Saturday, April 1, 2017

Science Fiction

(Various sources, mostly Amazon)
As most of you know, I like to read. A lot. I always have something close to hand that I'm reading. It might be an historical work (right now it's Neptune's Inferno) or it might be a work of fiction. I tend to go with military stuff, loved Tom Clancy's work, with the possible exception of some of his last efforts, and have always been a huge fan of Stephen Coonts. (Hhmm, Naval Aviator, spins a great yarn, what's not to like?) There are others, the late Vince Flynn springs to mind and Lee Child is also a favorite. (I'll let you Google those thine own self, there comes a point on a Friday, after a long week, where the seeking and implantation of links becomes tiresome. Nah, I'm just lazy...)

One category I have not spoken much of is science fiction. That particular genre is an entire universe, all to itself, at least amongst the devotees of that sort of thing. (Hugo Awards? Sad puppies? While I know of such things, there is enough drama in this existence without adding to it. Just so you all know that I'm not completely out of touch with modern times.)

As a lad I did read quite a bit of science fiction. After all, it was a time when we as a species were first breaking the surly bonds of gravity and venturing into space. Sputnik, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Soyuz were all names familiar to folks of my ilk. That is, semi-geeky, college bound, well read (sort of) boys. I'm sure there were girls also very interested in such things but back then, well, girls were icky. (One of the first steps on the road to manhood is the realization that girls are most definitely not icky, and are actually far more interesting than any book.)

Anyhoo. Dune (all six original volumes, I understand that Frank Herbert's son has written more in collaboration with another author), Starship Troopers, Stranger In a Strange Land, almost anything by Heinlein for that matter, and the odd bits of Isaac Azimov here and there (The Foundation Trilogy was a favorite as I recall) all came over the transom at one time or another in the idle days of my youth.

Then long years passed before I read any science fiction. But sometime back when I was in the Air Force, I read three of those four books featured in the opening graphic. The only one missing was The Gripping Hand which, had I known of its existence, would have been read long ago. I only recently (in the last five years) found a (free!) copy of it. Saw the Niven/Pournelle names and picked it up for a glance. The whole "Sequel to The Mote in God's Eye" thing rang a few old dusty bells way in the back of my brain box, so I took it home and commenced to reading it. Many old memories were awakened and I enjoyed it immensely.

I've read a couple of Orson Scott Card's books fairly recently, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead and fully intend to acquire the rest of the books in that series. So while I'm not a screaming science fiction fanatic, there are certain authors I enjoy. Those four up top? Definitely my favorites. As a matter of fact, I just might need to re-read those this summer.

Just so you know, I do like a little science fiction from time to time, it's not all history and techno-thrillers at Chez Sarge. Why, I'll even read the odd Russian novel from time to time. (Then ask myself, "Why, why did I do that?")

On the gripping hand, there are so many books I want to read, I doubt I'll have the time to read everything I want. 'Tis a nice dilemma. Though these choices are all desirable.

It's off to the library! Быстро! Быстро

- I say "library" as I have been chastised by The Missus Herself lately as to the large number of books in the domicile and "where do you think you're going to put that?" is a frequent lament. So the library must become my friend. It's cheaper than buying and ya know what, they'll store the books for you! Wow. Don't suggest Kindle or Nook. I do have one of those but it's for traveling. Electronic reading devices are nice but I like the heft of a book and the aroma of ink on paper. Why eat astronaut food when you can have the real thing? Or something. Call me old school.



No, this is not an April Fools post, I was born in May...

46 comments:

  1. If you have not yet found Lois McMaster Bujold, try one of her books. I think she writes beautifully. Roger that on books over all other reading thinges. Have you ventured into alternative history yet? It's a branch of science fiction, and a world of its own.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. I looked her up, after seeing a few quotes of her's, I'll have to give her a look.

      This one in particular: "Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards."

      I like this lady.

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    2. Concur. Her series about Miles V. ( I can't spell his last name off the top of my head) is sublime.

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    3. Captain Steve:

      I'm with you all the way on Miles.

      Paul L. Quandt

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    4. I can take a hint, she just moved up to near the top of the "read this, and soon" list.

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    5. If you read the Vorkosigan saga, start with "Shards of Honor" or the combo-book "Cordelia's Honor". Fir the series 'universe', start with "Falling Free" (which contains no Vorkosigans, but starts 200 years earlier in the series' history.) Try reading them via the time-line that you can find on-line. It helps.

      Ms. Bujold has a habit of bouncing her published stories all around the timeline, which to an OCD geek like me, drives me batty.

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    6. I'm gonna need a scorecard!

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    7. Conveniently located in the back of one of her books. The most updated list is of course in her newest book "Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen" or on Wikipedia at Wikipedia(dot)org(slash)wiki(slash)Vorkosigan_Saga.

      Been reading the series since it first came out and I still need a score card (especially when you fit in the novellas.

      (I have most of a series of another author in .rtf format and spent one asthma-filled allergy period putting all the chapters of all the books in chronological order, dammit.)

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  2. Так много книг, так мало времени!

    Always been an sf nerd. You might enjoy (YMMV) the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell. Campbell is a retired sailor named Hemry in real life and was a JO Plank Owner in USS Spruance (DDG-963), the first of the Spru-Cans. He brings a lot of sailor experience to one possible version of a space navy.

    Всегда нравились отвратительные девушки, тоже!

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    1. Хорошо.

      Another author for the list. As to your last...

      Ну, ты моряк.

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    2. If you two don't stop speakin' that commie talk, someone in the media is gonna start adding your names to the Russian's hacked the 'lection rumors.

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    3. Juvat, you forget, we ARE the media.

      At least according to The Nuke we are. ;)

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  3. James Corey... Leviathan Wakes Which is the series The Expanse on SyFy now....fantastic space opera!! Speaking on Sci Fi i would be re-miss if i didn't at least refer to Ghost In The Shell ..absolutely the best stuff out there for decades...the best guns,cars,tech,tactics,military scifi show out there.... there's alot of it...2 full length movies and at least 80 episodes...the first movie has the best MAC-10 armour piercing round scene evah!!! I included 2 videos set the video quality as high as it will go !!! it's on NF and Amazon...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyDki4KhGhw




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNuL8cVxXMA

    anyway my .02 on this !!

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    1. I absolutely love The Expanse, well written and very well done. More books on the list!

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  4. Check out Baen Books and begin with the free library. Also look at the book bundles in the E book part of the website. Then say to yourself, "I will skip the book bundle this month," except that the next sentence is, "I swear I will skip the book bundle next month." (maybe the month after that!(
    I suggest anything in the Freehold world by Michael Z. Williamson. (Mike is a retired Air Force guy.)

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    1. Oh dear. I may have to stop writing and take up reading full time...

      Just kidding, but I will check those out. They sound familiar.

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  5. I cut my teeth on Heinlein, Asimov and Andre Norton. Niven and Pournelle are a national treasure. Lucifer's Hammer came close to making a prepper out of me. Their description of anarchy and chaos very closely mirrored what was happening n big cites with every power outage and race riot. Jerry Pournelle has also collected a number of short story anthologies I highly recommend: "There Will Be War".
    There is a trilogy by the late Brian Daley: Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds, Jinx On A Terran Inheritance and Fall of the White Ship Avatar, which I enjoyed immensely. (I believe the third volume was released posthumously, and doesn't quite measure up to the first two, IMHO). Another for your consideration: "Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille" by Steven Brust.
    It is so far, the first and only book which I have ever read, where I went back and read it again immediately to see what I might have missed the first time!

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    1. Wow. All good stuff.

      Again, where will I find the time? Somehow, I must.

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  6. David Weber, for his Honor Harrington series, is an excellent read (if not long, as in Tom Clancy mated with Clavell long.) His 'Safehold' series does an excellent job of covering the evolution of fighting ships from gunned galleys to sailing and steam early ironclads, along with a whole buncha religious-social engineering gone wrong. (I really don't thing Weber can write short stories. I bet his shopping list for the grocery store is at least 20 pages long...)

    John Ringo does a smashing good job of military sci-fi. His 'Legacy of the Aldenata' megaseries is a fun read (Stupid Alien Mongol Hordes from SPACE!!!) His 'Troy Rising' series is a glimpse into space engineering that is just, well, awesome. I also recommend "The Last Centurion" for a good story that also deals with pandemics, liberals, climate change, a certain religion, all attached to a good story. I haven't read a Ringo book that I haven't gone back and re-read at least 4 times. Good yarns all.

    Tom Kratman is another good writer. Ex-Army officer, very outspoken, very un-PC with his writing.

    Strange, all of these are noted BAEN writers. Hmmmmmm...

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  7. I'd like to recommend David Drake, Larry Correia, and John Ringo. Pretty much any of their stuff.

    Kalroy

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  8. The Silo Series, Hugh Howey. Sorry ;-)

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  9. And the Hyperion trilogy, Dan Simmons. That'll take a chunk out of your life.

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  10. Grinning blissfully as you sing the song of my people......
    I read print and audio, but very little e-books (so far)
    I read nearly everything (except romance, ick! mostly, that is)
    But sci-fi/speculative/fantasy fiction has got to be the top.
    Recent discoveries--Larry Correia and Pat Rothfuss, John Scalzi.
    oh, so many books, so little time, but now I know where to go for ideas! Thanks!! doorkeeper

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    1. Glad to help.

      And you added more to the list.

      Sigh...

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    2. My wife and I went to a Larry Correia book signing. Big guy, great speaker, and when I looked at the cross section of people I said to my wife, "I bet we could get along with every person here."

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  11. Chris, what are you doing reading this; you have all those books to read. They will not read themselves, you know.

    Paul

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  12. ...S.M. Stirling & David Drake "The General" series (read vol 2 The Hammer first - vol 1 is slow)...

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  13. Most espacially,

    THERE is no frigate like a book
    To take us lands away,
    Nor any coursers like a page
    Of prancing poetry.

    This traverse may the poorest take 5
    Without oppress of toll;
    How frugal is the chariot
    That bears a human soul!

    Espacially if he goes to the library.

    I've read them all. There's a considerable number of them remaining. I shed about 2000 books when I left San Diego 5 years ago. Did you know it's actually difficult to get rid of physical books these days? Even libraries won't take them. I could recommend some others to you but the other folks seem to have pointed you in the right direction.

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    1. My company has an unwanted book cart. I've scored some good stuff there.

      2000 books? Wow, not sure if I could bear that.

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  14. The BLACK TIDE RISING series by John Ring is a good read if you like zombie, sailing stories and lots of combat or S.M. Stirling DIES THE FIRE ( end of the world reverting to Feudalism)

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    1. And I do seem to have a predilection for apocalyptic-type tales.

      So many books to read, I need to get at it.

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  15. I can second (or maybe third?) both the Jack Campbell and James Corey series.

    Check out the "Frontline series" by Marko Kloos for first person ground pounder SciFi series.

    A little different series there are the "Share" series (as in Quarter Share, Half Share) by Nathan Lowell, which is definitely in the "Hard" SciFi side of the house, but is much more about the Salior life on a commercial vessel. It reminds me a bit of Lex's writing on day to day non flying life on a carrier.

    And finally the "Ancillary" trilogy by Ann Leckie.

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    1. Thanks Randy, they sound interesting.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)