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Books are good, I like books.

Just finished In The Labyrinth of Drakes which is about a lady doing science to dragons. Now reading another Animorphs book since I want to finish the entire series this year; they're a lot darker and more brutal than I remember them being when I read them as a kid!

After that I'm probably going to read the next (and last) dragon science book, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, and after that, who knows! Maybe some nonfiction, maybe some light and cozy romance stuff, maybe a book about things blowing up in space, IT COULD BE ANYTHING



Just finished the Lady Trent books! #3 and #4 were a bit of a slog, #5 is basically Marie Brennan does C.J. Cherryh though and I'm here for that.

Then I read a pile of short stories by Seth Dickinson (aka SA's General Battuta), which were Good, and now it's time for MURDERBOT


My fellow orbs

It is time


:fluffy: :comfysamus:


rear end-penny posted:

I've got a couple on deck before I can get to the new one but I'm excited for it. My roommate just got his copy.

I just finished it and it's the same mix of hypercompetence porn and Murderbot getting FEELINGS all over itself as it tries to figure out how to relate to humans that I loved about the novellas, but with more deep space adventures.

Now I'm sad because I have no more Murderbot to read, so I think I'm going to switch to humorous nonfiction (perhaps How To, or one of Will Cuppy's natural history books) for a bit and reinitialize.


I've never bothered checking out 1632 because I know a lot of it was co-written with David Weber, and while Weber is sometimes a trash snack for me I really don't want to experience his takes on 17th-century European politics

Based on that description it sounds like maybe Flint has more control over the plot, though, maybe I should check it out
This also reminds me that I picked up Flint's Belisarius series back when it was a free download on the Baen website and never got around to reading it, maybe I should do that

Meanwhile for what I've actually been reading, I went away to a cabin on a lake with my family for thanksgiving and did a bunch of reading there, except the first two books I picked (Unconquerable Sun and Master of One) had been recommended to me as standalones but are actually the first books in their respective series and the rest of the books haven't been written yet! That makes me extremely grumpy

So then I read two Dave Barry collections from my childhood (Talks Back and Greatest Hits) and found that they're just as funny as I remember them being 20 years ago, but in different ways; as a kid I was more "lol exploding cows" and as an adult that still gets a chuckle but the jokes about parenting, idiotic pets, etc land a lot better for me now. The political stuff makes a lot more sense, too -- as a kid that mostly just washed over me.

After that I read Urban Enemies, a collection of short stories by established urban fantasy authors focusing on the antagonists of their respective series; I picked it up mainly for the Seanan McGuire short in the InCryptid setting ("Balance"), but there are a few others that landed well for me -- "Kiss" by Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), "The Resurrectionist" by Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), and "Altar Boy" by Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger) all make me think that the series they write might be worth a look.

Not sure what to read next; I was recently gifted Gödel, Escher, Bach and that's going to be my next nonfiction read, but it's also in hardcopy so I can't just carry it around and read it whenever, it's strictly a "when I have time to sit down and read for a while" book. Derelict by L.J. Cohen caught my attention but that's another book-one-of-a-series and I'm not sure it's one I want to read right now (also, I only have the first book; I think I got it in a bundle a while ago).

Maybe I'll give those Belisarius books a look after all?


Wow, it's been a whole month since I posted here

Let's see, I read the Tales of Inthya series which are cute gay wish-fulfillment fantasy; they don't have a lot of substance to them but they were really relaxing, and while they all follow the same basic structure ("someone with a lovely home life is transplanted into a loving and supportive environment and falls in love with someone there") they mix up the specifics a lot. Also one of the books has a trans lesbian werewolf as one of the major characters, and it looks like there's a gradually-building metaplot involving the hosed up relationship between the goddess of love and the goddess of war.

After that I read the first nine Cradle books, which are wuxia fantasy where a guy attempts to become The Best At Kung Fu in order to save his hometown from a giant monster prophecied to destroy it in a few decades. The series is not actually finished yet, which I didn't realize when I started reading, but I'm pretty sure at this point it's going to end with him killing and/or becoming a god. These books badly need a copyeditor, especially the first few, but they're a fun diversion if you're looking for the book equivalent of one of those kung fu movies where someone floats across the room biting bullets out of the air and spitting them back at people at supersonic speed, but turned up to 11.

Then I read Master and Commander, which I did not really like; it felt like he was trying so hard to feel like something written in the early 1800s that it ends up being considerably more tedious and impenetrable than stuff actually written two centuries ago.

Next, I poked at the Belisarius books, but punted them a book and a half in; biosterous sums it up well here:

biosterous posted:

i recently reread the belisarius books (last time i read them was in my teens, wanted to see how they held up). and the parts that are good are good, but there's a fair amount of yikes and oh jeez shut up (and a much lesser sin of ugh stop leaning on this catchphrase it sucks). every race/ethnicity has a few defining traits and are total exemplars of those traits at all times (good or bad). fortunately for the majority of them it's neutral-to-positive portrayals at least.
And the ratio of "good" to "yikes/shut up" was just not doing it for me.

Now I'm reading Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles at the request of my daughter, who has read them three times now; I just finished the first book and it was pretty good. A bit disappointed that the second book is going to star a different character, because Cimorene is great.

One I'm done those, a friend recommended Nor Crystal Tears as a fun, short first-contact novel, something that's generally in my wheelhouse, and after that, who knows? Maybe I'll check out the Commonweal series the SFF thread is always burbling about, or read the next three Foreigner books.


rear end-penny posted:

Hi book thread! Been a long time!

Dang, you know it's been a minute since I read the Three Body trilogy but that's kind of making sense to me. That series turns so fast it could give you whiplash. I wonder if the ideas could be separated into individual stories and still make sense. Have you read Cixin's other books?

I haven't read Cixin but this is a really common affliction of classic SF writers; crack open some Niven or Asimov short stories and so many of them are variations on "I have a Cool Idea and want to write just enough story to showcase it". And honestly those can be a lot of fun! But it often goes off the rails once they start writing novels, because writing novels requires a different set of skills than writing shorts, and you often end up with either (a) an entire novel with one cool idea and not enough meat on its bones plot/character wise to support it otherwise or (b) an entire novel with lots of cool ideas that don't necessarily mesh well together but that the author really wanted to get all down on the page.


I just finished The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper. This novella is short, fast paced cosmic horror kind of on the vein of how Lovecraft wrote, except Piper is actually capable of describing things occasionally.

I don't know a lot of the authors y'all talk about, which makes me feel like I don't really know books, which is funny because I know so many non-readers who are just astounded I'm a dude who likes to read fiction when I'm on break at work, or occasionally on sleepy weekend mornings.

That's also my experience, I mostly read sci-fi and fantasy with a smattering of nonfiction (mostly history & technology stuff) and a lot of the stuff posted here is stuff I have never heard of by authors I've never heard of either. I keep posting, though.

Although I have heard of Lincoln in the Bardo, I've just never read it and the description reminds me unpleasantly of the books I was forced to read, and hated, in high school. People seem to like it though. Maybe I should give it a chance?

As for me, it's been two months since I posted here last and a lot of that time was spent reading stuff by Patricia C. Wrede and Jessica Day George that my daughter asked me to read so she could talk about them with me. I also read Nor Crystal Tears (it was fun), reread We're the Weird Aliens, read Pink One and both volumes of Humans are Weird (I kind of had a theme that week), reread an old Dave Barry book from my childhood (Dave Barry's Bad Habits -- not as good as Talks Back or Greatest Hits but still solid), and one of Pratchett's non-Discworld novels (Dodger, which I had a bit of trouble getting into but was increasingly engaging the further into it I got).

Now I'm halfway through The Wrath of Trees by Bard Bloom, which is about a telepathic tree (she can use the senses of, and to some extent influence, anything that eats her berries) who is uprooted and stolen from her homeworld so that her captors can use her as a spymaster in an attempt to return their family, which is long on magical power but short on both wealth and political influence, to power. She is not at all happy about this but it's hard to escape when you're a tree.


Finished The Wrath of Trees, the ending was a lot comfier than I expected given the premise. Now I'm taking a brief break to fix some typesetting issues in the book, because once a beta reader always a beta reader I guess.

Not sure what to read next. More Bard, probably.

Dumb Sex-Parrot posted:

Warhammer 40k books, I'm going through the Horus Heresy series. :blush:

I've only read six WH40K books (Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies) but, even knowing basically nothing about 40k, they were pretty fun


I have been very slowly working my way through Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, which as the name implies is pretty heavy going. On the side I read Legends and Lattes (cute lesbian romance about an Orcish mercenary who hangs up her sword to pursue her lifelong dream of being a barista), Heaven's Vault (the two-book novelization of the game of the same name; excellent, and if you want to get into deciphering fictional languages there is a lot of that in the books and most of it is not translated in-text), and Paladin of Souls (sequel to Curse of Chalion; didn't like it as much, but can't put my finger on why).

I also needed something non-digital to read for a trip to the consulate where I couldn't take electronics with me, and I'd already finished HV, so I randomly grabbed Med Ship off my shelves, a classic SF second hand book sale find from years ago I never got around to reading. It shows its age, and for a collection of stories about a space doctor very few of them are actually medical drama as such; there's a lot of "the 'disease' is actually a poison/electromagnetic field/propaganda/etc" plots, usually involving the space mafia trying to drive down land values.

It does however have a lot of something I absolutely love in classic SF, which is incredibly wild inconsistency in how different technologies develop. So, for example, the titular Med Ship masses 50 tonnes, has life support for its two-being crew for months, three different drive systems (emergency reaction drive, reactionless drive, and FTL drive) with autopilot, and a complete onboard medical laboratory with computer assistance that can search, and draw conclusions from, the entire corpus of recorded medical and biochemical knowledge...

...but the computer stores all of that knowledge on microfilm!

Also, if you misjump and have to take a parallax reading of nearby stars to locate yourself, the checklist is:
- put the main display in full surround panorama view
- get out the parallax camera and clamp it to the screen
- load it with an unexposed image plate and take a photo
- jump 5 minutes straight ahead
- load another image plate and take another photo
- rotate 90°, jump again, rotate back to your original heading, and take a third photo
- develop the plates, then put them in the spinner and compare them by eye

They have FTL autopilot and Star Trek-style medical computers but can't do digital photography, and I love it.

Minutia posted:

I've been reading Deathtrap Dungeon and having a great time dying in ridiculous ways. Anyone know some good fantasy choose your own adventure books? I also have The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and I'm looking for more dungeon crawls.

Lone Wolf is a classic of the genre and available online at Project Aeon, although those are gamebooks (i.e. you have stats and inventory to keep track of and there's some random rolling) and not pure CYOA.

I have fond memories of the TSR Endless Quest dungeon crawling CYOA books but no idea how well they hold up now.


Ripped through Activation Degradation in a single evening. It's squishy, organic Murderbot with a side of first contact! Enjoyed it a lot, although I felt like the ending was both abrupt and a bit unsatisfying, like it needed more of a denoument.

After that I read some Alex Zandra shorts, and now I'm on to a short story collection, Shark Week. It's a collection of furry stories on the theme of the ocean (although "furry" is a bit of a misnomer here; a lot of the stories are Disney-style intelligent animals, not anthros, and even the ones that do feature anthros usually don't have fur). It's been slow going; most of the stories don't really land with me, and while there's a few I like, none so far that are the sort of true standouts that lead me to investigate the author's other work. I picked it up because a friend of mine has a story in it (which I haven't gotten to yet, but I've generally enjoyed their other work).

After that...who knows? If I'm in a fantasy mood I have a book I need to beta read, but I might not be.

biosterous posted:

rereading Anathem by Neal Stephenson for like the fifth or sixth time. it's good and fun, for me! probably also for other people!

math monks yay

I really liked the monastic travelogue part of Anathem (which is most of it, to be fair) but felt it went precipitously downhill towards the end (around the space station).

Which is par for the course for Stephenson, really.


I'm finally doing the Black Company reread I'd been meaning to do for like a year. I'm four and a half books in now (Shadow Games, since I read The Silver Spike in chronological rather than publication order) and enjoying the poo poo out of them.

Although Shadow Games has me really wanting to smack Croaker and the Lady (mostly Croaker) and yell "just kiss already! you idiots!".


baka fwocka fwame posted:

drat i read the first one and never finished it but it was p freakin cool i forget why i stopped

Well, if you ever want to go back to it, these days you can pick up the first three books in omnibus edition as Chronicles of the Black Company; that covers the entire story arc with the northern empire, the Lady, the Taken, and the Dominator.

I've talked to some people who feel that it gets bad after the first three (or sometimes the first six) but personally I enjoyed it right to the end and felt that it absolutely sticks the landing with Soldiers Live. Yeah, that first trilogy is a hard act to follow (and stands well on its own if you want to stop there), and you could I think make a case that the Books of the South and the Books of Glittering Stone aren't as good, but I think they're well worth the read.

They are a lot more decompressed than the earlier books, though. The campaign around Ghoja, in particular, has a lot less "Croaker disposes of an entire year of campaigning, several major battles, and a month-long siege in a single paragraph".


Finished Shadow Games and Dreams of Steel and now I'm on to Bleak Seasons. I think this is the low point of the series for me; I don't find Murgen nearly as engaging an annalist as Croaker or the Lady, a good chunk of the book is spent recapitulating the siege of Dejagore which we've already seen from other perspectives in the previous book, and the time-displacement stuff means that you know quite early on that Murgen is going to go through some really bad poo poo later, but not exactly what, which is a narrative structure I find pretty stressful.


I forgot Bleak Seasons is also the one that introduces the love triangle subplot where Croaker is consumed by jealousy about Blade making eyes at the Lady and ends up driving one his best officers to defect to the enemy about it, despite ample evidence that Blade won't actually act on his feelings without the Lady's invitation and that the Lady only has eyes for Croaker. Which is a plot structure that frustrates and annoys me and is badly overused.

In this case there's the mitigating factor that the whole thing is a ruse the three of them cooked up together to get Blade inserted into the enemy forces as a mole but that takes like two books to come to light.

When I first saw people advising to stop reading The Black Company after the first 3-6 books I was pretty confused but on reread, yeah, I can definitely see why someone would want to bail when they hit the Books of Murgen. The payoff in Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live is loving tasty but it is a bit of a slog to get there; I wouldn't blame someone -- especially someone who already didn't like the Books of the South as much as they did the first three -- for deciding to cut their losses.


I was reading some schlocky alt-history and then the focus changed from "the struggles of a single destroyer and her mixed-species crew" to "the land war in asia" and I lost interest

Wife's borrowing the e-reader now since hers died, so I browsed the shelves some, did a reread of Fugitive Telemetry (owns, like all Murderbot books) and now I'm finally reading The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

Loved the Riddle-Master trilogy when I originally read but somehow never got around to Eld despite having it in my library for over a decade, time to finally fix that

Also really appreciate how she can tell an epic fantasy story in 200 fuckin pages, no wasted words, no exposition beyond "wizard had a son who was a weird hosed up animal sorcerer, and so was his son, and so was his daughter, and now she lives alone in a house in the woods with a shitload of magical creatures. Got all that? Good because poo poo is going down"

Ohtori Akio posted:

oh i forgot we have a book thread

i finished the edgy fantasy book i had been reading. glen cook makes wizards integrate into a world with military conflict really well i think

Which Glen Cook is this? Like probably Black Company but I know that he's written a bunch of standalones too and I haven't read them all


Just finished the Santa Olivia / Saints Astray duology by Jacqueline Carey. I think it's my favourite so far of what I've read of her; start is a pretty slow burn but it gets really engrossing, and it's nice to have a book where romance is a focus but also the main character hooks up with her girlfriend halfway through and they spend the rest of the plot together having adventures, rather than only getting together in the final act.

Next up is The Night-Bird's Feather; so far it's a lot more, well, comprehensible than I'm used to Jenna Moran being.

The Steerswoman and its sequels are so good. Cover kicks rear end, though, I don't know what you're on about. :colbert:

I still hold out hope that she'll one day finish the series, but even if not what's there is tasty as hell.

As for genre it's straight up SF but it starts out looking like fantasy and most of the characters in it think in terms of magic rather than science, similar to Schroeder's Ventus.


Dr. Yinz Ljubljana posted:

John Dies At The End 4 : If This Book Exists, You're In The Wrong Universe.

Another banger from David Wong/Jason Pargin. It's gross and funny and really fun to read.

What the gently caress, I apparently missed two entire John and Dave books? The last I've I read was This Book Is Full Of Spiders.

I know what I'm reading after this batch of C.J. Cherryh.


rear end-penny posted:

holy poo poo, that fuckin movie was based on a series of books??

There was a movie?!

Dr. Yinz Ljubljana posted:

You only missed "What The Hell Did I Just Read?" - this new one came out last week

Oh, it turns out I did read that and completely forgot that I did so.


Spent the last month mostly reading the Kara Gillian series by Diana Rowland. It starts off as what I'd consider fairly boilerplate urban fantasy/police procedural/romance, with the first few books being murder mysteries starring a homicide detective who summons demons as a hobby (and has a hot demon boyfriend). Then halfway through a bunch of foreshadowing pops off all at once and it swerves into high-stakes fate-of-the-world stuff with book five set entirely in the demon world¹ and later books involving things like a magical AI and a full-scale demonic invasion of Earth.

In particular it did two things that are very much tuned to my tastes:
- Kara's threshold for reading people in on Weird Magic Bullshit is very low. Every book features one or more of her friends getting brought into the "in the know" group who know what's really going on. This is a series that takes the whole box of "the main character contorts her life and cripples her relationships to keep her magical powers secret" tropes and dumpsters them, something I really loving appreciate.
- By the second-last book the masquerade has broken down on a global scale and everyone knows that magic exists and is trying to cope with it. The degree to which this transforms human society isn't explored as much as it might be, even in the epilogue, but I do like that it happens.

The early books also have a lot of characterization and plot beats that are highly reminiscent of the Lucifer TV series, to the point that I wonder if someone in the writers' room for Lucifer is a fan of these books and took some inspiration from them.

With those done, I am experiencing some massive tonal and chronological whiplash as I move on to Little Women; some friends of mine at work are (re)reading it this month and formed an impromptu one-shot book club about it, which I have joined. I'm enjoying it so far! My wife was shocked to find out that I hadn't read it before and is now vibrating with the suppressed urge to talk about parts of the book I haven't gotten to yet.

¹ these aren't, like, christianity-flavour from-hell demons, it's more like interdimensional travel that everyone calls "demon summoning" out of habit


xcheopis posted:

Isn't the Lucifer series more recent than the Kara Gillian one?

Yes, hence why I was wondering if the TV show took some inspiration from these books and not vice versa.


Oh wow, it's been forever since I posted here.

Most recently I've been reading Andrew Skinner, Steel Frame and sequel Origin Complex. First one's about conscript mech pilots exploring a megastructure built by long-dead aliens (and of course finding something horrible), second one I haven't finished yet but so far it's been digging more into the background of human exploration of the Eye and giving a look at some of the events of the first book from a different angle. They also both definitely have Thoughts about the relationship between body and mind, between flesh and steel, and between human and AI that I am vibing with extremely strongly.

Also has me wanting to play a video game about mechs but I'm not sure that's anything that quite captures the same vibes.

In the background, my wife and I are both reading Dracula (we started around halloween); reread for me, first read for her. We're just past the part where the whole crew gets together and compares notes and makes a plan of action and now, unfortunately, into the part where everyone except Mina is a blithering idiot.

3D Megadoodoo posted:

I bought (what I thought was) the first Riftwar book by Raymond Feist because I liked Betrayal at Krondor back in the day. Turns out it's only ½ of the first book, and there's like 40 000 more. I... don't think I'll be reading them all.

I got into Riftwar the same way, for the same reason.

To make it a bit more manageable: it's not one super-long series, it's one setting with a bunch of individual trilogies/tetralogies scattered through it that can mostly be read independently of each other.

Magician (both halves) actually stands pretty well on its own, and has a satisfying (if temporary) conclusion to the Midkemia/Kelewan war, although it does also very obviously foreshadow that there is more and worse to come. Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon between them wrap up the first trilogy as a whole, including the stuff that's foreshadowed at the end of Magician, and if you read to that point you will basically have all the relevant context for the events of Betrayal at Krondor (which I love, but still need to finish one of these days); it takes place after Sethanon and before the rest of the books.

If you want to keep reading, I strongly recommend the Daughter of the Empire trilogy, which was co-authored with Janny Wurts and takes place entirely on the Kelewan side of the rift. It covers roughly the same time period as the first trilogy, but gives you a perspective primarily concerned with Tsurani politics which only crosses over with the Magician timeline at a few points.

If you still want to keep reading after that, I guess I remember the Serpentwar tetralogy being ok-ish, but honestly I'd just read the Magician and Empire trilogies and play Betrayal and stop there.


Finger Prince posted:

Question for the folks reading or familiar with the murderbot diaries series of books:
Even though the character is explicitly non-gendered, does your brain subconsciously assign a gender to it? And if so, what gender?
I don't mean like picturing or associating while reading necessarily, more like you catch yourself thinking of the character as her/him.
I'm just curious. For some reason I associate the character as feminine/she, and I was wondering if that's subconscious bias, or if there's something there in how the character is written, and/or other people make the same association.

For me Murderbot is very consistently an "it", but I also have prior experience using it-pronouns for people (both in books and IRL) so it is perhaps not as jarring for me. My daughter, who has just started reading them, tends to slip up and refer to Murderbot as "he".



rear end-penny posted:

in my experience people are fairly cool to being referred to as "it."

In my experience most people are not, but I also hang out with a lot of trans people who are sadly used to having "it" thrown at them by transphobes as a way of saying "not only do I reject your gender, I reject your humanity and personhood" so it is often a bit of a sore spot. So I only use it for people who explicitly say they want it.

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