Karlstar reads more in 2021 Part the Second

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Karlstar reads more in 2021 Part the Second

mar 27, 12:57pm

The other thread was just getting too long.

March reading plans
Petty: A biography by Warren Zanes
Vallista by Steven Brust
Salvation Lost by Peter F. Hamilton (not started yet)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
Space Team by Barry J. Hutchinson
Homeland by R. A. Salvatore (re-re-read)

Redigerat: jul 5, 10:47pm

Guess I got impatient and created a duplicate post listing what I was planning on reading. I'll change this one to be the April and later reading plans.

April reading plans
The Judging Eye by R. Scott Bakker (quit halfway through)
Homeland by R.A. Salvatore (waiting for new hardcover to arrive)
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (finished in May)
Camber of Culdi by Katherine Kurtz
Saint Camber by Katherine Kurtz
The Dark Elf Trilogy by R. A. Salvatore (re-read)
Salvation Lost by Peter F. Hamilton
River of Night by John Ringo and Mike Massa

May reading
The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks (Lightbringer #4)
Unfinished Tales by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Otherland: City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams

June reading
The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
Unfettered II
Rocannon's World by U. Le Guin
Planet of Exile by U. Le Guin
City of Illusions by U. Le Guin
The Witness For the Dead by Katherine Addison (yes, it is here already!)

July reading
Give Me Back My Legions! by Harry Turtledove
Theft of Swords by Michael Sullivan

mar 27, 12:58pm

I use a 1 to 10 rating system because I started rating books on the internet long before LT and because I like the additional granularity. Here's my rating scale explained. Checking my LT books, the 8 ratings stop right around book 500, so I'm consistent there, but I only have about 70 books rated 9 stars or higher, so either I'm being too tough or there just aren't that many 9 or 10 star books. I would guess my most common rating is 6, I like most of what I read.

1 - So bad, I couldn't finish it. DO NOT READ!!!
2 - Could have finished, but didn't. Do not read. This one means I made a conscious choice not to finish, usually about halfway through the book. Something is seriously wrong here.
3 - Finished it, but had to force myself. Not recommended, if you're a complete-ist and read it, you'll regret it.
4 - Finished it, but really didn't like it. Not recommended unless you have to read everything.
5 - Decent book, recommended if you have spare time and need something to read.
6 - Good book, I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.
7 - Good book, recommended for everyone. I may have read it more than once, and would consider buying the hardcover edition.
8 - Great book, I would put it in the Top 500 of all time. Read more than once, I probably have the hardcover.
9 - Great book, top 100 all time. Read more than once, if I don't have the hardcover edition, I want one!
10 - All-time great book, top 50 material. Read more than twice, I probably have more than one copy/edition.

My ratings also include the Slogging Through the Mud (STTM) rating/index. This goes back to one of Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion books where she spends WAY too much time actually describing how the army spent days slogging through the mud. If there is a lot of travel in the book and too much time describing the traveling, the STTM rating will be high.

mar 27, 1:03pm

Good luck with your new thread.

I like your rating scheme.

mar 28, 12:02am

>4 pgmcc: Thanks!

i finally finished The Broken Eye. Not sure what is up next.

mar 28, 6:52am

>5 Karlstar: Perhaps the Blood Mirror? ;-)

mar 28, 1:31pm

>6 BookstoogeLT: I don't have it yet and I want to read that one on my Kindle or Nook, might have to break down and use a gift card at B&N. I've been picking up The Man in the High Castle and R. Scott Bakker's The Judging Eye (what's with the 'eye' related titles?) but haven't gotten into it so far.

mar 28, 1:37pm

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
STTM: 0 - slogging is highly improbable
Rating: 7 out of 10

I hadn't read this in a long, long time, certainly not since I saw the movie. It was a lot funnier than I remembered. If you haven't read it, it is definitely worth reading, just don't take it too seriously!

mar 28, 3:30pm

>8 Karlstar: Yes, but then the power source for the Heart of Gold was an Infinite-Improbability Drive!

mar 28, 3:45pm

And despite rumors to the contrary, the S.E.P. field is real.

mar 28, 3:59pm

>9 hfglen: Exactly!

mar 29, 8:31pm

>10 Bookmarque: As Murderbot puts it, "Ignoring stuff is always an option, up until it kills you." - Network Effect

Hi, Karlstar! Happy new thread, and you've made me decide to reread HHGTTG. Again. (Nothing improbable about that.)

apr 1, 2:39pm

>12 Storeetllr: Thanks and I hope you enjoy it.

I am just about to give up on The Judging Eye. I'll use my Judging Eye and say his prose is driving me nuts, to the point where I'm skimming to avoid it, which means I really don't want to read it. Anyone have any good thoughts about this one?

apr 1, 6:17pm

>13 Karlstar: Was this your first Bakker?

apr 1, 10:56pm

>14 BookstoogeLT: Yes, so far.

apr 2, 5:15pm

>15 Karlstar: I've only read the darkness that comes before and was, ummm, less than impressed. So I don't have any other experience with him. Sounds like it's not working out so well for you either.

apr 2, 10:31pm

>16 BookstoogeLT: I've put it down for now, we'll see if I pick it up again to finish it some day.

apr 4, 3:30pm

Happy Easter for those that celebrate.

apr 5, 11:03pm

It seemed like a re-read of the Camber series by Katherine Kurtz was appropriate for the season, I finished Camber of Culdi and I'll move on to Saint Camber next.

Redigerat: apr 10, 11:37pm

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
STTM: 6 - there's definitely some traveling in this one, just not walking
Rating: 7 out of 10

I enjoyed this one, the 3rd one in the series. At 756 pages, counting the epilogue but not counting the glossary or appendix, it is long. While reading it struck me that Weeks really went to a lot of effort to detail the people of this world. We've now spent a lot of time with Gavin, Karris, Teia and Kip. By now we also know a good bit about some of the other characters too. There's even a chapter where he spends 2 decent length paragraphs on one of Liviana's bodyguards. That's a lot of effort for what could have been a nothing character by other authors.

I enjoyed the plot though sometimes I think the Kip story line just keeps dragging on. I probably would have given this an 8 if those sections were a bit shorter. Otherwise, really good stuff.

apr 11, 3:53pm

My copy of the Dark Elf Trilogy (omnibus) finally arrived, so I've swapped over to reading that. Almost done with Saint Camber, I'll finish that sometime soon.

apr 14, 8:01pm

Finished Homeland, the first book in the Dark Elf Trilogy, now part way through Exile. Still good stuff.

apr 15, 6:39pm

>22 Karlstar: That is nice. It's always nice when something stands the test of time and still makes you feel good :-D

apr 16, 3:53pm

Done with Exile, now on to Sojourn, which is probably the one I remember the least.

>23 BookstoogeLT: I'll have more to say when I do the review about it, but it really is nice.

Redigerat: apr 18, 1:48pm

For anyone that cares, here is a long article about George R. R. Martin's lack of progress on the next Song of Ice and Fire book. The sad thing for me was the realization that I haven't wondered about when this book might come out in months. I've given up.


If you don't read care to read the whole thing, there's also news about a Sandkings adaptation!


Also The Ringer's rating of every Game of Thrones episode, because the first episode came out 10 years ago this week - how is that possible??


apr 18, 1:01pm

>25 Karlstar: Thanks for the link to the Sandkings. I watched the Outer Limits version and while it was pretty good, they really got rid of the SF element :-(
And I see it is going to be a Netflix exclusive. Sigh, well, guess it'll be a couple of years at the earliest for me then...

apr 18, 1:49pm

>26 BookstoogeLT: At least it isn't on Apple+! I've managed to avoid that one so far, even if some of the content looks good.

apr 20, 12:39pm

Finished the Dark Elf Trilogy, circling back to finish Saint Camber before moving on to something newer.

Redigerat: apr 23, 3:01pm

Finally got started on Salvation Lost. The prologue started the book out great, then there was a bit of a tough section, now back to the action full speed.

apr 23, 9:41am

We got our 2nd vaccine shots last week, after 1 day of flu like symptoms, mostly back to normal.

apr 23, 9:42am

>30 Karlstar:

apr 23, 9:45am

>30 Karlstar: Congrats!

apr 23, 10:20am

>30 Karlstar: Congratulations! You're both lucky, by the way. I had a fever and felt like crap for days. Got a lot of reading done at least.

apr 23, 12:43pm

>30 Karlstar: Congrats on that. It's only been a week since my first Pfizer jab so still waiting for the 2nd dose.

>30 Karlstar: >33 clamairy: Which brand vaccine did you both get?

apr 23, 12:54pm


Redigerat: apr 23, 1:42pm

>35 clamairy: I've heard the 2nd dose of Moderna often causes more severe reactions than the first. It's one of the reasons I opted for the Pfizer. I had considered the single-shot J&J but I was looking for an appointment right when the reports started coming out so I took that one off the table. I also thought my sister, who is now completely vaccinated, had gotten Pfizer. She had no reaction to speak of to either dose so I figured, hey, same basic DNA, I should be good too, right? Except I got it backward; it was her husband that got Pfizer while she got Moderna. Found that out after my jab. Oh, well... LOL.

I'm glad you were at least able to read through the discomfort!

Redigerat: apr 23, 3:03pm

>31 pgmcc: >32 Busifer: >33 clamairy: >34 ScoLgo: Thanks! We're doing our part to get this darn pandemic over. Plus, we're looking forward to a visit with our 4 year old grand-daughter, we haven't seen her in 15 months! One week until they arrive!

>34 ScoLgo: Moderna here too. First shot was fine, little reaction.

apr 23, 4:10pm

>36 ScoLgo: You got to chose? We don't, we get whatever has been distributed to the vaccination point. Though the age restriction on AZ (J&J is not given here) means I'm going to get Pfizer, or possible Moderna, though that is not as commonly available here.
(Only 65+ yo's get AZ. The blood clot issues apparently mainly occurs in the -30 population?)

Have to wait until I'm 100% recovered before I can book my appointment, though. Hopefully in another week...

Redigerat: apr 23, 11:28pm

>38 Busifer: You can 'choose' in that you make your appointment at a place that is carrying the shot of your choice. You might have to wait longer if you're picky. I made the first available appointment that was within 10 miles of me. I wasn't driving an hour or two to one of the state run sites, and sitting in my car for hours. I was pleased at what popped up locally because I actually wanted Moderna.

>36 ScoLgo: My 75 year old sister had no reaction to either of her Moderna shots beside a sore arm. While one of my brothers (he's 67) ended up in bed with a fever (albeit short-lived) from his second dose of the Pfizer. So, yeah... It's a mixed bag. I'd almost rather have a reaction because then I KNOW it worked. LOL

apr 23, 7:36pm

>30 Karlstar: I’m glad the second shot wasn’t too dramatic for you!

I get my second Moderna shot this coming Tuesday. I have so very much work to do, including some training that I need to be coherent for, so I’m hoping it won’t have too big of an impact because the timing isn’t great for me to be sick. But either way, I’d rather just get it done, convenient or not.

I had some reaction to the 1st shot, although nothing major. Aside from the near-universal sore arm, I felt really achy and tired later that evening, within about 12 hours of getting the shot. It was late enough that I just went to bed and woke up feeling fine, aside from a headache. My appointment time for the second dose is the same, so I’m hoping I might be able to sleep through the worst of it again.

>39 clamairy: And I agree, there's some peace of mind that comes from having a reaction and knowing it did something!

apr 23, 8:56pm

>38 Busifer: What Clam said in >39 clamairy:. I would have gladly booked for either Pfizer or Moderna but knew I didn't want Janssen, (the most common offering around here at the time). The Pfizer location was nearest to home so... win-win!

My biggest reaction was some soreness around the injection area over the next 2 days, and not much else. But...

Had the jab last Wednesday. Thursday night I went to a band rehearsal. Three of the guys always remove their masks while we play, (which irritates me no end but arguing about it is pointless because a couple of them are brain-washed by their media machine of choice into thinking that "masks don't work anyway", and are, "an imposition on their freedom". I don't want to flirt with the political line so 'nuff said on that...

Not surprisingly, one of them got sick over the weekend and tested positive for Covid on Monday. The other one tested positive on Tuesday. Then I started experiencing flu-like symptoms on Tuesday evening and thought, "Uh oh! Here we go..." Woke up still feeling sick on Wednesday. Couldn't find a testing appointment until Thursday morning so laid low for the day and isolated in my home office overnight, (I have a frail 88-year old mother-in-law living here). At least I was able to get some work done but yeah, a rather nerve-wracking time for us all.

Thankfully, come Thursday, both Mrs. ScoLgo and I tested negative. Massive, "WHEW!!". Both of my friends, (yes, we are still friends), have been very sick all week and are now off work for the duration of the quarantine period. All because they don't want to wear a mask. The mind, it boggles.

Anyway, I guess it was just bad timing to get sick from some other type of bug only 5 days after covid exposure. I was almost ready to write it off to reaction to the vaccine but I don't think it's very common for it to take 5 days. CDC reports that side effects usually hit the next day after injection. Anyway, feeling pretty good today and waiting to hear when I can book my 2nd shot. And yes, I do believe I will skip band practices until the vaccine has had time to do its thing.

apr 23, 10:24pm

>41 ScoLgo: Good plan, wait until you are fully protected. After 15 months of not going out to a restaurant to sit and eat once (we did takeout only) we finally went to a restaurant Monday, it was nice to be able to do that again.

apr 24, 5:31am

>39 clamairy: We get assigned certain vaccination spots depending on an extensive questionnaire we have to fill before we can book. Medical profile, age, and so on. Having had a severe or anaphylactic reaction to other vaccines? Then you're directed to the larger hospitals, which are equipped to handle the situation if you get a bad reaction. Likewise if you're in a high risk group (diabetes, asthma, etc). If not, you're directed to one of the temporary vaccination centres, or the "care center" were you're listed as a patient (Swedish "vårdcentral": a local center with doctors and nurses, mainly general practitioners - where I go when I say that I "went to see my doctor").
Younger than 65? Places that don't give AZ (you can till get an mRNA-vaccine if you're older, if that's what you local doctor's office has on stock: it's just that those of us who are younger than 65 absolutely won't get AZ).
And so on.

>41 ScoLgo: Sounds like a good plan.

apr 24, 5:47am

>43 Busifer: Urk. I was given AZ - no choice. I am well under 65, and with a congenital condition that has underlying circulatory issues.

Maybe that explains why the blueness, and numbness, in my hands and feet has been worse over the past month or so.

apr 24, 6:06am

>44 -pilgrim-: Oh, that's not good :(

People who are younger than 65, or like you have underlying circulatory issues, and who got a first shot with AZ before reports of the negative effects started to come in have been rescheduled for other vaccines.
I'm of the impression that they get "restarted", so will get a new "first" shot, but I'm not sure.

apr 24, 6:13am

>45 Busifer: I had my second shot 3 days ago.

apr 24, 6:17am

>46 -pilgrim-: I'm holding my thumbs for you getting better.

Redigerat: apr 24, 6:31am

>47 Busifer: Thanks, Pella. There is already considerable improvement since Thursday, so I am hoping this is just temporary.

I am glad to hear that you are making a steady recovery. Am holding thumbs too for you and your husband making a full one.

apr 24, 10:20am

>46 -pilgrim-: Hope you are feeling better soon!

>47 Busifer: Good luck with your shot when you get it.

Has anyone else read Salvation Lost? I'm really enjoying some sections and really disliking some sections.

Redigerat: apr 25, 9:58am

>49 Karlstar: I haven't heard of it, but it's got a very decent rating here on LT.

apr 25, 9:50am

>50 clamairy: It may be that majkia and I are the only Hamilton fans here.

apr 25, 12:15pm

>51 Karlstar: I keep thinking that I should try him, I always get his books are a recommendation when I buy other books.

apr 25, 10:28pm

>52 Busifer: I really enjoy him as a scifi writer. If you are interested, start with Pandora's Star.

apr 26, 6:57am

Thanks for giving a starting point! I find that to be one of the most difficult parts when trying a new to me author. Everyone have written something that either is not to their usual standard, or something that needs a bit of familiarity with the writing style or universe to digest.
Fx reading Inversions as one's first Culture universe book would not work, at all. Or, would be a very different introduction to the universe, to say the least.

apr 26, 7:21am

>54 Busifer: I agree with your comments on Inversions as an entry point for the Culture novels. I was lucky and was able read them as they were published, so did not have that problem. A benefit of age. :-)

My first and only Peter Hamilton to date was The Reality Dysfunction. The fact that I have not read more of his books is not a comment on the quality of his reading or my enjoyment of The Reality Dysfunction. It is a comment on the size of the sequels and my not wanting to tie myself up for a long time on one book. The sequels are slightly longer. They are on my shelf awaiting attention.

apr 26, 12:23pm

>55 pgmcc: I really wanted to recommend Pandora's Star or Great North Road to you as different places to start, then I looked at the page counts and they both are really long, aren't they? I also haven't read the sequels to The Reality Dysfunction, instead I moved on to the Dreaming Void series.

>54 Busifer: >55 pgmcc: I agree, that starting with Inversions would not be the right place to start with Banks, I'd go with Player of Games.

Redigerat: apr 26, 1:40pm

>56 Karlstar: My first was The Use of Weapons (the touchstone demanded the extra "The", for some inexplicable reason) but definitely agree that Player of Games is an excellent starting point.
(I have a weak spot for Surface Detail but get that it's not everyone's cup of tea.)

apr 26, 7:47pm

>57 Busifer: Use of Weapons is another good starting point, I don't recall any of the books feeling like a true beginning. I checked my collection earlier and noticed Use of Weapons was missing here from my library on LT, despite it being about 12" away from me on the shelf and I'm fairly certain it was in LT at one point. I did notice I'm missing a couple, including Surface Detail, which didn't look like it would be interesting to me. I am thinking about picking up Hydrogen Sonata though.

apr 27, 4:57am

>57 Busifer: >58 Karlstar:
I started with Consider Phlebas and carried on chronologically as they were published. I re-read Consider Phlebas a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it all over again, and got so much more out of it than when I first read it. I put that down to my being a bit more mature, informed, or whatever.

Consider Phlebas should certainly be read before reading Look to Windward.

My favourite Iain M. Banks novels are, Player of Games, Look to Windward and The Algebraist. The last one is standalone, i.e. not a Culture novel.

>58 Karlstar: Hydrogen Sonata is not the best Culture novel and is best enjoyed having read a lot of other Culture novels first. I would certainly put Surface Detail above Hydrogen Sonata in any list of preference. Surface Detail could well be my next IMB re-read.

apr 27, 5:30am

>56 Karlstar: Great North Road is (so far) the only Hamilton novel that I've read, and I thought it was excellent. It's a stand-alone too, so you're not left hanging if you decide at the end that he's not for you.

>54 Busifer: Ha! Inversions was, in fact, the first Culture book I read and I thought it was great but not surprisingly I didn't get the ending at all! Having reread it after going back to the earlier books in the series I understood what was going on a lot better!

apr 27, 6:43am

>58 Karlstar: Seconding what Hydrogen sonata. It is the last Culture novel, and should be read last, as well. Also with an understanding that he as I remember it knew that he was dying as he wrote it.
It has a very special tone.

>59 pgmcc: Player of Games definitely is the best Culture novel, in my opinion. And I do think that even if they are not technically a series it is beneficial to read them in order of publication.

>60 Sakerfalcon: On Inversions: I can definitely see that! And yet you continued to read them: I'm not so sure I would had. But that was how I felt after having read Use of weapons as - I was not sure that I'd read another on. But I did, for which I'm glad.

Redigerat: apr 27, 10:51am

>25 Karlstar: - I've mentally written off the rest of GoT. I will read it if it's ever published but I'm happy enough with an ending by film even if it wasn't what he'd intended. I won't re-read the series though!

I read Consider first, and then the next two in published order, and decided it wasn't for me. He's an inventive writer, but neither the characters nor even the plots match the universe he'd created.

I'm not a big fan of Hamilton either. Star is just too long.

apr 27, 12:17pm

>59 pgmcc: >60 Sakerfalcon: >61 Busifer: I think I started with Consider Phlebas, then Look to Windward and I was completely hooked. I didn't really enjoy Matter as much as the others, though.

>62 reading_fox: You probably read the best 3, though I really enjoyed Look to Windward. Hamilton's books are long, but they never felt that way to me.

I've re-read the first 3 GoT books a couple of times, though not the last one, I'll get to that re-read someday. I still hope he'll finish but no longer wonder about it. I actually wish he'd go back to more about Ser Duncan the Tall and that time period.

apr 27, 12:46pm

>62 reading_fox: I think of Iain M Banks as an ideas-driven author rather than plot- och character-driven one, and either one finds his exploration of ideas interesting, or not.

apr 27, 6:48pm

>63 Karlstar: I absolutely loved Ser Duncan and Egg. If that's all he's able to write about I'd almost be okay with that. I do wish he could finish GoT his way, though. The last several seasons of the show suffered from not having decent source material for better dialog. It did make up for it with eyeball pooping special effects.

apr 27, 7:33pm

>65 clamairy:eyeball pooping special effects

They can do that?! I’m feeling very disturbed and now I'm never going to watch the show. ;)

Redigerat: apr 28, 7:44am

>66 YouKneeK: I'm crying here. That's what I get for posting from my phone. I really CANNOT edit out a beauty of a typo like that... 💩

apr 27, 10:19pm

>66 YouKneeK: Going to go out on a limb and without spoiler tags, say that you are safe, there's none of that in the show.

apr 28, 6:49am

>67 clamairy: LOL, agreed, it would be a crime to edit that post!

>68 Karlstar: Haha, that’s a relief.

maj 1, 11:26am

>66 YouKneeK: & >67 clamairy: lol, reminds me of an article I read on jellyfish. Author said their mouth is also their anus, but happily they have no brain and so no need to contemplate that fact.

maj 1, 11:35am

maj 3, 10:34pm

There's a Children's Literature Egg hunt going on!

maj 4, 9:15am

>72 Karlstar: I found it this morning and was wondering who else was joining in! I've got them all except no. 4, which is bugging me because my MA thesis was on Children's Literature.

maj 4, 3:05pm

>73 Sakerfalcon: That must hurt.

maj 4, 11:18pm

>73 Sakerfalcon: I haven't done very well yet, but partially because I refuse to use search engines outside of LT.

maj 5, 12:30am

>75 Karlstar: I saw it tonight. Looking briefly at the clues I was able to get 3, but the rest are going to take some thought, bedtime for me though.

maj 5, 6:53am

It's very US centric, and some of them are really tough. I had to resort to the Help thread to get some of them. And one or two are found on pages that I don't think they've used for answers before.

maj 5, 8:33am

>75 Karlstar: The Egg Hunt was broken for a little bit yesterday. You may have been hitting the right pages on some of the clues but not being awarded the egg for your efforts. It has subsequently been fixed.

maj 5, 12:55pm

>77 Sakerfalcon: I never participate in these challenges, even when they're not too US centric they're still anglophone, culturally, and so it's never worth the effort.
It's a fun initiative, though :-)

maj 5, 10:46pm

>78 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks! There were a couple I was fairly certain I had the right answer.

>77 Sakerfalcon: I saw a hint that that might be the case, what sorts of pages?

maj 6, 6:49am

>80 Karlstar: In local, the specific building for an institution. I didn't remember that before.

maj 6, 7:09am

>78 AHS-Wolfy: Yes, I was hit by that. I realised this was probably the case when it was not giving me anything for #6, which I was pretty sure could not have another answer. (It does now.)

It is frustrating to have the first quiz for ages at a point when I can't really spend time on it.

maj 6, 7:14am

>79 Busifer: The response I received when I suggested that it might be nice to not to be so US-centric was that I ought to "learn to enjoy learning about other cultures".

Actually, I do. But why should the USA be the only "foreign" culture worth learning about?

Even though my main language is English, I would second your wish for quizzes that were not so exclusively Anglophone.

maj 6, 7:57am

>83 -pilgrim-: I've had similar responses, and so I stopped trying to add to any discussion the evolution of LT.
There are so many cultures, so many traditions. Why not learn take the opportunity about at least some of them?!

(Also, the competitive nature of the various challenges doesn't really inspire learning, but competition.)

maj 6, 9:56am

I think the general idea behind the treasure hunts is to get people traversing the site and learn that it doesn't have to be just about cataloguing books in your collection. Especially using the search facility.

maj 6, 12:17pm

>85 AHS-Wolfy: I have no problems with that, and don't care that much about the various challenges anyway. It is ironic, however, that -pilgrim- got the "learn to enjoy learning about other cultures"-response. Yeah, right.
News flash (sarcasm-warning): there are other cultures and literary canons than the ones emanating from the US, out there ;-)

Oh well. Not the hill I'd chose to die on, anyway. But.

Redigerat: maj 6, 12:29pm

>85 AHS-Wolfy: Certainly. But why does that require their content to be US-themed?

Surely if their goal is to maximise the proportion of their users who are attracted to engage with the quizzes, and thus learn more about the site, then it would make sense to construct quizzes that engage the full range of their users.

Your response carries the implication that they only wish to educate American users about their site (and hence that either they consider American users more stupid than their other users and need to be forced to discover features that all other uses are aimed to be natively aware of, or they would actively prefer their international users to leave the site, by making them less knowledgeable about the full range of its features).

maj 6, 12:31pm

>84 Busifer: I used to do them, out of the interest in discovering new books and authors. But the US-centric bias bores me.

maj 6, 2:30pm

>88 -pilgrim-: As I understand it, the clues are written by volunteers. Which might make it difficult to incorporate other cultures unless there were sufficient volunteers of other cultures to make up an entire set of challenges. I'm guessing that they have to work with what they've got.

maj 6, 6:49pm

>89 Darth-Heather: I understood the clues to be written by the staff. (Certainly Tim's contributions are usually identifiable - and referenced as such in the discussion thread). They have occasionally asked for contributions towards specific upcoming "treasure hunts" - usually ones that are particularly 'niche' events.

But they have specifically declined offers by non-Americans to contribute the puzzles for suggested hunts relating to events that are primarily celebrated elsewhere in the world.

maj 6, 7:39pm

>87 -pilgrim-: Catering to the majority of the site users would be my guess. 90% of the listed staff members are US based. It would be interesting to see what the user demographic is but would expect it to be in the region of 65%+ for the US also. I don't think there's anywhere on the site that shows this. Just total member number (2.6m) and totals of registered users for each of the different language sites (Spanish has most with 36,270).

I'm not saying that I'm in favour of all the treasure hunts being US-centric, just providing possible reasons behind why it is like it is.

maj 7, 5:39am

>91 AHS-Wolfy: Do you think the implicit assumption that Americans won't engage with anything that is not based exclusively around them and their culture is correct?

maj 7, 6:52am

>92 -pilgrim-: There are certain sections of the populace that fit that description to a tee. I'm more hopeful that those that found their way to LT are a more enlightened bunch. I believe that it's still less than 50% of Americans that own a passport although those that do has been on an upward trend over the last 20 years when I recall that it used to be less than 20%.

maj 7, 1:21pm

>92 -pilgrim-: I don't think that assumption is correct, but it would make the hunts very difficult for Americans. Unless it was really obvious that the clue was from another country or culture, it might be extremely frustrating to keep looking in what seemed like logical places, only to come up empty.

maj 7, 1:30pm

I'm going to hold off on a Camber review until I finish the trilogy and I'm still poking away at The Man in the High Castle re-read. But I did finish a few, so it is time to get back to the reviews.

The Dark Elf Trilogy (Homeland, Exile and Sojourn) by R. A. Salvatore
STTM: 5 - a surprising amount of creeping around in caverns
Rating: 8 out of 10

I checked my ratings on the individual books and I gave them a 8, 9 and a 8, so I'll give the series an 8.

These three books are the origin story of Drizz't Do'Urden, drow warrior, from the time of his birth to his early years. These are chronologically before the Icewind Dale trilogy, which was published first. By the time these were published, Drizzt was already one of, if not the most popular D&D character in published fiction.

The best thing about these books is what Salvatore did with the barebones of the Underdark, drow elf society and Menzoberranzan, the city of the drow. This setting had appeared in published adventures before, but those adventures on both the Underdark and the city amounted to about 42 pages of game modules information, not extensive background. Salvatore made the whole culture and setting come to life with great detail. He always excels at individual, heroic characters and fight scenes and none of that is missing here.

These were great re-reads and probably Salvatore's best work.

Redigerat: maj 9, 9:59am

>93 AHS-Wolfy: I see your point, but I am not sure that it is fair to equate whether one is insular in outlook to ability to travel. Foreign travel is expensive, and if you cannot afford it, a passport is pointless. Exploring other cultures through literature, music and film remains within reach.

>94 Karlstar: And is that not the case for the third or so of LT users who are not US-based now? Given that the reply to me was that one should "learn to explore other cultures", why do they not feel the same way about their American users!

maj 8, 4:33pm

>96 -pilgrim-: Totally fair point, they would just have to indicate, somehow, the culture behind the clue or perhaps the language.

maj 11, 12:06pm

River of Night by John Ringo and Mike Massa
STTM: 7 - lots of zombie plague travel, but little self-discovery
Rating: 4 out of 10

When the Black Tide Rising series started, I enjoyed the zombie apocalypse and world-rebuilding aspects. Now that we're up to book 7 and the novels have gone back to the beginning of the apocalypse with a different set of characters, I'm not enjoying them as much.

Tom Smith and his cobbled together crew of survivors are most of the way to their designated safe haven, but aren't there yet. They have to get through 'infected', criminal gangs, other survivors and others out for themselves.

I always learn something about a different part of the USA when reading these books, but other than that, I didn't think this was nearly as good as the previous books. I'm still kind of curious where he's taking the series, if anywhere, I've heard that Ringo is suffering serious writer's block. I didn't care much for the intra-group conflicts in this one either.

maj 11, 12:27pm

>98 Karlstar: oh my. I've read the first two Black Tide books and have a third on my shelf, but had no idea that there are so many more. It doesn't seem like a concept that can be stretched out that far...

maj 11, 4:56pm

>99 Darth-Heather: You can probably stop at book 4. Book 5 is a short story collection. I think he actually meant to stop at book 4, but money, fandom, etc...

maj 12, 10:01pm

I finished The Blood Mirror, now poking away at The Man in the High Castle again while also reading The Peoples of Middle Earth.

maj 14, 10:54pm

The Man in the High Castle is done, not sure what's going to be next.

maj 15, 7:04am

>102 Karlstar:
How did you like it?

Redigerat: jun 27, 3:42pm

>103 pgmcc: I liked it, but found it kind of pointless. Maybe it is just an early example of alternate history, but there's another alternate history wrapped up in it and the characters spend the entire book doing... pretty much nothing relevant. If all the characters are there for is to show us what life would be like in this alternate history, that's fine, but then the sub-plot of the book alternate history seems irrelevant.

I think they did a great job with the first 2 seasons of the TV series, building off of the book and taking the characters to logical places, even if they did invent Mr. Smith and his family.

maj 15, 2:11pm

I decided to go for an Otherland: City of Golden Shadows re-read before picking up something new. I'm also working on Unfinished Tales too, though skipping over Turin's story.

maj 15, 4:43pm

>104 Karlstar: Interesting. I had the opposite reaction. I enjoyed the novella, but thought it pretty much covered everything worth saying.

I bailed about half way through the TV series. It seemed to have people interacting in implausible ways, simply to "build dramatic tension". Maybe I have just read too much about actual life under totalitarian regimes and in occupied countries.

maj 15, 10:34pm

>106 -pilgrim-: By halfway through, do you mean season one or halfway through season 2? We enjoyed season 1, enjoyed season 2 a bit less, but then didn't enjoy season 3 at all.

I probably would have enjoyed the original more if the alternate history within the alternate history hadn't held out the promise of something more, then kind of threw it away in the strange ending.

maj 16, 10:42pm

Not sure why I skipped a review of Salvation Lost, but here is my review.

Salvation Lost by Peter F. Hamilton
STTM: 0 - impossible with quantum entanglement gates, but some of the characters could have used some
Rating: 7 out of 10

After I got past the initial shock of the first few chapters, I really enjoyed this one, maybe more than Salvation. This is fairly standard Hamilton, relatively hard scifi with an alien threat in the mix.

Salvation Lost picks up immediately after Salvation with absolutely no pause or gaps. After the crashed Olyix ship was discovered on a frontier planet containing a shipload of 'missing' humans (yes, the aliens really have been stealing humans!) war is on. In 2204, the humans prepare for what is likely to be a massacre, while in the far future, they go looking for Olyix to trap and fight

There's two time tracks in this book, 2204 and much farther in the future. In one, the war is just starting, in the other, it is continuing. In the 2204 timeline, there's a gang of young toughs that are recruited to carry out crimes, mostly industrial espionage. Unfortunately, there's some disturbing (to me, at least) abuse in those chapters, but apparently that's what people want these days? Eventually this gang becomes part of the larger plot as new characters, just not very appealing ones. Otherwise, it is the same characters from book one as the plot continues, with both timelines trying to figure out what to do next. No easy solutions here, only tough choices.

In one sense, the far future sections demonstrate one of the problems with interstellar war. It just isn't feasible, it is too easy to avoid conflict and extremely difficult to plan, but somehow Hamilton makes it happen in a somewhat reasonable way.

Hamilton does a great job with his personalities and his technology and the plot. Other than a couple of unpleasant chapters, I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the next one.

maj 17, 9:26am

>105 Karlstar: I need to reread that series. As usual with Tad Williams it sprawled out of control in the middle, but the material he stuffed in is so cool that I didn't care.

Redigerat: maj 20, 4:47pm

So, this happened!! Apparently the WotC folks asked R. A. Salvatore to write a short drow 'lullabye' to be narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch as an intro to the character of Drizzt. I'm not sure it makes any sense at all to anyone not familiar with the character, but it is awesome.


maj 20, 5:14pm

>110 Karlstar: That was excellent.

maj 20, 8:24pm

>110 Karlstar: I am not a fan of this particular MTG crossover. I feel like WotC, being pushed by the bulldozer Hasbro, is trying to jump a chasm and it's getter wider each time. When they fail, it's going to be spectacularly bad :-(

Redigerat: maj 21, 9:36am

>111 -pilgrim-: Glad you liked it.

>112 BookstoogeLT: So that's what that was? Basically a short video promoting a Drizzt themed set of cards? I'd heard a rumor about the crossover but I'd forgotten it.

maj 21, 7:03pm

>113 Karlstar: Here's a link :-(


Warhammer or WH40K is another crossover set coming "soon". That one I am REALLY not looking forward to.

maj 25, 11:01pm

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks
STTM: 2 - very little travel in this one
Rating: 7 out of 10

I think I enjoyed this one a bit more than the previous book. For one, there was less of the Kip vs. Andross endless maneuvering. I just don't like Andross' character, he's a terrible parent and grandparent, plus he is one of those annoying characters that seems to know everything, while his opponents have no idea what he is doing. Since there was a lot less Andross in this book and more Kip, Karis and Teia, I think I actually enjoyed this one more.

I like what Weeks has created for his world and I enjoy the characters. Well, some of the characters, but it is meant to be that way.

maj 25, 11:06pm

The Man in the High Castle
STTM - 3 - some driving
Rating: 5 out of 10

I think I enjoyed this one more the first time and more before I watched the TV show. Reading this one a second time, it just felt incomplete. This is a short alternate history novel about a late 1960's USA where Germany and Japan won WWII and split up the country. There's a thread through the story about a book that is itself an alternate history about how the Axis didn't win the war. An alternate history within an alternate history! There's a couple of other plot lines, but Juliana's short quest to find the author turns out to be the main plot. The other characters from the TV show, such as Tagomi, Robert Childan, Frank Frink, Joe and Ed are from the book, but the entire eastern US and the Smiths were made up for the TV show.

Unfortunately the book comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying end. An interesting read but not great.

jun 1, 12:33pm

Finally finished City of Golden Shadow, I will start The Last Emperox when it arrives, hopefully today. After that will likely be The Burning White by Weeks, then I either need to read a classic or some history.

jun 1, 12:59pm

>117 Karlstar: I was a bit underwhelmed by The last emperox and am interested to hear what you think of it. Maybe I would had felt differently about it had I read it, not listened to it...

jun 2, 10:19am

>117 Karlstar: "...then I either need to read a classic or some history."

I hear ya! If I wander too long among the stars, or with the wizards and elves I need to be re-grounded.

jun 2, 11:09am

>119 clamairy:
Geology books are good for that.

jun 2, 11:40am

>120 pgmcc: *groan*

jun 2, 11:43am

>120 pgmcc: I understand books on electrical engineering are also good - even if they do employ a different circuit.

jun 2, 12:03pm

>122 ScoLgo: I agree. I think that is the current approach.

jun 2, 12:26pm

>124 Karlstar: Watt are you guys doing?!

jun 2, 12:28pm

>125 -pilgrim-: It sounds re-volt-ing

jun 2, 12:46pm

>123 pgmcc: It seems we really sparked something here, Peter!

jun 2, 2:50pm

>127 ScoLgo: It's quite shocking really.

jun 2, 3:07pm

>128 -pilgrim-: They’re really amping it up!

jun 2, 4:08pm

>124 Karlstar: I am sorry your thread has been hijacked by this less than illuminating discussion but I personally find it difficult to resist charging into these types of conversations.

Redigerat: jun 27, 3:47pm

>130 ScoLgo: I'd say it was a problem, but I'm not much of a resistor.

Ed. When will I learn to check the references before posting?

jun 3, 5:49am

>131 Karlstar: Thank goodness your capacitance for these things is high!

jun 3, 4:12pm

>118 Busifer: I just finished and I my initial opinion is similar to yours.

>119 clamairy: The Last Emperox finished so quickly it has thrown my plans into disarray. I have the Le Guin trilogy on the way from ABE in a week or two, I may have to get a copy of Grapes of Wrath quickly.

jun 3, 4:53pm

>133 Karlstar: Can't you borrow it for your Nook? That one is pretty grim... but I suspect you know that already.

jun 3, 4:59pm

>132 hfglen: I thought the discussion had a lot of potential.

jun 3, 5:28pm

>133 Karlstar: Yeah, it wasn't bad: just didn't live up to my expectations.

jun 3, 5:47pm

>133 Karlstar: You must be very good at keeping up with your TBR! I probably have 400-500 books waiting on my TBR, (over half on the virtual Overdrive list). For some odd reason, the more I chip away, the more seem to get added.

jun 3, 6:38pm

>137 ScoLgo: This place doesn't help.

jun 3, 10:06pm

>137 ScoLgo: I am fairly good at not letting myself get ahead of my reading.

>134 clamairy: I will check to see if I can borrow it for the Nook.

jun 6, 9:49pm

I've been reading Unfettered II, which is going well so far, in the meantime the LeGuin omnibus showed up a lot faster than I expected, so that may be next.

jun 8, 5:30pm

>140 Karlstar: Is that omnibus Worlds of Exile and Illusion? If so, I'll look forward to reading your thoughts on it, especially since it's semi-fresh in my mind.

jun 8, 11:06pm

>141 YouKneeK: It is! I ordered it when I discovered I only had one of those books in my collection.

jun 11, 12:50pm

Unfettered II is so far quite good, though about halfway through I hit a story I just skimmed a lot. Currently reading an Anthony Ryan story that is set in the world of his Raven's Shadow series.

jun 11, 3:58pm

>143 Karlstar: Have you read much Ryan? I read his first book in his first trilogy and it wasn't bad. But nothing made me want to borrow the rest and nothing I've seen for reviews for the rest of his books makes me want to dip into his body of work again.

I'm just wondering if my first impression is correct or if I should give him another chance.

jun 12, 3:31pm

>144 BookstoogeLT: I enjoyed the Raven's Shadow series (Blood Song, Tower Lord, Queen of Fire). I'm not as much a fan of his Draconis Memoria series, but I will finish it. I see he's got a new series, Raven's Blade, that follows after the Raven's Shadow trilogy, I just added book 1 to my wish list.

I thought Blood Song was good. Not tremendously original, but what is these days, if we're talking about sword and sorcery fantasy? Sort of like a more complicated/complex Gemmell style, I thought.

jun 12, 3:54pm

jun 12, 4:43pm

>145 Karlstar: I’ll be interested in what you think of the new related series if you get to it. I read the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. I loved the first book (4.5) stars but rated the next two progressively lower (4 and 3.5 stars). I vaguely remember getting bored with all the battles, and some of the traveling in the third book. Or STTM. :) The story hasn’t stuck with me well at all.

jun 12, 11:28pm

>147 YouKneeK: There was a lot of STTM in the last book and it wasn't really worthwhile.

jun 17, 9:51pm

Finished Unfettered II, I would say for a short story collection, it was good. Moving on to Worlds of Exile and Illusion, which I am enjoying so far.

jun 18, 10:40pm

Done with Rocannon's World, on to Planet of Exile, I'll try to catch up on reviews this weekend, been too busy at work lately.

jun 19, 4:39pm

Back to the reviews, I'm so far behind I can't remember where I left off, but I think it was here.

The City of Golden Shadow (Otherland book 1) by Tad Williams
STTM: 5 - very little travel, so much slogging
Rating: 9 out of 10

Re-reading this again, I would not change my rating. This is a very rare 9 for me. I do have the hardcover edition, it is the only version I have, but I would definitely be willing to listen to the audiobook version.

This is the beginning of the Otherland series, but for a book supposedly about the future, it starts out with Paul Jonas in the trenches of WWI. The scene fairly quickly shifts to a young woman, Renie, her family and her student, !Xabbu in Durban, South Africa. She has a brother, Stephen, who is a fairly typical teen and spends all of his time online, in what is now common VR. Renie is an instructor in what we'd now call IT or VR programming.

When Stephen admits he was where he shouldn't be in the VR realm, in the club called Mister J's, which has a bad reputation, Renie and !Xabbu go to investigate the club and find some strange things, including capabilities that should be beyond what is possible in VR. We spend a lot of time with Renie in the rest of the book as Tad slowly and carefully builds up both the characters and the plot.

Along the way in other plot tracks we meet some of the other characters - Orlando Gardiner, who plays a very capable barbarian online and his friend Fredricks; Mr. Sellers, a strange man who is apparently under house arrest on a military base in the USA; Dread, a serial killer cyber prodigy; and the leaders of some sort of advanced online project, one of whom employs Dread on personal missions of revenge. We also spend a lot of time with Paul Jonas, who by now has escaped the trenches of WWI and is on some strange fantasy dream journey through different worlds, always trying to find some mysterious woman while being pursued.

There is a lot to take in here as Tad spends a lot of time with Renie and Orlando, building up the characters and their experiences in both the online and physical world. I thought Tad did a very credible job with his technology projections, though he does assume wired connections are still mostly required. The blend of real world action and VR action is excellent, though with so much VR action this at times feels like fantasy.

I will definitely read the next book in the series, I already started it, though I put it down to read a few more current books.

jun 19, 6:03pm

>151 Karlstar: Ouch. That was a well-aimed BB.

jun 21, 8:50am

>151 Karlstar: I REALLY need to reread this series! Although, as with most of Tad's work, the middle books get a bit bloated, the characters and settings are just so good that I can overlook the excessiveness. I love the first volume where we get to meet the main characters and come to know them as they explore the Otherworld.

jun 21, 10:31pm

>152 -pilgrim-: I hope you enjoy it when you pick it up.

>153 Sakerfalcon: I agree, especially with this series with so many variations on settings. It has been enough time since I've read it that I've forgotten some of the specifics, I'm looking forward to enjoying the characters again.

jun 22, 2:32pm

Check this out! Maybe if enough of us vote, the results will be a bit more valid than usual.


jun 22, 5:12pm

>155 Karlstar: Thanks for that link. I like that it permits anything in the past 10 years. I can never vote/nominate for polls that restrict to the past year because I rarely read anything published that recently, but I can do 2012-2021. :)

jun 22, 11:06pm

>156 YouKneeK: I liked that about it too, it made it much, much easier to choose. They thought they were eliminating Tolkien, but there's been Tolkien books released in the last 10 years!

jun 23, 12:23pm

Just an update on >155 Karlstar: I see today they introduced their panel of experts, who will take our votes and make their own choices, anyway. One of the panel is Ann Leckie!

Redigerat: jun 23, 12:45pm

Time for another catchup review.

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
STTM: 2 - almost no travel in this one, but a good amount of discovery
Rating: 5 out of 10

If I had to come up with just one word about how I feel about this book, I guess my word for this 'final' book in the series is 'incomplete'. My hardcover version comes in at 320 pages, which is pretty much normal for Scalzi, maybe a little shorter than usual, but only 30 - 50 pages or so. Since 7 pages are acknowledgements, this is really only 313. I guess I've gotten used to much larger books, or else this needed to be an old fashioned novel where a lot more got done with a lot less words. Maybe less swear words would help.

Unfortunately, when writing about the fate of a multi-world spanning empire with a lot of politics and more than 6 but less than 20 (not sure, really) systems, which he never really completely defines, 313 pages just isn't enough. Between the science of the Flow, the people, the politics and the rest, this just felt like it didn't get enough in any one area. To me, he started book one with a technical and political problem, then didn't resolve it in this book. Maybe he's leaving it open for another book, but I'm not sure he invested enough into this universe to justify it.

I enjoyed it and it was interesting, in spots, but it felt incomplete and even worse, I thought the ending was too abrupt and also incomplete. I liked the characters of Grayland II/Cordelia and Marce and Kiva, though Kiva swears way too much for me. There was a funny passage right in the beginning where Scalzi shows off his mastery of swearing, which was funny, but really after that it just got old.

jun 27, 2:00pm

I've finished the LeGuin omnibus of Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile and City of Illusions. I really enjoyed them. Most likely next will the the just released Katherine Addison book.

Challenge for you folks - what are some of your favorite fantasy dogs from books you've read, other than Huan or Buck?

jun 27, 2:58pm

>160 Karlstar: I’m glad you enjoyed the omnibus! Did you have a favorite of the three stories?

I can’t think of any dogs from fantasy books that I liked well enough to call a favorite. I can think of a few that I enjoyed at the time I was reading about them, but I’m drawing a blank on any dogs where the attachment lasted past finishing the book and I feel like that would be a requirement to call it a favorite.

jun 27, 2:59pm

>160 Karlstar: Not being a dog person, I'd place Koko and Yum-Yum in the Cat Who... books way ahead of any fictional dogs I can think of.

jun 27, 3:34pm

A couple more reviews and I'll be caught up, so here's one.

Unfettered II: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy ed. by Shawn Speakman
STTM: short stories, so not much
Rating: 6 out of 10

To me, this is much better than Unfettered I and better than most short story collections I've read recently. I think it helped that a couple of them were quite long, but in general I thought the quality was excellent. The lineup of authors should be familiar to folks here and is quite impressive. I'm writing this about 3 weeks after I finished it, so my usual criteria is - do I remember anything about the story? If I remember it, then what do I remember? Unfortunately, just reading the whole story is a really low bar, but for me and short stories, that's a sign it was actually good and I think I finished all of these. Several were excellent.

Castle Coeurlieu by Niami Novik - a very good story of a young girl vs. the fates.
A Slow Kill by Peter Orullian - an assassin tells some stories and takes the long way around to get to the point. Good story.
And Men Will Mine the Mountain for our Souls - one of the disappointing ones. Dragons vs. humans but mostly about the dragons. Meh.
Day One by Jim Butcher - a Waldo Butters story from his Dresden files universe. Ok.
Brightwine in the Garden of Tsitsian Village by Bradley P. Beaulieu - a murder mystery/detective story set in his Sharakhai setting, starting Dardzda, the alchemist. Good.
Aokigahara by John A. Pitts - a cyperpunk story about a programmer, some code and the Japanese suicide forest. Not great.
The Decoy by Janny Wurtz - a story from early on in the Mistwraith series! It is always a pleasure to find one of these. Very typical Janny, don't look for happy stories here, but the story is worth it.
The King's Despatcher by David Farland. A story from his Runelords series. I was looking forward to it, but it was a bit flat. I think this relied on an important detail from the books that I didn't remember and that wasn't explained well, if at all, in this story.
Figures by Rachel Caine. Someone takes Internet trolls too seriously. Not great.
The Red-Rimmed Eyes of Tou-Ma by Aidan Moher. 2 gun related stories in a row, but this one felt like he was trying to reproduce King's Gunslinger in the Dark Tower series. Still, it was interesting.
Magic Beans by Django Wexler - Uh oh, the intro says this is SFF erotica. Magic coffee beans take a coffee shop and a bunch of 20 somethings world hopping. Not my style, couldn't remember what it was about until I started reading the intro again, then I didn't want to remember.
The Hedgewitch by Sarah Beth Durst - a story from her Queens of Renthia series. When I started reading it, I thought they'd accidentally swapped in a Peter V. Brett story, everything was so similar. That it is just like Brett's world killed it for me, but it wasn't terrible.
Victim with a Capital V - in a future San Francisco with no metal (?) a young lady gets revenge. Too many bathroom accidents on the way to revenge for me. Not great, this one also had a bit of a Gunslinger feel, which didn't help.
A Duel of Evils or The Fall of Kethia - by Anthony Ryan. A background historical story from his Raven's Shadow series. Ok. Remind me not to write any more 'historical background stories'.
The Raven by Erin Lindsey - a story of two princes, or how two people can look at the same world and react totally differently. Sometimes there are no good choices. I thought this was excellent.
Bulletproof by Mark Lawrence- at last, one of the writers admits he likes The Dark Tower and writes a gunslinger story. The fate of entire worlds is determined by gunslingers. Not as dark as some of this other stuff, but just ok.
The Gunnie by Charlaine Harris - a young lady gunslinger does her job. Not bad, needed a bit of something, maybe some bigger context.
Little Wren and the Big Forest by Michael J. Sullivan - if you've read his Legends of the First Empire stories, this one fits right in. I liked it.
The Thrill - by Brandon Sanderson. Oh no, Sanderson finds a place to put some of the words he cut out of one of the Stormlight Archive books, which means it is a bunch of words he didn't need in the first place. A long, drawn out, Dalinar Kholin story about history he already wrote about in the books, in some places almost word for word. Just say it Sanderson, Dalinar is a berserker and likes it. If you haven't read the books, this might be ok, if you're read the books, it is just the same stuff over again. Boring.
The Last Flowers of the Spring Witch - a nice story by Shawn Speakman himself and a pretty touching tribute to his mother. If you don't like this one, I don't know what to say.

Redigerat: jun 27, 3:35pm

>162 hfglen: Above even Huan, the best dog ever?

jun 27, 3:56pm

>161 YouKneeK: I think I actually liked City of Illusions the best. Personally the only dog name I could come up with without using google were Huan and Old Yeller (doesn't count). I'm actually more of a cat person, but can't really come up with any cat names from books either.

I think I used to know a lot more fantasy horse/steed names too, but the only ones I'm coming up with now are Faran (Eddings) and Shadowfax.

jun 27, 4:58pm

>165 Karlstar: That was my favorite too. I liked Rocannon's World a lot also, but didn't enjoy the middle story as much.

The first dog I thought of was Nosy in The Assassin's Apprentice, and the other dog I've forgotten the name of from the same book. Then I remembered Oberon in the Hounded audiobook I listened to earlier this year. Then I remembered that I quite liked the dog Sindbad ("Bad" for short) in the book I just finished, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and felt stupid for not remembering that one first since it should be the most recent in my memory. Still, I wouldn't call any of them favorites.

I'm having even more trouble thinking of cats. The only one that comes to mind is, once again, from Robin Hobb. This one was in her Tawny Man trilogy, but he barely got any page time and I can't remember his name. (His name was Fennel, I just looked it up. "Imbecile. The cat was comfortable." I adored him, for the few sentences he was allowed to show up on the page.)

jun 27, 6:20pm

>160 Karlstar: I'll throw in a vote for Snuff from A Night in the Lonesome October.

jun 27, 11:02pm

>167 ScoLgo:. Thanks, I didn't think this would be so difficult! For cats I'll throw in Tailchaser from Tailchaser's Song, but I'm still coming up short on dogs.

jun 28, 6:41am

>160 Karlstar: Mouse from Dresden Files series would probably be my pick.

jun 28, 8:23am

>166 YouKneeK: Nosy was the first dog that Fitz had in the first book but he didn't have him long. Then he meets Nighteyes and I totally fell in love. Nighteyes is in several more volumes and I adore his sarcasm.

jun 28, 2:51pm

>160 Karlstar: The Disreputable Dog from Lirael.

jun 28, 5:00pm

>170 Darth-Heather: Yep, Nighteyes was awesome. I didn’t mention him because he wasn’t a dog. :) Oddly, Nighteyes took a book or so to grow on me during my first read. I appreciated him more on my second read.

jun 28, 10:26pm

>166 YouKneeK: Thanks, I should have remembered Oberon and >169 AHS-Wolfy: Mouse too!

jun 29, 8:45am

>167 ScoLgo: I'll second your vote for Snuff, although not above Huan, of course.

I think Arthur's Cavall deserves a mention too, as does Odysseus' Argos

I would vote for Rex, from Dogs of War, except that he is bioengineered.

jun 29, 9:03am

>172 YouKneeK: ah yes, I see what you mean. I think of him when discussing doggos tho, because he is such a very good boy :)

jun 29, 7:48pm

Yes on Mouse from the Dresden files. I have enjoyed some mystery novels which feature a dog, from the dog's perspective by Spencer Quinn. The dog is Chet.

jun 29, 10:54pm

>171 Narilka: You reminded me that I keep meaning to read more Garth Nix.

>170 Darth-Heather: >174 -pilgrim-: >176 MrsLee: Thanks for all of the reminders and suggestions.

For my gaming campaign, I had the players find a puppy and was trying to come up with some good fantasy prototypes for the pups parents.

I should have included Snow Dog, of course.

jun 29, 11:04pm

>177 Karlstar: In that case, it is noteworthy that all our examples are male.

jul 1, 1:05pm

Time for another review.

Worlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula K. Le Guin (Hainish novels omnibus 1)
STTM: 8 - there are several long journeys, though no mud.
Rating: 7 out of 10

I really enjoyed all three of these novels - Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile and City of Illusions.

When I first started reading Rocannon's World though, I thought I was reading an Andre Norton novel. Lords ruling in castles with 'windsteeds' to ride and battles fought with swords and references to old tech sure felt like something Norton would write. Whether this is scifi or fantasy or 'planets and swords' fiction is debatable. Early on, one of the natives of Rocannon's World, Lady Semley, goes on a quest to recover a necklace that is a family heirloom. Later, when rebels against the League of Worlds strike the planet, Rocannon and companions go on a different quest across the world. There's a lot of very convenient flying via windsteed, which are flying cats actually referred to as gryphons several times. There are elf-like natives and dwarf-like natives and the human-like natives along with the humans from the League of Worlds. I thought this was decent, but the other two were better, but I definitely enjoyed it, this is a good example of an old novel that has held up nicely. Well written and not too wordy. Lately I'm down on wordy novels though, for what that's worth.

Planet of Exile doesn't really follow the story in Rocannon's World. This is an entirely different planet, with years that last 60 Earth years and winters that apparently last 20 or 30 Earth years. On this world is a small stranded colony of black humans from the League of Worlds and the natives, who are extremely primitive and apparently very resistant to learning any technology. How such low-tech people survive 20 year winters is almost completely ignored. Something sets off the balance of power in the world just as winter is setting in and the natives and 'farborn' must cooperate to survive. This one, it its own understated way is a bit of a romance as well as an adventure novel. It nicely sets up the last one, even though they are not directly connected. This one is really about the two main characters, Jakob the farborn and Rolery, the native.

In City of Illusion, the setting is Earth in the far future. The alien Shing control Earth and force humans to live in small communities with enough technology to be comfortable, but not dangerous. No weapons or distance communication is allowed. A strange human with alien eyes, Falk, wanders into a small family stronghold with no memory of his previous life. When he regains speech and sense but no memory, he sets off on a quest west to find the fabled city of Es Toch to learn the truth about himself and the Shing.

I can't tell you too much more about City of Illusion without giving things away, but I did like it. This was sort of a dystopian journey novel, in places it reminded me of the John Christopher Tripods novels, but not as YA.

I was glad I read all three of these and I'll try to get to Left Hand of Darkness later this year.

jul 1, 1:33pm

>179 Karlstar: Hmm, I might try listening to the first one at some point to see if I can deal. My patience seems to be in short supply lately. I am glad you enjoyed them. I do hope you find The Left Hand of Darkness to your taste.

jul 1, 3:03pm

>179 Karlstar: Good to see you enjoyed the initial Hainish trilogy. City of Illusions is my favorite of all Hainish novels, even above the award winners that were written later. There is something about the central theme, the search for truth, that struck a chord with me. I am planning a re-read soon so we'll see if it remains my favorite.

>180 clamairy: Rocannon's World is a weird book. I liked it but it was not at all what I expected. I knew from the short story prologue of Semley's Necklace that I was reading science-fiction but, for much of the book, it was checking off epic fantasy boxes. Like I say, that made it kinda weird - but not necessarily in a bad way.

jul 1, 10:04pm

>180 clamairy: I read The Left Hand of Darkness years ago, I think at the time I liked it but wasn't sure what all the fuss was about.

Redigerat: jul 3, 2:45pm

I think this will catch me up on reviews.

The Witness for the Dead
STTM: 4 - almost no travel, but slogging through her terminology is difficult
Rating: 6 out of 10

I really considered making this a 5, based on how difficult it was to read. I do not mind books with fancy words I have to look up and I don't mind books with made up words I have to either infer or look up in the glossary. What I do mind is books with fancy made up words that I can't look up and can't infer. Reading this was at times exhausting, which is unfortunate because I liked the story and the character.

I've now read this sentence from the third paragraph a few times and I think I've figured it out - "Dach'othala Vernezar, the Ulisothala of Amalo, was an elven made of middle age and great ambition". Unfortunately, she hasn't yet used 'othala', otherwise I could have guessed that 'Dach'othala' might be High Priest? Bishop? and Ulisothala might be 'Ulispriest', but since that hasn't been defined yet, it just felt like gibberish. It is also just a guess, because there's no glossary. Later on page 9 she writes that 'othala' is an honorific, somewhat out of fashion.

Thara Celehar (his name, not a title) is the Witness for the Dead that appeared in The Goblin Emperor, sent off to this city to Witness. He has an argument with Vernezar and another cleric over his status in the beginning, then goes home to feed the local stray cats. Then, no more cats the rest of the book.

Being Witness for the Dead ends up getting him into the middle of some mysteries and he spends the rest of the book solving three of them. His method of solving mysteries though is just sheer dogged persistence, so it isn't very exciting. I liked the character though and I like the story, just wish it was easier to read.

I complained about The Last Emperox being too short, but that was because he had so much material to cover. This book was 70 pages shorter, but the length was appropriate. Unfortunately at $21, the price wasn't.

If you liked The Goblin Emperor read this one, but be prepared for a different experience.

jul 5, 10:47pm

Finished Give Me Back My Legions! by Harry Turtledove, on to Theft of Swords.

jul 6, 6:32am

>184 Karlstar: I just saw that title and KNEW it had to be about Varus and the Teutoburg Forest.

Redigerat: jul 7, 12:39pm

>185 -pilgrim-: Correct! I guess technically it was historical fiction as he had to make up 100% of the dialogue, but the places, characters and at least some of the events were historically accurate.

jul 9, 11:36pm

My wife took a nice picture of the patio and deck area. There's actually a bit more color now as the daylilly (yellow) and the black-eyed susans have started blooming.

jul 10, 12:27am

>187 Karlstar: That's very lovely! Very inviting.

jul 10, 12:32am

>187 Karlstar: Beautiful garden!

jul 10, 6:58am

>187 Karlstar: That is beautiful!

jul 10, 8:55am

>187 Karlstar: Very inviting. That looks lovely and cool.

jul 10, 8:57am

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

jul 10, 9:25am

>187 Karlstar: Looks like a lot of work! Do you have landscapers?

jul 10, 10:21am

>188 MrsLee: >189 tardis: >190 YouKneeK: >191 -pilgrim-: Thank you!

>193 BookstoogeLT: Yes and no, when we moved last year I sold my lawn tractor, so I still have someone to mow, but we do all of the gardening. I actually have a 2 year degree in landscape design.

Redigerat: jul 10, 10:31am

He has done amazing work with our yard! He's always busy making it look beautiful. This picture is really just one area that he's made perfect. (Where we entertain family the most, for obvious reasons)

jul 10, 10:56am

>194 Karlstar: Oh .......
You're a landscape architect?

jul 10, 10:59am

>196 BookstoogeLT: I'm actually an IT architect, but I do have that other degree and dabble in landscaping. I once considered it as a 2nd career but it really isn't something you can do on the side.

jul 10, 12:49pm

>187 Karlstar: Beautiful. A lovely spot to spend some time.

jul 10, 3:41pm

>198 pgmcc: It is, thank you. I have to admit, when I need a break from work, going to sit there and look at that view is very nice.

jul 10, 4:23pm

>187 Karlstar: Beautiful patio :)

jul 10, 7:11pm

Looks like an amazing place to sit with a book!

Redigerat: jul 10, 7:15pm

>195 Silversi: How did I not know you were part of LT and part of this group?

(And you've been in here for 3 years! https://www.librarything.com/topic/171520#6503485)

jul 10, 7:33pm

>202 clamairy: Well I've been a part of LT for more than 10 years but here in Green Dragon, mostly I just read. Once in a great while I chime in when Jim (Karlstar) posts one of our house pictures :-)

jul 10, 9:43pm

>203 Silversi: Are you active in any of the other groups, or do you use the site mostly for cataloging?

jul 10, 10:34pm

>204 clamairy: No, I don't really use this site for the forums. Though they are a wonderful feature and community tool here.

jul 12, 9:47am

>187 Karlstar: What a beautiful garden! I see you have a choice of places to sit and read.

jul 12, 12:41pm

>207 Karlstar: I do, thank you! I usually sit almost in the spot where that picture was taken.
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