Finally finished this one. I found it frustrating and thought-provoking, ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful. The narratives about Frank, May, and the titular Ministry worked better for me than the vignettes did -- the latter often felt superficial and sometimes unpleasantly polemical. I often had the feeling of being lectured, which was a bit grating, especially as I generally agree with the arguments that were presented. Oh well.Started The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson last night. I picked up the Three Californias omnibus when I moved to California and loved it, so I thought I'd try something else by him. I have the Mars Trilogy, too, but I wanted a standalone novel for now.
Vlad Taltos books by Brust?Some good recommendations here. I've read the Gentleman Bastards books - they're fun! I liked Strange and Norell, too. Dune is a classic and I read the series when I was a teenager. I've read most everything by Gaiman. The rest, I'll have to check out!
About a quarter of the way in, it starts to get odd. Halfway through, you realise that there may be something wrong with Ed James, because this is batshit. The real plot, when it emerges, is kind of grand guignol in its conceptual grotesquerie and hysteria. I was not expecting that. Nor was I expecting the arc of character development in Fenchurch, which – not to spoil it, but — does the thing these books never do. It brings some warm peace to the Single Terrible Thing and takes away its defining power over his personality. I was impressed by that.
It was fine, a page-turner, good on the procedural end of things. I don't regret reading it, but I don't know that I'll be back for the next eight books — this was published in 2020, so that's, uh, quite the pace. Also, the summaries for the next five books start like this (from his website):Trying something a bit different: The Hope That Kills by Ed James, the first of the DI Fenchurch series. I'm about ten percent in so far, and it's pretty paint-by-numbers right now, but I expect I won't really know if it's any good until it's over. There's a lot of time for it to get weird or interesting.
Finished the book tonight.A recent Facebook discussion of AI in writing reminded me of a book I meant to read from 2016, The Bestseller Code. A couple of lit majors and computer programmers set various computer programs loose on analyzing the New York Times' bestselling books for the last 30+ years along with a few thousand non-bestsellers to see if there are any predictive elements of a bestseller. Spoiler: yes, there are quite a few exclusive elements that make for a bestseller. Note: this isn't a how to write book.
Having tore through that book in a few days, I decided to try out a NYT bestseller. I picked up a few of James Patterson's Women's Murder Club books. Patterson seems to have cut a lot from his writing to ruthlessly up the pacing. The description is minimalist in the extreme. The chapters are all short scenes of the "start late and get out early" variety. Maybe a few printed pages at most. I'm just halfway through the book but already on chapter 63. When he does transition between locations or times it's with a sentence at most. I can't tell if I like his style or not, but it's definitely a fast-paced, page-turner of a mystery/thriller.
I own two stormlight books.... Still looking at them from the outside only.So, this year I got into a reread (through audiobook) of the Wheel of Time series, and hot darn do those books just get better the more Inexperience then, warts and all. Magnificent, ambitious, and now that I know where they are going, even the slog in the middle is interesting. Just finished Winter's Heart today, which ends with a nice bang. They really hold up as prise when read aloud, which I had not cottoned to just reading them.
I also read (on paper) Perenisi by Susana Clarke in March, and @Whizbang Dustyboots is right, that is a stellar piece of work. I preferred Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but I really appreciated how concise and original this was l, leaving me wanting more. Clarke may be one of the greatest living English writers.
I finally caved to my wife's demands to start the stormlight Archives a couple months ago, despite it not being finished, and I'm now all caught up. So now I'm all in, and even despite Brandon Sanderson's absurd work ethic and productivity, I guess that I'm stuck thinking about this through about 2040. These books are a pretty great read, particularly when it becomes clear what he is doing with the structures of each.
The Stormlight books are solid reads, kind of intense because they are page turners and also really long.I own two stormlight books.... Still looking at them from the outside only.
I did take the Jack Reacher book out of my little library, and will start it tomorrow
Given that Esteban Maroto was the one who made that outfit famous by putting Red Sonja in it (two years prior to when Niven's original short story was published), I'd say it's more archetypal than typical, but YMMV.I finished reading Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away. It's got a lot of modern parallels, with its theme of dwindling resources. The interior art by Esteban Maroto is mostly cool, though the one female character, described as wearing robes and leathers, is depicted in typical chainmail bikini in the art.