Jump to content
The WGB
remotevoices

What are YOU reading?

Recommended Posts

I have all the Stephenson's prior to Dodo. And I really liked Anathem, though I think he hit his peak with the Baroque circle. I think I gave away his collaborations with his uncle, but I have the rest, a big pile of dead wood.

 

No updates on reading. Got hooked on Stellaris and only read a few pages the week-end. And they were om a from a French book, Matador Yankee, which I doubt will be translated to English.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished off the Ann Leckie Imperial Radch trilogy finally.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancillary_Justice

 

The thrid book was a strong finish that wrapped up the major storylines.  I also felt like Leckie got more comfortable with the ungendered format finally, ceasing to make it into a plot point and just referring to all of the characters as if their gender wasn't a factor, which left more time to focus on the other aspects of the story.  Similar in some ways to the Murderbot series, the protagonist-narrator being non-human for example, this series could get a little too wrapped up in the social protocols of the fictional universe that they are set in.  It obviously owes something to Ursula K Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness but doesn't really achieve that level of investment in the outcome.  Still a good read!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dude, I probably wouldn't even have had the courage to ask that person if he was or not, so don't feel too bad! (I'm horrible at approaching strangers)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How to Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone — Very weird but reasonably entertaining little book written between two enemy agents who gradually form a relationship via letters written to each other up and down the timeline as they attempt to sway all the time threads to end in their version of reality (one biological, one more mechanical). Worth a library checkout at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

Dude, I probably wouldn't even have had the courage to ask that person if he was or not, so don't feel too bad! (I'm horrible at approaching strangers)

 

Haha. I mean, he lives around here, so...

 

It was at Microsoft, too. I was a panelist MSFT had assembled of end users with disabilities. So, like, IDK... I seems tangentially like somewhere you might see him? (I think he is even doing something with MSFT lately?) Not-Stephenson was one of the audience members (there were a few dozen: fairly small/low-key thing).

 

I don't think I would have been able to work up the courage if, like, it was him ordering a coffee at a cafe or whatever.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, heavyboots said:

How to Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone — Very weird but reasonably entertaining little book written between two enemy agents who gradually form a relationship via letters written to each other up and down the timeline as they attempt to sway all the time threads to end in their version of reality (one biological, one more mechanical). Worth a library checkout at least.

 

To be fair, it is joint written with Amal El-Mohtar. Amal lives in Canada, but spent a number of years in Glasgow, where she was a member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle (which I am also a member of). My understanding is that they each wrote one side of the correspondence. The pair of them did a number of promotional dates round America, and Amal is back here next month to promote it (no doubt coinciding with a trip to the Worldcon in Dublin, where a load of the GSFWC will be)

 

I just finished the third Expanse book. Always interesting to see how it balances off the TV series. I've watched half way through series 3, ducking out to catch up on the book before the TV got too far ahead. Remains enjoyable, and the book obviously has more depth and texture to the story, even if they don't quite 100% match up

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I got through book 5, I have seen just the first season of the show I think.  I felt like the books kind of wandered a bit into the fantastical, and frankly got too dark for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, remotevoices said:

To be fair, it is joint written with Amal El-Mohtar.

 

D'oh! The Pima County Library has ingeniously slapped their bar code on the book such that it is covering up 90% of her name. Also, the cover art guys chose a dark green for her name (on a pale green background) and a bright orange for his, so I didn't even notice there was text under the bar code. Apologies for that—definitely wasn't trying to cheat credit where credit is due.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, heavyboots said:

 

D'oh! The Pima County Library has ingeniously slapped their bar code on the book such that it is covering up 90% of her name. Also, the cover art guys chose a dark green for her name (on a pale green background) and a bright orange for his, so I didn't even notice there was text under the bar code. Apologies for that—definitely wasn't trying to cheat credit where credit is due.

 

oh, no worries. i'd have been surprised if there had been any ill intent, though conscious on some level he is the "name" author that people will know. and it would have been remiss of me not to point amal's role out, not least as i expect to be sitting in the pub with her at some point in the next month.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Children of Ruin by Adrian Tschaikovsky — Second in this series, this time we visit a planet where octopi, so BEEEEEAK! 😹 Quite good once it gets going, and some interesting ideas about how uplift might work in a creature that's very smart but very wilful already.

 

Agency by William Gibson — Thanks to having placed an Abebooks "watch" on this, I scored an ARC for cheap and just finished it yesterday. Really, really great! Was hooked pretty much from page one on and enjoyed it thoroughly all the way through to the end. Acknowledgements TK still, so I don't know what he was gonna say about Arkan yet. 😛

 

But at any rate, it definitely lived up to expectations and I have some interesting thoughts one where this might expand into a trilogy? 🤔 Will be interested to see the discussion of that once more people have had a chance to read it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh, looks as though I didn't post about The Poppy War here, though I did on the other forum I post reading comments on. OK. The Poppy War by R.F. (Rebecca) Kuang. It got something of a buzz, but I was put off by a few comments. I caught her speaking at the Edinburgh SF/F/H book festival Cymera, and she came across pretty well. So I gave it a go. It is a mixed bag, the first half I enjoyed, the second less so. The first is her in school - having worked out she can avoid being married off by her adoptive parents by passing the tests that get her into military academy. Second half is war breaking out and things getting nasty. There is magic, though honestly not enough for my liking. The war stuff is problematic, many of her choices are problematic, some of it is hard reading. But I caught her again after I finished reading, promoting the second book, and it was interesting to hear her talking in a way that validated my impressions. The war stuff isn't supposed to be easy, she isn't supposed to be a hero who knows what she is doing, so the horror and bad choices are very deliberate. Also interesting how she talks about it being her study of trying to understand how China became the country it is now, through writing fantasy novels exploring history/politics clearly influenced by Chinese history.

 

The Rise and Fall of DODO  - Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland - Bought this a while ago, on kindle, because Neal's books are just too damn big for paper. Heard some good stuff about it, got some good recommendations, bumped it up my reading list. Had intended it to be holiday reading in August, but Poppy War took longer than I expected. So it was late on in the holiday by time I started, but even though it is about 800 pages I pretty much ripped through it. A language expert is recruited from a failing university position by a secret government agency, as she translates the documents in obscure languages she realises they are all about witches and witchcraft. From which they piece together that magic stopped working in 1851 due to a number of scientific developments. With a Schrodinger like experiment they discover they can recreate magic, though only in the box. Which leads to a witch turning up to help them out, and to a series of complicated (Stephensonesque) time travel adventures. Things expand and get out of hand, allies are made, secret plots are plotted, and things get complicated. The narrative is largely from the academics journal, but as it progresses there are letters, intranet posts, and the like, introducing different POVs and time views. I found it to be well done and a lot of fun, presuming Galland's influence managed to temper some of Stephenson's historic excess.

 

The Murders of Molly Southbourne - Tade Thompson - I had kinda been avoiding this, generally avoiding violence/war at the moment, life is hard enough! But having enjoyed the two Rosewater books I decided to take a punt on this novella, and there is more to it than the cover/first few pages suggest. Fortunately. Molly wakes up in chains, beaten and bloody and confused. Molly comes in to see how Molly is doing, bearing her own wounds and injuries, but not in chains. Eventually Molly sits down and tells Molly the story of Molly and her many deaths. Every time Molly bleeds a new Molly will form, each will be fine to start with, but without fail will become murderous. To a degree this was fine when Molly was young, home schooled on her parent's farm. But as she got older it is was more of a rollercoaster and she had to make a life for herself, and perhaps find out who she is. It is decent little page turner, a novella so quick, but also feels like an incomplete set up in someway. Which of course is partly accounted for by The Survival of Molly Southbourne, a second novella, which has recently been published - I've got it on my kindle already, so I'll likely get to it soon.

 

Permafrost - Alastair Reynolds - another novella. The world is catastrophically fucked. An old woman, working as a teacher in one of the dead end of dead end towns finds herself recruited by the agency who are currently effectively running the world. Partly because her mother was a famous mathematician who did work on what might prove to provide a form of time travel. The possibilities are limited, they can only travel to a period where certain devices existed and only while they were running, and more that they can pilot a person who is there than go themselves. But if they can do that, then maybe they can change the barest thing that won't change the world, but might just provide enough hope that the entire population won't just die out. An odd little piece, feels quite atypical as far as time travel pieces go, from the technology, the AI presence, the Russian background of the characters/story.

 

Amnesiascope - Steve Erickson - as opposed to Steven Erikson, which isn't confusing at all. I've read one of Steve's books before, though can't remember which. Think it was here that someone recommended him way back? He writes odd works, kind of contemporary, not hard genre, but slipping into genre peripherals. This piece is kind of a hysterical dialogue of the end of the world - I use hysterical, as that is the word the narrator uses to describe a type of cinema her reviews for the newspaper. After an earthquake LA is permanently on fire, has broken into sub-time-zones, and has a similar weird detached end times feel to the likes of Dhalgren or Black Wave. Which is something I appreciate, but to a degree becomes hard to pin down plot, and you just have to ride it out. The narrator is a novelist, makes a living from writing film reviews, his girlfriend is an artist, he writes the script for her erotic film, they kidnap strippers, a film he made up in a review starts to stalk him. Odd stuff happens and it all flows in an uncertain way. Not for everyone...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, remotevoices said:

I found it to be well done and a lot of fun, presuming Galland's influence managed to temper some of Stephenson's historic excess.

 

Well it was only 800 pages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, s.smigiel said:

 

Well it was only 800 pages.

 

there is that. but also the indulgent repetition was... reduced, if not absent.

 

Meantime.

Magic For Liars - Sarah Gailey - this is Gailey's debut novel, after a couple of Hippo Western novellas, and various short stories. It is a bit of a mixed bag, genre wise (but then, it isn't like one could describe Hippo Western as an obvious genre choice...). Magic is real, and Ivy isn't magic, but her twin sister is. Add to that the death of their mum through cancer, and the last 17 years have been a fucking mess. Still, she just about manages to make a living as a PI, with the same old same of cheating spouses and minor fraud. Until the headmistress from the local school of magic turns up - there has been a murder! Of course, the school is also where her sister teaches. So on the one hand this is a detective novel; there is a body, suspects, interviews, clues, and all that. But also a magic school novel, for all that Ivy tries to remain blase, to assume a role, the bratty kids are committing magic all around her, wasting it on the most mundane shit, then there are the talking books, and a Chosen One. Though, at the heart, despite the wonder, it is about a fucked up woman, in a fucked up situation, who is forced to face the extent of the fucked uppery. Very much an easy read, I think it was in some ways deceptively easy reading, given how much it is pulling off and just how audacious that process is in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...