SF/F Reading in March 2017

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Boreas, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Yes, exactly! I can't remember much of the first few novels I read by him in the late 90's, but my more recent memory of Hegira and now Beyond Heaven's River confirms this. His characters in both of these novels have been quite complex without all the usual character analysis and long internal dialogues within the characters' heads. The conversations are loaded, and you often have to pull out implications that are initially left dangling at the end of a thin thread. And then when it matters, it all comes together. What I found surreal about Hegira, which in hindsight is an example of a very hard SF novel, is that it was dripping with this religious context - a journey and mystery steeped in terms of sacrifice of the body, sin eaters, the spirit, etc. But there were no long descriptions about it. Hints here and there that compounded and become important to the thought-processes and actions of the characters as the story progressed.
    Good idea. I think if you really end up liking Greg Bear, then better to read his later, major works first and go to the early ones out of curiosity to compare and contrast the early-/mid-/late-period works.
     
    Diziet Sma likes this.
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Haven't been sure what to pick up next in the SF&F department. I started going through the first chapter of Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair last night. I remember that I just stopped reading the book somewhere between the 100-150 page mark nearly twenty years ago, and have always wanted to give it another go. It's a massive book and an even more massive trilogy, so I'm probably going to take a long while in reading it. In the meantime, after having just finished a Greg Bear novel, I couldn't help myself and I've picked up another early one by him: Strength of Stones.
     
    Diziet Sma likes this.
  3. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I'm a MST fanboy ... it took me an age to read it, but all in all it was great. Williams writes great characters, and I'm really looking forward to returning to Osten Ard with his follow up trilogy!
     
  4. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I'm about 30% into Anvil of Stars. Slow progress as I haven't had as much spare time to read as I would like to. There is also a strong focus on science in this section and I need to take my time. I cannot fly through these pages. The pace is also rather slow but it doesn't bother me, I'm a patient reader. Besides, I can feel something HUGE is about to happen: it is Bear after all.
     
  5. Royce Sears

    Royce Sears Well-Known Member

    So far, I've read the Old Man's War and the Ghost Brigades, and entirely unrelated, I also read Scalzi's RedShirts. Redshirts was written after his consulting work on Stargate :Universe and is a humorous take on writers and their relationships with their characters. Next on my list from Scalzi is "The Last Colony." I have thoroughly enjoyed the Old Man's War Series.
     
    Diziet Sma and Boreas like this.
  6. Royce Sears

    Royce Sears Well-Known Member

    I found the world building, speech patterns, and the history of the Family in Dark Eden to be wonderfully detailed and fun. I'm glad others are drawing parallels to Lord of the Flies as I had similar thoughts, but at the same time there was an entirely different feel to the work as well.
     
  7. Royce Sears

    Royce Sears Well-Known Member

    I just finished reading The Forever War and the observant reader will definitely note the similarities between Old Man's War and The Forever War. Scalzi updated the tech, and created a work-around for the relativistic effects of FTL, but the rest is similar in scope.
     
  8. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Me too! With regards the speech, it was completely believable, exactly how you'd imagine the speech would evolve in that kind of situation.
     
  9. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    Just finished Rant~Chuck Palahniuk


    Back in college and for a few after I became a fan buying up a bunch of his titles, but I haven't read quite a few because I decided I didn't like him.

    Now I read those. For more than half the book I was debating if this will be a one star review, or a two star review, it was unnecessarily vulgar (sexist too in its vulgarity), had little substance and was written like a transcript of young stoners who got high waaaay to often to understand reality anymore, at a party drunk and high and debating on the nature of politics, the universe and everything.

    But my rating went up. It starts as a biography of patient zero of the worst plague epidemic in the last hundred years, the scifi twist that I like is that after a long scientific research on traffic patterns, the population is then separated between those with a nighttime curfew, and those a daytime. It being illegal to be outside during the reverse time.

    It seems to often to be an allegory to how night owls and early birds think of each other.

    Anyway, after all the vulgarity is passed, and they move beyond drunk philosophy, the story actually gets pretty interesting
    with time travel theories that tidy up storylines, the largess portion of the book revolves around a car crashing game, and the spread of rabies with theories on how the day timers want to depopulate the nighttime, and the day timers snubbing their noses down at the nighttine
    The conclusion is all alternate theories about one character becoming immortal by killing his parents ( with no beginning there can be no end) and the main character who is the result of his original immortal timeline self having being his great grandfather, grandfather, and father to breed himself into a superhuman with amazing gifts (described earlier in the vulgar portions) the other version of himself wants to complete the ultimate superhuman powers for himself trying to convince the newer one to kill his (their) mom, he instead becomes the man who raised him, and runs off to his girlfriend after he disappears into the past. He then sees his original self return to the past, and this third version follows presumably to prevent the original from killing their mom.

    Ugh.

    There's lots of random history injected from the real world, largely dealing with past plagues. This largely just propels the authors political views, but one part annoyed me...."In 1347 when England's entire economy relied on the export of corn".....CORN!!! in 1347? In england... might as well write descriptions of Charlemagne s email conversation to hammer abi.

    Umm...5/10. It starts off bad, vulgar with sexism then finishes clean...but as a whole it might be a 4/10..maybe.
     
  10. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    In my family, we also use corn to refer to wheat or barley or other grains cumulatively. Actually, we use the terms corn and grain interchangeably. For American corn, we specifically say maize when we want to be clear. Pretty sure corn is an old German word and, so, an old English word.
     
  11. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    Yes I was corrected on the fantasy forum as well.

    More Americans getting something wrong and refusing to change.
     
  12. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to see this series mentioned because after trying failing to read the last 2, Human Division and End of All Things, I can't believe no one pokes Scalzi for setting as his big premise that Earth cannot supply bodies to the Colonies any longer.

    Hasn't it occurred to any of his readers that the colonists can also breed? This long in space now, they could have produced billions of offspring. So there is absolutely no premise for hostility or the books.
     
  13. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Finished Anvil of Stars and Bear has done it again. He has left me feeling very, very little.
    The first half was a demanding and exciting read. Its premise is one some readers might find difficult to connect with, at least this was my case. The reason being, I was lacking the emotional frame to engage with it. I could only witness and guess the potential outcomes. I could not place myself in that scenario because my brain insisted on judging the events according to my very Earth/human code.
    This postulate was, in my view, a double edge sword. Bear was brilliant at conceiving this concept because I was being challenged to push my reasoning far beyond, but left me, on the other hand cold, emotionally detached from the characters.

    The second part of the book presents a plot full of convolution and confusion; and I praise Bear highly for this.
    When I read about alien civilisation and species, I do want to sense utter awe at the alienness. I do expect to feel lost at attempting to discern the alien complexity, the intricacy and foreignness of their concept, their ethics, their culture, their language. I value when writers make the effort to explain the inexplainable. I love tying to wrap my brain around some formidable abstractions, which escape me but also allow me to appreciate how vastly different the values are when dealing within the SF world .
    Bear has done, in my opinion a fantastic job. He challenged and entertained me by exposing transcendental deductions. He also drops hints and clues along the way, only to spin you around a little bit more before letting you go once again. Bear definitely has a wicked sense of humour.
    Anvil of Stars is a great sequel to The Forge of God, but in my opinion is a very different type of great.
     
  14. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Crashing Heaven. I'm really hoping someone has read this as I have questions.
     
  15. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Me and Ben have read it .. it's been a while for me though so doubt I'll be able to help with the finer details ..
     
  16. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tom. One question is why do you think it only has 1 review in two years? It seems pretty good so far.
     
  17. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I really don't know. There are only 39 reviews on Amazon UK in total .. maybe just didn't get the attention it deserves?
     
  18. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Just started Shift (Silo#2) by H Howey

    Crashing Heaven looks very tempting...
     
  19. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I'm about 3/4 through my reread of Leviathan Wakes. Thanks to my truly awful memory (I read it first about 3 years ago) it's not a million miles away from being a fresh read. Suffice to say I'm thoroughly enjoying it ... definitely up there with the best books I've read .. erm .. twice.
     
    Diziet Sma and Royce Sears like this.
  20. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    just finished" the adventures of Sherlock holmes"~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    It follows very much the themes of the two books previous (lady in scarlet and sign of four) but this is made up of small 20 page stories of mystery and the science of deduction (from the pov of Watson again) This was probably first printed story by story in a weekly paper.

    The stories have become formulaic, all (almost all) starting in the drawing room at Baker street, and following a set pattern of reveal deduce footwork, solve. Many archaic sciences like phrenology seep in through the pages. On the whole I found it enjoyable.

    I am planning on finishing mary Shelley s last man this weekend, (it's getting really good) and staring "memoirs of Sherlock Holmes " soon

    6/10
     

Share This Page