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Old January 30 2013, 07:38 PM   #1711
Enterprise is Great
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

I'm just starting Allegiance in Exile.
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Old February 1 2013, 12:01 AM   #1712
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
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Reading Anthony Horowitz's The House of Silk, the recent Sherlock Holmes novel that was authorized by the Conan Doyle estate.
I've been eying that one on the shelf for a while now. Definitely interested to hear if it's worth picking up. I enjoyed some of Horowitz' YA fiction years ago, and this is the guy that created Foyle's War, so hopefully it's good.
To the point where I am (seventy-five pages), I have mixed feelings.

It's very well written. The characterizations ring true (though I keep hearing Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke behind the dialogue). But it's so derivative in places that it feels more like a caricature of a Sherlock Holmes story than the genuine article. That said, something happened about ten pages back of where I am that I suspect is going to spin the novel off in a new direction, which leads me to think that the derivativeness of the first third of the book was deliberate, to ground the reader in the sense that they're firmly in Holmes' world so that Horowitz can do something original with it. Yes, that's optimism speaking.
I'm interested in hearing what you thought of it when you're done. I enjoyed the book a lot, though not quite as much as the original stories. The solution to the mystery is very, very different from anything Doyle would have written, yet the book still somehow remains convincingly in-universe. I found there was a touch of melancholy in Watson's narration at some points, as he realizes this is the last tale he'll ever tell about his friend.

I'm on something of an Agatha Christie phase at the moment; not only am I watching Poirot again, I've also listened to several audiobooks. So far I've gone through: Five Little Pigs, Murder On The Orient Express, The Mysterious Mr. Quin, and I'm halfway through Murder In Mesopotamia. All are very good audiobooks.
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Old February 1 2013, 01:31 AM   #1713
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

I just finished Death Star and really, really enjoyed it.

Tomorrow I ring in Patrick Troughton Month with Doctor Who: World Game by Terrance Dicks.

Up on deck after that is the original novelization of Star Wars (supposedly by George Lucas, but wasn't it really ghost written by Alan Dean Foster?). Technically I've already read it, but I don't think I've ever actually read it cover to cover. When I was ten years old I used to constantly pick it up and read bits of it, either going to my favorite scenes or just randomly opening it up and reading wherever it fell. Ahh, the days before home video.
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Old February 1 2013, 01:36 AM   #1714
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Fer wrote: View Post
Up on deck after that is the original novelization of Star Wars (supposedly by George Lucas, but wasn't it really ghost written by Alan Dean Foster?).
Yes, it was, and later editions acknowledge that openly, apparently. As it happens, Tor.com did a piece about it just recently:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/wei...g-novelization
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Old February 1 2013, 01:43 AM   #1715
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

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Fer wrote: View Post
Up on deck after that is the original novelization of Star Wars (supposedly by George Lucas, but wasn't it really ghost written by Alan Dean Foster?).
Yes, it was, and later editions acknowledge that openly, apparently. As it happens, Tor.com did a piece about it just recently:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/wei...g-novelization
Thanks! That's what I thought. I had been under the impression that he was the ghost writer for a lot of novelizations credited to their filmmaker counterparts at the time-- Star Wars as George Lucas, Close Encounters of the Third Kind as Steven Spielberg, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Gene Roddenberry. But I recall seeing a discussion on these boards that Roddenberry actually did write his, so I wasn't sure anymore.

I look forward to reading the article, but I think I'm going to wait until after I've reread the novel myself. Finding out all the differences is half the fun!
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Old February 1 2013, 02:06 AM   #1716
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

I set aside Captain's honor to finish an old TOS novel World without end by Joe Haldeman.
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Old February 1 2013, 02:54 AM   #1717
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Fer wrote: View Post
Thanks! That's what I thought. I had been under the impression that he was the ghost writer for a lot of novelizations credited to their filmmaker counterparts at the time-- Star Wars as George Lucas, Close Encounters of the Third Kind as Steven Spielberg, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Gene Roddenberry. But I recall seeing a discussion on these boards that Roddenberry actually did write his, so I wasn't sure anymore.
Roddenberry definitely did write the TMP novel. Its style is nothing like Foster's, and a lot like that of a screenwriter who's never written prose before, and it reflects Roddenberry's attitudes and interests. As I said in the comments of that Tor.com post, the reasons for the myth of Foster ghostwriting it are 1) that people confuse it with the Star Wars novelization and 2) that a French translation of the novelization mistakenly credited Foster as the author (because he wrote the film's story but they omitted the credits for screenwriter Harold Livingston and novelizer Roddenberry).

The CE3K novelization was ghostwritten, but by Leslie Waller, not Foster. If people are crediting Foster with that one, it's probably another case of confusion with the Star Wars novel.

Foster's done plenty of novelizations under his own name, such as The Black Hole, the first three Alien movies, Dark Star, Outland, Clash of the Titans, The Thing, Krull, The Last Starfighter, Starman, Alien Nation, and more recent films like The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator: Salvation, the first couple of Transformers movies, and of course the Abrams Trek movies. But as far as I can determine, Star Wars is the only novelization he ghostwrote.
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Old February 1 2013, 05:04 AM   #1718
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Fer wrote: View Post
I just finished Death Star and really, really enjoyed it.

Tomorrow I ring in Patrick Troughton Month with Doctor Who: World Game by Terrance Dicks.

Up on deck after that is the original novelization of Star Wars (supposedly by George Lucas, but wasn't it really ghost written by Alan Dean Foster?). Technically I've already read it, but I don't think I've ever actually read it cover to cover. When I was ten years old I used to constantly pick it up and read bits of it, either going to my favorite scenes or just randomly opening it up and reading wherever it fell. Ahh, the days before home video.
Death Star was pretty well-good. I hope you like the ANH novelization, too. I quite enjoyed Alan Dean Foster's take on the film, along with the deleted scenes. Sure, you can view them now, but I imagine they were quite rare back then.

I did find some of the differences interesting, like how Palpatine was a puppet, rather than the puppet master, as established now.
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Old February 1 2013, 05:30 AM   #1719
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Adam Holmberg wrote: View Post
Sci...I suggest either Le Carre (the novels you list are all excellent) or Game Change, which is definitely the best overall picture of the 2008 election I've read (and I should know...I've read them all!)
Thanks! I just finished The Spy Who Came in From the Cold today and I loved it. I'm going to read American Gods first, but Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is definitely in my near future.
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Old February 1 2013, 01:39 PM   #1720
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

S. Gomez wrote: View Post
Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
TJ Sinclair wrote: View Post
I've been eying that one on the shelf for a while now. Definitely interested to hear if it's worth picking up. I enjoyed some of Horowitz' YA fiction years ago, and this is the guy that created Foyle's War, so hopefully it's good.
To the point where I am (seventy-five pages), I have mixed feelings.
I'm interested in hearing what you thought of it when you're done. I enjoyed the book a lot, though not quite as much as the original stories. The solution to the mystery is very, very different from anything Doyle would have written, yet the book still somehow remains convincingly in-universe. I found there was a touch of melancholy in Watson's narration at some points, as he realizes this is the last tale he'll ever tell about his friend.
I finished it on Sunday after Downton Abbey, and I posted some thoughts on my blog.

Here's a key sentence from that: "Silk reads as if Horowitz decided to write a “Sherlock Holmes greatest hits” novel, and he decided to pack in so many of the iconic scenes and passages from the Canon as he could that, by the end, I was half expecting an appearance by Irene Adler."

By and large I thought the writing felt like Watson's, though there were some moments when it really didn't like when Watson comments from his future vantage point on the events in the story's present.

"The Adventure of the Flat-Cap Gang" was, I thought, a little mundane, but it also felt more authentically Canonical. "The Adventure of the House of Silk" had more in common with some of the more lurid Jack-the-Ripper theories and didn't feel very Canonical at all. Ironically, it was the House of Silk mystery that I solved (except for where it was) before it was solved in the book, and I didn't suss out the Flat-Cap Gang solution at all.

I admired the book more than I liked it. It's well-written, it's certainly evocative and gripping, but I also didn't find it to be anything special -- or worthy of the critical notice it received for being authorized by the Doyle estate. It's nothing more than another Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
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Old February 1 2013, 09:07 PM   #1721
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

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I admired the book more than I liked it. It's well-written, it's certainly evocative and gripping, but I also didn't find it to be anything special -- or worthy of the critical notice it received for being authorized by the Doyle estate. It's nothing more than another Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
I've yet to read something authorized by the estate that was anything more than "another Sherlock Holmes pastiche."

Except perhaps a few of the short stories in The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collection.
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Old February 1 2013, 09:17 PM   #1722
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

The last 5-6 weeks have been pretty chaotic for me. But, I have found solace - and even pleasure - in reading. So, without further ado:

01/05/2013 Michaelmas by Algis Budrys
01/09/2013 Green Mars (audiobook) by Kim Stanley Robinson
01/12/2013 Empress of Outer Space by A. Bertram Chandler
01/17/2013 Space Mercenaries by A. Bertram Chandler
01/20/2013 Nebula Alert by A. Bertram Chandler
01/22/2013 Glory Planet by A. Bertram Chandler
01/22/2013 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics, Vol. 2 by Mark Martin
01/22/2013 Strange Highways: Reading Science Fantasy 1950-1967, by John Boston and Damien Broderick
01/26/2013 Into the Alternate Universe by A. Bertram Chandler
01/26/2013 The Left-Hand Way (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 UFO (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 Two Can Play (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 Reaping Time (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 Obituary (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 Last Day (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 No Room in the Stable (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 The Principle (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/27/2013 The Principle -- Revisited (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
01/28/2013 Blue Mars (audiobook) by Kim Stanley Robinson
01/29/2013 From Headrack to Claude (gn) by Howard Cruse
01/31/2013 Salvage and Demolition (na) by Tim Powers

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is simply amazing. One of the great literary achievements of the '90's. If you haven't read it, you should.

I found Michaelmas hard going. It has a heavy dose of tough-guy cold war vibe, which makes it feel like a '50's anachronism, even though it comes from a couple decades later. I'm a huge fan of Budrys's Who?, which is even more a product of the '50's. But, in the case of Who?, it's actually a book from the '50's.

So, after the Budrys, I continued reading some of the A. Bertram Chandler titles I never got around to a decade ago when I was intensively reading his stuff (and re-reading some that I did read back then.) First up was the "Ex-Empress Irene" trilogy (Empress of Outer Space/Space Mercenaries/Nebula Alert) which tell the story of Irene Smith, empress of the Terran Empire in a universe slightly askew from the universe of the Terran Federation inhabited by John Grimes. Irene abdicates her throne (which was mostly ceremonial anyhow) marries a ship's captain, Trafford, and takes off in her former Imperial Yacht on a series of adventures. In the third and final volume, Nebula Alert, she and her crew briefly wind up in Grimes's universe, meeting John and Sonya shortly after the time of Contraband From Otherspace. The middle book seemed pretty muddled, but all three could've used some polishing. Chandler was testing out various series characters (Irene, Derek Calver, Grimes himself) in the early-to-mid '60's, butonly Grimes stuck around for the long haul.

The Grimes cameo in Nebula Alert pretty clearly demonstrates why. Irene and Trafford just seem pallid and lifeless compared to Grimes and Sonya. So, immediately upon completion of Nebula Alert, I picked up a copy of the first published Grimes novel, Into the Alternate Universe. That was more like it! I'm going to continue re-reading the "late Grimes" sequence; that should take me the rest of February.

The Chandler short stories are all posted on David Kelleher's Chandler website. They're all short pieces published in (mostly) Australian fanzines during Chandler's lifetime, often just a single joke inflated into a tale, and definitely minor stuff. But Chandler was never less than fun to read, and they are that.

The Tim Powers piece is a 21,000-word novella published as a limited edition by Subterranean. It arrived in my mail box on the 31st, and I read it before I fell asleep that night. Wonderful, as always for Powers. It's a quasi-ghost story, which gets into issues of existence-negation (again, as in Three Days to Never.) Powers's writing seems to get more guilt-drenched as time goes on, and many of his recent tales revolve around people trying to evade Final Judgment, through supernatural means. I'm not saying it's getting tedious, but it is getting ever-so-slightly predictable.

Strange Highways was my semi-obligatory SF history/criticism for the month. Seems like I've been reading one every month recently. I have lots of issues of Science Fantasy, collected for the Chandler and Thomas Burnett Swann stories they contain. It always seemed like a great magazine, and in Strange Highways, primary author John Boston has re-read and critiqued every issue of the magazine, which ran from 1950-1967. He points out some forgotten gems in its contents, as well as identifying a lot of very, very forgettable filler junk. I had fun reading this, and look forward to Boston's forthcoming 2-volume read through New Worlds from roughly the same period.

Read a couple of GNs in January. The TMNT collection (which collects - and colors - three issues of the B&W title from the '90's) started out very strongly; the first issue made me sit up and take notice of the Turtles for the first time. Alas, the sequel duology that completes the collection was an incoherent mess. For a few minutes there, I thought I was going to turn into a TMNT fan. But I dodged that bullet.

The Howard Cruse collection was great stuff, mostly a collection of Cruse's strips from Gay Comix in the '80's, supplemented by other one-off pieces from the '70's through the '00's I really love Cruse'e drawing and lay-outs, and his stories always had something to say, and say it in a clever and literate way. A neglected genius, if you ask me.

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Old February 1 2013, 09:20 PM   #1723
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

TJ Sinclair wrote: View Post
Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
I admired the book more than I liked it. It's well-written, it's certainly evocative and gripping, but I also didn't find it to be anything special -- or worthy of the critical notice it received for being authorized by the Doyle estate. It's nothing more than another Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
I've yet to read something authorized by the estate that was anything more than "another Sherlock Holmes pastiche."
Fair point.

I don't know if Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story involved the estate's approval, but I'm suspecting not. Michael Chabon's The Final Solution didn't. Those are the two I would point to as something more than a simple pastiche.
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Old February 2 2013, 07:08 PM   #1724
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Just finished: The Left Hand of Destiny, Book 1
Paused: Invasion! Book 4: The Final Fury

Now reading: The Left Hand of Destiny, Book 2

Next: Diplomatic Implausibility, New Frontier 6: Finstere Verbündete (Dark Allies)
Upcoming: The Brave and the Bold, Allegiance in Exile

A full schedule.
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Old February 3 2013, 06:53 AM   #1725
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Even though I felt like I was getting screwed on the prices I bit the bullet and bought all the Slings and Arrows stories. Overall I would rate the 'book' as average. I like the first couple of stories the most which showed the Enterprise during the Dominion war in a much more interesting way than The Battle for Betazed and the Behind the Lines books. A couple of the stories really didn't do anything for me at all, Crusher not liking the hologram and Riker thinking about his transporter clone. The other two were ok but didn't stand out for me.

One thing that really annoyed me was even though these were overpriced at around $6.50 each the formatting was crap. No covers on half of them, no table of contents on most of them. There was at least one that didn't have spaces between the paragraphs when the location changed. So you're reading a paragraph taking place on Betazed and the next paragraph jumps to the Enterprise which is someplace else. And the final book removed the spaces between words when you changed font type, like italics. So every time someone mentioned the Enterprise you saw something like "theEnterprise". And there were a lot of italics in that final story. Just annoying.

I've already bought the final 8 SCE stories as well because I just don't see them coming out as books anytime soon and I felt like reading them. But man, this jacking up the price really isn't making me a fan of Simon & Schuster.
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