Whatcha Reading?


What’re you reading?
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The Arrivals Lounge

Me? Oh, I’m glad you asked.
I’ve been on a William Gibson bender.
That’s not wholly accurate, as I’m always on a William Gibson bender. But I’ve also managed to get through Warren Ellis’ novels, recently read Seveneves (and have a few others of Stephenson’s on deck).
As always, looking for the next thing.



Ooh, thank you for reminding me to pick up a copy of Seveneves; it has been on my to-read list for ages.

Mrs. Cynical likes me to read aloud so I am currently halfway through reading her The Stone Canal by Ken Macleod. I’ve read it before and it’s excellent.

If you’re a William Gibson fan, you should definitely check out MacLeod’s Fall Revolution quartet. The Stone Canal is actually the second book in the series but they’re not really chronological and there’s some debate online as to which is the best order to read the books in.



Currently finishing up The Amber Spyglass - I always meant to read that series back when I worked at a bookshop, so now I’m going through them to see if they’re suitable to give to a younger family member.

Then the pile o’ shame - topped with Norse Mythology but towering haphazardly and ever growing (and yes, Seveneves is on there :slight_smile: )



Going through the Expanse novels. First two were great and then I’ve bogged down on the third. Might need to pick it up again though



I’m marching back through them again as well.
After that I have a new Greg Egan lined up. A new scientist lined up and a book on the mathematics of space on the side for flavour.



I’m reading Jane Yolen’s Sister Light, Sister Dark which I got in a recent Women of Science Fiction & Fantasy Humble Bundle (mainly so I could have a copy of this again).

Also dipping into Everything is Under Control (Robert Anton Wilson) and Writing Home (Alan Bennett).

Just finished The Crying of Lot 49 (Thomas Pynchon - ***** very good) and Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan - ** subpar)

In the interests of full disclosure, also in the Reading category on my kindle are the Fifth Science Fiction Megapack, and He’s So Shy, A Loveswept Classic Romance



I just finished Get In Trouble, by Kelly Link. It’s a book of short stories that I’m not quite sure how to describe, but I quite liked it. It’s somewhere between genre fiction and literary fiction – I’m sure there’s a term for it, but the stories mostly have familiar settings, but with a twist, e.g. modern day world, but superheros exist. That sort of thing. I think the main thing that kind of charmed me with this book, though, was that it had characters (or maybe characterizations?) that I just don’t see that often in the kind of stuff I usually read.

Anyway, I haven’t decided what to read next, so it’s kind of fun to see what others are digging in to. Maybe I’ll get some ideas.



Which Greg Egan? Some of his books are better than others (as with any author, I suppose) but when they’re good, they’re really good. I particularly liked Quarantine, but it may have just been the pop-sci treatment of quantum mechanics (I find that sort of thing fascinating, but I don’t have the math chops to really understand it).



I’m currently reading The Warrior’s Apprentice. Because I’m using internal chronological order, I finally meet the Vorkosigan Saga’s main protagonist, here in book #4 :smiley:

I had a similar experience with those :confused:

Diaspora has to be one of the strangest novels I’ve ever read & loved. Starts out post-human, and ends… post-universe?



I’m sold! I love that kind of big idea, universe-scoped, ultimately strange, science fiction. Thanks for the recommendation.



Daniel J. Levitin’s Weaponized Lies (in a slight irony previously published as a A Field Guide to Lies … something not fully clear from the cover). He is not a fan of “post-truth” or “alternate facts”.

A lot of what it talks about would be pretty familiar to the people around here, especially abuse of statistics, but it should be required reading for high-schoolers (though Texas would never approve). Fox News gets hammered a lot in that section.



I’m going through the laundry files, they are fun, Lovecraft themed espinoge with a nod towards tedious bureaucracy.

I’m on The Fuller Memorandum, which is the third one.



I enjoyed the couple of Laundry Files books I’ve read. I have more in the crate of books that got shuffled out of the way when we upgraded our office furniture, but I’m sort of working through it top to bottom so I’m not sure when I’ll get back to the series. :smile:

Right now I’m reading Un Lun Dun. It’s mostly devoid of too-clever Mievilleisms while still playing with language just enough for fun – it makes me think more of Mirrormask or other sort of Alice In Wonderland-ish stories, where the main character doesn’t grasp the bizarre logic of the world they find themselves in. Somehow it feels better when the reader isn’t the only one who doesn’t know what the hell is going on.

But I find myself pondering about the physical absurdity of a toroidal star, and a planet that either orbits it exactly at the star’s own rate of rotation, or hangs stationary relative to it for some reason. And I’m just sort of creeped out by the whole thing.



I recommend everything that Charlie Stross has done, it’s reminiscent of early-mid Pratchett in that he just seems to keep getting better and better



A collection of (German) ballads. Those balladeers sure love husbands killing their wives for stupid reasons.



Just finished Peter Watts’ Starfish, which I enjoyed quite a bit, and amazed to have learned about only recently. It is both kind of freakish and understated. It is about socially dysfunctional humans who have been drastically altered/augmented to allow for surviving and working at ocean floor depths. On the macro level, it can look like not much happens. But it is deliciously weird worldbuilding which I think benefits from taking the time to establish transhuman characters and their relationships before bringing threads together in the last quarter in how this factors into the larger plot. Not unlike Greg Egan’s work, the literature (which is IMO good) stands upon the strength of the ideas. So those who are hoping for easily-relatable/sympathetic characters might lose interest before they would see where it is all going.

Watts has generously made much of their work available for free from their website. Currently being utterly skint, I loved being able to download the novel as html and convert to epub to read. I will definitely buy a few of their books when I can afford to.




I read the first one and really enjoyed it. Once I’ve burned through my TBR stack a little more, I will pick up more of them.



It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember really liking that book and noticing that the characters were atypically dysfunctional (as you put it) for that sort of genre fiction. I think I read the book that came after that one (probably not too much of a spoiler to say that it was an interesting and novel world-wide disaster scenario), but I didn’t realize the rest that story was online. Thanks for the link.



I’m reading Possession, by A.S. Byatt. To anyone else who has read it: Am I supposed to like the protagonist, Roland? Because I think he’s kind of a dick.