Review: The Curse of Chalion

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster BujoldThe Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
First Published: December 2000
Read from: August 04 to 10, 2013

Cursed by a ‘blah’ Cover & Title, Blessed with Great Writing

I had never read any Lois McMaster Bujold before, and would not have selected this book to read from its description or cover if it had not been for the Sword & Laser book club, which selected it as this month’s pick as a “sword” or fantasy selection. The whole reason I decided to try and follow this club was that I was stuck in a rut of the same old “classic” sci-fi & fantasy authors and there were so many genre authors out but so many seemed to be… well, trash. I wanted to find a club that would read a mix of old & new, sci-fi & fantasy, and that would feature mostly the “good stuff”.

Despite initially judging this book poorly by its cover and my lack of knowledge about the author, The Curse of Chalion would definitely classify as good stuff. The fantasy novel is grounded in a well constructed medieval-like fantasy setting with lots of political intrigue, some action, and a little magic as the Gods work through their followers to manipulate events. Continue reading Review: The Curse of Chalion

Review: Ringworld

Ringworld by Larry NivenRingworld by Larry Niven
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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars5 out of 5 stars
First Published: January 1970
Read from: July 07 to 10, 2013

Ringworld – A Fun & Thought-Provoking Sci-Fi Adventure [Niven Re-Read]

Reread as part of Sword & Laser book club pick for the month of July. I finished this early in the month, wrote a quick note, but am only now doing a full review.

I have read Ringworld an unknown number of times in the past and it is definitely one of my favorite all time “hard sci-fi” exploration adventure stories. Whenever I read it I can’t put it down. Of course it now has me in the mood to consume the sequel Ringworld Engineers which I also enjoy (though not quite as much).

Obviously I love this book. And being biased and having read it so many times I feel I may not be able to give it a normal review here. Instead, having read some other people’s negative reviews, I think I will respond to some of their points.

Continue reading Review: Ringworld

Review: Protector

Protector by Larry NivenProtector by Larry Niven
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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
First Published: January 1973
Read from: July 10 to 17, 2013

Protector – A Classic Niven Known-Space Sci-Fi Adventure [Niven ReRead]

Re-reading Ringworld earlier this month as part of Sword & Laser book club selection got me in the mood for a re-read of Ringworld Engineers. Part way into that I dug out Niven’s Protector and decided I should re-read that before getting much further in RW Eng. Overall I like this book ALMOST as much as Ringworld, some parts more so, some less. I would rate it a 4.5 if I could, but putting this just under Niven’s Ringworld, Mote in Gods Eye & Dream Park novels which are my favorites.

I enjoy a number of aspects about Protector. A little spoilerish so read on at your own risk… Continue reading Review: Protector

Now Reading 12/19/12

Now Reading

The Dispossessed
by Ursula K. le Guin
Progress: 5%

Odd Interlude #2
by Dean Koontz
Progress: 0%

I really liked the first part of this 3 part novella. My library hold for ebook version of part 2 just came available today.

Side Burner or Occasional Reading Snacks

A Scanner Darkly
by Philip K. Dick
Progress: 19%

The Mote in God's EyeThe Mote in God’s Eye
by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Progress: 43%

It Happened in Colorado
by James A. Crutchfield
Progress: 20%

On Hold For A While

The Mongoliad: Book One
by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Treppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo
Progress: 24%

Review: Use of Weapons

Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks
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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
First Published: 1990
Read from: November 14 to December 16, 2012

Use of Plot Tricks…

“Use of Weapons” is the first book I’ve read by Iain Banks. I had heard the science fiction novel was one of the author’s best, and that it is an independent story taking place in a series of books about a futuristic society called the “Culture” that explores a super advanced society of humans and their AI creations that have spread across the galaxy. That certainly sounded like a book I ought to give a read.

My impression on the first half or so of the novel was that it was okay, but not great. The story had all the right trappings to at least be a fun sci-fi novel if not a ground-breaking or amazing one. There’s the tactical and strategic hero type, some hi-tech gadgets, even some comedic relief in the form of a smart-mouthed sentient robot. There is occasionally some thought-provoking and middle of the pool “deep” stuff going on too in regards to war and violence (either physical or psychological), and some exploration of humanity’s ability to “use” anything, including other people, as tools or “weapons” to achieve our victories, whatever they may be. But much like the citizens of the Culture, I just wasn’t being engaged enough and found myself wanting something else. Continue reading Review: Use of Weapons

Now Reading 11/14/12

The Mote in God's EyeThe Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

About half done with rereading this book (for the 20th or so time). This is absolutely one of my all time favorite sci-fi novels. Has I think the most believable, unique, well thought out, and, well, truely “alien” alien race of any sci-fi story I have ever read. I must add that I love most of Larry Niven & Jerry Pornelle’s work, individually or combined. I think I probably own most of Niven’s work.

Use of Weapons – Iaian M. Banks

Heard good things about this author’s “Culture” series and this book in particular. Saw it was available to check out from the local library for the Kindle so I put it on hold a while back. Just came available yesterday, so I downloaded it tonight and will give it a try and see what I think. Hopefully it’s pretty good as I could always go for a new source of good sci-fi.


Moon Reflections

Moon film posterI watched the Duncan Jones movie Moon again this evening. I watched it about a year ago and enjoyed it then, and thought Sam Rockwell did an amazing job. On second viewing it is a little slow in places, but intentionally so I think, as it puts you in the shoes of the mining facility caretaker character isolated on the dark-side of the moon.

I’ve had a recurring futuristic dream that might contain a little of this movie in it. In it I run a mining ship that is harvesting the asteroid belt for whatever I can make enough profit on that will let me afford to go out and do it all again. The ship was built for multiple people — a family — but they died in an accident before we could make the dream a reality. So I have decided to go on alone and do it all myself, accompanied only by a dog who is a clone of a dog that I have had (at the time the dreams are set,) through multiple “generations”. Continue reading Moon Reflections