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

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

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  1. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have just finished Koban by S.W Bennet, following @kenubrion's recommendation.
    I suspected I was going to enjoy this book as it contained elements such as the annihilation of human worlds, an alien über-species (although not one the cleverest) and a “predator” environment where the story unfolds: planet Koban.

    Bennet really thrives building a very robust story with its four legs: hard-science, biology, strong spirited characters and an alien culture. The attention to detail is meticulous and it gives you a very 5-senses picture of what you are reading.

    The science was hard for me to grasp and it became eventually a leap of faith. However, this was my personal handicap. I guess those who enjoy hard science content will appreciate it, as things don’t just happen: science makes it happen.
    The description of Koban with its predatory plants and fauna adds colourful drama, bloody adventure but particularly a hopeful future.

    Two points I personally found weaker in the book were: Firstly the lack of description of personal interaction amongst the humans. The characters are very well developed on an individual basis, but I would have liked to read more about the issues that forced cohabitation and extreme team survival would have necessary caused.

    The second weak point for me was Bennet’s writing pace. When I was about 30% into the book, I realised Bennet was going to be one of these authors that seems to have one single speed mode. The weight of the chapters felt similar. The rhythm is maintained throughout regardless of describing the dismantling of engines or facing a Krall alien about to chew your face off. For me books like Koban should feel like running cross-country with obstacles; you adapt your speed and direction. Bennet writes like a marathon runner. He is constant and reliable, but he also needs to maintain his pace steady: too fast, too slow and he will hit “the wall” and crash.
    I’m looking forward to book two: Koban ,The Mark of Koban.:)
  2. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I'm a bit dubious about this. Won't it sound pretty awful, you know, like a robot reading it to you. A good narrator adds a lot to the audiobook experience, and I can't think of a worse narrator than a computer speech to voice programme.

    If you want to jump on the audiobook bandwagon @Elvira, I'd strongly recommend not going down this route.
  3. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    I agree. There are some Kindle books with "text to speech" enabled, but that is in a robotic voice, not the authorized audio edition. The few I've tried were very bad.
  4. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    I must agree, take it as an emergency option for mandatory reading and for non-fiction. You can listen to texts to limit your screen time and spare the eyes for books. I have read a few books that way, but it was in cases where I did not intend to stop and smell the roses or enjoy the language. Elvira, the robot voice will do what Bennett did in his writing - it will create this constant monotone pace for everything, so use with care and don't use it for anything beautiful :)
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  5. afa

    afa Full Member

    Started listening to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. It's a recent purchase from Audible; was ranked #3 on the list!

    I've listened to a bit over an hour, and so far it's pretty good. The voice work is excellent. Haven't really gone far enough to know what the story is really about; seems like a revolt is a-brewing among the Loonies (the inhabitants of the Moon) against the dictatorship of The Authority.
  6. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    Heinlein's best book, and one of his best characters in Manuel Garcia O'Kelly-Davis, who had a very distinctive way of speaking. Who does the audio narration?
  7. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Has anyone else read the Lost Fleet series? (probably not!) .. I'm on book 4 (Steadfast) of the second series (Beyond the Frontier) and it all seems to have lost any kind of direction. The main story arc has become so undefined that I'm seriously thinking of giving up, although I probably won't as with only 1.5 books to go it would be churlish to stop at this stage.
  8. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I read the first two books, but couldn't take the writing/dialogue no matter how interesting I was beginning to find the relativity incorporated space battles.
  9. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    I opened up the used paperback of Iain M. Banks' short story collection, The State of the Art. Used paperback because it's not a Kindle book yet. It's great to be back in the Culture.
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  10. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have finished The Disappeared: A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kristine K Rusch and now I have already giggled my way through 3/4 of The Long Dark Tea-Time of The Soul by D Adams:D Thanks @Sparrow for both recommendations.
  11. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is my favorite Douglas Adams... it's why I'm really pissed off at him for dying without writing another sequel!
  12. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    He is dead?! I've just only met him! Pity...
  13. David Bridger

    David Bridger Full Member

    Just finished Beltrunner by Sean O'Brien. It was my Father's Day present from my wife, and a good choice. He's an old (only 51, but he says he's old and in his line of work...) asteroid miner, one of the last free independents in what's become an ugly corporate industry. When he hits a strike his life takes a turn for the dangerous. But the best thing about this book is his ship computer, which is a great character. Not a deep read, but a fun one.
  14. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have just started The Wolves of Midwinter by A Rice. Second part to The Wolf Gift. This one I liked because of its Gothic ambience and its beastly turned heroes characters.
  15. ecgordon

    ecgordon Well-Known Member

    I'm reading Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a dark vampire tale set in her native Mexico, although she currently lives in Vancouver. Got a free ebook through NetGalley. Her debut novel last year was Signal to Noise, which I liked a lot.
  16. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    It looks an original and exotic setting. Noted!
  17. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I just bought Player of Games (audiobook) ... will probably start listening next week at some point. Looking forward to the second Culture episode :)
  18. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I bought Use of Weapons and it's waiting for me along some other books in Spain. Will start it most probably next week end.
    In The State of the Art BBC4 program, via YouTube, you have The Player of Games audiobook and other audios. Not sure whether the narrator is any good though.
    I tried the first chapter of Consider Phlebas audio and I failed miserably. Kept loosing the thread. I guess it is is a skill that improves with practice. Maybe I should practice with Winnie the Pooh before returning to Banks' audios...:)
  19. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    You're going to have to get used to Banks' quirky narrative style.
    You also need to understand going forward, thematically his Culture books are asking the reader "what was it all for?". He's playing with an idea I thought you'd cotton to... that an individual may be able to stop a flood, but they can't stop the tide. It's about the unstoppable and inexplicable gears of the universe, about fate. Determinism vs. Fatalism. Banks is sort of propping up the individual, as a kind of wistful character that's part antihero, and part ragdoll.
    And just wait until you get to Use of Weapons, it's even more difficult to follow.:D
  20. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Good God! What have you got me into!? Don’t forget this was your recommendation! Consider Phlebas was my 1st attempt with audiobooks, as I found it in the BBC website for free. I don’t think I’m coming back any time soon to audios…

    I’m trusting my reading comprehension will definitely outsmart my listening one, which is obviously rubbish.
    Well, you mentioning the -isms (Determinism, Fatalism, Causality taking over Free Will) will push me even faster, head first, down Banks’ rabbit hole, no matter how changeling and quirky his literary puzzles might be…:)
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