Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reading recs?



I thought it would good to have a post once in a while where readers can use the comment space to mention things that they have been reading lately or books or authors that they would recommend to other M-Brane followers. The latest thing that I have finished is Stephenson's Anathem. It's very finely done and I would certainly recommend it.  I'll add, however, that it was much more difficult for me to get into for some reason than mypast  Stephenson faves Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. It may just be the way his style and approach has evolved since those early novels. Fine, fine work though (and I think it's a Hugo nominee this year as well). 


So what are y'all reading today?

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17 comments:

derekjgoodman said...

The last cool Sci-Fi I read (been hanging out mostly with the Fantasy crew lately) was another Hugo nominee this year, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. A very entertaining near future look at the way the war on terror can affect personal freedoms (and wonder though if, with our new president's attitudes, it isn't already a little dated...). I was quite surprised to find some of what I did here in a YA novel, but that was part of what added to the realism- real teens will sometimes cuss, and there's even a not-too-graphic sex scene. The best parts, though, are the way the "freedom fighter" characters us MMORPGs as their way of organizing and communicated. Very cool all around.

Christopher Fletcher said...

Yeah, I've heard so much good stuff about Little Brother. In addition to the Hugo, it's a nominee for that LIbertarian Fiction award--can't remember the exact name of that off the top of my head. That's one I need to get on the List for sure. And if does seem dated already because we have moved out of the W Era, then I guess we should be glad of it.

D. D. said...

Recently finished "Escape from Hell", the sequel to Niven and Pournelle's "Inferno". Very good book, but I think I liked "Inferno" a little better. The books depict a modern version of Hell, evolved from Dante's original Divine Comedy. The protagonist is author Allen Carpentier, writer of science fiction who does a stupid human trick at a convention dies. Wakes up in hell and has many adventures. He meets lot's of famous people in both books, and figures out what he thinks Hell is for. Read them both...

pateisel said...

Jeter "The Glass Hammer"; awesome premise really got me gunned-up. I skipped over this a few times at the used store but finally picked up. Very cool as all Jeter books seem to be.

southernweirdo said...

I really enjoyed Jeff Vandemeer's "Shriek: An Afterward" lately. I felt it had the feel of a Wes Anderson flick with a fantasy background some some killer cool shrooms. One part family drama, one part war memoir, one part out-and-out bizarre. Good stuff.

Right now I am reading -- and really enjoying -- "Into the Woods" by Tana French, a mystery book I bought for Christine which she devoured and then recommended I read. It's great! Told from an unreliable narrator who's actually a bit of a jerk, there is a really interesting voice carrying you throughout the story. I see why it won the Edgar Award last year.

I'm reading Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" with my son and we're enjoying that. I also recently read a really cool illustrated children's book called "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick which is amazing, beautiful, and well worth checking out just for the art alone(but the story is very cool as a bonus).

Christopher Fletcher said...

Pat, did you post this comment while I was actually at your house this evening? Based on the time stamp on it, it appears that you did. How did you work that in? It must have been when I was getting my hair cut. I wish I would have said more "thank yous" to Heather for doing that--I needed it sooooo badly, since my last hair cut was the week before Thanksgiving (when you traditionally sing that Primus song). I'll tell her tomorrow. I need to also thank her again for the casserole that we will eat for "brunch" tomorrow. Oh, and I will look forward to reading that Jeter book when you're done with it. I'll return ANATHEM shortly also.

Christopher Fletcher said...

TJ: Those are really interesting choices. I know of (but haven't read) The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and I don't think I know about the Gaiman book at all. So cool that you're reading it with your son--how old is he?

The Tana French book sounds terrific. I love the unreliable narrator technique when it works.

(By the way, for those of you don't know, "southernweirdo" is TJ McIntyre, writer of the great short story "Embrace" in M-BRANE #3.)

Christopher Fletcher said...

D.D. I am not familiar with ESCAPE FROM HELL--is this also a Niven/Pournelle collaboration or a Pournelle solo book? I think you might have mentioned this during the Recent Unpleasantness (the Pournelle/Duesberg Affair). I could get into something like that, I think. I've liked some of the N/P collabs pretty well. I'll add it to the ever-growing List.

D. D. said...

Yes. ESCAPE FROM HELL is a Pournelle/Niven collaboration. It starts right where their INFERNO left off. Some of the souls you meet in the sequel are a bit more topical than the ones in INFERNO, but some characters resurface from it. You ever try THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE? One of my favorites. Niven and Pournelle wrote it as part of Pounelle's CoDominium Universe. I think it's one of the best novels written.

derekjgoodman said...

So we've got three of the five Hugo nominees represented so far on this list. Anyone read the other two, Zoe's Tale and Saturn's Children?

Christopher Fletcher said...

Haven't read those yet either. The Scalzi one (Zoe) is, I believe part of that series that he's done, all of which I hear is worthwhile. The Stross book (Saturn) is supposed to deal with sexy androids--always welcome around here!

Here's another one I read lately but I don't remembered to mention on the blog after I was done with it: Terminal Cafe by Ian McDonald, and I have another by him sitting here but unread, Evolution's Shore. I really dig this writer, at least what I've read of his so far. His stuff can be a bit dense and challenging, but the science of his science fiction is always so wild and weird. He had two short stories in last years Years Best SF, and they both amazing. He's a Hugo nom this year in novella category for something called "The Tear" that showed up in the Galactic Empires anthology.

D. D. said...

ZOE'S TALE was excellent. Well written and encompassing the personality of a young teenager very well. Lot's of angst and nascent hormones. When read in conjunction with THE LAST COLONY, it makes an incredible read. SATURN'S CHILDREN was also very good, kind of like a post-apocalyptic FRIDAY.

pateisel said...

Yes, Chris, I got a few keystrokes in during your haircut. Funny that you noticed. You and I were also talking about another book we just traded off, "The Power", which was a recommendation here some time ago. I am personally very happy to be getting so many great suggestions on this blog since I tend to go to who I know. BTW, did you folks just pull an all-nighter?

Nithska said...

I can second The Graveyard Book, which Delany and I are reading for bedtimes also. next is The Emerald City of OZ, which I am looking forward to. I mentioned on Twitter that I found a 1st edition copy of Zod Wallop, which is my favorite book, so now I have to re-read that. Just finished Cugel's Saga, part of Vance's Dying Earth books. I liked it, but am confused why it is considered SF and not fantasy. Also reading Sword Against Wizardry by Lieber (yeah, not SF, but I find it enjoyable: terrible cheesy cover tho, which i also kind of enjoy), and on a whim I'm about to start R.M. Meluch's The Sagittarius Command (military space opera) since I couldn't find the Elizabeth Moon book I wanted. I like the Vatta's War books, though the first is unspectacular.

I love, love, love, old Vance SF. In particular the Planet of Adventure books, though the Demon Prince series is good too. Golden age-ish SF with a dose of sixties sophistication. Love it.

Peter Watts is great: I have read most of the Rifters books and plan to read his latest first contact book.

And then there's Peter Hamilton. Night's Dawn rocks until the last book, but I wasn't surprised: almost no one could pull such a huge story togather very easily at the end.

B

Christopher Fletcher said...

B, Yeah that Vance stuff is super cool. The Dying Earth stuff is probably, as you say, more in the fantasy realm even though it seems to get grouped with sf often. There is supposed to be a new antho of Dying Earth short fiction coming out soon, if it's not already out. Gene Wolfe's Sun series is a kind of "dying earth" thing, too, and that one is almost always considered sf but it does have a lot elements that give it a tinge of fantasy adventure and even sword-and-sorcery fiction.

I'm going to look for Watts and Hamilton both next I go to the library or the bookshop because those are a couple more writers that I sort of know of but haven't read much.

Brandon, speaking of Oz, are you going to to try to write anything for that Oz antho that you posted about the other day on your blog? It sounds like a fun idea and I'm considering trying to come up with something wicked and depraved for it. Also, oddly enough, I have what I think may be a cool idea for that female pirate's thing, but I haven't started on it yet. (and I picked up a story the other day from Gustavo Bondoni who I believe was also in RETURN TO LUNA--I think that makes 3 of you now). OK, I'm way off topic. I think that's all I needed to tell you right now!

Nithska said...

I would be so thrilled to write something for the Oz book, but I'm stuck on the idea of a murder or series of murders where the heart is missing, taking place in our world but with a detective who is from oz in pursuit of what he believes to be the tin man. But I think the idea is not as good as I first thought and is probably the 'vampire with aids' idea of that particular anthology. So, yes, I am thinking! :)

B

Christopher Fletcher said...

I received a recommendation from Timoth, one of my friends from doorQ, for Simon R. Green's DEATHSTALKER series. Again, it's one I feel like I know of but have not read, but it sounds super cool. Anyone else read it?

Brandon, I don't know. I think you're Oz idea could be super cool. I don't think it's either the "vampire with aids" idea or the idea where the vampire picks up a victim and then the victim ends up being a vampire too.

 

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