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Lobby 2. Welcome The Reading Room Reading Challenges, 2010 topic #4
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Subject: "Erin's 2010 reading" 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Previous topic | Next topic
Mesg #4 "Erin's 2010 reading"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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31746 posts
Date Tue Dec-15-09 08:55 PM
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Joining in at the 50-book level.

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Replies to this topic: Pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Mesg #43 "1. The Career Novelist, by Donald Maass"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Jan-03-10 03:47 PM
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The Career Novelist by Donald Maass. Some outdated information, but some solid helpful advice, too. Available free in PDF form on his agency Website.

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Mesg #140 "2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lerner"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Wed Jan-13-10 07:14 PM
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I've read one of the other Niven/Lerner collaborations previously. Interesting way to change the focus of the Known Space books, by looking at the Puppeteer homeworld. If you like Niven, you'll like these. Clearly set up for more to come.

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Mesg #158 "3. The Burning Bridge, by John Flanagan"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Jan-17-10 02:02 PM
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Second in the middle-grade Rangers Apprentice series. (Think it's middle-grade; he starts at age 15 or 16, so it might be the lower end of YA).

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Mesg #178 "4. Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Thu Jan-21-10 08:23 AM
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Pair of novellas collected into a single book. They're both set in the same universe as Revelation Space, but I haven't read that, or in fact any other of his books yet. Very evocative.

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Mesg #224 "5. Pushing Ice, by Alastair Reynolds"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Thu Jan-28-10 02:16 PM
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This book has a sweeping scale and hits on lots of aspects of SF, from the level of tech to the probability of encountering other races. Many chapters occur after a jump in time that is made clear on the first page of the chapter; occasionally, I felt cheated by the jump because something occurred during that time that did not feel true to the characters involved and really needed to be shown.

Still, I felt it was worth reading, and I will continue to seek out more of Reynolds' work.

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Mesg #335 "RE: 2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lern..."
Author chanpheng     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Fri Feb-12-10 07:04 AM
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I've seen this title and never bought it, but even just your brief comment makes it more interesting. I rather liked the Puppeteer, especially their concept of their leader being called the "Hindmost," the one at the back, which everyone still follows. Reminds me a bit of Laos.

  

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Mesg #336 "RE: 2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lern..."
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Fri Feb-12-10 08:51 AM
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It's the third in the series, I think. Fleet of Worlds, which I've read, is first, and there's also Juggler of Worlds, which I haven't. Definitely a lot more insight into the Puppeteers.

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Mesg #355 "RE: 2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lern..."
Author chanpheng     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Mon Feb-15-10 08:24 AM
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A series? More books to read... the list of books to read is never-ending (fortunately).

  

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Mesg #359 "6. Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Mon Feb-15-10 04:29 PM
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His latest, a steampunk gem set at the beginning of what should be World War I in an alternate world. Highly recommended!

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Mesg #360 "7. Metatropolis, by all my favorite newish SF authors"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Mon Feb-15-10 04:31 PM
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John Scalzi, Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, and Karl Schroeder. Each wrote one story set in a jointly imagined future. First released solely as an audiobook (which is how I experienced it), I think it's now available in print format as well. There's some heavy irony in listening to this book while driving by oneself in a car across several states to get somewhere.

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Mesg #363 "8. Norse Code, by Greg van Eekhout"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Tue Feb-16-10 11:18 AM
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Got a good start on this Sunday evening, while relaxing after the con, and finished it up this morning while cuddling sick children. Unlike a lot of urban fantasy, this is a clear stand-alone book (where do you go after Ragnarok?). He refers to it as contemporary fantasy, but I would argue that the cities he use (particularly Venice Beach and areas of L.A.) make a great impact on the story, thus making it urban in the truest sense. Others might disagree. I have no idea when he'll write another adult novel, but I look forward to it. I'll probably also pick up his first MG fantasy book, Kid vs. Squid, to read with T-Bug.

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Mesg #422 "9. Solomon Kane, by Robert E. Howard"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Feb-28-10 07:24 PM
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Part of Centaur Press's Time Lost Series, collected stories and poems of Solomon Kane. There's one in there ("The Castle of the Devil") that strikes me as the prologue to a story, rather than an actual story, but overall, an enjoyable read. He has some very evocative descriptions.

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Mesg #441 "10. Mean Streets, urban fantasy anthology"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Thu Mar-04-10 11:10 AM
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Novellas by Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Kat Richardson, and Thomas E. Sniegoski. Very good, though I did get irritated at Green's repeated use of a phrase along the lines of "people usually knew better than to mess with me" (or Dead Boy, the narrator's companion). I'd rather see him being dangerous, honestly.

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Mesg #457 "11. The Icebound Land, by John Flanagan"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Tue Mar-09-10 11:24 AM
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Third book in the Ranger's Apprentice series, which I'm reading with my son. This qualifies as "reading up" for him (he's eight; the protagonists are about sixteen in this book), and I've had to explain some of the concepts to him -- like drug addiction.

I think the plan is to get the fourth book from the library tomorrow.

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Mesg #508 "12. The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pou..."
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Tue Mar-23-10 09:43 AM
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Tue Mar-23-10 09:44 AMby Erin_M_H

I was rereading this excellent SF book to look at how they handled everything from moving around in a ship to scientific discovery. However, I almost threw the book against the wall when Sally Fowler talked with her Motie about reproduction. I'm sure that the authors thought they did a good job with her -- they'd explained the history of the Empire of Man, told why people were overprotective of suffocating towards the women, and had made the single human female character independent minded enough to go off to college and get a serious degree rather than just being married off to a man to bear him children.

However, the paternalism really set my teeth on edge, especially when Sally said that nice girls didn't use birth control, implied that children born outside of wedlock were a sign of moral lapses on their parents parts -- and said that such children were *always* raised by institutions, and said that if nice women didn't want children, they just didn't have sex. On the one hand, Sally is there precisely to provide a counterpoint to the Moties. On the other, having a wider range of acceptable behavior among humans -- none of which would be possible among the Moties -- including varying forms of birth control, marriage and lack of it, and single mothers raising their children (after all, presumably widows manage when their husbands die serving in the all-male Navy) would have made their point even stronger. Biologically and psychologically, humans and Moties are different. And writing in the mid-'70s, they really have no excuse for creating such a mind-bogglingly ugly '50s throwback.

The other place the '50s attitude was obvious was in the ethnic diversity -- or lack thereof. Everyone was white, primarily blue-eyed blond, with historical reasons for it. The major exception was the Levantine trader, Horace Bury, a Muslim, a Trader, and a traitor to the Empire.

The other problem I had was with the biology of the Moties themselves. They had genetic engineers who could tinker with the mental characteristics of the Mediator class to try to make them more stable. They could and did breed all sorts of offshoots and variants to their race. But they couldn't breed for (or do genetic engineering with) increased time between sex changes or the occasional mutant who didn't change sex at all? (A million years of history and a massively procreating race, and it never happened? Nope, not believable.)

Despite my problems with the story, I learned both from what they did well (the ships, the movements, the physical details) and what I feel they erred in. I am not sad I reread the book. I am wondering, however, whether I really want to try the sequel again (Gripping Hand).

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Mesg #524 "13. The Unnatural Inquirer, by Simon R. Green"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Fri Mar-26-10 02:32 PM
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I read a novella involving John Taylor in Mean Streets and decided to see what the local library had for the longer works. Very easy, quick read. Must find some of the earlier books. Only other one at the library was more recent than this (I did get it, too, so it's next on the reading list).

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Mesg #527 "14. Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians, by Brandon San..."
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sat Mar-27-10 06:37 PM
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Absolutely delightful middle-grade romp by the author of Mistborn and Elantris. Highly recommended for everyone.

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Mesg #537 "15. Just Another Judgement Day, by Simon R. Green"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Mar-28-10 06:49 PM
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Mon Mar-29-10 07:33 PMby Erin_M_H

The next Nightside novel (2009). This brings my total reading of John Taylor works to 2 novels and a novella.

Some running jokes, it makes sense to repeat from work to work, like describing the Tribe of Gay Barbarians, or maybe his ringtone being the Twilight Zone theme song. Some things, though, I got tired of seeing him reuse because they struck me as lazy writing and lazy thinking.

Example one: in The Unnatural Inquirer, how he describes all these traps a bartender has leading up to his rooms, and how one very professional burglar got as far as the door at the top of the stairs . . . and then in Just Another Judgement Day, he describes all the traps John and Suzie have put in their front yard to keep out unwanted guests, and how one very professional burglar got as far as the front door (which ate him).

Example two: Twice, in Judgement Day, he describes someone as "more than a man but less than a god. Or just possibly the other way around."

If you do it often enough in one book to be funny, that's one thing. But this . . . as I said, it struck me as lazy, which is a shame because otherwise I rather like the voice and the world and the sort of situations the MC winds up in.

(Edited because they actually spell Judgement properly.)

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Mesg #581 "16. The Nimble Man, by Christopher Golden and Thomas Sn..."
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Apr-04-10 10:30 AM
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Some interesting takes on the characters, but not so compelling that I'm going to search out more.

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Mesg #597 "17. Small Favors, by Jim Butcher"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Wed Apr-07-10 12:37 PM
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I got this out of the library once before, thought I'd read it, and returned it. Realized recently that what I'd read was the first three chapters (or whatever) that he had posted on his site, so I checked it out again to read. Fun, as always.

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