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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

books begun in June

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

books begun in June

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1: Dragon, Stephen Brust: The brustilivromania continues.
2: Forty Signs of Rain, Kim Stanley Robinson: This one is probably worth waiting for the sequels. It's OK-- but the action doesn't really take off anywhere in the book, and this is disappointing. I've SEEN Robinson write good; so far, this is Robinson setting up good.
3: Wonder Bread & Ecstasy: the Life and Death of Joey Stephano, Charles Isherwood: a sort of bio sort of True Crime thing, about a relatively well-known gay porn icon. Given that I had a thing for Mr. Stephano in the worst possible way, I had to. It's actually pretty well-written.
4: Storm Front, Jim Butcher: Rather a weird thing to read while waiting for the Pride parade to commence, given Jim's own perspective on the world. Very straight fellow. Very nice fellow. This was a re-read: just needed to grab something to stay sane while waiting.
5: Song of Susannah, Stephen King: Dark Tower book 6. Better than book 5 and 4, but not, in my opinion, as enjoyable as 3. Still- darn good stuff. Some of the best writing King's done in years, in my view.
6: Conquistador, S. M. Stirling: I am reminded by this book of the words of Dorothy Parker: 'This is not a book to be set aside lightly. No, it should be thrown, with great force'. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK OH MY GOD NO.
7: Book of Days, Gene Wolfe: Generally, I don't enjoy Wolfe's short fiction. This book is QUITE an exception. I think it was his conceit of trying to write a book of short fiction that all focused around various holidays that made it work: he had an overarcing idea, and therefore, he could write.
8: Castle of the Otter, Gene Wolfe: I don't recommend this one to people who haven't already read the Book of the New Sun. I enjoyed it a lot, but I had context from having read the aforementioned quartet.
9: The Ringworld Throne, Larry Niven: Not one of Niven's better books. Re-read solely because a new Ringworld book is coming, and I realized I didn't remember a page of this one.
10: Spares, Michael Marshall Smith: I Liked Only Forward better. This one sort of derives off the same basic plot construction, which is saddening. It ties off solidly, though-- which is a problem with Only Forward's end.
11: I Am Alive And You Are All Dead: A Journey into the mind of Philip K. Dick, Emmanuel Carrere: It's a PKD bio. Of COURSE I'm reading it.
It also seems to be a somewhat rather well-written one.
12: The Golden Gryphon, ed. Turner & Halpern: an interesting collection of short stories. Nothing to fall all over yourself for, but nothing that sucks.
13: On Pirates, Wm. Ashbless, Tim Powers, & James Blaylock. I love Ashbless' work, and Powers and Blaylock truly edit it well in concert.
14: The Devils In The Details, Powers/Blaylock: A limited press trio of shorts: one written by each of them, and one collaboration. Some very strong stuff in here.
15: Move Under Ground, Nick Mamatas. An intriguing and strange book- a beautiful pastiche-tribute of Lovecraft & Kerouac. Amazingly well-written, and it manages to seamlessly blend these two different voices.
16: The Knight, Gene Wolfe: Eeeh. It's OK. I dunno, I like Wolfe's 'science fantasy' stuff more.
17: Malafrena, Ursula K. LeGuin: First LeGuin I've read that didn't hook me right away. This is going to be a slow one, I can tell.
18: Voice of the Fire, Alan Moore: it's INTERESTING seeing Alan Moore's eye for detail turned to the novel. VERY interesting. I don't know that I'd recommend this to someone who wasn't a fan of his graphic fiction work, but I'm definitely glad I read it.

Chriiipes. So far this year? 66 books.
  • (no subject) -
    • Yah, Ringworld's Children is the title, if memory serves.
      It apparently picks up shortly after the tail end of Throne, and apparently the two seem to look more like they were supposed to be one novel.
  • Agreed about The Ringworld Throne. Large chunks of the stuff that happens after Louis and Acolyte get back to Needle were incredibly difficult to follow or comprehend; I spent a lot of time going "Huh? What's going on? Where is X in relation to Y, anyway?"

    And it took for friggin' ever to haul that chunk of rock around the Ringworld. Was that really the best way they could figure out to call someone?

    And something about it was just sort of unsatisfying. Maybe because I couldn't really follow the action, I suppose... but I put that down to problems on the author's side, not the reader's, regardless of how much I usually enjoy and admire Niven and his writing. This time out, I got the feeling there was some kind of deadline crunch and the book didn't get edited properly, or something else like that.

    I was reminded of some of the decline in Heinlein's quality after his stroke, but I haven't heard that Niven had any health crises while writing Throne. But I could easily have missed such a thing.
    • See, what struck me was that Ringworld Throne was just as bad as the framing stories that he's been coming up with for recent re-compilations of his work. F'rinstance, there's one out there called Flatlander that has a terrible short story to 'tie' all the Beowulf Shaeffer stories together.
      Rainbow Mars is all the time-travel stories from 'Flight of the Horse', plus 1 new mediocre story.

      'The Deadlier Weapon' is still fucking out of print.

      He's definitely on his last legs creatively, I fear.
    • Or maybe he's flat broke and is desperately stretching his verbiage. I'd almost rather hope so.
      • Well, given that he inherited a FUCKTON of cash about 30 years back, from all reports, I'm doubting he's flat broke.
    • I disagree about the linking story in the Beowulf Shaeffer collection Crashlander, actually. I think that one starts off interesting, then gets more interesting as it builds to its climax. Sure, the beginning of it suffers some inevitable pacing problems as Shaeffer continually has to tell Ander Smittarasheed about stuff that happened >i>N</i> years ago (the places where the older stories are slammed into the middle of the new one), but that's unavoidable, given the function of the linking story.

      The new tales of Gil the ARM in Flatlander are also pretty interesting. In particular, the funky weapon and murder-method in "The Patchwork Girl" (though the emotions and imagery are also handled quite well there, IMO).

      So anyway, I have my doubts that he's running out of juice; at the moment, I just think he muffed really badly on The Ringworld Throne. And I have my worries for the next Ringworld book, given what you say above.
  • Has King finally finished the Dark Tower set? I watched some friends gobble them up back in 1992 or so, and become increasingly irritated with the lack of sequels, so I decided to wait until it was done. (Also I admit that I am not a big fan of King.)

    Stirling is, well, something of a hack. I've seen tolerable stuff come out of Stirling-and-someoneelse a few times, but the solo-Stirling has always sucked horrible. Certainly the fantasies; I'm told military history type stuff is his/her forte, such as it is. I waded through the solo-Stirling novel because it was part of a shared-world set of rather entertaining fluffy-fantasy in a decently well-done post-apocalypse future starring Fafhrd and Grey Mouser as dykes.

    • Last Dark Tower novel comes out in late September. King's grown on me, honestly- he's writing much better than he did back in the 80s.

      Stirling is not something of a hack. Stirling is a hack's hack. A hacking hack's hacking hacker's hack.
  • I am, however, as vexed about the ending of Book Six as I was about the ending of Book Three. Damn cliffhangers!

    -- Lorrie
    • But, thank goodness, it's only 5 months away. As opposed to the TERRIFYINGLY LONG cliffhanger between 3 and 4.
  • I am reminded by this book of the words of Dorothy Parker: 'This is not a book to be set aside lightly. No, it should be thrown, with great force'. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK OH MY GOD NO.

    I'm half-wondering -- did you finish the book? I've discovered in my old age that I don't have time or patience any more for books that begin to bore or irritate me. If it starts to suck, it gets tossed. I didn't used to do that.
    • I did finish it: I used it as bedtime reading.

      I had to see if it ever became, in any way, a good book.

      It doesn't.
  • *Eyes your list.*
    I should start reading all the time again.
    Then again, I need to bloody finish The Great Big Book About The Kitchen Boy and the Big Huge Castle (tm).
    • yeah, but I read too damn fast, too. This is the result of about 1.5 hours spent reading while commuting, daily. I don't tend to read on weekends; it's a rare afternoon that I read over lunch.

      Gormenghast advice: small steps. It might also be interesting to read it after watching a scene of the show- because, if memory serves, they don't mess around with the order at ALL. you just get more depth about where they are and where the scones came from & so on. ;)
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