Books What are you reading? All New / All Improved Dec 2017 Edition.
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    What are you reading? All New / All Improved Dec 2017 Edition.

    Woo, last month of the year. We always talk about what we're reading, but with the holiday season upon us, I'd like to ask everyone to add a little addendum - name a book you recommend people either to pick up for themselves or for someone else.

    So, I've been reading my guilt pleasure of Space Navel Battles. My poison has been the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. She's quite the Mary Sue, but he plays Break the Mary Sue enough that it's still fun. I have them all in hardcover or paperback, but one of the hardcovers came with a CD of the earlier books so I've got them on my kindle for ease.

    Now for the book recommendation. There's lots of truly good books out there to recommend, but many of them we've already shared back and forth here like Tigana, Lies of Locke Lamora, or Name of the Wind. So let me try for lesser known books. Since I'm the one kicking it off, I'll exceed what I asked for and give a few categories with authors I don't hear enough talk about.

    Urban Fantasy before it was a genre: The War of the Oaks by Emma Bull
    Classic SF Police Procedural: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
    Epic Space Opera: The Dragon Never Sleeps by Glen Cook (yes, Black Company and Garret PI, that Glen Cook)
    Secret History Modern Spy Thriller Fantasy: Declare by Tim Powers
    Alternate Pre-History SF/Psionic: The Pleistocene Saga by Julian May
    Alternate-History European Fantasy Romance: Jacquelin Carey's Kushiel books.
    Superhero Deconstruction: Soon I will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
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  2. #2
    If you really like speculative fiction, politics and sociology, I recommand Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer. The future Palmer imagined is brilliantly dense and detailed. I also enjoyed her prose as she wasn't afraid to try different styles throughout the novel. The plot was engaging enough that it motivated me to buy book two of the series after I've sweared I wouldn't read past book one of any series.

    Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross is another awesome novel I've read this year that I recommand. It deals with the economy of space travel and space colonization in an universe where Faster Than Light is impossible. The word economy might scare people off, but not only was it a quick read, it was very funny and smart. Any sci-fi aficionado should read it.

    Still from Stross, a brilliant work of speculative fiction, I recommand Accelerando. This is jammed back with big ideas. Maybe too many for the casual reader, but for the hungry one this is a master piece.

    If you haven't read it yet, The Forever War is worthy classic. Short, funny and very enjoyable. A remedy to Heinlein's Starship Troopers and better than Scalzi's Old Man's War.

  3. #3
    Queen of Blood, a crossover that weaves together Castlevania and Worm, yet somehow comes across as hopeful and even upbeat at times, while still keeping everyone in character.

    It is also nearly complete, save for the rest of the epilogue.

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    I finally finished Capital in the 21st Century. I just looked it up and I owe $8.75 in library late fees on it. Which, given it was due back in ~September is probably not a bad deal.

  5. #5
    I just picked up a bunch of $2 eBooks from Amazonís Cyber Monday sales Ė Wellsí All Systems Red, Effingerís When Gravity Fails, Sapkowskiís Blood of Elves, and the first Song of Ice and Fire book (Have it already, but Iíve been wanting to move my wristcracker books over to digital so I donít have to lug them around).

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    I'll tell you what I'm going to be reading, starting tomorrow (Dec. 5th): Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey, ie THE NEXT EXPANSE NOVEL!!!

    And then Ken Scholes's conclusion to "The Psalm of Isaak", Hymn. I loved the first four. Here's hoping the finale is as good!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralif Redhammer View Post
    I just picked up a bunch of $2 eBooks from Amazonís Cyber Monday sales Ė Wellsí All Systems Red, Effingerís When Gravity Fails, Sapkowskiís Blood of Elves, and the first Song of Ice and Fire book (Have it already, but Iíve been wanting to move my wristcracker books over to digital so I donít have to lug them around).
    I think When Gravity Fails is excellent. The later books don't quite live up to it, but I think it stands up really well on its own.
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    I just finished The Deed of Paksenarrion, and just started Oath of Fealty, the first of the sequel series Ms Moon recently wrote. Feeling stressed, so decided to go old school.

    Recommendation: Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. Goes particularly well with any of the Henry VIII biographies by Alison Weir.
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  9. #9
    Cool. Iím looking forward to reading it. I somehow missed its entire existence until recently. I kinda feel like cyberpunk literature just doesnít work as well past the 80s. Thereís something about the vision of the future from that particular timeframe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nellisir View Post
    I think When Gravity Fails is excellent. The later books don't quite live up to it, but I think it stands up really well on its own.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralif Redhammer View Post
    Cool. Iím looking forward to reading it. I somehow missed its entire existence until recently. I kinda feel like cyberpunk literature just doesnít work as well past the 80s. Thereís something about the vision of the future from that particular timeframe.
    Zeerust - Warning: TVTropes link

    Rocket ships and rayguns that looked "futuristic" in the 1930s now look "unrealistic", as does the general aesthetic. A "futuristic" book written today must contend with:

    1) Although we don't know if any of them are possible, we now likely know which methods of FTL travel are currently plausible.
    2) We have a general idea of the energy requirements. For example, certain theoretically-possible forms of exotic energy would make forming a wormhole orders of magnitude easier. We do not know if we can, from our current viewpoint, actually generate or find that exotic energy.
    3) We know that, at the least, technological, *"broad-casting" civilizations are rare.
    4) Technology that was once viewed as beyond cutting edge has now, generally speaking, either been researched, been discovered to be pointless, been rendered obsolete, or is still under R&D.
    5) Technology that, just seventy or eighty years ago, had never before been conceived on Earth, is now commonplace.

    So, having gone through this, if we try to imagine a "rocketships and rayguns" aesthetic and combine it with a modern understanding of science, technology, and the scale of space... Either we must admit that the puzzle pieces do not fit together, or we must reduce the scope and scale somehow. For example, the Mass Effect series of video games introduced a number of concepts, most of them predicated around the "mass effect" of the fictional "element zero", to reduce the scope and scale.
    Jump gates, whatever their in-fiction name, allow a setting to traverse even a galaxy, while still remaining limited to a human-understandable number of worlds. Applying the "mass effect" to spaceships, and some applied hand-waving, allowed real-space FTL while remaining largely scientific. Limiting future technological advancements kept the scientific scope understandable, while at the same time not limiting what we have now. And, of course, the blue glow of the "mass effect" itself allowed a raygun aesthetic, even while the guns were regular rail-guns and coil-guns.

    Hopefully my rambling post has been useful and not too rambling.

    * That is, not necessarily emitting radio waves, but in some way making their existence known, perhaps by slowly occluding the light from their star.
    Last edited by Random Bystander; Monday, 4th December, 2017 at 11:17 PM.
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