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08 Aug 2013, 05:06 PM
Post: #31
LOL!!

Author of -
The War of the Second Iteration
Book One The Luck of Han'anga
Book Two Founders' Effect
Book Three The Plight of the Eli'ahtna
and
Mr. Olcott's Skies
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04 Nov 2013, 12:17 AM
Post: #32
Long delayed update...

I finished The Day Without Yesterday

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- the third in Stuart Clark's The Sky's Dark Labyrinth

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trilogy. I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as its predecessors, I found Einstein a rather unsympathetic character and I didn't learn anything new about the background to his research or how it impacted astronomy. However the sections covering the life of Georges LemaƮtre were rather more interesting and there was even a cameo by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin. It certainly left me wanting to learn more about LemaƮtre and his work, so I guess the book fulfilled its aims.

As a complete contrast I'm currently reading REAMDE

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by Neal Stephenson - a techno-thriller so far set in Canada, the USA, Xiamen and a virtual world... It's the usual Stephenson fare of credible technology, exciting action and some interesting characters. I'm particularly enjoying the female characters, who while not the main protagonists of the action are not exactly tripping over and twisting their ankles at every opportunity either.
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04 Nov 2013, 01:13 PM
Post: #33
Since I last checked in with this thread: Little Brother's World by T. Jackson King, Protector by C.J. Cherryh, and a reread of Starship Troopers by Heinlein. Currently getting into Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton. On the nonfiction side: Planets and Perception: Telescopic Views and Interpretations, 1609-1909 by William Sheehan. It's essentially a history of how so many 19th and early 20th Century astronomers managed to convince themselves they were seeing canals on Mars.

Author of -
The War of the Second Iteration
Book One The Luck of Han'anga
Book Two Founders' Effect
Book Three The Plight of the Eli'ahtna
and
Mr. Olcott's Skies
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16 Dec 2013, 06:41 PM
Post: #34
I've just finished reading Reamde

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by Neal Stephenson

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- the first novel I've managed to finish reading since September. Pressure of 50+ hour weeks and the need to absorb a number of text books has meant my leisure reading has been greatly curtailed of late.

Neal Stephenson's books fall into all sorts of genres - this one is a techno thriller set in the present day and in a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Given his computer science background, Stephenson's handling of the technology is spot on, and there is also plenty of real-world spanning action.

It was nice to have the main group of protagonists include three kick-ass women - even better the only person to sprain an ankle is one of the main male characters!

The only reservation I had about this long (900+ page) book is that the ending is predictable from about two-thirds of the way through even though it was very, very unlikely. In fact one of the characters even remarks on how improbable it was that the threads of the plot could wind together in such a way.

But suspend your belief, go along for the ride and it's a great page turner.
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05 Jan 2014, 11:37 PM
Post: #35
Over the Christmas break I finished reading The Wretched of Muirwood

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by Jeff Wheeler

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and started reading The Eye of the World

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by Robert Jordan

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, both relatively traditional fantasy stories.

The Muirwood trilogy are a light read, inventive and a lot of fun, but somehow seem to lack depth. Although I enjoyed reading the first book I felt it was more suitable for younger teenagers and was a little put off by a "Deus ex machina" plot device or two.

In contrast "The Eye of the World" is the first of fourteen books (plus a prequel) that describe a grittier world with a much more complex history. I'm only a few chapters in and it looks like the plot is going to resolve into a Tolkienesque tale of a varied group of characters forced into making a journey across a war-torn world. The style of writing is easier than Tolkien's but describes a rich and complex world with a nicely paced plot that allows painting detailed descriptions whilst still being a page turner.
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05 Feb 2014, 11:49 PM
Post: #36
(05 Jan 2014 11:37 PM)frogplate Wrote:  In contrast "The Eye of the World" is the first of fourteen books (plus a prequel) that describe a grittier world with a much more complex history. I'm only a few chapters in and it looks like the plot is going to resolve into a Tolkienesque tale of a varied group of characters forced into making a journey across a war-torn world. The style of writing is easier than Tolkien's but describes a rich and complex world with a nicely paced plot that allows painting detailed descriptions whilst still being a page turner.

I've just finished The Eye of the World

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and think I'll give the other thirteen books a miss. About half way through my enthusiasm began to pall. There are some interesting ideas in the architecture of the world in which the adventure is set, but the characters are rather predictable, the baddies generic and the action scenes just don't seem realistic.

There are some curious turns of phrase, possibly the author's South Carolina accent coming through, and I found myself every now and again having to go back to re-parse a sentence to make sense of it. This wasn't helped by the Kindle (sorry) edition I was reading being badly converted with a few paragraphs having chunks of text missing resulting in gibberish.

I was attracted to this series on hearing that Brandon Sanderson

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had completed the last book from the late Robert Jordan's notes, but I don't think I'd ever get to the last volume, when there are far better series I could be reading.
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11 Feb 2014, 02:52 AM
Post: #37
Rereading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.

Author of -
The War of the Second Iteration
Book One The Luck of Han'anga
Book Two Founders' Effect
Book Three The Plight of the Eli'ahtna
and
Mr. Olcott's Skies
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15 Feb 2014, 02:23 PM
Post: #38
(11 Feb 2014 02:52 AM)Thomas Watson Wrote:  Rereading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.

Despite about 50% of my leisure reading being Science Fiction I've never read any Robert Heinlein

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... I'm not sure why - possibly a reaction to his politics and having seen the movie of Starship Troopers

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. (I know!)

I was wondering where to start and found this article but soon realised that most of Heinlein's books are not (legally) available as ebooks in any format.

I checked a few other Sci-fi authors from the same era with much the same result. I naively thought that given there seems to be a ready market for illegal copies of these books on the torrents that it would be worth the costs of ebook production to the copyright holders to release epub and mobi versions.
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17 Feb 2014, 01:27 PM
Post: #39
I suspect that at least some of this is due to wrangling with estates over rights to do so, since for books published in the '50s and '60s, electronic media rights were not even discussed, let alone negotiated. I know of published authors to who've brought work, to which they once again hold rights, back out in ebook format. They did so on their own because their former publishers offered them such paltry royalties for the ebook re-release. Since Heinlein apparently had no surviving family when his wife passed, the legality of bringing his work out in ebook form would probably be legal nightmare.

Author of -
The War of the Second Iteration
Book One The Luck of Han'anga
Book Two Founders' Effect
Book Three The Plight of the Eli'ahtna
and
Mr. Olcott's Skies
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11 Mar 2014, 12:15 AM
Post: #40
I've just finished reading Joe Abercrombie

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's The Blade Itself

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and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately bought the remaining books in the trilogy. From a summary of the plot you would think it was the archetypal fantasy novel with all the standard stereotype characters. But this is very gritty and realistic, and none of the characters are quite what they appear. How many fantasy novels have you read where the hero comes out of a pitched battle covered in blood and by the next scene there is not a scratch or bruise on him. This is not like that at all - violence has long term consequences that the author explores in some detail.

The trilogy (and I've only just started the second volume) also seems to be about the difference between what people appear to be and what is going on inside them. Many of the characters are driven by past events, old wounds, guilt or shame, making them much more interesting than it would initially appear. Their fears and motivations are often at odds with what you would expect from their appearance.

The writer's slightly informal turns of phrase were initially a little grating, but I've learned to enjoy the way he speaks to the reader.

Recommended!
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