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18 July 2004 @ 09:50 pm
Books read since 13/6/04  
Got a bit behind with this. Oops!

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson (New. Quick trot through most of current scientific thought - from the big bang to human evolution, working from the big to the small. Also takes in the history of science while describing the science itself, with lots of little anecdotes about the nutty people. Definitely recommended)

"Tinker" by Wen Spencer (Library. Fluff. But fun fluff. Elves and modern day people, lacks a bit in depth, but it's not really aiming for anything but entertainment)

"Contraband" by George Foy (Library. Said it was Gibson updated for the nineties on the front cover blurb, and I can sort of see where that remark was coming from (for instance lots of biotech stuff) but it wasn't anywhere near edgy enough for Gibson. I did enjoy reading it, but I'll likely never buy it and won't remember the author's name in a month or two)

"Cosmonaut Keep" by Ken Macleod (Library. I mostly like Ken Macleod's stuff, though I guess I just read at the surface level and if I was properly into communist and anarchist political thought then I'd maybe get more out of it. I particularly like the way this one was two stories told in alternating chapters, with the linkage not becoming entirely obvious till the end when it was made explicit)

"Dark Light" by Ken Macleod (Library. Sequel to "Cosmonaut Keep", very much weaker, didn't really like any of the characters enough to properly enjoy it. There's a third book, so hopefully this is just a weak middle chapter)

"Polystom" by Adam Roberts (Library. Didn't finish. I really need to stop picking up Adam Robert's books - I like the premises of the worlds he creates, but I hate his characters and his stories bore me. This one intrigued me with a description of a solar system where the old idea of ether was real, but I only noticed the author's name properly when I realised I couldn't stand any of the characters.)

"The Weavers of Saramyr" by Chris Wooding (Library. Rather good - very different feel to the world he's created, though the base is stock oriental there are some nice twists. I very much enjoyed reading this)

"Newton's Wake" by Ken Macleod (Library. Newest Ken Macleod book, I think. Fun, but a little too obviously delivering a message (though I'm not entirely sure what the message was, but as I say above I'm not up on the correct politics))

"Crossfire" by Nancy Kress (Library. Starts off very well, I liked the set up and premise - colony discovers it's not alone on the world - and the characters start off pretty well drawn with secret agendas and different beliefs etc. But it got a bit stereotyped towards the end, and I found the aliens less well thought through and the plot descended into pulp-type 'save the world' stuff)

"The Ice People" by Maggie Gee (Library. Not finished yet, left it behind when I went away. Good so far, though in a worthy sort of way. I thought initially it was about environmental concerns, but so far gender roles and stereotypes seem to be as important a part of the plot, if not more so.)

"Legend" by David Gemmell (New. Fluff in some ways, though particularly bloody fluff. It's quite boys own adventure in style, with honour among warriors and death before dishonour as some of the themes. But there are less gung-ho parts to it - Druss the Legend is a 60 year old man, and a bit past it in some ways ... and then we're back to death before dishonour and I'll die with my axe in my hand type stuff. I liked it though - and will be getting more)

"The Elder Gods" by David and Leigh Eddings (Library. Fluff, and not in that good a way. The one thing the Eddings can do is suck you into a story and keep you reading. It's a shame they produce formulaic plots and cookie-cutter characters. It's hard to tell now if I'd've liked this more when I was 10, or if they have got worse since they started out with the Belgariad. I think it is the latter though. One criticism I read before I read the book said that it felt like there were no central characters, everyone was a supporting character - and I think I do agree with that. There's not much sense of character development, and the plot doesn't exactly seem to demand it. Not worth buying, though I may get the others out of the library if it's a slow week and they happen to be around)

"1421: The Year China Discovered the World" by Gavin Menzies (New. The author has come up with large quantities of evidence that the Chinese circumnavigated the globe and discovered America (both south and north) and Australia, establishing colonies in the Americas. I found it a very interesting book, though in some ways clearly written by an amateur historian (he puts himself in the story too much for a pro). While the style made it easy to read it also left me wondering how revolutionary this was. Worth reading though)

"In the Court of King Crimson" by Sid Smith (New. J's had this for ages - it's a biography of King Crimson (the band). I was reading it purely because I had nothing else to read and 4 hours of train journey. I'll likely never finish it, not because it's bad but because I just don't care enough about the subject, and Robert Fripp (the main man in KC) annoys me so reading about him just isn't interesting)
 
 
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