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December 11, 2014


Why do you do this to me??? I've got a day job. How am I supposed to cope with this?

/self-centered rant. Now back to your regularly scheduled political infighting....

What the hell, Amazon?

You send me twelve e-mails a day telling me to buy crap based on my purchase history and no notification that the new Expanse novel is out.

[shakes fist]


Put them on your wish list! Then you can space them out through the new year.

of these, i've only read The Martian. but i can second the recommendation. it was indeed a mighty fun book.

I must agree as regards Goblin Emperor, City of Stairs and Darkling Sea -- they were all a real pleasure to read, but I felt Max Gladstone totally lost his mojo with Full Fathom Five -- didn't grab me at all the way the first two of his books did.

I too have only read The Martian.

It's OK/good, but I wonder how well it worked as hard SF, as the only treatment of the 'dust' problem related to solar power generation.
In reality, contamination of life support systems during such a long sojourn would be much more problematic:
I don't think (for example) the number of suited EVAs made by the protagonist would be possible without significant (unmentioned) technical advances.

Why do you do this to me??? I've got a day job. How am I supposed to cope with this?.

The wish list isn't going to cut it. I'm already accumulating books faster than I can read them.

re: The Martian, I don't expect it to "run the table" at awards time, the way Ancillary Justice did last year, because (among other things) it's not well-written enough to get a Nebula, IMHO.


My understanding, from reading the recent MIT report on Mars One feasibility, is that Weir's book posits a crucial piece of equipment that doesn't yet exist: an adequate gas-separator, to keep the CO2 , oxygen, and water levels in the habitat atmosphere at appropriate levels.

I wouldn't be surprised if dust is a big issue in "reality", too, though it's possible that a moderately-high humidity in the habitat would take care of the problem of inhalation.

Fond as I am of Hal Clement, I just couldn't get into A Darkling Sea. It wasn't bad; just didn't grab me either.

But The Goblin Emperor was fabulous! I lost a whole day (not to mention some sleep at the end), being unable to put it down. Thank you, Dr. Science!

OK, Doctor S.

Which one or two of these do you recommend to someone like myself, a casual SF fan, but one who is not going to read anything like all the books on your list?

Probably The Martian, The Goblin Emperor, and Something More Than Night. The others are parts of series, and they're also more embedded in current SFnal discussions, which can make them harder to follow.


I don't know if you all will remember, but a while back The Powers That Be were kind enough to feature a short story I wrote here on this blog. It was a story about my pet white rats. The link above is to the Kirkus review of the whole book. I wasn't expecting a review that good. I hope the link works, in case you are interested.

The link works. Congratulations, Laura (or Jill). I'm not surprised.

Damn, Laura, you should have mentioned this before I did all my shopping! Any chance of a dead-tree version any time soon?

Dr. S, no, I don't think so. I'm not trying to get it published that way. I never self-identified as a writer (I'm an artist), so, after writing the book I sent it in to Kirkus just looking for an objective professional response. I am not out to make money or get famous or anything. I can email a copy to anyone who wants to read it that way..

I read The Goblin Emperor in my free moments last night and today, and while I unquestionably enjoyed it, it was marshmallow fluff to me. Well-phreased, rich, and charming in its construction, but its plot was quite facile in its buildup and lazy in its resolution, and its politics were exasperatingly ham-handed (to put it gently). I'm torn. It was diverting fluff, and Addison is a good writer technically speaking, but its plot - rather than its prose - grated at times, and I'm not overly impressed with Addison as an author.

Not unworthy of being read, I'd agree, but not worth re-reading, and I doubt I could bring myself to read the author's past or future works on this piece's merit.

The Leckie recommendation was most useful, as my daughter had enjoyed the earlier book, and was most pleased to receive the sequel.

After Christmas, came across Lois McMaster Bujold for the first time.
I just finished The Curse of Chalion, and have already kindled the second book...

A fine - and apparently prolific - writer.

My fantasy book of 2014, though, would be Patrick Rothfuss' novella
The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

Nigel, don't miss Bujold's Vorkosigan series, starting with Shards of Honor. They vary from very good to amazing, but all of them are worth reading.

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