Book Thread 2018^H9


Finished Record of a Spaceborn Few, third in the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. I really liked it, and it is clear that Chambers has really hit her stride. The “slice of life” approach of showing the goings on in the fleet and the relationship between the fleet and the rest of galactic society worked really well. It didn’t feel to me like the book lacked plot - it focused on the characters and setting, and those had all the drive the book needed.

I totally agree, the Exodan Fleet or the Galactic Commons are not utopian societies. They are societies, though, and I think the world-building in this novel worked really well. Thick description, done right. While the comparison to the Quarian Fleet in Mass Effect (or all the stuff that inspired that) is obvious, it is clear to me that the similarities are on the surface. Sure, Wayfarers draws inspiration from a lot of places, but I think both A Closed and Common Orbit and this one clearly shows that this is a universe that stands on its own merit.


The sequel to Forever War – Forever Free – appalled me, in a good way, but it was still appalling. There’s that narrative breach in the middle where what looks like a conventional continuation to the previous story tears the fabric of the novel…


I read Light by M. John Harrison, because I saw it on William Gibson’s Twitter feed. Boy, I did not like it at all. It purports to be a space opera, but all the space stuff is in service of some obscure goal of the author (I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t get it). It isn’t really science fiction, there’s no science in it, all the stuff is just made up. There’s stuff like a planet called “Motel Splendido”. I don’t know how I managed to finish it. I guess it’s a character study of the three main characters (one in 1999, the other in 2400). But those stories are surrounded with so much gobbledygook I couldn’t pay enough attention to figure out if there was anything there worth trying to put together.

Not recommended!


I hard disagree. Light is fantastic, as is Harrison in general. Difficult, yes. Weird and dreamy and obscure. But if you can tune into that wavelength, oh man. But definitely not hard SF, if that was what you were looking for.


Light is great and the overall trilogy is too, but it’s no space opera.


I consider M. John Harrison to be a tin-plated literary sci-fi writer with delusions of godhood.

(edited to clarify name of writer)


I thought you meant Harry Harrison for a bit there and was very confused.


Speaking of Harry Harrison, anyone here read Plague from Space?


A friend recommended The Metropolitan Man, and after I got over the “Haha, fanfiction”-phase, I quite enjoyed it. It is a rationalist approach to the appearance of Superman in the 1930s, and quite well done. I imagine it is somewhat similar to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - but it is fairly short and gets to the point instead of going on for ever.


The Death of Kings (Saxon Tales, #6) won’t convert anyone who wasn’t already on board with the series, but I am, so I kept enjoying its mix of bloody adventures and battles with enough historical context to feel somewhat educational. 4/5


One month later. I’m 70% through Liveships. I have met Malta. I hate Malta. Make that three despicable characters. God I hate Malta. Is this how children are? Why does anybody have children?


Malta is a well-crafted and plausible appallingly spoilt teenager. Without spoiling too much, she gets better.


Yeah, I felt the same way about Malta. Hobb is pretty good at developing characters.


Those are some of my favorite books. FitzChivalry is okay too I guess.


I read Lies Sleeping, the seventh novel in the Rivers of London-series by Ben Aaronovitch. I think it was quite good, continuing the trend upwards from The Hanging Tree, which I think got the series back on track. Finally we get some resolution to the main plot of the series, while Aarnonovitch at the same time manages to keep adding depth to the setting and the expanding cast of support characters. Of course there’s still a lot of loose threads, but I’d say that I am almost satisfied with the state of things after this novel.


Book 2 of Liveships. Malta’s still not better!

I’m guessing Kennit is gonna go good and now that everyone’s got a pirate connection things are getting exciting. The first mate is a first mate on a ship that buys pirate goods, Athel is finally home, OH I FORGOT MOST EXCITING THING Amber!!! Amber, working with wood, wait, the fool knew about wooden toys and omg knows about dragons!!! Hello old friend. I guess I can keep reading.


Finished Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman. I am 72,5% sure I have read it before a long time ago, some of the sections were incredibly familiar. Good fun! I laughed out loud several times, especially the section when The Them talk about the Spanish Inquisition. I don’t think the book feels very dated, but there are parts of it that has a strong sense of it being a product of its time than others.


I resemble these remarks. I’d say A Closed and Common Orbit was a bit better but that’s just personal preference, both books were excellent. And the first wasn’t bad by any means, just some rough edges that I’d chalk up to inexperience. Chambers has definitely earned a spot on my must-read author list.


Indeed. I can’t decide if I like ACaCO or RoaSF a bit better than the other or not. About halfway through RoaSF I thought I would like it a bit less, but after the second half it wasn’t as clear anymore.


Thanks for posting this! I enjoyed it quite a bit. I like how the author was able to create tension in a Superman story.