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Old 06-05-2021, 01:22 PM   #30076
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Starting Benjamin Percy's The Ninth Metal. First in a series.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:50 PM   #30077
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Next up: Under the Dragon' Tail by Maureen Jennings. The second in her Murdoch Mysteries. I quite liked the first when I read it last year.
And I liked this one too.

And next up was To Clear Away the Shadows by David Drake. The start of a new series in his RCN universe. Most enjoyable.

And now I'm reading The Assassins of Thasalon by Lois McMaster Bujold. A novel-length Penric & Desdemona story.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:30 AM   #30078
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I enjoyed Benjamin Percy's The Ninth Metal quite a bit. Sort of a modern day gold-rush meets the Hatfields and McCoys with a splash of superhero origins thrown in for good measure. I look forward to a few future installments.

Now starting Peter F. Hamilton's Salvation Sequence (now that there's several books available).
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Old 06-08-2021, 12:07 PM   #30079
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And now I'm reading The Assassins of Thasalon by Lois McMaster Bujold. A novel-length Penric & Desdemona story.
And excellent it was too. Most enjoyable.

Next up: Worlds 2 by Eric Flint. A second collection of his shorter fiction.
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:42 AM   #30080
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I've been in a reading slump for a long time. I'm going to try to break out of it with a collection of horror shorts:

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett

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Jon Padgett's The Secret of Ventriloquism, named the Best Fiction Book of 2016 by Rue Morgue Magazine, heralds the arrival of a significant new literary talent. With themes reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ligotti, and Bruno Schulz, but with a strikingly unique vision, Padgett's work explores the mystery of human suffering, the agony of personal existence, and the ghastly means by which someone might achieve salvation from both.

A bullied child seeks vengeance within a bed's hollow box spring. A lucid dreamer is haunted by an impossible house. A dummy reveals its own anatomy in 20 simple steps. A stuttering librarian holds the key to a mill town's unspeakable secrets. A commuter's worldview is shattered by two words printed on a cardboard sign. An aspiring ventriloquist spends a little too much time looking at himself in a mirror. And a presence speaks through them all.
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:28 PM   #30081
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I finished the fifth and currently last Shadow Sun book, which wraps up a major story arc making the series reasonably "complete," though there is absolutely room for sequels. Willmarth does a great job expanding on his worldbuilding and raising the stakes at a satisfying pace, and his monsters, magic and battles are very solid. His characterization is less so; every good guy is more or less the same jocular go-getter with a different name and job, and every human villain has ALL the character flaws. Nevertheless, the characters are adequate to the narrative. The MC's righteous encounters with sniveling, freeloading murder-rapists are an early clue, along with rampant gun fetishism, of the author's skew on reality, which is occasionally confirmed in later volumes, but isn't overpowering or ubiquitous overall.

I poked my head into some other litRPG on Kindle Unlimited without doing any real research, which so far confirms my impression that Shadow Sun is likely as well-written a litRPG as I'm going to find, as well as my fear that the militaristic Sad Puppies vibe is going to be a common theme. Despite both those issues being obvious right off the bat, I am sticking with Dean Henegar's first Derelict book for now, because the setting interests me. Really it's the same setup as Shadow Sun: all of our myths, fantasy stories, and video games reflect hidden knowledge of a galactic civilization where dwarves, dragons, etc are real alien races and leveling systems, character classes and dungeons are part of a legal system enforced by nanites or <insert handwave here>. This one is a space Navy captain whose consciousness becomes fused to his wrecked ship in a first contact with the DnD aliens, and he now has to level himself up as a space dungeon (i.e. Derelict).
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Old 06-11-2021, 12:02 AM   #30082
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Last week I finally finished Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin Burroughs and Mike Wallace on my kindle. It was good, and if I'd read some of it every day, I would have finished it in a couple of months. There was a lot of class misery and there was a lot in it about attempts at social programs to help the poor.

This week I listened to Lake Wobegon Virus, Garrison Keillor. I started listening to his radio show Prairie Home Companion in 1981 and I'd been to some of his shows at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall and Radio City Music Hall in New York City and at least two shows he did at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. He overdoes talking about lust, nose snot, farts and other body functions, but the second half was quite good.

I started listening to former President Obama's A Promised Land during my walk this evening.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:10 AM   #30083
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Starting up The Women of Troy by Pat Barker. I'm a couple chapters in and haven't seen any women yet, but it's looking good so far.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:23 PM   #30084
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I poked my head into some other litRPG on Kindle Unlimited without doing any real research, which so far confirms my impression that Shadow Sun is likely as well-written a litRPG as I'm going to find, as well as my fear that the militaristic Sad Puppies vibe is going to be a common theme.
I dabble in litRPG, moreso before Amazon did away with KOLL, but I've read a few. Some ones that I thought were a bit further from the archetype:

- Forever Fantasy Online, Rachel Aaron & Travis Bach - siblings with very different approaches to the game they get stuck in
- The Luckless, A.M. Sohma - on the fluffy end, a woman gets stuck in the joke character a friend tricked her into joining as
- Awaken Online, Travis Bagwell - a necromancer protagonist and some creative use of in-game mechanics
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Old 06-12-2021, 09:21 AM   #30085
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The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. A fantasy set in the 18th century in the Middle East (involving djinn, daeva and ifrit etc.). It is a densely plotted story with a large cast and a lot of unfamiliar names for people, places and things, and so I found it a bit hard to keep track at first. But it was well told and held my interest, making it easy to push on until things started to come together for me. There is some romance here, a love triangle of sorts, but like the rest of the book it's not quite that simple. The first of a trilogy, this book wound up well enough feel complete, but also with much still unresolved. I really enjoyed this, a firm 4/5, so I have dived straight into the second.
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Old 06-12-2021, 11:55 AM   #30086
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Next up: Worlds 2 by Eric Flint. A second collection of his shorter fiction.
Which was great fun. Some I'd read before, and some were new to me. I liked reading all of them.

Next up: The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton. First of a trilogy that I bough back in August 2017.
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Old 06-13-2021, 04:12 PM   #30087
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Now starting Peter F. Hamilton's Salvation Sequence (now that there's several books available).
Ran into this disappointing passage at the 13% mark.

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Callum grinned, then looked down at the frying pan. The rashers were overcooked, and the yoke had turned solid.
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:10 PM   #30088
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I dabble in litRPG, moreso before Amazon did away with KOLL, but I've read a few. Some ones that I thought were a bit further from the archetype:

- Forever Fantasy Online, Rachel Aaron & Travis Bach - siblings with very different approaches to the game they get stuck in
- The Luckless, A.M. Sohma - on the fluffy end, a woman gets stuck in the joke character a friend tricked her into joining as
- Awaken Online, Travis Bagwell - a necromancer protagonist and some creative use of in-game mechanics
Thanks! I'll check those out. Derelict has been decent fun - I'm more than halfway through book 2. One thing I'll say for both Willmarth and Henegar is that they're both reasonably respectful of their women characters, which I understand is another pitfall of the genre, based on the frequency of the word "harem" in reviews for series that I passed over.
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Old 06-13-2021, 07:27 PM   #30089
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Ran into this disappointing passage at the 13% mark.
I guess the yolk is on you.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:42 PM   #30090
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Padgett's collection broke my reading slump at last! It was weird and wonderfully creepy from the first page.

Onto The Descent by Jeff Long. Not on my ereader, though, because it's an ex-library copy that I snagged for $0.50!

Quote:
We are not alone…

In a cave in the Himalayas, a guide discovers a self-mutilated body with the warning "Satan exists".

In the Kalahari Desert, a nun unearths evidence of a proto-human species and a deity called Older-than-Old.

In Bosnia, something has been feeding upon the dead in a mass grave.

So begins mankind’s most shocking realization: that the underworld is a vast geological labyrinth populated by another race of beings. Some call them "devils" or "demons." But they are real. They are down there. And they are waiting for us to find them…
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