What SF book are you currently reading? (2015-16)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by TomTB, Apr 24, 2015.

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  1. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I'm reading Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan - can't say it's appealed to me .. will probably be the last book I read in this series!
     
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'm on the last instalment of Michael Cobley's Humanity's Fire trilogy, "The Ascendant Worlds".

    What didn't appeal to you?
     
  3. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Just wasn't to my tastes! I found all the characters too samey ... they were ALL hard-ass or wannabe hard-ass, but effectively all the same shade of grey, and I found it hard to connect to them; the writing was too serious (I need some humour, light hearted banter etc). I liked the concept (sleeves) though, but I struggled through large parts.

    I was exactly the same with The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence - I felt I should have liked it, but just didn't.
     
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    That's too bad. Takeshi Kovacs is a difficult character to like, but I still felt some empathy/sympathy for him. I loved the noir-ish atmosphere and the synthesis of crime with sf. Felt very much like a science fiction novel a la Dashiell Hammett, or perhaps Raymond Chandler would be more accurate. I think I also preferred the two novels following "Altered Carbon". You could also try his unrelated "Market Forces", which is also quite over-the-top, but I loved it. Future corporate thriller where disputes are settled with lethal 'car duels' like something out of "Mad Max". It was a novel completely out of left field for Morgan, and I'm glad he took the chance to write it. Morgan doesn't do light-hearted banter, I'm afraid.
     
  5. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah was thinking that yesterday when reading it .. feels very futuristic noir! I had images of all the male characters walking round in trilby's wearing shades! I might take your advice and pick up the sequels at some point, I own them after all, not just right now though. I've also got his fantasy books - but not Market Forces.
     
  6. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I've not read his fantasy, yet, but according to Haven it's probably as dark and grim as the Takeshi Kovacs novels (if not more so). I do want to reread the Kovacs books. I've been saying I want to reread so many old favourites, but there's just too many new works out there that I haven't had a chance to touch! It's so damn frustrating. I'm going to have to come up with a reading list (in some sort of preferential order) and be stringent with sticking to it. So far, I've been fairly haphazard about choosing my subsequent reads.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  7. SopranosFan

    SopranosFan New Member

    Am about a third of the way through with 2001: A Space Odyssey. I'm really liking it, which is a rarity for me with books of this age. Clarke's writing style somehow seems more modern to me than most books that are older.
     
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  8. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Great that you're enjoying it! 2001: A Space Odyssey was the first Clarke I read and one of the books that helped expand my mind during my teens, and I gobbled up any and all Clarke that I could find. I particularly loved his short stories. There so many great ones, but two that really stuck out were "The Wind from the Sun" (about a sailing competition in space - using sails made from light, sophisticated materials with areas in the km squared region that are pushed by light photons (the stellar wind emanating from the sun) and "A Meeting with Medusa" (about an astronaut that takes part in an expedition to explore the various cloud layers of Jupiter by descending down in an experimental craft).

    His best book is probably Childhood's End, but I read it after I'd already gone through at least 3-4 Clarke books, of which 2001 and Rendezvous with Rama had me wide eyed with wonder (because of their discovery/exploration themed stories), whereas Childhood's End is rather more sophisticated and subtle and also more cynical (if I remember correctly) and deals with themes such as the stagnant state humanity mired in a 'forced' Utopia.

    Can't go wrong with Clarke or with Isaac Asimov.
     
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  9. Khartun

    Khartun Full Member

    I'm just about to finish Blade of Tyshalle. Next up is Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. It will be my first Stephenson book but I've heard lots of good stuff about his work.
     
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  10. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I've not been getting any reading done the last few days. I'm writing one part of a speech on stress management for someone who's soon going to give a talk on 'the changing role of women in modernity' and this has been stressing me out a little! I've spent the last two days looking at research articles into the human stress response, it's evolutionary origins, the cardiovascular profile of people participating in social stress experiments, etc. What's surprised me is that the new literature on stress research is overwhelmingly positive about stress. Stress has always been demonised as a killer, but newer research is suggesting that stress is quite beneficial for you once you learn to view stress as a helpful phenomena, that a little change in perception (though it has to be internalised, not just understood on a cerebral level) can almost completely remove the potential of stress induced medical problems, especially with cardiovascular diseases. So, I started out writing this part of the speech on managing stress (typically boring), but I'm completely changing it now. The stress section of the speech needs to be around 10 min long (the entire talk will be about 30 min), but these 10 minutes require a crap-load of work.

    So, I haven't touched the Cobley book the last few days.

    @TomTB, have you finished Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" yet? I'd be interested in your thoughts on that book. @Khartun, "Blade of Tyshalle" is definitely on my list. I read "Heroes Die" in 2011 and have kept meaning to read the sequel but just never got around to it. How does it compare to "Heroes Die"?
     
  11. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Will have it finished tomorrow @Boreas and will let you know how I find the ending. It's been a short quick read, but extremely powerful and though-provoking so far.
     
  12. Khartun

    Khartun Full Member

    Blade of Tyshalle was pretty good but not nearly as good as Heroes Die. It gets a bit, I don't know if philosophical is the right word, but definitely long winded in spots at the end. It is still a good story and worth the read. I'll probably eventually read the last two at some point. They are apparently part one and two of one story that is a prequel to Heroes Die.
     
  13. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy this morning, and wow, what a moving book . I was blown away by the bleakness and brutality of the setting, and the course of the journey between Man and Son was so heartfelt; there were moments where I had to put the book down just to reflect on what I'd read - never really done that before! The prose was sparse, but was a perfect match for the setting of the book.
    The last paragraph was a perfect ending, a shining light of hope after pages and pages of despair!
     
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  14. Khartun

    Khartun Full Member

    That is on my TBR. I loved the movie. Have you seen it @TomTB? Does it stick pretty close to the book?
     
  15. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I've not seen the film, or at least can't remember seeing it, so can't make a comparison I'm afraid.
     
  16. btkong

    btkong Administrator Staff Member

    Finishing off The Abyss Beyond Dreams. Fantastic!

    I recently finished Golden Son (sequel to Red Rising) which was awesome but not as good as the first book.

    I'm especially looking forward to Ernie Clines (author of Ready Player One) new SF geek fest of a book which comes out in a couple months (July 2015)
     
  17. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    You know, I'm going to go the other way with Hamilton and give his earliest Greg Mandel books a shot. I binge read his Night's Dawn trilogy when the final instalment came out and also his Commonwealth duology early last year. While I've enjoyed certain aspects of his novels, neither of those space operas really grabbed me (plus I had some issues with Hamilton's writing). I'm hoping the smaller scope of the Greg Mandel books will sway me into Hamilton's camp. He's one of those authors that I've tried very hard to like, yet his books have never really clicked with me.
     
  18. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Well, Paula Myo and MLM certainly clicked with me...to the extent that Myo is one of my favourite female characters in SF and MLM is one of the best antagonists I've ever come across. Those early sections describing the genesis of MLM had me riveted.
     
  19. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I forgot to mention that I finished "The Ascendant Stars" last Friday thereby wrapping up the Humanity's Fire trilogy by Michael Cobley. Overall, a fun, cinematic romp of an adventure with the middle book being the best in the trilogy. While I enjoyed the third instalment and the wrap up of the story, the resolution of the various plot threads was a lot more disjointed and that diminished the pleasure of the read somewhat.

    I'm currently on a fantasy but I also started a reread of Iain M. Banks' "Consider Phlebas".
     
  20. Sir Arthur

    Sir Arthur Full Member

    Nearing the end of Consider Phlebas. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Amazing world building and characters. I thought I'd get more reading done this week, but I've been busy with this visit to the in laws place. I'll wrap it up on the long plane ride home tomorrow, then I think I'll be on to some fantasy.
     
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