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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old October 15 2012, 08:09 PM   #211
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

American Gods wasn't bad, I read it earlier this year in preparation for the HBO series. It reminded me a lot of Small Gods but otherwise good fun.

Had half a mind to read On Basilisk Station for a while - Baen offers the first book of the Harrington series temptly for free, and I've enjoyed the heck out their Vorkosigan and Retief stuff - but been putting it off. Maybe if more concrete news materializes out of their movie/TV/whatever project I'll give it more thought.
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Old October 15 2012, 08:58 PM   #212
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

I'm in the middle of 'The Prefect' by Alistair Reynolds, and while it's not too bad, I find the descriptions to be heavy handed and the dialogue to be far too expository. This also made me feel a bit like I was being told how to feel about the characters, too. I guess just not enough nuance for me. It's the first book of his that I've picked up. It's something of a mystery/detective novel in space, but its not very strong as far as that genre goes. I saw 'Robots of Dawn' mentioned a few posts up, and while I wasn't crazy about that book either, I thought the detective element was much stronger there.

The other is 'Hegira' by Greg Bear. I'm much more impressed by his ability to show me this world through his character's experiences, so it's been interesting to compare it alongside 'The Prefect.' I have read a few of his books and recommend him favorably. 'Hegira' so far seems like a more traditional quest story.
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Old October 15 2012, 10:46 PM   #213
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Nomad of Time by Moorcock.

Not what I expected, but having a good time.
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Old October 16 2012, 02:25 AM   #214
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

^^I have that on the shelf, read a lot of Moorcock back in the day but never got to that one...
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Old October 19 2012, 12:26 AM   #215
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Kegg wrote: View Post
/.../ I'm now on the fourth novel of Iain M. Banks' Culture books (a read I hope to top off with the recently released Hydrogen Sonata). They're... not bad, and an non-hierarchic post-scarcity super-freedom oriented interstellar culture is one with an obvious appeal for fans of, let's say, an unnamed but prolific utopian-leaning franchise.

But they're seldom as fun as they promise to be. Again not bad, solid stuff, wouldn't have read three already if I disliked it, etc.
Not 'fun'??? -I think they're hilarious!!!

The names people have, the names drones have and -especially- the names the (space)ships have are pure comedy

The games that are played are too close to things seen on television for comfort - but over-the-top funny.

The descriptions of sexual acts, too, are funny.

The extreme descriptions of war, torture and other evil, that people do or think, are -although deeply disturbing- hilarious!

Sure, I'm a fan! (currently halfway through The Hydrogen Sonata (that piece of music -and the instrument it's written for- is in itself a great joke (so far anyway).


My first M. Banks was Excession, the conversations between Ships made me a fan of the entire Culture-universe.
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Old October 19 2012, 12:54 AM   #216
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

trekkiedane wrote: View Post

Not 'fun'??? -I think they're hilarious!!!
I guess I'm used to a more breezy, plot-focused style whe I'm reading space opera. Banks has a much greater interest in setting up the scene and dawdling on details and letting plot unfold organically in the background - which is all, you know, not bad, but I'm not exactly eating these up as I was with Bujold last year, where it almost felt like I blazed through an omnibus sometime before breakfast.* Banks can be genuinely interesting in his massive Big Ideas being thrown around - there's decidedly cinematic imagery in Consider Phlebas - but I'd be lying if I said I found it as engaging. That's why I'm just pegging it as a 'fun' gap, as it'd sound kind of weird to complain that a writer is giving attention to detail to things in his book.

And yeah, the names of the ships are cool as is their attitude (and again the general anarchic-government-by-haphazard supercomputer whim is one of the best parts of these books, and I'm particularly liking how Excession is going into that at greater length then previous novels), but I wouldn't call these books particularly funny. Even ignoring the unfair comparison of Douglas Adams, John Scalzi has waaay more jokes in his Old Man's War series and they sparkle.

*It'd be fair to say that Bujold has an extremely narrow focus on her plots. You can sometimes almost list the named characters on one hand, and there's rarely a stray scene that doesn't either give character development to a key principal or furthers the plot in some way. It can lead to the books feeling altogether a bit too tidy, but I'll be damned if they weren't addictive as all hell.

PS: Just... what is it with Banks and the word escarpment, anyway? Just when I thought he was using it a little much he goes ahead and makes it a class of starship too.
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Old October 19 2012, 01:05 AM   #217
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

^All right, we agree, they're not 'funny' as in comedy - but 'funny' as in filled with little things that might make you laugh.

I admit to liking his prose, then, filled with these little funny things and, yes, the details that make up the background to any Culture-novel; the three-to-four-hundred first pages of a five-to-six-hundred-pages Banks-novel are naught but a set-up for the story -but what a set-up!

(ETA: Oh, and I'm pretty sure he's read some Adams )
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Old October 19 2012, 02:02 AM   #218
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Klaus wrote: View Post
^^I have that on the shelf, read a lot of Moorcock back in the day but never got to that one...

You should get around to it-it is not only fun but(I believe) what inspired Heinlein to write Job.
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Old October 19 2012, 02:21 AM   #219
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

As it turns out, I have them in both the all-in-one SFBC edition you're referencing and in the individual paperbacks. [it really was quite a Moorcock obsession for a while lol]

I'll get them in the queue.

...and the PBs have these lovely old covers:

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Old October 19 2012, 02:59 AM   #220
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Banks' straight novels are quite good too. In fact, his best book is probably The Bridge. The Wasp Factory is a dandy thriller, as is Complicity. Crow Road is also excellent.

Moorcock's peak was probably Behold the Man. The Cornelius Chronicles are entertaining in a Robert Anton Wilson sort of way. The Nomad of Time ties in somehow, to the detriment of both series. But I can't read any of Moorcock's fantasy series, which make Tolkien look like Shakespeare. Nor can I get through any of his pastiche pulp constructs.

Given the relative impossibility of separating new SF from the fantasy, most fiction I read is the stuff from the few big names cranking anything out: Brin's Existence (falls apart, relies too much on his weak political thinking); Robinson's 2312 (excellent); Reynolds' Blue Remembered Earth (not finished, looks promising); Slonczewski's newest (excellent); Scalzi's Redshirts is on reserve.
I suppose when the Big Name SF writers die, I won't know any new ones and I won't read SF anymore.
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Old October 19 2012, 03:03 AM   #221
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

stj wrote: View Post
Banks' straight novels are quite good too. In fact, his best book is probably The Bridge.
DANG!

That's how far I've gotten till now
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Old October 19 2012, 03:09 AM   #222
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Those are awesome covers Klaus. Classic pulp look.

stj wrote: View Post
But I can't read any of Moorcock's fantasy series, which make Tolkien look like Shakespeare.
I've read his Elric stuff, but it's... better at being weird than it is at being good, although quite a bit of it is very good. It's Conan through a crazily 1970s having-a-bad-trip lens. Weird stuff.

Scalzi's Redshirts is on reserve.
I got that. How could I not? Damn thing was taunting me simply by existing, if I don't find it very funny I will be surprised. Will eventually get around to reading it.

I suppose when the Big Name SF writers die, I won't know any new ones and I won't read SF anymore.
Can always check to see who's getting awards/buzz and/or find a blog that more or less matches your tastes. Hell, Scalzi and Reynolds are pretty new writers as-is and no doubt will be around for decades to come.
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Old October 19 2012, 08:16 PM   #223
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Kegg wrote: View Post
American Gods wasn't bad, I read it earlier this year in preparation for the HBO series. It reminded me a lot of Small Gods but otherwise good fun.

Had half a mind to read On Basilisk Station for a while - Baen offers the first book of the Harrington series temptly for free, and I've enjoyed the heck out their Vorkosigan and Retief stuff - but been putting it off. Maybe if more concrete news materializes out of their movie/TV/whatever project I'll give it more thought.
There's talk of a Honor Harrington movie or TV show?
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Old October 19 2012, 08:20 PM   #224
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Klaus wrote: View Post
^^I have that on the shelf, read a lot of Moorcock back in the day but never got to that one...
It's interesting. It's written in the style of a 1904 novel... not what I was expecting... for some reason I was thinking it would be more like Kim Newman.
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Old October 19 2012, 10:10 PM   #225
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

gblews wrote: View Post
There's talk of a Honor Harrington movie or TV show?
Oh yeah. Since last year or something?

Here is the TrekBBS thread:
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=148354
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