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I just re-read the ‘Hackers’ anthology of shorts edited by Gardner Dozois. This is a superlative collection from 1996, some of it resolutely cyberpunky, and some of it resolutely not. 

 

I can’t recommend it highly enough, and it’s only like £3.50 or something on Kindle. Peep this list:

 

“Burning Chrome” by William Gibson
“Spirit of the Night” by Tom Maddox
“Blood Sisters” by Greg Egan
“Rock On” by Pat Cadigan
“The Pardoner’s Tale” by Robert Silverberg
“Living Will” by Alexander Jablokov
“Dogfight” by Michael Swanwick and William Gibson
“Our Neural Chernobyl” by Bruce Sterling
“(Learning about) Machine Sex” by Candas Jane Dorsey
“Conversations with Michael” by Daniel Marcus
“Gene Wars” by Paul J. McAuley
“Spew” by Neal Stephenson
“Tangents” by Greg Bear

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Finished reading Tracer by Rob Boffard. 

 It's a sci fi thriller set on a space station orbiting earth. It follows three different characters, one the protagonist, the other her friend and the third the villain. Each persons part is written in a different style, 1st person, second person (like the character is being observed) and third person.

 The chapters are all pretty short and snappy giving the book a very fast paced feel.

So far so good you might think and yes...it's very nicely done, but the story itself is a little on the light side as is the characterisation. The author also likes to repeat certain things over and over. For example, he seems to constantly try and drive into your brain that the main character is thirsty a lot. So much so that it feels like the person has trouble retaining any water what so ever. It becomes tiring in the end. You find yourself screaming in your mind "I GET IT! SHE'S FUCKING THIRSTY!"

 The science part itself is nicely done though. The setup of the station makes sense as does the reason why over a million people are living there. You do get a feeling that it's cram packed and barely holding together.

 The villain is pretty much a mustache-twirling scumbag with a backstory that does little to make you think "Oh so that's why they are like that!". He's just a bastard and that's it. 

 As per usual there is a twist at the end but it feels a little bit done before.

 While there is nothing truly bad about the book, and indeed it does have its good points, nothing makes you want to actively go and read it's two sequels. There's no hook from the first book. Given its almost Hollywood blockbuster style you would think the author would have put something in there. 

 All in all, it's okay. Not bad, not great,  but nor do I regret reading it.

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On 20/11/2018 at 09:53, ZOK said:

I just re-read the ‘Hackers’ anthology of shorts edited by Gardner Dozois. This is a superlative collection from 1996, some of it resolutely cyberpunky, and some of it resolutely not. 

 

I can’t recommend it highly enough, and it’s only like £3.50 or something on Kindle. Peep this list:

 

“Burning Chrome” by William Gibson
“Spirit of the Night” by Tom Maddox
“Blood Sisters” by Greg Egan
“Rock On” by Pat Cadigan
“The Pardoner’s Tale” by Robert Silverberg
“Living Will” by Alexander Jablokov
“Dogfight” by Michael Swanwick and William Gibson
“Our Neural Chernobyl” by Bruce Sterling
“(Learning about) Machine Sex” by Candas Jane Dorsey
“Conversations with Michael” by Daniel Marcus
“Gene Wars” by Paul J. McAuley
“Spew” by Neal Stephenson
“Tangents” by Greg Bear

Purchased nthanks for the recommendation

 

Look at this 5 star review of thee book:

"This is just a book of stories. I don't like cyberfiction, but it is just fiction. Plus since they are science fiction they are about hackers of the future or something not real ones. I don't know what kind of people hackers "really" are & I don't think the point of a FICTION collection is to tell me. As for the lame movie I don't think the stories are related to it."

 

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On 11/09/2018 at 17:19, Flub said:

I finished the new Peter Hamilton book today. Salvation. The blurb reads like most of his stuff (Near future, life extensions, wormholes etc) but the grounding is a bit grimmer and dirtier). A very interesting read that spans two time periods. Near future and a distant far future with humanity on the run from an enemy.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Salvation-Sequence-Peter-F-Hamilton-ebook/dp/B07BDFWLXT/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536682648&sr=8-1&keywords=peter+hamilton+salvation

 

I really enjoy his stuff. Wish he could write faster :)

 

Yeah, just finished this and it was excellent, a real return to form although it owes a large debt to (inter alia)

 

Hyperion (the story telling of the assembled group, and wasn't that the series with the portal homes - I can't quite remember)

Enders Game

5th head of Cerberus ;)

his earlier nano detective novels.

 

It wouldn't be PH without tropical island sex of course but there you go.  The jacket blurb isn't really a good reflection of this one.

 

 

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To all the cool kids who read Space Team. There's a new one out. Looks like they fucked things up big time when they went back in time to stop the king of space (Shocker I know).

 

Also in space you can mine space mustard and have hot dirty mud sex with space gnomes.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Team-Sting-Mustard-Mines-ebook/dp/B07HLTWFS6

 

Also Kevin is rapidly becoming the best character.

 

Having journeyed through time in order to restore peace to the galaxy, Cal Carver and Space Team are a little dismayed to find out they may have inadvertently made things even worse.

Whoops.

Captured by an unfamiliar alien species, the crew is banished to a life of slavery in the Mustard Mines of Moktar, where they come face to face with the sinister Manacle - a terrying new enemy whose diabolical agenda is worse than any they have encountered before.

With the clock ticking and thousands of lives at stake, Space Team must race across the galaxy, stop Manacle's evil scheme, and save the day once more.

But first, they have to escape...

Featuring space gnomes, sand stomachs, and the sexiest facial paralysis in history, Space Team: Sting of the Mustard Mines is the tenth explosive adventure in the Space Team series, and the perfect jumping-on point for new readers.

THE SPACE TEAM SERIES:

Space Team
Space Team: The Wrath of Vajazzle
Space Team: The Search for Splurt
Space Team: Song of the Space Siren
Space Team: The Guns of Nana Joan
Space Team: Return of the Dead Guy
Space Team: Planet of the Japes
Space Team: The Time Titan of Tomorrow
Space Team: The King of Space Must Die

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I'm going through Neal Asher's Agent Cormac series, i read a load of his other stuff seemingly out of order.  I really enjoyed the Transformation series and wish I had not read that as my first introduction, but I really did enjoy the giant enemy crabs who see rotting human flesh as a delicacy!

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Heh, I'm also (re)reading the Neal Asher books. I did read the Cormac ones in the correct order a while back but only that series. This time I've started at Prador Moon followed by Shadow of the Scorpion and started Gridlinked last night. Forgot how much I enjoyed these

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  • 1 month later...

Just finished Shadow Captain by Alaister Reynolds. It's the sequel to Revenger, which I loved. Something about the universe he created really appeals to me and I was damn excited to get stuck into this. But I came away a little disappointed. Firstly he reiterates the events of the first book at every opportunity which really gets on my nerves. It's a short book that's a direct continuation of the previous story reminding the reader of the events of the first book is completely redundant. 

 

Secondly it's not as good as the first one, it's not bad, I still enjoyed it but it didn't grab me in the same way, the middle portion of the book dragged and the ending seemed a bit abrupt. It's very much setup for the third book but I'd have liked to have had more space adventure and the major events fleshed out a bit more. Hopefully the third book will deliver!

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Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (Audible - read by Allessandro Julliani)

 

I didn't realise this book was written in the 60s when I bought it. I got it in Audible's Xmas sale for £2.50 (bargain) and chucked it on the other night while playing FTL... I had to stop listening to it while doing other things, it takes a level of concentration to understand just what exactly is going on. An interesting concept, it is about an ocean planet (Solaris) that, when discovered by humans, was first thought devoid of life. However, the ocean itself seems to be able to manipulate atoms at a neutrino level  and can lift shapes, objects and eventually living creations from the minds of the human observers.

 

The story starts when the lead character arrives on station (a now perfunctory operation following years of no answers from the planet) as a Solarist, who has studied the planet in great detail and has finally made the 18 month voyage to spend time there. He discovers on arrival that his contact is dead, has committed suicide and there seem to be only two other scientists on board, one of which has barricaded themselves into their room. Shortly after arriving the lead character has a visit from a loved one, who met a tragic end, and the story unrolls from there...

 

It wasn't until they mentioned microfiche (actually, now I think about it the use of the word negress early on should have made it obvious - I knew it was a translation so put it down to that at the time) that I realised it was an older novel, but it does stand up considerably well otherwise. It's a solid story (well narrated) with some interesting concepts about humans reactions to stress, their depressions and how their previous actions hang over them. It also looks at how humans may cope with a completely alien intelligence, something far beyond our way of thinking. It digs into some pretty hard science at points (that I found difficult to follow) but it's central story is very strong.

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On 25/01/2019 at 13:07, Danster said:

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (Audible - read by Allessandro Julliani)

 

 

 

I used to own a physical copy of that (Before I got rid of most of my physical) and it's been sat on my Kindle for years. I think it's time to read it. Next on my list.

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There's another new Space Team book out

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Team-Sentienced-Barry-Hutchison-ebook/dp/B07L37R5RV/

 

Accidental space adventurer Cal Carver has had a rough few months. He's fought spider-dragons, battled space clowns, and been repeatedly tortured by the galaxy's oldest assassin.

And don't even get him started on the squirrel-tits.

Now all that's behind him, Cal just wants to kick back and relax. The universe, however, has other ideas.

He and his crew find themselves in possession of the Symmorium Sentience, a once god-like entity now stripped of its power. The Sentience needs help to return home and restore the Symmorium species, which recently found itself the subject of an unfortunate genocide.

But with dark forces seeking to turn the Sentience's power into a planet-pulverizing weapon, the team's trek across the galaxy becomes a desperate race against time, with the fate of the very cosmos at stake.

 

 

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There is nothing more disappointing than seeing this thread bumped to find is another Space Team post.

 

It's rare I give up on a book (I actually finished Space Team on principal) but I'm afraid I've given up on Seeds Of Earth by M. Corey 45% of the way through. I picked it because it said on the front "Proper Galaxy Space Opera" - attributed to Ian M Banks. But it was just a tedious slog. Maybe we need a "books to avoid" thread.

 

In desperation I picked something from this thread to read, Gridlinked by Neal Asher. I've always avoided his stuff and I can't remember why, did I read one once and not like it? Who knows. But it's actually started off ok! Fingers crossed.

 

 

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There's always loads of stuff released every month. If you peasants don't like the joys of Space Team post yer own :)

 

(Totally understand though guys. Outside of the banter that I find entertaining there's not a great deal of substance to them).

 

 

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9 minutes ago, footle said:

The Calculating Stars / The Fated Sky - Mary Robinette Kowal 

Alternate history starting in the early 1950s in which we have to leave the planet following a meteor strike. Amazing.

 

They look very interesting. Added to my wishlist. Also no DRM which is always a pleasant surprise.

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30 minutes ago, Flub said:

 

They look very interesting. Added to my wishlist. Also no DRM which is always a pleasant surprise.

 

They're really good, and Kowal consulted with appropriate people to fill in the scientific gaps in her own knowledge. Now moved onto one of Ian Esslemont's books (it's a long time since I've read any Malazan).

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On 31/01/2019 at 12:09, Strategos said:

In desperation I picked something from this thread to read, Gridlinked by Neal Asher. I've always avoided his stuff and I can't remember why, did I read one once and not like it? Who knows. But it's actually started off ok! Fingers crossed.

 

I enjoyed Gridlinked! It's a bit too "pew pew" at times for my taste and some parts are faintly ridiculous, but it all seems to hang together quite well. I listened to the audiobook of the second one and it didn't do much for me, I just don't think I get on with audiobooks. I will undoubtedly tackle the third at some point (on paper).

 

I finished Pushing Ice and thought it was really good! Easily my favourite thing of his I've read. It's pretty long and could easily have become boring in the later acts. I did prefer the early parts on the Rockhopper I think, but it manages to keep plodding along nicely all the way to the end.

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Looking through my kindle history, I've been reading:

Childhoods End - surprisingly bleak for 

The Quantum Thief - high concept derring do, was fine

The Three Body trilogy - the first one is a bit odd, but the second and third books were pretty mind blowing, persevere

Old Mans War - awful cheese

Fifth Head Of Cerberus - really enjoyed it, but would have liked more

A Fire Upon The Deep - I was reading it hoping for lots of AI takes over universe stuff, got singing dog aliens instead, very interesting setting

House Of Suns - really enjoyed it, helped fill an Iain M Banks shaped hole, as did Light (M John Harrison)

Re-read of various Iain M Banks, Atwood, Reynolds


Read but felt were a bit basic:
Wool, Girl With All The Gifts

Had to give up on:
Warhammer Meets The Culture :lol: (I managed a good 400 pages or so)
Pandoras Star - too cheesy

Some Charles Stross - too silly

 

Right now about to tackle D-Spine, Cam WInstanley of AMiga Power's first (?) novel. It seems to be about a world where motorbikes are made of meat.

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5 hours ago, Danster said:

 

Please expand on this! :)

Fanfic from https://archiveofourown.org/works/649448/chapters/1181375
 

Quote

 

Summary:

A small fleet of Culture ships arrives in the Warhammer 40k galaxy and tries to overcome Grimdark while dealing with the Outside Context Problem of Chaos.

Hilarity ensues. Including, but not limited to, a Special Circumstances archaeological dig on a Necron tombworld, multi-party future sight gambit pileups, serious upgrades to the Tau, fun with the Dark Eldar, some subtle influence in the IoM, and a hell of a lot of dead Tyranids.

Also includes many fun and exciting alternate endings :).

New chapters posted in this thread, but all but those in the latest section are here on Ao3.

 


You can download it and send it to your kindle. It's pretty fun, if you are familiar with both 40k and IMB! For a bit anyway, it's long and rambling.

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17 hours ago, Plums said:

 

I enjoyed Gridlinked! It's a bit too "pew pew" at times for my taste and some parts are faintly ridiculous, but it all seems to hang together quite well. I listened to the audiobook of the second one and it didn't do much for me, I just don't think I get on with audiobooks. I will undoubtedly tackle the third at some point (on paper).

 

The books get better over time (He definitely improves as a writer) and the main plot it eventually sets up is actually still ongoing. The Cormac books essentially turn into a very good intro to the stuff he does later (The Engineer, Dark Transformation Series etc). His current series seems to be about resolving something he first sets up at the very end of the Cormac books.

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On 05/02/2019 at 21:34, hungry joe said:

Reading about Last and First Men reminds me of "Man After Man":

 

SwdyQj.jpg

 

 

I had this as a child! Actually it was my brother's, and he still has it. Totally enthralling!

 

EDIT: Wait! It was the After Man book I had, not Man After Man.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm onto book 5 of the Agent Cormac series and he still hasn't built any roads. 

 

I'm enjoying them, it's pretty easy reading , balancing along the edge of the line and quite often stepping over into bad writing territory. Also a bit repetitive and as Plums says a bit too pew pew. And I love Pew Pew! It made me appreciate the culture novels even more if that's possible. I remember a few times in Ian M Banks books being disappointed the big battle never arrived but after a few Polity books I see why he was so sparing with it.

 

But despite that it's pretty good fun, and I guess the repetition would be less obvious if I wasn't reading them back to back, it looks like I'll have finished the first 5 books in less than a month so it must be doing something right.

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 31/01/2019 at 12:09, Strategos said:

There is nothing more disappointing than seeing this thread bumped to find is another Space Team post.

 

 

 

 

New one is out

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Team-Hunt-Reduk-Topa-ebook/dp/B07N13VJSX

 

Sick of the stress, aggravation, and multiple genocides they've had to put up with lately, accidental space hero Cal Carver and his crew set off to start a new life in a distant corner of the galaxy.

Six tedious days of warp-speed and board games later, they arrive in a sector filled with new hope, new opportunities, and new adventures. Too broke to take advantage of any of these things, they are forced to accept a series of increasingly demeaning jobs just to make ends meet.

When one such job leads them to the offices of a sector-wide TV network, Cal signs-up to star in smash-hit gameshow, The Hunt, confident of winning the big cash prize.

What he fails to realize is that the show's premise involves him being chased and killed for the amusement of the viewing public and so Cal must run, fight, and occasionally beg for his life as he attempts to win the game, the money, and his freedom.

But in the entire history of the show, no competitor has ever survived The Hunt, and the network will stop at nothing to keep that record intact...

 

 

Also the Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem (Short story collection) is a bargain £2.49 on Kindle. SOLD

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B014K6FH0W/

 

Stanislaw Lem's set of short stories, written over a period of twenty years, all feature the adventures of space traveller Ijon Tichy and recount him spinning in time-warps, spying on robots, encountering bizarre civilizations and creatures in space and being hopelessly lost in a forest of supernovae. This is a philosophical satire on technology, theology, intelligence and human nature from one of the greatest of science fiction writers

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