[Book] Thread Soon Will Be Making Another Run

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  • AntoshkaAntoshka Miauen Oil Change LazarusRegistered User regular
    I finished Tyrant, which was certainly memorable, and The Memory of Souls, which was.... odd. I like the mythology, but the tonal whiplash is certainly significant.

    But, now I'm all out books again.

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  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    edited September 2
    Reznik wrote: »
    Book thread, I am in desperate need of some cyberpunk that isn't just re-reading Gibson's Sprawl trilogy a billion times.

    Hardwired, Walter Jon Williams.

    Marvel at the glory of this cover.

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    Echo on
    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier is a very nicely presented book with not very much writing in it. What little there is sheds some light on some stuff that happens outside of season 3 of Twin Peaks (i.e. what happened to Leo, Annie, etc), but nothing you couldn't get from a wiki page. A disappointment.

  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    edited September 2
    oh I missed the post above me! but here's my endorsement for Hardwired:
    credeiki wrote: »
    That is close but I'd label it more transhumanist than cyberpunk. If that's the bent you're okay with than Bank's Culture series might also be a good place to look or to stick with Stross Glasshouse.

    Stross's Halting State gets the cyber side down but isn't very punk with the protagonist being a police detective.

    Snow Crash is cyberpunk while also being a satire of it. Diamond Age plays it straighter if you don't hate Stephenson in general.

    Glasshouse most of the book takes place in a 50s simulation though, so you don't get a lot of cyberpunk aesthetic.
    Accelerando first part feels cyberpunk and the rest goes far future
    Halting State to me feels closest to cyberpunk for sure

    hmm, I don't really have any recommendations here beyond what's been said. Looking through online lists to see if anything jogs my memory but I'm just not sure there are a lot of core cyberpunk novels, or if there are I don't know them.

    Try Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams -- it's all-in on the classic aesthetic, short and explosive, and in my memory WJW's prose stylins are clean and high-impact.

    Mahnmut on
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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    I feel like Lock In by Scalzi should count as cyberpunk but I'm not sure if it actually does. It's certainly got the cyber but it's a bit lacking in the punk...

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    The Windup Girl is kinda cyberpunky, but more about gene splicing and bio-hacking than gadgets and cyberspace.

    y59kydgzuja4.png
    Mayabird
  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    The Windup Girl is kinda cyberpunky, but more about gene splicing and bio-hacking than gadgets and cyberspace.

    He has another one, The Water Knife, that's more cyberpunky, just not much actual cyber in it.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    Hardwired actually got adapted into the cyberpunk 2020 rulebooks, iirc.

    So it's both cyberpunk and Cyberpunk

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  • SummaryJudgmentSummaryJudgment Today we will paint a mountain that owes us nothing. Registered User regular
    edited September 2
    knitdan wrote: »
    I would have never guessed that I’d be cheering at

    Late Harrow Spoilers
    Friendly ghost summons his hero through the power of fanfiction. Said hero defeats unfriendly ghost, then goes off to help fight a Lovecraftian nightmare spawned by a murdered planet

    I just finished it:
    That was the high point - and it was so good! - and then it just devolved into tedious plot-hiding again. Super frustrated with it.

    What's that, reader - you didn't fill out a stack of 4x6 index cards and pin them to a Pepe Sylvia corkboard? You'll never unlock the good ending that way.

    SummaryJudgment on
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  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    I can recommend the rest of the stuff I've read by Walter Jon Williams as well - Aristoi, Implied Spaces, The Praxis.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
    KanaYuzak
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    Yeah WJW doesn't write like transcendent stuff, but it's almost always dependably entertaining and imaginative.

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    @Reznik

    Quick list of non-Gibson cyberpunk:

    1) Hardwired by Walter Jon Willians, as everyone has said. Nifty novel set on a flooded post-greenhouse Earth ruled by orbital megacorps. The hero is a member of a smuggling ring who gets needed goods and supplies across North America while evading the extortionate corporate tariffs, the heroine is a young street girl taking dangerous jobs to buy her and her brother a ticket to a better life on one of the orbital colonies. They cross paths when they each take on a dangerous job for big money, it turns out to be connected to a larger plot, stuff escalates from there. The book really emphasizes economic hardship and the desperate lengths people will go to to survive but balances that out with a solid adventure plot and a lot of cathartic high-tech violence, including some straight-up military action that you don't often see in cyberpunk fiction.

    2) When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger - In a cyberfuture where the dominant hegemony is a pan-Islamic society instead of the US or Japan, our hero is a PI in the Budayeen, the market slum district for nonbelievers/foreigners in an unnamed Middle Eastern city. He gets by on odd jobs like busting up fights in the market, catching thieves, and protecting his sex worker friends and neighbors, but gets hired to catch a high-tech serial killer who's preying on the local hookers. It's a good noir mystery with an interesting protagonist and a gritty, down-to-earth vibe, where the human relationships are more of the point than the technology. I am 100% sure that some of the words and ideas about gender identity are probably not ideal from a 2020 perspective but the book is filled with a real anger about the ways that the wealthy prey (literally) on the poor and minorities, and the depiction of sex workers is, from what I could tell, nothing but sympathetic, and is influenced by the author's years spent living in a queer artists' community in New Orleans.

    3) Crystal Express and Globalhead by Bruce Sterling - Sterling is one of the cocreators of cyberpunk along with Gibson and these are two collections of his short stories. There's a lot of really good interesting shit in here. Not all of it is strictly cyberpunk; Sterling also wrote straight science fiction, fantasy, and experimental "slipstream" fiction. As with any anthology some of it will be hit and miss for you, but for me, the hits hit hard. I particularly recommend "Green Days in Brunei," his story about a young Chinese-American programmer from San Francisco who's contracted to travel to Brunei, which has been cut off from the Net for decades in a kind of Luddite revival, to help the slowly liberalizing government program some surplus construction equipment they've bought. He struggles to adjust to the slower pace of life there (but also discovers the counterculture underground of secret internet connections and forbidden dance clubs), meets a girl, and gradually builds a life. Sterling isn't a dynamic prose stylist like Gibson but he has a real knack for telling stories that have a very authentic, low-key, slice-of-life feeling to them. He builds futures that feel solid.

    4) Crashcourse by Wilhelmina Baird - A young woman and her two boyfriends (who are also sometimes lovers) are penniless punk artists scrounging whatever junk they can find to use for materials, until one of them signs the trio up for a deadly "Running Man"-style show in hopes of winning big money. It's a very straightforward premise but it's well-written, unsentimental, and intense, with some splashy ultraviolence, and a pretty frank depiction of queer and poly relationships, especially for the time.

    5) Metrophage by Richard Kadrey - I haven't actually read this one, I was recommended it in the 90s but could never find a copy; it was out of print for nearly 30 years. It's back in print now as of like 2015 and I keep hearing it's excellent, and I believe it because I like the other Kadrey I've read. Seems worth a shot.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Bogart wrote: »
    Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier is a very nicely presented book with not very much writing in it. What little there is sheds some light on some stuff that happens outside of season 3 of Twin Peaks (i.e. what happened to Leo, Annie, etc), but nothing you couldn't get from a wiki page. A disappointment.

    This is exactly how I remember feeling after moving heaven and earth (or at least dropping like $30 on eBay) for a copy of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer back in the day. It barely tells you anything you don't already know and feels weirdly slim and undercooked.

    rRwz9.gif
  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    Awesome, thanks everyone for the recommendations. Gonna try and track down a copy of Hardwired to start with - Chapters only offers an ebook it looks like and I don't use Amazon anymore so this might take some work.

    Do... Re.... Mi... Ti... La...
    Do... Re... Mi... So... Fa.... Do... Re.... Do...
    Forget it...
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    edited September 6
    I finished Harrow the Ninth—yes, this book was really fun to read and good and exciting. Very happy with it. I found it all really interesting and some of it really quite delightful. And I have to say, I usually seriously don’t care about the world or overall plot exactly, but from some combination of character and aesthetic I found myself really caring about the mysteries central to the book and about who everyone was and what might have happened in the past.

    Muir excels at: descriptions of viscera and bone; interior design/architecture; hairstyles; snarky repartee; fucked up psychosexual dynamics; emotionally fucked up people; fight scenes; intricate plots that are miraculously very easy to follow even though I am bad at following plot in any sort of convoluted situation.

    I read an interview with her where the interviewer asked: are you worried your writing will seem dated in the future? And she answered: I hope it seems dated in the future! I made it very specific to this time period. I love reference-dense/period-specific writing that is of its time and you look at it now and can’t necessarily place all the referents.

    Anyway thanks to this thread for making me read these books. Just really great.

    credeiki on
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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    The Eye Of The Queen, by Phillip Mann. It's a first contact book, one depicting an unusually well-developed and odd alien race. Only halfway through but it's interesting.

  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Reznik wrote: »
    Book thread, I am in desperate need of some cyberpunk that isn't just re-reading Gibson's Sprawl trilogy a billion times. I tried reading Altered Carbon and came to the conclusion that Richard K. Morgan is an absolute hack. Where should I be looking? I really want the classic aesthetic of wires and clunky cybernetics but I can look past it for some good writing, so long as it's playing it straight (as an example, I've investigated Snow Crash but it's not what I'm looking for)

    If there's anything decent that's kind of a Shadowrunny blend of cyberpunk and fantasy I'll take a look at that too.

    Well Gibson wasn't the only cyberpunk author; Sterling, Shirley, Shiner (lotta S's in this list), Cadigan...

    Have you read Schizmatrix Plus , Islands In The Net, The Artificial Kid ?

  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    So anyway, A Memory Called Empire arrived and I guess it kind of jumped the queue (Sorry, John Julius, I'll read about the Normans in Sicilly soon, I promise) and I got about 80 pages in very quickly, and I realised that I was reading it wrong.

    So now I have a glass of Manzanilla sherry, and Mischa Maisky is playing Bach's Cello Suiten and I'm deliberately reading it about half as fast.

    MahnmutKanacredeiki
  • TuminTumin Registered User regular
    edited September 10
    I finished Kameron Hurleys The Stars Are Legion and I liked it a lot, it's a space opera/adventure book that's about an amnesia-driven mystery box. It was pretty inconsistent but I liked the setting and it has some very cool scenes, even if the scale of locales was all over the place. The planets are organic starships that recycle everything, it was kind of neat.

    Jumped into her book The Light Brigade and it is...Starship Troopers with a memory mystery box. I expect the twist to show up soon, but I am quite over boot camp scenes and training accidents and that whole thing, and instead of starting the book from the mystery, this time it is being trickled out slowly. Nothing is happening! I think I'll still finish it though.

    Tumin on
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Does anyone have any good recommendations for additional teacups in space books? Doesn't even necessarily have to be in space.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
    credeiki
  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    Does anyone have any good recommendations for additional teacups in space books? Doesn't even necessarily have to be in space.

    In addition to Ann Leckie and A Memory Called Empire?

    I have some not-space teacups. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton is an Austen-like drama of manners (about dragons). And Lifelode is a domestic fantasy with some sci-fi flavor (the setting is loosely inspired by Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought)

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  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    Does anyone have any good recommendations for additional teacups in space books? Doesn't even necessarily have to be in space.

    In addition to Ann Leckie and A Memory Called Empire?

    I have some not-space teacups. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton is an Austen-like drama of manners (about dragons). And Lifelode is a domestic fantasy with some sci-fi flavor (the setting is loosely inspired by Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought)

    I have A Memory Called Empire on hold at the library, and yeah, I've read all Ancillary stuff. Did she release an additional novel in that universe?

    Also, every once in a while I'll forget how much I truly enjoyed A Fire Upon the Deep.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
    V1m
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    Does anyone have any good recommendations for additional teacups in space books? Doesn't even necessarily have to be in space.

    In addition to Ann Leckie and A Memory Called Empire?

    I have some not-space teacups. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton is an Austen-like drama of manners (about dragons). And Lifelode is a domestic fantasy with some sci-fi flavor (the setting is loosely inspired by Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought)

    I have A Memory Called Empire on hold at the library, and yeah, I've read all Ancillary stuff. Did she release an additional novel in that universe?

    Also, every once in a while I'll forget how much I truly enjoyed A Fire Upon the Deep.

    Provenance. Which was a nice little tale but fairly small scope compared to all the Ancillary stuff.

  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    I recall finding Jo Walton's Among Others fairly long and dry, are the recommendations above any zippier, perhaps by not being about a young SF aficionado in rural Wales?

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    Yeah, Provenance -- I highly recommend Provenance.
    Septus wrote: »
    I recall finding Jo Walton's Among Others fairly long and dry, are the recommendations above any zippier, perhaps by not being about a young SF aficionado in rural Wales?

    Hmmm not sure -- I haven't read Among Others, so I don't know if it's an outlier. I'd say they're more dry than your average speculative fiction.

    Steam/LoL: Jericho89
  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    Dogs of War, Adrian Tchaikovsky.

    This starts as cyberpunk and then approaches singularitypunk.
    My name is Rex. I am a good dog.

    Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he's part of a Multiform Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, south-eastern Mexico.

    Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he's got to kill a lot of enemies.

    But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow Bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
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  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    Dogs of War, Adrian Tchaikovsky.

    This starts as cyberpunk and then approaches singularitypunk.
    My name is Rex. I am a good dog.

    Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he's part of a Multiform Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, south-eastern Mexico.

    Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he's got to kill a lot of enemies.

    But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow Bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?

    He seems to write a ton of shit. When I was looking for Children of Ruin a bunch of other stuff came up, I should look at more of it.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
  • AntoshkaAntoshka Miauen Oil Change LazarusRegistered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Dogs of War, Adrian Tchaikovsky.

    This starts as cyberpunk and then approaches singularitypunk.
    My name is Rex. I am a good dog.

    Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he's part of a Multiform Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, south-eastern Mexico.

    Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he's got to kill a lot of enemies.

    But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow Bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?

    He seems to write a ton of shit. When I was looking for Children of Ruin a bunch of other stuff came up, I should look at more of it.

    Dogs of war is quite fun. Not terrifying planet of spiders fun, but still fun.

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  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    Brody wrote: »
    He seems to write a ton of shit. When I was looking for Children of Ruin a bunch of other stuff came up, I should look at more of it.

    Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried more of his stuff.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    Does anyone have any good recommendations for additional teacups in space books? Doesn't even necessarily have to be in space.

    I'm sure I've recommended her work here a dozen times by now, but Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga is space opera/mil-SF that's highly influenced by numerous gothic and Regency Romance writers, especially the later books in the series. And it's awesome.

    Mahnmutwebguy20JacobkoshSlacker1913
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    Oh, duh, for Tea in Space:

    C J Cherryh's Foreigner series.

    All about being the human ambassador to an alien race filled with complex formal social rules.

    A bit schlocky and the series just goes on forever but if you like court intrigue it's a lot of fun. Also some good effort at making aliens whose personalities and motives fall in the middle of the scale between "act just like humans" and "ineffable monsters".

    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • swaylowswaylow Registered User regular
    edited September 11

    Echo wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    He seems to write a ton of shit. When I was looking for Children of Ruin a bunch of other stuff came up, I should look at more of it.

    Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried more of his stuff.

    I read Firewalkers earlier this year which is another 2020 release from Adrian. It was a fun little story that I would recommend.

    Nothing compared to the more grandiose tale of Children of Time/Ruin but still worthwhile.

    swaylow on
    Mahnmut
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    OremLK wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    Does anyone have any good recommendations for additional teacups in space books? Doesn't even necessarily have to be in space.

    I'm sure I've recommended her work here a dozen times by now, but Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga is space opera/mil-SF that's highly influenced by numerous gothic and Regency Romance writers, especially the later books in the series. And it's awesome.

    I read the Vorkosigan Saga earlier this year and it’s amazing.

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    OremLK
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    swaylow wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    He seems to write a ton of shit. When I was looking for Children of Ruin a bunch of other stuff came up, I should look at more of it.

    Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried more of his stuff.

    I read Firewalkers earlier this year which is another 2020 release from Adrian. It was a fun little story that I would recommend.

    Nothing compared to the more grandiose tale of Children of Time/Ruin but still worthwhile.

    He also has amazing eyebrows

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I have started The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, but 50 pages in I am super not interested in it. It’s really easy reading but like...nothing is propelling me to read further or care about the world and characters, other than a vague sense of curiosity about whether Leckie can write fantasy or not. There is no hook in character or setting or plot.

    I also did not like Provenance much, but it was more interesting/compelling than this for sure. I hope she didn’t only have one trilogy inside her—although I mean, if that one trilogy is Ancillary, that’s more than enough, so no need to be greedy I guess.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Raven Tower has some really interesting stuff in it later on but it takes a whole lot of time to get there. A lot of lead up and how it is relevant only becomes clear much later on. I did like it but then I liked Provenance so our tastes might just differ there.

    Brodycredeikimetaghost
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    Corvus wrote: »
    Was finally able to break my reading funk by going on vacation for two weeks to a cabin with no internet and mediocre cell signal.

    Cleared some of the backlog of unread books on my Kobo:
    • The Consuming Fire-Scalzi
    • Half a King - Abercrombie
    • City of Stone and Silence - Wexler
    • Redshirts - Scalzi

    Next up is Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

    Huh, I'm pretty sure I must have read Under Heaven years ago. Oh well, it was one sale from Kobo when I got it!

    :so_raven:
  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    Raven Tower has some really interesting stuff in it later on but it takes a whole lot of time to get there. A lot of lead up and how it is relevant only becomes clear much later on. I did like it but then I liked Provenance so our tastes might just differ there.

    I love Raven Tower but I also love Provenance. I was rooting for the big rock and the cloud of mosquitoes and the second-person character the whole time. :P

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  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    I have started The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, but 50 pages in I am super not interested in it. It’s really easy reading but like...nothing is propelling me to read further or care about the world and characters, other than a vague sense of curiosity about whether Leckie can write fantasy or not. There is no hook in character or setting or plot.

    I also did not like Provenance much, but it was more interesting/compelling than this for sure. I hope she didn’t only have one trilogy inside her—although I mean, if that one trilogy is Ancillary, that’s more than enough, so no need to be greedy I guess.

    I really enjoyed it but I loathed ancillary justice so this seems consistent

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    Raven Tower has some really interesting stuff in it later on but it takes a whole lot of time to get there. A lot of lead up and how it is relevant only becomes clear much later on. I did like it but then I liked Provenance so our tastes might just differ there.

    I love Raven Tower but I also love Provenance. I was rooting for the big rock and the cloud of mosquitoes and the second-person character the whole time. :P

    My interest has now been piqued maybe in between pages 70-100, where Eolo has shown some sign of character by backtalking to some noblelady, and then we've gone into a big digression into god society and the sitting rock god. Now I want to know more about the rock god and am moderately invested in Eolo, although I'm bracing myself/preemptively cringing about how this whole trans issue will be dealt with. I mean probably fine, but it makes me nervous.

    Still--shouldn't take 60 pages to get to the hook! If I were the editor I'd legit cut basically the whole first 50 pages or so, tell the author to either condense it down to about 5 pages of: we're in a land with a forest and a raven god and a succession issue, or to split it up and work it into flashbacks/weave it in with the story of rock god and mosquito god.

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