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What Else Are You Reading? > What Else Are You Reading - July 2017

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message 1: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5099 comments Mod
July is here. That other books are you enjoying this month?


message 2: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 871 comments A Fire Upon the Deep - because I am always late when it comes to S&L pick.

And for my fanclub reread discussion.....A Game of Thrones: The 20th Anniversary Illustrated Edition The book is gorgeous! But it is so heavy, I don't think I can bring this everywhere.


message 3: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) Right now I'm reading:
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson - should finish Monday
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge - should be done in the next week or two
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian - should be done in the next week or two, including all the "extras" at the end
Rama II by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee - I'm picking away at this one slowly, no end in sight
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin - also taking it easy, since #6 is not yet scheduled for publication

When I finish the first three above I'm going to throw in a few more for various bookclub group reads, including:
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - I actually already started this and am enjoying it
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - my first Vonnegut
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer - my first VanderMeer
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? also known as Blade Runner by Philip K. Dick - I read this 25 years ago and it was my first PKD book at the time, looking forward to a re-read especially with the movie sequel coming out soon
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Oh well, who needs sleep anyway?


message 4: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4603 comments Currently reading Ubik, soon to be followed by story collection Upgraded, and that will satisfy the U part of my annual alphabet challenge.


message 5: by Louie (new)

Louie (RMutt1914) | 656 comments Randy wrote: "Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - my first Vonnegut"

If after that you are looking for a second or third Vonnegut, I would recommend, Hocus Pocus or Bluebeard, my first and favorite, respectively.


message 6: by Randy (last edited Jul 02, 2017 08:01AM) (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) Louie wrote: "Randy wrote: "Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - my first Vonnegut"

If after that you are looking for a second or third Vonnegut, I would recommend, Hocus Pocus or Bluebeard, my first and favorite, respectively."


Thank you! I will keep your recommendations in mind. I was thinking about Galápagos for my 2nd Vonnegut.


message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Richter (StephenofLongBeach) | 857 comments After finishing The Boy on the Bridge and having watched the film "Girl with All the Gifts" via Amazon Prime and found the film wanting, I have gone back to re-listen to The Girl with All the Gifts to see where the film went wrong, Plus restarting the Accursed Kings series with the fifth book The She-Wolf. It is a tale set during the 100 Years War from the French point of View.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred.... George R.R. Martin points to this series as one of his influences for the Ice and Fire tale.


message 8: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1842 comments Finished Swords Against Darkness, which really was a first-rate anthology, and am revisiting my childhood with D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.


message 9: by Kristina (new)

Kristina | 587 comments Finally getting around to starting Sins of Empire... making a mid year resolution to catch up on my christmas gift card pre-order purchases that have all shown up on the kindle in the last couple months.


message 10: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 871 comments Stephen wrote: "After finishing The Boy on the Bridge and having watched the film "Girl with All the Gifts" via Amazon Prime and found the film wanting, I have gone back to re-listen to [book:The G..."

I read the first Accursed King book, liked it but not really loving it. Ended up dropping the series. Interesting that the fifth book, The She-Wolf, is also the working title of the fourth Dunk and Egg novels: The She-Wolves of Winterfell.


message 11: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1842 comments Finished D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths (it's not really all that long, by word count) and started Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair (which is really all that long by word count, and which I last read sometime around 1994).


message 12: by Shad (new)

Shad (splante) | 279 comments Finished Stories of Your Life and Others. One thing I really like about short stories as opposed to novels is that the author can really focus on an idea and play with it. You can do that in a novel, but you can't focus it on an idea like a story. I might have to check out more short fiction.

After stalling on Deadhouse Gates about half way through, I've been making really good progress lately. Hopefully I'll get it finished up soon.


message 13: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (GeoffGreer) | 328 comments Shad wrote: "Finished Stories of Your Life and Others. One thing I really like about short stories as opposed to novels is that the author can really focus on an idea and play with it. You can do ..."

Maybe try out The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu for more short stories.


message 14: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) I finished Aurora and gave it 3 stars. Here's my review if you're interested: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 16: by Gary (new)

Gary Gillen | 32 comments I am currently reading Bane and Shadow (Book #2 of Empire of Storms) by Jon Skovron. He calls it a kung-fu, pirate, gangster fantasy adventure. I agree and recommend it. I plan to read Old Man's War by John Scalzi (Book #1 of Old Man’s War) and then start The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer #2) by Brent Weeks.


message 17: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4603 comments Buzz wrote: "I am finishing the entire Hammer's Slammers series by David Drake that I began in the 2nd half of June:

The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume 1

[book:The Complete Hamm..."


I really enjoyed the HS stories. MilSF that isn't all "BFG yeah!"


message 18: by Callum (new)

Callum Orr | 46 comments I just finished Cold Welcome which I really enjoyed. Didn't really feel like Sci Fi though, was more like slightly futuristic survival drama. Haha. As if lost was done on another planet rather than an island. But the characters and politics that went on in the background were great and kept me hooked.
I'm now half way through we are legion. As u saw a number of great reviews and it sounded very Scalzi like, so I had to give it a go. I was a little worried it would not gave the excitement I wanted for a nice Sci Fi romp. But in the same way Scalzi and Becky chambers can hook you with great characters and drama it's done it. I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2267 comments Since the July pick is Le Guin, I can say that I sat down to try The Hum and the Shiver last night, thinking maybe it wouldn't be for me, and by the time the fireworks finished and my dogs stopped freaking out, I had finished it!


message 20: by Clyde (new)

Clyde (wishamc) | 297 comments Trike wrote: " ... I really enjoyed the HS stories. MilSF that isn't all "BFG yeah!""

Heh. BFG? That would be Big Frackin' Guitar, right?


message 21: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2489 comments Read Red, White, and Maggie: A Maggie MacKay Holiday Special by Kate Danley. Maggie's a "magical tracker" who finds mystical objects and winds up staking vampires on the regular. Think of her as a much less serious Buffy with a penchant for weaponry. In this particular holiday short, she's dealing with a supernatural piper determined to reenact early American Revolution scenes. It's a hilarious sendup of a 4th of July picnic.


message 22: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4603 comments Clyde wrote: "Trike wrote: " ... I really enjoyed the HS stories. MilSF that isn't all "BFG yeah!""

Heh. BFG? That would be Big Frackin' Guitar, right?"


Yes. Yes it is.

https://youtu.be/iYrKYETorM8


message 23: by Clyde (new)

Clyde (wishamc) | 297 comments Trike wrote: "Clyde wrote: "Trike wrote: " ... I really enjoyed the HS stories. MilSF that isn't all "BFG yeah!""

Heh. BFG? That would be Big Frackin' Guitar, right?"

Yes. Yes it is.

https://youtu.be/iYrKYETorM8"


LOL!


message 24: by Walter (new)

Walter Spence (WalterSpence) | 707 comments Just finished Neverwhere. Now reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

What can I say? It's a Gaiman month.


message 25: by Albert (new)

Albert Dunberg | 23 comments Geoff wrote: "Maybe try out The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu for more short stories."

I can also recommend checking out the Hugo nominees for some interesting short stories. They are often available for free.


message 26: by Louie (new)

Louie (RMutt1914) | 656 comments Shad wrote: "I might have to check out more short fiction."

For more short stories, I would recommend these collections-
The Hugo Winners Vol 1 and 2 1955-1972 edited by Isaac Asimov
Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison
The Complete Stories, Vol 1 by Isaac Asimov
The Philip K. Dick Reader by Philip K. Dick


message 27: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5099 comments Mod
I recently finished:

The Legion of Flame - ★★★★☆ - (My Review)

and

The Left Hand of Darkness - ★★☆☆☆ - (My Review)


message 28: by David (new)

David H. (farrakut) | 709 comments Rob, have you read The Dispossessed yet? I found that much more interesting than The Left Hand of Darkness, and that's set in the same universe (barely).


message 29: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5099 comments Mod
Nope. Just A Wizard of Earthsea


message 30: by David (new)

David H. (farrakut) | 709 comments I remember liking the Earthsea stuff, though it's been awhile. I've been trying to read all of the "Hainish Cycle" stories, but man, they're barely connected with each other--it's a very very loose "series."

I've been wanting to read some more of her short stories, though, I've liked the ones I've read of hers. There's a great time travel one called "Another Story or A Fisherman of the Inland Sea"--it's been recently collected in the VanderMeers' "The Time Traveler's Almanac" and Le Guin's own "The Found and the Lost." (Not just a rec for Rob!)


message 31: by Fried (new)

Fried Potato | 13 comments I read the Hainish Cycle last year and most of them where "meh" for me, but The Dispossessed is a solid 4 stars.


message 32: by Jessica (last edited Jul 11, 2017 12:34PM) (new)

Jessica (J-Boo) | 172 comments I recently finished Gilded Cage, which was "meh". It's YA dystopian fantasy that was okay but not great, my biggest issue being that the worldbuilding contained a lot of things that I just wasn't buying.

I have since started The Book of Joan. I have mixed feelings on this one so far, but mostly positive.


message 33: by Rick (last edited Jul 11, 2017 05:08PM) (new)

Rick | 2099 comments Charlie Stross' new one, The Delirium Brief for 4 hours last night which mean from midnight to 4am. A return to form for the series IMO. You *have to* have read The Nightmare Stacks or it will make no sense though.

Neal Asher's new one Infinity Engine. This concludes his Transformation trilogy which I've liked a lot.

Mishell Baker's new one (there's a theme here...) Phantom Pains. As above, you need to read the first in the series or this will not make a lot of sense.

The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner. Seminal SF.


message 34: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 904 comments Rick wrote: "The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner. Seminal SF. "

I'm half way through Stand on Zanzibar right now.


message 35: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2099 comments Another excellent book


message 36: by Alan (new)

Alan Denham (AlanDenham) | 103 comments Brendan wrote: "I'm half way through Stand on Zanzibar right now."
I recently posted on Facebook pointing out some similarities between the 'mucker' phenomenon and current low-tech (e.g. lorry-through-a-crowded-street-market) terrorism, but got no responses.
Apart from the religious camouflage, there seem to me to be some similarities in psychology. Am I way off-track here?


message 37: by Colin (new)

Colin Forbes (colinforbes) | 249 comments Rick wrote: "Charlie Stross' new one, The Delirium Brief for 4 hours last night which mean from midnight to 4am. A return to form for the series IMO. You *have to* have read The Nightmare Stacks or it will make no sense though."

Have just started on The Nightmare Stacks. I'm a big fan of most Stross books but may have been putting this off slightly, having been a bit underwhelmed by the previous volume where Mo was the main protagonist. I probably won't catch up on the latest volume until the paperback release and concurrent Kindle price drop ...


message 38: by Rick (last edited Jul 12, 2017 11:31AM) (new)

Rick | 2099 comments Colin wrote: "Have just started on The Nightmare Stacks. ..."

I finished that the other week. I was underwhelmed with it a bit and would 3 star it, maybe 2.5 star. It's fine, but there's, for me, a little too much dumping of information about military stuff, etc.

HOWEVER... The Delirium Brief is a return to form for the series and is in Fuller Memorandum territory and, for me, a 4.5-5 star effort. I finished it last night... or more correctly at 3am (again). I will say this - do NOT skip to the end to see how things play out - it works best if you read through it in order so that you can get the full impact of the ending.


message 39: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4603 comments I finished The Blade Itself, which is not bad for a 517-page first chapter.


message 40: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2108 comments Trike wrote: "I finished The Blade Itself, which is not bad for a 517-page first chapter."

That's the most apt description of this book that I've ever seen. A+


message 41: by Keith (new)

Keith (KeithATC) | 432 comments I'm on a one-book sword or laser break and am reading Richard Halliburton's The Royal Road to Romance: Travelers' Tales Classics, also known as "college kids were a lot different back then and more likely to whip out a lute."

I also finished Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, best known for The Little Prince. It's a chronicle of some of his time as an aviator, and it mostly makes me wonder what ever happened to the "poet-adventurer." We used to have so many good ones.

The Royal Road to Romance Travelers' Tales Classics by Richard Halliburton Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


message 42: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 578 comments Finished the first Wild Cards book. I really enjoyed it as a history nerd and comic book nerd. Review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Starting Station Breaker


message 43: by Travis (last edited Jul 15, 2017 04:40AM) (new)

Travis Foster (travismfoster) | 111 comments Patricia McKillip's Riddle-Master trilogy, which is fantastic, simultaneously full of epic action and dreaminess.

Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring and Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness, both of which kept me up late at night in order to read through the last 100 pages.

Not exactly fantasy or sci-fi, Marlon James's The Book of Night Women. It's historical fiction about slavery in the Carribean: the grimmest of the grim dark, a coming of age story, Obeah and Myal religious practices that feel somewhat like the magic system in a fantasy novel. An unbelievably powerful book.

The audiobook for Naomi Novik's Uprooted. Enjoying it so far and looking forward to going back into the S&L discussion history from when it was a monthly pick.


message 44: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2489 comments I recently read two works that owed a debt to Heinlein's Revolt in 2100. I'll separate into two posts.

First up is the "Bobiverse." That's currently two books starting with We Are Legion (We Are Bob), intended for four. I read the two available. Rob's review referenced "corpsicle" which I recognized as a Niven term referencing people cryogenically frozen and awoken in the future with no rights. And Dennis Taylor has run with that concept long and well.

The second thing you'll notice about the "Bobiverse" books is that they are hilarious. There are regular references to SF and gaming. Taylor specifically namechecks Niven's Protectors and the location Mount Lookitthat. Characters are named for Star Trek, Star Wars, comics and gaming figures. The books are well worth a read.

The reason I put the second thing up front is to note why I continued after encountering the first. The book starts as a thorough bashing of today's conservatives, as if we had any interest in taking over the US government as a dictatorial group, or that even among us the idea of a Christian theocracy would hold sway among any more than the smallest minority.

I almost put the book down at that point. I'm glad I didn't, because it went on to be very much worth reading. However, conservatives do get tired of being described as the devil incarnate in today's SF, and it affects what we will buy and read. More's the pity as I can recall a time when SF was a true forum for ideas, with Heinlein winning a Hugo for Moon is a Harsh Mistress one year and the much more left leaning Left Hand of Darkness (our current month's read) winning just a few years later.

Anyhoo, Taylor is by no means the most ridiculous on this topic. That honor has to be with Titan by Stephen Baxter, where the mere election of a Republican President leads to the extinction of all life on Earth. Well! I mean of course it would, right? :)

I eventually decided that the theocratic takeover was a reference to Revolt in 2100, which it much resembles. As to the author deciding that would be an actual possibility, massive rolleye.

Now on to the third thing you'll notice about this series. It references rigorous, well constructed books but is not itself one of them. Niven calculates the spectra that a Bussard Ramjet would emit, and includes it in his work. Taylor handwaves (and acknowledges the handwaving) and simply has the ships use some kind of sublight drive that doesn't require much in the way of fuel.

Modest spoilers below so protected...
(view spoiler)

Anyhoo, I thoroughly enjoyed these two books despite speedbumps along the way. I'll be buying the third when it comes out in a month. Don't expect hard science rigor or even well-argued sociology. Just enjoy the fun ride.


message 45: by John (Taloni) (last edited Jul 15, 2017 12:43PM) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2489 comments The second book to reference Revolt in 2100 is Orson Scott Card's Empire. This is about a civil war between Left and Right in the US. It seems plainly and obviously based on a "what if" for how the theocracy in Revolt in 2100 is arrived at.

A friend recommended the book and the library had it, so off I went to download. (I paid for the Bobiverse books even thought I could have read on KDP. Must support our Indie authors.)

After a while I realized it wasn't SF at all, but more like a Clancy style thriller. Thing is, I'll forgive some hack writing in a good genre book, but if it's off genre then the book had better be spectacular. And this book ain't spectacular. It might rise to the level of "decent potboiler" for a non SFF reader, but how many of those would be picking it up due to author name?

The characters are so hackneyed as to be laughable, and coincidence places them in the action too many times.

Perhaps the best part is when a general tells one of the MCs that they are planning a military coup in order to restore the Constitution and would also install a review board for all media. The MC, a military man himself, decides he'd rather live with our current situation, warts and all, than achieve the goals he believes in by the wrong method.

Anyhoo, the book doesn't completely suck. It's decent insomnia fodder and the second book is also available at the library. I'll likely finish up this two book series. But, it doesn't even live up to the later books in the initial Ender series, where it was like "Aliens...aliens...Descolada...descolada everywhere...more descolada...*gives up on series*".


message 46: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 497 comments I just finished The Blade Itself ★★★☆☆ wanting to see what the fuss was about. Not sure about GrimDark! This read as a straight forward epic fantasy with a cast of characters that is a little more diverse and grimy than usual. I did not find it to be very edgy at all. Reads like a better written Shannara book.

Now top read The Dry (thriller not SF)




message 47: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5099 comments Mod
John (Taloni) wrote: "Anyhoo, I thoroughly enjoyed these two books despite speedbumps along the way. I'll be buying the third when it comes out in a month. Don't expect hard science rigor or even well-argued sociology. Just enjoy the fun ride. ."

I'm glad you enjoyed them despite the speedbumps. I definitely found them to be fun/light reads. I don't read a lot of hard sci-fi so I didn't care too much with the backstory he used to set up the universe, or that he didn't get into any theories of how things would work beyond "really good 3d printers".


message 48: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2489 comments ^Definitely worth it! Humor is hard to do in SF and Taylor gets it right. I chortled through many passages.


message 49: by Soo (new)

Soo (Silverlyn) | 72 comments I wasn't sure if I would enjoy reading a serialized series because I'm leery of how the writing styles of several authors will mesh together but I'm happy to find out that I really liked Bookburners: Season One Volume One! I got my hands on season one that was split in two parts. Reviewed the first half of S1 and need to write up my review for the last half. It was really well done. Each author has a particular style that added to the overall story. Fun UF with a variety of engaging characters, different slant on magic, deviant demons, nightmare monsters and alternate dimensions.

Read the first five books in Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka. It has an interesting main character & magic system. The books are episodic in that each focuses on a certain event. I'm holding off on reading the rest until winter because I hear there may be some cliffhangers.

Got into Sandman Slim, enjoyed the first book and really loved the second, Kill the Dead. I'm enjoying the pop culture references, snarky attitude, shadow thefts and blurring the lines of good/evil & light/dark. Kadrey does a nice job of using the details he implants and deflecting attention while dropping a clue.

Listened to The Fold and found that I didn't have as much fun with that story as I did with 14. Clines did a great job of using subtle details but the science was snoresville and the action was a baffled mix of chopped up images. Main character was cool but the whole thing felt more like a setup for another book in the world. Hopefully, there will be one and it'll focus on the team in LA.

Meanwhile, I'm hacking at House of Leaves in chunks. I flip flop between admiring the writing and despising the overkill in redundant information bashing.


message 50: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 497 comments Dara wrote: "Trike wrote: "I finished The Blade Itself, which is not bad for a 517-page first chapter."

That's the most apt description of this book that I've ever seen. A+"

I concur. A serious case of bloviating


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