Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Dec 06, 2018 07:36AM) (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
Art. you have unleashed a demon. Here's a new thread, the purpose of which you guys may find to be served in a better way and I will not be offended.

I am constantly running across authors and I wondering whether I should bother. Bryan asked in the "what are you reading now" thread whether he should read Piers Anthony.

So here's a thread dedicated to that . . .


message 2: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new)

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
Another good idea Kate!


message 3: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Dec 06, 2018 08:32AM) (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
First entry: Joe Ambercrombie. I fell over one of his books here on GR and I looked him up. His author's page says:

Average rating: 4.18 · 538,833 ratings · 30,499 reviews · 57 distinct works

Now any author with that many high ratings and votes is probably somebody I will love . . . But they all seem to be the epic fantasy sort, which is not my favorite subgenre. I also note that there are no nominations for him. This makes me wonder if I will agree with his overall author score.

It's kinda like the paranormal romance genre. There are many highly ranked authors in the genre. But for me, if the whole purpose of the book is to get a guy and a girl together, I am not that interested. So if the whole purpose of this guy's books is battles or something, maybe not for me.


message 4: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Joe Ambercrombie is on my TBR list as a modern grimdark fantasy writer.

And yes, great idea, Kate!


message 5: by Victor (new)

Victor Joe Abercrombie and Glen Cook are both on my TBR list. Some of my favorite authors like Richard Morgan and Steven Erikson (and yes, GRRM, though I don't really want to open that can of worms) are also writers of grimdark fantasy. So many series, so little time!


message 6: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Victor wrote: "Joe Abercrombie and Glen Cook are both on my TBR list. ."

The first book I've read by Glen Cook was his famous The Black Company and I was hooked. The series (like 10 volumes now) spiraled downward as most series do, but the idea of mercenaries fighting 'good guys' was awesome and new at the time. His P.I. Garret series is quite different - it is humorous hard-boiled mystery fantasy with clear allusions/homage to Rex Stout's Nero Wulf - it even has fat [dead] mastermind, who solves the problems. The I got his SF - Darkwar Series and it was extremely mediocre.


message 7: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
I have some of the Glen Cook Black Company books from when they went on sale. I haven't read them yet.

The P.I. Garret series sounds good. But I've never read Nero Wolfe


message 8: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Is anybody familiar with E.E. "Doc" Smith's work? I am trying to gather all the bits and pieces of the series, but since I've never read anything by him, how serious should I take it?

I know very little about the author, besides that his Lensman's won a boat load of awards.


message 9: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
I read the doc smith stuff years ago and all I remember is, it seemed stiff and dated even years ago. I know some can be had for free in Kindle format because it's THAT old.


message 10: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Art wrote: "Is anybody familiar with E.E. "Doc" Smith's work?"

I planned to read him one day, just as a precursor of modern SF. I tried him a while ago, like 25 years or so and it was too strange.


message 11: by Antti (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 818 comments Mod
Art wrote: "Is anybody familiar with E.E. "Doc" Smith's work? I am trying to gather all the bits and pieces of the series, but since I've never read anything by him, how serious should I take ..."

I read Triplanetary earlier this year. It was my first encounter wit Smith, and I can't say I was impressed. Like Kate said, it felt really dated; a product of a completely different time, and not in a good way.

Here's my review of the book.


message 12: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
Several months ago, I found a complete edition of all 7 Lensman books at HPB, $1.99 each. I'm sure it is dated, but I don't go in expecting it to be modern. It is what it is, an old school sci-fi classic, and it should be read with those expectations. I'm going to try and knock out Triplanetary before the year's out, and read the rest of the series next year.


message 13: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
So many of the ee doc smith stuff is on the retro hugo list (and one is on an actual timely hugo list). If we are all planning on doing this, maybe we should make a party of it!

Note that the "real" (as opposed to retro) nomination was for 1966 and he died in 1965. Obviously one of those posthumous deals.


message 14: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Allan wrote: " I'm sure it is dated, but I don't go in expecting it to be modern. It is what it is, an old school sci-fi c..."

That's exactly what my expectations are at this point. With all these series lining up 2019 looks even busier than this year, though I doubt I will be catching up to Allan's 100 books read.


message 15: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
100 is a big accomplishment for me. I only read about 24 books last year. Some were fat history books but still not great.


message 16: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
100 is so great. I think I'm going to try that one you just rated as 5 stars The Engines of God. I could use some good straightforward SF right now.


message 17: by Antti (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 818 comments Mod
My friend just five-starred Nexus and Crux, and I vaguely remember hearing good things about his books some years ago, but that's it. Has anyone read anything by Ramez Naam?


message 18: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Antti wrote: "My friend just five-starred Nexus and Crux, and I vaguely remember hearing good things about his books some years ago, but that's it. Has anyone read anything by [au..."

I've read the trilogy and liked it very much. Highly recommended


message 19: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Dec 26, 2018 06:03AM) (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
Has anyone ever read anything by Paul Di Filippo? I see his The Steampunk Trilogy is on sale for 1.99 today (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KHE3A0G?...)

He's nebula nominated for a couple of short stories, but these three books are rated really low.

So you guys know me and know I didn't like The Difference Engine. Suggestions?


message 20: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "Has anyone ever read anything by Paul Di Filippo? "

I haven't read him, for easy to read steampunk you may try Boneshaker.


message 21: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
I will look for it.


message 22: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
I agree, Boneshaker was pretty decent and uncomplicated, a good read.


message 23: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
Jade City by Fonda Lee and The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Anyone?


message 24: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
Allen I have not read either Jade City or The Healer's War yet. Though I intend to, I just haven't gotten around to it.


message 25: by pareidolia (last edited Feb 08, 2019 08:07AM) (new)

pareidolia  | 34 comments Allan wrote: "Jade City by Fonda Lee and The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Anyone?"

Hi, my first post here :)
Allen, I've read Jade City last December, and it was one of my favourite reads of the year. It's Goodfather-like gangster drama meets Kung-fu, with very good world-building and intriguing characters. It starts slow, but it's worth sticking with. I highly recommend it.


message 26: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
Now that I look at the title of this thread, I realize I need to say more. I started Jade City once, can't remember a thing about it so I must not have been too impressed, had to return it, saw it was a nominee and bought a cheap copy when offered, and still haven't read it.

I bought Healer's War when it was cheap because it was on our list, and because I knew I had read other things by Scarborough, though in looking at her list of books I now realize that they were only books she wrote with Anne McCaffery.


message 27: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Donna wrote: "Hi, my first post here :)"

Hi, Donna, great to have you here, welcome to the group! You may, if you wish of course, say a few words about yourself and your reading interests (or anything else) in the introductions thread:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

re @Allan on Jade City - it is like Donna said, Godfather meets kung-fu: powerful families in alt-history 1970s developing country, who got power from local magic jade, which allows them to really do what usual wire-fu (this book taught me the term) do on screen. However, if you aren't really into those genres it may be a bit boring


message 28: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
I think I saw a comparison to James Clavell's Noble House. Tai-Pan is one of my favorite books of all time, and though I didn't find Nobel House as good, Jade City would be worth reading if it's anything like that.


message 29: by Silvana (last edited Mar 08, 2019 03:11PM) (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 2 comments Anyone read anything from George Alec Effinger? What do you think?


message 30: by Antti (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 818 comments Mod
I've read When Gravity Fails multiple times: it was one of my favourite books when I was a teenager. Take that as a recommendation or warning. Haven't read it in twenty years, so I don't know how well I'd like it now.


message 31: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 2 comments Antti wrote: "I've read When Gravity Fails multiple times: it was one of my favourite books when I was a teenager. Take that as a recommendation or warning. Haven't read it in twenty years, so I don't know how w..."

noted, thank you!


message 32: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
I'm reviving this thread because I have a question.

Has anybody ever read any Jack Williamson? I am kind of looking at what books on our list are in print/available in Kindle, and Reign of Wizardry, a nominee, is stupid expensive. 90 bucks?!

Just curious.

Also, I'm drawing everyone's attention to this thread because we had some good discussions doing on in here until we all forgot about it!


message 33: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Aug 07, 2019 05:09PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
I just went back and looked at Amazon, and though the large print says the Paperback is 99 bucks and the Hardback is 25 bucks, there are other used copies for a lot less. Weird that Amazon has the prices stated so high.

Still wondering about Jack Williamson in general and this book, The Reign of Wizardry, in particular. Someone here on GR said that it had a "rather nasty racist undertone going through the story." Sounds unfortunate. Though I guess other authors were bad back then, too.


message 34: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 173 comments I haven’t read anything by Jack Williamson or Jack Vance or Fritz Leiber or Roger Zelazny. Among other major SFF award-winning writers, I haven’t read any novels by Poul Anderson, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Robert Silverberg or Clifford D. Simak, but I have read — and enjoyed — short fiction by each of them.


message 35: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
I have liked some Fritz, Simak can be good--I need to read more--and I love much of Zelazny, but not all. I'm not too big on Silververy, and the others you mention, some I have really liked and some not at all.


message 36: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
I haven't read any Anderson myself, Pohl for me is hit or miss. Simak's earlier stuff is great, but lost a lot as he got older - there's a great synopsis of his career in the Simak SF Gateway edition. I've read 3 Silverbergs this year and liked all of them. He has 10 on our list, so plenty of opportunity to like or dislike others.


message 37: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "I haven't read any Anderson myself, "

I liked Anderson, both his SF and fantasy, he was the first author for me, who had time travel that changed the future (his Time Patrol).


message 38: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
Well, the one Poul Anderson I remember from when I was a kid was Operation Chaos, which I think he may have written with his wife. I know I read some other ones, but I don't remember them. So I guess they didn't leave much of an impression


message 39: by Ed (last edited Aug 12, 2019 04:54PM) (new)

Ed Erwin | 710 comments Silvana wrote: "Antti wrote: "I've read When Gravity Fails multiple times: it was one of my favourite books when I was a teenager. Take that as a recommendation or warning. Haven't read it in twenty years, so I do..."

I like Effinger a lot. "When Gravity Fails" is good. Some of his short stories are very good. He's pretty playful. He did one cycle of connected SF stories in the styles of other writers like Hemmingway and Flannery O'Connor. Those are in Live! from Planet Earth.

And one novella which won a Nebula: Chains of the Sea. (Oops! "Chains of the Sea" is by Gardner Dozois. But Effinger has a story in that book as well.)

Then, of course, there is Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson


message 40: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 710 comments Effinger also sometimes wrote purely for money. (He had big medical bills.) So start with the more respected stories.


message 41: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
The thing about both Silverberg and Poul Anderson was, they were prolific as hell, but their writing didn't pull me in the way Heinlein or Asimov or Bradley or McCaffery or several others did. So mostly I didn't read them.


message 42: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Sep 01, 2019 08:49PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
But what I really came here for, tonight, was . . . has anybody ever read anything by Jack McDevitt? I am going through the list of nominees to see what is Kindled and what is not (making Kindle a verb now!) and I see that he has 12 Nebula nominations and only one win, and zero Hugo nominations.

I'm kinda scared of the number of these books. I have found that often N nominees may be nominated, not for readability, but for some esoteric (to me) thing the writers liked.

So has anybody got any opinions about these books?

I'm making a separate spreadsheet so I can figure out where in these multiple series the 10 books that are NOT standalone fall. Obviously, we have to figure out how to approach these. I can already tell that many are in the middle of a series. I will report back later.

I've never even heard of this guy. Or if I have, I forgot.


message 43: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "But what I really came here for, tonight, was . . . has anybody ever read anything by Jack McDevitt?"

I have a book by him but yet to read it. I read some positive reviews, he seems no high-brow intellectual snob


message 44: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 173 comments I have read a strong short fiction piece of his, but none of his novels.


message 45: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
I've read several of McDevitt's books and have enjoyed them a lot. My favorite newly-discovered author of the last couple years. I started reading The Academy books late last year as a challenge in another group. The first book, The Engines of God, was really excellent, as was the second, Deepsix. I have the next four on my shelf and although I got sidetracked from that series, I enjoyed them so much that I also started the Alex Benedict series when I found A Talent for War (1st book) at the library. Then I read Polaris & Seeker in short order right after. Both series are based around recurring characters and while some things are a little far out (literally & figuratively) and sometimes events are predictable, they are solid, very entertaining, medium-hard SF adventures. No deep characterization and nothing super literary in these series, but I have the impression that some of his stand-alones are more so. I definitely want to get back to both of these series, and I highly recommend them for medium-weight fare.


message 46: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Sep 01, 2019 10:51PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
Well, I think what we are going to have to do is set the Jack McDevitt books up in a couple of medium length challenges. One for Alex Benedict series, 8 books and one issued in 2019 so probably will make the cut for the 2020 awards. That means only the first and the fourth should not be read. And another for the Academy series, 4 books out of 8 nominated (#3, 4, 5, and 6).

Then there's the two standalones, and while working on this I found that Time Travelers Never Die is a H and N nominated novella (it was in the list of books I used to create a new spreadsheet).

I will upload the spreadsheet if everybody wants to see it. But you (or Bryan) will have to help me because I am not sure how to do that.


message 47: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2181 comments Mod
I've got too much to read without adding novellas, but the spreadsheet would be interesting and I'm sure useful to others.

In the Academy series, books 3-6 were nominated, but I was amazed that 1-2 weren't. They were better to me than some other nominees. Likewise, book 1 of Alex Benedict set the tone for the series and provided some background.


message 48: by Antti (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 818 comments Mod
I like Jack McDevitt a lot. I've read the Alex Benedict books and at least one of McDevitt's standalones (Eternity Road).

ER was really good, and I liked the AB series as well, although they are lighter reading. I actually read the Alex Benedict books out of order, I think I stayed with book 2 or 3 and only read book 1 after reading at least three books in the series. I guess it would've been better to read them in sequence, but they are almost standalones with the same main characters - kind of like detective stories.


message 49: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3839 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "In the Academy series, books 3-6 were nominated, but I was amazed that 1-2 weren't. "

I guess it is a slow road to popularity, probably the first two were not widely known, like with Harry Potter books


message 50: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Sep 07, 2019 06:58PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3909 comments Mod
The length of series never intimidate me. When I get on the library website and there's a 10 week wait for the first and the 10th one is out, I know it's going to be good. It's like seeing a show on a streaming service that you've never heard of but it ran for 4+ seasons. It's like finding treasure.

And if I don't like it, I quit. The thing I don't like in series/books is if nothing is resolved. I just gave Red Moon a real low rating for that. Basically, I trudged through that book and then it resolved nothing. I hate when that happens.


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