In a Middle While

Reviews of Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels that I can't seem to finish

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Moving My Stuff to Xaymaca

Moving my stuff to my website at soon.
Hopefully I will update it a bit more. :)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Speaking of Unfinished Works: Enterprise

Speaking of unfinished works:
(Sci-fi Wire):

" UPN and Paramount Network Television jointly announced Feb. 2 that its low-rated Star Trek: Enterprise has been canceled after five seasons. "This will be the final season of Star Trek: Enterprise on UPN," the companies said. The series finale will air on May 13. When Star Trek: Enterprise ends its run, it will mark the first time since 1987 that no new Trek series will appear on the air.

Enterprise becomes the first Trek series to end prematurely since the original Star Trek aired on NBC in the 1960s. All previous Trek spinoff series, including The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, have completed seven-season runs. "

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Sometimes I do finish one.

Yes, sometimes I do finish reading my sci-fi.
Here is the (very) short list of what I've finished recently.
The (revised) Gunslinger by Stephen King
Permanence by Karl Shroeder
Planetets (Manga) Volume 1 Makoto Yukimura

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Guns of the South?

Ok, I admit that this may be a black thing. But reading this alternative history book about General Lee receiving help from the future (in the form of new AK-47s) to win the Civil War (War Between the States, whatever ) really creeps me out. I just had to put it down. Despite all the great reviews it got, I just could not stay objective. Maybe next year.

Deathstalker by Degrees

I got as far as Mistworld before I had to put Deathstalker back on my bookshelf. I had high hopes for it since I'd been looking for a decent sci-fi space opera. You give space opera a little leeway when it comes science and physics but the plots themselves didn't seem plausible to me. It seemed like the comic you wrote yourself as a kid, lots of action but no real story to tie it all together. I'd really like to get some feedback on this series. Can anyone tell me if the whole Deathstalker series is as bad as (IMO) the first book?

Thomas Covenant: Hide thy Daughters

This series The (first) Chronicles of Thomas Covenent the Unbeliever almost ended for me before it even began. This is a small spoiler but it happens rather early in the first book, Lord Foul's Bane. The infamous rape scene perpetrated by the title character. The first time I read it I put the book down for a good month. This was the first time where I had ever stopped to question the morals and motivation of an author. This was a real turning point in my reading life. But I already has all three books in the trilogy and covers of The Illearth War and The Power that Preserves looked really really cool. Ok, I was 17 years old. Sue me. I am actually glad I decided to read the first trilogy. Because it was a fine fantasy series and different from the usual Tolkien clones that were so ramant in the 80s (as well as the 90s and today?). So it was with trepidation that I decided to try out The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenent the Unbeliever. Where the the first series was unsual Fantasy, the second series seemed just usually bad. The way that I am able to stomach the whiney, inverted bitch of a protagonist is to see the Land (the place/state of mind that is in danger throughout both series) and the supporting cast as the real protaganist. The first two books of the second series asks a lot of new/old questions and answers very few. This raises the states of the last book to answer all those burning questions but I can't finish White Gold Weilder because I'm burned out with Covenant. I just can't bring myself to care anymore. So I've put a bookmark in it marked "Do not open till 2007"

Citadel of the Autarch or why I may never finish the Book of the New Sun

I started reading the book of the new sun in High School with the Shadow of the
Torturer after 2 previously dismal attempts. I soon realized that I was having problem with the language. Wolfe uses imaginary words (don't you love that?) but since I took Latin I realized these had real latin/old french roots. So armed with a Latin-English dictionary and a (real) college dictionary, I was able to plow through it and actually enjoy Shadow. This was the "hardest" book I had I had ever read up to that point, so I felt like I had made it through a rite of literary passage. I went on to do the Claw of the Consillator right after and Sword of the Lictor about a year later. From what I remember I kind of liked Claw and Sword too but a little less than Claw from what I remember. Therein lies my current dilemna. I want to finish this over wrought series but I don't have a good recollection of the previous books that I read almost 20 years ago. I start Citidel completely lost. I can't go back either, no, I can never go back. I tried looking at a website that had a "synopsis" and it was so dense with characters and plots that I had to say to myself, "I read all this?" This series has become my Moby Dick. The series I just can't finish. It's not about the content now. It's about finishing this benchmark of my early reading years and moving on with my life.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Omega, we hardly knew ye

So here I am, plowing into yet another Jack McDevitt novel. Omega is the forth book in the "Hutch" which began in Engines of God and has continued in Deepsix and Chindi. Each of the books are great, so my expectations were elevated when I got my grubby hands on Omega. So far, it is running well. By now I'm very accustomed to McDevitt's style of writing, fast paced.
All his novels that I've read have had strong plotting but he is also adept with characterization, especially when it comes to female characters. These are not the automitons of Sci-Fi past.
These are real girls for a change. Lack of character development is something many people have become accustomed to as the price you pay for reading strong "hard" sci-fi. McDevitt uses plausible technology (to me) in his novels but is also somehow able to wrap it into great Clarke/Asimov style adventure. I'm on page 127, I will let you know how good (or bad) it ended when I get there.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The short stories were so much better

I have always been a big fan of Roger Zelazny. From the time when I was
a wee lad with a very small allowance for books, comix and gum. So it is
no suprise that I purchased Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny. The first short story by Jon Walter Williams blew me away. It had been a while since I read sci-fi so raw and good. Unfortunately,I could not get through the rest of the stories in the collection but I was facinated by Williams, I began to search out his novels. My first attempt at a Walter Jon Williams novel was Metropolitan. The book has an average amazon.com score of 4 1/2 stars. I just knew I would love it. Somehow , I had discovered a hidden gem in the sci-fi world! Or so I thought. I spent a month on it but only got a 3rd of the way in and it was rough going all the way. First of all it was not real sci, it was more of an urban fantasy. It almost seemed to me like a different writer. It was not that bad but it was not that compelling to me. I decided to give Williams another chance, so I did more digging. I found Dread Empires's Fall, his most recent series of which the first 2 books were out. Now this seemed more of what I wanted, asimovian Adventure/Sci-Fi, huge galactic backdrop, ancients races, space battles, at least according to the synopsis on the back of the book. I am halfway through this book and sadly, neither the antagonist or the plot has yet to show up. Not a single shot has been fired. I hate to say it but this is one of the most boring sci-fi novel I've ever half-read. Way too much attention is spend on character development and back story (and I love backstory) . I kept reading , hoping for it to get better, but it did not. For now I've inserted The Bookmark (tm) and am now moving on to greener pastures: Omega by Jack McDevitt.