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Pointless Pre-Labor Day post

September 6, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Because I’ve been on a sci-fi/fantasy kick all summer and am bored, here’s a meme from Tor.com, via Good Math, Bad Math. The last three genre books purchased.

As it happens, I bought four at once just about a month ago and since I’ve only finished two of them, I’ll mention all four. That evens out to three, right?

  1. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. I read Old Man’s War earlier this summer and thought it was decent entertainment. Mostly because his blog is so entertaining, I bought this, even though Old Man’s War wasn’t good enough for me to be really excited about a sequel. It’s military SF, standard colonization of space type stuff. Old people can sign up for service with the Colonial Defense Force and get their consciousness transferred to a new body. The CDF also engineers people specifically to be soldiers, using the consciousness of those who didn’t quite make it to the transfer part (hence the name “ghost brigades”). TGB follows one of those soldiers. It’s not as good as Old Man’s War, but it still qualifies as decent entertainment. The universe is explained a little more and some of it is interesting, but the book really drags. I liked the end, though. So it’s a book I’m not enthusiastic about, but it’s a quick, enjoyable read.
  2. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. I love this book. The planet is put inside a sort of cosmic sphere where time is massively slowed down. This leads to all manner of reactions, which are all fascinating. As are the characters. Wilson’s writing is superb and the answers to the mysteries of the “spin” are suitably mind-blowing. I’ve not read anything like this, but my exposure to genre sci-fi is relatively small. It’s easily on the list of my favorite books and makes a strong case for the top spot (it’ll have to fight 1984 for it). There’s apparently a sequel (called Axis), which I’m too scared to read, lest it sully my enjoyment of this book. I’ll get to it eventually.
  3. Cosmonaut Keep by Ken MacLeod. Maybe it was because I had just finished Spin, but I only made it through a third of this. There are two main storylines, one of which is a near future that deals with first contact with an alien race and the other a far future that has space travel and castles. The near future one was vaguely interesting, though the name dropping of “legacy” software was grating for some reason (I know exactly what he’s talking about, so it’s not that I don’t understand it). The far future storyline/world was just really unappealing. It was also confusing, mostly because I didn’t care enough to pay attention after a certain point. The writing is decent enough and I suppose if you find the world engaging you’ll like it, but it apparently isn’t for me and I decided to not waste my time on it.
  4. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. I’m not very far in this one (couple hundred pages), but it’s good so far. It’s more space opera and has an odd structure, with a few storylines that aren’t necessarily happening at the same time. It’s strange, but it’s working well enough. I haven’t really been pulled into it yet, but it’s engaging enough to keep me reading. Unlike Cosmonaut Keep.

Are these books “comfortable” together? Well, given that all but one is space opera, I’d have to say yes. I don’t know why I bought a bunch of space opera, but there you go.

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