The Book Thread - January 2016

Because it’s a new year and I’m overly excited to start a thread…

I’m going all in on The Expanse series. Novels, Novellas, Short Stories, etc. I am halfway through Caliban’s War and really liking it. Not really sure why it soured on me the first time I tried the series a few years ago.

I also took the time to read The Short Drop by Matthew Fitzsimmons. It is a very good, mass market type thriller from a new author. I actually saw it through a special offer/ad on my Kindle and it was part of the lending library so I got it for free. I highly recommend it if you’re into those kinds of books.

I started reading the Wool omnibus edition yesterday and made it about 200 pages in. Searching here, looks like it had a mixed reaction from the few that mention it. I’ve found the whole theme pretty interesting though but I can see how the style might be off-putting. Hopefully I’ll feel the same way in another 200 pages (of almost 600 total I believe.)

Spark by John Twelve Hawks is a pretty good near-future thriller. It looks at first glance like a kind of lame assassin story, but it’s deeper than that and much more philosophical. About a man who after an accident loses almost all affect, suffering from Cotard’s syndrome, he thinks he’s dead. So he makes a good corporate assassin, but not quite good enough.

I just finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and loved it. I want to meet these characters again.

I’m floating between Annihilation (the Star Wars Book), The Brimstone Angels (a DND book), and the Big Short,.

I’m about halfway through the complete collection of James Dashner’s popular dystopian YA Maze Runner series, since I have a soft spot for them and someone recommended it to me once. It’s no Hunger Games, and certainly no Chaos Walking, but I’m moderately entertained and certainly wondering where the overall plot is going (there’s enough ludicrously advanced tech involved that I’m 90% certain it’s going to turn out to be a simulation because for it to be real would be wildly implausible, but at the same time that would kind of be a huge copout). My main problem is that it’s just kind of clunkily written and the nonsensical made up words everyone’s constantly using because heaven forbid characters swear in a YA book don’t help.

I’m reading Gene Wolfe, Book of the New sun, and is currently at book 3, the Sword of the Lictor. I must admit, while I enjoy the storylines, I don’t understand a LOT of what is going on. The language is extremely difficult at times, with words I’ve never come across before (equipoised?!) and it seems that the true meaning of his books (hell, the true meaning of his scenes) is always “just” out of grasp for me.
Its a shame, because as I mentioned, I actually enjoy the stories themselves, even if I have absolutely no idea why people are acting the way they do.
It reminds me a lot of Jack Vance, only that the books of Vance are easier to read.

The Book of the New Sun rewards rereading. Also the coda volume, the Urth of the New Sun, makes explicit some of the things that are subtle or hidden in the base tetralogy, so if you read that too it may illuminate some of the shadowy bits in the earlier books.

Welcome to Gene Wolfe-land :)

— Alan

Thanks for the information - Are all his books like that? And is this considered a good thing? I assume many of his words makes more sense when you are a native english speaking person - kinda like piglatin?

The Book of the New Sun is by far his most difficult work. But also by most accounts his richest.

No, his obscure words are mostly not English. Most are classical references, either real words in Latin and Greek or words based on sources in those languages.

Ugh. I hope you get more enjoyment from that than I did.

Reading Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson. Interesting, about 1/4 through it, but it is going slowly.

I’m reading the Lost Fleet series recommending by Brian, currently reading Valiant and OMG this is the best space sci fi fleet action epic I’ve ever read! I can’t help but think what a perfect computer game this would be!

So my question is I’ve got the reading order through Leviathan. But I see there are a couple of spin off series, One of the them from another author altogether. Is there are a list that covers the order to read these other offshoots (or are they worth reading)?

Finally, I loved the politics, combat, fleet resources, and just surprises in this series, best I’ve ever read of its ilk. Does of anyone know of any series of book better than this series, in their opinion (just in case I somehow missed it)?!

So I read The Martian…and loved it, great book. Sure, I didn’t really understand huge chucks of the science but that doesn’t matter. Now I can see the movie.

And now, because I am watching the show, I have started reading Caliban’s War.

Not a lot of time for reading this month, so I switched to audiobooks until work winds down. Best thing I listened to by far: Huey Long, by T. Harry Williams. Amazing bio of an amazing character. It´s both compelling and not too judgmental (for such a figure, I don´t think you can write about somebody that colorful in a completely unbiased manner).

Highly, highly recommended…

The Midway “Lost Stars” spinoffs are good. I don’t know if there is a list of exactly where they come in chronologically but you can check here.

I have never heard of any other authors doing spin offs. Are you sure you are not confusing some of Campbell’s other series under his real name(Hemry)?

I started on the first of The expanse books, and I have to ask - are all the books this great?! Holy Moses I’m loving it! And is the show the same way? I’m about halfway through, and at no point yet did I have any idea what was going to happen next. Great, great stuff!

I liked the second one better, found the third one bad. Fourth almost as good as the first and fifth one on level with the first or just a bit better. Tin Wisdom (I think) had a different ranking. The series has come up in many of the previous monthly threads.

Yeah, I didn’t care as much for… I think the third and fourth books, though my memory starts to fade a bit. I thought the fifth was as good if not better than the first. But they’re all pretty great science fiction.

Thanks guys - I’m really enjoying the first book, and cant wait for the show to …eh…show up somewhere where I have acces to it.