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So what are you reading this year 2021?

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I HAD been reading Tigana up until today. But it’s such a slog I just couldn’t continue any longer. So I completely switched gears and started I, Strahd, which I’ve never read before.
Different strokes for different folks, but I'd urge you to go back to Tigana and push through. I'm a big GGK fan, and Tigana is one his best. It's just a lot of different things happening.
 

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Khelon Testudo

Cleric of Stronmaus
I've read four of the Murderbot series, slight but enjoyable. I re-read Peter Watt's Blindsight, followed by Echopraxia. They're both intriguing, but the second isn't as meaty as the first. His exploration of ideas is great, though. From one end of the positivity spectrum to the other, I'm close to finishing Kim Stanley Robinson's Ministry of the Future.

The first half shows how much shit we're in, which he depicts incredibly well, and the various ways of overcoming and reducing the forces of climate change are absorbing and informative. It's actually possible, even from here and now. He mentions them in passing but Kim's really too nice to write the bits I'd like to have followed: eco-terrorists and black departments that did the dirty work. Especially after seeing how the book starts. That's gonna stick with me - KSR should try his hand at horror.
 

. From one end of the positivity spectrum to the other, I'm close to finishing Kim Stanley Robinson's Ministry of the Future.

The first half shows how much shit we're in, which he depicts incredibly well, and the various ways of overcoming and reducing the forces of climate change are absorbing and informative. It's actually possible, even from here and now. He mentions them in passing but Kim's really too nice to write the bits I'd like to have followed: eco-terrorists and black departments that did the dirty work. Especially after seeing how the book starts. That's gonna stick with me - KSR should try his hand at horror.
I read it and thought it was interesting, I would have preferred also to have seen more about what was being done off the record, along with more info regarding the climate induced disasters.
 

I've just started on Remembrance of Things Past, which I've had sitting around for ages but never read. Quite enjoying it so far. I can already see why it's so long, since there is a lot of introspection and little of anything actually happening.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I've read four of the Murderbot series, slight but enjoyable. I re-read Peter Watt's Blindsight, followed by Echopraxia. They're both intriguing, but the second isn't as meaty as the first. His exploration of ideas is great, though. From one end of the positivity spectrum to the other, I'm close to finishing Kim Stanley Robinson's Ministry of the Future.

The first half shows how much shit we're in, which he depicts incredibly well, and the various ways of overcoming and reducing the forces of climate change are absorbing and informative. It's actually possible, even from here and now. He mentions them in passing but Kim's really too nice to write the bits I'd like to have followed: eco-terrorists and black departments that did the dirty work. Especially after seeing how the book starts. That's gonna stick with me - KSR should try his hand at horror.

Gawd I love Peter Watts, but his stuff is b.l.e.a.k.
I'm also a fan of KSR, at least most of it. Haven't read Ministry of the Future, but it's on my TBR list.

Speaking of climate change, I am up for any solar punk stories folks have read and enjoyed.
 



Sacrosanct

Legend
Inconceivable. My favorite author.
Part 1 was roughly 200 pages. I could summarize everything important that happened in one paragraph without missing anything of consequence. It seemed to drag on and on, spending significant page count on Devin reminiscing about having been laid or trying to get laid or being left out. And reminding the reader that Barbadians were bad. Over and over.

Not saying it's a bad story or anything, just not my cup of tea.
 


I'm now reading Jeffery Deaver's Garden of Beasts, in which an American hitman is captured by Navy Intelligence forces in 1936 and given the opportunity of a new life (his earlier crimes expunged) if he'll use his skills for one more assassination: the Nazi behind Hitler's rearmament scheme. It's set during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, with the hitman going in undercover as a freelance reporter.

Johnathan
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
I HAD been reading Tigana up until today. But it’s such a slog I just couldn’t continue any longer. So I completely switched gears and started I, Strahd, which I’ve never read before.
Seriously, you like what you like and that's cool. My mother and I have learned not to give each other recommendations, because I can't stand what she loves and vice versa.

But otherwise, you're dead to me and off my Christmas card list, you heathen. :)

I have a rule regarding lists of Best Fantasy Novels: if they don't contain at least one of Tigana; Bridge of Birds; or Little, Big, it's a shite list. (And yes, all three rightfully make regular appearances on said lists, and yes, my formative years were 1985-1995; Gen X all the way).
(If you found Tigana slow, I do not recommend Little, Big. Maybe A Song for Arbonne though.)

I finished Rome is Burning. While it's meticulously researched, it gets lost too frequently in the weeds of digressions and citations. Bummer, because Nero and the fire of Rome in 64 AD should've been a fascinating subject.

Next up is Joe Haldeman's The Forever War.
An excellent choice.

I read Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith, and have started Tatiana (same). I realized after she bought these that I already had Tatiana, and I'm finding that I read it fairly recently but cannot for the life of me remember if I finished it or not. It's agonizing, because every sentence feels like a retread but I have to keep going. A reminder of why I so rarely reread books.

Found TWO decent used book stores yesterday; one only took cash and we were rushed for time at the other, but return trips are planned. I need more books like I need a hole in the head, but at least it's not drugs? I think that's what I'm supposed to say. (Note: One had quite a collection of TSR books - Dragonlance, FR, and the like. I might pick up a few for nostalgia and kicks & giggles. Recommendations?)

In gaming stuff, I've gotten Blackmarsh and The Majestic Fantasy RPG (both from Rob Conley) in print; something called Wardlings Campaign Guide, which is a 5e campaign rules/setting where only kids are magical; Old School Essentials by Normal Gavin (6/5 for layout, though it's a both amazing and potentially visually overwhelming in presentation); and delivered yesterday, My Dad's Monster Manual (5/5 straight up), by James Introcaso (based on material by Lucian Introcaso); The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry and The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry, both by Timothy S. Brannan; Filling in the Blanks - A Guide to Populating Hexcrawls by Todd Leback; The Grand History of the Realms, by Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood; and Elminster's Forgotten Realms, by Ed Greenwood.

My Dad's Monster Manual deserves a special mention because it does what I've really only seen one, maybe two other D&D products do before, which is present a fairly complete set of monsters that sketch out a really different sort of campaign world. Brief backstory: James showed his dad pictures from the 5e Monster Manual; his dad made up names and details of the creatures. Beholders become tiny creatures that move by rolling; ankhegs are friendly-ish humanoids; bulettes are small pink humanoids that grow armor to protect themselves.

Quite a few of the creatures become intelligent and, if not always friendly, at least not overtly hostile. There is also a network of relationships and history: potentlings create scorpdillos as servants (missed opportunities too; why aren't ugoths immature potentlings?); granino are birthed from stratonians who hurl pieces of themselves at trespassers; gordaans are genie empowered by angels; Donafur is a rebel archdevil.
Pars Fortuna achieved something similar, creating a ecosystem of monsters that bypassed the Old Standards in a convincing manner, but otherwise nearly every book since the mid-80s leans on the assumed presence of goblins, orcs, dragons, and so forth. (Yes, Dark Sun is the potential exception to the rule...).
 
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KahlessNestor

Adventurer
I'm now reading Jeffery Deaver's Garden of Beasts, in which an American hitman is captured by Navy Intelligence forces in 1936 and given the opportunity of a new life (his earlier crimes expunged) if he'll use his skills for one more assassination: the Nazi behind Hitler's rearmament scheme. It's set during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, with the hitman going in undercover as a freelance reporter.

Johnathan
Hm. Interesting. Erik Larson has an excellent nonfiction history book dealing with the same period (Germany, 1930s) called In the Garden of Beasts detailing the lives of the American ambassador to Germany in that period, his initial admiration of the regime, his daughter's romantic dalliances with high level Nazis, and his eventual growing disillusionment, horror, and unheeded warnings about them. Ironically (not covered in the book), his daughter went on to marry a communist and become a communist spy in America after the war, an interesting story in itself.
 

Scottius

Explorer
So far this year I've consumed Flame and Crimson: A History of Sword & Sorcery, did a reread of the 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook, and absolutely devoured the massive Monster Manual Expanded volumes 1 & 2 from the DMs Guild.

I'm currently perusing Treacherous Traps and Spectacular Settlements from Nord Games. I'm also planning to start reading the Savage Sword of Conan omnibuses from Dark Horse which I've been picking up second hand lately.
 


Scottius

Explorer
How are those? They're next on my list.

Absolutely packed with beasties to unleash on your PCs. I can tell that I'll be getting tons of mileage out of these two books. Having more diverse options for the various monster types both in challenge level as well as varied skill sets should help make for more varied and interesting encounters. I'm now eagerly awaiting the third books release later this year.
 



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