SF/F reading in October 2017

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by kenubrion, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Safari Bob and Boreas like this.
  2. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    I'm finishing my reread of the St Mary's Chronicles and planning to read Ian McDonald's Wolf Moon on my hols later this month :) I think it will benefit from fewer distractions
     
  3. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    I just finished The Black Coven trilogy by E. William Brown. It's not litrpg, just a portal fantasy.
    These books could go wrong so easily. It could be a book where beautiful women crawl all over an overpowered hero. Instead it's a book series where beautiful women crawl all over the overpowered hero, which is pretty well written and enjoyable. Many pages or passages are nothing short of kinky porno, maybe even a little over it. It's officially the most pornographic fantasy or litrpg I've ever read (no GRRM yet, I still have some decency).
    What are the redeeming features, besides the erotica? Well, the MC is a nerd. Yes, he gets overpowered right from the start and he discovers a pretty much infinite mana cheat thanks to the wonders of nuclear physics. But turns out that translating infinite power into usable weapons against very bad odds is not easy or simple at all. It is basically a tale of the human bottleneck between two great powers, one of which is the supply of mana, the other is an enemy army of Ragnarok which demands to be eliminated. That's the dry nerdy killjoy way of explaining it.
    If you are a Dungeon Master who prepared long enjoyable campaigns and then some power gamer in your DnD group discovers a trick to save the princess quickly and with minimum effort and totally ruins your campaign, that's the book for you. It's not going to be that simple, but the MC is described as that kind of a guy and surely you want him to get blown to pieces!

    Btw, many times during the books I got an impression that the author loves political and economic liberty. He's very subtle about it (surprisingly) so it's not the second Atlas Shrugged (oh, who am I kidding, it pretty much is, only with lots of demon-fucking), but he does know the problems of feudalism, taxation and inflation via money printing. It's like he's trying to seduce people into liberty and it's working with me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Have you ever tried reading The Sword of Truth fantasy series by Terry Goodkind? The first book, Wizard's First Rule, was actually quite okay-ish given standard fantasy tropes, but there is some serious sado-masochistic weirdness that goes on with the main character and his 'jailer' for a while. I read a few more books and gave up because of increasingly bad writing: the prose, some ridiculous plot devices and, if memory serves, what I vaguely remember as some unconvincing coincidences. But Goodkind definitely knows how to channel aspects of Ayn Rand.

    Is that supposed to be an incentive or a deterrent?
     
  5. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw.

    Halfway into the audiobook and I am absolutely in love with this book. It's hilarious, and brilliantly narrated.

    Recently finished We Are Legion - We Are Bob (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis E Taylor. Not so great, despite a promising start.
     
  6. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    Terry Goodkind? I think I read something from him, Debt of Bones. But that was almost half a lifetime ago. See why I used to be mostly a sci-fi reader. Epic fantasy? The more epic, high or traditional fantasy, the more I imagine just some Tom Clancy or Ian Fleming in medieval ages with a spell or a dragon here and there, instead of a gun/tank/submarine. What I want is either deep psychology, or breaking of the rules. LitRPG is one way to break rules of fantasy, it's gamification of the whole thing. There are subtler ways of breaking the rules, such as make the MC a merchant, or a goblin, a kobold, or an overpowered computer programmer. Each of these have their logical but unusual way of seeing the world.

    Surprisingly I don't mind the standard Tolkien antropology of elves, dwarves, halflings, humans, goblins, dragons and orcs. I think it is very appropriate to have this natural archetype that some people look nice and live long, but they're always almost extinct, while some lead nasty, short, brutish lives and they're short and ugly too, but there's a lot of them. But it's what you do with them that matters.

    I have even read a couple of books of Shadowrun - and that's really some unusual fantasy (with cyberpunk). However it's a critique of "capitalism" and corporations while barely mentioning the government, which is the worst corporation of them all. They're so afraid that corporations will wage wars, while forgetting that there's no way to finance wars without taxation and printing money. The though that corporations can sell consumer electronics to hire mercenaries to wage wars is ridiculous, especially in the post-apocalyptic world, where most people munch on krill biscuits. No work is that profitable. Except the drug war, but it's the government keeping the prices so high. I guess understanding economics counts as breaking the rules as well.


    An incentive. There's just one demonic lady and she's hot. Technically not a demon, but a witch who steals power from demons. However with ingested demonic power there is a residue of their characteristics, such as the succubus...apetite. Later she even grows a tail and what will happen is exactly what you think will happen, considering it's a female harem...uh, I mean, coven. It's a funny book like that. I like the modern authors, they really don't waste any opportunity.

    EDIT: I could swear the author of Black Coven read this list and took it to his heart.
    https://curiosityquills.com/limyaael/making-all-powerful-protagonists-tolerable/
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
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  7. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    As much as I'm enjoying Musashi, I feel I need to take a couple of days off and I'm dithering whether to read The Werewolf Principle by C. D. Simak or Star Surgeon (Sector General#2) by J. White.
     
  8. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Read 'Will Save The Galaxy For Food' .. even better listen to the audiobook, it's hilarious :)
     
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  9. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I've heard some people speaking positively about this book. The premise does sound fun - a human consciousness stored electronically and then ends up being installed into probes searching for habitable planets. What was it that you didn't like?

    I only know Shadowrun as a fantasy/cyberpunk role-playing game and I've seen some related art that I've liked. This is the first time I'm hearing a proper description about it. Are there novels based on the setting like there is for Warhammer 40K?
     
  10. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'm starting Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky today.
     
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  11. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah it was an interesting premise, just not very well executed. Started off brilliantly, it had bags of humour and was shaping up to be a cracker, then all of a sudden it just started taking itself far too seriously, which just didn't sit well with me. Turned out to be like a poor Scalzi novel.
     
  12. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    You are the boss. Bookmarked!;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  13. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    In the end, I have decided to continue with Musashi as I do want to finish this great story. I'm also looking forward to Children of Time: I'm just not good at all at reading different books at the same time.
     
  14. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Don't forget it!
     
  15. Kanly

    Kanly Well-Known Member

    I finished off the September book club selection Rite of passage by Panshin and then I also gave in and decided to get Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, since it's going to be made into a movie soon. I got some of the references, but there were a lot that flew by me. Some felt familiar but they weren't clicking. Still, I had fun. This was cyberpunk-lite to me. Pretty feasible near future setting, and I wonder if this could be called hard SF? The virtual reality bits feel like fantasy, but the mundane world with the mega-corporation, disparities in wealth, depletion of fossil fuels and tech like the haptic suits that let people immerse themselves in virtual reality centered around MMORPGs seems believable. Not really great writing, but readable and fun. Felt like a beach book.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  16. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    And how did you find Rite of Passage?
     
  17. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have started Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I had to read P. K. Dick after all this noise about Blade Runner 2049 and also ‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’ Science-Fiction Anthology Series.
    I'm 25% into it and I'm really liking it.
     
  18. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    I think so. There seem to be about 30 novels by various authors, Robert N. Charette, Lisa Smedman, Mel Odom... I think that's what you mean.
    This is classy cyberpunk, even with the iconic ride in a smuggler's jet-tank, almost verbatim copied from Neuromancer.

    I was provoked by your account and decided to pick up the Bobiverse. So far I'm binging on it. It is true that it's getting serious, but I consider it my long-postponed libation to the god of hard SF. Have you ever liked Ian M. Banks and his Culture novels? This is like it, only in the poor and humble beginnings of the AIs. The ship-sized Minds of Banks are every bit as eccentric as the various copies of the Bob AI and I am glad to read something similar ever since M. Banks left this mortal existence.
    I haven't read anything by John Scalzi, I was under the impression he writes about space marines or something like that.
     
  19. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Hhmm ... I wouldn't compare the two to be honest. Culture is widely regarded as superb, Bobiverse starts off more slapstick, before putting it's serious hat on, but is no way as well written/thought provoking/lauded etc etc. I listened to the audiobook too, and the narrator had a voice well suited to comedy, which probably didn't help.
     
  20. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Hmm, you might want to keep looking. I too enjoyed the beginning of Bobiverse but then left it behind.
     

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