arcanum, simon morden (18 September 2017), god this just went on forever. it was too clumsy and killed waaaay too many characters unnecessarily.

down station, simon morden (August 2017), nice tight sci-fantasy novel.

who fears death, nnedi okorafor (1 may 2017) – nice read with mythological content i had never read. but… bit of a weak story. at least two characters are killed for almost no reason whatsoever for example…

weapons of math destruction, cathy o’neil (24 april 2017) – overview of the negative use of big data and bad data to punish the poor, criminals, and generally do shit stuff.

pump 6 and other stories, paolo bacigalupi (13 april 2017) – more tales from the end of the world. includes the backstory for a character in The Windup Girl.

in constant fear, peter liney (14 march 2017) – rubbish

thirst, benjamin warner (19 february 2017) – yet another apocalypse novel, but a surprising page turner!

guns, germs and steel: a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years, jared diamond (16 february 2017) – this took a very, very long time to read.

supernova, c.a. higgins (17 january 2017) – moderately interesting revolutionary tale.

this census-taker, china mieville (3 january 2017) – feels a lot like a half-completed prelude to a novel, one which china was forced to publish to meet a deadline. that said, he manages to capture the feeling of secrets held from children from adults, and the confusion it can cause. the perspective of the protagonist is so well-formed, but the story itself is intriguing, but incomplete.

gameboard of the gods (29 december 2016) – not scifi, relationship drama.

railsea, china mieville (24 december 2016) – not too bad a novel by mieville, but not a patch on perdido st station.

onyx javelin, steve wheeler (11 december 2016) – the man has an impressive imagination. but, can’t actually write sentences in english, or construct a storyline. didn’t get more than 20 pages in.

sleeping giants, sylvain neuvel (3 december 2016) – a reminder than pretty much any old shit except the stuff you write is published these days.

half reading multiple books

te rauparaha: a new perspective (14 october 2016) – really interesting history of the maori napoleon. the NZ company and george grey were total bastards.

cabin porn, zach klein (14 september 2016) – not as racy as you’d think, based on the title.

the windup girl, paolo bacigalupi (9 september 2016) – such a great book. similar theme to the water knife, which is making me wonder if it isn’t a trilogy.

cyprus: from the stone age to the romans, vassos karageorghis (22 august 2016) – well. there’s lots about cyprus i now know.

the water knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (16 august 2016) – really enjoyable view of the future of the US desert states as climate change plays out. great story, believable scifi.

ecko: endgame, danie ware (22 july 2016) – moderately but not entirely satisfactory ending to the trilogy.

pacific star: 3NZ division in the South Pacific in WW2, reg newell (24 june 2016) – reg documents the history of the division.

luna: new moon, ian mcdonald (12 june 2016) – another good read. set on a future, populated moon. corporatistic warfare in the dust.

desolation road, ian mcdonald (15 may 2016) – such a great read. it feels like fantasy, but it’s soft-scifi.

tamaruq, e.j. swift (29 april 2016) – the first two books were interesting, but this end to the trilogy basically moves a lot of characters around. no real story here. pretty disappointing.

when the eagle hunts, simon scarrow (15 april 2016) – so basically these books are shit. they’re only vaguely historical and mostly airport reads.

the interregnum: rethinking new zealand, morgan godfrey (ed) (14 april 2016) – will need a full review of this, methinks.

the eagle’s conquest, simon scarrow (3 april 2016) – rollicking tale firmly in the tradition of bernard cornwell.

disobeying hitler, randall hansen (18 march 2016) – been reading this one for awhile, and tho initially interesting, it got uninteresting. you can only read about so many cities surrendering under pretty much the same circumstances.

the third world war, august 1985, john hackett (14 march 2016) – apparently the book team yankee is based on. so, so boring.

team yankee, harold coyle (5 february 2016) – a rollicking good read. i first read this in the 80s, and it’s aged nicely.

gentlemen and officers, t.s. brown (20ish February 2016) – interesting but details overview of the administrative transition from imperial to byzantine rome.

phantom terror, adam zamaoyski (16 january 2016) – promising, but it’s hundreds of pages of anecdote without substantive discussion. found it a little disappointing.

the punic wars: rome, carthage and the struggle for the mediterranean, nigel bagnall, (27 December 2015) – having not read much on the specific details of the punic wars this was a welcome military history. not sure it made me like the romans much more tho. such ruthless.

the rhesus chart, charles stross – 5 december 2015 – good old stross as reliable as ever. plenty of lol moments, and some very interesting advances in the life of mr howard.

the seige of vienna, john stoye (27 november 2015) – this book was written in 1962, so it appears to have a far more balanced view on what is these days something of a right-wing, islamophobic trope. the books strongly indicates that the primary reason for the ottoman attack on the hapsburgs was geopolitical – france was egging them on, and vienna appeared ripe. might have to read more from the period.

been reading a few books slowly.

the spanish civil war, anthony beevor (26 october 2015) – have been reading this for awhile. it’s a fascinating account of a war that should be though of as the beginning of WW2. i guess it’s just anglo-centricism that has us begin with poland.

a wizard of earthsea, ursula le guin (23 october 2015) – i’ve often wondered why this series is regarded as seminal. it’s because it’s fantasy with actual thought put into the magic that underwrites the world.

dark rain, conor corderoy, (?) – a thoroughly mediocre novel about a detective who lives in a world of constant rain. it’s not badly written, but suffers substantial faults in the suspension of disbelief – eg, it’s been raining for 30 years, but there is still earth above bedrock?

the death of grass, john christopher (?) – read on a recommendation. it’s about a bridge group who become marauders after the industrial food production system collapses.

reading has been a bit garbled lately. started then dropped a couple of novels.

the martian, andy weir (23 july 2015) – have been reading this on and off as an e-book, and now i wish i’d just stuck with it. a great read and i can see why they’d want to make it into a film. but matt damon?

gustavus adolphus and the rise of sweden, michael roberts (20 july 2015) – a highly readable history of the great swedish ruler and the 30 years war.

crux, ramez naam (30 june 2015) – interesting story of a future in which nanobots will give us a wireless internet for ur head.

been reading slowly, focused on other things. mostly “the battle for borodino”

degrees of freedom, simon morden (21 april 2015) – that happy medium between tedious and uninteresting. the 1st book in the series was cool. the second a bit more of the same, but silly. this was phoning it in.

cataveiro, e. j. swift (6 april 2015) – sequel, so suffers the same “2nd story” issue you see with most creativity. nice to see the world outside osiris expanded on tho.

ecko burning, danie ware (29 march 2015) – slightly tedious sequel.

a military history and atlas of the Napoleonic Wars, vincent joseph esposito (20 march 2015) – didn’t finish it because it’s a tome. awesome reference though.

eye of the queen, phillip man (20 march 2015) – interesting examination of alien interaction. the pace is gradual, but the reveal of the alien culture is well played.

waterloo: the history of four days, three armies and three battles, bernard cornwell (6 march 2015) – an easily accessible history of the battle. only downside is that it’s pretty obvious where cornwell’s loyalties lie…

swords around a throne: napoleon’s grande armee, john r. elting (20 february 2015) – what a tome. but also an invaluable resource for this era.

The Defense of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Northern Italy, George F. Nafziger, Marco Gioannini (28 january 2015) – really interesting overview of the defence of northern italy. gave me a marked appreciation of how battalion-level deployment operated in this era,

the family trade, charles stross (9 january 2015) – encountered many pages of dull before anything happened. i knew i’d not read this series for a reason…

sharpe’s waterloo, bernard cornwell (1 january 2015) – rollicking good fun with sharpe saving europe from napoleon.

the empty throne, bernard cornwell (24 december 2014) – more uthred. i really need to stop reading these.

the pagan lord, bernard cornwell (12 december 2014) – uthred rides again. this guys really knows how to write a formula. this time uthred captures the kids of some old foes, fights for the saxons.

the ultra thin man, patrick swenson (26 november 2014) – pretty thin story written as a stream of consciousness. they should say that editing is a dying art…

the waking engine, david edison (11 november 2014) – weird. dude wakes up and he’s “dead”, only death is another life on another planet.

before the fall, francis knight (22 october 2014) – a terrible, terrible sequel phoned in by the author. the first book wasn’t too bad, like a low-rent china mieville. this was just plain awful.

ecko rising, danie ware (16 october 2014) – fantasy/scifi crossover, with a chameleon dude being transported to a magical world. fun read.

fade to black, francis knight (6 october 2014) – was a little difficult to get into initially, but developed into a reasonable story (if not a teeny bit predictable at times). will read the sequels.

transcendental, james gunn( 30 september 2014) – space opera involving a misfit crew travelling across space to find a transcendental machine. not too bad. will need to find the sequels.

the chrysalids, john wyndham (22 september 2014) – a village of “pure blood” humans surviving after a nuclear holocaust. an interesting foray into a discussion of normality, and mutation.

dirty politics, nicky hager (15 september 2014) – pretty much what it says on the box.

the ten thousand, michael curtis ford (28 august 2014) – an extremely boring historical novel about xenophon’s March Up Country.

europe in crisis, geoffrey parker (3  august 2014) – overview of the 30 years war and the early modern period.

the day of the triffids, john wyndham (10 july 2014) – nothing like i remember the TV series. reads a lot like an attempt to discuss post-apocalyptic europe – potentially after an ‘atomic’ war?

empires and barbarians, peter heather (16 july 2014) – a long but interesting read into the dynamics of the germanic and slavic migrations into the europe in the 1s millenium. pretty interesting study of the dark ages.

the second world war, anthony beever (30 april 2014) – a grueling read. it takes a new angle on the war, and focused heavily on casualties – especially russian. is also the first history i’ve read to give the chinese their due

the luminaries, eleanor catton (24 march, 2014) – this took months to read. it’s bloated, confusing and boring.

third reich, roberto bolano (8 march, 2014) – very strange story of a guying playing ‘rise and fall of the third reich’ while on holiday in spain. crazy.

first blood, david morrell (29 january 2014) – the original to the famous stallone film. a ripping yarn.

the fall of the roman republic , peter heather (23 january 2014) – really interesting. an object lesson in the long slow collapse of the western empire.

a bunch of books about mycenean greece (1 january 2014) – interesting.

the apocalypse codex, charles stross (17 december 2013) – bob howard rides again. i really enjoy his adventures, and this is no exception. it was my entry to reading stross, and to be honest i think it’s his best character.

neptune’s brood, charles stross (30 november 2013) – fun bit of space opera.

1493, charles c mann (16 november 2013) – builds well on 1491, but ultimately it’s just not quite as interesting.

little bee, chris cleave, (11 October 2013) – another work similar to the first. cleave attempts a lite expose on the plight of refugees in the UK.

1491, Charles C. Mann (5 October 2013)

Incendiary, Chris Cleave (24 September 2013)

Ganymede, Cherie Priest (22 September 2013)

The Falling Machine, Andrew P. Mayer (1 September 2013)

burnt ice, steve wheeler (23 august 2013)

neuromancer, william gibson (13 august 2013) – reread the classic, and it’s most definitely influential. The Matrix is basically an extended rip off…

seed to harvest, octavia e. butler (1 august 2013) – was dubious about this omnibus of stories to begin with, and didn’t finish the first book…

theories of flight, simon morden (24 july 2013) – another roller-coaster ride from morden, but was no where near as well orchestrated as the first novel. might skip the final book for a wee while so as to not be entirely sick and tired of the main character.

the lying tongue, andrew wilson (16 july 2013) – had some promise, but ultimately a 2nd rate mystery. that turns out to not actually be a mystery.

daughters of a coral dawn, katherine v. forrest (4 july 2013) – i’m down with feminist scifi, but this pap is a long long way from ursula le guin.

equations of life, simon morden (3 july 2013) – a really enjoyable rollercoaster read. the main character rescues a girl from kidnapping, then runs for the remainder of the book. quite a yarn. recommended, i’ll definitely be reading the remainder of the trilogy.

endurance, jay lake (28 june 2013) – took a week or so to get a new book. i should have gotten something else. the last of these stories was awful, and this is no improvement.

a visit from the goon squad, jennifer egan (14 june 2013) – interesting story provided as a set of vinettes. ended a little weakly tho.

osiris, e.j swift (3 june 2013) – not bad scifi all in all. a city in the future than may be the last on earth confronts familiar socio-political issues.

the ascendant stars, micheal cobley (18 may 2013) – space opera, final in a trilogy. actually wrapped up the series well. took me awhile how much i’d absorbed this alternate universe over the three books. on balance, not a bad read.

the time keeper, mitch albom (28 april 2013) – boring and trivial. how the hell this something this derivative gets published…

orphaned worlds, micheal cobley (14 april 2013) – space opera, #2 in a trilogy. not much to write home about.

the agincourt war, alfred h. burne (22 march 2013) – interesting but dated overview of the 2nd “half” of the 100YW, just like it says on the box.

the red rose and the white – john sadler (28 february 2012) – moderately interesting overview of the wars of the roses. could an interesting period to study, but… that’s a path i’d rather not take.

gettysburg, a novel of the civil war – newt gingrich and albert s hanser (10 february 2013) – well written, and at times riveting alternative history of the famous battle.

mayflower, a voyage to war – nathaniel philbrick – really really interesting history of the pilgrims.

gettysburg – hugh bicheno (january 2013) – highly detailed history of the famous battle. i would have benefitted more from a broader knowledge prior to reading this.

dropped the ball a bit here. lots of reading

two more boring novels – till 9 september 2012

after dark – haruki murakami – 11 september 2012) – dull

salt – adam roberts (1 september 2012) – good scifi. very similar to a very famous scifi, the dispossesed

Louis XIV – good overview, but got a little dull towards the end.

hanna rajaniemi – quantum thief (17 august 2012) – great read but it was on a kindle. they’re actually hard to read from…

fred anderson – the crucible of war (29 july 2012) – a huge book covering the french and indian war. interesting, but exhaustive.

digby smith – borodino (18 june 2012) – relatively shallow interpretation of the battle and events preceding it. it makes alexander’s discussion of the invasion of russia more interesting.

rupert fernaux – the seven years war (16 june 2012) – interesting overview of the 7YW. pretty heavy focus on the british angle and pitt’s contribution to the war.

dexter filkins – the forever war (7 june 2012) – a balanced, interesting memoir by a journalist working in iraq during the worst of the occupation. pretty much essential for anyone wanting to better understand that time.

joe haldeman – the forever war (26 may 2012) – an interesting take on warfare in relativistic time, and actually interesting. i can see the general parallel to vietnam, but struggled with some of the sappy content. i can also see how he would ahve thought some of the projected-future earth might have worked, but… am not convinced it stood up well to the test of time.

daryl gregory – pandemonium (20 may 2012)this was actually a great novel.the main character was ‘possessed’ as a child, but has really never recovered, so he seeks an exorcism. naturally he uncovers more than he expects. i’d actually make this recommended reading.

joe haldeman – camoflague – (14 may 2012) – rather average novel. a shape-changing aliens mixes it up with humans. a rival alien is hunting it. i’d expected something climatic when they met, but was ultimately disappointed. also, and last-minute addition of love interest to help explain the ending was an obvious afterthought and tedious.

adam roberts – new model army (5 may 2012) – an interesting twist on warfare, with the new model armies linked via the web to form large, mobile guerilla armies. this one in particular defeats the british army at their own game and wins independence for scotland. a good book ruined by a perplexing and crazy ending.

karin lowachee – warchild (29 april 2012) – at first this appears to be a reversioning of Ender’s Game, but this skews in that it’s heavily homoerotic. the most odd facet is that is combined with what can only be characterised as paed0ph!lia. it makes for a strange novel.

smeadley butler – war is a racket (16 april 2012) – ultimately disappointing. i expected an biography of sorts, but it turned out to be a manifesto.

chris wooding – retribution falls (15 april 2012) – actually pretty enjoyable. i’ll be looking for more titles by this guy.

tobias buckell – crystal rain (5 april 2012) – meh.

david veart – first catch your weka (23 march 2012) – pretty interesting discussion of the history of new zealand cooking and diet using recipes from cookbooks published from colonisation till now.

tobias buckell – sly mongoose (17 march 2012) – rollicking space opera. ninja-cum-rastarfarian saves a world from zombies. seriously…

harry turtledove – hitler’s war (10 march 2012) – was a little annoying at first, turtledove’s obsession with stukas was boring, but by the end i was wondering what would happen next.

max frei – the stranger (24 february 2012) – found it a little too pretentious, and gave up. also a tad tedious.

charles stross – the jennifer morgue (15 february 2012) – fun.

richard paul russo – unto leviathan (4 february 2012) – the only space opera i’ve ever read that i could not stop reading the last 20-odd pages of.

thomas cahill – how the irish saved civilisation (28 january 2012) – coherently argued text stating that the irish, in point of fact, saved western civilisation. it’s an interesting argument, and one i find myself compelled by.

l. jagi lamplighter – prospero lost (19 january 2012) – didn’t quite finish it before it had to be back at the library. but, a little boring, almost entirely because the author uses the same old tropes. there’s something about authors wanting to include every single historical figure when writing about immortals that is unbelievably tedious. plus, the mythology was a boring rehash of know characters.

michael bollen – earth inc. (11 january 2012) – very humorous tale in the style of the late, great, douglas adams. got a few good chuckles out of this.

bernard cornwell – sword song (18 december 2011) – uthred kills even more danes. if that is at all possible.

stephen joneszombie apocalypse (16 december 2011) – more zombies, this time risen from the dead after being infected by zombie-creating fleas. meh.

bernard cornwell the lords of the north (11 december 2011) – ragnar gets to avenge his father when uthred heads north to sort stuff out at the behest of alfred.

margaret atwoodafter the flood (6 december 2012) – ultimately disappointing. oryx and crake had the sense of mystery of the last man on earth coping with his isolation and the madness of his past, but this? this was mostly just lame backstory.

bernard cornwell the pale horseman (29 november 2011) – the follow-up to the last kingdom. alfred all but saves England, perhaps!

bernard cornwellthe last kingdom (23 november 2011) – a rip-snorter and page turner set in the Norsemen’s invasion of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

margaret atwood oryx and crake (16 november 2011) – another dystopian future earth, in which humanity has all but disappeared. in the ruins sit the snowman, reminiscing about long-lost days.

jack londonThe Iron Heel (8 November 2011) a clasic novel set in dystopian future earth. except, it was written in 1907.

joan slonczewskibrain plague (25 october 2011) interesting but ultimately pointless story of a future where people can sometimes have “micros” added to their bloodstream. these little critters talk via flashing lights in your eyes, blah blah. another example of highly creative scifi authors failing to generate “story”

jay lakepinion (18 october 2011) – third in the alternative earth series. starting to get a little dated. the biggest disappointment being that it was a sequel, not another stand-alone book like escapement.

marcel therouxfar north (5 october 2011) more dystopian ficion. one persons tale of survival after the collapse,

paul auster in the country of last things (28 september 2011) – dystopian fiction, a letter written from a near future post-apocalypse city.

adam zamoyski –  the rites f peace (21 september 2011) – a very long overview of the congress of vienna. couldn’t *quite* finish it.

neil gaimanamerican gods (28 july 2011) – great fun, although the same old kind of derivative.

some dudea crap book about climate change (1 july 2011)

china mieville the city and the city (19 june 2011) – this might need an actual blog post)

china mievillekraken (1 june 2011) – mieville does great cityscape fiction. this time, unLondon gets a go around, with the disappearance of a kraken from a museum it’s curator is introduced to another world.

karl schroeder the sunless countries (12 may 2011) – more fun. the world of virga sure is getting big.

tony ballantyne – capacity (3 may 2011) – pretty good. had the feel of an *actual* scifi as opposed to space opera.

ruri pilgrim fish of the inland seto sea (27 apr 2011) – extremely tedious holiday reading off a shelf.

david marusek – mind over ship (11 apr 2011) – a slightly dull, middle of trilogy book. actually quite disappointing

jay lake madness of flowers (27 mar 2011) – fun, but not as gripping as trial of flowers.

david van edelmangeosynchron (11 mar 2011) – mostly read because it was the third in a trilogy. summary: i’m sick of reading american books with jesus motifs. it is very, very tedious.

james brownthe los angelese diaries (27 feb 2011) bleak personal history of brown’s. poor bastard.

michael cobleyseeds of earth (21 feb 2011) – highly enjoyable space opera, with actual depth! looking to read more in this series.

marianne de pierresdark space (1 feb 2011) – space opera with some dramatic elements. took a little while to get to understand the universe, then i was away. not much to write home about.

kit reedenclave (23 jan 2011) an extremely ordinary bit of sci fi.

grahame green our man in havana (8 jan 2011)

nancy kresssteal across the sky (28 december 2010) – nice premise, but ultimately disappointing tale. aliens seeking to atone for an ancient crime that turns out to be completely ridiculous. further – a completely pretentious title.

neal asher – voyage of  the sable keech (19 december 2010) – zombies, pirates AND cyborgs. this pedestrian space opera really tries to hit all the bases. and fails. dull as dishwater.

neal asherprador moon (11 december 2010) – title is the biggest giveaway, EVER.

jonathan lethemchronic city (5 December 2010) – both good and weird. i spent half the book wondering if the characters actually lived in second life?

alan warda show of justice

gregory benford – cosm

harry pearson actung schweinehund! (8 september 2010)

adam zamoyski – 1812: napoleon’s fatal march on moscow(22 august 2010) – awesome read.

rudy ruckerhyloxoic (21 july 2010) – meh.

jaine fennconsorts of heaven (9 july 2010) – pedestrian sci-fi…

john steinbeck – the grapes of wrath (juneish 2010)

steig larson – the girl with the dragon tattoo (23 may 2010) – pretty average murder mystery, but with added S&M. ho-hum

alan warda show of justice (27 April 2010)

michael flynnin the country of the blind (7 Feb 2010)

martin sketchleythe affinity trap (15 jan 10)

michael flynneifelheim (14 Jan 10)

michael flynnthe january dancer (4 January 10)

david louis edelmanmultireal (30 dec 09)  sequel to a prologue and not so snazzy. was expecting more, and while the tech ideas are interesting, the story itself kind of limps along. won’t be reading the third installment unless i really have to.

Neal Asher – Shadow of the Scorpion (24 Dec 09)meh. not so great. not so bad. a decent holiday read. basically a thriller cum space opera.

bernard cornwellsharpe’s rifles (19 Dec 09) – ripping yarn outlining richard sharpe’s time in spain during some of the pennisula campaign

jay lake – green (16 Dec 09)

stephen huntthe kingdom beyond the waves (10 Dec 09)

john meaneyto hold infinity (4 Dec 09)

david louis edelmaninfoquake (26 Nov 09)

Alexander Mikaberidze the battle of borodino: napoleon against kutuzov (20 Nov 09)

jaine fenn – principles of angels (11 Nov 09) – a ripping thriller cum space opera set in a floating city. thoroughly enjoyable.

michael adams – napoleon and russia (5 Nov 09)

anthony birley – marcus aurelius: a bibliography – (12 Oct 09) an interesting biography where the author sticks to demonstrable facts largely informed by primary sources. this means there is a lot of discussion of correspondence between marcus and his main teacher fronto. on average, dull.

william gibson – all tomorrow’s parties – (27 Sept 09) a well-told story and pretty much wat you’d expect from gibson. the future is a weird place apparently.

john ralston saulvoltaire’s bastards. – (20 Sept 09) i really tried. but you just have to think so damn hard. maybe when Chef Du Plunge is a little older.

ian macdonald – brasyl

whitley strieber – 2012 – (12 September 09) awful on so many levels. here, aliens descend from a parallel universe to plunder earth. but… it’s actually a parallel eart have to try save the other parallel earth from the parallel earth full of reptilian aliens. that, and everything is all wrapped up in CHEESY quasi-religious mythology. avoid.

$karl schroeder  – pirate sun  (8 September 2009Another go on the roller-coaster. This time Mr. Fanning gets to adventure in Virga.

walter mosley – the wave (4 September 09) a guy is woken to someone calling him late at night. turns out his father is… RESURRECTED! interesting if not only because the author is black, and constantly refers to characters by their skin colour?

karl schroederqueen of candesce (30 August 09) another rollicking tale of virga, this time centring on the least likable of the sun of suns characters, venera fanning.

iain m. banks – matter – a redemption story for a spoiled brat of a prince who sees his father murdered.

karl schroeder – sun of suns

roger zelazny – lord of light

china mieville – the iron council

j.g. ballard – vermillion sands – bit 70s, and a bit dull, though imaginative (23 July 2009)

david marusek counting heads

j.g. ballard – concrete island

john r. alden – history of the american revolution

china mieville – the scar

harry harrison – a transatlantic tunnel, hurrah!

william gibson and bruce sterling – the difference engine

jay lakemainspring

jay lake rocket science

orson scott cardender’s game

jay lakedogs in the moonlight

nicky hager – the hollow men

catherine asaro – catch the lightning

M.S. Anderson – war and society in europe of the old regime 1618-1789

sherri teppergrass

neil gaiman – neverwhere

charles stross – glasshouse

david brin – earth

dan simmons – hyperion

bruce sterling – the caryatids

carol b. stevens – russia’s wars of emergence – fascinating, but has been shelved for a  little bit.

ben okri – the famished road – have read this before, and i’m never going to finish it, because it was a stop-gap… that said, GREAT book.

arthur c. clarkethe fountains of paradise

charles stross saturn’s children

china mieville – perdido street station

kim stanley robinson – red mars.

daniel miller – the comfort of things – 29 January 2009 highly interesting bit of social anthropology, but there were sooo many vignettes it got a little much.

henryk sienkiewicz with fire and sword

jay lake – trial of flowers

h. g. wells the sleeper awakes

jay lakeescapement

robert a. heinlein the moon is a harsh mistress

greg egan – permutation city

alexander solzhenitsyn – a day in the life of ivan denisovich26.11.08 – a classic and oft-referred to novel, but stuffed if i could figure out why it deserved the novel prize…

dbc pierre – vernon god little – 22.11.08

hugh kennedy – the great arab conquests16.11.08this is a very, very good ‘military’ history of the arab conquest. it uses primary sources, is well-balanced, and a genuinely interesting read.

rodney collombthe rise and fall of the arab empire – 1.11.08 – an extremely mediocre, high-level history of the middle east and the various empires that swept through after the arab conquest.collomb’s main contribution to appears to be listing how successive leaders died, something he relishes.

jeff vandermeerveniss underground

vernor vinge – across realtime – this is a compendium of two novels. the first, the peace war is a good read, and a bit of a sci-fi legend. the second, marooned in realtime, is not.

james belichparadise reforged – i think i need to face facts. i’m never reading this book…

s.m. stirlingthe sky people – this novel has a great premise. set on an inhabitable venus, the cold war has come to outer space. at first the writing was quite simply alarming, but i hung in there see if it improved. short answer no. all the actual dramatic fun was scheduled in the last 50 pages… which was too little too late.

john meaneparadoxa fairly conventional scifi. think dune, but with overtones of the universal hero story. the guy has a good imagination, but the science seemed contrived, and the story kind of wandered at points where it should have gotten gritty. all in all? meh.

jonathan lethem – fortress of solitudea great read. i’ve enjoyed a lethem where he wirtes abotu what he knows, which seems to be 1970s and 80s brooklyn. this book is gritty, a little challenging, and just plain interesting. that said, it loses it’s way towards the end, which is a pity. otherwise, a curiousity.

james lee burkejulie blon’s bounce – highly enjoyable read. a murder mystery in contemporary southern louisiana.

clay shirky – here comes everybody – sigh. (bad sigh. this shit was annoying)

rudy rucker the hollow earth – a great story from the ‘hollow earth’ genre, which i only just discovered is an actual genre! rucker has a great imagination, and takes us on a simple, pulpy trip into the centre. recommened, alough light. i hated the man character after a few pages, but he grew on me. which i think was the intention?

ken follet – world without end – in a word, turgid. this tome drags on for over a thousand pages, and just wouldn’t bloody end. i hung in there to see if what was supposed to be a key plot device actually lived up to its promise. short answer, no.

charles stross – halting state

some guy – wikinomics- entirely conventional pseudo-lessons on how wikis and mass collaboration work. probably best considered as a entry-level guide to the sport. otherwise, boring.

philip k dick a scanner darkly

kurt vonnegutslaughterhouse five

james surowieckithe wisdom of crowds – an enjoyable bit of pop-science that starts with lots of great information, then appears to slide into a discussion of “the market”. recommended.

normal mailer the fight

hugh fearnley-whittingstall – the river cottage meat book – a great tome of lessons on how to cook meat. thoroughly enjoyable.

jack mcdevitt – odyssey – dull space opera with little direction and no real story.

neil gaimansmoke and mirrors – interesting a quirky, a collection of short stories and poems by gaiman across the entire length of his career. but… not interesting enough for me to finish it. maybe if i owned a copy i’d read it slowly, but too many stories seemed to make too little sense. maybe this is his “b-list” of work (3.5.08 )

lloyd jonesmr pip – a beautiful book that pays too little homage to the horrors of the war in bouganville. written simply and effectively, but with hidden depths that will have me returning to figure out more of what jones hid between the lines.

charles strosssingularity sky – a great story, and a great space opera with something resembling a hard-core of science underlying it. once again stross’ imagination is far and above other recent sci-fi readers.

buddhism for dummies

a. mackayspain in the middle ages: from frontier to empire

john scalziold man’s war – great premise, but the story simply doesn’t follow through. it’s a pity, because the characters are authentic and enjoyable people. unfortunately scalzi turns what could have been a great story into a very, very weak version of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.

philip k. dickgalatic pot-healer – i’m glad i’ve forgotten a lot of the stuff from the biography of dick. made this an enjoyable, if not slightly quirky read. it’s about a pot-healer who is summoned to another planet to help raise a mystical cathedral.

jeff vandermeercity of saints and madmen – a great read. provided the background to shriek, and had some genuinely funny foreshadowing that book.

christopher tolkienthe children of hurin

jeff vandermeershriek: an afterword

chris trotterno left turn

j.d. salinger a catcher in the rye

f.w. walbank the hellenistic world

malcolm vale – war and chivalry

jon courtney grimwood – effendi

jonathan lethem – girl in landscape

jon courtney grimwood – end of the world blues

liam callanan – the cloud atlas

ursula le guin – the birthday of the world

isaac asimov – the gods themselves

jonathan lethem – amnesia moon

john m. harrison – light

m.k. joseph – a soldier’s tale

tony williams – cassino

jonathan lethem – motherless brooklyn

john burdett – bangkok tattoo

stanislaw lem – the star diaries

john burdett – bangkok 8

tom robbins – fierce invalids home from hot climates

ursula le guin – the left hand of winter

maurice shadbolt – the new zealanders

ursula le guin – the lathe of heaven

jose saramago – blindness

albert camus – the plague

isaac asimov – foundation

david cohen – a perfect world

neal stephenson – snow crash

neil gaiman – stardust

thomas pynchon – the crying of lot 49

c.s. lewis – perelandra

stanislaw lem – solaris

charles leadbeater – living on thin air

arthur c. clarke – the lion of comarre, and against the fall of night

jamie oliver – cooking with jamie

c.s. lewis – out of the silent planet

do androids dream of electric sheep? – philip k. dick

a fire upon the deep – vincent vinge

valis – philip k. dick

cat’s cradle – kurt vonnegut jr.

accelerando – charles stross

divine invasions: a life of philip k. dick, lawrence sutin

les halles cookbook, anthony bourdain

iron sunrise, charles stross

veniss underground, jeff vandermeer

the atrocity archives, charles stross

jitterbug perfume, tom robbins

the algebraist, iain m. banks

ubik, phillip k. dick

the dispossessed, ursula le guin

midnight’s children moor’s last sigh, salman rushdie

the sirens of mars – kurt vonnegut jr.


15 Responses to “Select bibliography”

  1. Ted Shatner Says:

    Iain M. Banks line of sci-fi stories is actually very good – I thought “Use of Weapons”, “Look to Windward” and “The Player of Games” are truly excellent and far from being supposedly being overwritten dreck. I didn’t find “Inversions” dull either, even though the Doctor segments were pretty flowery and pompous (intentionally so), while Consider Phlebas was unpretentious space opera.

    However I’m not so sure about “The Algebraist” – it grinds to a halt halfway through with the tedious Dwellers, but the non-Dweller scenes are where the real meat and potatos of the story are.

  2. deixis Says:

    hmm. randomly happened on this blog; like it a lot. plus, we read the same books, apparently. cheers.

  3. tim Says:

    Am reading HEAT by Bill Buford, learning to cook in Mario Batali’s michelin starred Italian resturant in New York. Fantastic book, makes me want to start experimenting with my food. How about fried cornflakes in a whitewine and nutella sauce?

  4. Che Tibby Says:

    don’t bother with dick. the book is actually kind of annoying. like listening to someone on speed relate a crazy story with a few gems interspersed…

  5. beguilethetedium Says:

    Read The Dispossessed while going through a very stressful time that I needed distraction from. It did the trick surprisingly well. Mental note to self, when needing plain old escapism perhaps SF is the way forward. Dont usually do SF as a genre. Gonna get around to “do androids dream of electric sheep?” at some stage. Kind of agree about the “thesis novel” thing, generally sucks all the life out. But hell, I have read Camus’s The Plague how many times………

  6. Hadyn Says:

    Heartily recommend Midnight’s Children. Fantastic book!

  7. Che Tibby Says:

    ubik is, without a doubt, insane. and you’re right, it reads like an ampthetamine-fueled frenzy with a come-down somewhere around the time mystery really starts to become beguiling. still like it though.

    the user-pays household applicances should be a warning to everyone!

    as for banks, might have to do an actual post over in the main page. (haven’t worked out how to post to these alternate pages yet)

  8. Heather Says:

    I can understand the ‘turgid’ call, it was kinda long-winded all the way through, but I got really involved in the story. Granted, I think I read Inversions last, and that was really dull, so anything would be an improvement.

  9. Craig Ranapia Says:

    Did you really think so – I keep hearing that Ublik is first-rate Dick (which is a pretty high standard to begin with), but I still can’t get past the first twenty pages or so. There’s a Ph.D. thesis to be written on ampthetamines and its influence on penny-a-word ulp fiction. Something of a mixed bag, particularly where PKD is concerned.

    And my big problem with Iain M. Banks is that his science fiction tends towards the thesis novel – and while ideas are fine and wonderful things, if they’re not woven into an involving narrative with characters I want to hang around with… well, I can’t be bothered. (Le Guin’s The Dispossessed – along with The Left Hand of Winter – is a thesis novel that works, because Shevek’s experiences make up a very ambiguous utopia.

  10. Che Tibby Says:

    yeah, always been a fan of banks, but struggling with this one. ‘turgid’ is beginning to spring to mind.

    will persevere.

    that p.k.dick one was fantastic.

  11. Heather Says:

    WHOA spooky, I just finished The Algebraist this morning. I really enjoyed it, much better than some of his other (generally later) work.

  12. Leopold Says:

    Find Iain Banks variable in quality – Whereas I find personally his non-SF stuff to be good, his SF attempts (in which he seems to take most pride) impress me mainly as overwritten dreck.

    Stephen Baxter’s writing, characterisation and plotting cannot support his (quite good) ideas

  13. jason Says:

    I thought The Algebraist was incredibly overrated – he can definitely tell a yarn, but a writer of his calibre knocking out (bloated) space opera cliches is disappointing, to say the least.

  14. johnregan Says:

    Try anything by Stephen Baxter

  15. Leopold Says:

    Read `The Cloud Atlas’ next

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