What are we reading in November 2023?

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What are we reading in November 2023?

Nov 1, 2023, 9:18 am

Another month,another pile of books. Share your reading plans with us

Editado: Nov 26, 2023, 10:26 am

Dusty's TBR for November
SF/Fantasy reads
J G Ballard - The Wind From Nowhere
C J Cherryh - Brothers of Earth
Andre Norton - Redline the Stars
Liz Williams - Snake Agent
K M Shea - Crown of Moonlight
K M Shea - The King's Captive
K M Shea - The King's Shadow
K M Shea - Queen's Crown
Jilleen Dolbeare - Splintered Magic
Stephen Leather - Midnight
Jack Vance - Book of Dreams
Henry Kuttner - The Salem Horror

from other genres

James Riordan -Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor
Patricia Wentworth - The Clock Strikes Twelve
Sun Xuegang - Chinese Fairytales

Editado: Nov 1, 2023, 10:13 am

Have barely started The Strange, which is looking like a "homage" to Ray Bradbury's Mars. I have The Saint of Bright Doors, On Earth as it Is on Television, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World, and The Navigating Fox lined up for the rest of the month.

Nov 2, 2023, 2:06 am

I reread C. L. Moore’s ”Dust of Gods” yesterday, which’d be the most sf-like I’ve read in a while.

(Not that I’ve read much of anything lately.)

Nov 2, 2023, 6:13 am

Reading science fiction at the moment, to get me through the long, wet days (sigh).
Just finished Firefly - Coup de Grace by Una McCormack. The beginning was a blatant rip-off of Charles Portis's True Grit, but then it settled down into an entertaining yarn of off-world meddling, local baddies, and our big Damn' Heroes wading in on the side of the little guys.

Started The Origin of Species and other stories by Bo-Young Kim - a new author to me, discovered in one of Lavie Tidhar's "Best of World SF" volumes. So far interesting and slightly off-beat stories, though I've only read a couple.

Editado: Nov 2, 2023, 8:14 am

Wrapped up The Strange. Pretty good, but this book strikes me as being less about the high concept (failing colony on Ray Bradbury's Mars), and more about how your fellow citizens turn out to be your enemies when it all goes to hell.

Next up: The Navigating Fox.

Nov 2, 2023, 12:54 pm

I have been binge reading light fluff urban fantasy by K M Shea,fun and addictive,such smooth easy reading.
So now I turn to J G Ballard's The Wind from Nowhere. I have read the other 3 in his disaster series - The Drowned World,The Burning World ,The Crystal World,and need this one to complete the series. Also will read Andre Norton Redline the Stars

Nov 2, 2023, 4:54 pm

>5 AndreasJ:

I commiserate on the world's habit of interrupting, preventing, fragmenting, and otherwise obfuscating efforts to actualise a solid reading life. May you persevere.

Nov 2, 2023, 5:08 pm

Starting Elantris tonight. I may defeat the Cosmere before it defeats me.

Nov 4, 2023, 11:00 am

Nov 4, 2023, 11:20 am

I'm still struggling to finish A Dweller on Two Planets, now midway through the Part Three that takes up the final 30 pages. In the meanwhile, I started in on State of the Art, and I've already read the first three stories. I can see that one will fly by in a blink.

Nov 4, 2023, 12:41 pm

Started Crosstalk by Connie Willis, and it is giving strong screw-ball comedy vibes. Not a big fan of the genre apart from Kathleen Hepburn in High Society.
Gotten through the first 4 chapters and I'm struggling. Anyone has any encouraging words - does it get better?

Editado: Nov 5, 2023, 8:58 am

Knocked off The Navigating Fox. If nothing else, this will be a very attractive novella to those of you who like fantastic "Roman" settings.

Editado: Nov 5, 2023, 9:20 am

J G Ballard's first novel,The Wind from Nowhere, was a pretty bog standard disaster novel. A wind rises across the world,steadily increasing till its over 500 miles an hour,stripping most topsoil and vegetation away,destroying all in its path. A megalomaniac builds a massive concrete pyramid which he believes will withstand any storm.
A pretty mundane story with none of the philosophical subtexts and undertones to be found in his otherworks,but a reasonable straightforward adventure read.Bit hard to sustain belief in the over the top premise though,and the tale ends very annoyingly. It just says ''The Wind was dropping''
The End!!!!!
No wonder Ballard sort of repudiated the book,claiming it as a kind of joke or wager,and that The Drowned World should be classed as his first real book :0)

Nov 5, 2023, 11:14 am

>13 amberwitch: Haven't read it, but considering that romantic screwball comedy is one of her favourite modes, there's not much reason to expect it to take a turn for something different.

Editado: Nov 6, 2023, 11:31 am

This past weekend I finally read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I meant to read it on Halloween this year, but trick-or-treaters got in the way. 😀 Glad I read it but it was interesting how the narrative structure is quite a bit different from how the movies structure it. I think the films may have the better structure but I can imagine how engrossing this novella must have been for those who read it when first published and didn’t know that Hyde and Jekyll were the same person.

Nov 6, 2023, 12:20 pm

>14 Shrike58: I read that last month! I thought it was a delightful story and would enjoy reading more in that universe.

Nov 6, 2023, 4:34 pm

Finished The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi. An entertaining bit of parallel Earth sci-fi. Scalzi combines a good premise with witty banter and a worthy Bond-type villain. Recommended if you like that sort of thing (I do).

Nov 6, 2023, 9:42 pm

I've been on a bit of a run reading some of my old scifi books from the TBR pile. Last month was Citizen of the Galaxy, The Machineries of Joy and now a more obscure one The Paradox Men by Charles Harness. I think some of these old novels written in the 50's were meant to be warnings.

Nov 6, 2023, 10:04 pm

Deep Roots was an excellent sequel to Winter Tide and The Litany of Earth. This set of stories is a very creative take on the aftermath of Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
I mostly enjoyed The Seventh Bride, a bit of a twisted fairy tale with darker elements. The humour/sarcasm did not always ring true but overall, a decent enough short novel.

I'm now a few chapters into Hopeland, which is off to a good start.
Also going to crack open A Desolation Called Peace tonight.

Nov 7, 2023, 1:28 am

I finally put to bed A Dweller on Two Planets, with my review posted. I don't know if I'm the only person to have compared the book to KSR's The Years of Rice and Salt, but there you go. I'm still in the midst of State of the Art, and I just checked The Farthest Shore out of my local public library.

Nov 7, 2023, 9:48 am

Just finished Babylon's Ashes and enjoyed it. Now picked up McAuley's Whole Wide World, which dates from 2001, and two chapters in, you can tell - set in the (then) near future around 2010, and already seeming to be badly dated with pop cultural references of twenty years ago and future tech that seems quaint to us now. It's a police procedural with an embittered and sidelined cop who does forensic IT stuff. I'm waiting to see if the story itself can pull the novel out of the pit McAuley's dug for it.

Nov 7, 2023, 2:29 pm

>17 Neil_Luvs_Books: Read that last March in an Annotated edition that pointed out how many of the things we identify with the story were added by stage and movie versions that came later. Dr Jekyll is definitely more a mad scientist than a sympathetic character.

It's also interesting to compare Stevenson's The Body Snatcher with Val Lewton's excellent movie version. It's faithful in many ways, including a scene-stealing performance by Boris Karloff in a tavern with Henry Daniell with dialog straight from the story, but Stevenson's story is as much a dark screed against doctors as it is a story about grave robbers.

Nov 7, 2023, 6:44 pm

>24 ChrisRiesbeck: I have never heard of The Body Snatcher. Just read the précis on LT. looks interesting.

Nov 7, 2023, 7:22 pm

There's an extensive riff on Stevenson's The Body Snatcher in an episode of the second season of Good Omens.

Nov 7, 2023, 7:59 pm

>26 paradoxosalpha: cool! I really enjoyed the first season of Good Omens and still have the 2nd season to view/binge.

Nov 8, 2023, 1:38 pm

>27 Neil_Luvs_Books: I also really enjoyed the first season (and the book) but was just meh on the second season. It moved very slowly and seemed a bit too in love with how clever it was trying to be. For me, worth watching but re-watching.

Nov 8, 2023, 9:26 pm

Just finished Upgrade, by Blake Crouch. It is definitely Science Fiction, but reads more like a nearish-future techno-thriller. Very fast-paced, although it is told from a single POV so you also get a lot of introspection (which sometimes became a bit tedious). If you are into genetic engineering/CRISPR type stuff, this is the book for you.

Nov 10, 2023, 4:36 am

Andre Norton's Redline the Stars,,a collaboration book set in the Solar Queen milieu 17 years after the original (much better) set of 4 books,was an OK read,but apart from a few advanced vehicles and minor tech,and visting planets with space ships for trading,it could have been a standard disaster story as there is a huge factory explosion,and the team spend the whole story helping after the explosion. OK,but not a patch off Norton's original series.
Now reading Shark Agent an Inspector Chen book. A bit weird and the print is very very small,its a bit difficult to read,so it will be alternated with C J Cherryh's Brothers of Earth

Editado: Nov 11, 2023, 8:04 am

Finished A Practical Guide to Conquering the World, which I have to admit I found a little weak in comparison to the first two novels in "The Siege" trilogy, though you still want to read it if you like the other books.

Next up: On Earth as it is on Television.

Nov 11, 2023, 8:43 pm

I finished reading The State of the Art and posted a review. I've just dipped a toe into Ghostwritten, and here I go.

Editado: Nov 12, 2023, 2:26 pm

I finished Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music back in May, but just posted my review. I'd first read this decades back and only recalled that I liked it, especially the premise of a Blade Runner-type mashup between detective noir and future dystopia. My second reading experience was pretty much the same, nothing groundbreaking but quite entertaining.

Nov 12, 2023, 2:36 pm

Reading A Memory called Empire by Arkady Martine. Very well written and textured, with a techno-political plot featuring an ambassador from an independent space station sent to the heart of an empire occupying half the known space to keep that independence.

In the blurb Ann Leckie calls it a space opera, but I think that both the plot and the worldbuilding is way to deep and detailed for that genre.

Nov 12, 2023, 2:48 pm

One of the earliest SF novellas I ever remembered reading is now on a free link from Project Gutenberg:


I just re-read it after posting it here. It reminds me of the unique psychological advantage offered to SF readers -- acceptance. With science fiction, everyone associated with the story is accepted, even if they are an alien ... cool. It's a great pity that its author died a short time after this novella was published. His most famous novel was The Sand Pebbles, an action adventure story later filmed, starring Steve McQueen.

Nov 12, 2023, 6:53 pm

Finished McAuley's Whole Wide World, a police procedural written in 2001 and set in 2010 which manages to look rather clumsy in tech terms when it's read today. Perhaps the thing that shows the book's age the most is the description of what a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is. McAuley takes four pages to describe something that by now, many of us are all too familiar with.

And then in the last eighty pages, the scene switches from a grungy London to somewhere far more exotic, and adds in hip street hacker kids from out of any early cyberpunk novel; and yet the denouement still manages to take place in a half-finished office block building site. And that was a cliché in 2001, let alone now.

Nov 12, 2023, 7:37 pm

>34 amberwitch: "In the blurb Ann Leckie calls it a space opera, but I think that both the plot and the worldbuilding is way to deep and detailed for that genre."

I guess it depends on how one defines "space opera". For instance, I would call Dune space opera for sure, and it has deep & detailed plot & worldbuilding. But if Space Opera means Buck Rogers, almost nothing is too shallow.

Nov 12, 2023, 8:21 pm

Finished The World and Thorinn and about 20% into Galapagos Regained.

Nov 13, 2023, 1:51 am

>37 rshart3: Probably a question of definition. To me the quintessential space opera is something like David Webers Honor Harrington series. So pretty shallow. Not that I mind shallow at the right time and place:-)

Nov 13, 2023, 2:00 am

>39 amberwitch: The meaning of the term has shifted. Today, anything remotely grand in scale that does not take place on earth is called space opera, but originally, of course, "opera" was borrowed from soap opera, and a space opera was a long interminable book series with spaceships and space battles.

Nov 13, 2023, 2:07 am

>40 anglemark: That is interesting, thanks for sharing.
I hadn't noticed the shift, and probably will continue to stick with the original meaning for a while before I can retrain my mental mapping. And from an etymological point of view, the original definition still makes the most sense to me, so it won't be easy.

Editado: Nov 13, 2023, 6:28 am

>40 anglemark:, >41 amberwitch: And don't forget, "opera" can range in depth and complexity from "light opera" (Gilbert & Sullivan, Franz Lehar) to the polar opposites of Beethoven's one opera (Fidelio) and Wagner's Ring cycle. And don't forget the strand of modernist opera, from Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District to the operas of Philip Glass (and his opera treatment of Doris Lessing's The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 should be on our collective radar).

Editado: Nov 13, 2023, 9:47 am

I use the tag "space opera buffa" for humorous sf with space settings.

Editado: Fev 25, 9:55 pm

Yeah, I think "space opera" began as a derogatory term but these days the meaning seems to be "anything in the same general space as Star Trek on television": people flying from planet to planet in spaceships, interstellar politics, diplomacy, and combat. I wouldn't call A Memory Called Empire space opera myself as it mostly takes place on one planet (not enough flying around in spaceships), but I would say it takes place in a "space opera universe" if that makes sense. The sequel is more clearly space opera. (Leckie's own Ancillary Justice is definitely space opera, though.)

Nov 13, 2023, 2:41 pm

I am about 25% of the way through Columbus Day, which is the first installment in Craig Alanson's Expeditionary Force series. It is about as pure "Military SF" as you can get, told from the POV of an Army infantryman who witnessed an invasion of earth and then joined the counterattack light-years away. It has a LOT of humor, and the initial invasion sequence had some very funny moments. None other than Steven Erikson recommended the books on a podcast interview a while back.

It is a fun story so far, although not quite up to my initial expectations. It is a self-published series, and you can see the lack of polish here and there in the prose. There is still a ways to go in the story, however, and the main character hints at upcoming plot twists. (It is told as a retrospective - 1st person past tense POV)

Nov 14, 2023, 4:44 pm

Plowed through Altered Carbon and Triplet, alternating between the two depending on whether I was in the mood for dystopian tales of bloody revenge or a good ol' science fiction-fantasy ripping yarn. For something completely different I then turned to the graphic novel The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor, which was a fun and amusing tale of the adventures of a girl obsessed with gothic novels encountering Lovecraftian horror in a gothic household in another dimension.

Nov 15, 2023, 11:26 pm

Just finished Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Third and final volume of The Final Architecture series. It's a huge, sprawling space opera. Excellent world building & solid storytelling. Tchaikovsky is one of the best scifi writers writing today.

Editado: Nov 16, 2023, 6:28 am

I have started Second Variety, the second volume of Philip Dick's complete short fiction.

Nov 16, 2023, 6:33 am

After a long break from SF when I found myself reading a lot of fantasy, I've started The door into ocean.

Nov 16, 2023, 11:32 am

>48 Stevil2001: You probably already know this but Dick's story, Second Variety, was adapted into the film Screamers. Worth a watch if you like the short story.

>49 Sakerfalcon: I hope A Door Into Ocean works as well for you as it did me. I need to schedule a re-read and then continue with the rest of the Elysium Cycle.

Nov 16, 2023, 12:05 pm

>50 ScoLgo: I did not know that, actually. I'm halfway through "Second Variety" itself; should finish that story up over lunch today. There are a lot of films based on Dick's work but I've only see a couple just Blade Runner and Minority Report, I think.

Nov 16, 2023, 12:13 pm

>50 ScoLgo:
Thank you, ScoLgo. I, like Stevil2001, did not know Screamers was based on Second Variety.

I have enjoyed many films based on Dick's stories. Most of them use an idea from the story rather than presenting a screen version of the story.

Nov 16, 2023, 1:02 pm

>51 Stevil2001: >52 pgmcc: I'm glad I mentioned it then!

I agree that most PKD film adaptations are very different from his stories. That said, the Screamers film is one that stays more true to the source than most. Personally, I rather enjoy it more when movies and books don't tell the story in the same manner. They are different media, after all.

Editado: Nov 16, 2023, 7:25 pm

>53 ScoLgo:
I agree that a difference between the written story and the screen is a benefit. As you say, they are different media and each medium has different constraints and attributes. Umberto Eco makes the same point in his book, Mouse or Rat: Translation as Negotiation.

Nov 16, 2023, 3:51 pm

>53 ScoLgo: Even the least PhilDickian screen adaptation has its moments: the JohnnyCab in the first Total Recall and the scene where Quaid is confronted in the hotel room by his wife and the ReKall representative remind us just whose head we started out in.

Nov 16, 2023, 4:02 pm

>54 pgmcc: Quite so. That's been one of the things I've found interesting in reading the first six volumes of The Expanse - seeing how small changes early in a series knock on through the subsequent episodes.

Editado: Nov 16, 2023, 7:02 pm

>50 ScoLgo: >49 Sakerfalcon: A Door Into Ocean is on my TBR pile. I’ve only heard good things about it. Are the other novels in this series are also worth reading?

Nov 16, 2023, 8:01 pm

>57 Neil_Luvs_Books: I have all four books on my physical shelf but have only read the first one so can't speak about the rest of the series. I bought the other three after reading A Door Into Ocean. If you have read and liked The Dispossessed and/or The Sparrow, then you are likely to find A Door Into Ocean to your liking as well.

Nov 16, 2023, 8:17 pm

>58 ScoLgo: thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like I will enjoy it then because I really enjoyed The Dispossessed. It’s one I need to read again.

Nov 17, 2023, 8:07 am

Reading "Second Variety" and then listening to this Radiolab episode about autonomous grenade-dropping drones was certainly a bit... disconcerting.

Nov 17, 2023, 2:02 pm

>57 Neil_Luvs_Books: >58 ScoLgo: I've read three of the four, excepting The Children Star. All were very different in tone and approach. Daughter of Elysium was more debate-oriented and went into more of the biology. Brain Plague began like a pulp novel then became more speculative a la Blood Music. Each was worth reading, each had flaws, but no two were alike.

Nov 17, 2023, 2:17 pm

>61 ChrisRiesbeck: Thank you for that! I plan to read the entire cycle in 2024 beginning with a re-read of ADIO.

Nov 18, 2023, 9:08 am

Knocked off On Earth as It Is on Television, which made a very positive impression on me; if "general fiction" science fiction is the future of the genre, I'll be happy to take more of this. Not to mention that good satirical/comedic SF has been a little thin on the ground of late.

Next up: The Saint of Bright Doors.

Nov 19, 2023, 6:56 am

About to start The Future by Naomi Alderman. I've seen some mixed reviews - generally along the lines of "interesting ideas but muddled execution" - but I enjoyed The Power so will give it a go.

Editado: Nov 19, 2023, 5:20 pm

Liz Williams Snake Agent was a bit odd but interesting.
the blurb - Detective Inspector Chen is the Singapore Three police department's snake agent - the detective in charge of supernatural and mystical investigations. Chen has several problems: in addition to colleagues who don't trust him and his mystical ways, a patron goddess whom he has offended and a demonic wife who's tired of staying home alone, he's been paired with one of Hell's own vice officers, Seneschal Zhu Irzh, to investigate the illegal trade in souls. Political pressures both Earthly and otherworldly seek to block their investigations at every turn. As a plot involving both Singapore Three's industrial elite and Hell's own Ministry of Epidemics is revealed, it becomes apparent that the stakes are higher than anyone had previously suspected.
I enjoyed the trips to various chinese hell levelsI am assuming lots of things were part of chinese mythology,but I am totally ignorant on such things,so I just went with the flow. Quite lively,but the main character,Inspector Chen was rather flat and bland. I may continue with the series if I can find it .
Not able to read much. Sadly Mr Dusty has just survived a stroke,cant communicate,and seems to have forgotten his English,has regressed to his native language. Waiting for appointments for MRI

Nov 19, 2023, 6:47 pm

>65 dustydigger: Dusty, really sorry to hear that. Sending my best wishes.

Nov 19, 2023, 11:12 pm

>65 dustydigger: That sounds awful. Rooting for you & him!

Nov 20, 2023, 5:30 am

>65 dustydigger:
Sorry to hear that news. Wishing you and Mr Dusty the best.

Nov 20, 2023, 8:40 am

>65 dustydigger: Hoping for the best for you and yours...:(

Nov 20, 2023, 10:05 am

>65 dustydigger: I'm really sorry to hear your news. Keeping my fingers crossed for Mr Dusty and yourself.

Editado: Nov 21, 2023, 8:40 am

I have just begun Barrayar, my fourth Vorkosigan book.

Nov 21, 2023, 2:03 pm

I've wrapped up Ghostwritten and posted a review. Now it's back to Earthsea for The Farthest Shore.

Editado: Nov 21, 2023, 6:43 pm

I'm back to sci fi after a break. Reading Panglor by Jeffrey A Carver. Giving it about thirty pages more before I move on to something else if it doesn't capture me.

Editado: Nov 23, 2023, 8:30 pm

Panglor improved towards the end so I am reading the next chronological book in the series Dragons in the Stars

And starting Triplanetary by EE Doc Smith.

Nov 24, 2023, 6:50 am

Finished the sequel to A memory called empire, A desolation called peace by Arkady Martine. Pretty good space and aliens type science fiction. In the same vein as Ann Leckies Radch series, although the latter is better in my opinion.

Nov 24, 2023, 10:14 am

Just finished The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. One of Heinlein's best novels, it's a story of a revolution - on the moon. In many ways, a retelling of the USA's, with a bit of Australia thrown in, as the moon was being used to transport criminals. But the "loonies" are classic can-do colonists who wake up to the fact that the home world is exploiting them for their own gain. Lots to think about with this one - recommended.

Nov 24, 2023, 10:19 am

>76 ChrisG1:

I've never read it, and I really should. I read Heinlein once said that three of his books summed up his perspective, and a lot of people liked one and hated the others--they didn't get him. Some liked two and bounced from a third, but vanishingly few liked all three. They were:
Starship Troopers
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
Stranger in a Strange Land

Nov 24, 2023, 11:08 am

I finished Columbus Day. The first half was better than the second half, as the second half introduced an intentional Deux Ex Machina who has just enough quirks and flaws to keep the outcome of the various adventures uncertain. Interesting concept, but the execution wasn't perfect. The last 10% of the book was used to set up the remainder of the series, which is multiple books. That being said, it was an entertaining read.

Nov 24, 2023, 3:54 pm

>77 paradoxosalpha:

Well, I sort of liked Starship Troopers, disliked The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and never tried Stranger in a Strange Land. But it seems a tad conceited to assume that dislike can only stem from a failure to understand.

(I never read Stranger in a Strange Land simply because neither the school library nor the city one had it. By the time I started to buy books on a regular basis Heinlein wasn't really on my radar anymore.)

Nov 24, 2023, 4:11 pm

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the last of Heinlein books that I enjoyed. Before that I liked most everything he wrote (though the wierd rascism in Farnham's Freehold disturbed me), after it not so much, and gave up on him after The Number of the Beast.

Editado: Nov 24, 2023, 4:20 pm

>79 AndreasJ:

I think in this case (my gloss, after all) "dislike" is a sort of shorthand for "ideological aversion."

Nov 24, 2023, 4:34 pm

>74 elorin: Hope you enjoy Triplanetary, that's a fun series, though very dated.

>77 paradoxosalpha: I enjoyed all three!

Nov 24, 2023, 4:57 pm

>80 wbf2nd: gave up on him after The Number of the Beast

I think everyone gave up on him there.

Nov 24, 2023, 9:21 pm

>83 anglemark: I read the whole thing because I could not believe he could churn out something that bad...

Nov 24, 2023, 9:22 pm

>76 ChrisG1: TMIAHM is one of my favorite Heinlein novels. I can't read it without tears though.

Editado: Nov 26, 2023, 10:38 am

Read Stranger in a Strange Land in high school. Read Starship Troopers after the live-action movie came out. Never got around to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; maybe I should complete the trifecta sometime.

I will say this about ST, I do not find it to be a fascist tract, and it's actually more resonant in the wake of the "MIA" politics in post-1975 America. As for the movie, well, Paul Verhoeven always meant to do a satire, having started his film-making career turning out propaganda flicks for the Dutch navy!

Editado: Nov 26, 2023, 4:25 am

All the talk about Heinlein made me feel like reading some of my RAH short stories this afternoon
All You Zombies was as brilliant as ever. This time travel story was massively influential at the time,and is still a nice work out for the brain.:0)
Totally different,much gentler ,sentimental and very nostalgic for the American past,Travelling in Elephants was one of RAHs personal favourites. It was also a fave of Spider Robinson.
He Built a Crooked House is an amusing tale of an architect who builds a house as a ''shadow of a tesseract.'' Hilarious house viewing when the would be buyers find the experience mindblowingly terrifying,and they only escape because an earthquake destroys the original one story building!.All too complicated sf themes are just served up with humour in the usual RAH way.
One of my fave Heinlein novels is The Door into Summer. Apart from a wonderful tough but cute cat,the chapter near the end which revealed all the time travel back and forth shenanigans of the tale.
Only eyebrow raising aspect of the tale is the love interest ....a 12 year old girl the hero falls for,and he tells she should go into cold sleep till she is 21.
Yup,Heinlein is a bit of a weirdo! :0)

Nov 25, 2023, 3:14 pm

>87 dustydigger:

"He Built a Crooked House" is definitely an old favorite of mine.

Nov 25, 2023, 9:30 pm

>77 paradoxosalpha: I'm a Heinlein fan, and I loved Starship Troopers, really liked Moon and didn't quite Grok Stranger. It kind of went over my 20 year old head at the time. I may appreciate it more on a re-read.

I also agree with some of the other posters that Heinlein was very uneven. I'm normally a "finish a book at all costs," but I DNF'd Number of the Beast. Ironically, one of my favorites is Time Enough for Love, which was the start of his "dirty old man" phase.

Nov 25, 2023, 10:08 pm

It's interesting to me that Number of the Beast is so roundly rejected around here. I liked it when I read it in high school about forty years ago, though I haven't re-read it since. I will admit, that does seem to be about the point at which editors relinquished all control over Heinlein.

If this conversation inspires anyone to read or re-read Stranger in a Strange Land, I need to offer my carthagodelendaest on the topic: avoid the longer "uncut" version that was published posthumously. It reverted author's edits, added no valuable content, deleted important passages, and destroyed the pacing. It was a crass way to get a massive readership to buy the book a second time, and the inferior experiences that it gave to readers probably hurt public esteem for the author as well as the book itself.

Nov 25, 2023, 11:53 pm

>77 paradoxosalpha: I really enjoyed all three that Heinlein listed but do think that Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the best of them. I remember eating up his juveniles when I discovered them in grade 9. I still need to go back and finish reading Have Spacesuit Will Travel. I was still reading it when school let out for the summer and so had to return it to the library before finished. I have to go back and finally finish reading it after 45 years!

Nov 25, 2023, 11:54 pm

>80 wbf2nd: Yup! Sadly The Number of the Beast is when Heinlein went off the rails for me too.

Editado: Nov 26, 2023, 1:01 am

I just finished my re-read of Le Guin's The Farthest Shore and posted my review. I have already snagged a copy of Tehanu from the public library. I also picked up a couple other pieces of fiction this week for the TBR pile: Dying Inside and The Bootlegger's Dance.

Nov 26, 2023, 8:26 am

>91 Neil_Luvs_Books: Have Spacesuit Will Travel is my favorite Heinlein. It is breakneck adventure.

Nov 26, 2023, 11:22 am

>82 Karlstar: My father is rereading the series and found 6 novels plus novellas and short stories on Kindle, so I am reading them for the first time. I'm not too worried about them being dated.

Nov 26, 2023, 3:39 pm

>93 paradoxosalpha: Nice writing on The Farthest Shore review. I'll be interested in what you have to say about Dying Inside, which I just read a few months ago...

Editado: Nov 26, 2023, 9:20 pm

For the past few weeks I took a detour from reading science fiction on account of a couple of book clubs I belong to reading other stuff. So I finished Alias Grace a couple of weeks ago and yesterday finished reading Yellowface. Both excellent novels. Today I am back to reading science fiction starting with Doomsday Book. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now. Glad I’m finally getting to it.

>94 Betelgeuse: Good to know! I’ll see if I can track down a copy of Have Spacesuit Will Travel in our local used bookshop. I wonder what it will be like to return to that as an older adult compared to my teenage self when I started it.

Nov 27, 2023, 8:27 pm

Finished Chanur's Venture by C.J. Cherryh. Second in the series, I found this to be a bit disappointing. Almost as if the author wanted to tell the same story, but changing a few things from the first. Also, it ended with a cliffhanger, so not a complete story. Ah well. I've got the third (and 4th, for that matter) on the shelf. We'll see if I get to it.

Nov 27, 2023, 11:05 pm

>98 ChrisG1: 2, 3, & 4 are pretty much one continuous story. Aside from the action plotting, there are more serious themes being developed. A fairly obvious, straightforward one is the sexism in Hani society (it makes the last scene in the last book (5) a touching one). But I especially enjoy her increasing development of the cultural differences between species, done in a way sympathetic to all of them on their own terms. It's something Cherryh is very good at.

Nov 28, 2023, 11:09 am

I finished A door into ocean which was very good. It was unpleasant reading about the Valans' brutal attempts to suppress and control the Shorans, and that part of the book was almost unbearably tense. The ecology of Shora and the society which has evolved on it are brilliantly drawn, as is the Sharers' philosophy. My only criticism is that the main antagonists are Evil with very little nuance.

Nov 29, 2023, 7:15 am

>100 Sakerfalcon: I have ordered A Door Into Ocean for myself for Christmas, and I hope to be reading it soon.

Nov 29, 2023, 8:15 am

Finished The Saint of Bright Doors, a very involved story that straddles genre fantasy, social polemic, and dare I say it, outright literature; very influenced by the author's understanding of the Tamil separatist war on Sri Lanka.

Nov 29, 2023, 4:19 pm

Just finished FLowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. One of those books I've been meaning to read for a long time & finally got around to it. Certainly lives up to the hype - a terrific novel. Charlie is "mentally retarded" (the approved label when this novel was written in 1966) and is eager to become smarter. He is referred for an experimental surgery that makes him brilliant - will it last? The form is a series of diary entries by Charlie starting before his surgery, then after, through his increasing intelligence & journey of discovery. Terrifically well told & highly recommended. One of my top reads of the year.

Nov 29, 2023, 5:20 pm

>103 ChrisG1: Did you read the full novel or the shorter version? Both are great IMHO.

Nov 30, 2023, 12:52 am

>104 ScoLgo: Hmmm - I wasn't aware there was more than one version. It was on Kindle Unlimited.

Nov 30, 2023, 12:52 am

Finished Starter Villain by John Scalzi. This was my first foray into audiobooks. Since part of my recovery from total knee replacement surgery involves lying on my back with feet elevated while icing my knee for 20-30 minutes several times a day, I thought that would help pass the time, which it has. The narrator, Will Wheaton (a.k.a. Wesley Crusher on Star Trek TNG) did a great job with a fun, sometimes even somewhat ridiculous story. Mission accomplished. Now to find another book on audible to use my bonus dollars on....any suggestions?

Nov 30, 2023, 1:14 am

>104 ScoLgo: , like >105 ChrisG1:, I was not aware of two versions. I have not read it yet so your comment prompts me to check the copy I have first. My copy is from the SF Masterworks series and my recall is it is substial enough, so could be the longer version.

Thank you for mentioning this.

Nov 30, 2023, 2:05 am

>107 pgmcc: It was originally a short story, that Keyes later expanded to novel length.

Nov 30, 2023, 5:04 am

>108 anglemark:
Thank you. I am all set then with my copy.

Nov 30, 2023, 10:12 am

I'm in the mood for something classic at the moment. Just finished Martian Time Slip by PKD - a bit dated but still a decent story - and about to start Non-stop by Brian Aldiss.

Nov 30, 2023, 10:49 am

>105 ChrisG1: Looking at the Kindle version on Amazon, it says, "228 pages", so it appears you read the novel-length version. Audio of the short story version is available over on Free SF Online. I assume everyone here is aware of the film version, titled Charly.

Nov 30, 2023, 11:44 am

>110 SChant: I enjoyed Martian Time-Slip a lot. I liked the stuff about the corrupt union boss on Mars; one of the things I enjoy about Dick's novels is that feeling of "strange new world but same old bullshit."

Nov 30, 2023, 11:45 am

>107 pgmcc: I had to check, LT says my copy is 224 pages. It is very much worth reading, in my opinion. Should be much more popular here on LT, I'm surprised at its relatively low ranking, 339.

Editado: Nov 30, 2023, 1:28 pm

I've read the short story but never the novel. Loved the short, but I've heard mixed things about the expansion. I suppose I'll find out for myself eventually; I have a copy contained in American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels, 1960-1966 from Library of America.

Nov 30, 2023, 11:28 pm

>113 Karlstar: Flowers for Algernon has been on my TBR list for awhile. Others just keep taking priority for some reason.

Dez 11, 2023, 10:04 pm

>115 Neil_Luvs_Books: Bump it up on the list, it is worth it.

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