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Old 10-03-2021, 06:30 PM   #30286
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The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein.

Since the novel starts in 1970 and then goes into the future, it's easy to forget that this was written in the 50s. Being written much before the computer era, and being set in the near future, which is actually our past now, it suffers from retrofuturism, like a lot of old science fiction. So of course expect no internet, no modern computers, no modern social values... So a modern reader has to be able to see beyond those obstacles in order to enjoy this fine story about time travel and the development of limited types of AI. In fairness to Heinlein, although he did not get the technological details right, the general idea about what kind of tasks AI can do is accurate.

Anyway, other than that, the story is interesting, very readable and fast-paced. It's told in first person by a very creative engineer, and it features industrial theft, various types of time travel, cats and a love story that is kind of creepy. There's a kind of optimism and charm in the way the main character is always inventing something, and cares much more about the creation process itself than about the business element. Being written during the early stage of Heinlein's career, the narration is tight and focused, and I enjoyed it, much more than his later work although it's not my favorite Heinlein novel.
I love this book. This was my first Heinlein book, so perhaps that's why.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:10 PM   #30287
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Ditto!

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I love this book. This was my first Heinlein book, so perhaps that's why.
Same here!
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Old 10-06-2021, 05:42 PM   #30288
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Next, a recent purchase (on sale, of course), Star Wars: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray.
This one was only OK. The main characters introspection was very interesting and rather complex for a MG book. However, the plot details were not intelligently done. Inconsistencies, alternating dumb and smart (in)actions and poor battle scenes. My favorite character was the one who didn't speak. Rated D+ [2 stars]

Next tbd
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Old 10-07-2021, 07:33 AM   #30289
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And now another recent purchase, Redcoat by Bernard Cornwell. A stand-alone set in 1777 Philadelphia.
It was OK. A bit disappointing to read in the afterword how many timings of events had been slightly tweaked (often by just a few days, or by relative order), for no particularly good reason.

Spoiler:
Shades of RLS's Kidnapped towards the end!


Next up: A random pick from my TBR pile. Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks. A freebie from Fictionwise way back in February 2010.

Last edited by pdurrant; 10-07-2021 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 10-08-2021, 10:05 AM   #30290
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Finally getting around to reading The Butcher Bird by S.D. Sykes, second in a Historical Mystery series around the time of the plague. Excellent writing in this. I'll probably go straight onto the third book after.

The first book of the series was Plague Land and was very good too.
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Old 10-09-2021, 11:15 AM   #30291
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Next up: A random pick from my TBR pile. Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks. A freebie from Fictionwise way back in February 2010.
Which was a fun, quick read. An enjoyable mystery/romance.

Next up: Swords Against Darkness edited by Robert E. Howard. Epic fantasy short stories from some very well-known authors. A freebie I picked up earlier this year.
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Old 10-12-2021, 12:43 PM   #30292
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Next up: Swords Against Darkness edited by Robert E. Howard. Epic fantasy short stories from some very well-known authors. A freebie I picked up earlier this year.
It was good. 4/5. I do prefer novels to short stories, but there are some excellent sword & sorcery stories in here, and the comments by Robert Howard are interesting too.

Next up: Angels and Visitations by Neil Gaiman. A collection of shorter works from a humble bundle back in 2015.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:05 PM   #30293
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The Collected Stories of Louis Auchincloss - that were selected by the author himself for this compilation. Often compared with Henry James and Edith Wharton, his short fiction is spare, precise, cutting, and often unexpectedly funny with a dry wit. This collection includes his first published short story 'Maud' as well as a ghost story, a Civil War story, and many of his characteristic legal tales.

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Old 10-16-2021, 05:18 PM   #30294
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Just started Endurance: My Year In Space by Scott Kelly
A year on the International Space Station interspersed with reflections on his life.
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Old 10-17-2021, 04:51 AM   #30295
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Next up: Angels and Visitations by Neil Gaiman. A collection of shorter works from a humble bundle back in 2015.
Which was excellent.

Next up by random choice: The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne.

Not very good so far. I'm afraid the combination seems more Lloyd Osbourne than Robert Louis Stevenson. I'm 11% into it and I think we're into the third or fourth regression into tale-telling, and I expect I'll abandon it shortly unless it miraculously improves.
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Old 10-17-2021, 07:13 AM   #30296
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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. This took me a long time to finish - partly because the story is intricate, and partly because work kept me busy. It's a book made up of many short parts, many seeming to be myths and fairytales, but all linked in ways that don't become clear until you approach the end. It is cleverly done, and each piece beautifully written. I liked Morgenstern's first book, The Night Circus better, but I did end up enjoying this one very much, and I look forward to reading it again when I have more time to really get lost in it. 4/5.


With work still being intense I've spent some of my time since then picking my way through Black Summer, edited by Michael Rowland and compiled for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). It is a collection of articles written by ABC journalists about the bushfires of summer 2019/2020. It's interesting enough, although it may be describing events that are still too recent and familiar to me, for me to really appreciate the text. And while emergency broadcasts from the ABC undoubtedly played an important part in the events, I must say that some of the articles feel a little too self-serving; some things said that would have been much better left implied. I haven't finished yet ... will probably intersperse some other reading around this.
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:52 AM   #30297
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Starless Sea is on my tbr!
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Old 10-23-2021, 04:43 AM   #30298
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I just learned of this book from a post at languagehat, and after deciding that I had to buy it, I was delighted to find that my patience in sitting on my Kobo Super Points was rewarded - the book was free (or, at no extra cost, for the tetrapyloctomous killjoys
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Old 10-23-2021, 06:04 PM   #30299
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Next up by random choice: The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne.

Not very good so far. I'm afraid the combination seems more Lloyd Osbourne than Robert Louis Stevenson. I'm 11% into it and I think we're into the third or fourth regression into tale-telling, and I expect I'll abandon it shortly unless it miraculously improves.
I'm still going. At around 75%, we get yet another regression! But there were enough good bits to keep my attention, and there's a mystery about to be explained. So I will be finishing this one. But not one of his best.
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Old 10-23-2021, 09:05 PM   #30300
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I'm still going. At around 75%, we get yet another regression! But there were enough good bits to keep my attention, and there's a mystery about to be explained. So I will be finishing this one. But not one of his best.
I tried to read this a couple of times, but couldn't make it past mid-point.
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