Book Thread 2023

I would still recommend Endymion and Rise of Endymion, if you ever get the hankering to return to that fantastic grand universe again. In real life those came after a huge multi-year break in between, so I’d mostly forgotten a lot of stuff, and that’s probably for the best. I really enjoyed them both.

Eh, if Scuzz wants to stop after Fall of Hyperion, let him. The Endymion books have some good qualities but also a lot of weaknesses and it is very subjective.

In my old age, I don’t always finish books or series. I’ve learned to follow my taste.

I also stopped after the first two Hyperion novels, seemed like it reached a pretty solid conclusion. I woudln’t be averse to reading more stuff in that universe though, I may come back to the Endymion books at some point. Got to get through The Expanse first though.

Right now I am in, for me, the unusual situation of having 20+ books in my shelves that I haven’t read, and an unusual number of them are parts of a series. I may get those books eventually, that would fit my MO but for now I think I will be moving on.

The next/last two do get much more personal and you get to really get into the main characters, but they also require a decent familiarity with Zen Buddhism to grok. I think all four are excellent, and I would call out #2 as the weakest, but then I read Zen books.

Continuing in The Culture vein: Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. When talking about Inversions I said that all Culture books ended up being about “How should an advanced society interact with a primitive one?”, and that’s not exactly untrue here, but this one is really about “War! What is it good for?” (Perhaps you could have guessed this by the book’s title.) The framing device was similar, in that it had two stories told through alternating chapters, though they were much more closely entwined. Ultimately, I felt that the story itself was less compelling than the other Banks books I’ve read, though I thought the philosophical bits about the use of weapons (and weapons’ use of us) was better. For the record, Banks agrees with the song (no surprise there); once you start a war, anything and everything is permissible, and once anything is permissible, you can never go back, even if you “win”.