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Only the good stuff

I read a lot and love to read. I find great pleasure in good science fiction, and enjoy thinking about the great stories I've read and agonizing over what will come next. The information I provide here is for me. I long been a voracious reader, but never a review writer. But I've been tempted to try to document my thoughts on the why, what and how of the books I enjoyed. But do feel free to peruse, and please do suggest a great read you think I'd like.

Currently reading

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams
Timothy Lister, Tom DeMarco
The Prefect
Alastair Reynolds
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
Michael Pollan

Galactic North

Galactic North - Alastair Reynolds

This is thin fare. I dislike short stories for my science fiction and bought this by mistake. Still I like the revelation space opera and so gave it a go. The initial story was promising and provided some interesting backstory for the earlier books I had read. But the stories became thinner and thinner, and I eventually broke through the ice and swam to safety.

I doubt I will pick it up again.


Blindsight - Peter Watts Crap! And to think I hemmed and hawed about reading this book. I loved this book. I was stuck at home, sick with the flu, and I read this fantastic story in two sittings. Heck, I worry that my delirium has affected my judgment, but I feel right now (still sick) that this is the best science fiction story I ever read.

It is a first contact theme set in the near future, both of which I dislike. But this story is well told and hits on important topics to human nature, making them central to the story to spectacularly illustrate a compelling point of view.

I'm impressed with the craft and just had a blast reading it. Oh, and I loved the quotes.

Just read it.

The Player of Games

The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks I loved this book. I surely didn't think I would like it, which is why I have been sitting on it for over a year. I read Consider Phlebas a while ago and like it enough to consider doing more...but when the main character ... I lost interest. I suppose I took his point of view about The Culture, and I wasn't interested enough for Player of Games to rise to the top of the read stack.

But somehow it did recently, and I am delighted for the discovery of my error.

I highly recommend it.

Chasm City (Revelation Space)

Chasm City - Alastair Reynolds A good story, even if it didn't fit into the Revelation Space story line. It kept my interest to the end. That is good enough. But not great.

Lord of Light

Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny Amazing story that was only partially spoiled by my previous devourment of Dan Simmon's Ilium, which seems to have stolen some of Zelazny's thunder. I believe Simmon's effort is far more engaging and comprehensive, but Zelazny's book came out almost 40 years earlier. Well done.

Redemption Ark (Revelation Space)

Redemption Ark - Alastair Reynolds A few loose ends, but let's see if the 3rd volume deals with those. An excellent story that kept me looking for more.

The Chronoliths

The Chronoliths - Robert Charles Wilson A weak ending did not spoil the excellent story. It is more modern day drama than scientific fiction, but a good story never-the-less.

Robert Charles Wilson writes very well. I stopped reading a few times just to admire a clever turn of phrase.

The Time Ships

The Time Ships - Stephen Baxter If you liked HG Wells original....then give it a go. I only gave it 3 stars, but I enjoyed it. It did drag on a bit, but I was rewarded for my patience.

It is different, but good. I won't read it again, however.

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke much better than the movie, but still more like a short story. It was clearly written to be an outline for the movie.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks It was the least interesting sci fi book I actually finished. Perhaps it deserves another star for getting me to finish, but the lack of drama throughout the entire book transformed the book into a work project. I wonder why it was so highly rated...

The Evolutionary Void

The Evolutionary Void - Peter F. Hamilton I rated it 4 starts because it is a good enough ending to a great story covering 4 massive novels. Not as satisfying as Simmon's Hyperion series, but close...very close.


The Dreaming Void - Peter F. Hamilton Okay. 5 stars is a high rating, but I really felt engaged by this iteration of the Void story.

Next up is the last one in the line (at least so far)...Evolutionary Void

Wool Omnibus (Wool, #1-5)

Wool Omnibus (Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey A well written and interesting story. The ideas are small however, but I read it with interest.

Judas Unchained

Judas Unchained  - Peter F. Hamilton Magnificent. This story is amazing, and I imagine it would have been even better had I read every word instead of skimming just to get through the massive bulk of pages. I recommend it. But be patient.

Consider Phlebas

Consider Phlebas - Iain M. Banks Overall, very good but for ending. I was tired when I read it (so mileage may vary), but I did not enjoy the unsatisfying wrapup. It is a very well written book and a fun adventure to follow, so I recommend it. And I strongly recommend reading the extras in the back to gain a bit of background on the setting. I didn't do this on my first reading and my lack of enjoyment of the ending may be the result.

I will also add that it is not always easy to tell who the 'good guys' are in this story, if this is your first Culture novel. That can be frustrating but is ultimately rewarding. Keep your mind open about the Culture. Real life is not 'black and white' either.

Altered Carbon: A Takeshi Kovacs Novel (Takeshi Kovacs Novels)

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan Oh yeah. This is a good one. A bit surprising, too. I only bothered to read it because of the high praise heaped upon it. Well deserved.

It's a detective story, but don't let that dissuade you. It is a great story and well told. The science fiction is the icing, not the cake.