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What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I have just started "Flag In Exile" an Honor Harrington novel by David Webber. So far it is up to par. I may post a comment on it when I finish it .

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I have just started "Flag In Exile" an Honor Harrington novel by David Webber. So far it is up to par. I may post a comment on it when I finish it .

The Harrington books are pretty good. I think they drag on a bit with a little too much angst, but they pickup again with the last couple.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I've been reading...a lot...during this seemingly endless bout of illness. The book I finished just a few moments ago was an oldie but a goodie -- Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement.

 

Doing the bulk of his notable work in the 1950s, Hal Clement was one of the early "hard SF" writers, in that he knew how things like chemistry and orbital mechanics worked. His best stories were usually of the "man (or other sapient) vs. the environment" form. They're entertaining, with interesting plot twists and enjoyable characters wrapped around the central theme of some "neat" bit of science.

 

Writing in this style, Hal Clement far surpassed most "hard SF" writers who came later -- Robert Forward and Stephen Baxter, for example. While I like Forward's books, his character tend to come across as a bit two-dimensional as compared to the science "background", and Stephen Baxter's characters seem to be purposefully written to be disagreeable, so they won't distract you from the "neat science" that's the real star of his books.

 

Mission of Gravity is probably Clement's best-known work. The story takes place on the planet Mesklin, a decidedly unusual place. The world is more than 5,000 times the mass of the Earth, and is in a highly elliptical orbit around the star 61 Cygni. The average temperature is around -150 Celcius, leading to oceans of methane and ammonia snow. As you might expect, the high mass of the planet gives it really high gravity, but there's a twist: the planet rotates so rapidly that its day is only 18 minutes long! This results in the thing being flattened out into a fried-egg shape, and also means that gravity varies (due to inertia, commonly called "centrifical force" by most people) from about 3g at the equator to nearly 700g at the poles.

 

A largely-human expedition had come to Mesklin to study gravity under these extreme states, and the keystone of the project...the only rocket ever built (unmanned, of course) that could lift itself even from Mesklin's savage polar gravity...set down successfully on the planet's south pole, carried out its experiments...and then failed to respond to commands to lift off, leaving its data trapped where humanity couldn't get to it. Even if another such rocket could be built, obviously no flesh-and-blood crew could survive nearly 700g of force.

 

The expedition established friendly communications with the crew of a native ocean-going sailing ship that was exploring the largely-unknown regions near the equator (or "Rim" as they called it) and in return for certain kinds of assistance, the natives (who look like 18-inch black-and-red caterpillars with scorpion-style pinchers) agree to undertake an epic journey across the surface of their planet all the way to the stranded rocket, taking equipment with them that will let them relay the rocket's data to the humans. Though the natives are capable of surviving even at the poles of their planet, they're not happy there -- their home area is at about the 200g mark -- and the high gravity at the pole is just one of many anticipated difficulties.

 

The trek is not without incident, of course; the obstacles include strange terrain and weather effects, unusual and dangerous animals, and several tribed and nations of natives who all have their own idea about what to do with a ship full of strangers to their lands. During the course of the journey you not only get a good look at the kind of strange things nature would do on an extreme world like Mesklin, but also come to know a number of the native crewmembers of the sailing ship as individuals with distinct personalities.

 

While the story itself may be outdated in some ways (human scientist routinely using slide rules, video records being made with actual film motion picture cameras, and so on) the story largely still stands as well today as it did when it was first written. If you like your SF with a good bit of hard science in it, but want a story with real characters and not a textbook lecture, then Hal Clement's work is for you.

 

I'd give Mission of Gravity 8 out of 10 stars. :)

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I have just started "Flag In Exile" an Honor Harrington novel by David Webber. So far it is up to par. I may post a comment on it when I finish it .

 

Odd coincidence, I just started re-reading it.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I recently picked up "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume IIA" published in 1973. 99 cents! Lots of storys from 1941. "Who goes There?" for instance for a well known story.

 

I'm only about 1/2 way thru but some of the fun science ideas are great. A story "Nerves" is based in a Atomic Processing Plant where different isotopes are produced. One of the products is some isotope that is spread in a field during the off season to kill all the boll weavils. Greatly simplified version, but fun out of context. :D

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

My most recent SF read was 'The Golden Globe' by John Varley.

 

In common with most of Varley's work this is a deep, rich novel that contains big concepts, fine characterisation, thought-provoking material and great attention to detail. Varley mixes topics as diverse as hard physics, developmental psychology, sociology, asymmetric warfare, survivalism and it makes for a heady brew.

 

IMO it was a very good read, a worthy addition to Varley's so-called Eight Worlds universe. Those unfamiliar with Varley should read him. You can mine an entire roleplaying campaign from just one of his novels. You'll also see why he is pretty much the progenitor of genres such as cyberpunk. For the life of me I cannot understand why (virtual) hacks such as Neal Stephenson have flourished in Varley's shadow. I guess thus it ever was.

 

EDIT: Plotwise this is the story of an itinerant actor who has to get from the outer reaches of the solar system to Luna so that he can play King Lear on stage. Sounds simple but Varley does his usual sleight-of-hand to add in many other subplots. The actor is also a conman, a shapeshifter (very interesting power set for cyborgs), a wanted criminal and an interplanetary hobo.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

The translated Slayers novels. Decent. A lot better than the wordieness of most current novels. A lot of current writers need to take a remidial revision course.

 

The classic Skylark series. :eek: What power. What incredibly silly power levels.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Just found THE MAGIC GOES AWAY Collection by Larry Niven. All three of his magic collections in one softback volume. Good fantasy stuff, if a bit pessimistic (it is about the death of a magic world, after all).

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I just finished Keith Baker's The City of Towers, book 1 of the Dreaming Dark series of books set in the Eberron Campaign Setting. Unlike many TSR/WotC books that I've read, I liked it. I've got the original Dragonlance trilogy and the followup, as well as some Forgotten Realms novels, but this one is far better. The characters have good fleshed-out personalities, the setting is rich in detail, and it's obvious Mr. Baker has put a lot of thought into his first novel. I look forward to the rest of the series.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Just finished Covenants by Lorna Freeman.

 

One dang fine book. It isn't heavy epic deep fantasy that you slog through and have lots of angst like LotR, Donaldson, or The Song of Ice and Fire, however it is one of the just plain "good reads" I have had for years. First book in a series, but pretty much all the main plot points are tied up, so it doesn't just hang there like Jordan.

What I liked about it -

Smooth read - written well and lightly - it reminded me of Ender's game that way. A book that is easy to read on the surface, but has things hidden under it on repeated readings.

No over Sex or use of Language. The book is rated pg-13 (at worst) for violence.

Interesting world and magic system. I loved the interaction of the characters from different areas and how magic worked.

 

To be honest, It is my favorite fantasy book of the last few years (Runes of Earth excluded of course) - And I've read Martin in that time period.

 

So if you are looking for something really dark and/or intense don't bother, but if you want to read a fun fantasy novel, by all means take the time to read it - it is very nice. To use a comic comparison, it is Neosilver to Martin's Iron Age.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Just finished re-reading the "Vampire Files" series (with any luck, the new book will be out soon) by P.N. Elrod. Have also just finished the two Doctor Who short story anthologies "Decalog" and "Decalog 2". Haven't read them in ages...

 

Michelle

aka

Samuraiko

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Just finished the Golden Fool by Robin Hobb. This is the middle book of the second trilogy of the Farseer novels. The book has a slow burn. The magic and fighting is low tech. Fitz is recovering from the loss of Nighteyes whilsty trying to keep his stepson Hap on the straight and narrow, teach Prince Dutiful how to use the Skill magic, avoid the evil Witted Piebald and spy on the betrothal ceremonies of the Prince to the Outisland princess.

Best read if you have read and like the previous books. Also links into Robin's other trilogy the Liveship traders.

I liked it.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I have just finished "Battledragon" by Christopher Rowley, a book in the adventures of Bazil Broketail. Good, but the stories are getting just a tad repetitious.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I just finished 'Going Postal' by Terry Pratchett.

 

Pratchett writes satirical fantasy and this book, while not one of his best, was still an excellent read. He is one of the few fantasy writers that can take an extremely detailed fantasy world and make it 'just background'. This lets the storytelling come through without being overwhelmed by the setting.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I just finished American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold by Harry Turtledove.

 

This is the middle book of the American Empire series, part of the overall Great War / American Empire series.

 

If you are like alternate history, this is the series for you. It begins with How Few Remain, the story of the second War Between the States. The prelude explains how the South won the Civil War (referred to in the series as the War of Secession), then HFR covers the Second Mexican War.

The Great War trilogy covers World War I (most of which takes place in Kentucky!), and the American Empire trilogy (including the one I'm reading now, The Victorious Opposition) covers the aftermath of the Great War and the time of the Great Depression.

 

This is the same author who wrote Guns of the South, but there's no silly time travel to let the South win this time, just well-crafted story-telling.

 

If you ever wondered what the world would be like had the South won the Civil War, read this series. It makes me want to get down on my knees and gives thanks every day that I live in these United States. (Things could be so much worse than they are.)

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Frankenstein Bk 1: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz. Victor Frankenstein discovered a rejuvenation treatment and is now trying to make Huxley's Brave New World a reality. He is opposed by The Monster. Dean Koontz is always a very engaging writer, but I think you can also get some ideas for fleshing out the personality of the Champions character Teleios. It's one thing to say he has no regard for life, but Koontz really explores that attitude and shows how it affects Frankenstein in his daily life, especially in regard to his vat-grown creations.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I just finished Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore, which I suppose counts as fantasy, in a way. I'm now reading Coyote Blue by the same author.

 

He certainly has a way with words, and I do enjoy his takes on modern myth. ^ v ^

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Just finished Midnight Tides by Stephen Erikson, the fifth in the Malazan sequence. You can read this as a stand alone although you do get more from it if you have read the others.

An ancient race, gods, magic, demons and war between an expanding empire and the ancient race. Really very good but I like Erikson's stuff anyway.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Just finished The Shadow of Saganami, by David Weber. Latest novel in the Honorverse.

 

If you like the Honor Harrington books at all, RUN, don't walk, to the bookstore (or the Science Fiction Book Club, where I got mine), and buy this. Weber just keeps getting better, and this, IMO, may be his best book of all.

 

Characters from several books back re-appear. Honor is present, but only for one short scene at the beginning and a passing mention in the middle, so this isn't her story at all.

Warning: You need to have read all of the recent novels AND the short-story collection In The Service Of The Sword (I think that's the actual title) to understand who some of these characters are and how they got to where the story begins.

 

High on my list of books I wish I never had to finish (so good, I just didn't want it to end).

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Just finished THE SCAR and am working on PERDIDO STREET STATION by CHINA MIEVILLE. I highly recommend them both as an example of a very strange and very inventive fantasy/steampunk universe.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Woken Furies by Richard K Morgan. Another entertaining SF novel with Takeshi Kovacs as the lead. Some intriguing technology items such as custom 'sleeve' genetech (gecko-grip and advanced life-preserving reflexes), heavy duty cyberware and advanced virus software. Again features a lot of politics to go with the extreme violence. It's an enjoyable combo.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

David Weber: In Death Ground. A good read, but not his best. It doesn't help that my mother sent it to me without the two books that came before it.

 

John Ringo: A Hymn Before Battle. I felt like I was reading a talented first draft, not a finished work. At the same time, he has a real knack for action and the main character's storyline really grabbed me. The other storylines needed development.

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

I am currently reading "World War :Upsetting The Balance" by Harry Turtledove. I have enjoyed this series (which I have been reading, off and on, for some time) and this book is no exception. Lots of varied characters, German, Russian, American, Chinese, Jewish etc, not to mention the invading lizards. All of them interesting. I would never have thought that I would have read an American novel in which Otto Skorzeny is a hero !

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Chronicles of the Lensmen - Volume 1 by E.E. "Doc" Smith.

 

Grand high adventure, though obviously dated. Some of the "fantastic" aspects of Science Fiction from the early 20th Century are already common day items here in the 21st. The attitudes towards women are right out of the Pulp era.

 

While the anachronisms make for a certain quaint feeling the swashbuckling attitude more than compensates. One can also see what could very well be the groundwork for the Green Lantern Corps.

 

A definite :thumbup:

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Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

 

Grand high adventure' date=' though obviously dated. Some of the "fantastic" aspects of Science Fiction from the early 20th Century are already common day items here in the 21st. The attitudes towards women are right out of the Pulp era.[/quote']

 

Care to share examples?

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