May 1st, 2013


Books that I read in April

Books that I read in April:

20. Asimov, Isaac. The Caves of Steel (Robots series) (168 p.)

21. Asimov, Isaac. The Naked Sun (Robots series) (166 p.)

22. Asimov, Isaac. The Robots of Dawn (Robots series) (337 p.)

23. Asimov, Isaac. Robots and Empire (Robots series) (468 p.)

24. Wells, H.G. The War of the Worlds (258 p.)

25. LaHaye, Tim & Jerry B. Jenkins. Left Behind (Left Behind, v. 1) (468 p.)

26. Brust, Steven. The Paths of the Dead (Khaavren Romances: The Viscount of Adrilankha, bk. 1) (399 p.)

27. Zahn, Timothy. Scoundrels (Star Wars) (443 p.)

28. Bujold, Lois McMaster. Cryoburn (Vorkosigan Saga) (345 p.)

29. Asimov, Isaac. Prelude to Foundation (Foundation series) (434 p.)

April total: 3,468 pages
2013 YTD total: 10,452 pages

Gosh, two more months like the past two and I'll have basically my reading goal for the entire year. Not that that's all that likely to happen.

Lots of Asimov this month; four Robots books and one Foundation book that links to the last of the Robots books. It's Asimov, it's all good.

I'm pretty sure I've read War of the Worlds sometime before, but not recently, and I couldn't remember if I'd read the unabridged version, which this was. It's "modern" setting at the time means it's now very definitely dated, but for all that, not as much so as you might think. Wells was definitely a master at getting inside people's heads rather than focusing just on the tech. The bit at the end where the protagonist learns the fate of his wife was especially touching.

So I'm a bit late in seeing for myself what all the ruckus over Left Behind was all about. I found the first five or six chapters to be especially moving--those in which the protagonists deal with suddenly losing their loved ones, and must find ways to cope. Once the main plot starts gearing up, though, it turned into mere pot-boiler thriller fiction that takes itself way to seriously and is overly predictable, to boot. It's readable, and now I can say I've read it, but I'm a bit put off by the authors' apparent Millenialist beliefs that something very much this really is how the world will end--and soon--and I'd rather re-read Good Omens' coverage of the apocalypse a dozen times than read the remainder of the Left Behind books.

The Paths of the Dead is the third book in Brust's homage to Dumas' The Three Musketeers books, and is basically the secret origin of Empress Zerika, explaining in detail what was roughly hinted at in a few of the Vlad Taltos books. It's a good book, but I still greatly dislike the "voice", spending page after page on conversations of "Should I tell you that?", "Yes, I would very much like that", "Oh, so you would like it if I told you?" that I frequently wanted to yell "Get on with it!" That may be a mark of success of doing a Dumas pastiche, but I find it extremely distracting.

I happened to notice the Usual Suspects-like cover of Scoundrels at the library, saw that it was by Zahn (of the Star Wars novels I've read, I've liked those by Zahn better than most others), and decided it would probably be a fun time. It was mostly fun, though Oceans 11 covers basically the same ground and is much better, and I think Scoundrels is brought down a bit by having to weave in a bit too much backstory from & linkages to other Star Wars novels. (Some might consider all the shoutouts a good thing; I found most of them unnecessary & distracting, and see it as something of a flaw inherent in what amounts to a shared-world series of the sheer scope that Star Wars has.)

Cryoburn is another fun romp with Miles Vorkosigan, investigating financial shenanigans by one cryogenic corporation and the dirty pool by another of having whistleblowing protestors declared mentally ill and cryogenically frozen, with a gut-punch in the epilogue. As an added bonus, the library copy I borrowed still had the CD-ROM of free e-books of the entire Vorkosigan Saga.

Feudalism: Serf & Turf