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What are you Reading? Jaunty January 2019 edition

New year, new month, new thread!

I finished Artemis Fowl a while back, and honestly came close to hating it. It wasn’t badly written, but the protagonist was pretty much the villain of the story, and I was rooting against him the whole time.


Now I’m onto some Appendix N reading, with Bellairs’ Face in the Frost.
 

Richards

Adventurer
I'm reading Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove, the first in apparently a new series of novels set in the Firefly/Serenity universe. The crew starts off on Persephone with a dodgy job from Badger, and then Mal apparently gets kidnapped.

The jacket shows two more books forthcoming in the series in the near future. Shiny!

Johnathan
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I'm reading Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove, the first in apparently a new series of novels set in the Firefly/Serenity universe. The crew starts off on Persephone with a dodgy job from Badger, and then Mal apparently gets kidnapped.

The jacket shows two more books forthcoming in the series in the near future. Shiny!
This is several year old news, but there's a free Firefly story from Steven Brust released under Creative Commons.

http://dreamcafe.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/My-Own-Kind-of-Freedom-Steven-Brust.pdf

I enjoy Brust's published works, which is what separates this from other fan fiction for me.
 

megamania

Community Supporter
Starting up the Darksun novel "The Obsidian Oracle".

Rereading and taking notes to lock in time table for my new 3.5 Darksun game and Storyhour
 

Richards

Adventurer
This is several year old news, but there's a free Firefly story from Steven Brust released under Creative Commons.

http://dreamcafe.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/My-Own-Kind-of-Freedom-Steven-Brust.pdf

I enjoy Brust's published works, which is what separates this from other fan fiction for me.
Yeah, I read that one when it was first released online. I like Brust's work, too. I wonder what changed between "we're not going to publish Firefly novels after all" back then to the obvious new decision to publish these new novels. Regardless, I'm glad to see them being published, but poor Steven Brust kind of got screwed in that process.

Johnathan
 
Finished The Face in the Frost. A charming fun read. I can see why Gygax included it in Appendix N. The guy that had a wizard go to the wild west would like a book with a magic mirror that tunes into the World Series.

Now I'm going for Elizabeth Hand's Wylding Hall.
 
"Anna Karenina", and the 4e "Dark Sun Campaign Guide". I'm also reading a couple of books for work, but am not free to discuss that here. :)

I have no idea what is next, nor indeed when that might be.
 
Finished Wylding Hall. Eerie and vivid, it tells the story of a 70s Folk Rock band who go on a getaway to an old house in the countryside to record their album. Told through present-day “interviews,” it slowly reveals the eerie occurrences there.

I found myself quite caught up in the tale and while reading, found myself thinking how I couldn’t wait to look up Windhollow Faire (the fictional band) on Wikipedia and Discogs.

Now I’m moving onto The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Had this for a while, but haven’t gotten around to reading it until now.
 

Richards

Adventurer
I'm reading All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault, a superhero novel by James Alan Gardner. He's using the same writing style as he did with Expendable (an excellent book - I highly recommend it), where there are chapters, but each chapter is broken into smaller (sometimes very small) "chunks," each with its own header in bold. It makes reading through it very addictive and almost impossible to stop until you hit a chapter break, because you can read "just a little more" over and over until you're gobbling down dozens and scores of pages at a sitting.

In any case, this is an interesting take on "superhero science" and the hows and whys of how superpowers work. (Bottom line: superbeings draw their energy from alternate universes, some of which have different laws of physics). He also does a great job explaining away how costumes and masks "work" in protecting superhero identities, all while weaving an origin story about four young college women who first gain their powers in a science lab explosion.

I'm about 150 pages in an am thoroughly enjoying it. (I still like his Expendable novel and subsequent series a little better, but this is a good read and it'd be hard for him to top Expendable in my eyes anyway - I still think it's his greatest work.)

Johnathan
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I'm reading All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault, a superhero novel by James Alan Gardner.
...
(I still like his Expendable novel and subsequent series a little better, but this is a good read and it'd be hard for him to top Expendable in my eyes anyway - I still think it's his greatest work.)
I enjoyed All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault, but was not enamored with it. Some of the parts of the deconstruction of where super powers came from was quite novel and some of the strongest bit. On the other hand, I didn't like the "Dark" side as the general antagonists and felt that social changes would be even stronger then presented.

But the writing was decent, so maybe I'll give Expendable a try.
 

Richards

Adventurer
I think you'll like Expendable. It's kind of an inverted Star Trek, with a Federation of alien races (The League of Peoples) overseen by mysterious beings so advanced beyond us they may as well be deities. They have a main rule that you cannot knowingly take the life of another sentient being - if you do so and you subsequently travel beyond your solar system, you just die. (They don't care what you do in your own solar system - that's for each species to figure out. Just don't go spreading your murderous ways to other systems.) Therefore, there's a Federation-like organization but no interstellar war.

The "Expendables" are basically the Star Trek redshirts - the guys who beam down to a planet and you pretty much know aren't going to come back alive. Technically, they're the Explorer Corps, but they're made up of the "non-perfect people" - those born with deformities, mainly, because the Admiralty has figured out people get bummed out when good-looking people get slain on an away mission, but they generally find it easier to deal with when the person killed was on the ugly side. The main character is a human woman whose main distinguishing feature is a port wine colored birthmark on one cheek - that's all it took to get her drummed into the Explorer Corps.

Anyway, it's a good book, with an interesting background (one designed to be unlike most such science fiction stories with groups of allied alien races) and a very likable main character.

Johnathan
 
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Finished Tolkien’s letters. There’s some interesting insight, to be sure. Both on the author and the world (though a lot of it, by now, has percolated into general lore).

It was interesting to read about an early draft of LOTR that had Frodo and Sam having to face “the last Ringwraith” as they escaped Mt. Doom. And of course, that Tolkien attempted a sequel, but ultimately decided that it would be both unnecessary and depressing.

Reading the early years, when he was still writing it, I was reminded of people that defend GRRM’s gaps by comparing it to Tolkien’s decade to write LOTR. Nevermind that Tolkien was writing during WWII, with air raids, shortages, and two sons fighting in the war. Not. The. Same.

Anyway, I digress. Now it’s onto The Armored Saint, a novella by Myke Cole.
 

Richards

Adventurer
I just started Hominids, the first book in the "Neanderthal Parallax" trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer. I'm only three chapters in but I'm already hooked: a Neanderthal physicist from a parallel world where Neanderthals survived and became the dominant race on Earth has accidentally crossed between universes and ended up on our Earth, much to the consternation of our scientists. Meanwhile, back on his home world, a friend is on trial for his apparent murder.

I'm only just now reading this despite having it and its sequel, Humans, for several years now, because I finally got a copy of the third book, Hybrids, and I didn't want to start a trilogy before having all three books on hand. But I've enjoyed most of Sawyer's work before, so I've been looking forward to giving this a go.

Johnathan
 

Jhaelen

Villager
I just started Hominids, the first book in the "Neanderthal Parallax" trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer. I'm only three chapters in but I'm already hooked: a Neanderthal physicist from a parallel world where Neanderthals survived and became the dominant race on Earth has accidentally crossed between universes and ended up on our Earth, much to the consternation of our scientists. Meanwhile, back on his home world, a friend is on trial for his apparent murder.

I'm only just now reading this despite having it and its sequel, Humans, for several years now, because I finally got a copy of the third book, Hybrids, and I didn't want to start a trilogy before having all three books on hand. But I've enjoyed most of Sawyer's work before, so I've been looking forward to giving this a go.

Johnathan
I read the first book and thought it was pretty good, but I actually didn't enjoy it enough to feel any desire to continue reading the second and third part.
I generally prefer to wait until all parts of a trilogy have been published before I start reading, but I don't usually get them all right away.

I took a break reading 'The Obsidian Gate' by N.K.Jemisin because I had to proof-read a friend's new novel soon to be published. I'm looking forward to pick it up again, though, because I've been watching the 'Winter of Moon' special on the Arte tv channel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. There was one particularly interesting documentation about the various effects that the moon has on our planet, its flora and fauna. I.e. it was quite relevant to the search for the missing moon in the novel :)
 

Richards

Adventurer
I enjoyed Hominids enough that I'm already finished with it and am moving on to the second book in the trilogy, Humans. I usually read for an hour or so in bed at night; with a three-day weekend, I've found myself reading for an hour or so in the morning as well. I won't have that advantage while reading this second book.

Jhaelen said:
I generally prefer to wait until all parts of a trilogy have been published before I start reading, but I don't usually get them all right away.
I'm with you there, but since there was a high likelihood that I'd want to read all three books (based on my enjoyment of his previous works) and since all three had already been published, I opted to ensure I could read them in immediate sequence - and thus had to wait until I found a copy of the third book. I did the same with another series of his, Wake, Watch, and Wonder. (On the other hand, I read books one and two of his "Quintaglio" trilogy two decades or more before I ever found a copy of the third book, and I probably would have enjoyed them better being able to read them in immediate sequence.)

For similar reasons, despite assurances from multiple sources that I would love both the books and the TV series, I haven't started "Game of Thrones." I don't want to get to the current end of either series and be left waiting for the next book or season to appear.

Johnathan
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I will be going on vacation soon, and have picked up Lois McMaster Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity for the trip.

I may also dig into Tad William's The Witchwood Crown, depending on my mood, and how much reading time I have.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I will be going on vacation soon, and have picked up Lois McMaster Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity for the trip.
Miles is perhaps one of my top five protagonists of all time. Have you read the earlier books in the series?
 

Janx

Adventurer
First book of the Bannon & Clare series by Lilith St. Crow.

Prior to that, Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes.

Prior to that Murder Bot by Martha Wells

and Prior to that the first Honor Harrington novel.

Been busy.
 

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