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Favourite S&L Books of 2017

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message 1: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3542 comments Mod
What were your favourite books of the 2017 Sword and Laser picks?


January: Laser- The Three-Body Problem
February: Sword- The Salt Roads
March: Laser- Gateway
April: Sword- The Invisible Library
May: Laser- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
June: Sword- The Hum and the Shiver
July: Laser- The Left Hand of Darkness
August: Sword- The Gunslinger
September: Laser- Helliconia Spring
October: Sword- The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
November: Laser- Doomsday Book
December: Sword- California Bones

My Top 3 overall were:
The Three-Body Problem
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

I loved The Three-Body Problem and it is a book that will stay with me for many years to come and a book I will likely re-read several times.

My Top 3 Sword Books were:
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
The Invisible Library
The Gunslinger

My Top 3 Laser Books were:
The Three-Body Problem
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Helliconia Spring


message 2: by Phil (last edited Dec 22, 2017 07:23PM) (new)

Phil | 1140 comments My top 2 were:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Doomsday Book
which both got 5 stars.
I read The Left Hand of Darkness several years ago and gave it 4 stars.
The rest got 3 stars except The Three-Body Problem and The Gunslinger which both got 2.


message 3: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8494 comments I was all about channelin’ mah inner redneck, so y’all kin call me April May June.

My three faves this year:

April: Sword- The Invisible Library
May: Laser- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
June: Sword- The Hum and the Shiver


message 4: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3958 comments Hard to come up with a top three - there's about a five way tie for third place. Anyhoo, my thoughts:

1. Invisible Library. Head and shoulders above the other picks. This one was a great deconstruction of story and myth, set around a library that guards civilization itself.

2. Three Body Problem. Good use of science and math, interesting pick on the video game aspect. The view of SF from another culture worked well. I read the other two. The endless nihilism got a little much.

3. Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter: Nice use of classic storylines. The characters grew well out of source material. However, in spots it felt amateurish.

As for the almost-thirds: Left Hand of Darkness, glad I finally read this classic, but overall a little tortured in language. Parts of this book didn't age well. Then I read The Dispossessed where LeGuin does an extended apologia for the Russian famine that killed 20 million. No thanks Ursula, I'm not interested in justifying that, sorry that you did.

Gateway: Hinky, but fun, take on an unknowable alien culture and its artifacts. Later on they are knowable but the science is laughably bad. I still worked my way through all of them. Easy, fun, disposable fiction.

Long Way to a Small Angry Planet: Fun characters, glacial plot, most of the action takes place at the end.

California Bones: Engaging enough, but soooo fluffy. It didn't know if it was YA or not. Fortunately short enough that I didn't have time to get bored.


message 5: by Colin (new)

Colin Forbes (colinforbes) | 494 comments I'd been looking over my stats for a post like this.

For me there were 2 solid, 4 star reads.
- Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
- Doomsday Book

A few more I rated 3.5 but rounded up to 4 stars for the purpose of Goodreads ranking.

No 5 star reads - but definitely a few authors that I'll follow up on.


message 6: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments First year I've read all 12!

5 star: The Left Hand of Darkness
4 star: The Salt Roads, generously to The Three-Body Problem
3 stars: Doomsday Book, Gateway, The Gunslinger, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
2 stars: the rest.

Average rating: 2.92. Not my favourite year of S+L books, honestly, but we read Le Guin so I can't complain.


message 7: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4144 comments This was a weird year and I didn't end up reading all of the books. I usually read them all or at most skip 1 but this time, it was 3. I blame a lot of that on work, as my satellite was a wee bit crazy this year (launching in January hopefully). I bought all 3 that I didn't read but I really don't think I'll ever get to Doomsday Book because everything I've heard about it kind of...makes me uninterested. I guess I had a top 3 (based on my 5*) and a top 5 (including my 4*). I think I had less interest in the ones that won community votes. Bring on the dictatorial picks! ;)

[u]5 Star[/u]
January: Laser- The Three-Body Problem - read last year but LOVED it. LOVED LOVED LOVED>
June: Sword- The Hum and the Shiver - this was my biggest surprise, as I had no expectations and really ended up digging it
October: Sword- The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - I loved how light it was (and how work was going, I really needed something light in Q4)

[u]4 Star[/u]
April: Sword- The Invisible Library - cute. I want to return to this series at some point
May: Laser- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - another series I finish...2018 may be a better year (more travel, less work insanity--I hope!)

[u]3 Stars[/u]
July: Laser- The Left Hand of Darkness - it took too long to get in to
December: Sword- California Bones - it will be 3* when I get around to writing my review. I dug it but don't feel a need to continue the series.

[u]2 Stars[/u]
March: Laser- Gateway - I didn't remember what it was even about
August: Sword- The Gunslinger - read in 2011. I think I was being generous with 2 stars.

[u]Did Not Read[/u]
February: Sword- The Salt Roads - DNR (time). I bought it and intend to get to it...
September: Laser- Helliconia Spring - DNR (time). I purchased it, but...
November: Laser- Doomsday Book - DNR (interest...). I probably won't get to this one, even though I bought it.


message 8: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3542 comments Mod
terpkristin wrote: "I blame a lot of that on work, as my satellite was a wee bit crazy this year (launching in January hopefully)."

Ok, you can't drop a satellite bomb, then not give details to us science nerds.

Unless it is a top secret spy satellite ;-) Then you MUST tell us about it :-)


message 9: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4144 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Ok, you can't drop a satellite bomb, then not give details to us science nerds"

http://www.arianespace.com/mission-up...
I am the chief engineer on the Al Yah 3 satellite, a first-of-a-kind satellite for my company (though not first-of-a-kind in the industry).


message 10: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3542 comments Mod
Cool. Good Luck and hopefully good weather for launch day :-)

Makes my job as a miner looking pretty boring ;-)


message 11: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4144 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Cool. Good Luck and hopefully good weather for launch day :-)

Makes my job as a miner looking pretty boring ;-)"


Cheers! Also, you're a miner!? That's so cool. Before I broke myself, I used to spend most weekends in a good hole in the ground (caving). Nothing boring about holes.

And now back to your regularly scheduled "favorite" S&L book of 2017 thread.


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2354 comments terpkristin wrote: "Tassie Dave wrote: "Ok, you can't drop a satellite bomb, then not give details to us science nerds"

http://www.arianespace.com/mission-up...
I am the chief enginee..."


Wow. Pretty cool! Good luck at launch.

"affordable broadband communications to 60 percent of Africa’s population and more than 95 percent of Brazil’s population"


message 13: by Mark (last edited Dec 22, 2017 09:07PM) (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2354 comments I didn't read all 12 of this year's picks, but I read more picks with the group this year than I have since joining. I kept a tab too. $56 to purchase copies of picks I didn't already have. I know, I should use the library, but I like to hang out in used book stores when I'm not sorting my Kindle want list by price :-P

I bought a copy of Helliconia Spring, but didn't get to it. I read The Three-Body Problem last year and I've read The Left Hand of Darkness a couple of times in the past.

Of the books I read with the group, the surprise was The Hum and the Shiver. I gave it 4 stars, but I seem to give most books I read 4 stars, so in retrospect, I'd choose it as my favorite since the story still resonates, or hums ;-)

A couple of the other picks were very enjoyable: The Invisible Library and The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter.

I got a kick out of California Bones and finished all three books in the series. They were simply fun to read at a time when that's what I needed.

I also read several past S+L picks this year: Unshapely Things, American Gods and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Of those, I liked PKD's tale more than the others, although American Gods has its moments.

Looking forward to a new year of S+L reading with Frankenstein, A Wrinkle in Time, and who knows what else.


message 14: by Phil (last edited Dec 22, 2017 11:04PM) (new)

Phil | 1140 comments I never thought about adding up what I spent on the S&L books before. I had already read 3 of them so I spent $84.91 (Canadian) on the other 9 picks this year. Based on the number of hours of entertainment I had I'd say that's not a bad investment.


message 15: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2481 comments For the first time I had a shot at all of this years S&L picks. Finished 11 of them and lemmed one. Average rating comes out at only 2.5. Best read was The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet which I gave 4 stars, 0 stars to the lemmed The Salt Roads and 2 and 3 stars for all the others. Not a great year but at least 2018 will be starting out with a book I rated 4 stars:)


message 16: by Ruth (last edited Dec 24, 2017 02:49AM) (new)

Ruth | 1049 comments Only joined S&L halfway through the year although I coincidentally read some of the earlier picks anyway. Overall managed 7/12 - hoping I can do better next year. Off to a good start as I’ve already read Frankenstein.
My joint faves from this year are The Three-Body Problem and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Very different styles of SF but both great reads in their own way.
Also really enjoyed The Left Hand of Darkness


message 17: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6785 comments Mod
I skipped a few I already read, so my favorite of those I read with the group was The Hum and the Shiver.

Overall this wasn't a great year of S&L for me.


message 18: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8494 comments Rob wrote: "I skipped a few I already read, so my favorite of those I read with the group was The Hum and the Shiver.

Overall this wasn't a great year of S&L for me."


Uh oh. Good thing Tassie Dave is here to assume your responsibilities.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2859 comments My top read (and first-time read this year) was definitely The Hum and the Shiver, in fact it made it into my top reads of the year for all genres. I decided to try it, not expecting it to be my thing at all, so part of my enjoyment comes from the surprise and pleasure of liking something outside my usual. Which is why I joined S&L way back in 2009, after all.

My second favorite from the books I hadn't read before was The Salt Roads. I've read other books by Hopkinson and think this one was more complex than some of her novels. And I just loved the Afro-Caribbean mythology in there.

Most interesting for me is that both of those novels are swords, and I usually consider myself more of a laser.

Two past favorites that I enjoyed seeing discussion of, although I did not reread specifically along with S&L are The Left Hand of Darkness and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.


message 20: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin | 355 comments I've been terrible at participating in the discussion this year, but I managed to read 11/12 of the books.
My top three:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (5*)
The Invisible Library (4*)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (4*)
Hopefully in 2018 I'll be better at finishing during the correct month so people are still talking about the book.


message 21: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1335 comments My favourites were

The Left Hand of Darkness (but that has been a favourite for a long time (5*)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
The Salt Roads

While not a strong year, I have read a lot of follow up books from the list. Three Body Problem would have ranked higher if the series had not gone off the rails.


message 22: by William (last edited Jan 06, 2018 12:18PM) (new)

William | 405 comments I've had a great year for reading, and really enjoyed the S&L reads. Even those that I didn't get along with so well (Helliconia Spring did drag a bit in the second half) I really appreciated for being so thought provoking.

Following the original post:

My Top 3 overall were:
• The Left Hand Of Darkness (an all-time favourite- read too many times to count)
• The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (launched me on a Victorian reading spree)
• The Invisible Library (edit: just finished book 2 - it was great!)

My Top 3 Sword Books were:
• The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
• The Invisible Library
• The Gunslinger

My Top 3 Laser Books were:
• The Left Hand Of Darkness
• The Three-Body Problem
• The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet


message 23: by Minsta (new)

Minsta | 103 comments Number one for me this year was The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Number two was The Three-Body Problem and Tied for Third was Invisible Library and Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter


message 24: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8494 comments Long Way would’ve been my number one, except I read it a couple years ago.


message 25: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3542 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "Long Way would’ve been my number one, except I read it a couple years ago."

It is, so far, the most popular book listed in this thread.

By Top pick, and also most picked book in Top 3 lists


message 26: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6785 comments Mod
I might have picked Long Way for my top pick as well had I read it with the group. Then again the same could be said for The Gunslinger


message 27: by Jon (new)

Jon | 13 comments I've read all twelve of 2017's picks but only read seven with the group. If I stick with the books that I read with the group my top three would be:

1.The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
2.The Invisible Library
3. Gateway

My top three (five) out of all twelve:

1. Doomsday Book
2. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
3.The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter/California Bones/The Hum and the Shiver - these three are pretty equal in my mind, although each for completely different reasons.


message 28: by Tina (new)

Tina (javabird) | 692 comments My top 3 were:
1. Doomsday Book
2. The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
3. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 381 comments I only read two with the group:
Doomsday Book (3 stars)
The Gunslinger (2 stars)

...but Gateway is one of my all-time favorites (5 stars). I wish I'd read along on that one - I'd like to re-visit that series, even though I recall the others not being as good as Gateway.


message 30: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Shileikis (diabeticpanda) | 23 comments My top 3 were-
1.The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
2. The Invisible Library
3. Gunslinger


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura (conundrum44) | 98 comments 1. Doomsday Book
2. The Long way to a Small, Angry Planet
3. The Three-Body Problem


message 32: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3958 comments I'm glad to see the love for Invisible LIbrary as I really enjoyed it. Read the two sequels but it's not over. Waiting for the fourth is making me quiver in antici-


message 33: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6785 comments Mod
John (Taloni) wrote: "I'm glad to see the love for Invisible LIbrary as I really enjoyed it. Read the two sequels but it's not over. Waiting for the fourth is making me quiver in antici-"

pasto? Are you quivering with antipasto?


message 34: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3542 comments Mod
description


message 35: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments I realize I'm real late to this thread, but at first I wasn't sure I should even throw in my two cents since I only read three S&L picks in 2017. But for what it's worth, I would rank those three like so: 10 The Hum and the Shiver, 2) The Three Body Problem, and 3) The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.


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