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2015-09-20 - Reading Accomplishments - 005

Noble Kale's picture

Errr, it's been quite some time since the last entry (a month and a half). My reading has slowed down a bit, but I think that's an ok thing - my previous level of consumption was ridiculously high. I managed to get through the third Doom novel, which was as... odd as I recalled (this is the entry in which the series suddenly goes 'FUCK YOU WE'RE A SPACE OPERA NOW'), and I read some really great short stories (and a really, really bad one too). I began reading the Sword & Planet genre series Dray Prescot, which was surprisingly interesting.

  • Hugh, Daydd - Infernal Sky
  • Asprin, Robert - Little Myth Marker
  • Chiang, Ted - The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate
  • Asher, Neal - Watchcrab
  • Gilman, Carolyn Ives - The Honeycrafters
  • Akers, Alan Burt - Transit to Scorpio
  • Wright, Sewell Peaslee - The Terror from the Depths
  • Chase, Robert E. - Soldier of the Singularity
  • Chase, Robert E. - Not even the Past
  • Melko, Paul - Snail Stones
  • Zelazny, Roger - Lord of Light
  • What, Leslie - Money is No Object
  • Wright, Sewell Peaslee - Priestess of the Flame
  • Hoh, Diane - Scream Team
  • Pratchett, Terry - Reaper Man
  • Swallow, James - Eclipse
  • Chiang, Ted - What's expected of Us
  • Casil, Amy Sterling - The Universe at the Bottom of a Cereal Box
  • Joyce, Graham - First, Catch Your Demon
  • Hutton, Clare - Midnight Howl
  • Pratchett, Terry - Witches Abroad

Some interesting entries in the list this round - Obviously Infernal Sky is the Doom novel that I referred to. It's less onerous than the second one was with its overlaboured religious discussions, and has the included oddness of describing alien cultures - but it's not great. Little Myth Marker is a good entry in the Myth Inc. series - again, not the greatest, but still pretty solid. Lord of Light is an incredible story, taking on the setting of a colony on a planet where early colonisers have taken on the identities of Hindu gods. The setting is interesting, with the planet's own inhabitants being drawn into a long lasting conflict (and the handling of the timeline is done well, with some aspects revealed early and then elaborated upon later).

I read quite a fair few short stories this round - The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate is a pretty solid effort from Ted Chiang, though What's Expected of Us was a bit... flat. The Honeycrafters is a reasonable story with a phenomenal setting by Carolyn Ives Gilman. Having pondered it for a while, I've not come across such an odd, different setting in quite some time (I would enjoy if it was elaborated upon in a further work, but as a self contained tale its quite great). Not even the Past & Soldier of the Singularity were ok, but seemed to lack a bit of weight.

First, Catch Your Demon was a rambling bit of oddness that didn't really come as a surprise, while Watchcrab was short and sharp (and not very well elaborated upon). Snail Stones was pretty great, and odd. I didn't realise the two Sewell Peaslee Wright shorts were connected until I read The Priestess of the Flame, and I still can't tell which order the should've been in (they seem to just be self contained memoirs of the character that narrates them). Money is No Object was a bit... cliche as hell in its message, and didn't really hit the target at all. The Universe at the Bottom of a Cereal Box was... just awful, and the closest I've come to deciding not to bother finishing something in a long time.

On the more weighty side, I finally got back to the Nightmare Hall series - which I began reading when I kickstarted my reading efforts last year. Sadly, Scream Team was a bit... terrible (though, that said, Nightmare Hall itself isn't a very good series - there's a redeeming factor in that old characters reappear now and then to form a cohesive setting). Eclipse was a pretty good Judge Dredd book - they've done well in setting up this series as it encompasses a variety of situations and areas from the comic series, etc.

I'd gotten to read about the Sword and Planet genre, so I picked up Transit to Scorpio - the first Dray Prescot book. I felt that it did quite well, and I enjoyed the writing style - notably in the way the setting is elaborated upon. There was a bit of damselling, and hopefully the later books get past that. I'm currently reading the second book at the moment, so we'll see how that goes.

I picked up Discworld again - Reaper Man was reasonable enough and hit some interesting points. I'd been told that Witches Abroad was a good Discworld book - and I did find myself enjoying it. Granny Weatherwax wanting to beat her sister for forcing her to be 'The Good One' was a very human moment. I feel I don't vibe the humour of Discworld so much anymore, but the characters are so damn well written. The Discworld's Death is probably the best psychopomp you'd find in literature.