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May 25, 2016


For Too like the Lightning; I haven't read it yet, but the author's Big Idea article imagined it as future derived from the past. So maybe in this world democracy and such never got a shot, monarchies never failed in the ways that encouraged democracy? It sounds like one I'll want to read, carefully.

Considering we (well, the Japanese at least) are already starting to farm with robots, is an interstellar civilisation really going to overworked farm workers ?

Languagelog on Too Like the Lightning

What I'd like to know about Too Like the Lightning, Windswept, and all other books that start a series is: does the book stand on its own as a story?


The workers aren't farmers, they're maintenance, construction, and quality control (sorting), for the most part. The kind of thing that involves a lot of pattern recognition and responding to complex situations.


Windswept definitely stands on its own, it's a fully-contained story. Too Like the Lightning ... not really, there are too many things that still need explaining.

Doc - I've not read SciFi in a long time, unless the Games of Thrones books count.

Any chance you could recommend 3-5 books that have been published in the past 10 years or so? Thanks!


Certainly, though it would help if I knew some of your old faves.

Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch series, starting with "Ancillary Justice", is a must-read: there's a reason it swept the awards.

Enh. Counter-opinion: Leckie's trilogy (or at least the first two; I've not had any inclination to try the third based on the decline in quality between the first and second) is honestly a journeyman work as far as the plot development and writing goes, and may not even rise to that level in terms of character development. It has nice world-building, but past that it's nothing special.

I'd strongly agree that not knowing what you're fond of makes it nigh-impossible to make recommendations.

Fair enough. Although funny thing, I'm drawing a complete blank on what I liked years ago. Hmm.

Can I say Gillian Flynn in space? I guess something with a little mystery to it.

Not sure that helps.

For anyone peripherally aware of Trek stuff, Redshirts by Scalzi is a total hoot.

Well, that's not much help. Lemme see:

You should def. try Ancillary, find out if you're Team Doctor Science or Team Nombrilisme Vide. (fight! fight!)

If you like litfic, you should look at China Miéville. Try "The City & the City" and/or "Embassytown".

Most Hugo & Nebula nominees are worth looking at, to see if they're your cup of tea. The Locus Award winners are trustworthy, I find.

Good books will get left off these lists, of course, but they make a good starter set until you can say what kind of things you actually like.

I know not much help - but thanks! Perhaps I will start with Ancillary and provide the tiebreaker.

Bribes are welcome.... :-)

The City and the City is a great book - and also discussion fodder for the previous Donne thread.

Embassytown is a bit tougher read, though fascinating.

I'll third The City and the City.

I'll put in a good word for Hardinge's 'Gullstruck Island' too.

Joan Aiken strikes me as writing in a slightly lighter, less allegorical style, but I understand why you might associate the two having read 'The Lie Tree'.

I found Ancillary Mercy much more satisfying than Ancillary Sword. The second volume had middle-installment problems: the story seemed to go in a completely different direction from the suspenseful plot threads set up in Ancillary Justice, and concentrate mostly on a smaller-scale story with a new batch of characters. A bunch of Chekov's guns stayed unfired.

The third book seems like it's continuing the second's plot development for the first 100 pages or so (with some nice comic relief from the second Presger ambassador); then things actually start paying off.

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