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kuhla

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Read 6 issues of Rat Queens. Entertaining but not enough to keep me.

 

Now reading London Falling by Paul Cornell. Sort of ho-hum generic modern urban fantasy. I'll finish it.

 

Looking forward to getting back to ebooks. I've realized I really don't like paperback format anymore.

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Now reading London Falling by Paul Cornell. Sort of ho-hum generic modern urban fantasy. I'll finish it.

 

Bleh. Finished it. Not recommended. Now what the hell do I read....

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Started The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. I'm trying it because it's the first book of The Wheel of Time fantasy series which I know has a strong cult following. So far (100+ pages in) it's been terribly generic but I'll keep going to see if I can find out what all the fuss is about.

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I recently finished the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series (10 books, all very long).

 

This fantasy series was kind of hard to get into, it seems to drop you in medias res and doesn't give much explanation of the universe. It's also very complex and nearly every book is an entirely new setting with new characters. They cover action on at least 4 continents, several major islands, multiple alternate dimensions and quite a bit more, not to mention there are a minimum of 2 entire pantheons and about 20+ ascended characters. That being said, most of the books were pretty well written and stood up against most other fantasy I've read. The series reminded me quite a bit of some of Glen Cook's work (black company and instumentalities of the night. I also liked their magic system which used "warrens" which were equivalent to various aspects of magic, but also encompassed different dimensions/pathways.

 

If you're looking for a long set of fantasy work with relatively high amounts of magic, but not much in the way of Tolkien style elves and orcs this might be a good series to check out.

 

I'm now working on a space opera from Vernor Vinge called: A Fire Upon the Deep

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Having read a few Neil Gaiman's novels (Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Sandman comics) I can appreciate the subtilties in this but there may just be enough sillyness here for anyone who spends some time reading fiction/fantasy to appreciate it.

 

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Started The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. I'm trying it because it's the first book of The Wheel of Time fantasy series which I know has a strong cult following. So far (100+ pages in) it's been terribly generic but I'll keep going to see if I can find out what all the fuss is about.

 

Finished this. Oh boy. Very much wondering why this has the following it has. Felt really flat. Did some reading on people's impressions about the first book and lots of people saying that the author treats some books in the series like chapters, pure context for another book. I'm going to try a bit of book 2 but if it doesn't go somewhere interesting quick, I'm dropping this series.

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I might pick up William Gibson's latest novel (released this month) after reading this interview with him: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/09/william_gibson_i_never_imagined_facebook/

 

I'm slowly making my way through this (The Peripheral). I'm more than half-way through and I won't bother waiting until the end to write some impressions because I'm not really reading it for the plot. I've never really been a huge fan of the plots in William Gibson's books, even in the book that made him famous, Neuromancer. He really does have a nack for building worlds though through the lens of "near future" (this one pushes a bit farther than some previous books from him). This latest book has drones, 3D printing, supercomputers, etc. etc. and it just kind of mushes together in some interesting ways. If something odd happens towards the end I'll post an update but otherwise.... yeah... just walking through that world is kind of fun.

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I spoke briefly to Kuhla about this the other day. Amazon editors put together a top 100 Sci Fi and Fanstay list. I don't actually see the rankings on each book, so I guess it's just a broad list.

http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=i%3Aenglish-books%2Cn%3A12661600011

 

Supposedly Amazon's list also favored some newer books over certain classics. I'll more into this when I have free time to read something other than my study materials.

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I spoke briefly to Kuhla about this the other day. Amazon editors put together a top 100 Sci Fi and Fanstay list. I don't actually see the rankings on each book, so I guess it's just a broad list.

http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=i%3Aenglish-books%2Cn%3A12661600011

 

Supposedly Amazon's list also favored some newer books over certain classics. I'll more into this when I have free time to read something other than my study materials.

 

Quick sort by year of that list:

 

 

1818 Frankenstein Mary Shelley

1870 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne

1895 The Time Machine H. G. Wells

1932 Brave New World Aldous Huxley

1937 The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien

1949 1984 (Signet Classics) George Orwell

1950 I, Robot Isaac Asimov

1950 The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury

1953 Childhood’s End Arthur C. Clarke

1953 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

1954 I Am Legend Richard Matheson

1954 The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition J.R.R. Tolkien

1956 The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester

1959 Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein

1960 A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller Jr.

1961 Solaris Stanislaw Lem

1961 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein

1962 A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet) Madeleine L’Engle

1965 Dune Frank Herbert

1968 A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle) Ursula K. Le Guin

1968 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick

1968 Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern – Volume 1) Anne McCaffrey

1968 The Last Unicorn Peter S. Beagle

1969 Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

1969 The Left Hand of Darkness (Ace Science Fiction) Ursula K. Le Guin

1970 Ringworld (A Del Rey book) Larry Niven

1974 The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle) Ursula K. Le Guin

1974 The Forever War Joe Haldeman

1975 Dhalgren Samuel R. Delany

1976 Interview with the Vampire Anne Rice

1976 Riddle-Master Patricia A. McKillip

1977 Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1) Stephen R. Donaldson

1977 The Sword of Shannara Terry Brooks

1979 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

1982 Pawn of Prophecy (Belgariad) David Eddings

1982 The Gunslinger: (The Dark Tower #1)(Revised Edition) Stephen King

1983 The Color of Magic (Discworld) Terry Pratchett

1983 The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley

1984 Neuromancer William Gibson

1984 Nights at the Circus Angela Carter

1984 The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising Sequence) Susan Cooper

1984 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2) C. S. Lewis

1985 Blood Music Greg Bear

1985 Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) Orson Scott Card

1986 Howl’s Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones

1987 The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure William Goldman

1988 The Dragonbone Chair: Book One of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Tad Williams

1989 Grass Sheri S. Tepper

1989 Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) Dan Simmons

1990 Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Neil Gaiman

1990 The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1) Robert Jordan

1990 The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

1991 Outlander Diana Gabaldon

1992 Doomsday Book Connie Willis

1992 Snow Crash Neal Stephenson

1993 Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) Kim Stanley Robinson

1994 Foreigner: (10th Anniversary Edition) C. J. Cherryh

1995 Sabriel (Old Kingdom) Garth Nix

1995 The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials Philip Pullman

1996 A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) George R. R. Martin

1996 The Sparrow: A Novel (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) Mary Doria Russell

1997 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling

1998 Daughter of the Blood (Black Jewels, Book 1) Anne Bishop

2000 Perdido Street Station China Miéville

2001 American Gods Neil Gaiman

2001 Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel’s Legacy) Jacqueline Carey

2001 The Curse of Chalion (Chalion series) Lois McMaster Bujold

2002 Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Book 1) Laurell K. Hamilton

2003 Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs Novels) Richard K. Morgan

2003 Kindred Octavia E. Butler

2003 The Speed of Dark (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) Elizabeth Moon

2003 The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger

2004 Cloud Atlas: A Novel David Mitchell

2004 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel Susanna Clarke

2005 H. P. Lovecraft: Tales (Library of America) H. P. Lovecraft

2005 Old Man’s War John Scalzi

2005 Uglies Scott Westerfeld

2006 World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks

2007 The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle) Patrick Rothfuss

2008 Graceling Kristin Cashore

2008 The Hunger Games (Book 1) Suzanne Collins

2009 Sandman Slim: A Novel Richard Kadrey

2009 The Magicians: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy) Lev Grossman

2009 The Road Cormac McCarthy

2009 The Windup Girl Paolo Bacigalupi

2010 How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel Charles Yu

2010 Stories of Your Life and Others Ted Chiang

2010 The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The) Brandon Sanderson

2011 Among Others (Hugo Award Winner – Best Novel) Jo Walton

2011 Ready Player One: A Novel Ernest Cline

2011 Wool Hugh Howey

2012 The Rook: A Novel Daniel O’Malley

2013 Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch) Ann Leckie

2013 The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.) Helene Wecker

2014 Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy) Jeff VanderMeer

2014 Red Rising Pierce Brown

2014 The Martian Andy Weir

2015 Uprooted Naomi Novik

2001: a Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke

Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) Robin Hobb

 

 

....and now a version with the stuff I've read crossed out for online bragging rights....

 

 

1818 Frankenstein Mary Shelley

1870 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne

1895 The Time Machine H. G. Wells

1932 Brave New World Aldous Huxley

1937 The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien

1949 1984 (Signet Classics) George Orwell

1950 I, Robot Isaac Asimov

1950 The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury

1953 Childhood’s End Arthur C. Clarke

1953 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

1954 I Am Legend Richard Matheson

1954 The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition J.R.R. Tolkien

1956 The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester

1959 Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein

1960 A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller Jr.

1961 Solaris Stanislaw Lem

1961 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein

1962 A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet) Madeleine L’Engle

1965 Dune Frank Herbert

1968 A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle) Ursula K. Le Guin

1968 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick

1968 Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern – Volume 1) Anne McCaffrey

1968 The Last Unicorn Peter S. Beagle

1969 Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

1969 The Left Hand of Darkness (Ace Science Fiction) Ursula K. Le Guin

1970 Ringworld (A Del Rey book) Larry Niven

1974 The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle) Ursula K. Le Guin

1974 The Forever War Joe Haldeman

1975 Dhalgren Samuel R. Delany

1976 Interview with the Vampire Anne Rice

1976 Riddle-Master Patricia A. McKillip

1977 Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1) Stephen R. Donaldson

1977 The Sword of Shannara Terry Brooks

1979 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

1982 Pawn of Prophecy (Belgariad) David Eddings

1982 The Gunslinger: (The Dark Tower #1)(Revised Edition) Stephen King

1983 The Color of Magic (Discworld) Terry Pratchett

1983 The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley

1984 Neuromancer William Gibson

1984 Nights at the Circus Angela Carter

1984 The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising Sequence) Susan Cooper

1984 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2) C. S. Lewis

1985 Blood Music Greg Bear

1985 Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) Orson Scott Card

1986 Howl’s Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones

1987 The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure William Goldman

1988 The Dragonbone Chair: Book One of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Tad Williams

1989 Grass Sheri S. Tepper

1989 Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) Dan Simmons

1990 Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Neil Gaiman

1990 The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1) Robert Jordan

1990 The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

1991 Outlander Diana Gabaldon

1992 Doomsday Book Connie Willis

1992 Snow Crash Neal Stephenson

1993 Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) Kim Stanley Robinson

1994 Foreigner: (10th Anniversary Edition) C. J. Cherryh

1995 Sabriel (Old Kingdom) Garth Nix

1995 The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials Philip Pullman

1996 A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) George R. R. Martin

1996 The Sparrow: A Novel (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) Mary Doria Russell

1997 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling

1998 Daughter of the Blood (Black Jewels, Book 1) Anne Bishop

2000 Perdido Street Station China Miéville

2001 American Gods Neil Gaiman

2001 Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel’s Legacy) Jacqueline Carey

2001 The Curse of Chalion (Chalion series) Lois McMaster Bujold

2002 Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Book 1) Laurell K. Hamilton

2003 Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs Novels) Richard K. Morgan

2003 Kindred Octavia E. Butler

2003 The Speed of Dark (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) Elizabeth Moon

2003 The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger

2004 Cloud Atlas: A Novel David Mitchell

2004 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel Susanna Clarke

2005 H. P. Lovecraft: Tales (Library of America) H. P. Lovecraft

2005 Old Man’s War John Scalzi

2005 Uglies Scott Westerfeld

2006 World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks

2007 The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle) Patrick Rothfuss

2008 Graceling Kristin Cashore

2008 The Hunger Games (Book 1) Suzanne Collins

2009 Sandman Slim: A Novel Richard Kadrey

2009 The Magicians: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy) Lev Grossman

2009 The Road Cormac McCarthy

2009 The Windup Girl Paolo Bacigalupi

2010 How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel Charles Yu

2010 Stories of Your Life and Others Ted Chiang

2010 The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The) Brandon Sanderson

2011 Among Others (Hugo Award Winner – Best Novel) Jo Walton

2011 Ready Player One: A Novel Ernest Cline

2011 Wool Hugh Howey

2012 The Rook: A Novel Daniel O’Malley

2013 Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch) Ann Leckie

2013 The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.) Helene Wecker

2014 Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy) Jeff VanderMeer

2014 Red Rising Pierce Brown

2014 The Martian Andy Weir

2015 Uprooted Naomi Novik

2001: a Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke

Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) Robin Hobb

 

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That list jogged my memories of Dhalgren which I had purged from memory. I really didn't like it so I would not recommend it.

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I finished the book Ancillary Justice: http://www.annleckie.com/novel/ancillary-justice/

 

It was solidly written with a decent plot, the book is short enough that it stays on point the entire time. It presents a few weird quirks that are chalked up to the primary language characters use, which is presented as genderless but written in the female form. There's very limited action, and the vast majority of conflict in the show is presented as personal and political, although I hesitate to call it a space opera, it felt too "small" in scale for that. The book is part of a trilogy and I'm planning on finishing out the rest of the series. It almost reminds me of Dune, but it's been a long time since I last read/watched Dune.

 

I tried really hard to read "A Fire Upon the Deep" by Vernor Vinge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fire_Upon_the_Deep

I just couldn't get through it. I'm not sure if it was my mood at the time, but it felt slow and ungainly. The story line was unfocused and didn't grab me. It didn't help that I've been reading it off and on for several months.

 

Sidenote: My reading habbits are similar to my other media consumption, I tend to binge read/watch and clear through content quickly and then once I start getting burned out or start lacking material, my reading just falls off a cliff.

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Just finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Time_Traveler's_Wife ) the other day.

Maybe I was just in the mood for it but I liked it and really got into it for a bit. The title explains the premise pretty well but I would add the important detail, without spoiling anything since it is explained very early on, that the time travel component is an uncontrollable disease. There is no magical machine or engineering prodigies in this story. In my head the best way I can describe the feel of the book is sort of sci-fi drama slice of life. It is set in our reality and time period (it was not published that long ago) so it does actually reference some events that I am familiar with. I'm glad the mechanical complications of time travel was a point that was not dwelled on and instead it was treated more as a tool to tell a unique story.

I was wondering if it would work as a movie or series, even though there are some scenes that would be a bit akward without the internal dialoge, but after finishing it I did do a search and they did do a movie back in 2009 with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Time_Traveler's_Wife_(film) ). I'm waffeling about whether I want to watch it or not. Since I enjoyed the book I don't want a possibly bad movie to dull the memory.

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Finished reading To Honor You Call Us (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18318651-to-honor-you-call-us)

It's military space opera.  While it starts strong I felt less enthusiastic about the book as I read more of it.  There's very little universe building, instead focusing on a few characters.  Sadly the two main characters are nearly faultless and generally boring.  The book focuses more on the daily space-navy life rather than the combat or war efforts.  The author also drops hints and a massive hook at the end to try and interest you in the rest of his series, but it just didn't do anything for me.  There are also some weird jingoistic elements that seem laughably out of place and a few minor plot holes that get glossed over which made very little sense. 

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Finished reading God's War - Bel Dame Apocrypha (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9359818-god-s-war)

The book is a weird mix of science fiction and fantasy.  Technology seems almost entirely replaced by insects and organic materials, there are magicians who can control bugs but also act as advanced surgeons - replacing body parts and organs.  The book also uses a religion that seems to be heavily inspired by islam.  I'm glad this story was self contained, because I'm not interested in reading the rest of the series, it's a bit too strange for my taste.

EDIT:

I also previously finished Thrawn (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31140332-thrawn)

Very solidly written, reminiscent of the now non-cannon Thrawn trilogy from the expanded universe.  They provide some hints about Thrawn's backstory without going into too much detail.  This novel is cannon and ties very closely into the current show Star Wars - Rebels (which is fairly decent consider it's marketed to a younger audience).  The author hints at a few plotlines from the now defunct expanded universe without being too specific, I'm curious if some of the new movies and books will pick up where some of this has been left off. 

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In preparation for the upcoming movie adaptation, I have read the first book in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Tower:_The_Gunslinger ) and I'm really confused what all the fuss is about. It's not long. Not a lot happens. The groundwork for a larger world is created but I'm not sure what large incentive I have to keep reading the series. I'll give it another book or two and re access.

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Sidenote: This is the same author as God's War - Bel Dame Apocrypha that malaphax mentioned a few posts up.

more info - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20646731-the-mirror-empire#

I'm just about done with The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley. I have been reading it for a few weeks now. Picked it up on a whim.

It's sort of fantasy but in a pretty alien world (no humans). There is no technology. Everything is either magic or biological (lots of plants). A lot of playing around with gender, gender roles, etc. and the story is definitely female dominant. There is a main cast of characters but I'm not sure if there is a single character the story revolves around.

I don't think I would go so far as to call it "bad" but I don't think I would recommend it. There are some themes I have issue with but beyond that I just don't think think it's a good book. I did not find myself really caring about the characters and the motivations of some of the characters seem a bit silly as in they needed to have that kind of mindless devotion to XYZ because if they didn't then this entire part of the story would disappear.

 

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I decided to go full star wars in preparation for the movie and check out Phasma: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34859132-phasma

It was fucking awful.  The book itself isn't written particularly well, the characters are have less personality than cardboard cutouts, and what little backstory is in the novel would be better suited to 2 paragraphs on wookiepedia. 

The next book I plan on reading is Windswept: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23995395-windswept

I also have a few other novels I'd consider reading at some point. 
Darker Shade of Magic: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22055262-a-darker-shade-of-magic
The Collapsing Empire: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30078567-the-collapsing-empire

I also have some comics on my watchlist, of course the downside of comics if you read through them fast so it's best to wait for several volumes to release before you get into them.  I've actually read several chapters of saga and monstress years ago, so I'd probably just read through it again.  I'm generally trying to stay away from DC and Marvel stuff because I'm not in the mood for that. 
Saga: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15704307-saga-vol-1
Monstress: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29396738-monstress-vol-1
Dragon Age - Knight Errant: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35037401-dragon-age
Fables: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21326.Fables_Vol_1

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I finished up Windswept. It was a mix of sci-fi, union politics and thriller. I'm not sure I would recommend it, the storyline wasn't engaging enough to make much of an impression.

I also read All systems red: the murderbot diaries

I enjoyed this, it was short and with a somewhat unique setting.

Currently I'm working on the darker shades of magic. Which is an almost modern fantasy setting. So far it's interesting enough.

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Recently went back and re-read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It is one of my favorite books and I wanted to revisit it to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was. It's just so fun while not feeling like a story meant for children. There has been a live action adaptation from many years ago and I'm afraid to check it out.... EDIT: Actually, this is embarassing, I just learned that the novel is the ADAPTATION of the series....? The TV show came first?... HMMMMMmmmmmm.... not that it changes my feelings about the book but I'm just surprised

Currently reading Doomsday Book by Connie Willis which involves time travel and medieval England. I'm not that far into it, and it seems to have got off to an odd start, but it's an easy read so it is going quickly.

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I'm 2 books into the Shades of Magic Series
The books are solidly written, they do a decent job of splitting between the two main characters.  I can appreciate that the main female character is not beautiful and is portrayed as rather masculine, she often dresses in men's clothes and adopts a male persona.  The magic in the books is fairly similar to the Avatar animated series, they even have magical tournaments.  There are some exceptions, but at least their system seems to have rules and most people can only use 1 element, with some rare individuals being able to use more.  They also briefly mention how magic affects religion and how some believe magic to be a blessing while others treat it more like the force in star wars.  The author also has a very grounded way of handling alternate realities or different realms.
At this point I can safely recommend the series to anyone interested in semi-modern fantasy. 

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On 1/25/2018 at 9:44 AM, kuhla said:

Currently reading Doomsday Book by Connie Willis which involves time travel and medieval England. I'm not that far into it, and it seems to have got off to an odd start, but it's an easy read so it is going quickly.

Blasted through this (almost 600 pages in a little over 2 weeks). I ended up enjoying it. The book is pretty light on the "sci-fi" side (not a spoiler: time travel) and more of a straight drama but even then I don't know if this is for everyone. There is no grand threat, just a series of, seemingly endless, personal crises that each main character has to handle in their own way. Additionally there are historical details which are brought up which are crucial to the story but I could see how they might be a bit dry.

Considering how much of the story occurs in both near-future and medieval England, the limited amount of sets and special effects needed, the small number of main characters, this seems practically tailor-made for a BBC mini-series. There would have to be some real changes though since too much is conveyed by internal monologue.

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I finished the Shades of Magic series (as mentioned above). 
I think the first 2 novels were solid, but the third one craps all over itself by creating a big bad that requires a heroic quest to retrieve a powerful artifact so he can be defeated.  it went from interesting take on fantasy and multiple dimensions to bog standard fantasy nonsense.

I've since moved on to The Collapsing Empire: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30078567-the-collapsing-empire

I've enjoyed some of John Scalzi's other works (Old Man's War series). 
I'm about 30% in and I can tell this will be a nice easy read, entertaining and a simplified space opera.  There's nothing inherently "new" or interesting in the book so far, but the ideas seem well executed and the characters are interesting so far. 

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