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My recent books

Posted by phduffy on 2008-06-04 17:07:34
1 forum posts
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Brassman by Neal Asher. The third Ian Cormac novel. He's sort of a future James Bond. He works for the Polity, the loose collection of humans and AIs that rule the galaxy. I felt that this was the weakest of Asher's Ian Cormac novels. It picked up at the end, but it probably could have lived without about 50 to 100 pages in the middle. Asher loves to set part of his novels on weird, crazy, worlds with intense and insane aliens that are incredibly powerful and disgusting. And a lot of the time that works, but I felt that the world he creates in this one wasn't explored enough. To be honest, I really think that Asher needs to write a fantasy. He loves to create weird, wild worlds, and show the politics that cause those in power to take the actions they take. He could probably make a lot of money and tell a fun story that way. That said, I'm interested in the 4th, and I think final, novel in the Ian Cormac sequence.

DonnerJack Roger Zelazny
It's the future... people can set themselves up as gods....blah blah blah. I'm tired of that. And Zelazny did that in 4 or 5 of his books.

Blind Lake Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson writes fantastic science fiction about how your life would be changed if the unimaginable happened tomorrow. In this one, a space observatory is suddenly quaranteened. Turns out that the have a telescope with which they can see alien life. Wilson might be the best sf writer alive, and this is a solid book by him.

Halting State Charlie Stross
So this is about a robbery which takes place in a World of Warcraft type game. A bunch of orcs break into the bank and steal virtual artifacts. The novel is written in second person, which would normally strike me as conceited bullshit, but makes sense in this case - it's about a game. Games often use second person to immerse you in their stories. Anyways, Stross is a great writer, who writes something like 2 books a year, and this is another very solid entry into his library. All 3 characters are interesting, the plot twists are fun, and things are resolved by the end.

Captain America Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting
Not a book, but a hardcover collection of the first 25 issues of the new Captain America series. I am not American, nor did I know anything about Captain America before this. But this is fantastic - Brubaker is great writer, and the visuals by Epting, particularly in the oversized hardcover, are great. I'm really glad that I've been giving Marvel a shot lately.

Matter Iain M Banks
Another one of the best current sf writers. This is set in his Culture universe, but has a weird feel to it. It's set on a planet which is so low tech as to be not that far from medieval England. The princess of this place left to train with the CIA wing of the Culture, Special Circumstances. However, much of the novel involves her brother's search for her, as he climbs through levels of his planet (which isn't really a planet, more like an onion with spaces between the layers, and held together by toothpicks). Things end up as you'd expect them to for Banks, which is fine, since as mentioned he's great, but I don't think this was one of his better novels. It was nice to see other parts of his universe, including groups which compete with the Culture for power, but the characters didn't do much for me.


The Blade Itself
Before they are Hanged
The Last Argument of Kings Joe Abercrombie

Recent fantasy trilogy. It starts out fairly familiar, in terms of character and settings. And it never really veers too much from this, but the departures are significant enough that you don't think that this is something you're read before. Or, at least, it's an interesting take on what you've read before. Some of the characters are really interesting - of the main characters, there isn't really one who's mostly a good person (there's one secondary character for whom this might be said). Glotka, the former star soldier who was crippled in the war and is now the Imperial Torturer, is one of the most interesting characters in this series. This series also leaves a few loose ends, and I'm not sure how to feel about that. I like the idea that this was mostly contained, but i have to think that Abercrombie will revisit this world and these characters. As it is, the ending was sort of like the ending of a season of the Wire.
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