature. Both books were probably written very close to each other. So did one inspire the other or was there some Newsletter that both writers read? I mentioned that to Levitt but his response either meant he didn't know or he wasn't saying.
quote:As to Dresden Files... Is that "Changes" or "Ghost Story"?
Neither, I am way back there, still old schooling it. GRAVE PERIL, I think its the 3rd. I am so far back, I get to read them in order, space them out, take my time, enjoy them, and yeah, I can say that. I was a little worried about the first, as I said before, the author hides stuff about Harry's past, and when introducing a character does a mini-info dump on them, but he spins a good tale, and that will keep me coming back for more.
Tiergan Wow that is slow but that's okay you have more to enjoy.
There are spoilers in here but I think most are revealed in the first two or three books and any others are not that big. > > > > >
But I didn't notice that he hides things about Dresden's past. He may not explain everything in the first couple of books but as far as I can recall we know pretty quickly about how his first mentor tried to kill him and how his first girl friend went along with it. And that certain members of the White Council are out for his blood because of he his mentor was and how Dresden ended up killing the guy. And I believe we know who Dresden's father was and that he raised him for a while. Of course there's something about his mother we don't find out for quite a while but she didn't raise him.
A second of course... there is something else about his first case and how he met Murphy but that is revealed in a short story on http://www.jim-butcher.com Or it used to be, I haven't checked to see if it is still up.
My look-see at Fuzzy Nation got as far as page one...where there was a character with the same name as the main human character in Little Fuzzy. My gut instinct tells me it's the same basic plot, maybe with some new characters, but probably with more violence and maybe even swear words.
I'm no prude about this---several of my Internet Fan Fiction pieces amount to rewriting the events of episodes of the Original Series---but I think Piper got it just right the first time and there's no need for change-for-change's-sake, however old and creaking the original story might be.
@LDWriter2 - I didnt start the series until about 6 weeks ago I guess, and I while I use to read entire series at a time, if I came late to them, I have since now learned some control, you read them all at once and then I am waiting like the next guy, begging for the next book to be released. I have several series that I am late to the game on, so I read a couple here, switch over to the other series and read couple.
His hiding things started in the first book, he would bring up his girlfriend dying, then say he didn't want to go there and move on, so we never found out how in the first book. He tends to bring up the past, hint at it, then move on, and release a little over the series. It keeps the reader going, and I have come to expect it and accept it. At first I felt it was a very bad breech of the rules. But, since I have relaxed on the rules during reading and enjoying the story, it has made me find the fun in reading again, something I had lost with my internal editor getting in the way.
Robert Next time I'm at the book store I will take a second look as I said I don't recall any of the names in the original so you could be correct. I assumed it was from a different angle and character because why rewrite it??? To update the writing???
I'm just guessing there. Or maybe if it turned out Piper was forced by an agent or editor to make some major changes and this is closer to what he wanted. But somehow I think not.
But If I can remember to take the time maybe I will try to find any blogs and/or forums discussing it.
Tiergan I can understand that about wanting to keep things in order and begging him to write the next one.
And I yeah Butcher didn't reveal everything about Dresden's past but I think we get the basics. But as to it breaking a rule... I didn't know there was one that said you had to reveal everything or most things in the first book. If so than Butcher isn't the only one to break that rule. I think half of the UF novels I read and one or two others do that.
It could be one of those rules that you can break once you learn how.
But I also understand about your inner critic even though mine isn't as bad, it still flares up at times. I almost put down a book I thought opened with way too much Tell.
@Tiergan - I liked Wolf Brother, but it's definitely written in a style that keeps you at arm's length. I also didn't read further in the series, but I appreciated all the little details of the boy's life, thought that was interesting.
My 9 year old, who has read many of the books you've read recently, LOVED the Young Samurai. I haven't read it yet. I read Hunger Games and really enjoyed the series, but warning - they're kind of a downer as you get into books 2 and 3. I waited til the series was complete and read all at once and I was a bit of a crankpot til I finished, lol. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who reflects the emotions of the books I'm reading! I am always a cranky complaining mess while reading Harry Potter 5, lol.)
I'm considering the Bartimaes (don't think I spelled that right...) books next.
Also enjoying the Michael Scott Alchemyst series (Nicholas Flammel's stories set in modern-day.) We're listening to book 2 and it's very good (this one is called The Magician.) I think there are four out. Highly recommend.
I'm currently rereading the first three book in Gail Carriger's THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE series in preparation for plunging into the fourth of the series, HEARTLESS.
BTW, KDW, I haven't read UGLIES, but Scott Westerfeld's steampunk series (LEVIATHAN, BEHEMOTH, and coming out this fall, GOLIATH) is a lot of fun--and not dystopian at all. Well, other than the fact that it takes place at the beginning of WWI.
quote:I'm reading UGLIES and I am getting very depressed. I guess I just don't like dystopias all that much. And this one, so far, doesn't really make sense. How can this society power itself?
I still cant stop laughing, and I read this yesterday. While I did fall hard for the series or at least Tally Youngblood, and had to read them all very quickly, I did find parts depressing and some downright creepy.
I would have to agree, strange society, and when I tried to explain to my friends they all thought I lost my mind.
Glad you got a kick out of my depression, Tiergan.
I am liking Tally more as I read, and her dilemma is becoming interesting, but the whole dystopia craze in YA fiction is beginning to get to me. I can't begin to name all of them, and they just seem to keep coming. and
Give me sparkly vampires if that's the only other choice!
Speaking of sparkly vampires - ever heard of wine drinking yoga vampires? Oh yes, they exist in DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness.
I've read up to page 205 and I am bored out of my mind. I don't think I will be able to finish this book. I've picked it up a few times only to put it back down. I find the writing is rather stilted. I was really hoping to read a good book about witches and vampires and this novel received rather good reviews but it seems that it's just not a book for me.
quote:Just finished John Scalzi's OLD MAN'S WAR and quite enjoyed it.
As did I. There are actually three more books in this series: THE GHOST BRIGADE, THE LAST COLONY and ZOE'S TALE. Like many series, I enjoyed the first book the most.
Currently reading Iain Bank's AGAINST A DARK BACKGROUND, so far I'm only mildly interested in it. I've been having a hard time getting into any science fiction reading lately, and maybe I need to branch back into some fantasy or other speculative sub-genre.
I'm also reading THE SCIENCE OF ALIENS by Clifford Pickover as research for my novel.
redux, have you read SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley? Also, Barbara Hambly's written a series about some interesting vampires--the first one was THOSE WHO HUNT THE NIGHT. And I think George R R Martin's FEVRE DREAM is the one he wrote about vampires.
LDWriter2, a lot of people have referred to Stephenie Meyer's "sparkly vampires." That's the reason she came up with for why they can't go out in the sunlight.
Okay, I finished UGLIES, and it has one of the cleverest "cliff-hanger" endings I've ever seen. Even though I was depressed by a good part of the book, it actually didn't anger me (as many such endings have), and it was set up in such a way that I may change my mind about reading the rest of the series.
Kudos to Scott Westerfield. That cliff-hanger set-up is one I may even recommend to writers in the future. Very impressive. There is a right way (for this reader anyway) to do a cliff-hanger ending after all? Whoda thunk it?
@KDW, I really really loved Uglies when I read it, but when you were talking about being depressed by it, I honestly couldn't think of anything much redeeming to say about it when I looked back in my memory. I do still love the stories, though, and read through all three in the primary series, plus Extras which only has a bit of Tally/Shae near the mid/end. FYI, book 2 does go a bit more depressing, at least for Tally.
I'm totally with you on the YA dystopias, though, which is why I'm consciously trying to avoid that with my MG/YA writing - I'm writing space-opera/family-drama, basically, with some humor and lightness to keep the pace moving and the happy endings coming. I'm really enjoying writing these kinds of books, and it's in part because this is the stuff I wish there were more of out there to read! Austin Kleon, the author of the awesome Steal Like an Artist blog post/speech and soon to be book says "write the book you want to read" (his #3 way to steal like an artist.) I've taken it to heart my whole writing career.
I just finished THE HOUND OF ROWAN (a Tapestry Book) which has a slow start but a neat magical system and school ala Harry Potter/Wizard of Earthsea/Percy Jackson kinds of things that I personally enjoy and find compelling.
I also enjoyed the second book of ADVENTURER'S WANTED, even though the author broke most of the rules around things like adverbs, summarizing instead of showing, etc. I think I might not like the writing style if I were to read a lot of this author's work in a row, but I enjoyed how the stories were complete without the main character having to literally be dragged through the coals each time (another of my YA beefs. Life in reality isn't really that depressing, why is so much YA fiction portraying it as such?)
Not sure about the yoga but I have read about wine drinking vamps. Some books have a few very classy vampires. In story a few vamps were even environmentalists concerned with global warming -- in that story there were werewolves with the same concerns.
These days you can find most any type of vamps. surprised I haven't rad any like a I saw in Mad magazine a huge amount of years ago. Vamp bit into hippie and went on a trip. Always thought that would make an interesting story line.
Went for something slightly different and just finished Bloodlands by Christine Cody. Had a few twists but bogged down in places, enough to make me skip ahead several pages at a time. It was okay. The switch in POV's for each of the two main characters was interesting. I'm not sure how I felt about that.
Just finished THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, by Alan Bradley. Not exactly speculative fiction per se, but still somewhat fantastical because it has a first person narrator who is an eleven-year-old (female) chemistry geek.
I can buy the geekiness, but all the description in first person point of view PLUS the introspection just didn't work for me as coming from any eleven-year-old, male or female.
The description, especially, would have worked much better told in third person. As it was, I just couldn't believe in the character (and I think I have a fairly strong willing suspension of disbelief).
I've been neglecting this these past few months...nothing's really grabbed me...and not much of it has been science fiction...and some of what has is overtly political in nature, unsuitable for discussion on the boards. I'll go over some of 'em and see what I can bring up, though. Something in the next few days---today is kinda busy.
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The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War, Andrew Roberts. World War II has been written about a lot, but also a good deal of time has passed to give perspective, nearly all of what was once classified information is now open to historians...and a lot of the older histories in English gave little weight to events on the Eastern Front. A very good book. (Less weight is given here to the war with Japan, though.)
The Kennedy Detail, Gerald Blaine with Lisa McCubbin. This is, again, another "book on..." something, in this case the Kennedy assassination...but a lot of utter nonsense has been written about this subject, and this deals with the facts, as well as with people who were actually involved in the situation. Well worth a look.
Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970, David Browne. In some ways a rather odd book---seems to me a number of important musical stories of the year are left out or mentioned in passing (Motown and Eric Clapton come to mind)---but a lot of the info, even about the Beatles, was wholly new to me. (A brief gratuitous swipe at today's politics towards the end lowered my opinion of the book, though.)
Boy Robert you have a varied educational type reading. Not that that is bad. Sometimes I wish I had the time to read more of that type of stuff but I barely have time to read what I do now. Someone even gave me a biographical book too.
But I'm way late with what I am reading... I finished it tonight. I kept forgetting the title when I came to this thread. And it's a very simple one too.
"Spirit Dances" by C. E. Murphy. I mentioned on another thread that she is a wonderful storyteller and I would like to be considered like her, since I've been told by Dean that I am a natural born storyteller. At least for me she weaves a story so well it's hard to explain. I finished the book quicker than I wanted to.
And the ending for this one... egads... The very last sentence is a shock I groaned twice after reading it... and, hmmm, well I just thought of this, I guess I'm in shock and awe over it.
Oh, I should say this is the sixth book in the Murphy's Walker series. She has out five series now, I think. I don't know if she still has a day job but she does more than one book a year.
And she's one that can break rules. One of the Walker books has Walker waking up in the opening. Oh speaking of that-- yes these two are related-- there is one criticism I have of Murphy. Walker has a big emotional scar form something that she did, and what resulted from that act, since high school. It's mentioned in every book but one day it's gone. As far as I can recall with no explanation. well, there might be one but it's not stated as such. So personally I wish Murphy hadn't totally changed it but the way it seemed to be just forgotten made it worse... to my POV.
I buy more books than I get around to reading...but, someday, maybe...I'll clean or sort or something, find a book I'd forgotten about, old or new, read or unread, and read it then and there. (Just a couple minutes ago I was digging through an old pile of TV Guides---the good, digest-sized kind---looking for an article about the miniseries "The Temptations" from 1998. Found it, too.)
I'm interested in lots of things, and the odd corners and bits and pieces therein. A general history or specific biography might mention some person or event or something (for example, a biography of Bing Crosby mentions an amateur golfer called "the Mysterious Montague)...then if I see a book involving that subject, I'll pick up a copy (six or seven years after reading that Crosby biography, a book about the Mysterious Montague turned up in stores.)
Incidentally, it's expensive. My reading habit costs several hundred dollars a months---but I'm prosperous and can sustain it, at least at the moment. If I fell on hard times, I'd be forced to reduce it---and, perhaps, catch up on the books I've bought and haven't read.
I just finished the non-fiction book, "The Man in the Rockefeller Suit" by Mark Seal, about the "Clark Rockefeller" case.
I have some issues with the writing style, but the story is compelling: a penniless teenage German exchange student comes to the United States, and spends the next thirty years conning people into thinking he's a rich aristocrat.
There is something at once epic and petty about this man's life story. Despite the writing flaws, I highly recommend this book, to authors of urban fantasy especially.
Boy, Sakari you have been busy reading. And I think I've seen only a couple of those but that's fine I don't have to see every book.
But I am reading "Con & Conjure" by Lisa Shearin, Fifth in the Raine Benares series. Raine is a cool lady. Seeker from a notorious pirate family even though she might be the only Benares to have an honest job. Well, non-pirate job, she has stolen things back for people. She has a skill for finding Trouble.
The series is fantasy, obviously, set in a world with maybe 17 century tech. Somewhere around 16 to 18 anyway. I relate it to a sort of Garrett, by Glen Cook, type of fantasy.
Shearin is a very good writer and the world is well thought out. However I must say that even though I have been eagerly waiting to read the book... it's been sitting in a stack for two months calling out to me to read it... it doesn't quite capture me like C.E. Murphy's stuff does and one or two others. I recommend it, I'm reading it too quickly... very good but as I said the storytelling isn't quite as good as Murphy. Which might not be saying much.
I've just finished The Clockwork Rocket and Zendegi two very different books by Greg Egan. The Clockwork Rocket is a very mathy, but very rewarding book about an alien physicist in a universe where time and space are the same. Its so brilliantly imagined. Despite the heavy theoretical science, the plot is actually character driven. I don't know how he came up with an alien race that is so very very strange and yet so easy to become emotionally involved with. So very well done. Egan does a fine job of walking readers through the math, but he also has a helpful website where he talks more about it.
Zendegi is about the moral and social implications of A/I and V/R. Before you dismiss it with 'not that old horse, again,' I beg you to pick it up. The second to the last chapter made me weep. Can't remember when I last read a novel with such realism when it comes to characters. That one of the story lines is about the development of artificial intelligence while the author is himself developing artificial people (the characters) so brilliantly gives me a sense of vertigo. I heard a rumor that he'll give us a sequel. In the mean time I'm focusing on getting my hands on everything this man has ever written. And imvho, so should you.
Egan's character's are so strongly moral, you have to love them. I felt a real sense of loss when I finished these books.
@ LDWriter: Yep. PARANORMALCY is YA, about a maybe-not-so-normal teenager who wields a pink, rhinestone-encrusted taser while working for the International Paranormal Control Authority.
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HUNGER GAMES is an equal-opportunity read. It's got enough action and violence to entertain most male readers. Most of my friend's sons who are active readers have read it (my caution: I think it's best suited for kids in grades 7 and up, as it gets progressively darker as the series goes on.)
Dystopia is a major trend in YA and children's publishing right now. There have always been dystopian stories (utopias gone wrong, very often) but there is a lot more than usual right now.
I've recently finished book one and two of THE ACADEMY series by YS Lee. FANTASTIC. These are YA stories set in Victorian England about a girl who joins an all-female spy ring. These are mysteries and I think have a classic mystery structure (I don't generally read mysteries though so I'm not sure) but the attention to detail the author gives, and the way she conveys the realities of the era through little details is really interesting. She also is not so enamoured of her research that she over-shares, the details come out in plot-important ways, which I really respected as a writer who tries to do the same.
Very good books. I highly recommend both. The second one is called The Academy: The Body at the Tower. I've blanked on the name of the first.
Let the first of the month slip by without posting any comments. But here's something...
I found out from a correspondent awhile back that this outfit called Adventure House has been reprinting some of the old SF pulp magazines. (Apparently the copyrights have lapsed.) Eventually I broke down and ordered five "back issues," more-or-less at random. Three issues of Planet Stories from 1940-1941, a Startling Stories from 1940, and something called Out of This World Fantasy Magazine (I'd seen a picture of the cover in one of the SF picture books and it intrigued me).
I've been reading 'em on and off. I'm impressed by odd things---for instance, the ads tell a story themselves, of a culture long-vanished---and some of the letters-to-the-editor, particularly one by Isaac Asimov that he even mentioned in his memoirs.
But the stories---well, except for being jaw-droppingly astonished by one by Ray Cummings that seemed so badly-written I couldn't believe it was accepted, they're pretty good.
Sometimes it's a good idea to reconnect with your past---our past---the shared past of the SF world. And this is a good way to do it. (Beware, they're a good deal more expensive than the fifteen or twenty cents printed on the reproduced covers. But they're still a good buy.)