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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...

 

The last Fantasy/Sci-fi book I read was Myth-Fortune by Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye.An enjoyable romp set in a world blatantly based on ancient Eygpt.However with Asprin's death in 2008,it seems that Jody Lynn Nye will be the sole writer on any more books in the series.

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

 

Deader Still by Anton Strout- The department of extraordinary affairs is back trying to find Chupacabras and a zombie master in New York.

 

The Demon and the City by Liz Williams- Inspector Chen takes a vacation leaving his vice cop demon partner to save the world. The badger teakettle was not amused.

CES

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

 

I just finished Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. It was meh. Took me several weeks to finish it because, although the premise was nifty, the story was flat. The characters were standard-character-template cutouts and never really developed real personalities, and the plot lacked any driving tension. Yes, it was a middle grade book, but middle grade need not be dull.

 

Will not be reading the sequel.

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

 

I just finished reading Adventure! edited by John Richard Stephens. I'm not sure if this review should go into the fiction or non-fiction reviews, because the book contains a little bit of both.

 

It's a collection of short stories and biographical accounts from the explorers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, ranging from about the 1830s to about the 1930s. It contains accounts from Africa, the Middle East, India, and South/Central America. It's got pieces written by guys you've never heard of, and ones written by others who are quite famous (Dr. David Livingston & Henry Stanley, Howard Carter, Teddy Roosevelt, and Rudyard Kipling, to name a few). And honestly, there's not a story in the whole book that isn't gripping.

 

One of the fascinating things about the book is seeing how different things were back then. Archaeology was not an exact science 100 years ago! There's an account by an early explorer in Egypt where he's talking -- quite openly -- about looting tombs and trying to find "the good stuff." There's a scene where they don't have any firewood, so they just throw a couple of old mummies on the fire!

 

Anthropology was not an exact science, either. There's an account from a South American explorer where he's describing the effects of curare. He explains that death from the poison is quite peaceful and painless; once you're struck, you simply fall asleep and then die. But my understanding is that curare is in fact a rather unpleasant death which involves suffocation. It's easy to see how the writer got it wrong, but he was so busy trying to paint his hosts in a positive light that he didn't bother to check into it.

 

There's also some really good short stories included in the collection, including "The Man Who Would Be King," by Kipling.

 

Adventure! is a great little read, especially if you're running a Pulp Hero game (or planning to). It's got realistic plot seeds galore. Bunneh sez: Highly recommended. :thumbup:

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

 

I read:

  1. Furies of calderon by Jim Butcher
  2. Academ's fury by Jim Butcher
  3. Cursor's fury by Jim Butcher
  4. Captain's fury by Jim Butcher

All one after another over about 2 weeks.

I thought they were great :thumbup:

The first one was a little slow in the beginning, but it got better

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

 

Storm from the Shadows - David Weber.

 

I absolutely loved this. Besides being the continuing events surrounding a number of characters I really like - Aivars Terekhov, Abigail Hearns, Mike Henke - Weber advances the overall plot significantly, finally brings us in on the Big Bad of this sequence, and gives us some nice space battles - pretty one-sided ones in this case, but they can't all be nail-biters.

 

Weber's also getting better at reducing the info-dumps, or at least slotting them in where they don't interupt the flow of the story too badly. Plenty of politics in this, but not as bad as At All Costs, and at least it's differing politics, not just the Star Kingdom's. I like well-written politics, and this is one, but I know that isn't universal.

 

4 out of 5.

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

 

Storm from the Shadows - David Weber.

 

I absolutely loved this. Besides being the continuing events surrounding a number of characters I really like - Aivars Terekhov, Abigail Hearns, Mike Henke - Weber advances the overall plot significantly, finally brings us in on the Big Bad of this sequence, and gives us some nice space battles - pretty one-sided ones in this case, but they can't all be nail-biters.

 

Weber's also getting better at reducing the info-dumps, or at least slotting them in where they don't interupt the flow of the story too badly. Plenty of politics in this, but not as bad as At All Costs, and at least it's differing politics, not just the Star Kingdom's. I like well-written politics, and this is one, but I know that isn't universal.

 

4 out of 5.

 

Does he show any sign of bringing this thing to a conclusion any time soon? I like the series as well as the next person but he needs to wrap it soon.

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

 

Does he show any sign of bringing this thing to a conclusion any time soon? I like the series as well as the next person but he needs to wrap it soon.

 

From his comments in the Forward, the current conflict involving the League and Mesa are the last he's got planned, but it may be several books before we get to the end of it.

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

 

You realize' date=' of course, that if you don't like it you'll be disowned by all of us. ;)[/quote']

 

I tried reading that one a few years ago, and never could get into it. I never finished it, and I remember nothing of what I read.

 

Actually that has been my reaction to Gaiman in general - I've never been able to finish a novel he's written, and I gave up sandman about 1/3 of the way through.

 

Dunno why - I don't find it bad, per se, but his stuff never held my interest.

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

 

I own all four Absolute Sandman collections, and most, if not all of his novels. But I've pretty much given up on Stephen Donaldson and have no interested in the new novels of Thomas Covenant and the Land.

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

 

S. M. Stirling, In The Court of the Crimson Kings (Tor, 2008). I was a bit burnt-out last week from "finishing" a commissioned piece, so I picked up a novel from my to-read list. With the latest Timothy Powers, a Cherryh and a promising first volume from someone named K. G. Parker on the pile (not to mention a Bone omnibus), I'm not sure why I picked this one.

 

On the upside, it's planetary romance; I loves me some planetary romance. Stanley Weinbaum, Leigh Brackett....The fact that it took till now for a modern adventure/SF writer to pick up the threads is disgraceful. (Imagine if it had been Walter Jon Williams or Martha Wells who had thought of doing this first??)

 

On the downside, it is S.M. Stirling. I haven't read much of his amazing production, but what I have read has filled me with a cold, burning loathing for Mr. Stirling. It's not that he's an occasionally clumsy writer who handles exposition weakly. It's not that, fallacy of authorial intent be damned, he is pretty clearly using his fiction as a pro-eugenics platform, suggesting that he lies somewhere on the spectrum between Neo-Nazi psychosexual defective to obnoxious but harmless crackpot. It's that he's condescendingly arrogant to his readers, a trait particularly on show in this novel.

 

Oh, the book? Ancient Lords of Creation terraformed Mars and Venus millions of years ago then ran regular shuttle busses to make sure that the results were appropriately picturesque. Mars is now a crumbling setting full of Low Canal cities, lost ruins, ancient technology, sword-wielding warriors and deep desert. This attracts Terran tourists, who in Stirling's unnecessarily unbelievable alternate history arrive in the late '80s. One such tourist, archaeologist Jeremy Wainwright, has adventures, falls in love with Teyyud, hidden daughter of the last of the Crimson Kings, helps her blah blah Helium Princess of Mars.

There's eugenics, of course, (as usual in Stirling, it works; as usual in Stirling, there is a dumb and submissive slave race that seems to deserve its fate) and to my mind both plot and setting are ruined in various small ways before Stirling (figuratively) blows it up at the end of the novel. It looks like, instead of being a solar romance, the next novel will be set in a Very Big Object.

But most people will find this book fun, and I will pick up the prequel, at least. And that's the main thing, right?

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

 

I saw the newest Orcs novel on the shelf at Borders. having reviewed the first one here somewhere, I will not be getting it.

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

 

I just finished The Vondish Ambassador by Lawrence Watt Evans. It's the latest of the Ethshar series - which is now being serialized on line (on a pay-per-chapter basis) before being independently printed. It's a fairly standard Ethshar book which answers some questions left over from The Unwilling Warlord and explains some more about warlocks.

 

If you've been reading Ethshar novels all along, I recommend picking it up. If you haven't read any Ethshar before, you probably won't understand anything that is happening (or at least why any of it matters). Go pick up a copy of The Misenchanted Sword (it's back in print) and see if you like it.

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

 

I saw the newest Orcs novel on the shelf at Borders. having reviewed the first one here somewhere' date=' I will [u']not[/u] be getting it.

 

It's a bad novel, then?

 

I had heard someone describing Orcs as being basically a 'Humans Are B*st*rds' plot on steroids.

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

 

Dragons wild by Robert Asprin

 

easy read with well developed characters but overall (IMHO) the story was a little weak

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

 

It's a bad novel, then?

 

I had heard someone describing Orcs as being basically a 'Humans Are B*st*rds' plot on steroids.

 

Here is my review:

 

Orcs Omnibus by Stan Nicholls.

 

This is a fantasy trilogy (with more to follow) in which orcs are the heroes and main protagonists. I read it all the way through, if only to finish it, and decided that I don't understand all the praise printed on the back cover and initial pages. It's not all that good. The plot is one of 'evil' humans despoiling the world and causing the magic to go away. An ice age is coming, the climate is changing, and the numerous races are drawn into conflict. Okay, so far so good.

 

The problems develop soon, when I realized the evil fanatical humans were thinly disguised Christians, while the noble humans were polytheists. In addition, the orcs' hatred of humans became repetitious and boring. In fact, now that I think about it, one issue I have is the Star Trek effect -- most all of the races were fairly uniform in culture. The orcs are noble warriors, the humans are fanatical despoilers, the mermen are peaceful, the nyadds are warriors, and so on. Not much variation.

 

Another issue is the sloppy writing. The orcs are never described (on purpose), but then, their culture comes out only in dribs and drags and it's hard to care about them because we can't identify with them. in addition, this means that many characters seems to gain and loose gear constantly. No one seems to wear armor, but helms and shields are mentioned, and yet our heroes live through many battles with only minor wounds. The 'elder races' (i.e. everyone but the humans), deplore how humans dig mines and cut down trees, yet many characters have fine steel swords or wooden dwellings -- where does the author think this stuff comes from?

 

While the idea is interesting -- looking at orcs in a totally new light, the end result was (IMO) poorly executed. If I want to read the adventures of a war band in a fantastical land, I'll go back to my Black Company collections.

 

Additional issue: the country the war takes place seems to be about as big as a postage stamp, as the orcs (and other characters cross it in a matter of days (like 3-5) and yet 20,000 humans can just up and vanish in it somewhere.

 

Others have commented on the illogic in the original novels as well.

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

 

I just finished the last two Harry Potter books. Well, a couple of weeks ago, anyway. Maybe if I'd read them when they first came out, I would have enjoyed them more, but after all this time I found it hard to care, plus I thought things got unnecessarily dark.

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

 

it don't really fit here very well, but it don't fit into the nonfiction thread either.

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

 

Woman: Do you like Kipling?

Man: I don't know I've never kippld before

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

 

I'm currently rereading all the The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. A terrific series with memorable characters (including a great supporting cast).

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

 

Storm from the Shadows - David Weber.

 

I absolutely loved this. Besides being the continuing events surrounding a number of characters I really like - Aivars Terekhov, Abigail Hearns, Mike Henke - Weber advances the overall plot significantly, finally brings us in on the Big Bad of this sequence, and gives us some nice space battles - pretty one-sided ones in this case, but they can't all be nail-biters.

 

Weber's also getting better at reducing the info-dumps, or at least slotting them in where they don't interupt the flow of the story too badly. Plenty of politics in this, but not as bad as At All Costs, and at least it's differing politics, not just the Star Kingdom's. I like well-written politics, and this is one, but I know that isn't universal.

 

4 out of 5.

 

I was actually extremely disappointed with it. The Saganami spin off was supposed to stay very far away from anything resembling admirals and upper command. The first of the series 'Shadow of Saganami' was about midshipmen during their first actions. DW said that the Sag was supposed to go back to the roots for the fans that were basically tired of the main story line that has turned into a political intrigue series instead of scifi. Instead SftS was just an appendix for the main arc focusing once again on politics, admirals and military governors.

 

That said, it was well written even if a direct contradiction of what was promised by the author. Bait and switch. DW used to be one of my favorite authors. But if this trend to abandon the Space Opera genre that made him, and switch to Space Politics is where he is going means I will be finding another author.

 

It is a shame because he is really good at writing space combat :(.

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

 

 

On the downside, it is S.M. Stirling. I haven't read much of his amazing production, but what I have read has filled me with a cold, burning loathing for Mr. Stirling. It's not that he's an occasionally clumsy writer who handles exposition weakly. It's not that, fallacy of authorial intent be damned, he is pretty clearly using his fiction as a pro-eugenics platform, suggesting that he lies somewhere on the spectrum between Neo-Nazi psychosexual defective to obnoxious but harmless crackpot. It's that he's condescendingly arrogant to his readers, a trait particularly on show in this novel.

 

Which books have you read? IMO Stirling is either extremely good or extremely bad. No real middle ground.

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

 

I'm currently rereading all the The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. A terrific series with memorable characters (including a great supporting cast).

 

Turncoat due out in about a week. April 7th, I think.

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

 

I'm currently rereading all the The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. A terrific series with memorable characters (including a great supporting cast).

 

Turncoat due out in about a week. April 7th' date=' I think.[/quote']

 

Excellent :D

 

I have really enjoyed it. Even if it does have my most hated tropes, the Vampire and the Werewolf. I would really like a good fantasy or urban fantasy that would simply not have neck munchers, fleabags or dandelion eaters (elves) :(

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