SF/F Reading in January, 2018

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Boreas, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Happy new year, everyone!

    What science fiction or fantasy are you currently reading as we enter 2018?
     
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Going to start off my science fiction reading in the new year with an old favourite: Feersum Endjinn by Banks.
     
  3. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have looked at Feersum Endjinna few times, but I'm sure the creative spellings of words will inevitably confuse me. And I refuse to read a translation: El Artefakto or Förchtbar Maschien will doubtless be very watered down versions.

    I have begun, on the other hand, Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan#1) by Lois McMaster Bujold. I have been meaning to try Bujold for a while and see whether we can get along.
     
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Maybe keep FE for last? That is, if you really get into Banks and end up reading all his SF.

    And thanks for reminding me about Bujold. I need to continue with her novels. I read Shards of Honor, The Warrior's Apprentice and Ethan of Athos. And of them, I like SoH the most. Mostly because I found Cordelia to be a really well-wrought, mature and believable character. Did not like TWA at all, and EoA had small portions that were just okay.
     
  5. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Do you need to stick to the publishing order or can you read them independently?
     
  6. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    Shards put me off Bujold for ages. Then I read on and the middle Vorkosigan books are some of my favourite ever.

    The order I think it's recommended (iirc) is (the collected editions really help with this):

    Shards of Honour
    Barrayar

    Young Miles collection - The Warrior's Aprentice and The Vor Game and an important novella, The Mountains of Mourning, needed later

    Miles, mystery and mayhem collection
    Cetangandan (not one of my favourites) and two novellas - Ethan of Athos (standalone) and Labyrinth, which is an important one

    Brothers in Arms collection (this is where the series is great for the next 5 books) - Brothers in Arms and Mirror Dance. I'm pretty sure it also contains an important standalone, The Borders of Infinity.

    Memory - the stand out book of the series for me. Just brilliant. But needs the earlier books to have the power it brings.

    Miles in Love - insanely funny. Really. A combination of Komarr and A Civil Campaign.

    Miles - Mutants and Microbes - Falling Free, a novella, is a related standalone, Diplomatic Immunity (novel) and Cryoburn has an interesting sf take and a devastating ending (masterfully written)

    Then Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan's novel is good fun.
    Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is the final and contains huge spoilers.

    I am so jealous of anyone reading then for the first time!
     
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  7. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you @jo zebedee !!;)
     
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  8. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Hi Jo and Boreas. Please tell me the first three books of the series. Isn't there some controversy about what is the first? Which one of the first ones is the one where Miles' father is revealed as bisexual? I read that one and then quit but want to continue now. Thanks.
     
  9. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    The first 3 are Shards of Honor, Barrayar and The Warrior's Apprentice.

    from memory when we first learn, for sure, Aral is bisexual - it's hinted at from the beginning - is in Mirror Dance. But that's a good way in - there may have been indications in earlier books but my husband is reading them at the mo and is on book
    4 and hasn't picked it yet.
     
  10. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Thank you jo.
     
  11. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    I want to read We are Legion (We are Bob) sometime this year.
     
  12. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I don't like having many loose ends, and therefore I have continued with the second book of Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations #1-2), and I'm enjoying it better than the first one. Maybe this time around, I know what to expect from the Riyria boys.
    I also want to return before long to Barker's Weaveworld, which I left after reading a third.

    During the last few days and mostly due to lack of sleep (the joys of a sick child and delayed flights) have sneaked in two books by I. Andrews: Magic Bites and Magic Burns. These are a fast-paced, fun, uncomplicated urban fantasy stories with an enjoyable world packed with scary creatures.
    The female character falls, naturally, into the super macho, badass category; but I'm afraid, this comes with the urban fantasy territory. Other than that, I like how the authors have created the monsters: simply monstrous.
     
  13. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'm under the impression that most of the books are stand-alones. I've been recommended by people a couple of times that the best starting point are the middle books like with Komarr to really grab you. Then read onwards for a while, and later go back to the earlier novels for background. I thought that if you read the best books first, then reading the earlier less good ones would be difficult. But they said not at all. And one guy even told me he's himself surprised by how much he loves the Vorkosigan books because he's mostly into hard SF.

    I had no idea about this. I've read the three earliest and not picked up on it at all.
     
  14. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    I am currently reading "Blue Mage Raised by Dragons" by Virlyce.
    Despite of the exhausting title, I am deeply impressed by the book. It's really big in terms of page count and it's intelligently and vividly written. I suppose it counts as a LitRPG in the way that it's a fantasy book and adventurers are wont to grade themselves in levels, classes / vocations and sub-classes. But that's just a detail. Even the typos are extremely scarce. It's like the genre is maturing. I recommend it to every fantasy reader who wants something wild and refreshing, funny and serious. And it's a long time until you find who's the bad guy.

    https://www.amazon.com/Virlyce/e/B0739D3WSW/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
     
  15. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    I am reading The Elven by Hennen.
     
  16. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Ges Vorrutyer, a fellow lieutenant who was in love with Aral, told Aral (Shards of Honor, ch. 7), and Aral challenged both men to illegal duels. Aral killed them, but escaped charges because it was assumed the two had killed each other. His wife died, either a suicide or murder by Count Piotr, though Aral was rumored to have slain her to avenge his honor (A Civil Campaign, ch. 15). Aral then began to drink a lot and entered, or possibly was already involved in, a passionate affair with Ges Vorrutyer. Eventually Aral seems to have broken off the affair (Barrayar, ch. 3, and several references in Shards of Honor).

    At age 44, at the beginning of the novels, Aral meets and falls in love with the Betan Survey captain Cordelia Naismith. According to her analysis, she provides a “solution” to his bisexuality

    A simple google search will provide many more references for you.
     
  17. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I remember the relating of the duels in Shards of Honor, but I remember those to be a consequence of the affairs his wife had had with two different men whilst Aral Vorkosigan was away. I also remember the mention of public gossip surrounding his wife's death and his heavy drinking. Can't really remember any references to sexual liaisons between Aral and another man. Anyway, doesn't matter. I'm only on book three, and when I get to the later books you mention, I guess I'll come across more definitive references.
     
  18. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Oh my! I missed all that! The way I understood it, the duel caused by Aral's wife infidelities was the reason for both deaths.
    There were also the sketches by young Aral of his naked former wife and a portrait of a young Vorrutyer. All I picked up was an intense, tumultuous friendship between the two men.
     
  19. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Henen is popular over here. How are you finding it? I did struggle with his style. I found his pace constant like a pendulum. It did not matter whether Hennen was describing a sunset or a fight scene. His characterisation was also too ethereal and detached for my liking. I cared very little for any of them. In the end, I was doing some diagonal reading to conclude the story.
    I hope you will enjoy more than I did. ;)
     
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  20. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    I'm about 80% done and should finish tonight. I also noticed the pacing as steady but I assumed this was a product of the English translation. I am enjoying it (perhaps unfairly) as a contrast to The Dwarves by Heitz.
     
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