Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


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...


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.
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.)
Jun. 9th, 2015 10:06 pm (UTC)
I picked up LOD last night as I said, and read it in one sitting. I really liked it. As GRRM said, I found the sequence with mom/earth/Boston/train/etc particularly well done. Extremely well written in fact. As much as I enjoyed the battle/tech stuff, revolving around a "future combat controller" (I worked with several of these guys myself in the past), I still think the parent/son relationship was one of the strongest parts of the book.

Keep up the great writing. You keep writing, I'll keep buying, and telling others.
Jun. 9th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
Also, I appreciate the stand you took regarding the puppy/Hugo thing. While I understand a few of the complaints "some" of the puppies had, I 100% disagree with the way they went about it, and it made me pretty angry, as it completely destroyed any legitimate issue others with some integrity could have argued on the issue. Infuriated in fact.

I think you probably gained more readers, and certainly fans, when you took the stand that you did against such nonsense.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

Latest Month

April 2018


Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner