« Is there any reality in these two romance tropes? | Main | ISIS AUMF »

February 11, 2015


Alas, when I was young and single, I used to read a couple SF books a week, and could easily be informed on the Hugo candidates. Now I'm married with a 6 year old, and have an eye disease, and I'm lucky if I get to finish a book every couple of weeks.

The six year old can read faster than I can!

I'm actually thinking of donating my treasured SF collection to the local library, so SOMEBODY can read it, since it seems likely that, by the time I retire, whiling away my days enjoying old favorites will be off the table.

But I still do get to read a book now and then, for now; Are any of the candidates "SF with rivets", as we used to say? (Meaning, SF that doesn't violate known laws of physics.) That's always been my favorite.

Don't read as much as I used to and seldom anything *serious* but Steven Brust and Gail Carriger are always don't-miss-this-one fun. I got Hawk for Christmas but didn't know the new Carriger was even out, so thanks.
Also Greenglass House was very atmospheric and appealing. Setting more than plot.
I get my e-books from the library, either Overdrive or 3M both of which are horrible in different ways. Carriger has always been available as e via B&N, ditto Brust.

all i've read from the un-grayed on that list is The Bone Clocks, which was decent. it's got a lot more fantasy in it than Cloud Atlas. i really liked the first segment, thought the rest wasn't quite as good.

i liked the VanderMeer trilogy. but he's one of my favorites and pretty much gets a lifetime pass for City Of Saints And Madmen. so, i'm biased.


"The Martian" is *all* about the rivets, you'll love it. "A Darkling Sea" (1st novel) may do, it reminded me & Mister Doctor of "Mission of Gravity".


I just started the VanderMeer, and am probably going to bail, I'm finding it very hard to get through. I was never really a Philip K. Dick fan ...

That's a strong recomendation for this Hal Clement fan. I'll make a point of getting them.

The Martian is indeed fun.

The VanderMeer's are a mixed bag. The first one starts slowly but then does finally pick up toward the end. The second one is just boring throughout. The third one (kindle informs me that I am 23% through) is a marked improvement so far, but switching to 2nd person for one of the characters comes off as an unnecessary gimmick.

The problem is VanderMeer's prose just isn't good enough to tell the story as he wants to tell it. It's flat and lifeless, and given that the plot moves like a sloth it needs to be a lot more punchy.

I get the feeling this is going to be one of those situations where the movie is much better than the books.

I agree with not McCain about VanderMeer. The first one in the series really drew me in and then the second one killed my interest. I didn't even finish the third,or rather, I got disgusted and just skipped to the end--it was better than the second, but I had soured on the whole series by then. I think the problem was that he built up expectations and dread in the first one that he really couldn't fulfill. To some extent Battlestar Galactica had that problem in its final year and I gather the same was true of the TV series "Lost", though I never got into that one enough to care.

"Echopraxia" wasn't as good as I was hoping.

On the fantasy front, I liked "City of Stairs", but didn't care for the Lev Grossman universe and didn't bother finishing the trilogy. Harry Potter plus Narnia plus grownup problems with relationships just didn't interest me that much, though oddly enough Tolkien did a story about an unhappy marriage in Numenor that drew me in (though I was more sympathetic to the woman than I think I was supposed to be).

"Shipstar" was meh. I read it, kept my interest, but it shouldn't win any awards.

Really enjoyed "The Three Body Problem". SciFi from China, mixes history (the impact of the Cultural Revolution on scientists) and theoretical physics with thoughts and insights on human/intelligent species nature. Not so upbeat, but good read and unanticipated ending.

The Three Body Problem does look promising.
Thanks for the recommendation - I've ordered it.

Its translator, Ken Liu, has a book The Grace of Kings on the way which also seems worth a look...

My wife enjoyed Afterworlds, but also mentioned that she preferred the "real life" chapters to the book-in-book chapters.

I enjoyed Otherbound; it has good characterization, and engages with powerlessness and agency.

Rachel Swirsky’s Recommendations for 2014 Young Adult & Middle Grade SciFi/Fantasy Novels might help you narrow your list, since she's already read widely.

The comments to this entry are closed.