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Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:24 pm
by Rotobunny
I have just finished reading "The Martian" by Andy Weir. I got given it for my birthday a few days ago (after some less than subtle hints) and couldn't put it down, I haven't read a book where this was the case for quite a while. If you haven't read it then I can thoroughly recommend it and suggest that you do so before the film comes out at the end of the year (it has been brought forward a month in the US, I'm not sure if that is also the case here). I must admit that having seen the teaser trailer I read the whole book with Matt Damon's voice in my head, I think he has been perfectly cast as the lead and just hope the film hasn't been dumbed down at all.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:43 pm
by Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Just recently finished two books: 'Warbound' by Larry Corrieiga. Set in an alternate 1930s USA where "magically" powered individuals are a fact of life, it's a two-fisted action adventure romp, and very enjoyable.

The other was 'The Lie Tree' by, former Armadacon guest, France Hardinge. It was great. A Victorian murder mystery with feminism, science, faith (and Faith), family, weird fossils, weird plants and, well, a lot of other things. It is perhaps a little slow to start and, IMHO, Frances' darkest book to date, but it was a thoroughly good read. It has obviously been very well researched, but the period detail never gets in the way of the tale. I won't go on anymore because I have stumbled across a couple of reviews which obviously didn't understand the concept of "spoilers," but one period detail is the fact that the heroine, Faith, had had five brothers who had all died in infancy, and this detail is treated as if it's nothing special. Highly recommended.

Currently reading 'Rosemary & Rue' by Seanan McQuire. Contemporary American urban fantasy involving the fae. Lots of other worldly politics and a heroine who basically just wants to be allowed to get on with her life. Early days yet, but I'm finding it enjoyable.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:55 am
by David A Harvey
Gosh it's been a little while since I posted here :oops: and looking back there's quite a few recommendations I really need to catch up with, and that big stack of GRRM that I enthusiastically got three chapters into...
Amongst other things I have been rereading the Discworld novels, I'm about a quarter of the way into Pyramids, and I'm delighted to find that, although I enjoyed them enormously before, they are so much better than I remember them :D

Still, that's not actually what drew me back to this thread. I wanted to share how much fun I've had reading/playing a piece of interactive fiction called "Lifeline" on my Android device*. It's rather like one of those venerable "Choose your own adventure" books but written for an older audience and the experience enhanced by innovative presentation which makes good use of the technology.

The story is delivered in the form of a series of messages from Taylor, a student stranded and alone following a space ship crash, which are delivered in real...ish time. This means that, although the story will pause whilst waiting for you to make a decision, if you advice Taylor to do something that takes a while, you won't get another message for an appropriate period of time. This added considerably to the realism of the experience, and led to some very uncomfortable waits after some of the harder decision about which advice to give.

I found it was very well written and Taylor came across as a believable character, in a stressful situation, whose personality one had to understand in order to give the best advice.
Also well implemented are the replay options which, if you reach one of the story's possible endings, allow you to restart from any previous decision in the story. It took me a couple of tries to guide Taylor through to a happy ending, and early decisions do have interesting repercussions. Also once you have completed the third day, if you are just keen to see all the possible outcomes, you have the option of using a fast play mode which removes the delays between messages.

I was lucky enough to pick up Lifeline for free during a promotion but having played I would say that, for the week of entertainment it gave me, it would have been well worth a couple of pounds and is a bargain at its actual price of 64p.

*Two of them actually, as I ended up playing/reading two versions of the story in parallel on my phone and my Kindle.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:28 am
by Liz W
Hi David

That "Lifeline" sounds really interesting; are you still playing?

Anyway, what am I reading!

I actually have 4 books on the go at the moment; 4!

My 2 at work are:
I) 'Brave New World' by Aldus Huxley - a SF classic that I hadn't gotten around to reading. Although I have to say I am struggling with it, as the society it describes is so different from ours. I have given up on it, for the moment; when I feel better, I will go back to it.
II) 'And it's Goodnight from Him' the autobiography of The Two Ronnies, written by Ronnie Corbett - I love The Two Ronnies, they are my favourite comedy pairing. It is a very honest and moving account of their time together and gives a lot of insight into the mind & heart of Ronnie Barker. I would recommend

My 2 at home are:
I) 'Only When I Laugh' Paul Merton's autobiography - I love the series Have I Got News For You and the interaction between the two "team captains" (for anyone who's never seen the series, these "captains" are Paul Merton and Ian Hislop) particularly now they know each other so well as the series has been running for so long!
II) 'The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss - a debut Fantasy novel; which a colleague of mine kept going on about. I, finally, gave in and brought it and boy am I glad I did! I am really, really enjoying it! For a debut it is amazing, it is written so well, I am getting into the heads of the characters and loving it!
Would definitely recommend; in fact once I finish posting this, I'm going to carry on reading it!

Well that's my current reading matter!



Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:13 am
by Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Just finished 'Fortress' by David Drake. It was a not bad, workmanlike, techno-thriller written in the eighties and set in an alternative-history eighties. Lots of conspiracy, technical details and car chases. And, of course, a fair dollop of grimness.

Currently reading 'Empire of the Clouds' by James Hamilton-Patterson. It's non-fiction. A very readable popular history, cum-personal history of post-war British aviation. It's subtitled 'When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World.' No one would mistake it for a serious scholar work, after all I did say it was very readable. :-) But's it a good read about a time when anything seemed possible, until it didn't. A story of opportunities lost through failures in management, politics, culture and, also sadly, sometimes engineering, but also the occasional triumph.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:28 am
by Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Recently been reading two novels, funnily both Steampunk.

One, which I've just finished, is ‘Ganymede’ by Cherie Priest, set in alternate American Civil War. With zombies. The other is ‘A Conspiracy of Alchemists’ by Armadacon guest Liesel Schwarz. Both are good solid reads, but there are differences. ‘Ganymede’ has more of an SF flavour to it (the Zombies are the side-effect of a weird gas) while Liesel Schwarz's book is more of a fantasy e.g. while in Ganymede diesel engines are in use, in ‘A Conspiracy . . .’ magical “Spark” generators heat water to power steam turbines and Absinthe really does have a fairy living in the bottle. As I said both are good, but – and it doesn’t spoil the book – but it is obvious that Liesel Schwarz cut her teeth as a romance writer. Though, as an aside, at Armadacon she did remark on finding some Steampunk novels to be very “blokey.”

Just started - and David Harvey will understand why - 'Greenmantle' by Charles de Lint. Early days yet, but so far it seems a very readable urban fantasy set in a small Canadian town where interesting people and others are converging.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:53 am
by Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Just finished Liesel Schwartz's Sky Pirates, Book 3 of 'The Chronicles of Light & Shadow.' It was a fun and an enjoyable read, but . . . I've mentioned before that LS, at Armadacon she mentioned this, cut her writing teeth as a romance writer. It feels very much the case here. The heroine seeming to spend far too much time moping. There were times when I felt like screaming, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Get your big girl bloomers on and do something!" Okay now, well, I'm going have to go into spoilers for this:


Eleanor, the heroines's, beloved husband was turned into a wraith - doomed to wander alone for eternity - at the end of the last book, and Eleanor blames herself for this. So it's not entirely unreasonable that she should have a fair dose of angst ridden guilt on her shoulders. She does make some bad choices in the book, okay everyone make bad decisions sometimes and perfect heroines can be boring . . . it's just that her decisions seem to be "silly" bad choices.

She also finds herself in a romantic love triangle with her memories of her husband and a Sky-Pirate. Who is one of those loveable rougue-ish pirates who don't seem to do anything actually piratical. Nothing wrong with that, there's a lot to be said for loveable rougues, but ever-so-nice pirates seem a bit wet.

Then again in spite of being angst ridden Eleanor at one point, unhesitatingly, stabs a man through the heart in, if not actual cold blood, certianly fairly cool blood, and subsequently drops another man with a swift uppercut to, what Lister would term as, "The happy-sacs." :shock: Okay, she definitely gets her action girl bloomers on then, but it seems a complete flip-flop from her previous state, and also that level of uninhibited and unhesitating violence seems out of character as well.

Ah well. This is all JIMHO, feel free to have Your Mileage Vary.


Basically I am still looking forward to the next in the series, but sadly there doesn't seem to be any word as to when, or even if the next one is due. -fingers crossed- I do still want to know how things turn out, which I guess that's the mark of a good read. :)

Anyway, I'm currently reading 'The Aeronauts Windlass' by Jim Butcher, first in the Cinder Spires series.

It's early days yet, but so far I'm intrigued. It's set on a world were for "time immemorial, humanity has lived in the Spires, warring habitats towering for miles over the dangerous . . . surface of the world." The characters are interesting and there's been a well-written battle scene. Details of the world and its history are worked into the fabric of the story and I'm starting to build up a picture. It also features talking cats. :D

Some minor edits for clarity.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:12 pm
by Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Recently finished 'Railhead' by former Armadacon guest Phillip Reeve. It's a YA SF thriller with cyberpunk-ish overtones. A universe where worlds are connected by a network of railways . . . they run through K-gets, interstellar connections - with sentient trains running on them The titular "railhead" is one Zen Starling, one of those essentially good natured petty criminals one comes across. Anyway I do have some little niggles about it, but overall I really enjoyed. There is a sequel out soon 'Black light Express' and I'm looking forward to it.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:45 pm
by Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
I've just gotten into Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series. And it's very good. An urban fantasy set in contemporary London about a very small unit of the Metropolitan Police which deals with magical threats to the Queen's Peace. Nice selection of technical details a slightly, but not overly gritty feel to it and some nice touches of humour. It's been described as "Harry Potter grows up and joins the fuzz." And I can see the point of that description, but I'm wondering if a better description of it might be, "The Sweeney, but instead of Reagan you have Dumbledore in charge."

I've just finished number three in the series 'Whispers Underground.' All so have been very good, but I'm taking a break to read Frances Hardinge's latest 'A Skinful of Shadows.' It's a YA fantasy set during the English Civil War and concerns a young girl with secret, a mysterious and powerful family with a very dark secret, and a very angry and very dead bear . . . I'm about have way through and thoroughly enjoying it. Interesting characters, nice historical details and some neat turns of phrase: “Dogs snarled before they bit you, but people often smiled.” The title becomes more meaningful as the book goes on.

Re: So which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:44 am
by Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Well, with reference to the Hangman thread I am current halfway through 'Infernal Devices' the third book in Phillip Reeve's 'Mortal Engines' series.

Since I'm up to number three it's obviously a very readable series. It's somewhat dark, mobile and predatory cities roam a post apocalyptic wasteland. (The Sixty Minute War was fought a thousand years ago.) And there's a definite feeling that no character's survival is guaranteed.

Okay, the nit-picking I find myself wondering if mobile cities are practicable, how the ecconomics of the place work, you have slavery and tourism, - okay this might be a case of, "Don't worry, just relax and enjoy the ride." But I also find some of the characters can act in ways which seem a little out-of-character, and there is also a bit of mood whiplash in there e.g. the mood is dark, but we have aerial-mercenaries called Richard D'Asterdly . . . But this may just be me, and just because something can be silly doesn't it can't be dark as well.

But at the end of the day, I am keen to see what happens next.