Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss|
I've decided to read more of the 'Golden Age' sci-fi from the 1950s and 1960s. Starting with this, which, incidentally, is Aldiss's first novel.
It was actually better than I thought. The science has been kept to a minimum, only surfacing when a point in the story needs clarifying. Aldiss writes good prose, with well paced action, unique characters and a nice plot twist. Felt a little short, with a weak ending, but I'm prepared to give it a pass given the knowledge the author had at the time.
And I think this book has the ingredients that would transition into a watchable low budget and/or Netflix film.
Rate the last book you read • Page 91
Been on a Pratchett re-read binge the past couple of weeks (didnít want to start anything huge before the new Hilary Mantel next week). Re-read a few favourites:
Carpe Jugulum - 8/10. Not the best Witches story (thatíll be Lords and Ladies) but still wonderful.
Wyrd Sisters - 9/10. The first Ďadultí Pterry I read. Weíd just covered Macbeth in English at school, so I was all over it.
Men at Arms - 9/10. I mean, Night Watch is obviously the best Watch novel but I havenít read it as many times as this.
Feet of Clay - 9/10. Golems! Vampires! Poison!
Jingo - 8/10. For the first time I found myself skimming the Vetinari/Nobby/Colon bits, but the rest is ace.
The Fifth Elephant - 10/10. Vimes against werewolves. Inigo Skimmer is one of the great minor Discworld characters, Iíd say. Mhm, mhm.
Edited by dmj at 16:01:20 28-02-2020
Related to the above post, I read Pratchett's 'Carpet People' this week.
As a huge Pratchett fan.....4/10
It was his first ever book, and apparently he re-wrote massive chunks of it after he'd published a few Discworld books and that's the version I read. It's a mess. An incoherent, rambling (albeit short) mess.
There's a bit of his usual humour in there which just about saves it, but even that feels incredibly forced. Most of his 'for tweens' books have been good reads, but was very disappointed in this one.
He was seventeen or something when he wrote it, I think. Itís not one Iím eager to revisit. I am curious to see if the Johnny Maxwell trilogy still does it for me, though.
Edited by dmj at 16:21:34 28-02-2020
The Long Cosmos - Pratchett / Baxter
The last of the Long Earth sci-fi series. An entertaining read but it takes a long time to get to the point and then doesn't really conclude it in a meaningful way. I enjoyed the series overall though.
The Sleeper Awakes by H G Wells
Written in 1897 it's a fascinating look at what humanity's future would be in 200 years time. The story itself isn't one of his best, but the insights he draws are interesting. For example sound bites being more powerful than proper speeches. Some of the predictions seem naive with the benefit of a modern perspective and some of the social opinions are a little distasteful from the same perspective. Worth a read though and does illustrate his ability to comprehend what could have been.
Tonka 30,313 posts
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Agency by William Gibson
Set in the same universe as The Peripheral except it take place in the now. Or a parallell now to ours. (It also takes place in other times, like far in the future and somewhat nearer in the future)
I really liked The Peripheral and was looking forward to this one a lot. Sadly, I think William Gibson is suuuuuuper boring when his books take place in our time. The Blue Ant trilogy was a snorefest tbh and so is about half of this.
It felt very by the numbers, at times like a parody of Gibson, and when it finally gets somewhere interesting the book ends.
For fans of the genre.
A Little Hated by Joe Abercrombie
I'm very much an Abercrombie fan so this is a pretty biased view, but I really liked it, for a number of reasons.
First of all, the world still feels rich. Unlike some fantasy I've read there is actual societal progress. Its been building up to this over the last few books, hints of industrial progress, and now the world is in an industrial revolution. And it's a major part of the story, as one of the threads deals with a Luddite-peasant uprising. The other major plot deals with more conflict in the North.
In some ways the industry based storyline is fresher, as the Northern conflict is pretty much business as usual
But the characters caught in the situation are just as engaging to be around as ever. I know some people have criticised Abercrombie for sometimes reusing character types, and to be fair there is the fare share of pragmatic Northern hardmen. But characters elsewhere felt different to what we've seen before. And as so often in his novels, the characters often behave or do awful things but you can't help but like them anyway.
I'm looking forward to see how events develop in the next two novels. I expect they'll escalate. But the storylines reach a nice point in this novel alone, so it actually works as a standalone novel too.
Rabbit, Run by John Updike
I brilliant study of the harsh realities of the American Dream. It was difficult to read at times, with some parts where I actually started to dislike the author for treating his characters that way, but that is a testament on how real they felt. The prose is generally good, but it can get overly descriptive at times; but you can tell Updike was trying to find his feet on how he wanted to convey the emotional turmoil and existential ideas he had.
Is A Little Hatred book 7 in the 1st Law Trilogy? (Or 8th if Sharp Ends is included).
@PazJohnMitch It is! But set a good few years later (thirty or so after LAoK).
Edited by dmj at 11:11:12 11-03-2020
Sounds like I am going to have to read that.
Started Wheel of Time a few days ago though and Stormlight book 4 is due at the end of the year.
creepiest-lizard 1,123 posts
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The problem with reading Joe Abercrombie is that after you've read his stuff alot of other fantasy epics, especially older stuff like The wheel of time, comes across as a bit..twee.
Some of my favourite characters in books have come from the 1st law universe.
As dmj mentioned it is set 30 odd years later, but very much like the earlier books a handful of characters reappear in this.
This is actually the start of a new trilogy in the First Law world, called the Age of Madness. Second in the trilogy is out this year, one year after the first.
There's a good chance that Abercrombie will have published two standalone novels and written two trilogies (this new one and the separate Half a King series) in the time it takes GRRM to finish Winds of Winter....
I have already read the previous 7 First Law books and his Half a World trilogy.
So it is only a matter of time for when I read the new trilogy. Finding that time is my worry.
JoelStinty 8,630 posts
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The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman
Short, and sweet and reads at a good pace, full of adventure, ups and downs, and revelations. Its a great sequel and has everything you would want from one too.
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman
Middling. I don't know if I burnt out from reading the trilogy back to back, but this looses a lot of the directness of the previous books and it feels a bit baggy. The book adds the Dr Malone scenes in to the mix, so instead of alternative viewpoints of Lyra and an alternative character, we have a third enter the mix and it takes a while for the book to set up her story - which is intergral to the book. For the most part Lyra and Will are allowed to continue their journey at their pace but it does feel like Pullman had to create other scenarios to fill up time. It has some wonderful scenes though, particularly the journey to the land of the dead, and the final scenes with Lyra and Will are beautifully written. And like the previous books its adds some memorable characters.
Not sure what to think of it, I felt disappointed reading it but been reflecting on it a fair bit since finishing it.
Edited by JoelStinty at 11:24:27 19-03-2020
Mola_Ram 22,783 posts
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Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
A non-fiction book about the Troubles. Really, really engaging, alternating between historical narratives and personal accounts from some of the major players in the Provos, including the Price sisters, Brendan Hughes and others.
It seems pretty evenhanded, though I don't really know enough about the conflict to make a judgment on its objectivity. Fucking hell it makes Gerry Adams look like a real piece of shit.
Anyway, highly recommended!
I have Say Nothing on my TBR pile, but Iíve been putting it off for more cheery things.
Saying that, Iím currently halfway through The Mirror and the Light. Not read any of it this week. My commute is usually the only time I get for sustained reading these days (thanks, small children!) but, thanks to Captain Trips, Iíve been working from home this week.
2dividedby0 162 posts
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Was Danny Casolaro murdered in a bathtub or did he slash his own wrists 11+ times?
Casolaro was on the trail of the Octopus at the time of his death.
beastmaster 19,978 posts
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The 007 Diaries - Filming Live and Let Die by Roger Moore - 8.5/10
Exactly what it says on the cover. Roger Moore's diary of the making of Live and Let Die. Fascinating insight as to what was going on behind the scenes. Contains bags of Moore's charm and wit. Some scenes I willl never look at in the same way knowing what was really going on.
I've got all of the Folio Society's Ian Fleming releases they've done so far. Tempted to make my way through them.
Identity Crisis - Ben Elton
I remember really enjoying his writing when I was younger but this one didn't do a lot for me. A middle-aged cop investigates the murder of a trans woman against the background of an English independence referendum and various social media pile-ons. Takes aim at identity politics, fake news, nationalism and all the other things that make modern life so 'fun' but doesn't really have anything insightful to say about any of them. The satire is laid on a bit too thick and the real-life counterparts of the antagonists a bit too obvious.
@Nazo I'm reading this at the moment, just under halfway through it.
I feel exactly the same. Loved the majority of his other stuff, but this is a slog to read and cringeworthy at times.
It's by far his weakest yet, and I can't work out if he's just tried too hard to inject humour/satire (which has failed) or or if it's because he just doesn't know enough/can't relate enough to the subject matter that he's completely off base.
Perhaps a bit of both.
Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Really enjoyed this. Had no idea what it was about going in other than it was a sci-fi, and just fancied something different. The breaking down of the book into a number of short stories worked really well to establish the world and were all really good. Look forward to continuing the series at some point.
Equal Rites - Terry Pratchet
I only read my first Discworld novels last year and really enjoy Pratchets writing. His world and the characters are brilliant. The actual plots however I'm less impressed with. This was great when it was just Esk and Granny together and travelling, but then they get to the university and something happened, but it just wasn't that interesting or fun like the rest of the book. I felt the same at the end of The Light Fantastic.
Don't know if that's just me? Still look forward to reading more though.
I'm a big fan of Hyperion - the second book is worth a read as well.
Cool, it's on the list. Just started the eighth Expanse book, so that will cover my sci-fi needs for a bit.
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