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Reading

I used to have a page called "What I'm Reading" on my old website. It's still there on this new(er) website, actually, but I haven't updated it in years. Keep meaning to, but there's too much to do, too few hours in the day.

That doesn't mean I am not reading, however. I read all the time. Usually a chapter or two right before I go to sleep... but sometimes a novel takes hold of me, and I wind up gulping down the whole thing in a night. A long, sleepless night. But I love that when it happens.

Anyway, just thought I'd mention a few of the books I've read recently.

I've already commented, at some length, about two of this year's Hugo finalists, THREE-BODY PROBLEM and THE GOBLIN EMPEROR. You can find my thoughts on those below.

I also read LINES OF DEPARTURE by Marko Kloos. This was part of the Hugo ballot as originally announced, one of the books put there by the slates... but Kloos, in an act of singular courage and integrity, withdrew. It was his withdrawal that moved THREE-BODY PROBLEM onto the ballot. This is the second book in a series, and I've never read the first. Truth be told, I'd never read anything by Kloos before, but I'm glad I read this. It's military SF, solidly in the tradition of STARSHIP TROOPERS and THE FOREVER WAR. No, it's not nearly as good as either of those, but it still hands head and shoulders above most of what passes for military SF today. The enigmatic (and gigantic) alien enemies here are intriguing, but aside from them there's not a lot of originality here; the similarity to THE FOREVER WAR and its three act structure is striking, but the battle scenes are vivid, and the center section, where the hero returns to Earth and visits his mother, is moving and effective. I have other criticisms, but this is not a formal review, and I don't have the time or energy to expand on them at this point. Bottom line, this is a good book, but not a great one. It's way better than most of what the Puppies have put on the Hugo ballot in the other categories, but it's not nearly as ambitious or original as THREE-BODY PROBLEM. Even so, I read this with pleasure, and I will definitely read the next one. Kloos is talented young writer, and I suspect that his best work is ahead of him. He is also a man of principle. I hope he comes to worldcon; I'd like to meet him.

I also read the new novel by Lauren Beukes, BROKEN MONSTERS, a sort of crime/ serial killer novel with some supernatural Lovecraftian touches. Set amidst the urban decay of contemporary Detroit, this one has a vivid sense of place and a colorful and interesting cast of characters, but it gets very strange at the end, where the Lovecraftian elements come to the fore. I don't think it is entirely successful, and it's certainly several notches below the author's last, the brilliant SHINING GIRLS (which would have been my choice for last year's Hugo, but, alas, it missed the ballot by a handful of votes). I found it an engrossing read all the same, and I will be looking forward to whatever Lauren Beukes does next. She's a major major talent.

I also read and enjoyed the new Naomi Novik, UPROOTED. Novik is best known for her popular series of Napoleonic Era dragon books, so this high fantasy is somewhat a departure for her. The whole set-up has a 'fairy tale' feel to it, but draws its inspiration from Russian folklore rather than the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen strains more familiar to modern readers. I thought Novik did a nice job of ringing changes on the old fairy tale tropes, and I liked her characters. But the story rushed by a bit too fast for my taste; I would have liked a longer book, where the characters might have had a bit more room to breathe. And I was seriously disappointed by the ending, wherein several important revelations came out of nowhere.

Next up? Not sure. CITY OF STAIRS and ANCILLARY SWORD and SKIN GAME are all on the stack besides my bed, along with an ARC of the new Ernie Cline novel (yay!). But the new Stephen King has just turned up as well, so...

Comments

( 70 comments )
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RaUL_AMDERLAINE
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:06 am (UTC)
What are you watching on TV, besides Game of Thrones?
grrm
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:10 am (UTC)
Doing a lot of binge watching. Just finished OUTLANDER. Just starting the second season of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Looking forward eagerly to the return of TRUE DETECTIVE... though they will have a hell of a time equalling season one.
(no subject) - milkforfree - Jun. 8th, 2015 12:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - redfield79 - Jun. 8th, 2015 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - insurrbution - Jun. 8th, 2015 02:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gman109 - Jun. 8th, 2015 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - OberynMattell - Jun. 9th, 2015 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
athelas6
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:14 am (UTC)
What You're Reading
Again, excellent. You must be psychic along with all of your many other talents. I was wondering what you might be reading. They sound interesting.
I'll add the titles you mentioned to my list of books to get. My reading pile has become a small tower. So many good books, so little time. Speaking of which, it's time to watch last week's episode before this week's episode airs of a show that is truly dear to my heart on HBO. The books that it's based on are even dearer to me and reside in honor in a pile of their own. Thank you
Amy Bisson
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:18 am (UTC)
Reading
It's interesting that you would post about your current reading since I am rereading A Song of Ice and Fire (currently 200 pages into ADwD).
nickwhitfield
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:24 am (UTC)
Outlander is an amazing show. I binge watched the first half of season 1 before the second half. If it means anything to you, I do have a couple of shows I can suggest: Penny Dreadful and Silicon Valley. Penny Dreadful is like a fantasy, horror type show. Eva Green stars in it and she's incredible. Silicon Valley is a comedy, it comes on right after Game of Thrones so you've probably heard of that one :)
RaUL_AMDERLAINE
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:30 am (UTC)
If you haven't done it yet, you have to watch Band of Brothers. Best thing on HBO ever... I mean, best thing on HBO until GoT came along :-)
OberynMattell
Jun. 9th, 2015 05:38 pm (UTC)
Actually just finally got around to watching this recently and totally agree with you, it is very good. Going to check out The Pacific soon also.
angelos_l
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:33 am (UTC)
Besides your books, J. R. R. Tolkien's books and Frank Herbert's Dune I haven't read any other fantasy/sci-fi works which I would consider great. Any recommendations?
grrm
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:54 am (UTC)
You couldn't go far long looking up the list of past Hugo Award winners, and reading those.

Tastes vary, of course. Myself, I'd recommend the early and middle Keinlein (NOT late Heinlein), anything by Jack Vance, anything by Roger Zelansy, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by LeGuin, NOVA by Delany, THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester.

Just a start...
(no subject) - angelos_l - Jun. 8th, 2015 01:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gonzo21 - Jun. 8th, 2015 02:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angelos_l - Jun. 8th, 2015 09:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Vance - Stephenspower - Jun. 8th, 2015 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Vance - angelos_l - Jun. 8th, 2015 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deep_name - Jun. 8th, 2015 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pulvatory - Jun. 8th, 2015 08:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - MarinaLovesChem - Jun. 8th, 2015 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Vance - seanoz - Jun. 8th, 2015 09:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Vance - grrm - Jun. 8th, 2015 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seanoz - Jun. 14th, 2015 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bowmanrobertjay - Jun. 9th, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gemeos2 - Jun. 8th, 2015 04:46 am (UTC) - Expand
markokloos
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:38 am (UTC)
I'll be at Worldcon. 47North shelled out for the travel in the wake of the Hugo nomination. They completely supported my decision to withdraw and graciously kept all the arrangements in place so I can go and party anyway. I'd love to meet you.

And thank you for the kind words on LINES OF DEPARTURE. I don't disagree with your assessment in any way. I think LINES turned out pretty well, but it's only my sophomore effort, and it's not in the same class as TBP, so I am delighted that Liu Cixin made the ballot in my stead, and I intend to beat Ken and Cixin Liu to the bar tab when we meet up in Spokane.
gonzo21
Jun. 8th, 2015 02:42 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it too, solid piece of military SF. Way better than most military SF I've read lately.

(I got a copy from Amazon after I read about your decision with regards the Hugo. Seemed the best way of showing my approval.)
(no subject) - gman109 - Jun. 9th, 2015 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gman109 - Jun. 9th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
xlade
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:39 am (UTC)
Interesting. Read the first in the Departure books. Mainly had issues with the pacing. Didn't get far into the second for the same reason. Might have to try it again. So many books, too little time!
ltrudel55
Jun. 8th, 2015 12:53 am (UTC)
Do you still watch doctor who?
black_queen
Jun. 8th, 2015 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you for the hint about the Goblin Emperor. I've got the book and really enjoyed reading it.
msconduct
Jun. 8th, 2015 01:32 am (UTC)
I just came across your elderly book recommendations page the other day and am currently reading the Lynn Flewelling trilogy you recommended. I'm enjoying it, so thanks.

Edited at 2015-06-08 02:07 am (UTC)
scarybaldguy
Jun. 8th, 2015 01:38 am (UTC)
I read all the time. Usually a chapter or two right before I go to sleep... but sometimes a novel takes hold of me, and I wind up gulping down the whole thing in a night. A long, sleepless night.

Not that any of your fans have any idea at all about that, hm? (says the guy who read every mainline ASOIAF novel in 10 days...)
burger_eater
Jun. 8th, 2015 01:41 am (UTC)
I recommend CITY OF STAIRS. It's terrific.
redfield79
Jun. 8th, 2015 01:47 am (UTC)

You should make a goodreads account! I'd love to follow your shelves. I'm actually reading A Clash of Kings. It was so hard to get through Theon chapter...I hate that I watched the show first. I stopped watching until I catch up on the books. They're amazing...but I'm sure you know that. If I come up on a Jon or Arya chapter I get so excited. My favorite two characters! Thank you!!!



Edited at 2015-06-08 01:52 am (UTC)
s_a_m
Jun. 8th, 2015 02:12 am (UTC)
reading william lane craig
just saw article in washington post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/07/think-religion-is-dead-just-look-at-game-of-thrones/) and the bit from old interview on problem of evil made me wonder - ever read craig's analysis? http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-problem-of-evil
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