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Topic: Currently Reading February

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Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Subject: Currently Reading February
Date Posted: 2/2/2009 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Hey, it's a new month!  I just finished my first book for February, Shockball by S.L. Viehl.  It's the fourth in the Stardoc series, which I am still enjoying.  I read almost 300 pages of it yesterday alone, which is incredibly fast for me.

Subject: new month
Date Posted: 2/2/2009 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I've been reading a lot outside of the sf genre lately, but I will make sure there is at least one sf in my list before I post.  I figure everyone knows how to skip over what they aren't interested in.  So here's my latest reads...

THE FOREIGNER, by Larry Shue, 1985

This is a hilarious play, that I know well. I was reading Charlie's lines out loud to dw. It probably helped to remember the god-awful exaggerated accents the actors had used. faw-werk. Lay-ump. Blasny, blasny.

THE JOKE, by Milan Kundera, 1967

This is an excellent book; probably Kundera's best.   The basic premise involves a seemingly harmless prank; one college student sends an obviously tongue-in-cheek political note to make fun of a gullible classmate. Unfortunately, this is during the initial days of the Communist era in Czechoslovakia, and he is brought up before a Party council that either cannot or will not see humor in it. This incident totally reshapes the lives of all involved, over the years that follow. Kundera makes blatant parallels between overzealous religiosity and the form of Communism in that place and time. But beyond that, the novel is about how context defines the meaning of human love, among other things.  As explained in the Author's Note at the end, the "Definitive Edition" is the fifth translation (1992) from the original Czech to English, and the only translation directed page-by-page by the author himself.

MISSION OF GRAVITY, by Hal Clement, 1954.   (my new sf writer of 2009 #1)

Somehow, I have come through 40 solid years of reading science fiction without reading any novel by Hal Clement before this. Just to give everyone some idea how much of a nerd I am, I read the author's afterward, "Whirligig World," BEFORE reading the novel.  While the science he uses is definitely 1950s vintage, it is his engineering-like approach to world-building that I appreciated most. He really has considered many aspects of astronomy, planetary mechanics, and chemistry in making Mesklin a believable while highly unusual planet - even if his ideas of biology and environmental systems are naive. As for the plot, I found intelligent heavy-gravity centipede Barlennan's cunning wiles to be fun, as he negotiated his way out of various troubles along the way. I'm afraid, though, that the end became completely predictable once I understood what was happening. Still, I enjoyed reading this "new" author.

-Tom Hl.

 



Last Edited on: 2/2/09 8:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 4:29 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,797
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i stayed up until 3am last night - it was 2:30 before i noticed and i was nearly finished - and read Ender in Exile (Ender) by Orson Scott Card.  worth reading, as it ties up loose ends from the Peter/Bean books, and gives a look at the in between parts of Ender's life.  to me, it did seem a little simplistic compared to other books in this universe, but that could just be because it's been a while since i read one.

while i think that's the only sci-fi on my mini-TBR pile for this month, i do have the fantasy Goblin trilogy by Jim C. Hines in that pile and i'm looking forward to trying it.  :)  i bumped into the second one of those at my UBS a while ago, then found the third one there a week or two later, and eventually got through the WL and got the first one here.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Ellen, those Goblin books are on my list to get for my DAW collection, so I'd be interested in how they are. 



Last Edited on: 2/3/09 7:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Feb reading
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Finished The Tomb (F Paul Wilson) and MY first new author for 2009, Netherwood (Michele Lang).  The Tomb was very good and I'm looking forward to LegaciesNetherwood was ...... well....... let's just say it was NOT my flavor of SF.  This is one of those SHOMI books - a subgenre of SF (action romance, or futuristic romance) where it's more about the girl getting the guy in outerspace.  (Harlequin in space??).

To get the bad taste out of my mouth I picked up something more serious, Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman (excellent and highly recommended) and Yarn Harlot by SP McPhee (lots of chuckles that only a knitter would understand).  Both non-SF though........... have to rectify that........... 

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2009
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I'm reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  I'm only a hundred pages in, but I've already decided that it's Chaucer in Space.  The Canterbury Tales, anyway.

Date Posted: 2/6/2009 4:42 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
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Matt, i read Goblin Quest (Jig the Goblin, Bk 1) by Jim C. Hines tonight, and i thought it was very funny.  definitely enjoyable, possibly a keeper depending on how the rest of the series goes.  if not keeper, i'll probably at least have to have DH and my mom give them a try before passing them on. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/6/2009 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Good to know, though I have to admit Jim Hines is pretty low on my priority list at the moment.

Edit - I finished Softwareby Rudy Rucker...pretty good.  I have Wetware as well, which I'll be reading soon.



Last Edited on: 2/7/09 6:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2009 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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Ellen, I think I'll try out Goblin Quest. We tend to like the same stuff and it sounds pretty good.

I haven't been reading much science fiction lately. I read Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair, and really liked it. So far I've loved everything I've read by her. And I''ve got more in my TBR.

I also read Something from the Nightside by Simon Green which is an urban fantasy. I liked it, it was a short read but action-packed. My first read by the author and I liked his style. I think I'll try his Deathstalker series at some point (as if my TBR isn't huge enough). I also just finished Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn, another urban fantasy series I've been following. It was entertaining, not my favorite but enough to make me look forward to the next book, which is out next month I believe.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2009 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I just finished A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess...I've been meaning to read it for a few years and finally got around to it.  I guess it's not traditional science fiction, but it seems like it fits in at least as speculative fiction in the vein of 1984 and books of that nature.



Last Edited on: 2/9/09 10:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/11/2009 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2008
Posts: 174
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I tried to read Splinter by Adam Roberts the other night.
Read 10 pages.
Skipped ahead.
Read a paragraph.
Skipped ahead.
Read a paragraph.
Skipped ahead.
Read last line.
Posted on PBS.

Someone in Washington just got lucky with a brand new book :-)

I've since started Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland. Don't want to put it down at all!

Subject: Adam Roberts
Date Posted: 2/12/2009 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Someone in Washington just got lucky with a brand new book :-)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yay!  That was me!  Roberts is periodically on Torque Control and I've found his writing unique.  (But probably not for everyone.) I've only read two of his books - Gradisil and On.  Haven't heard much about Splinter, I guess they can't all be gems.................  

I'm currently reading Debatable Space by Philip Palmer and enjoying it very much.  I'm pretty sure this is a new writer for me, BUT he might have written short stories for the mags.  The online index is down on Analog and Asimov's so I can't check.  Anyways, I'm counting Palmer as my second new SF writer for the year.

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2008
Posts: 174
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I swear we have the same bookshelves, Alison :-)

I have Gradisil on my TBR pile - I won't give up on a author after 1 book! And I also have the Palmer book on the TBR pile!

Hope you enjoy Splinter. Post when you're done with it, and I'll try to remember why I passed on it ...

Date Posted: 2/15/2009 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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Just finished Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. I really liked it. Unfortunatly I don't have the next one in my TBR, otherwise I'd get started on it right away.

Subject: THE SKY ROAD, by Ken MacLeod, 1999
Date Posted: 2/15/2009 11:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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This book won the British Science Fiction Writer's best novel of the year award when it first came out.  But first, a warning: Ken Macleod's Fall Revolution books are not set sequentially, but still should be read in the order written (The Star Fraction, The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division, The Sky Road).  The Sky Road follows two story lines, one of which occurs within the time of The Stone Canal, but where one major character makes a critical different choice regarding nuclear weaponry. The other story line is centuries later, in the alternate future that decision leads to. Even so, you need to read the prior books to understand the backstory of this one.

That said, while the action of this novel is fast-paced and engaging, the bewildering array of political systems and humanity-transforming events I've come to expect from MacLeod are contained within the framework of an already established (although alternate) future history. In fact, suprisingly, the more future story line focuses on a powerful and elegant love story. Say what? Well, even if Merrial is not who she at first appears to be, she and Clovis start a relationship that may transcend her deceptions. That uncertainty of whether his feelings for her will survive, and the reader's gradual discovery of how the two story lines relate to one another, drive the novel to a satisfying conclusion.

I really enjoyed this book.

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 2/16/09 7:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: Debatable Space
Date Posted: 2/16/2009 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Hmm, finally finished Debatable Space.  Started out great, then gets wonky toward the end.  Lots of imaginative ideas though.  My favorite line was mid-book, a character lamenting the destruction of their space ship and possessions:

    "Our archives, your guitars, my collection of collectible animated superhero bendy toys!"

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2008
Posts: 174
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Just finished Haldeman's A Separate War & Other Stories.

Good. Very Good.

While reading 2 of the stories, my brain was telling me, "This is his Chameleon universe. It has to be." Then I read the author notes at the end of the book and found out that's where the book came from.

The title story of the collection tells of Marygay Potter - kind of a bridge between Forever War and Forever Peace. Excellent.

Heartwired made me laugh out loud.

Excellent book.

Don't know if I'm going to release this one. I'll have to think about it :-)

** Edited because I can never spell 'separate' correctly! Gah!



Last Edited on: 2/17/09 9:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: February Reading
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 624
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Just finished Asimov's *The Naked Sun* and started his *Robots of Dawn*, I had hoped to have *Robots and Empire* in before I finished this one, but it doesn't look that way. Also read Raymond E. Feist's *Exile's Return* earlier this month. Probably going back to Hannibal Lector after *Robots of Dawn* though, I have 2 left in that series. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Karen, I read that collection soon after it came out and I loved it.  A library copy, unfortunately. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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So far this year, my favorite new author is S.L. Viehl with her Stardoc series.  I finished the fourth one at the beginning of the month, and I've been waiting for #5 to come in the mail all that time.  Unless it shows up tomorrow it's going to be officially lost.  There aren't any copies in the system, either, so I'm pretty disappointed.  But today I got her book Blade Dancer in the mail and started reading it.  It's separate from the Stardoc series, but it's set in the same universe and some of the same events are mentioned.  I'm about 50 pages in already, and it's great!   

Subject: Glory Road
Date Posted: 2/22/2009 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 3
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I just came back to Glory Road by R.A. Heinlein.  Somehow the opening rings very true, because Heinlein fenced and served in the Navy.  All the same, books are taking over my apartment, so I had to post it on my bookshelf.

I think Zeb Carter from Number of the Beast is the protagonist of Glory Road in disguise.  An ex Soldier who fences, who tries to avoid trouble and calls himself a coward, but always comes through in the crunch.  After the ups and downs of his early career he meets a beautiful woman from another world, who needs a soldier - and has phrased her want ad just for him.

Date Posted: 2/23/2009 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 149
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I just finished Ender's Game and I LOVED IT.  Excellent book. 

I am refraining from beginning anything else because I am backed up with grad work.  It's hard.  I go to the book store and get them off the shelf, walk around a little and put them back lol. 

Anyway great book wish I read it sooner.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/23/2009 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I just finished Blade Dancer by S.L. Viehl...I think I was going through Viehl withdrawal not being able to get my hands on the 5th Stardoc book, but this one is set in the same universe, and I loved it. 

Date Posted: 2/24/2009 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 624
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I'm reading about 1000 books right now.Okay, 3:

The Lost Tomb- David Gibbins

The Children's Hospital- Chris Adrian (Gave it to my SO)

Orphans of Space- Heinlein (my first!)

Frankenstein- Mary Shelly



Last Edited on: 2/28/09 9:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: books read
Date Posted: 2/25/2009 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Did the vacation thing last week and got 3 books read, a couple of mysteries and Computerworld by A. E. van Vogt.  Computerworld was VERY different for me, about an AI becoming sentient.  The first half of the book was very tedious and dated - I would read about 3 pages then nod off.  But story picked up halfway thru, good thing the book was only 200 pages.  I sent it off to Matt for his DAW collection.  And Matt, feel free to trade it if you already have this book.

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