Book Recommendations?

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Congratulations, trichy, on your successful KS!

Frostbitten is a banger indeed.

Not coincidentally, I started John Scalzi's Old Man's War the day after my 45th birthday when I had to return Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth (which is great, btw). The exposition is a little painfully slow, and it has that feel of "IT guy writing himself into a sci-fi novel," but it's enjoyably inoffensive so far, and I am curious to see where it goes.

Mixolyde wrote:

Not coincidentally, I started John Scalzi's Old Man's War the day after my 45th birthday when I had to return Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth (which is great, btw). The exposition is a little painfully slow, and it has that feel of "IT guy writing himself into a sci-fi novel," but it's enjoyably inoffensive so far, and I am curious to see where it goes.

I think "enjoyably inoffensive" describes most of Scalzi's work.

billt721 wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:

Not coincidentally, I started John Scalzi's Old Man's War the day after my 45th birthday when I had to return Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth (which is great, btw). The exposition is a little painfully slow, and it has that feel of "IT guy writing himself into a sci-fi novel," but it's enjoyably inoffensive so far, and I am curious to see where it goes.

I think "enjoyably inoffensive" describes most of Scalzi's work.

That's good to know. This is the first Scalzi that I have read, but I have several more queued up in my library app if I like it. It is nice to chill with a book that's told like a guy just telling you a story over a cup of coffee, and not have to work so hard at the reading (looking a you, Gene Wolfe). It reminds me of Rudy Rucker's style, or the Laundry Files.

The OMW sequels have a bit more emotional content and subtext. That isn't usually his stock in trade - fun yarns it's what he's going for most of the time. People sometimes dunk on him a bit, but I think that's a perfectly acceptable goal for a book.

Scalzi's a weird writer. He's known for his blandest books, but he's capable of writing really interesting, thoughtful books with innovative ideas that he gets no credit for whatsoever. Books like Agent to the Stars, and The Android's Dream are weird in a really fun way. I thought Lock-In was his first book that actually deserved a Hugo nom. Meanwhile, the Old Man's War books seem to pay his mortgage, and they're competent, but ultimately forgettable.

Agent to the Stars made me cry and I can't think of another book that did that. It's just not a thing I do. I won't call it great literature but it holds a special place in my heart.

So I finished The World We Make, second book of an N.K.Jemisin duology.

I was slightly disappointed by it, but that's only because The Broken Earth trilogy and her other writing sets such a ludicrously high bar. It's great, i just think her prodigious talents lean towards fantasy rather than contemporary (albeit magical) fiction.

There was an afterword that explains how it had originally been supposed to be a trilogy but she didn't have a third book in her, and it kind of feels that way - the ending is rushed and kind of comes out of nowhere in the last 4 pages.

Unrelated, I'm closing on on the end of The Road, which is heartbreaking, bleak and beautiful.

I started the first book of that duology and fell off it. I should give it another try, but i think me and some neighbors are going to read The Broken Earth trilogy soon, which will be a re-read for me.

I've got the second book of her Dreamblood duology on my to-read pile, and I really enjoyed the first one. Like The Broken Earth, it's a slow reveal of a complicated fantasy world, society and culture that she's thinking through to the nth degree. To me, that's what she's the GOAT at.

Jonman wrote:

So I finished The World We Make, second book of an N.K.Jemisin duology.

I was slightly disappointed by it, but that's only because The Broken Earth trilogy and her other writing sets such a ludicrously high bar. It's great, i just think her prodigious talents lean towards fantasy rather than contemporary (albeit magical) fiction.

There was an afterword that explains how it had originally been supposed to be a trilogy but she didn't have a third book in her, and it kind of feels that way - the ending is rushed and kind of comes out of nowhere in the last 4 pages.

Unrelated, I'm closing on on the end of The Road, which is heartbreaking, bleak and beautiful.

I loved The Road and No Country for Old Men. Oddly, I felt that the movie adaptation for the former was so close to the novel that it didn’t do anything for me.

Mixolyde wrote:

Not coincidentally, I started John Scalzi's Old Man's War the day after my 45th birthday when I had to return Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth (which is great, btw). The exposition is a little painfully slow, and it has that feel of "IT guy writing himself into a sci-fi novel," but it's enjoyably inoffensive so far, and I am curious to see where it goes.

Glad to know it isn't just me.

I keep trying to read it because it is on lists of good sci-fi but it is just so ... plain. I lose interest and don't care if I finish.

Oh man, "IT guy writing himself into a novel" is absolutely a mini-genre that I'd never quite managed to put my finger on.

I just finished a reread of Charlie Stross' Accelerando, and it's so that (and a rare case of it working), The Bobiverse is pretty explicitly that too. And Ready Player One stank so badly of it that I couldn't get the smell of cheetos and unwashed fedoras out of my brain while reading it (or at least until I put it down out of tedium/disgust). That bloody book should have started every chapter with "Well, actually...."

farley3k wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:

Not coincidentally, I started John Scalzi's Old Man's War the day after my 45th birthday when I had to return Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth (which is great, btw). The exposition is a little painfully slow, and it has that feel of "IT guy writing himself into a sci-fi novel," but it's enjoyably inoffensive so far, and I am curious to see where it goes.

Glad to know it isn't just me.

I keep trying to read it because it is on lists of good sci-fi but it is just so ... plain. I lose interest and don't care if I finish.

He's got other stuff besides Old Man's War, some of which rises above his typical breezy beach-read output. Lock In, mentioned above, is one, and probably my favorite of his books. I also have an affinity for Redshirts, though I know that one is more 'love it or hate it'. And I haven't read them, but I think his Collapsing Empire series was well received.

Jonman wrote:

Oh man, "IT guy writing himself into a novel" is absolutely a mini-genre that I'd never quite managed to put my finger on.

The first Laundry Files book fits as well. Write what you know, I guess. Though IIRC Scalzi was IT -- he was writing for a paper or something when he got his first novel published.

Old Man's War is pretty bland up until the Ghost Brigades reveal where it gets slightly more interesting. But it's so light and easy to read that I am cruising through on momentum and almost 90% done. I will add some of the other well liked one off novels to my list, but probably not the sequels to this one. I don't like it enough to get over my love of starting new things (I love intro books and very rarely enjoy past the first of any series).

billt721 wrote:

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Jonman wrote:

Oh man, "IT guy writing himself into a novel" is absolutely a mini-genre that I'd never quite managed to put my finger on.

The first Laundry Files book fits as well. Write what you know, I guess. Though IIRC Scalzi was IT -- he was writing for a paper or something when he got his first novel published.

The Laundry Files was the first time I really noticed it, and I expect I will feel it more going forward.

I just finished Adrian Tchaikovsky's Final Architecture trilogy. Highly recommend if you're in the mood for a rollicking space opera!

The Laundry Files are so much fun, though, if you like techno-spy eldritch horror bureaucratic apocalyptic science-fantasy stories. You know... The Good Stuff.

farley3k wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:

Not coincidentally, I started John Scalzi's Old Man's War the day after my 45th birthday when I had to return Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth (which is great, btw). The exposition is a little painfully slow, and it has that feel of "IT guy writing himself into a sci-fi novel," but it's enjoyably inoffensive so far, and I am curious to see where it goes.

Glad to know it isn't just me.

I keep trying to read it because it is on lists of good sci-fi but it is just so ... plain. I lose interest and don't care if I finish.

Got halfway through his Kaiju Preservation Society and stopped. Not really a DNF but just leaving it for now because he gets in his own way with the determined light-heartedness. He creates some really cool worlds (a "past earth where atomic kaijus walk the land) but can't get out of his own way. I guess it doesn't help that I'm reading Balzac at the same time.

Not often in this thread, but as an old fart I might as well chime in to blurt out my top 5 'beyond the obvious' SF / Fantasy / Literature... The obvious being Lord of the Rings, Foundation, Dune...

In no particular order

The Broken Sword - Paul Andersson
Arthur, the once and future King - T.H. White
The Demon Princes - Jack Vance
The Enchanter - Nabokov
The Master and Margarita - Bulgakov

In short: The Broken Sword is what The Lord of the Rings would be on steroids, without pooha and poems.
Arthur, once and future King is the best fantasy novel I've ever read. It's fresh, it's joyous and most of the Disney movie 'The Sword in the Stone' is a 1:1 copy of this novel. But this novel is way better.
The Demon Princes is James Bond in Space. Not all parts of Jack Vance writings have aged well. But he was a writer's writer, and a damn good one.
The Enchanter - the novel that Lolita could have been. Nabokov thought he lost the manuscript under his flight to the States. He wrote Lolita later, and then rediscovered this manuscript. It's better than Lolita, and much shorter too.
The Master and Maragarita is what Rushdie tried to write with his satanic verses. Again, this one is shorter and way better. The dialogue between Pilatus and Christ is written so well that it almost feel you are there.

Now reading Italo Calvino's comsicomics which is fun - allthough the first story 'The distance to the Moon' is by far the best of the bunch. Ursula le Guin thought Cosmicomics to be very good - she can't be wrong

My 2 cents..

Wow, I'm late to the game, but I just finished Frostbitten.

Well done, Trichy! I loved it!

firesloth wrote:

Wow, I'm late to the game, but I just finished Frostbitten.

Well done, Trichy! I loved it!

Thank you!