Our reads in June 2021

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Our reads in June 2021

1dustydigger
Giu 1, 3:55am

Another month,another pile of books. Share your reading plans for June.

2dustydigger
Modificato: Giu 26, 9:35am

Dusty's TBR for June
SF/Fantasy
Timothy Zahn - Heir to the Empire
Nicola Griffith - Ammonite
Poul Anderson - Brain Wave
C M Kornbluth - Not This August
Charles G Finney - Circus of Dr Lao
Joanna Russ - Picnic on Paradise
Murray Leinster - Med Ship
John Wyndham - The Kraken Wakes
Andre Norton - Star Guard

from other genres
Edward Eager - Magic or Not?
Laurie Lee - Cider With Rosie
Katie Fforde -Wedding Season

3Shrike58
Giu 1, 6:16am

Defekt and The Only Good Indians are in my grubby little fingers. I'm expecting the Book Hold Fairy to shortly come thru with Hench. After that, we'll see. I had a few other reserve books lined up but they're really not grabbing me at this point, but one of the local systems (Fairfax County (Va.)) is about to resume normal service and I might just waltz in to one of their regional branches this week.

4Sakerfalcon
Giu 1, 7:17am

I finished and enjoyed Beholder's eye, and have started This is how you lose the time war.

5rshart3
Giu 1, 10:47am

>2 dustydigger: Dusty, your lists are always good! On this one I esp. liked Ammonite, Circus of Dr Lao, and Edward Eager. I organize my reading differently. I decide what to read when I finish the previous book, not by the month; but I do follow a pattern. I'm usually reading a fiction, a nonfiction, and an essay collection. The essay collection is for bed before I go to sleep. The fiction often rotates between genres (classic novels, mystery, SF, fantasy, historical).
My current choices seem to be taking forever since they're long: Martin Chuzzlewit by Dickens, and the 810 page Napoleon: a life by Roberts. I predict a bunch of shorter works in the near future... :-) Oh, and a delightful book of essays on books, libraries, and reading: The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel -- highly recommended!

6karenb
Giu 1, 1:54pm

>2 dustydigger: Your TBR lists always have a good variety of books in them. Me, I've been meaning to reread Ammonite for a while now. And I still haven't read/finished Picnic on Paradise (or The Female Man).

>3 Shrike58: I just finished Defekt! I liked it.

Finished Persephone Station and enjoyed it.

8RobertDay
Giu 1, 5:54pm

I finished the Lovecraft collection a couple of days ago. Not a fan.

After a break with a book on the Soviet aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev, I shall return to genre with Peter Nicholls' The Science in Science Fiction, which has somehow evaded being read since I bought it new in 1982!!!

9igorken
Giu 1, 5:57pm

>8 RobertDay: Thanks, Robert, you've given new hope to some of my books that had been feeling neglected :)

I wonder if the fact that you're reading it 40 years later will add an extra layer to it. Enjoy!

10Karlstar
Giu 1, 10:34pm

I finished Otherland: City of Golden Shadow and I just picked up The Last Emperox. I have the first 3 books in Le Guin's Hainish cycle (as LT categorizes them) coming from ABE books, so that's what is likely to be next.

11ScoLgo
Giu 2, 2:26pm

>10 Karlstar: I notice Worlds of Exile and Illusion in trade paperback is listed at 370 pages. That means all three Hainish books combined add up to just barely over half the page count of City of Golden Shadow. Reading the Le Guin should be a breeze for you. ;)

I've been on a mini Silvia Moreno-Garcia kick lately. Finished Gods of Jade and Shadow last night, which I thought was quite good. The other Garcia book I read recently, and which I liked even better, was Mexican Gothic. A creepy tale in the vein of Stoker's The Lair of the White Worm. I thought it was a better riff on that particular conceit than Stoker's.

Now back to Foreigner with #14, Protector.

12Stevil2001
Giu 2, 10:33pm

I am about to start my 2021 Hugo reading with Elatsoe. Well, technically, Lodestar reading in this case, I guess.

13karenb
Giu 3, 4:32pm

>12 Stevil2001: Oh, I liked Elatsoe! Enjoy

14Shrike58
Giu 4, 8:44am

Finished Defekt yesterday evening and liked it almost as much as Finna, though Cipri's first novella set in this milieu has more poignancy going for it.

15Karlstar
Giu 4, 1:02pm

>11 ScoLgo: It is on the slow road from ABE, so I'll have to fill in with something else before WEI shows up, especially since I already finished The Last Emperox.

16dustydigger
Giu 4, 5:57pm

Wow! I LOVED Charles G Finney's The Circus of Dr Lao.It is so strange,funny,satiric,bizarre,haunting,often sailing close to the wind in matters of sex for 1935.Here's the bliurb......
''Abalone, Arizona, is a sleepy southwestern town whose chief concerns are boredom and surviving the Great Depression. That is, until the circus of Dr. Lao arrives and immensely and irrevocably changes the lives of everyone drawn to its tents. Expecting a sideshow spectacle, the citizens of Abalone instead confront and learn profound lessons from the mythical made real - a chimera, a Medusa, a talking sphinx, a sea serpent, witches, the Hound of the Hedges, a werewolf, a mermaid, an ancient god, and the elusive, ever-changing Dr. Lao. The circus unfolds, spinning magical, dark strands that ensnare the town's populace: the sea serpent's tale shatters love's illusions; the fortune-teller's shocking pronouncements toll the tedium and secret dread of every person's life; sensual undercurrents pour forth for men and women alike; and the dead walk again. Dazzling and macabre, literary and philosophical, The Circus of Dr. Lao has been acclaimed as a masterpiece of speculative fiction and influenced such writers as Ray Bradbury.''
If this book was published today I think it would be a cult classic.For 1935 it it absolutely amazing.
I was so lucky to get it on Kindle for only £1.99. I can now go back and savour it anytime. Cool. :0)

17SChant
Giu 5, 8:34am

Reading Sarah Pinsker's short story collection Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea. Beautifully written so far, and more surrealism than SF&F really. Reminds me of Kelly Link.

18iansales
Modificato: Giu 6, 2:40am

Read The Hobbit, which I thought I'd read as a kid but now I'm not so sure. Can't say I liked it much - patronising, the simplistic naming. Some interesting plot choices for a children's book, and, of course, it led to The Lord of the Rings...

Now reading Valkyrie's Song, the fourth book in a superior fantasy series.

19Karlstar
Giu 5, 11:42pm

I finished The Last Emperox, it was ok. Not sure why it is called that, actually.

20karenb
Giu 6, 1:05pm

Read Black Water Sister by Zen Cho, which takes place in present day Penang Malaysia. I like Cho's historic books, but I was so happy to find out that Cho wrote a contemporary story, about gods and ghosts and immigrant experiences, among other things. Excellent story and characters. If this sounds like your thing, definitely check it out.

21karenb
Giu 6, 1:07pm

Now reading Victories greater than death by Charlie Jane Anders. Space adventure with Earthlings. Over the top in good ways; lots of fun. YA, if that matters to you.

22Shrike58
Giu 7, 7:34am

Finished The Only Good Indians. Not my normal flavor of horror, and for me it has a structural problem, but it mostly lives up to the hype. Essentially, it's about youth redeeming the errors of their parents; a hard book to talk about without giving everything away.

23ChrisRiesbeck
Giu 7, 2:35pm

Finished Desperate Measures and Precious Cargo, about to finish the trilogy with The Essence of Evil, hoping #3 is more like #2 than #1.

24dustydigger
Modificato: Giu 7, 5:12pm

Finished Murray Leinster's Medship,enjoyed most of it but the last part of this fixup was too slow and turgid.
Want to finish Ammonite and John Carter of Mars this week,and then read some non SF,such as Cider with Rosie before reading Heir to the Empire,not my cup of tea,but is on several WWEnd lists

25Stevil2001
Modificato: Giu 7, 9:01pm

Continuing my Hugo reading; just finished the novella FINNA (good premise, meh execution) and am starting the Parable of the Sower graphic novel adaptation. This one is odd as I have never gotten around to the book! But I guess I will be able to judge it as a standalone graphic novel.

26Kanarthi
Giu 7, 9:55pm

Finished A Memory Called Empire last week and am now mid A Desolation Called Peace. I'm enjoying them, but I'm a bit surprised that they were so hyped up. The sci-fi elements seem rather underexplored, although they both contain lovely depictions of learning a new language.

27iansales
Modificato: Giu 8, 3:19am

Finished Valkyrie's Song. Good stuff. Not sure what to read next. Might reread Nova.

28SChant
Giu 8, 12:32pm

Finished Sarah Pinsker's short story collection Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea and enjoyed it very much.
Now starting on Mexican Gothic. To be honest "gothic" is not really my style, but this has got good reviews from lots of people I know, so I'm giving it a try.

29andyl
Giu 8, 1:23pm

I've just finished Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is the first part of a space opera trilogy.

30iansales
Giu 8, 2:25pm

>29 andyl: Is there no end to the man's... books?

31ScoLgo
Modificato: Giu 8, 4:17pm

Finished The Wanderer yesterday. Didn't much care for it. The gleefully blatant misogyny and racism on display in books like this is often excused with statements similar to, "Oh, that was just how it was in those days." However, before this book won the Hugo in 1965, other works such as Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, Blish's A Case of Conscience, Simak's Way Station, and Brackett's The Long Tomorrow, had all either won or been in the running without putting hate and racism on display in quite the same manner.

Besides the condescending tone of the writing, the other thing the book lacks is a decent story. There is a germ of an interesting idea but the narrative is very messy with too many viewpoint characters, many of whom get very little page time, development, or resolution.

I can only conclude that 1965 must have been a thin year for nominees. At least I can say that I've checked another one off my Hugo list. That makes #54 of 69.

32karenb
Giu 8, 4:03pm

>31 ScoLgo: Touchstone should maybe be The Wanderer? (by Leiber, not Creech)

33ScoLgo
Giu 8, 4:19pm

>32 karenb: Fixed, thank you!

34Neil_Luvs_Books
Giu 8, 5:04pm

I am in the middle of Pamela Sargent's Venus of Dreams. I am really enjoying it thus far and so plan to also read her sequels Venus of Shadows and Child of Venus. Not sure why it has taken me so long to stumble across this trilogy.

35Karlstar
Giu 8, 11:09pm

>31 ScoLgo: I have that one but haven't read it, you've likely saved me from ever reading it.

36ScoLgo
Giu 9, 3:25pm

>35 Karlstar: Ratings here on LT are mostly higher than I gave the book, (1.5 stars was the most I could muster). If you already own it, I would not urge you to avoid trying it. After all, what doesn't work for one reader might be fine for another.

IOW, YMMV.

37Maddz
Giu 9, 4:14pm

Finished Age of Reptiles Omnibus and Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians. Basically a non-verbal story set in the Cretaceous starring dinosaurs. A bit on the Disney side for my taste in that there seems to be a certain amount of anthropomorphism.

Finished The Mask of Dimitrios. Interesting pre-WWII thriller, an author retraces the criminal career of a ruthless crook across the Balkans.

Still trying to finish Road Seven (I suspect it's going to be DNF), and have started re-reading The Scholars of Night (having scored the eARC of the new edition).

38Sakerfalcon
Giu 10, 5:32am

I'm reading Mazes of power which is political/sociological SF, but I'm not convinced by the society or the characters. It's interesting enough to keep me reading though.

39justifiedsinner
Giu 10, 10:33am

>36 ScoLgo: Read it many years ago so my perceptions have altered. All I remember is that it is for cat lovers in a very literal way.

40nx74defiant
Giu 10, 8:52pm

I read The Purchase of the North Pole. Lesser known Jules Verne.

I found it quite amusing.

41iansales
Giu 11, 1:59am

Finished Nova. I last read it about 17 years ago but had remembered little of the plot. Not, I think, one of my favourite Delanys, despite the high reputation it has.

Now reading Heroes and Villains, a collection of four novellas by Lewis Shiner.

42Karlstar
Giu 11, 7:37am

>36 ScoLgo: I only own that one because it was in a large batch of books I got from someone else years ago. You may have also explained my total lack of an urge to read it, even though it has been technically sitting around on my TBR pile for about 10 years.

43seitherin
Giu 11, 4:29pm

added a re-read of Neuromancer by William Gibson to my rotation.

44drmamm
Giu 11, 8:19pm

Getting ready to start Inversions after swinging over into Fantasy with Warbreaker (very good!). I thought I had finally finished all of the novel-length Culture books, but then I realized that I completely skipped over this one!

45dustydigger
Giu 12, 4:38am

Finished Nicola Griffith's Ammonite and John Carter of Mars. Now on to Poul Anderson's Brain Wave and perhaps a few light short stories,or perhaps I'll re-read a cozy fifties catastrophe novel,like The Kraken Wakes.Or a junior classic.Nothing too complicated for my poor old brain worn out from struggling with pain from a massive arthritis flareup. Easing off a little after 6 weeks agony,but my poor old brain cant cope! lol.
I did have R A Lafferty's bonkers Past Master lined up,but dont think my old brain could cope. Yep,good old bland John Wyndham will be much more suitable! :0)

46iansales
Giu 12, 7:51am

Finished Heroes and Villains. Some of the novellas worked better than others. The opener, 'The Black Sun', alternate 1930s history, felt like an even more improbable Mission Impossible episode. 'The Next', which originally started life as a screenplay, wasn't bad. 'Doglandia', with talking cats and dogs, felt slight. And 'Dr Helios', a thriller set in 1950s Egypt, felt a little too Bond-ish for the level of historical detail.

Now reading Nocilla Lab, the third of the trilogy. Only marginally genre.

47Maddz
Giu 12, 10:33am

Finally read An Easy Death. Not bad - sort of a mash-up of urban fantasy, a Western and alt-hist. Set in an alt-hist North America in (what was) Texas and Mexico with magic. A bit ultra-violent for my taste, but it kind of goes with the heroine.

48Maddz
Giu 12, 2:15pm

The eARC of the new edition of The Scholars of Night.

The best cold-war thriller you'll ever read.

49karenb
Giu 12, 3:04pm

>47 Maddz: Good description. The second book (A longer fall) takes place in a small town, and the third one (The Russian cage) in Los Angeles. All violent, yes, but different degrees of Western-in-the-desert, if that makes a difference.

50pgmcc
Modificato: Giu 12, 3:41pm

>48 Maddz:
Oh dear!
Now look what you have done. You do realise I am going to have to check out the veracity of your statement. You can chalk up a direct hit. BB right between the eyes.

ETA: Now that I have checked availability I see the copies available are prohibitively expensive and it will be Sep 2021 before viably priced copies will be published. Until then.

51Maddz
Giu 12, 4:20pm

>47 Maddz: Yes, I was picking up The Man with No Name vibes from the book. I've added the other 2 to my watch list on eReaderIQ.

>48 Maddz: Sorry! (she says unrepentantly). I'm not surprised the original paper editions are expensive - they're long out of print and probably now rather collectable. I got the eARC from NetGalley and I'm just about to post my review here now I've logged that edition.

52iansales
Giu 13, 4:18am

>48 Maddz: I have the original paperback, and I read it many years ago. I remember it as being good, but Anthony Price's Audley/Butler novels are better.

53SFF1928-1973
Giu 13, 5:26am

>41 iansales: By an odd coincidence I recently (maybe a year or two ago) tried to read Nova. It seemed like Delany was trying to write a seafaring yarn set in space, which is not how I see space travel at all. Something about Delany rubs me the wrong way although I was able to complete Babel 17 and I quite enjoyed The Ballad of Beta-2, which at least respected the normal SF conventions.

54SFF1928-1973
Giu 13, 5:36am

I've been reading (somewhat to my dismay) The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter. One can argue this exists on the edge of the SF genre although Dr. Hoffman's impressive machines only exist as a means to deconstruct objective reality and replace it with a kind of consensus of our innermost desires.

The result is what I imagine a series of bad acid trips would be like. The message I took away from the whole debacle was that if we could have what we truly desire it would destroy us. Be careful what you wish for.

55iansales
Giu 13, 6:33am

>53 SFF1928-1973: Nova does feel a little like a space opera Moby Dick in places, even though it's chiefly about the rivalry between Lorq Von Ray and Prince Red.

I'm a big fan of Delany's fiction, and my favourite is Dhalgren. I find his short fiction often better than his novels. Empire Star, a novella, is excellent (and was published together with The Ballad of Beta-2 in the UK).

56SChant
Giu 14, 7:00am

Started Empire of Silence for my SF&F reading group. If I'm already skimming by page 8 is it a bad sign? :}

57Darth-Heather
Giu 14, 8:54am

>56 SChant: not a bad sign exactly, hopefully something about it will grab you more as you go along. If you skim the entire thing, it just means you will get out of it what is good for you, which is different for every book. that's one of the reasons I haven't done much with audio books - I like being able to skim sometimes when there are scenes that go on too long and stop making a point. :)

58paradoxosalpha
Giu 14, 11:30am

I enjoy Delany's writing and ideas even when he's not at his best, and my favorites so far are Triton and Dhalgren (the latter has been needing a re-read for many years). I've got his Neveryon books in my TBR pile right now.

59Shrike58
Giu 14, 12:51pm

>56 SChant: I dunno, I had a non-fiction book that I threw at the wall after a page and a half last week, because it was obvious that the trade-off between tedium and information was not worth it ("The Bonanza King" by Greg Crouch).

60iansales
Modificato: Giu 15, 1:38am

Finished Nocilla Lab. Good stuff. I'm not convinced the final section, which was a comic, was rendered correctly on Kindle. I have a paperback.copy but, of course, it's in storage...

Now reading Klara and the Sun, and the writing really is quite lovely.

61pgmcc
Giu 15, 2:54am

>59 Shrike58: I have a few dents in the wall for that very same reason.

62iansales
Giu 15, 3:49am

>56 SChant: Just had a look at the excerpt on Amazon. My eyes were bleeding before I was halfway down the first page. Gollancz really have gone downhill the last few years.

63SChant
Giu 15, 3:52am

>61 pgmcc: Fortunately for my decor, this is a library book so I can't hurl it!

64Shrike58
Giu 15, 7:22am

Finished Hench, which I found to be a great deconstruction of superheroism under modern conditions; it is admittedly not for the squeamish, as the author has a flair for walking the line between comic-book horror and real-life damage to human flesh.

Next up will be Mexican Gothic.

65Stevil2001
Modificato: Giu 15, 9:49am

My 2021 Lodestar reading continues with A Deadly Education. Despite really enjoying Novik's Spinning Silver, I was a bit put off by this one's "Harry Potter but for grown-ups" high concept marketing spin... but the first chapter charmed and intrigued me.

66Shrike58
Modificato: Giu 15, 12:54pm

>65 Stevil2001: My understanding is that Novik's editors wanted her to aim this novel at an older audience than she had originally intended, and the awkwardness shows. While I expect to look at the follow-on books, they're going to be medium priority, as opposed to read as soon as possible.

67ScoLgo
Giu 15, 11:32am

>64 Shrike58: I rather enjoyed Mexican Gothic. I hope it treats you well. It does feature a bit of a slow start...

68Neil_Luvs_Books
Giu 15, 3:49pm

>58 paradoxosalpha: Yes, I really enjoyed Dhalgren when I read it between high school and university. And like you, it is on my must read again list. I am currently reading Delany’s The Einstein Intersection. I’m really enjoying it so far.

69Karlstar
Giu 15, 5:07pm

>68 Neil_Luvs_Books: Let us know what you think when you are done with The Einstein Intersection. I found that one to be too 60's for me.

70Maddz
Modificato: Giu 16, 1:40pm

Road Seven, by Keith Rosson

Given to me from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in mistake, but the publisher said to keep it and sent me my original request as well.

It's taken me the best part of a year and 3 tries to read it; I kept stalling and my reading slump last summer didn't help either. Basically, 2 guys go cryptid hunting in a independent territory of Iceland. Both guys are basically losers; one is a perpetual student about to flunk out of his graduate programme, the other is an author who had a run-away best seller with what purported to be an autobiographical account of an alien abduction.

I had a hard time caring about either character and spent most of the book wondering why they were supposed to be remotely interesting.

Not my cup of tea at all.

71iansales
Giu 17, 1:55am

Klara and the Sun was very good. Now reading America City, and it seems like a thinly-veiled exploration of the current culture wars so far.

72RobertDay
Giu 17, 5:45pm

Finished The Science in Science Fiction - still basically sound, though in very many areas the text has been overtaken by events, not all to do with science. In 1982, for example, the Bletchley Park codebreaking computer COLOSSUS was still secret, so the first electronic computer credit went to ENIAC. A segment on climate change was more concerned over the overdue New Ice Age, together with hopes that anthropogenic environmental warming might balance that out. And with all the recent work on exotic materials that can bend light, the assertion that invisibility shields were impossible raised a bit of a smile. But mostly, it was a matter of reading "X may be possible in 50 years" and thinking "Yup, done that.... seen that.... I've got one of those in the next room..."

Next up is a re-read of Banks' Against a Dark Background.

73pgmcc
Giu 17, 5:48pm

>72 RobertDay:
I come in peace!

74dustydigger
Giu 18, 4:37pm

Poul Anderson's Brain Wave was great fun. Earth has been under some sort of mental suppressor ,and when it comes out of the zone ,within weeks IQ multiplies hugely. Even (clinically rated at the time) morons now have IQs of 150,though they still are looked down onAnimals too are raised up. Lovely picture on the cover of one edition of a chimp waving a rifle rides to the recue of a human being attacked by a bull and some mean pigs! And in among the wild actions Anderson finds plenty of time to ruminate of society's orgaisation, inequalities and ethics. - all in 170 pages....... pretty standard 1954 SF then.
Not too bad a year really in SF. Fun Winston classics for the young lads,Heinlein and Norton's exciting juveniles. And a few other not so bad books,including:
Poul Anderson - The Broken Sword
Isaac Asimov - Caves of Steel
C S Lewis - Horse and His Boy
Hal Clement - Mission of Gravity
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Richard Matheson - I Am Legend
J R R Tolkien - Lord of the Rings

not too bad,really. :0)

75ScoLgo
Giu 18, 6:03pm

Finished Peacemaker yesterday. Going to take a short break from the Foreigner series to read Wolfe's Soldier of the Mist and its two sequels. I have owned this trilogy for a number of years but am just now getting around to them.

Recently read The Price You Pay, a non-genre title from Nick Harkaway, (writing under the alias of Aidan Truhen). What a riot - but not for the easily offended. For anyone who has experienced reading Harkaway, this is him with no filter. At. All. I loved it.

Currently e-reading Terra Nullius. Interesting start. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of reading a couple of online blurbs, which ruined the premise/twist. Oh well... early going but at least the writing is good, thus far...

Also nibbling my way through From Dark Places. A short story collection from the author of the Planetfall series.

76pgmcc
Giu 18, 6:14pm

>75 ScoLgo: Glad to hear you liked The Price You Pay. I liked your description, "this is him with no filter".

I hope you enjoy Seven Demons.

77RobertDay
Giu 18, 7:06pm

>75 ScoLgo: Dontcha just hate it when that happens? My US paperback edition of Eon did that, and the twist is the whole point of the novel!!

78ScoLgo
Giu 18, 10:11pm

>76 pgmcc: Yes, it was a very good read for me. I really wish I had not heard the true identity of Aidan Truhen prior to reading the book. I do think I would have recognized Harkaway's style but I cannot be sure now. Seven Demons is already on the shelf and I plan to get to it before summer is done.

>77 RobertDay: Yeah, I usually try to avoid even reading book blurbs. In this instance, I was choosing books for a specific reading challenge on Worlds Without End. It was down to Terra Nullius and another title and I ran across more information than I wanted to know. Ah, well... it truly is a first-world problem.

79iansales
Giu 19, 3:05am

>77 RobertDay: There's the classic where the US publisher retitled Brian Aldiss's Non-Stop as Starship...

80bnielsen
Giu 19, 3:34am

>79 iansales: Yeah. And I even have both of them, because I didn't notice it was the same book (so the US publisher won).

81iansales
Giu 19, 8:07am

Now reading War of the Maps. Never quite make up my mind about McAuley's sf. I should lie it a lot since it does a lot of things I like, but it often leaves me cold.

82Shrike58
Modificato: Giu 20, 12:24pm

>81 iansales: I think McAuley's characterization skills might have been atrophying for awhile; or maybe my standards have just gone up.

83Stevil2001
Modificato: Giu 19, 10:44am

In advance of reading Network Effect (since I will read all the Best Novel Hugo finalists), I am catching up on the Murderbot novellas (I left off with Artificial Condition back when that was a finalist for Best Novella), so today I finished Rogue Protocol.

I know people really like these books, but I have a bad feeling that for me, they may have peaked with All Systems Red...

84Neil_Luvs_Books
Giu 19, 8:46pm

>69 Karlstar: I just finished The Einstein Intersection and it was just ok for me. I seemed to miss the point of aliens inhabiting human form after humans have gone elsewhere (?) and why those who are different are being killed. Wasn’t completely clear to me. Interesting episodes throughout the book but in the end it was for me. Weird because I remember really enjoying the challenge of Dhalgren when I read it four decades ago. Back then I got the point that there was no point. The point was the journey not the destination. I’ll have to reread it now to see if I respond to it the same way again. Babel-17 is still on my list to read by Samuel R. Delany.

85Karlstar
Giu 19, 11:21pm

>74 dustydigger: That's a great list!

>84 Neil_Luvs_Books: Thanks for your thoughts. I found it kind of pointless myself, but as you said, interesting in spots.

86humouress
Giu 20, 10:09am

This month, so far, on the fantasy side I’ve read Sorcerer’s Son by Phyllis Eisenstein and Bound in Blood by P.C. Hodgell. I’ve also read Hench and I was 2/3rds of the way through The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet when my Overdrive loan expired this afternoon :0(

87ChrisRiesbeck
Giu 20, 3:56pm

Finished Eye Among the Blind. Taking a break from SF with a mystery The Case of Sonia Wayward.

88daxxh
Giu 20, 11:59pm

Finished The Vanished Seas and After Atlas this weekend. I enjoyed both.
Halfway through A Desolation Called Peace and The Ministry For the Future. Even though both are good, I am having a hard time getting through these. The latest Hillerman mystery Stargazer has become available via the library, so I will probably read that before I finish the other two.

89drmamm
Giu 21, 10:55am

I just finished Inversions, and I really liked it! I loved the dual story structure of the book, which alternated between the "Doctor" and the "Bodyguard." Although I am a big SF reader (and big fan of Banks), I read enough fantasy that I was comfortable with the medieval setting. In fact, I think I would rank this a above Excession, which is almost the complete opposite (the Culture has to deal with a civilization that is orders of magnitude more powerful, and almost the entire cast of characters are Minds) and is generally ranked by Culture readers as one of the best in the series. Inversions is much more "human," as it deals directly with the moral dilemma of Special Circumstances and how two agents handle that dilemma. The only quibble I have is that the names are weird, which is consistent with most Culture novels.

90seitherin
Giu 21, 4:29pm

could not be bothered to read more of After the Downfall by Harry Turtledove so i switched to reading The Soldiers of Fear by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

91Shrike58
Giu 22, 8:19am

Finished Mexican Gothic yesterday evening and, even though it had a lot going for it, the novel just didn't move me; maybe gothic is just not my thing. To put it another way, that I found the main character's over-bearing father the most relatable individual I suspect is not what I was supposed to get out of this story! Whatever else is going on, it's obvious that this was supposed to be about a "nouveau riche" society brat having to rise to the occasion, and the princess saving the prince; except I didn't find their relationship that believeable. Your mileage may differ.

92SChant
Giu 22, 9:03am

>91 Shrike58: Agree with everything you say. I didn't care who lived or died and found the ending very Hammer House of Horror.

93nrmay
Giu 22, 1:10pm

Finished the first four in the Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells.

94Karlstar
Giu 22, 2:33pm

>89 drmamm: I enjoyed Inversions as well.

Check out this poll, they are asking for votes.

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/22/1007341304/summer-sff-poll

95Stevil2001
Giu 22, 3:51pm

I just started Cory Doctorow's Walkaway. It is, I think, my first Doctorow, unless I've read some of his short sf and forgotten.

96ScoLgo
Giu 22, 3:51pm

>94 Karlstar: My five picks for the NPR post-2011 poll:

City of Blades
Before Mars
The Fifth Season
Angelmaker
The Bone Clocks

97iansales
Giu 22, 4:24pm

>96 ScoLgo: That reminds me... I usually do a "best of the half-year" around this time

98Karlstar
Giu 22, 11:12pm

>96 ScoLgo: Thanks for voting! Looks like I need to add 4 out of 5 of those to my wishlist.

99ScoLgo
Giu 22, 11:31pm

>96 ScoLgo: I'd be interested in that list, Ian.

>98 Karlstar: Which one have you read already? The only real stand-alone I listed there is Angelmaker. The others are books in a series with The Fifth Season being the only one that is book #1. The Bone Clocks is also sort of a stand-alone but it does tie in loosely with most every other David Mitchell book, most especially The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I don't at all suggest reading the Bennett or Newman series out of order as there will be spoilers for the earlier books.

100iansales
Modificato: Giu 23, 2:12am

>99 ScoLgo: These are books I read between 1 Jan and 30 Jun 2021, rather than books published during that period. It's been quite a good year reading-wise, and while I'm averaging around 60% male writers and 40% female writers, none of the female writers have made my top five, which is...

1 Klara and the Sun
2 Nocilla Lab
3 America City
4 Lonesome Dove
5 Crimson Darkness

101ScoLgo
Giu 23, 12:18pm

>100 iansales: Thanks! I will look into those. Been meaning to read Lonesome Dove for years but didn't yet have the others on my radar.

102iansales
Giu 23, 2:16pm

>101 ScoLgo: I don't know if the Nocilla trilogy has been published in the US. It's originally Spanish and translations were published in the UK by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

As for Crimson Darkness, see... https://medium.com/p/the-sf-utensil-crimson-darkness-4793800e0eca

103ScoLgo
Giu 23, 2:50pm

>102 iansales: I appreciate the info. Had a couple dollars in shipping credits lounging about so the first Venusworld e-book is now in my Amazon cloud.

The Nocilla trilogy is available here in a 3-volume slip-covered edition. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and translated by Thomas Bunstead. Added to my Amazon wish list at $16.99.

104vwinsloe
Giu 24, 9:39am

>100 iansales:, >101 ScoLgo: I finally read Lonesome Dove. I gave it 2 1/2 stars and my review was short:

"A bromance of the old west, filled with racist and sexist stereotypes.

The author himself eventually expressed regret about the popularity of the novel. In the preface to the 2000 edition he wrote: 'It's hard to go wrong if one writes at length about the Old West, still the phantom leg of the American psyche. I thought I had written about a harsh time and some pretty harsh people, but, to the public at large, I had produced something nearer to an idealization; instead of a poor man's Inferno, filled with violence, faithlessness and betrayal, I had actually delivered a kind of Gone With The Wind of the West, a turnabout I'll be mulling over for a long, long time.'"

Although not at all great literature, I immediately read and enjoyed Gideon the Ninth to cleanse my brain.

105iansales
Giu 24, 4:28pm

>104 vwinsloe: Seems a bit harsh. Racist and sexist stereotypes? What else do you expect from a western novel? That's a bit like complaining there are no white people in 1001 Nights. Sounds like depictions of the Wild West are still contentious and the US has a long way to go before it acknowledges its history.

106ChrisRiesbeck
Giu 24, 9:43pm

Finished non-sf The Case of Sonia Wayward and started Homegoing by Pohl.

107karenb
Giu 25, 2:45am

I'm not sure I can pick my five favorite fantasy/science fiction (/etc.) of the last ten years. Out of . . 800 books read? Argh.

Just finished reading Jemisin's The Inheritance trilogy. I read the first book when it came out, but for some reason I skipped the next two. It was pretty good (/understatement mode).

108SFF1928-1973
Giu 25, 5:59am

>79 iansales: I guess the publisher thought the new title would be more appealing to genre fans. Non-Stop doesn't sounds particularly sexy.

109SFF1928-1973
Giu 25, 6:11am

>104 vwinsloe: I didn't get to my current age without realizing that people invariably idealize the past while nitpicking the present.

Remember the good old days when nobody worried about coronavirus because we all had tuberculosis?

110Shrike58
Giu 25, 7:04am

>92 SChant: I have a sneaking suspicion that even though this was a short novel it probably could have been distilled down even more, and retained more shock value, as opposed to waiting for the other shoe to drop that you know is coming. Then again, my suspicion is that this sort of novel is about waiting for bad things to happen to people who mostly deserve it.

111vwinsloe
Giu 25, 8:56am

>105 iansales:, I am not talking about the depiction of racism and sexism of the historical times, although I highly recommend non-fiction books such as How the South Won the Civil War and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee for a less romanticized view. I am talking about the author's choice of narrative and character depictions, which were based more on myths and stereotypes than historical accuracy.

>109 SFF1928-1973:. LOL, yes. And kudos to Larry McMurty, R.I.P., who in the end recognized that people were using his work to mythologize about the American West. Lonesome Dove was written in 1986, and he should have known better.

112dustydigger
Giu 25, 10:39am

Finished Heir to the Empire a bit flat and bland to this non Star Wars .Much preferred Zahn's Quadrail series.Ah well,that ticked off my 82/100 book on the NPR list. I will now read Lucifer's Hammer from the same list,and am not really likely to finish much the rest of the list which is nearly all fantasy
Just check out the list I have been avoiding for years! lol

Game of Thrones
Eye of the World
Name of the Wind
Mists of Avalon
Mistborn
Silmarillion
Cryptonomicon
The Road
Time Traveler's Wife
The Way of Kings
Homeland
Kushiel's Dart
Wicked
Gardens of the Moon
Anathem
Furies of Calderon
Perdido St Station

Some of the most beloved and revered books around! lol. I have no wish to read any of them.Got 200 pages into Mists of Avalon and Name of the Wind and almost expired with boredom. attempted Anathem and found it very similar to The Name of the Rose,but with maths instead of christian sects. Gave up at page 50. As with Game of Thrones.
Fantasy just isnt my cup of tea! :0)

113paradoxosalpha
Giu 25, 10:46am

I've just waded in to The Book of the Short Sun, which will wrap up my read of Wolfe's Solar Cycle as planned for this year.

114vwinsloe
Giu 25, 1:06pm

>112 dustydigger:, it's funny how related genres can just not work for some people. I sometimes enjoy fantasy, but I hate magical realism with all of my heart.

115dustydigger
Giu 25, 4:48pm

>114 vwinsloe: lol,I dont like magic realism much either.
One Hundred Years of Solitude only 200 pages long,took me a whole month. I read a short chapter, 7 or 8 pages while eating my porridge (something else I have little enthusiasm for) and tossed it aside till the next day. :0) Doubt if I'll ever read more Marquez. lol.

116iansales
Giu 26, 4:32am

>108 SFF1928-1973: The whole point of the novel is that the characters don't realise they're on a generation starship. So titling the book Starship gives it away right from the start.

>111 vwinsloe: It was pretty obvious - to me, at least - that McMurtry had sanitised the Texas Rangers, and the villains were completely over-the-top villainous, when there probably wasn't much difference between them and the Rangers.

117vwinsloe
Modificato: Giu 26, 8:50am

>115 dustydigger:. Same.

>116 iansales:. And in McMurty's depiction, all Native Americans are savages, and Mexicans (who are foreigners) are bandits or cooks. Women are mostly whores, who are helpless and make foolish choices.

118Shrike58
Giu 26, 9:17am

>105 iansales: Getting to grips with real American history is a fraught issue...a lot of people over here in the States still basically believe in Manifest Destiny and would like to bring back the Jacksonian White Male Republic.

119iansales
Giu 26, 9:21am

>117 vwinsloe: Not strictly true. There are several Native Americans who make an appearance and their sorry state is directly blamed on the way they've been treated by the US government. Gus is very much sympathetic. And while the two cooks are Mexican, the other Mexican is a landowner who does exactly the same as Gus and Call - ie, steal horses and steers - and they acknowledge as much (while still characterising him as a bandit) As for the women, Gus's long lost love Clara is anything but helpless or foolish. True, the female character who appears most in the book is a sex-worker, but she chooses to leave that life by accompanying the cattle drive north, not I would have thought an easy decision to make for a woman in that time and place.

If the book mythologises the Wild West it does so to a much lesser extent than decades of Hollywood movies. I enjoyed the book because it was so much amusing than I'd expected, given the only Western novels I'd read previously were by Cormac McCarthy and Daneill Woodrell.

120justifiedsinner
Giu 26, 10:23am

>119 iansales: Yeah, Cormac McCarthy doesn't seem to do amusing. I couldn't find a single joke in Blood Meridian.

121vwinsloe
Modificato: Giu 26, 12:31pm

>119 iansales:. McMurty said that he was trying to write a western that stood in opposition to cowboy mythology. In that attempt, he paid lip service to more progressive values, for example, by having one evil black character and one good and mouthed sympathy toward the indigenous people without a positive portrayal. But there were no Mexican Americans, despite the fact that the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made large swarths of Mexico American territory, and there was a large population of Americans of Mexican descent. So in the end, it was just a more whitewashed version of cowboy mythology.

I agree about the old Hollywood westerns, and I imagine that Western pulp novels are the same or worse. Lonesome Dove is obviously better than all that, but really just incrementally.

122iansales
Giu 26, 2:26pm

>121 vwinsloe: Point taken. I know little about the period as it's never really been an interest. I enjoyed the book, and will read its sequels (I own two of them so I might as well). And, to be honest, it's the most Hollywood-ish Western films, like Rio Bravo and Shane, that I rate the highest :-)

123SFF1928-1973
Giu 27, 7:57am

>112 dustydigger: The only book on your list that I can personally recommend is Mistborn. But again there's no getting around the fact that it is fantasy so I probably shouldn't.

I was thinking the other day that if George R.R. Martin ever gets tired of writing A Song of Ice and Fire he could maybe hand it over to Brandon Sanderson, who seems to be writing everything now.

124andyl
Giu 27, 8:16am

>112 dustydigger:

Really weird because most of your list is fantasy.

Personally I would have kept going with Anathem - the first 50 pages or so is setting the world up. Plot does happen eventually. TBH I didn't find it at all similar to The Name of the Rose (not that I am sure that would be a bad thing) but obviously YMMV.

125daxxh
Modificato: Giu 27, 7:59pm

>112 dustydigger:. I have read a few of the books on your list. Cryptonomicon was a fast read for me. I liked that one. I liked Anathem as well but can see why some people wouldn't. I slogged through The Mists of Avalon because I generally like King Arthur books. This one was a bit dry. Like you, I dread starting The Wheel of Time series. 14000+ pages of fantasy - nope, not for me even though I have the entire series on Kindle. I did not like Wicked and would not recommend that one to anyone. I haven't read The Road because everyone I know that has read it says it is very depressing. Who needs that right now.

126iansales
Giu 27, 2:13pm

Finished War of the Maps. Wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be. Mostly low tech civilisation with some magical ancient high tech and a pretty sophisticated understanding of the sciences, living on the outside of a Dyson sphere, and seem to be forgotten more than anything else by the rest of the universe.

Next read a couple of detective novels - Murder by Numbers, the latest 1950s-set Langham & Duprée novel by Eric Brown, good period detail but the central mystery was a bit obvious; and The Fine Art of Invisible Detection by Robert Goddard, in which a Japanese widow goes head to head with a ruthless Japanese financier, and it's all to do with Iceland and a mysterious auction only for the super-rich... wasn't bad.

Reread Use of Weapons, which I've always maintained is the best Culture novel, and the reread did not disappoint. Even though I last read it 30 years ago, I remembered the twist, so it didn't have the same power as on my previous read. Now I want to reread all the early Culture novels...

127dustydigger
Modificato: Giu 27, 4:38pm

>126 iansales: - Oh boy,i found Use of Weapons amazing,mindblowing and harrowing near the end. I certainly need to reread it to really grasp it,but it will take a lot of gumption! lol.
Perhaps I can accompany an enjoyable reread of Night in the Lonesome October with it for Halloween reads!
I am still working my way through the Culture. Next up will be Inversions,but not for a while.I am having fun reading classic pulp.
I am reading my first Doc Savage: Man of Bronze. Totally bonkers,but great fun How many years is it since I read about a car with running boards,with men hanging on like in the Keystone Cops? Now we are off into the jungle to locate and battle the Feathered Serpent. Ridiculous but fun.

128Shrike58
Modificato: Giu 27, 9:06pm

>123 SFF1928-1973: I've been making the smart crack "calling Mr. Sanderson" vis-a-vis "A Song of Ice and Fire" for years!

129justifiedsinner
Giu 28, 10:22am

I hate it when they award prizes to series books that are not the first, number 5 in this case. I'd better start reading the Murderbots since Martha Wells just won the Nebula and Locus SF awards.

130iansales
Modificato: Giu 28, 11:42am

>129 justifiedsinner: The first book in the series won an award :-)

131drmamm
Giu 28, 8:27pm

>123 SFF1928-1973: As much as I would love to see ASOIAF finished, Brando Sando would never do it. He is Mormon, and I doubt he would be able to stomach writing some of George's brutality/sexuality. His books (at least Mistborn/Warbreaker) have their share of violence, but the sex is extremely toned down and the minimum amount necessary to advance the plot. That being said, I am in awe of his productivity.

132Stevil2001
Giu 28, 9:55pm

Sanderson has actually commented on this: https://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/4uwjq9/spoilers_everything_twow_isnt_co...

I wouldn't say yes to finishing ASOIAF, if asked. (And I don't think they'd ask me.) I'd respectfully decline. I wouldn't be right for the job for many reasons. I wouldn't want to put in the content that the series has, and part of that is due to my religious faith, part of it is just who I am. I don't shy away from difficult material, but I prefer not to get explicit. Honestly, when I read it in George's work, I often just cringe. I don't think it fits in prose; I think it looks tacky. But that's almost 100% due to the my religious leanings. I realize that others don't read such scenes in the same way as I do.

(More at the link.)

133paradoxosalpha
Giu 28, 10:14pm

Now I understand the mysterious icky vibe I always got whenever I encountered a book by Sanderson. Nice to know that my intuitions (or the subliminal marketing cues) were accurate.

134vwinsloe
Giu 29, 8:14am

I've just begun to read Klara and the Sun, and I can tell that I will like this one. I was disappointed by The Buried Giant, but perhaps my expectations were too high after reading some of Ishiguro's other works.

135Dawakek_740
Giu 29, 8:19am

Questo utente è stato eliminato perché considerato spam.

136justifiedsinner
Giu 29, 8:33am

>130 iansales: All Systems Red? Which one? I know it was nominated for the Philip K Dick and the Prometheus but it didn't win either.

137iansales
Modificato: Giu 29, 8:55am

>136 justifiedsinner: Yes, it won the Hugo for best novella in 2018

138justifiedsinner
Modificato: Giu 29, 9:28pm

>137 iansales: Ah, I was looking at the novel awards. Didn't realize it fell into the novella category.

Later: Wow, it's really good, Just gave it 4 stars.

139Karlstar
Giu 29, 10:46pm

>96 ScoLgo: I've read The Fifth Season

>112 dustydigger: Cryptonomicon is great, in my opinion! For different reasons, so are Game of Thrones and Eye of the World. If you are a Tolkien fan, Silmarillion is good too, though you may want to read Beren and Luthien and Fall of Gondolin instead and read the good parts without some of the boring parts. On the other hand, if you plan on watching the Tolkien 2nd Age tv show, that material will be in The Silmarillion.

140dustydigger
Giu 30, 6:58am

>139 Karlstar: Hi Karlstar.thanks for your comments.I have just managed to get a kindle bargain.£0.99 copyof Cryptonomicon I have had my physical copy on the shelf under my computer for at least 6 months,approx 18 inches away,but I have been having tiresome arthritis flareups cant possibly hold that BRICK! lol.
Old friends on this group know however that I have NOT enjoyed previous encounters with Stephenson - e g Snow Crash and Diamond Age. The group got a lot of entertainment from my struggles.How could I not like Stephenson? Or even greater heresy around 2016,Kim Stanley Robinson? And I had better keep quiet about my less than stellar encounters with P K Dick,some fans might have heart attacks.:0)
So Crypto,not being fantasy will probably finally be read,but there is no hope for epic or high fantasy.I adored and have reread Morte D'Arthur and LOTR innumerable times over many many decades,and nothing seems to live up to them. I am sure G R R Martin got so frustrated with the whole genre of rip offs (Shannara aarrgghh!!!} and so decided to rip it all apart,get rid of all heroes,make it all shades of grey,or bloody red as a reaction to all those young boys with magic swords ,hidden kingdom heirs,kindly wizards a la Gandalf etc etc etc.Personally I think the swing has gone too far but shows little signs of dying down yet.
I can read some fantasy in the Mercedes Lackey Charles De Lint or Emma Bull areas,and love urban fantasy,Lovecraft,Machen et al,so its only high fantasy I am really allergic to.

141Karlstar
Giu 30, 3:57pm

>140 dustydigger: I completely understand that problem, after many years of resisting, I've gone to either Kindle or Nook for really long books, it is just so much easier on my hands and eyes.

Cryptonomicon is a completely different type of novel from those other two Stevenson's. A lot, lot less cyperpunk action and more historical thriller type novel. Of course, not everyone has the same tastes.

What about non-high fantasy stuff, like Barbara Hambly? Alternate history?

142dustydigger
Modificato: Giu 30, 6:09pm

I've never come across a Barbara Hambly book so far in my small English town library or bookshop.,but since my least fave reading genre is historical fiction as a whole,and I dont like alternate history as a SF subgenre either,I doubt if I'll get round to reading her books.. Oddly I love vampire fiction as urban fantasy,the ''what if such creatures were here in our modern world?'' scenario, but still havent got round to Interview With a Vampire,and dont like steampunk and the like. What a picky lady I am! lol.

143pgmcc
Lug 1, 4:00am

>142 dustydigger: I have found myself making comments like that about my likes and dislikes and then discovered that I had quite enjoyed a book in the category I said I disliked. :-) I have complained about book using real historical characters in a fictitious setting and then realised I quite liked a book that did just that. Drood by Dan Simmons would be a case in hand. It uses Dickens and Wilkie Collins and the name of Dicken's unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

144igorken
Lug 1, 6:51am

>142 dustydigger: For being so picky, you tend to persevere and plough through books you don't actually enjoy quite frequently though!

I guess we all have our own various "rules" to pre-select the books we read in the hope of getting the most out of our reading time.

>134 vwinsloe: With all the enthusiasm here for Klara and the Sun it looks like I'll have to move that higher in the to-read pile.

145RobertDay
Lug 1, 4:48pm

>144 igorken: And following today's news, I shall be moving Wally Funk's Race for Space much higher up onto the immediate TBR pile!

146igorken
Lug 1, 5:28pm

>145 RobertDay: I'd honestly never heard of her and had only read all the horrible news of the day (Canada burning, women's rights in Turkey, China nuclear arms race, WHO covid warning , ...) but she looks cool and I'm happy for her even if she has to endure going on a trip with Bezos!

147Karlstar
Lug 2, 6:34am

>142 dustydigger: I phrased my recommendation in >141 Karlstar: poorly. Barbara Hambly's fantasy fiction is an an example of non-epic fantasy. She also has a vampire series that is quite good.

>143 pgmcc: Sometimes we have very different tastes in books! I read Drood and I did like the historical setting, but I can't say I liked the book.

148pgmcc
Modificato: Lug 2, 7:33am

>147 Karlstar:
I gave Drood 3 stars as a good book but not exceptional. I think the key thing I liked about it was tgat it prompted me to start looking at Dickens and Collins biographies.

ETA: I felt had I been a descendant of Collins I would take umbrage at his representation by Simmons.

149vwinsloe
Lug 2, 9:54am

>144 igorken:. I finished Klara and the Sun and although I did not find it as emotionally moving as I did Never Let Me Go, it was even more thought provoking. The answer to the obvious question of what makes us human receives a slightly different twist, and themes of loneliness, love, hope, sacrifice and religious belief are all explored from a different point of view. Still processing it.

150Karlstar
Lug 2, 12:05pm

>148 pgmcc: It renewed my interest in Dickens and Collins also, I'll give it that much. Strangely enough, I gave it exactly the same number of stars. I just don't know what to make of it.

151pgmcc
Lug 2, 5:37pm

>150 Karlstar: I bought it at a convention charity auction. I had been planning on reading Dickens's, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and thought I would see what Simmons did with the story. I read the Dickens first and quite enjoyed what there was of it. I was disappointed that he did not finish it, although he did not have a choice in the matter, but I had my own thoughts about what way he would have continued it. Also, the copy I had contained a section on the speculation and conjecture of others regarding how the story would unravel and, as far as I recall, one or two people have written endings for it. I enjoyed that section as much as what Dickens had written.

I was apprehensive approaching the Simmons book. I wondered what was he going to do with the story. I am not a great fan of someone other than the original author continuing a work or series that has been left incomplete.

Once I started Drood I realised the only things it had in common with the Dickens book were the use of the author's name, use of the name, "Drood", the description of an old church and graveyard, and the character of the church sexton. Realising Simmons was fictionalising the life of Dickens, and to a greater extent, Collins, and that the story had absolutely nothing in its storyline that had a connection to the Dickens book, I had a bad feeling about it. Despite my apprehension I read on. To my surprise I found it worked quite well. It was well written and I found myself drawn in.

When it got to the supernatural elements I thought, "Oh! We are going full fantasy or horror story." I changed my mind when I got to the end. I realised he was playing on the supposed adiction of Collins and all the supernatural was due to his drug taking. That is why I felt I would be upset if I were a descendant of Collins. The story made him out to be much more addicted to drugs that I believe he was. To an extent it was damaging the reputation of someone who was not around to defend himself.

As I said, I started looking into events in the lives of Dickens and Collins, such as the train crash in which Dickens and his young lady were involved, and found that Simmons had done his homework. He is a good writer, but I am not always drawn to his stories. Despite that I have read and enjoyed a few of his works.


So, I thought it was a good book, but not great, but it was worth it given the research rabbit holes it sent me down.

152rocketjk
Modificato: Lug 8, 1:05pm

I realize this is last month's thread already, but . . . Interesting conversation about Lonesome Dove. I haven't read it myself, but my wife just finished it and loved it. She's already on to the sequel. Regarding McMurtry's later criticism of the book, I will only point out that he was, it seems, particularly hard on his own writing in retrospect. A couple of years back I read his collection, In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas. In one essay, he says that the problem with the movie based on his novel, Horseman, Pass By was that it followed the plot of the book too closely. Also, there are several essays about the Texas Rangers that certainly do not sanitize them, but instead portray the Rangers as essentially a group of armed thugs designed more or less expressly to terrorize Mexicans. Maybe that reinforces the "should have known better" aspect of Lonesome Dove, though.

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