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Our reads March 2021
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dustydigger
Posted 2021-02-28 4:14 PM (#22940)
Subject: Our reads March 2021



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Dusty's TBR for March
James A Owen - Here There Be Dragons
R A McAvoy - Tea With The Black Dragon
George R Stewart - Earth Abides
Lois McMaster Bujold - Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
Bob Shaw - Light of Other Days(short story)
Johan Harstad - 172 hours on the Moon
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daxxh
Posted 2021-02-28 11:29 PM (#22941 - in reply to #22940)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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daxxh's reads for March - maybe
The Warship - Neal Asher (started it already - good so far)
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart (started this one too - very good so far)
Caine's Mutiny - Charles Gannon
State of Fear - Michael Crichton
Chaos Vector - Megan O'Keefe
The Drowned World - JG Ballard
Rhythm of War - Brandon Sanderson (in transit from the library again. Hope I can finish it this time.)

Some of these are pretty hefty tomes. I have no idea how many I will get through, especially since I have a tendency to grab some random book and start reading.
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spoltz
Posted 2021-03-02 8:26 AM (#22942 - in reply to #22941)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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spoltz's read's for March:

The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden
A Memory Called Empire - Arkady Martine
The Water Dancer - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Now that I'm done with my Nebula challenge, I want to read last year's Hugo winner. The Bear and the Nightingale is my book club's March read. I have a ton of books on my kindle from the cheap deals of the day and a bunch from the last several science fiction conventions cheap paperback tables. I don't have any order of what I'll read. I just kind of randomly pick from these piles depending on what grabs me at the moment.
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dustydigger
Posted 2021-03-12 12:55 PM (#22956 - in reply to #22940)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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Here There Be Dragons was an pleasant enough YA read ,nice ideas about a group of adventurers who meet up with mythical beasts and characters from literature. The execution didnt quite reach the levels of invention however,so I doubt if I will continue with the series.
I am now enjoying Clifford D Simak's final novel Highway of Eternity. Not up to his very best but still a very interesting time travel adventure tale .
Also have obtained Stapledon's Last and First Men.
Due to a book challenge elsewhere I have to put those aside for now to read Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop. I am so not a historical fiction fan as a rule,but Cather's writing is so beautiful I think I will truly get gripped by this book.
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daxxh
Posted 2021-03-14 11:02 AM (#22958 - in reply to #22956)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart was excellent. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd was ok. It was a who-dun-it set in Victorian (or some time around there) England with a quirky female detective.

Take a Look at the Five and Ten by Connie Willis was a good story, a nice uplifting read for when the world is falling apart.

Chaos Vector by Megan E. O'Keefe was excellent. This is book 2 and I will be reading book 3 when it gets published.

State of Fear by Michael Crichton had me smiling, even though it is not a humorous book. This was written in 2004 but it could have been written yesterday in the way disinformation and sensationalism play a prominent role in the story. Everyone has an agenda and some people will go to great lengths to make sure theirs is the one the masses believe. I will stick to my "Show me data and I will draw my own conclusions" attitude.

Edited by daxxh 2021-03-14 11:06 AM
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daxxh
Posted 2021-03-14 11:04 PM (#22959 - in reply to #22958)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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@dustydigger - I have Death Comes for the Archbishop on my TBR pile. Let me know what you think of it.
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illegible_scribble
Posted 2021-03-20 6:32 AM (#22980 - in reply to #22940)
Subject: RE: Our reads March 2021



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My comments on the books listed above which I've read:

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold: this is quite a change-up from the earlier Miles adventures, but I liked it. It's a quieter, more philosophical story with some great humor, about two older people who, having each suffered the loss of their great love, find meaning and purpose moving forward rather than just retiring and waiting to die.

"Light of Other Days" by Bob Shaw (short story): this one, while having a great concept, has not aged well, with two of the main characters being an abused wife and her abusive husband. It's still worth reading, but if you go in knowing the bad stuff, hopefully you can pay more attention to the good stuff. 

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart: I grew up reading Stewart's Gothic mysteries, and I much prefer her Merlin sequence to the horrifying Mists of Avalon series by MZB.

Chaos Vector by Megan O'Keefe: I recently finished this, and I thought it was better than the first (Velocity Weapon). You very much have to have a good recall of the events of the first book to keep up with it and enjoy it, though.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine: this was first on my Hugo ballot last year and I really loved it. It has a similar feel to Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch series. I'm really looking forward to the sequel (A Desolation Called Peace).

Take a Look at the Five and Ten by Connie Willis: this is very much the typical Willis Christmas story, a mystery with miscommunications and misunderstandings, not too serious, and a nice feel-good factor.


My recent reading:

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez: I really can't rave about this book enough. Go into it with no expectations other than it's a generation-spanning epic space adventure. I put it on my Hugo Novel ballot, and the author on my Astounding Award ballot.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: be aware that the story starts out with the attempted suicide of the main character who has lost pretty much everything. She thinks she has done everything wrong in her life, but gets the chance to see how having made different choices for a number of pivotal moments would have affected her life. I really liked the ending here, and thought it was a feel-good contrast to the grim beginning. It's kind of a fantasy version of Ted Chiang's science-fictional Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom

In the Black by Patrick S. Tomlinson: this is a good thinking person's military SF space adventure which is way better than the typical pew-pew stories. I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it -- in a good way.

Gallowglass by S.J. Morden: this is a rather epic deep-space adventure, and it's pretty good. It turned out to be quite different from what I was expecting, and I liked that unpredictability. Like Morden's other books, the worldbuilding and technical details are the stars of the show, and the characterization is okay but not as strong.

The Last Dance and The Last Campaign by Martin L. Shoemaker: this is good military SF space adventure with a murder mystery and lots of political machinations.

The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky: this is a decent parallel-universe story with big stakes. I've come to the conclusion that all of the author's works I've read are fine, but never quite get over the threshold into being so good that I can rave about them.

Piranesi by Susannah Clarke: if you don't know who Aleister Crowley is, reading his Wikipedia entry is probably a good prep for this short novel. It's strange and interesting, but I felt vaguely dissatisfied by the ending (but I can't tell you what it could do differently to make me feel more satisfied).

The Dark Archive by Genevieve Cogman: only for people who've read the previous books, another interesting adventure. I really enjoyed the earlier books, but I think that the series is getting a bit repetitive at this point. 


At the top of the TBR pile:

The Stone Weta by Octavia Cade: a short climate fiction novel crossed with a Mars colonization novel, featuring revolutionaries who are biologists, entomologists, and botanists.

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett: the first book, Foundryside, was enjoyable but did not blow me away the way the author's Divine Cities trilogy did. Based on other peoples' comments, I'm expecting this one to be the same, but I think the worldbuilding is still very interesting.

The Machine Dynasties trilogy (vN, iD, and ReV) by Madeline Ashby: this looks like it's an updated take on Asimov's 3 Laws, with some interesting twists.

I've started both The One and Future Witches and The Midnight Bargain but have set them both aside at least for the moment, because they seem to be predictable stories about witches, and I've hit my bag limit for witch stories at this point. 

 

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spoltz
Posted 2021-03-20 6:16 PM (#22982 - in reply to #22980)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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I haven't been reading as fast as I usually have this month. In general, the books are bigger and require a little more thinking. So far I've read:

The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden - Really liked this Russian fairy tale-like story. I will probably read the rest of the trilogy somewhere down the line.

A Memory Called Empire - Arkady Martine - This was so-so for me. I liked the prose and character development, but I'm generally not a court politics subgenre person. I had a hard time caring where the plot went.

The Blade Between - Sam J. Miller - Loved this strange ghost story about gentrification and whale spirits. Sort of a cross between horror and noir.

Mexican Gothic - Silvia Moreno-Garcia - Really liked this Lovecraftian horror tale with a British family in Mexico. I thought there could have been more Mexican culture in it though. It was very British in its Gothic style, though the protagonist was a young Mexican woman.

The Water Dancer - Ta-Nehisi Coates - Really liked this as well. Strange magical realism in pre-Civil War Virginia involving the Underground Railroad.

Next on my list is The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D. Simak. I'm about seventy pages in and am really enjoying it.

I've been working from home this week and will work from home again next week because my boyfriend has COVID and I'm isolating. He developed symptoms after we spent time together a week ago. They only lasted for about 4 days, so we're lucky that it wasn't worse. However, I'm still waiting for my results to come back, which will probably be Monday. I had to wait 5 days after exposure to get tested, so that was yesterday. I'm symptom free so far. Keep me in your thoughts. On the bright side, it's given me extra time to read when I've not been busy with work.
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dustydigger
Posted 2021-03-26 2:24 PM (#22998 - in reply to #22982)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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Finished Brian Aldiss' Moment of Eclipse.BFSA winner 1970 A bit patchy,some stories are barely spec fic at all,and I found those pretentious. Enjoyed Supertoys Last All Summer Long,and the stories which are actual SF are quite good,but as a whole I wasnt too impressed. I tend to be that way with Aldiss. Too dry and dispassionate for my tastes.I gave up on Helleconia Spring after 20 pages,too many info dumps for my tastes.
Have been reading some mid level fun YA books, and off genre Death Comes for the Archbishop was a real delight,beautifully written episodic tale of french missionaries in the 1850s working in the wild but superb New Mexico landscape. Wonderful
Still working my way through Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Still packs a punch,and it apparently had a strong effect on Frank Herbert when he was writing Dune.
********************
Steve,I hope all is well with you.I have been shielding for a year,and Boris is letting us out April.1st. Sadly April is abad month. I lot a brother in law,cousin and family friend within a few weeks last year. Couldnt even attend their funerals.Hard times for everyone. Take care..
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spoltz
Posted 2021-03-31 4:06 PM (#23008 - in reply to #22940)
Subject: Re: Our reads March 2021



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Thanks Dusty! I did test negative, so that's a relief. My boyfriend is healthy again and finally back at work, as am I as I had to quarantine per my company's covid rules.

While I was quarantining, I did get a lot of reading done even though I was working a lot from home. I read:

The Werewolf Principle - Clifford D Simak - Misleading name, but I really enjoyed it.
Across a Billion Years - Robert Silverberg - Not one of his best. It didn't age well. The main character is racist and sexist, and even though he has a metanoia at the end, it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It's too bad because I thought the premise and world building was really good.
City in the Middle of the Night - Charlie Jane Anders - Liked it much better than her first effort. I thought it was really imaginative world building.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E Harrow - Loved this book. A magical portal story and a book within a book. I loved the main characters.
Middlegame - Seanan McGuire - Really enjoyed this. Strange mix of telepathy and time travel with twins. It began a little confusingly, but ended up a great chase story.
Gideon the Ninth - Tamsyn Muir - Very disappointed in this one. I found it confusing and very boring.

Not sure what I'm going to start April with. Maybe another Simak...
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