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

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

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  1. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    I think that was the first Sanderson I have read. Have also read "Binti" but that's it so far on novellas. I read the short stories and novelettes before that, and had already read three of the novels.
     
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Sanderson never made an impression on me with his Elantris. And his very average, Hugo nominated novella hasn't improved the impression. When people were touting his Mistborn books, I checked the premise of the books and it all sounded pretty uninspired to me. The idea of turning magic into a highly rigorous, almost 'scientific' form is very unappealing. How did you find Binti?
     
  3. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I'm around halfway into Consider Phlebas now and I'm absolutely loving it. The characters, the setting, the humour, the scale, everything is just so good.

    And the brutality .. just been listening to the chapter called The Eaters. This was so well done that I nearly puked in my lap!

    Just wondering .. has this ever been compared to Star Wars? Some of the characters and settings remind me of the original movie trilogy.
     
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  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    You know @TomTB, for a while I thought you had a block concerning the Culture novels because I'd either mentioned them too often over at BFB at one point or because we had divergent tastes (although, we're on the same boat when it comes to Thomas Covenant, I'm glad to say). So, I'm very happy that you're enjoying the excellent Consider Phlebas, a definitive landmark sf novel in the British space opera renaissance. As you keep reading more of his sf and hopefully even his mainstream work, maybe you'll come to agree with me on just how bloody brilliant a writer and stylist Banks is (one of the best post-war writers Britain has produced - I could easily imagine him being amongst the top 25). And Consider Phlebas, whilst quite excellent, is not anywhere near his peak. Banks is a master. Not only does he dazzle with his writing skills, but he tackles hefty themes with an almost artistic subtlety, never directing, leaving it all to the reader to make of it what they will. And he never takes himself seriously in his writing, either. He has his tongue firmly placed in his cheek. The likes of GRRM, Rothfuss, Corey et al. are rank amateurs in comparison.

    Yeah, pretty sure Banks wrote Consider Phlebas as an anti-SW novel. It's the one novel that Banks said he wanted adapted for the screen. So much so that he didn't even care if they changed the ending or other important plot points, as long as they pumped in a shitload of cash for the awesome effects that it deserves. The guy was a kid at heart.
     
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  5. David Bridger

    David Bridger Full Member

    I'm glad you're enjoying Consider Phlebas, Tom. I saw your tweet when you first got it and was envious that you were about to experience it for the first time.

    Was thinking I should be careful or I'll end up talking about nothing but my love for Banks all over this forum, but having taken a quick look around the place this evening I see I wouldn't be the only one. :)

    While I recovered from eye surgery last month I listened to the entire Trader Tales space opera series by Nathan Lowell. Six excellent novels, all narrated superbly by the author. I lived every minute of them and enjoyed getting to know all the characters.

    Right up until the last couple of chapters, when he killed off a character suddenly and very unnecessarily. Apparently to free up the hero for new adventures in a second series the author is writing. That almost spoiled it all for me and I nearly threw a strop, but everything else about the series was so brilliant I've managed to deliberately blank out the nonsense at the end and remember the rest gratefully.

    It won't be for everyone. It's a slow, almost ponderous at times, read (listen) chronicling the career of a merchant spacefarer. You know how The Martian is very detailed on engineering and technical matters? Like that. Took me about half of the first book to decide I could live with the pace, but before I knew it I was immersed in the everyday life of the ship's crew.
     
  6. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Ah, another Banks fan! Excellent. *steeples fingers*

    I've actually got the first three instalments of Lowell's Trader novels. I picked up quite a few self-published titles last year, but I still haven't actually read any of them. Keep telling myself I'll start soon and I keep delaying. The Trader novels definitely gave me the impression that they would be slow, but I really liked the sound of it, and I have no problems with slow narratives.

    As for The Martian, I'm think I'm one of the few people you'll find who wasn't enamoured by it at all, even if I did like the ending. I thought this would be one of those few cases where I would like the movie more than the novel...but no, it was about the same. Aspects of it I liked even less.
     
  7. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    Sort of the same way you did with Perfect States. Interesting premise, liked the description of her culture, how she interacted with the Meduse, but the resolution to the story left a lot to be desired. I think she's said there will be more stories in that 'verse, but this one didn't inspire me to care about them.
     
  8. David Bridger

    David Bridger Full Member

    The most surprising aspect of the narrative, for me, was how perfectly the author's measured narration fitted it. We all know it isn't always the case that an author reads his or her own work well, but in this case he really does, all the way through. He's a talented man.
     
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  9. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Just finished Lighting Strike by C Asaro. I found the first two thirds of the book a bit disappointing. The original setting of this book really appealed to me. However, the way Asaro carried it through, I found it a bit childish and predictable. I don't want to go into any details in case any of you wants to pick this book up. The final section is by far the best. This is when the real SF action takes place. There is much content of hard SF, which initially made me cringe, as I'm absolutely rubbish at it and it would normally spoilt it for me. Asaro, however, manages to explain in a way that made me feel a lot cleverer than I would normally feel, as fas as hard SF is concerned...
    I need to decide now whether I will read another book by Asaro.
    @Boreas did you finish The Last Hawk? and...
     
  10. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    @Elvira, still haven't finished The Last Hawk. Will try to finish the last 100 pages tonight. Unlike your experience with Lightening Strike, so far TLH has been a very enjoyable romp from the beginning. Let's see if the resolution holds up.
     
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  11. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Hi ecgordon. I like the shorter forms of novellas and short stories when it's sci-fi as the author gets right to what it's about. How do you go about getting a Hugo voter packet?
     
  12. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Are you going to start voting for the Hugos from next year onwards?
     
  13. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    You have to pay for either an attending or supporting membership in the current Worldcon. Supporting was $40 last year, but $50 this year for MidAmeriCon2 in Kansas City in mid-August. I was a supporting member of Sasquan last year, so I got to nominate for this year, but would not be able to vote this year if I hadn't signed up for MAC2. This year I am attending the con. Last year was the first time I ever voted for the Hugos, even though I've been a fan for nearly 50 years.
     
  14. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    I don't know, depends on how much supporting memberships are in the coming years. I'm not likely to attend again due to budget issues, in fact I probably shouldn't be spending the money to go to Kansas City this year, but there are several authors I'd like to meet and get autographs from. I have only attended two other WorldCons before, both of them in San Antonio, just the opening day in 1997, and three of the five days in 2013. Those were the closest any have ever been to me. I went in 2013 mainly because Norman Spinrad was a Guest of Honor.
     
  15. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Yes.
     
  16. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Thanks ecgordon.
     
  17. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    Current read (not actually started yet, but got it in the mail yesterday), the Hugo nominated The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher.
     
  18. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    The Departure, first book in Neal Asher's Owner trilogy. I had initially started Arrival by Ryk Brown but a story malfunction made me send it back.
     
  19. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I'm intrigued .. story malfunction?? Is that just a way of saying it was crap, or was it a kindle file issue?
     
  20. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    I just happened to be here when you posted Tom. Ryk Brown wrote the Frontiers Saga that I mentioned in the past and which Ben enjoyed also. While he's starting a second 15-book "episode" as he calls them (each a complete book) about that story, he also found time to write a new book with a new story. It's a generation ship story so I'm like YES my favorite sub-genre and a favorite author but...can't give away what made me throw it back into the river as it would be a spoiler.
     
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