Posted on October 17, 2014
Posted by John Scalzi
Lots of books and ARCs this time around. Tell me which of these you crave, down there in the comments.
Brad Torgerson, Robert Heinlein,, The Millenium Express looks interesting…
The Martian by Andy Weir. One of my favorite books of 2014.
Ooh that Advanced Class Guide hardcover… hello.
The martian. Awesome read. great combo of drama, comedy, suspense, science.
I liked the Chaplain in this year’s Hugo packet… maybe…
Still haven’t read The Martian but it’s at the top of my list.
Five Billion Years of Solitude sounds like a Gabriel García Márquez reference. I’d be interested in checking that one out.
Well, I’ve only read “Beyond this Horizon” out those selections….not qualified to make a choice…..
I agree with Mark Terry and GC: Andy Weir’s “The Martian” is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year.
The Baen “Big Book of Monsters” has a nice selection of old and new. A good Halloween read.
As someone who looks forward to any time I can spend in the Honorverse, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed “A Call to Duty”. I can’t wait for the next one, though I’d much rather get the next actual Honor Harrington novel.
“The Martian” was also outstanding, as many have mentioned. :)
Man oh man, the Martian by Andy Weir was such a good book. I got to it just before I devoured Lock In.
“Falling Sky” because I read the sample after reading The Big Idea, and the writing kicked ass.
“The gigantic beard that was evil”?
The Martian was fantastic. I’m re-reading it now. I haven’t picked up the Baen Big Book Of Monsters yet, but I will because no one publishes books like that anymore. Plus, it’s got “All About Strange Monsters Of The Recent Past” by Howard Waldrop, which is a fantastic read.
I got an advance copy of that Heinlein book. Trust me, he’s never going to amount to anything.
Unless @Greg is already claiming it, I would love the Collins.
I’m waiting to get my hands on the Advanced Class Guide. On top of that, how can anyone resist a title like “The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil”?
I’ve already read “The Martian” by Andy Weir – it is fantastic, good plot pacing with a wonderful character.
They’re reprinting Metrophage?? My paperback is near collapse. Might consider an upgrade.
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil?! I didn’t know the Pat Rothfuss biography was out already. #beardgate
Ok, ok, I’m convinced – ordering The Martian now (good timing, I just finished my to-read queue yesterday). I also might have to try The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil because, well, pretty much the best title ever. My own facial hair is “The Medium-Length Beard That Was Chaotic Neutral”, which doesn’t have the same gravitas.
Oooh. A new Lawrence Block!
Looking forward to Brad Torgerson’s book. Its an expanded version of the story he had nominated for a Hugo. It was an action story where the main character is a chaplan so the issues he goes through and the problems he solves require him to do things that don’t involve violence. I find I like SF books that do this as I get older. When I was younger, I just wanted to read about stuff blowing up.
Wesley Chu has a new book? Awesome.
Not enough room. Torgerson. Heinlein.
Flint. Kadrey. And so on…
Not that it needs any more plugs here, but THE MARTIAN WAS AMAZING!
(“I wonder what he’s thinking right now?”)
Torgersons’ Hugo nominate thing was a dreadful polemic, it seemed very dated in tone and writing style. I don’t think expanding it to novel length will help….
I’d be curious to read Wesley Chu’s new one! And from the many comments, I’ll have to read The Martian, too.
Is the Heinlein supposed to be a new edition of some sort?
I really enjoyed the Martian by Andy Weir. I’ve gifted it a few times now.
I like the title of Stephen Collins book. Knowing nothing else I would pick the book up for a look.
The Martian was awesome. My number one read of the year so far, and it’s been a good year for good books. May have to go back in for a re-read soon. I’d love the Wesley Chu also.
Did I just learn that you play pathfinder instead of traditional D&D?
Alex Samaras: That one does sound like fun. Incidentally, have you read any of Zahn’s other stuff? I really liked the stuff he did for the Star Wars Expanded Universe. (… and basically everyone else writing in that universe can take a hike)
Wish david weber would stop writing Honor Harrington books and finish the other ones I’ve been waiting years for. Too much of a cash cow I guess.
That Advanced Classes guide is looking mighty sweet (my 13th level Arcane Archer is quickly coming to an end…)
Seeing 1636 is a reminder to reread my existing stock of Grantville stories. And I’ll probably end up buying “The Martian” based on what people are saying here …. Books or food ? easy :decision :)
I read part of “The Martian” and loved it, so I must really get the whole thing. But since I’ve waited this long, I’ll wait till I can get a used copy. Unless, of course, it’s one of those books that everyone loves so much that they keep, and you can’t get it used. Heh.
I must admit to a bit of a jolt upon seeing the author’s name on “The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil”, before my brain said, “Not THAT one, silly.” Poor chap. Shares a name with a perv and the title makes everyone think it’s about Rothfuss.
Lawrence Block? I am intrigued.
Jumping in on all of the love for The Martian. Excellent book. picked it up, didn’t put it down ’till it was done.
Oooh, hey! Since when has Tim Zahn been playing around in the Honorverse? I need to check that out…
I suppose it’s possible to NOT love The Martian, but I haven’t come across anyone with that response yet.
Greg, Niall Alexander reviewed The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil for tor.com, if you want a better idea what it’s about.
You will LOVE Andy’ Weir’s The Martian. There’s not a huge amount of character development, but it is a great story of ingenuity and engineering, delivered with awesome Scalzi-Level Snark.
The author and I have differing views on a great many things, but Torgersen’s The Chaplain’s War is an extremely well-done book — it’s far from the right-wing religious crusade one would expect it to be, based on his political and religious beliefs. He muffs the landing a bit on the last couple of pages, but the book is still well worth the read.
I enjoyed Torgerson’s story in my Hugo packet so I would pick his book.
I covet thine Advanced Class Guide. Fortunately, as long as I don’t covet Krissy, the bible is OK with that.
If you haven’t read The Martian yet, go! It was super fun and made me want to quick become a rocket scientist astronaut just in case I accidentally get picked for Mars One. Not that I applied but ya never know.
I read the e-book version of Defender of the Innocent by Lawrence Block, which seems to have 1 less story than the new collection, and I loved it. Very fun mysteries.
Chu read from Time Salvager at Worldcon (Loncon) and it sounded quite good! So I crave that, plus . . . well, I do have a beard. . . . ;-)
I too very much enjoyed The Martian. For a while there it was e-available for super-cheap, and I got it mainly for the low price. I was so pleased I did: it’s an excellent slice of old-school Competent Hero adventure science fiction.
The Martian was really terrific. I couldn’t put it down. But I’m really intrigued by The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil. With a title like that, you just gotta read it.
Fun Fact: In Robert Heinlein’s Beyond This Horizon (1942), it’s implied that the protagonist, Hamilton Felix a “superman,” isn’t white. Early in the book, he admires his friend’s fingernail tint. The friend offers to let him try it, and Felix replies: “No, thank you. I’m too dark for it, I’m afraid.”
This may have been the first time Heinlein snuck a more ethnically diverse character past an editor (or the readers), but it certainly wasn’t the last time. He also did this in Starship Troopers, and other books.
I would definitely pick up “The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil” just for the title and clearly, based on this thread, I should also take a look at “The Martian”.
I’ve only recently stumbled upon the Honorverse myself and am just realising I’ve cracked open the door of a whole new fandom…
For reasons too complicated to go into, I have PDFs of the original Astounding serialized version (1942) as well as the revised version (Fantasy Press, Reading, PA, 1948) of Beyond This Horizon. There are a number of differences, but the conversation in chapter 1 between Felix and Clifford (just before the restaurant scene) is unchanged:
“Good idea. Say—you’ve got a new nail tint, haven’t you? I like it.”
Monroe-Alpha spread his fingers. “It is smart, isn’t it? ‘Mauve Iridescent’ it’s called. Care to try some?”
“No, thank you. I’m too dark for it, I’m afraid. But it goes well with your skin.”
Note that Felix isn’t identified until later as having any particular genetic heritage; this scene is one of the earliest in the novel. It’s not until chapter 2 that Felix learns of his “star line” genetic status.
David Brin’s take on the novel is interesting (http://torforgeblog.com/2010/07/12/whats-your-favorite-heinlein-novel-david-brin).
Add me to those recommending The Martian. Great book! And a friend of mine who normally doesn’t read a lot of SF liked it as well.
It’s not fair.
John keeps showing us all these books that are either not available in Australia, won’t be out for ages or we can’t afford.
Another thought beckons: what do you do with all these books, John? I’ve not got room for all the books I do own, let alone the ones I’d be sent if I was a Hugo-winning writer.
1636. I love that series!
As so many others have said, The Martian is an outstanding book. Instant classic.
Beyond the Horizon might be the single worst Heinlein novel of all time. While this drivel is still in print is beyond me (hehe)… There are so many other voices of that era ignored and forgotten.
Wait… Robert Heinlein is writing books again?
After a quick look on the internet, I’m going for The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil. A graphic novel about conformity, yea!
Add my name to the ‘The Martian’ fanfare. Great book, and likely to top my Hugo Award nominations list.
I just got the ‘Millennium Express’ from Subterranean – probably the final book in their Robert Silverberg short story series. All of the volumes have been excellent.
Scalzi’s post about the books:
If you haven’t already read “The Martian”, I highly recommend it.
Monstrously Funny Cartoons sounds promising.
As I understand it Heinlein has a new agent for these books. Woodrow Wilson Smith is new to the business & nobody is sure where he came from. Samr for his new lawyer, Ira Howard.
Five Billion Years of Solitude, the Millennium express, defender of the innocent and The Martian. These titles intrigue me.
My copy of the Block arrived yesterday. It’s finished now. ‘Nuff said.
Bloch collects the Ehrengraf stories. It’s about time.
Yes to the Silverberg, too. And that Heinlein fellow is supposed to be a promising writer and very polite.
@nothereddit Chris S.
“Torgersons’ Hugo nominate thing was a dreadful polemic, it seemed very dated in tone and writing style. I don’t think expanding it to novel length will help….”
Dude… your fired from the genre. Genre discussions are supposed to be fun. We don’t want to have to google to figure out what the hell your talking about. I think “dreadful polemic” is another way of saying “sucked ass”. If you can’t speak like a normal human being, go back to “literature” forums and the cave those people belong in. seriously dude… who wants to google this stuff? I liked the short story. I have no problem if someone else didn’t but don’t make me google to figure out what you are saying.
That being said,. I am very encouraged by the number of posts in this book thread. These are usually dead.
The Changeling Troll sounds interesting.
Guess, why would you expect Chris S. or anyone to dumb down their language for you? And what’s not-fun about using perfectly ordinary words like “polemic”?
If I don’t like a book (and I have no opinion on the book in question, not having read it), I like to tell people WHY I don’t like it, not merely the simple fact that I don’t. Kind of like if a restaurant puts cilantro all over their pasta alfredo; as a person who really dislikes cilantro, and knows there are others out there who do, I tell people that, not that their pasta alfredo “sucked ass”. Because I know there are others out there who LIKE cilantro, and my review would be helpful neither to those who hate cilantro nor with those who love it.
This is why I read Scalzi’s blog – just ordered The Martian because of everyone’s comments.
@ Jimmi D – This is why my wallet doesn’t like that I read Scalzi’s blog..
@ Elijah – I tend to see that as a plus personally. The 6-months-or-more wait until a book actually comes out allows me to dare hope that I might make solid inroads on the 199 or so books ahead of it on the TBR list.
So, based on this comment thread, I ordered The Martian last Friday and read it over the weekend. Definitely one of my favorite books this year – thanks to everyone who recommended it! I’ve given it to my 12 year old son to read. Apart from the occasional bad word (um, including the first sentence) it seemed like a really good choice for a bright kid interested in science.
Yeah, I saw the reference too. Thing is, I hate that book. So, I’m going to write some fake spoilers for ‘Five Billion Years’ right here
So, there’s an intergalactic space war.
One side is populated by nobody but one guy named Doug, and another guy named Steve. They have this deal where they clone each other as each other’s offspring. (so doug is steve’s dad is doug’s dad is steve’s dad and on and on. just like the bit in the Bible full of ‘begats’ but with only two names)
In this part of the galaxy, nobody really cares about the war, and there’s a lot of slash.
This is what happens when you don’t read Great Literature as part of some class, you’re just stuck on a bus for seven hours with nothing but A Hundred Years of Solitude and ‘Engineer Garin and His Death Ray’. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Lee Billings was on the same bus.
@Cally: I’m stupid and didn’t pay attention in English when I was a kid. You can explain why you didn’t like something without using ‘you have to google this’ grammar. It comes off a bit snotty. Most negative reviews are not very good. They generally come down to “I didnt like it because my Taste is not for ‘X’. That isn’t real helpful. There are a few negative reviews that provide quality details that others can identify with. dreadful polemic isn’t one of them. I googled it and I still don’t get what he is talking about. Seriously, me stupid.
A polemic is a one-sided, often political or religious, rant against something. It doesn’t seek to find common ground; in the polemic there IS no common ground, just X IS WRONG AND TERRIBLE AND AWFUL (and anyone who agrees with X is either actively evil or a dupe.) Polemics are generally about something that is in active contention within society, so you can’t have a KITTEN-BURNING IS EVIL polemic, because essentially everyone agrees with that. If, on the other hand, you start getting a “THOSE PEOPLE ARE JUST LIKE KITTEN-BURNERS” vibe, you may be in the presence of a polemic.
Jack Chick comics are often polemics.
Does that help?
I’d be curious to look at the Advanced Class Guide, though most of my Pathfinder stuff these days is in electronic form (since I am running [or more correctly, have run] out of space on my bookshelves.) I’ll also probably pick up A Call of Duty either in physical or electronic form, since it’s in the Honorverse.
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