Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

Series: Reading Order > *RESOLVED* Catherine Asaro Skolian novels

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Mar 11, 2018 10:59PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Problem re these books. "The Last Hawk" is going to be REALLY hard to find soon because, according a publicist I found in 2016 when I bought the series on Kindle, Ms. Asaro is not going to release the book on Kindle, ever. I recollect that the explanation was she was going to rewrite it. I probably have the emails somewhere about this, so I will look for them.

But you can tell if you go to

that something is up with this book. There are still some cheaper copies, but I think it might just be that the sellers don't know what they have.

So I say buy it now, and I will look at the book to see if we can just read "The Last Hawk" by itself. The whole series ties together, but this was one of the earliest. It just focuses on the experiences of one of the multiple characters in the series, so it may be OK.

I will also look at "The Quantum Rose," which I bought but never got around to rereading because life intervened. I will see if we can just go from one to the other.

Her world building is pretty great, but "The Last Hawk" does not really refer to the greater universe that is the setting for most of the books because of the situation of the character.

So, go, go, buy those used paperbacks now before they are gone forever!

(Also, scroll down and click on the button on the right to tell Amazon, "I'd like to read this book on Kindle." Maybe we can change Ms. Asaro's mind.)

message 2: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Mar 25, 2018 11:09PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
**Problem: What order/how to read the two Nebula nominated Skolian novels.

**Quick answer: Just read them separately, probably “The Last Hawk” first, and don't worry about the series. (Athough the series is great, to me anyway, and it would be great to read them in chronological order, my opinion is that it's not necessary for the purposes of this group.)

Why? Asaro wrote these books all out of order. Most of the chronologically preceding books were written later. So there are enough world-building facts presented in these two books that fill in the background. (Sometimes there are different facts in different books, I think mostly because the characters don't know any better and think they know the facts, not because of inconsistencies in Asaro's fictional world as time goes by.)

**More details (no real spoilers): The main characters in these books are members of an extended family, mostly, and the books take place over a period of years. Go here for a chronological chart: Novels are in rectangles and novellas/short works are in boxes. Names of the family members featured in the books are under the boxes. The novellas/short works are not available electronically. I've looked. (Also note, this chart is old, so now there are more books, and also rewritten books, but this chart is good enough for this analysis.)

So, looking at the chart, the first book written, "Primary Inversion," is occurring concurrently with Nebula nominee "The Last Hawk,” the book that was written fourth. They’re about different siblings. Soz is the main character in several books, but "The Last Hawk" is pretty unconnected because it's about Soz's brother Kelric, separated from the goings-on in Soz's stories by circumstances that will become clear when you read the book. The world Kelric is in during “The Last Hawk” gets a bunch of world building of its own.

The second book written, called "Catch the Lightning," is timed years later. We don't need to read it to fulfill our purpose. Plus, I understand Asaro is letting the book fall out of print because she rewrote the happenings in it as “Lightning Strike,” (though there was supposed to be a Lightning Strike Part 2 that I can’t find).

The third book written, "The Radiant Seas," is chronologically after "The Last Hawk” and before "The Quantum Rose,” but is in Soz's timeline.

Nebula nominee "The Quantum Rose" is the fourth book written. If you look at the chart, it’s one of four books stacked up vertically, showing that they are happening at about the same time. It features yet another brother, Havryl, but the main character is a woman from a world isolated from the main Skolian universe. She slowly learns about the Skolians as the book progresses. The first third of the book almost seems like a "bodice ripper,” but as the world building fills in, the reasons why become apparent. The rest of the book gradually introduces the main character to the Skolian culture as the characters embark on a sort of quest, so it works pretty well except possibly for one expository scene which is kind of an info dump.

Also, the world building is, I’m sure, what gave it the Nebula nomination. Asaro is a physicist, and (from Wikipedia) "Her novel "The Quantum Rose" is an allegory to quantum scattering theory and is dedicated to her doctoral advisors and mentors in the subject . . .”

In conclusion, I think read "The Last Hawk” first, then read "The Quantum Rose.” This is chronological order, but I don’t think you have to read them one month and then the next month.

As I previously wrote, “The Last Hawk” is not available in Kindle, and the used paperbacks are getting more pricey. We should maybe read that one soon while copies are still available.

message 3: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Sorry if anyone saw a partial draft of the foregoing post earlier. We had no internet for hours.

message 4: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Forgot to mark this one as resolved.

message 5: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
I just finished reading The Quantum Rose, on the heels of The Last Hawk. They can easily be read separately as Kateblue says. Both are romances where the Skolian character visits a planet only mildly integrated into the empire. Decent space opera but not Vorkosigan quality.

message 6: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "Decent space opera but not Vorkosigan quality."

I absolutely agree, although there are others in the series that struck me as better than these. These were her really early work. It's weird how that happens. Works that are from a new author are so often nominated and later, better works are then often ignored. Oh well.

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