Posted on April 21, 2014
Posted by John Scalzi
Another day, another hefty stack of new books and ARCs at the door. What appeals to you in this stack? Share in the comments!
(And if for some reason you can’t see the picture, see if this helps.)
The Complete Crow for my boyfriend
Funnily enough, I just finished “The Sea Without a Shore” before turning to see the email notification of this post. I enjoyed it.
The Vance looks good, but Vance always is.
I wish I could read the fine print above Larry Niven’s name. “Series created by,” maybe? Help?
Whenever I see Andre Norton’s name, I sigh. Catseye by Norton was the first sci fi book I read. I was in 4th grade and it cost 45 cents in the Scholastic book club flyer. And that was over 50 years ago. I have the softest spot in my heart for Norton. Perhaps that’s why I became a children’s librarian as well. Well, that and all the books.
I’ve read about half of the books you have in the stack. FREEHOLD I’ve read three times. It is one of my favorites. I am just finishing The David Drake novel now. The Andre Norton novels I read when I was a teenager before you were born back in the “60’s”. As for PORTAL it was a good read I waited for from the previous novel and that was a wait from the first novel. Any of thee others would be good to know about.
The Sea Without a Shore!!!
Ooof, don’t read Freehold. It will make you sad.
Brenda Kalt — that’s what it says. And a quick look at Amazon shows that Hal Colebatch and Jessica Q. Fox are the authors.
As for me, I’m all about the Vance and Lumley in this stack.
I finished the Lumley about a week ago, so it would have to be the Vance.
@Jan… Yes. Andre Norton. I’m right there with you.
Andre Norton was the first science fiction author I read…..I’d like to check out “Secrets of the Stars”.
I have to go with Anne on _Freehold_, I’m afraid. I tried it a couple of times – it’s in the Baen Free Library – but the libertarian-utopia lecturing was just too heavy-handed.
Robert Heinlein liked to hit a lot of the same notes, but he did it in a way that, darn it, was still fun to read.
The Vance. I’ve got just about every novel he’s written, though they’re in the storage locker and not entirely accessible, but short stories? no such luck. ::adds the SubPress Vance books to various book wishlists::
The Sea Without a Shore is on my must-read list. David Drake’s RCN series is an awesome read but the first book really drags for about the first half. But hang in there! Once the action starts it’s a great time–think Aubrey & Maturin in space.
I’ve been waiting for Portal to get cheap–I enjoyed the previous two novels in the series, but wasn’t enthusiastic enough to pay $10 for this one.
As for House of Steel, I’ve been a faithful reader of the Honor Harrington novels but this one looks like a pass–infodumps and a novella without any of our favorite characters.
Catseye by Norton was the first sci fi book I read. I was in 4th grade and it cost 45 cents in the Scholastic book club flyer.
You too, huh? Well, first I actually bought — I’d cleaned out the school library already by then and was well on my way to cleaning out the city library as well. Catseye was memorable for the totally creepy underground. Been forever since I read it last.
That copy mysteriously vanished somewhere in the past 50-several years (my copy was quite a bit less than $0.45)
As for House of Steel: only for hard-core Honorverse residents. One OK novella, lots and lots of infodump.
Drake is one of the few Baen authors that are still on my must-read list.
Annnnd now I’m going to go on another pre-summer book buying binge. :)
When Heinlein did it, it was (generally) new to us. Since then I’ve lost track of the libertarian utopias I’ve fallen asleep in.
Pretty sure anything with Jack Vance on it needs to be an insta-read.
David Drake! *muppet arms*
You had me all excited about a new Niven book. Dang, different author. Drake’s book was great as usual.
Must Haves: The Sea Without a Shore, House of Steel
Wouldn’t mind reading: Niven, Norton & Spoor.
Norton and Drake, please. Anytime.
Vance. Love that voice.
House of Steel isn’t really for the story, but for the milieu. It’s not only for the hardcore Honor Harrington fan, but for anyone with a keen interest in SF worldbuilding. (I met one of the co-authors, Chris Weuve, at a convention last year. Weuve, who edited the section on in-universe military tactics and strategy in the book, is a real-life naval analyst and Naval War College professor who gave fascinating and informative presentations at the con on the tactics/strategies of hypothetical future space navies and how “aircraft carriers” wouldn’t work in space.)
The Larry Niven book looks interesting. Ringworld is one of my favorite series so whenever I see a Larry Niven book I have to flip it over and read the back cover.
Catseye was my first SF novel too! What takes my fancy on the list: Drake (love the RCN series – that Adele Mundy is quite a character) and Vance. I have all the Honorverse books and will probably get House of Steel when it comes out in paper.
Oooh…. Portal sounds good I love Flint and his collaborations and I’ve been following Mr Spoor on usenet (rec.arts.sf.written) for years (OK it has probably been decades, I’m old school!)
I enjoyed Freehold enough to re-read it… at which point I hated it. Without ‘what happens NEXT?’ running through my head, I kept noticing the huge flaws in The Libertarian Utopia.
YMMV, of course. See Ellington, Duke re: ‘good music’.
This post just made me realize I’ve been conflating David Drake and David Weber. Sorry, both Davids!
Thanks, Portal looks interesting.
Got my stack up late, but here they are, including new items from Daryl Gregory (which I see just got a Big Idea), Kristen Britain, Mark Alder, Mark Hodder, Gardner Dozois’ latest Year’s Best SF, and more. Great week.
I have read Freehold more than three times. I find new and interesting things in it each time. Too many people seem to get hung up on this “Libertarian Utopia” concept which I just don’t get. Freehold is not a utopia. It is about people being willing to take responsibility for their own actions and not trying to control the actions of others just because they don’t agree with them. There are flaws. Of course there are flaws. No system of government will EVER be perfect because we are too different as human beings.
It is a wonderful story however which shows the heights we can reach for and the depths we can stoop to all in one book. There is plenty in this book to offend many sensibilities. :-) There is sadness but there is also joy. This book must be read with an open mind. Too many people just want to label it and write it off just because they may not agree with the political system of the planet where most of the action takes place. This is a mistake.
Read the book for the enjoyable tale it tells. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. ;-)
@Mark Greehaw: Saying you read a book many times is about as good of a compliment as you can give. I think Ill try it.
I have never read a book by Andre Norton. Is Catseye young adult fiction? I prefer adult fiction. Do her books resonate today? Sci-Fi books don’t always age that well due to technology changes. What Norton Sci-Fi books would you recommend to get a sample? Preferable adult literature and ones that would still seem like believable sci-fi with the tech changes? I went to her Wikipedia page and she has a massive number of books.
Freehold is an awful, awful book. It is one of only a few books in my entire life that I have not finished. The writing is lazy and insecure, the characters are paper-thin and inconsistent, the themes are ill-thought-out and unfinished, and the overall story (given that I only read half the book) led nowhere.
My biggest condemnation is that I have finished many, many books that I hated. I could not continue reading Freehold; I felt personally insulted that the author considered this half-baked mess of barely-connected ideologies worth my time.
Oh well. If Freehold can get accepted by a major publisher, it gives me hope for my own fledgling work….
Please forgive me if this was asked elsewhere (or else when for that matter), but where do you get your books from? I noticed that some of those titles were delivered in plastic. How nice! Have you ever taken photos of your library and posted them online? I’d love to see what you use as a shelf system. How long would it take you to plow through a stack like that? Anyway, I just discovered your blog last week and I love it. Have you read “Afterparty” yet? Curious to know what you think.
@JD Locke. Thanks for posting that link. That was a really interesting interview. I realize that David Weber’s works have strengths and weaknesses but I have always liked that he incorporates the influence of R&D and logistics in his series. Thanks again!
@Mark Greehaw, I enjoyed the story in Freehold but it can’t reread it because of the horrifically unrealistic world-building. What are the flaws with the Freehold system that Williamson admits? As far as I can tell he is suggesting that once we get government out of the way wages will rise, employment will be universal, private schools will educate everyone to a high standard, and people will become better and more moral. Then he turns around and makes the military which rejects every single one of those tenants the ultimate expression of that system. It is a fun book but is, at the end of the day, libertarian agitprop
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