jmtd → log → media → books → 2006 reading, Part 2
This is now 2006/2007 reading, I suppose. here's part 1. We are nearly done, although I have enough of a backlog to write a part 3, at least.
- Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: Good Omens
A very enjoyable collaboration. The first Gaiman book that I've read, but it prompted me to get Anansi Boys and Stardust – the latter of which also carries a glowing recommendation from Susanna Clarke.
- Neil Gaiman: Stardust
Aformentioned. Great fun. Soon to be a movie. Kate was really enjoying this one too.
- Terry Pratchett: Thud!
This is quite a topical book, dealing as it does with communities under oppression. I found that the dwarf/muslim allegory was stretching things too far for me, though, and it cast a shadow of seriousness over the book that made it harder to enjoy than his more light-hearted efforts.
- Vernor Vinge: The Collected stories (of)
Varied. I picked this up after reading The Cookie Monster. Fast Times at Fairmont High is in a similar vein and is similarly great.
I've read another story in the Fairmont High universe called Synthetic Serendipity which you can read online for yourself at IEEE. I'm currently working my way throuhg the novel of the universe, Rainbow's End.
- Alastair Reynolds: the Revelation Space saga
- Alastair Reynolds: Diamond Dogs and Turquoise Days
I borrowed the first two novels in the Revelation Space saga (Revelation Space and Chasm City) from Pete at work (thanks pete) and bought the other two (Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap). I'd already picked up Diamond Dogs / Turquoise Days from a branch of "The Works" which has now closed down.
The novels are quite long and have drawn criticism for this. I tore through them despite the length. I found that they grabbed your attention early on and held it well throughout.
Chasm City reminded me of a mixture of Iain Bank's Use Of Weapons and one of Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels (without the sex).
One criticism I do have is that Reynold's characters all seem to be super-heroes. This isn't uncommon in Sci-Fi, but it's a stark contrast to the everday-joe characters in Philip K Dick's work, who I have read a lot of recently. In one of the books, there's a chapter which fades in with a character recollecting her father. It doesn't mention which character is doing the recollecting, but you know which one it is because only one character has any sort-of family background fleshed out at all.
The series definitely tails off. I found the last two books to be a lot less enjoyable than the first three. By this point, all the existing story elements are thrown together, with some of the characters (notably the protagonist from Chasm City) being re-introduced seemingly just for the sake of it. I found the last novel's new characters (crazy religious zealots) uninspiring, and their fates laughable.
The last novel does well with fleshing out the "Captain" character, however.
The novellas I found considerably more enjoyable, particularly Turquoise Days.