Junior member of a royal house suddenly gets handed command of an elderly battleship with almost no support staff to show him the ropes. I did like thJunior member of a royal house suddenly gets handed command of an elderly battleship with almost no support staff to show him the ropes. I did like the way the author keeps piling on crises ("No good deed goes unpunished," reflects Our Hero at one point...and that's actually the main theme here)--in effect, despite the high body count, this is a comedy. And, as pluses, the main character actually develops and in the ebook version there's a hefty chunk of the sequel appended. Nonetheless, I don't think I'll be reading on...not sure why unless it's just a feeling that the premise has been milked enough. B
Favorite line (from the Chief of Engineering, who is openly modeled on Star Trek's Scott): "What is it man? Can't you see I'm busy trying to pull a pair o' capital ships through the hells of hyperspace, with only my bare hands and a few oversized trunk lines?"...more
Devi continues her love affair with her suit of combat armor while (finally, after a few too many weird visions and unexplained incidents) finding outDevi continues her love affair with her suit of combat armor while (finally, after a few too many weird visions and unexplained incidents) finding out what the real mission of Glorious Fool is and how she figures in to saving the universe---or at least her local portion of it---from being destroyed. Everyone spends a little too much time having arguments or explaining things in the midst of hot action, but there is plenty of well described combat, things blowing up, etc, and the author picks a better point to end the episode than she did last time. solid B+, and I'll keep reading....more
Characters on a Star Trek type TV show figure out that they're fictional, and cleverly use the show's own (major) flaws to keep from being killed offCharacters on a Star Trek type TV show figure out that they're fictional, and cleverly use the show's own (major) flaws to keep from being killed off (mostly). This is metafiction that curls back into itself at the end and I though it was pretty funny, mostly. Where it lost a star for me was at the end; the author just couldn't let some of his characters go and so tacks on three long codas that seemed more like private noodling than anything that advanced the story, or was more than marginally relevant to it. B....more
A brilliant young inventor introduces the steam locomotive and railroad to Ankh-Morpork, and signs of revolutionary change ensue. The plot sort of spiA brilliant young inventor introduces the steam locomotive and railroad to Ankh-Morpork, and signs of revolutionary change ensue. The plot sort of spins its wheels in the early going, but picks up speed when the Low King of the Dwarves is threatened by a coup. Said King has more than one secret to reveal. Pratchett assembles nearly all of the old gang, but after a while Vetinari's con-man/expediter Moist Von Lipwig becomes the pov character and shines brightest. Necessary reading, as is everything that is actually by this author (my theory is that the execrable "Long Earth" series is a ringer).
Terryisms to cherish:
Once you had to deal with a ton of overheated octopus, you never forgot it; the smell lasted for days, and followed you around and almost into your bedroom.
Lord Vetinari continued fishing in his own stream of consciousness..."
"My father was a fat miner. My grandfather was a fat miner. And so was my grandmother; she was a very fat miner and I was a miner when I was a minor."
"We'll use Mister Lipwig for any negotiations. He's the kind of man who'd follow you into a revolving door and still come out in front."
...as straightforward as a sackful of kaleidoscopes.
...he felt absolutely fine and not just fine, either, but so full of beans that the world probably had no beans left.
Golem horse: "Sorry, sir. You wanted me to be a more horselike horse, so I am doing my best sir...neigh, whinny, whinny."
Re-read. Tiffany deals handily with a child beater and a serial killer in this capper, along with a disembodied but nonetheless powerful spirit of hatRe-read. Tiffany deals handily with a child beater and a serial killer in this capper, along with a disembodied but nonetheless powerful spirit of hatred (ostensibly of witches, but pretty clearly extendable to women in general). All that dark business doesn't dim the overall brightness of the series, or the worthiness of her witchly work. We also get cheese-rolling, a visit to Ankh-Morpork for encounters with Vimes and other Discworld fixtures, plus many wonderful thoughts and lines. A sampling:
His lack of trousers filled the world.
Letitia! What a name. Halfway between a salad and a sneeze. (later) And her father had been a Duke, her mother was a Duchess, and she was a duckling...
"Ye will bring tae mind, brother o' mine, that there was times when ye should stick your head up a duck's bottom rather talk?"
"...although they sometimes act dumb, policemen can't help being clever. They know that people need witches; they need the unofficial people who understand the difference between right and wrong, and when right is wrong and when wrong is right. The world needs the people who work around the edges."
Feegles: "we did invent the deep fried stoat." "It's what ye might call a taste explosion; ye take a mouthful, taste it, and then there is an explosion." "...they did assist in getting things going quickly by flapping the flames with their kilts. A sight, I may say, that once seen is never forgotten."
"The Cunning Man isn't a man, although he was once, and now he's not even a ghost. He is an idea. Unfortunately he is an idea whose time has come."
Besides, compassion was setting in, blast it!
Roland was staring at Tiffany, so nonplussed he was nearly minused.
People lived, and died, and were remembered. It happened the same way that winter follows summer. It was not a wrong thing. There were tears, of course, but they were for those who were left; those who had gone on did not need them.
Re-read. Tiffany impetuously joins a Dark Morris dance and finds herself pursued by the (not a, the) Winter elemental. Granny Weatherwax comes off asRe-read. Tiffany impetuously joins a Dark Morris dance and finds herself pursued by the (not a, the) Winter elemental. Granny Weatherwax comes off as a little too nice in this but there are still many, many great moments. And Horace the cheese.
"Like, when we come back from drinkin', stealin', an' fightin', Jeannie gives ye the Pursin' o' the Lips," Daft Wullie went on. A moan went up from all the Feegles: "Ooooh, save us from the Pursin' o' the Lips!" "An' there's the foldin' o' the Arms," said Wullie, because he was even scaring himself. "Ooooh, waily, waily, waily, the Foldin' o' the Arms!" the Feegles cried, tearing at their hair. "Not tae mention the Tappin' o' the Feets." "Aargh! Ooooh! No' the Tappin' o' the Feets!" Some of the Feegles started to bang their heads on trees...
"Look, just because a woman's got no teeth doesn't mean she's wise. It might just mean she's been stupid for a very long time."
"You don't get manners from heaven," said Granny....more
Re-read. Tiffany is taken over by a lost and frightened elemental that can't be killed, and finds out more about herself than she particularly likes.Re-read. Tiffany is taken over by a lost and frightened elemental that can't be killed, and finds out more about herself than she particularly likes. She also dances with bees. And any story in which Esme Weatherwax plays a significant role gets five stars from me. A bit more serious in tone than Wee Free Men.
"'Tis a heavy thing, tae be under a geas." "Well, they're big birds," said Daft Wullie.
"But what I say is you have to tell people a story they can understand."
"it's an unfair world, child. Be glad you have friends."
"It's all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything's got a story in it. Change the story, change the world."
"Its always surprising to be reminded that while you're watching and thinking about people, all knowing and superior, they're watching and thinking about you, right back at you"
Re-read. Still think he's the best writer, ever, and anyone who hasn't read this has a life changing experience in store.
Notable notes: Tiffany is theRe-read. Still think he's the best writer, ever, and anyone who hasn't read this has a life changing experience in store.
Notable notes: Tiffany is the seventh daughter (whether or not her mother is too is not mentioned)
"And it didn't stop being magic just because you found out how it was done."
"See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers."
"'Tis the First Sight and Second Thoughts ye have..."
"Yes! I'm me! I am careful and logical and I look up things I don't understand! When I hear people use the wrong words, I get edgy! I am good with cheese. I read books fast! I think! And I always have a piece of string!"...more
One of the best middle volumes i've read in a long time. A new sort of magic worker whose powers are much stronger than any other magician's appears iOne of the best middle volumes i've read in a long time. A new sort of magic worker whose powers are much stronger than any other magician's appears in the person of Johan---a teenager who suffered for years at the hands of his magician sibs but nonetheless has grown into a naive, slightly unstable but fundamentally decent human being. His often uncontrolled ability to overcome any magical attack or spell comes with weaknesses, but sets all of magic society into a tizzy. He does, however, fall in with a true friend in Elaine, the titular Bookworm, and together they survive some harrowing challenges. A solid "A" and I can't wait for the next episode....more
HH finds herself defending a system where women are regarded for religious reasons as chattel, a rival system is poised to take over with Havenite helHH finds herself defending a system where women are regarded for religious reasons as chattel, a rival system is poised to take over with Havenite help, and she is substantially outgunned. The religious and gender issues are treated in laughably simplistic ways, and there are many chapters that advance the plot not at all. Skip all that and read the action scenes, though, and it turns out to be pretty absorbing. As usual, the author has characters sighing so often (50 times by my count) there's real danger of hyperventilation. Call it a B....more
First HH. She is left with one light cruiser to guard an entire strategically important system, and aquits herself brilliantly as a Havenite scheme toFirst HH. She is left with one light cruiser to guard an entire strategically important system, and aquits herself brilliantly as a Havenite scheme to take control is scotched. The book has been criticized for having too much rumination and explication for too little action (a characteristic of Weber's writing that has gotten much worse over time and has rendered his last several books, to me, unreadable)----in this case, though, all that extra prose was nonessential to the main plot, easily skippable and tolerable because the action, when it did finally rev up, was thoroughly hot and heavy. Solid B.
Authorial tic: Honor or another character sighs, or suppresses a sigh, 42 times. ...more
Hundreds of pages of lectures, repetitive explication, full minutes of administrative meetings and characters thinking about sex---and, oh yeah, at odHundreds of pages of lectures, repetitive explication, full minutes of administrative meetings and characters thinking about sex---and, oh yeah, at odd intervals discovering evidence of aliens on Earth and Mars millions of years ago. In outline the plot is promising enough, but the actual author didn't bring anything to the table beyond a science background (which he wants to lay out in excruciating detail because of course his readers won't know any of that stuff) and a knack for banter which is thoroughly overplayed. Maybe he was being paid by the word....more
Experimental starship takes human crew to a sort of pocket universe that has been set up for inscrutable reasons to trap thousands of would-be starfarExperimental starship takes human crew to a sort of pocket universe that has been set up for inscrutable reasons to trap thousands of would-be starfaring races and have them socialize and, sometimes, fight duels. Part RINGWORLD, part STAR WARS, and the prose reminded me of early Frank Herbert---books like WHIPPING STAR and UNDER PRESSURE. Cast is stocked with characters who have alien forms but understandable motives and psychologies. Very good fight scenes, but a little too much interior mulling of romantic possibilities. So, solid B+ - A-...more