Blog Archive

2007 new reads

1 A Fistful of Data Stephen Dedman Hurm, well, it is a shadowrun novel that isn’t a direct riff on Gibson. Sadly, I liked the one that was a direct riff on Gibsion much better. The “party” was a little bit off, especially with their focus on non-lethals (the Mercs they were fighting would have cleaned up against the squatters.) Oh well, a fun bit of fluff.
2 The Jennifer Morgue Charles Stross. British intelligence meets lovecraft. This one had fewer laugh out loud bits than the first one (The Atrocity Archives) and the best turns of phrase were all near the end, but this did some really nice riffing on the James Bond themes, though I think that maybe the part where the characters discuss the riffs on the James Bond theme was questionable. (Oh I admit, I’m not familiar enough with JB to have picked out the variations that they talked about, and I suspect that most of the audience wouldn’t be either. That said, it strained the fourth wall to the breaking point.) Still a damned good book, with [DELETED FOR SPOILERIFICNESS]. Also, this wasn’t really the second book I read this year, just the second new book. I reread the Belgariad in-between. Still too few books for Early March of a new year, but better than 2.
3. Childe Morgan Katherine Kurtz. Good. I still wanted a new Kelson book, and the title character reached the venerable age of 4 by the last page, but I liked it better than the first in this set. I really hope that the next one covers his teen years and Brian’s young adulthood. (And the Priest whose name escapes me at the moment’s becoming a priest.) Also, I look greatly forward to watching Nigel grow up in the next book.
4. Time Travellers Pay Only Cash Spider Robinson This is supposed to be a Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon book, except that only half of the book is Callahan’s stories, and a fair chunk of what is left is not even non-Callahan’s stories, but essays. Including one of the pieces that establishes Robinson as Heinlein’s hagiographer, though to be fair, this particular essay was written for the book published as a remembrance of RAH. All in all, I thought this was fairly weak for a CCS book,
5. Gust Front John Ringo Military infatuation SF. Took me long enough to hunt down a copy (especially since it was published. For Free. On the Baen Free Library CDs.
5. When the Devil Dances John Ringo More military infatuation SF. I’m enjoying it, though I suspect that the series won’t end to my satisfaction.
6. Command Decision Elizabeth Moon
7. The Hero John Ringo and Michael Williamson Well, set a thousand years in the future of the setting of five, and I can now say that no, it didn’t though the setting is interesting. On the other hand, a thousand years of research and development ought to have brought them further than it did, especially with tame Postileen to add to the exchange of ideas (and the subjugation of the elf folks due to the fact that they directed the war to leave humanity broken at the end of the war.)
8, Deliverer C.J.Cherryh Well, more of what we expect from Bran and the horse people
9. Prodigal By the person who wrote hammerjack. Liked this one at least as much as the last. Seriously I do read non-military and or non-intelligence agency SF. I swear.
10. St. Patrick’s Gargoyle Katherine Kurtz. Um, I’d been saving this for when I got a strong urge to read more Kurtz. I haven’t read the adept books and really ought to someday, but I’ve been wanting to (do something) (Can’t remember what I was going to say
11. Off Armageddon Reef David Webber. Er, Mr Webber sure likes to rewrite the Hornblower books. This one has sailing ships.
12. Furies of Calderon Jim Butcher I grabbed this one because I wanted to read something by Butcher, but my library only has the 7th Dresden Files book (which I’ve already read.) Good. Very different from his detective novels. But different good, not different what the hell is wrong with you man, the old formula fits your style and this doesn’t!
13. The Android’s Dream John Scalzi. YANJSBTIWWTAL. Detectives, intrigue, shooty bits. Also, a nearly extinct breed of sheep and a would be alien overlord.
14. Storm Front (DF1) Jim Butcher
15. Fool Moon (DF2) Jim Butcher
16. Grave Peril (DF3) Jim Butcher
17. Summer Knight (DF4) Jim Butcher
18. Death Masks (DF5) Jim Butcher
19. Blood Rites (DF 6) Jim Butcher
20. Proven Guilty (DF8) Jim Butcher
21. White Night (DF9) Jim Butcher
22. Restoration of Faith and Something Borrowed (DF 0 and 7.5, short stories) Jim Butcher

So I read these straight through over about 4 days. Way better than the last series of mystery/detective/whatever books I read (Stephanie Plum.) Harry is more competent, way more faithful when he is in a sexual relationship with someone, and just a more interesting person than Stephanie. Also, he suffers real consequences for his actions. A few minor complaints. 1 The Fallen Storyline in book nine was resolved way too quickly for this series’ pace. The gun wasn’t fired in act 3, it was fired right after it was pointed out. Harry needs to hurry up and either give the sword to Murphy or start boinking her (his word) or ideally both. I mean sure Butcher is setting up the whole Arthurian line for her, but enough is enough. Hee book nine of approximately 20+3! Yay!

23 Academ’s Fury Jim Butcher
24 Cursor’s Fury Jim Butcher
I often forgot that I was reading something by the same author as the Dresden Files (I did the same with the Wolf books and A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.) I liked both sets muchly.

25 Blood Name Robert Thurston. I read the first book in this set years and years ago. It is battle tech, mostly set before and during the Clan Invasion from the view point of a member of Jade Falcon. Honestly? These books fall prey to the same weakness that a lot of game fiction (and a lot of non-game fiction) do. Books one and two spend way too much time paraphrasing the descriptions of various things from the setting books. (In the case of Battletech Fiction, that goes both ways. Sometimes descriptions from books are co-opted for manuals.) It wasn’t quite as bad as Faith and Fire where the characters were carefully stated to have exactly the load outs that were listed in the codex and much of the description came directly out of the codex’s fluff text.)
26. Falcon Guard Robert Thurston Some of the same problems as the first two, though with less “it came from the rulebook” stuff in it and tighter plotting and writing. Not as good as the later Grey Death Legion stuff or the best of the TSR books, but much better than the first two.

27. Mutineer’s Moon David Webber
28. The Armageddon Inheritance David Webber
29. Heirs of Empire David Webber

These three are a trilogy together. Fun reads... themes that Webber has explored in depth. Glad I read Off Armageddon Reef fist, or it would have felt like more of a rehash than it did. (Webber has no less than 3 distinct settings where characters uplift a society’s weapon making to something just before the Napoleonic Wars. Two of them make an attempt to produce smaller versions of Horatio Hornblower’s style of navy. (The third set? Patience. They are 30,31,32,and 33.) By the way, the black power warfare in this series is actually only book 3. Book two is a hidden invaders story and book 2 is an endless hordes of aliens that must be stopped, but act in particularly silly manners story. Book 3 is the shipwrecked in a world wide theocracy story, one that feels very much like Off Armageddon Reef.)

30 March Upcountry John Ringo and David Webber
31 March to the Sea John Ringo and David Webber
32 March to the Stars John Ringo and David Webber
33 We Few John Ringo and David Webber

Shipwrecked. Endless Combat turns spoiled prince into bloodthirsty killing machine who gets the job done at any cost. 8 months of Endless Combat does the opposite to a number of his body guards. Stone age to early black powder natives and an endless succession of localized uplifting from a pike and shield unit from warriors to arbuquses to rifles and proper cannons as they walk across a continent. Political upheaval and space navies in the last book. Space combat that is remarkably similar to the Harrington books. (no surprise there.) These books probably sparked much of the research that lead to the ones above and Off Armageddon Reef.

34 Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall Bill Willingham et al. This is a prequel to the Fables comics with a framing story set several hundred years earlier and a bunch of sub stories set throughout the history of the fable worlds. It was enough to convince me to add it (the comics) to my “hunt down as soon as you have money again” list.

35 Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. Cory Doctorow See 36 for my hagiography of Cory. This book is an incredibly cool mixture of developing culture and mythmaking. (At least I think the son of the mountain and a washing machine are new bits of myth. It feels like Gaiman’s American Gods mythology but created from whole cloth.) GO check it out from his website (,) then go buy your own copy.

36 Overclocked Cory Doctorow Hum. Award winning author. Postpost cyberpunk. Cory is an active member of the free as in speech movement, working against people who would prefer all expression to come at the sole control of major media cartels. Open internet, communications systems that aren’t controlled or owned by governments or cartels, a dozen other things. Cory is also a damned good writer from the generation that’s giving us Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Sarah Monette, and John Scalzi (I know there is some time overlap, and I’m being research lazy). He’s a proponent of creative commons, and before I’d ever picked up any of his books, I’d been reading his work on boingboing. This collection of short stories is, as expected, excellent.

37 Breakfast With the Ones You Love Eliot Fintushel Urban Fantasy. Home made Talmudic space ships. Looks that kill. Teen Angst. Russian Mafia. Boxing. Bringing about the Eschaton. A talking cat. A good deal of fun within these pags.
38. Making Comics Scott McCloud. This is Scott at his best. Witty, excited, full of the promise of the media and new technologies, lucid and coherent, grounded. There are hundreds of how to draw comics books. There are many fewer on the craft and art of all of the other tasks. Only part of a book though. The rest is online, though I haven’t read it. Liked this one almost as much as Understanding Comics.

39. What if the Moon Didn’t Exist? Neilf Comins A double handful of what if scenarios about the formation of the earth and how small (and large) changes would influence the development of life on earth. Pretty good. A couple points here and there that could go either way, but then that is always the danger in speculating about things like changes propagating through deep time.

40. Mystic and Rider Sharon Shinn Fun read. Actually grabbed this one because the cover of the second or possibly third book grabbed my attention. Fantasy novel with a romance sub plot. Hope it stays that way. (I have read too many series like that where they spiraled into Romance Novels with fantasy trappings by the 3rd or 4th books. We’ll see.) The first one is worth a read at least. (The worldbuilding exposition/dialogue thingy at the beginning was a little clumsy, but I don’t think that there is any really good way to do an info dump, and false transparency is apparently in vogue at the present. Personally? I’d prefer narrator asides *coughcoughHeinleincoughcoughLynchcoughcough* Not that anything I’ve ever written with a “here’s how the world works dialogue worked as well as this one.

41. Gradisil Adam Roberts. Not bad, a story of the first three generations of the settlement of near earth space. The only thing that really annoyed me here were the changed spellings for “flavor” in the second two generations. Switching x for z seemed silly, and the k for ck was sometimes misapplied (in one word, can’t remember which, he switched a ck that didn’t make the k sound and left a c that did. The worst of all though was wat for what. At least k for ck replaces essentially the same sound, but wat and what don’t sound alike.

42. Fast Forward Lou Anders (ed) This one was the first of two books of short stories I read with very nice stories from (mostly) the latest two generations of fantasy and science fiction authors. Between them, there was exactly one story I’d read before. This is a novel experience. The SF is strongly tilted toward exploring the noosphere these days. (With Gibson’s next cyber punk being set in the near past, that makes sense) Oh has a story by Elizabeth Bear in it.

43. Fantasy The Best of the Year 2006 Rich Horton (ed) This would be the second, and the source of the story I’d read (by Neil Gaiman.) Another Elizabeth Bear (and one I liked a whole lot. Now I has to buys her New Amsterdam books)

44. The Last Colony John Scalzi The last of the John Perry/Jane Sagan books (or so he claims) Well written, enjoyable conclusion to the set. Wonderfully done, except for the werewolf problem. (They were literary tools first and almost only. Their egress was way too abrupt.) Buy it.

45. Starship: Pirate Mike Resnick Sequel to Starship: Mutany. A decent Caper Story though it is still no Return of Santiago. I’m looking forward to the next one.

46. Yellow Eyes John Ringo and Tom Kratman Not as good as the main line Posteleen books. Not as Bad as Cally’s War or Ghost.

47. The Thirteenth House Sharon Shinn Another novel of the Twelve Houses. The romance plots are still edging too far into the A plot, but this is still no Jean M Auel’s descent into darkness. Still looking forward to more of these. (By the way, apparently each book will have a different main character. Cool device, though we’ll see how it goes with the quieter people. A lot less barely hidden world building.

48. Dark Moon Defender Sharon Shinn More Twelve Houses. Romance plot worked much better as part of the story, didn’t seem to impinge upon the A plot at all. World Building was MUCH better this time. Still want more.

49 Cally’s War John Ringo Ugh, Just Ugh
50 Ghost John Ringo And I thought it couldn’t get any worse. At least this one didn’t steal the rape scene from Friday and use it twice. Of course, it came up with its own rape scenes
51 Spindrift Alan Steel I loved the first book. I didn’t even make it to page 10 of the second. Not probably the book’s fault. I was distracted. This one makes me think I should go back and read Coyote Rising.
52 Harry Potter 7 JK Rowling. Read it a bit before it came out. I did wait for a transcribed copy of the photographed copy. Some good some bad, Snape’s denouement was handled poorly.
53 The Game Inventor’s Guidebook Brian Tinsman Very nice book, if a little short and sparse on details. I want to get a copy.
54 Empire of Ivory Naomi Novik I’ve now read the whole set in print to date. I like. Very tasty
55Ghostmaker Dan Abnett More Gaunt’s Ghosts. This one is a set of vignettes featuring the name characters of the Ghosts. I loved the inquisitor and the eldar chapter.
56 Necropolis Dan Abnett The Ghosts face Chaos while defending one of the hive cities.
57 Alanna: The First Adventure Tamora Pierce This set was nice, but it got stronger as it went. Imagine that? An author hitting her stride as she gets further into a series? Never. There is a 15 years after book I want to read too.
58 In the Hand of the Goddess Tamora Pierce
59 The Woman Who Rides Like a Man Tamora Pierce
60 Lioness Rampant Tamora Pierce

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