Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



This is the 3rd GENERAL CHAT Megathread about Fantasy and Science Fiction stories and Science Fiction and Fantasy authors.
2nd "Science Fiction and Fantasy Thread: Read the OP, Bridge of Birds, and Murderbot" thread can be accessed here: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3554972
1st "The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Thread: Damning with faint praise" thread can be accessed here(SA Archives required): https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3345499

Science Fiction Fantasy MegaThread 3 Rules
-Post your opinion, not somebody else's stale talking points. Noting popular opinions alongside your own is great.
-If someone asks for recommendations, pay attention to what they're asking for.
-Post about books you're reading or excited about! Mention the author or title so we know what you're talking about.
-Include lots of details in your posts to give us something to talk about and give us a taste of what you like.
-Don't discuss how bad [insert fantasy or sf writer here]'s sex scenes are. They're awful. We know. And for God's sake don't discuss how good they are either!
-Don't recommend David Weber. It always provokes a derail and there is a dedicated thread for that now(Mil-SciFi Thread). Same with Terry Goodkind, and Rothfuss...etc.
-We know some Big Name authors are sex predators or worse. That kind of discussion is OK in here; there are no sacred cows.


Not everyone likes the same authors as you, or has read the same books as you, or even knows that those authors exist! Conversely not every author you can't get into/actively hate is terrible.
Please keep any sick burns on your fellow thread posters to a minimum and try to move extended thread derails to the proper dedicated subgenre threads.

RESOURCES TO CHECK OUT
====

https://archive.org/details/SFLoversDigestArchive : A complete archive of the former SF-Lovers website. SF-LOVERS billed itself as the oldest mailing list, with the first digest issues dated 1979 and running until volume 25 in the year 2000. Probably the ur-Internet Resource for Science Fiction and Fantasy discussion by SF&F fans.

http://www.isfdb.org/ :The ISFDB is a community effort to catalog works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It links together various types of bibliographic data: author bibliographies, publication bibliographies, award listings, magazine content listings, anthology and collection content listings, and forthcoming books.

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/ :The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, third edition (Site last updated on JANUARY 20 2021).
A portal website for everything sf: books, films, TV series, comics, specific authors, themes, and theory. Site also contains the complete 1997 Encyclopaedia of Fantasy.

https://www.freesfonline.de/ :Free Speculative Fiction Online (Site last updated on APRIL 03 2021).

Rudyard Kipling considered as a Science Fiction writer Added 03-09-2020
http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/rg_scifi.htm

https://nothing2seeherepleasedisperse.blogspot.com/ :The off-site blog created to re-host all previously posted SFL Archives read-through summaries in this thread and everything new moving forward as of 9-7-2020 .
====


Not to going bother listing all the dedicated BookBarn literary subgenre threads because they are impossible to keep track of. Just be aware that they exist, and are always eager for new people/new content. If you can't find a relevant subgenre thread, CREATE ONE and post away in it.

If you want something added to the OP, please let me know.

That is all. Have fun, stay safe, and remember: IRONY TAGS DO NOT EXIST ON THIS WEBSITE/FORUMS SOFTWARE

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 20:14 on Apr 16, 2021

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Thread isn't live yet.
DON"T POST HERE YET


This thread is live whenever Safety Biscuits or Hieronymous Alloy says it is.


Until then.......
Thread isn't live yet.
DON"T POST HERE YET
Thread isn't live yet.
DON"T POST HERE YET
Thread isn't live yet.
DON"T POST HERE YET
Thread isn't live yet.
DON"T POST HERE YET
Thread isn't live yet.
DON"T POST HERE YET


quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 13:56 on Oct 3, 2019

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Glen Cook outside of his Black Company stories really isn't that great or clever, at least for me.
The Garrett PI books were so formulaic with standardized events that I 100% believe they were originally written on-the-job at General Motors by Cook after seeing a few Rex Stout paperbacks in the GM break-room.

Glen Cook's Garrett PI series main difference from Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin stories is the fantasy-NYC setting, Fritz the cook doesn't exist in the Garrett PI books, and finally Garrett straight out has sex with the "damsels" whereas Goodwin in the Nero Wolfe stories merely "went dancing" with them or was antagonizing Wolfe with female eyecandy.

Finished reading another book I'd gotten as part of a ebook bundle awhile ago. Reanimators by Pete Rawlik. Rawlik managed to work in most of Lovecraft's non-Cthulhu/Arkham adjacent stories into Reanimators. The only stories that didn't make the cut were Pickman's Model, a few of Lovecraft's minor "secret grave" stories and He. Understandable about leaving out He. He, uhm, to modern viewers sort comes off as a "young guy making up a spooky story to explain away the cuts/bruises/injuries he got after being picked up by an old rich gentleman last night".

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 22:01 on Oct 4, 2019

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



PupsOfWar posted:

@Battuta post your honor harrington fanfic in the mil-sf thread, coward

No don't.
The Mil-Scifi thread is a damned zone..and we really don't deserve quality writing in there (i say this as the Mil-Scifi thread OP).
@Battuta Follow the advice given in Arthur Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two.

quote:

ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS
Ė EXCEPT EUROPA MIL-SCIFI THREAD
ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



C.M. Kruger posted:

The Thief series by Looking Glass Studios/Ion Storm. A goon did a good completionist LP of the series a few years back, along with some of the better levels for the community-made Dark Mod sequel, which should be on the LP Archive.

Damnit C.M. Kruger. They asked for "suggestions of books similar to The Lies of Locke Lamora?", not video-games/completionist LP's with audiovisual components. This thread is barely 3 pages long, do I have to bold and make the thread rules ALL CAPS in the OP or something?

Back on topic: SSJ_naruto_2003

Although the setting is science-fiction and the stories were mostly written in the 1960s -1980s, Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat series is all about heists and reader-friendly crime. Main ding on the Stainless Steel Rat stories is the main characters insane over-confidence levels ala Locke Lamora, and the plethora of situation-saving gadgets that get pulled out of nowhere to save the day.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Recently finished reading a non-fiction book about a internet criminal kingpin that reads like a bizzare scifi/milscifi book series given the various schemes and plans the internet kingpin had going on. But it was all real apparently, and why I'm cross-posting this recap-review to a few book barn threads.

==
A guy who created the online infrastructure and billing system for a unlicensed U.S. pill-mill (that he also created) made so much money he started hiring mercenaries to supply/guard/stay in the dozens+ of safe-houses he had filled up with gold bars and weapons. This escalated into the guy branching out into arms smuggling and of course drug smuggling along with lowest-bidder hit squads being sent out if the sums in the monthly (encrypted) budget expenditure (Excel spreadsheet) reports he required didn't add up. Toss in a stab at a legitimate business but make it a fishery specializing in rare fish stocks that was based in Somalia. Yes, Somalia (something about the decades of war + boat pirating allowing the depleted fish stocks along the Somalian coast to rebound and a fishery there being a fish-goldmine).
Did I also mention that the guy gave his mercenary teams detailed load-outs of what weapons and gear they should bring on each mission, and where he thought they should setup defensive positions like he was playing Jagged Alliance 2? Or that he was the brains and funding behind two major open-source disk encryption projects that were NSA resistant. Or that the sex addiction documented throughout the book was really a scheme for getting Anchor Babies in every non-extradition treaty nation or limited extradition treaty nation in case he had to flee and needed that extra leverage to resist getting extradited to the U.S.A.?
==

Well, all that stuff is true and real. Book is The mastermind : drugs, empire, murder, betrayal by Evan Ratliff.
And the two open-source disk encryption projects, in case anyone cares, were E4M and TrueCrypt.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Re-read a bunch of Vernor Vinge stories recently (fire upon the deep/children of time/deepness in the sky) and noticed in Vinge's longer stories the really evil antagonists tend to be bureaucrats/middle management and there's almost always a red-headed love interest (of either gender).
Formula holds true in Vinge's Peace War, True Names, and mostly true in Tatja Grimm's world/marooned in realtime.

Defintely a testament to Vinge's writing skill that by the end of Fire Upon the Deep, the tines and skroderider's feel more fleshed out than almost any of the alien races in David Brin's Jijo/Uplift universe books.



e: forgot about and just remembered the chicken aliens from Brin's Uplift War CLUCK CLUCK Interstellar KFC CLUCK CLUCK

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 01:55 on Oct 12, 2019

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Cythereal posted:

I read Through Fiery Trials, David Weber's newest Safehold book that picks up after a ten-year time skip from the last book.

I had hoped the time skip would be a chance for Weber to wipe the overstuffed slate clean and return to the more concise and stuff-actually-happening style of Off Armageddon Reef.

I was wrong.

Was it at least a library copy?
Baen Books does one thing well that other book publishers find near impossible, monetizing advanced reader copies. Baen Books was at the vanguard of ebook publishing, and built their own ebook infrastructure instead of getting hooked on the zero effort/zero control streams of ebook sales money coming in from apple/amazon.
That is the one positive thing I will say about Baen Books and their [irony]*visionary*[/irony] stable of authors.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Cythereal posted:

Yes. I stopped buying the Safehold books several books ago, but I check them out from the library because I still enjoy them as popcorn reads where I routinely skip several pages at a time.

Through Fiery Trials, I feel, is exemplary of the Safehold series: there's no end of interesting ideas here, but Weber is wholly uninterested in engaging with them and would much rather talk about how wonderful the protagonists and their empire are, and how horrible the bad guys and their empires are.

Agreed.
Popcorn reads are fine and everyone has their own favorite flavor of popcorn fiction, mine tend to be the ultra-crappy The Destroyer novelettes and Julian Mays absolutely insane Golden Torc/Pliocene Exile series.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



A Proper Uppercut posted:

How do people keep track of the books they want to read?

I pretty much don't. Instead I just wander around libraries, grabbing whatever looks interesting/sounds interesting in the non-fiction + fiction areas.
Have experienced lots of disappointment with this method while also discovering some hidden gems. Tend to read a 70/30 non-fiction and fiction split.



pmchem posted:

on that note, if the first or second post in this thread could carry a running list of books highly recommended IN THIS THREAD (not the old scifi threads), that would be pretty awesome (thanks!)

That's probably not going to happen, unless I get PM'ed listicles (complete with SA vBulletin formatting) to blindly copy/paste into the 2nd post.
As the thread OP, I won't actively poo poo on authors I think are bad/godawful in this thread, however I would 1000% omit recommending them if forced to do anything more than blindly copy/paste properly formatted listicles into the 2nd post of the thread.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



General Battuta posted:

What are the best/most horrifying submarine books. Any kind, from contemporary/thriller to hard SF.

A Darkling Sea by James Cambias isn't too bad.
Book setting is the briny depths of a Europa style moon, with human scientist explorers and sentient lobster-squid lifeforms and an alien invasion-pirate raid.
The book stood out for me because Cambias spent the first few chapters highlighting how unsuited the human body is, even with high-tech, for life at deep sea pressures. That plot point got dropped by the midpoint of the novel though in favor of more and more action scenes.

Also surprised no-one has mentioned Frank Herbert's Under Pressure/The Dragon in the Sea yet.
Hyper-cold war, beyond PEAK OIL, and psychological pressure are the running themes of Under Pressure/The Dragon in the Sea.

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 01:28 on Oct 23, 2019

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Everyone chill out and move on or this thread gets timed-out for a day.
I mean it.


back off-topic:

Recently finished Gray Day (non-fiction) and Logan's Run, the original novel that kicked off the Michael York movie.
A good 70% of the book elements got re-used or adapted into the Logan's Run movie, which was cool. Meanwhile, published 18+ years after the events that took place in it, Gray Day was more of a mixed bag. The first few chapters were a series of humble-brags about the author being amazing at covert surveillance/driving/computer security/etc, but once it got into the actual titular assignment the book improved massively. Figure part of the reason Gray Day got published was that the book/author's role as Hanssen's underling (that was secretly monitoring Hanssen) explained away some highly classified pre 9-11-2001 STINGRAY style monitoring of Robert Hanssen. Robert Hanssen such being a massive creeper (physically and socially) that it constantly freaked out the author was a running theme of the book.

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 19:28 on Oct 23, 2019

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



wizzardstaff posted:

That crown (for me) is currently held by Directive 51 by John Barnes, which I was tricked into reading because he had a story in Lightspeed that I liked. A political sci-fi thriller where the antagonists are brainwashed tree-huggers being played as pawns by a cabal of nefarious plotters "somewhere in a cave in Afghanistan".

John Barnes is semi-unique because his mind broke years before everyone else's did. The 1990's Bosnian War was John Barnes 9/11 event, and Barnes's very hosed up Kaleidoscope Century was the result.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



C.M. Kruger posted:

WRT Simmons and OSC and so on, I gather that Liu Cixin has been defending the Chinese concentration camps in recent interviews, so I figure I can cut a few books off my backlog.

The best part/strongest writing in 3 Body Problem was the Cultural Revolution/concentration camp stuff for me. Worst part of 3BP was the 70+ pages "5000 years of chinese history" presented as parables which I originally thought were mandated by the PRC for publishment worldwide.

But I guess I was wrong, and now the best secretly subversive communist scifi book series award gets reverted back to the Strugatski(Strugatsky) brothers Noon Universe setting.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Kassad posted:

Really? Those parables were cool and the mentions of figures from Chinese antiquity that I didn't know about was interesting.

Blame it on blaseness due to over-exposure thanks to my reading habits (tons of non-fiction) and library browsing strategy.
Due to my omnivorous library browsing strategy I've read lots of Chinese histories, ancient chinese myth, China during WW1, China during WW2, The Great Leap Forward/Cultural Revolution so I'd encountered those prehistoric chinese figures and chinese parables a few dozen times in non-fiction alone before reading 3 Body Problem.

Also ran across that "one grain of rice/chessboard/doubling the amount each tile" 3BP parable a few times earlier in mathematics/physics/computer books, each time attributed to different ancient near-prehistoric arabic or indian scholars owning ancient rulers with their logic/wisdom. Sort of like how that "Yes Daddy. We Moved...Mommy said you'd probably be here." anecdote I've seen differently attributed to to John Von Neumann, Norbert Wiener, Richard Feynman, etc is almost a Wilhelm scream in biographies and histories about great 20th century mathematicians and physicists.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



True, was merely explaining WHY I was so blase on the 70+ pages of chinese parables in 3BP to Kassad.
Each of the 3BP followup books had one or two interesting ideas. And thinking back, the final 3BP series book with the speed of light stuff/centuries dead missed hookups is pretty much how I envisioned Poul Anderson's 1970 Tau Zero ending really turning out.

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 15:39 on Oct 25, 2019

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



General Battuta posted:

Itís good but Iíve been leery of rereading it because iirc it contains a seemingly obligatory never-remarked-upon sexual assault by the protagonist. That doesnít make it Forever Attainted In All Eyes, just makes me uneager to go back.

Don't blame you. Alfred Bester's work aged badly in that regard.
Read Bester's Demolished Man instead.

Sexual assault and main characters having massive mental breakdowns/psychotic breaks with reality are in almost all of Alfred Bester novels (Demolished Man, Golem 1000, Tiger Tiger/Stars My Destination, Computer Connection, Rat Race). Which makes sense because IRL Bester had a massive mental breakdown, so he wrote what he knew I guess.
The one Bester book, The Deceivers, where the main character doesn't mentally snap is so hackneyed and terribly written, the person reading it is likely to have a psychotic break instead.

Overall, I'd rate Demolished Man as the best Alfred Bester novel, with Stars My Destination/Tiger Tiger taking 2nd place. All other Bester novels have a steep dropoff in story/writing/coherence quality.

Kesper North posted:

This is my periodic reminder to the thread that Steven Brust was kicked out of the 4th Street writers workshop for stalking and sexually harassing female writers. gently caress that guy.

Brust is the obsessed with Alexandre Dumas cosplaying creep right?
Tried getting into Brust's books/stories a few times but always found the writing repellent.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Hahahahaha.


Dean Ing's Single Combat: Quantrill, Book 2 is available as an audio-book apparently.
Wondering how horrified or professional the narrator stayed during the exceptionally WTF "obese not-Diane Sawyer newscaster/secondary series villain trying to seduce an 600+ kilogram mutated russian boar" subplot when narrating Single Combat.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Ninurta posted:

They were paid in Vodka. Lots, and lots of Vodka. And Percocet.

Not even that would be enough. Because, uh, that subplot is fully carried through in Single Combat and the obese not-Diane Sawyer's plan works. It works too well. shudder.
Maybe the narrator got an amazing contract extension or won a workplace grievance with his job and was given the "narrate Single Combat" assignment in revenge. Narration suddenly changing to a text2speech robot voice, or that subplot being edited by the narrator on-the-fly is possible I guess. That subplot is made worse or somewhat dumbly hilarious because it includes multiple pov narratives from the boars viewpoint too.


Started reading Mack Reynolds Of Godlike Power, and I can tell it's going to be super-preachy terrible in that special way Mack Reynolds wrote. Haven't actively disliked the main characters of a book this much since Children of Time and less recently, Cryptonomicon.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Finished Mack Reynolds Of Godlike Power after taking a break to read Sam Kean's The Bastard Brigade (non-fiction). As I described it in the mil-scif thread, The Bastard Brigade can be seen as a companion piece to the Monument Men book/movie, and is worth checking out if you're interesting in World War 2 history.

Of Godlike Power improved massively after the rear end in a top hat main character and his girlfriend suffered immediate consequences for their actions. After that happened, Of Godlike Power became low-key hilarious from all the plot twist reveals, and strawman argument slams against hyper-consumerism, religion, John Birch society, jukeboxes, womens fashion, and the fiction genres.

Next up on my reading pile is a biography about James Wilkinson, American War of Independence General/US Army Commander in Chief/secret spy for Spain, and Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the ninth.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Finished Gideon the Ninth. It was pretty good and it lived up to the many, many in-thread recommendations for it....unlike Tchaikovsky's bargain basement Deepness in the Sky knock-off homage, Children of Time, for me. Gideon the Ninth was pretty much an anti-Zelazny story and all the better for it. The main character wasn't smug as gently caress, the characters inside it had depth, and the fighting scenes didn't require an encyclopedic knowledge of fencing terms to make sense like Zelazny's Amber books.

35th annual Years Best Science Fiction (2017) curated by Gardner Dozois is up next on my reading list. Doesn't seem like St Martin's Press will be continuing the anthology series after Dozois's death, which is understandable.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Ninurta posted:

Have you tried out The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year anthologies edited by Jonathan Strahan? They're not strictly SF but they include a number of authors who have come up previously in this thread and elsewhere (Yoon Ha Lee, Scott Lynch, N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman) and seem to be fairly inclusive, their detriment if my Audible reviews are to be believed.(sigh) They are apparently also door stoppers, usually clocking in around 24-26 hours as an audiobook. I just got a new credit for Audible and am probably going to spend it on either last year's or this year's edition just to give them a shot.

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Best...dblp13nABCD_1_2


fez_machine posted:

Strahan is ended the SF and Fantasy series this year and is starting a new SF specialised one with Saga Press in 2020 (seems like it's aiming to fill Dozois void).

Thanks for the scifi + fantasy anthology advice.
Finished the last & final Years Best Science Fiction (2017) anthology. As the final Gardner Dozois curated scifi anthology, it was overall a bittersweet experience. Some of the stories really hit strongly for me, other stories in the anthology were decent to really questionable choices for me.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



pseudanonymous posted:

The goon reads how they read and they judge books by how fast they read them. They probably aren't reading Ulysees. If that is how someone wants to read it's their business.

Agreed. Not everyone has the same reading habits or author likes/hates. For example, I will skip any amount of poems in a book.
Parrish has mentioned a few times in the mil-scifi thread how they picked up that reading habit( boredom killer method during endless graveyard shifts while enlisted), and if it works for them/continues to work for them, fine.


Read Dean Ing's Spooker this week. It sure was something bizarre-terrible. Spooker had an interesting plot hook, undercover spies are getting stalked and killed by unknown parties, everything else about it was just off. Would call it a mashup of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon and Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt with Ing's special fixation on airplanes airplanes airplanes, future-tech, and depraved secondary antagonists tying everything together.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



God-Emperor is where Frank Herbert shifted into "horny old man writing out his fetishes" mode for the rest of his writing career.
Someone in the old thread/this thread? posted a scrib.d link to the Dune Encyclopedia. It's worth checking out, and more in tune with Frank Herbert's Dune-universe writing than anything Brian Herbet & Kevin J. Anderson have achieved with their Dune-Universe "prequels/sequels" stories.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/38049415/Dune-Encyclopedia

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



StrixNebulosa posted:

What I expected from Jo Clayton's Diadem from the stars: sci-fi planetary romance where she has psychic powers and wild adventures and gets a way off of this barbaric planet.

What I got: rape, rape, mental rape, suicide, our heroine's mind breaking, and by the end of the book she's pretty well convinced she's a curse to everyone around her. And she's given birth to a baby she's taking into space while telling not-Han Solo that she doesn't want another kid, so they can't have sex. He has secret plans to sell her into sex slavery, just in case he needs money.



e: So many old sci-fi/fantasy works written by women involve rape, from Serpent to Floating Worlds to Cyteen to Diadem. What the gently caress was going on back then?!

All the big name male scifi/fantasy authors in her era were walking-talking-assaulting sexual harrassment lawsuits waiting to happen. Publishers were shady as poo poo, and covered up stuff because the big name authors made them money. Scifi conventions were danger zones for solitary women, especially women writers/authors.
The troublesome generations of male big name authors has mostly died off, and publishers remain shady as poo poo.


Did my yearly check and James E. Gunn is still alive. As I posted in the mil-scifi thread, James E. Gunn within the past decade wrote a not-terrible scifi trilogy that wasn't racist or sexist.
For a scifi author that old, that's nearly impossible. Can't think of anyone else near his age who managed that. Gunn's not-terrible recent scifi trilogy managed to be amusing at times, and featured a staggering amount of alien forms that were developed/had fleshed out backstories.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



I've never read the Broken Earth series so all the snippiness/looming meltdowns about WarCriming and MasterRaces in it has me confused/not over-inclined to read it.

Just want to chime in and say that the Lost Fleet books are perfect reading for people under heavy medication/memory problems/recovering in the hospital. Every book in the Lost Fleet series repeats the same plot beats over and over again, with cosmetic changes to the story/character names/powercell depletion levels/hamfisted romantic triangle.

Next up on my reading list are Nancy Kress's Tomorrow's Kin and R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War, both randomly grabbed from the fiction section of a local library. Most recent non-fiction read was Margalit Fox's Riddle of the Labyrinth, which was about Linear Script B/Linear B and how Linear B was discovered and eventually translated. Pretty interesting read, got into mathematic probablities and databasing/gridding.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



professor metis posted:

😬

Please post your thoughts on that book once you've read it, it's a book I always want to read more discussion about.

Will do. About to crack open Poppy War. I have zero expectations besides expecting a variant of Opium War going down in the book, given the book title.


tildes posted:

This is not really a spoiler but I just finished Planetfall and my semi spoiler recommendation is to only read the first 50% of the book and then stop. Donít read anymore. Just continue to imagine it could end any way you want.

E: thatís probably too harsh but wow the bookís pacing is just not good. The start is fine, but then the middle section drags on way too long without much plot happening, leaving way too little time for the ending. It is very well written from a prose sense though, and the characters are good. The ending wouldnít be so disappointing if the rest of the book didnít raise expectations so high by being good.

This is Emma Newman's 2015 story Planetfall you're talking about, correct?

If so, I had the opposite reaction. The book pacing was fine, and the slow reveal of the main character being mentally unwell and a illicit hoarder really added to the story (hadn't seen that as a major character trait in scifi/fantasy stories before, honestly). Rushed ending in Planetfall worked for me too.

Only read one of the Planetfall series sequels, After Atlas, and until googling, wasn't aware there was 2 more books in the series. Nice.

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 04:08 on Nov 15, 2019

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



ToxicFrog posted:

I have a probably-unfair intense dislike of Planetfall because it was pitched to me as a Big Dumb Object story and it really loving isn't.

I usually go into new2me books blind outside of their book leaf notes.
When books don't live up to their "this book sounds interesting" book leaf notes that made me grab them in the first place, is where I get angry and disappointed (Quantum Thief/Children of Time).

professor metis posted:

😬

Please post your thoughts on that book once you've read it, it's a book I always want to read more discussion about.

Finished the Poppy War.
The Poppy War setting was definitely an alternate universe China where the gods were real and magic never went away, with as china the nikara empire and the murgen empire as japan and possibly korea.

Overall, for me The Poppy War was a weird mashup of Ender's Game mixed with china's historical fuedal era, with the author having every terrible event and real-life warcrime inside the totally horrific "Japan At War: An Oral History" non-fiction book going down in front of the main character, especially Unit 731.
BTW, No one should lightly walk into reading Japan At War: An Oral History". It is a dark, DARK book.

The story in Poppy War seems complete to me, feel that any sequels for it are going to be Deathwish style revenge fantasies, with any amount of rakes being stepped on SideShow Bob style by the main character to extend out the story until the author runs out of historical chinese events to crib from.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



nessin posted:

Let me lay out a better example of what my problem is, when Cheris is picked to have the space ghost planted in her there is a scene with her talking to her troops about the decision. That scene involves a lot of poo poo in a short space of time, where apparently because she's moving on the whole unit will be torn down "per doctrine" (whatever that means) and some will be stripped of something which gives them their Kel-ness (again, whatever that means because despite being a faction it's something you choose if you meet the qualifications and aren't born into) which some of them indicate as being almost like a punishment or loss. Does that effect Cheris beyond a moment that can sort of be interpreted as sadness? Unclear. Maybe that whole scene isn't meant to show anything, in which case why does it exist? Especially in a short book. But if it does exist and is supposed to mean something, like maybe a internal conflict about her choice in the future, then it's completely unreadable. Was there some sort of genetic modification to give the Kel their supposed instinct? Unclear. And even if so, why does space ghosts addition gently caress that up? There is zero reference for any of this poo poo, and none of it is explained in even the most barebones detail.

I've got no clue who Cheris is, what she's feeling is supposed to mean, how she fits into society, or anything. If she's not supposed to mean anything for the story that's great, but I'm sure in the next 200 pages their will be plenty of supposed character development that's going to feel like it fell flat on it's head because I've got no reference for who or what Cheris is supposed to be, someone in that world might but I exist in this one where I need some clues as to what's right, wrong, normal, not normal, etc...

If you're not feeling Ninefox Gambit, there's no shame in dropping it.
Cheris gets sidelined fast as a main character, which sucked because I found her way more interesting than the mary-sue space ghost.
Personally only kept reading Ninefox Gambit for the world-universe building details (space moths, weird calendar stuff, etc).

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



The way that Yoon Ha Leee presented Jeado through most of Ninefox Gambit didn''t land for me.
Cheris got the annoying and mysterious space ghost, everyone not-Cheris got a zomboid that was effortlessly perfect at whatever it did (duelling/fleet formations/diplomacy/ground formations/calenderic timing/etc) with a omnious history that was constantly alluded by creeped out side-characters.

Biggest issue I had with Jeado as a character was Yoon Ha Lee's decision to cram all the backstory for Jeado and the motivations for what Jeado did centuries ago into the last 40 pages of Ninefox Gambit. By that time, it was too late. After 200+ pages of reading Ninefox Gambit you were either already fully vested into Jeado as the main character(and that backstory reveal just made Jeado more compelling to you). Or you didn't give a gently caress about Jeado (raises hand) as a main character, had been reading Ninefox Gambit for the interesting universe setting/reveals instead (raises other hand) and the Jeado backstory reveal came off as too little-too late (somehow raises third hand).

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Didn't expect my dashed off mary sue reference to cause a thread derail, but I'm all for it.


{Mods, Admins}
Please rename this thread to Science Fiction & Fantasy MegaThread 3: Mary Sue Battle Royale

I think Fanzines popularized the term Mary Sue. Technology like mimeographs and xerox machines aided the spread of the Mary Sue virus. Dreading the eventual Mary Sue AI wars.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



sebmojo posted:

If I hated perdido st for those reasons what mieville should i read? The city and the city?

Only enjoyable mieville story I've read was Kraken.
It's so unlike his other work I half think it was ghost written, similar to my "ghost-written?: probably" stance on Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



I liked Provenance more than Raven Tower. The super detached tone of the narrator in Raven Tower wasn't 2nd or 3rd tense, it was more like 4th or 5th tense.

You could easily slot Ann Leckie's Provenance as a prequel to Iain Banks Against a Dark Background, or Iain Banks Against a Dark Background as a prequel to Ann Leckie's Provenance, and vastly enhance the reading experience of both books. Both feature female leads, both were about long-forgotten historical figures and events. Comparison wise, Provenance comes off slightly better despite a more limited scope than Against a Dark Background. 95% of the people in Against a Dark Background were Chernobyl event ground zero toxic, including the main character and her entire extended family.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Larry Parrish is pretty much a "just post/spicy take generator" who by their own admission reads hundreds of pages of books per week while retaining 1% of the content read. So you can safely skip 99% of their posts in return or just ignore them and miss little, thread content wise.


Finished reading the Nancy Kress book, 2017's Tomorrow's Kin,which was next up on my fiction reading list. It wasn't great, and came off as very disjointed, like a previously written short story was stretched out into a book series for publi$her rea$on$. The book was so disjointed, it gave me solid John Scalzi zero-proofreading 1st draft serialization stories that Scalzi has been pumping out for the past few years vibes. Lots of contradictions in Tomorrow's Kin with new characters and new plot-points constantly introduced each chapter only to be killed off/abandoned forever to quickly advance the narrative. Kress's short stories are usually on-point, just can't bring myself to recommend Tomorrow's Kin to other people.


By comparison, Vince Houghton's Nuking the Moon non-fiction book was pretty interesting, and I am solidly recommending other people to read it. The titular plan to NUKE THE MOON was the last actual proposed plan described in the book, but Nuking the Moon was worth the read. Where else would you get to read about Operation: ACOUSTIC KITTY, incendiary fire-bats, proposed earthquake/tsunami machines, wildly racist wartime propaganda schemes, and chicken powered nuclear mines in the Fulda gap, etc. in one book?

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



team overhead smash posted:

Imagine that you could release a magic virus that destroyed racism and caused people to judge each other on the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. Would that be sinister and count as people not accepting each other of their own free will?

Stanislaw Lem's the Twenty First Voyage short story did this idea {pick one} 39 years, 44 years, or 58 years before Tchaikovsky did with much more brio than Tchaikovsky managed in the entirety of Children of Time.
Respective datings used are the publishing dates for the English translation, Russian translation, and original Polish language editions of Stanislaw Lem's The Star Diaries.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Hiro Protagonist posted:

I don't begrudge anyone for liking it, and I can see why many people did, I just found myself rolling my eyes at everything.

Speaking of stuff I didn't like that a lot of people did, can someone explain to me why Ancillary Justice was such a big deal? I mean, the use of gender-neutral she/her was an interesting idea that I think helped me reconsider some subconscious sexist assumptions I have when reading, but I didn't really enjoy anything else. It felt like the present storyline spoiled the entirety of the past storyline, and the present storyline was a lot of meandering until we got to the assassination attempt. Maybe I'm just not remembering everything, but I feel like it's success was entirely due to the pronoun usage and some admittedly cool tricks with narration from a hive-mind perspective, not the world or the characters.

Ancillary Justice had a relatively unique main character out for vengeance in a very inspired by the count of monte cristo way. The gender-neutrality in AJ was a nice change up and managed to totally deflate the rescuer/rescuee romance subplot endemic to count of monte cristo revenge stories.

Biggest disappointment of the Ancillary Justice universe for me was how each sequel drastically shrank the scope while tea and tea drinking ceremonies became more and more plot relevant.
If there is ever a 4th book in the Ancillary Justice series, I fully expect it to take place entirely inside a warehouse, a tea warehouse to be more specific, and be about how the Presger/Radch differences in weight measurements are about to kick off a war over tea trade imbalances.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Uncle Lloyd posted:

I had forgotten to post earlier but am now reminded that Alastair Reynolds said earlier this month that heís in the middle of writing a new Revelation Space novel. No release date yet, though.

Betting it's going to be a Prefect series sequel/prequel.
Each Revelation Space sequel dropped the hard-scifi angle more and more. RIP lighthugger ice-shields.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Happy holidays thread.

Best intro to science fiction for a new to the scifi genre reader is probably short story anthologies, like Vandermeer's recent mega scifi anthology or one of Gardner Dozois's (RIP) Years Best anthologies. Would never recommend Heinlein to a new to the scifi genre reader(Heinlein was creepy even in his YA stories), I'd recommend Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle instead. Voyage of the Space Beagle is made up of 4 standalone stories that could easily be/have been adapted into a scifi movie series or a standalone episode of scifi tv series.

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Mack Reynolds handled UBI situations better than anyone else in scifi, literally 60% or more of Mack Reynolds stories revolved around UBI in some form. Unfortunately, Mack Reynolds also portrayed blackface + whiteface cosplay as pivotal events in more than a few of his standalone books.



Last and final thing for Apparatchik Magnet:
These are the thread rules for posting in this thread, please give them a read/re-read before posting in this thread again.
If you can't follow the thread rules, maybe just stop posting here.

===
Science Fiction and Fantasy MegaThread 3 Rules
-Post your opinion, not somebody else's stale talking points. Noting popular opinions alongside your own is great.
-If someone asks for recommendations, pay attention to what they're asking for.
-Post about books you're reading or excited about! Mention the author or title so we know what you're talking about.
-Include lots of details in your posts to give us something to talk about and give us a taste of what you like.
-Don't discuss how bad [insert fantasy or sf writer here]'s sex scenes are. They're awful. We know. And for God's sake don't discuss how good they are either!
-Don't recommend David Weber. It always provokes a derail and there is a dedicated thread for that now(Mil-SciFi Thread). Same with Terry Goodkind, and Rothfuss...etc.
-We know some Big Name authors are sex predators or worse. That kind of discussion is OK in here; there are no sacred cows.
===



Back on thread topic:

Recently finished the 1968 english language translation of Italo Calvino's COSMICOMICS.
Best way to describe this short story collection is from it's book-jacket text, "....an enchanting series of stories about the evolution of the universe. He makes characters out of mathematical formulae and simple cellular structures. They disport themselves among galaxies, experience the solidification of planets, move from aquatic to terrestrial existence, play games with hydrogen atoms, and have a love life."

Cosmicomics had the same lightness of tone/mild weirdness as Stanislaw Lem's Cyberiad short stories, so if you enjoyed any of the stories in the Cyberiad (especially the mathematics poem), you will probably enjoy Cosmicomics as well.

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 23:39 on Dec 31, 2019

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

quantumfoam
Dec 25, 2003



Did the person who was reading Randall Garrett's Gandalara Cycle in the old SF&F thread ever finish it?
Same question applies for the person who was reading Ken MacLeod's Corporation Wars.

The posthumous Iain M. Banks The Culture: Notes and Drawings might be getting released this year. Definitely maybe. Possibly.
If there was anything more than a solitary amazon uk listing for it, I'd slightly believe it. More curious to see the original Banks artwork in it than any actual commentary about the Culture universe by Ken MacLeod in it. Not really interested in finding out how much Locke and Hume empiricism and class warfare arguments MacLeod crams into it.

quantumfoam fucked around with this message at 06:58 on Jan 3, 2020

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply