Tag: James S.A. Corey

WWW Wednesday

Posted November 25, 2020 by Nicky in General / 1 Comment

Greetings, friends! I just caught up on all the unanswered blog comments I could find — and I’ll try to be better here on out!

Cover of MetaZoa by Peter Godfrey-SmithWhat are you currently reading?

Without much enthusiasm, Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Metazoa. I remembered really liking Other Minds, so I am disappointed by this one, which I’m not finding very readable. I don’t expect much popular science stuff that focuses on biology to be new to me except in the finer details — I read it for a) obscure factoids and b) comfort through familiarity and order — but this one isn’t new and it’s slooow.

I’m also partway through Abaddon’s Gate (James S.A. Corey), and a reread of Fire & Hemlock (Diana Wynne Jones). It’s fun to rediscover the latter now I have a more than passing familiarity with the Tam Lin story.

Cover of Network Effect by Martha WellsWhat have you recently finished reading?

Uhhh, good question… I think the last thing was Network Effect (Martha Wells) and The Churn (James S.A. Corey). The former was a lot of fun; it is nice to hang out with Murderbot. The latter was… superfluous, I think, if you’ve read the main series. It doesn’t tell us much more about Amos than we already knew.

What will you be reading next? 

Nooo idea. My brain isn’t cooperating very much, so I think it’ll be a while before I get to reading something else.

What’re you folks reading?

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Review – The Churn

Posted November 22, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Churn by James S.A. CoreyThe Churn, James S.A Corey

The Churn is a short novella which tells the story of one of the major characters from The Expanse series: Amos Burton. I like Amos a lot, but I’m not totally sure I care about having read this; it wasn’t bad in any way, or not enjoyable, but it wasn’t necessary. We know who Amos is, and we get glimpses of where he came from… and I’m not sure I needed to read this novella to fill it in. I almost prefer piecing it together, because in some ways who Amos was isn’t as important as who Amos is… and in other ways, he really hasn’t changed very much in the series: it doesn’t add much development-wise, because the differences are simply in the different contexts.

So, if you’re a hardcore lover of The Expanse and you want to read every scrap of background, then yeah, The Churn is probably of interest. If not, then I don’t think I especially recommend it — the main series are all you need, I suspect.

Rating: 3/5

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Review – Caliban’s War

Posted November 22, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Caliban's War by James S.A. CoreyCaliban’s War, James S.A. Corey

Caliban’s War is the second book of the Expanse series, and I can’t help but see it (and Leviathan Wakes) in some ways as an answer to Firefly/Serenity. Serenity ends as a triumph, to some degree, with Mal getting the story out there. That’s the big win. And yet… Leviathan Wakes almost starts with that, but Holden can’t sit back and retire. He figures that getting the message out is enough, and of course it isn’t — as we’ve found in our own timeline with Cambridge Analytica and the Vote Leave campaign and impeachment and… everything. Getting the signal out there isn’t enough, and Caliban’s War shows Holden continuing to reckon with that, and keep trying to find a place for himself and the crew of the Rocinante.

There’s another way in which Holden is like Malcolm Reynolds, and that’s really showcased here as well. It struck me during the middle-ish part of the book, when Holden goes to confront Fred Johnson — who spits back at him:

“I’ve been putting up with your bullshit for over a year now,” Fred said. “This idea you have that the universe owes you answers. This righteous indignation you wield like a club at everyone around you.”

And yeah, Malcolm Reynolds has that as well, for all that he wants to think he’s a hardened criminal. I think Caliban’s War does a good job of digging into that and showing what makes a man like that dangerous, as well as someone to follow.

Anyway, that’s what particularly struck me this time — maybe because the part about “we got the signal out and nobody cared” really cuts deep right now!

It really did bother me again that everyone spends the book running around looking for Mei, without questioning basic things like “why did they want an immuno-compromised kid?” And Prax is a biologist! Okay, not a human biologist, but at other times he clearly has a scientific mind and the ability to think through a problem, including those which aren’t restricted to botany. I’m not sure it changes the story to know why Mei’s key, but it bothers me as someone who knew what was going on from the minute her condition was mentioned.

This book introduces Bobbie and Avasarala, and they are both great and balance out the gender balance, and give us the outside-perspective on Holden and his crew that we need. I know we won’t be seeing a lot of them for a couple of books, which sucks, because Avasarala is the kind of character who really challenges the dudes-with-guns sci-fi stereotypes. (Bobbie is less so, since she’s essentially the female version of them.) She’s a grandmother, a diplomat, an Earther — and that’s a needed sort of perspective.

I’m looking forward to continuing to chew through this series; I called it popcorn before, and I still concur. It’s very more-ish, and it goes down easy.

Rating: 4/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted November 19, 2020 by Nicky in General / 3 Comments

Quick update, because I am tired!

What are you currently reading?

Actually, pretty much nothing. There are some books on the Shelf of Abandoned Books that I need to pick back up, but I finished a book earlier and that was pretty much all I had on my plate actually in progress at the moment.

Cover of Caliban's War by James S.A. CoreyWhat have you recently finished reading?

My reread of Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey. I remembered it pretty well, in broad strokes, but some stuff I’d forgotten. I’m enjoying getting stuck back into this world: the books are chunky (500-600 pages) but somehow I can easily sit and read 100 pages at a pop.

Cover of Goldilocks by Laura LamWhat will you be reading next?

I will be returning to some books from the Shelf of Abandoned Books, including Network Effect (Martha Wells) for the Mini Battle in the Clear Your Shit Readathon. I’m also planning to start on Laura Lam’s Goldilocks again (which I put down because my anxiety ate my brain right before it came out) and also steam on with rereading The Expanse books, with Abaddon’s Gate up next.

What’re you folks reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted November 12, 2020 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

Almost belated, but we’re still calling this Wednesday…

Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon JamesWhat are you currently reading?

I’m still partway through Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Marlon James). I don’t love it, but I’m appreciating it more now that I’ve got used to the narration. I don’t think it’ll ever be a favourite, and it doesn’t much inspire me to read more Marlon James, I’ll admit. So much violence and death… but mostly the narrative style just doesn’t work for me.

I’m also still reading Murderous Contagion (Mary Dobson). I think I’d have loved it a few years ago, and it’s more meh now because I’ve read so much on various different diseases since. There’s not much new to me here.

Cover of Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyWhat have you recently finished reading?

Leviathan Wakes (James S.A. Corey), which I just reviewed. It’s really compulsive, though some of the more horror-leaning bits are aaaalmost too much for me.

What will you be reading next?

I happen to know that I’ll be starting on How to Tame a Fox (Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut), for the Clear Your Shit Readathon prompt of “a book with an animal in it”. Had to sneak non-fiction in somehow!

What are you reading?

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Review – Leviathan Wakes

Posted November 11, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyLeviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey

The opening of Leviathan Wakes is just pure horror. Julie Mao has been trapped in a storage locker for days, during a takeover of her ship. When her need for food, water and other relief overcomes her caution, she bursts out… to find the ship empty and almost dead. She works her way to engineering to find —

Well, I won’t spoil that moment for you, even though it’s at the start of the book. The horror aspect recedes for quite a while, leaving more generic (but fun) space opera and a touch of noir. One side of the narrative follows James Holden and his tiny remnant crew after the destruction of their ship, the Canterbury, as they acquire a new ship (the Rocinante) and attempt to find (and hurt) whoever blew up the Cant.

The other side follows Miller, a halfway-decent cop who is melting down a bit after being ditched by his wife, and who fixates on a job he’s asked to do — to find Julie Mao, daughter of a rather famous family, and ship her back home. The two sides converge, of course, juxtaposing Holden’s righteousness against Miller’s almost amoral tendencies and making both of them look like assholes in the process. (Though in most ways I’m on Holden’s side, and Miller’s just kinda really creepy sometimes.)

The horror comes back in the middle, for sure, and threads through the rest. There are some epic fight scenes, some great character moments, some horrible revelations… and for my money, it all comes together really well. It’s pretty breathless, for me; for all that’s ~550 pages long, I didn’t often put it down. It was a reread for me, and it stood up to the memory. I’m looking forward to rereading Caliban’s War, too.

Rating: 4/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted November 5, 2020 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Oops, it’s late! Okay, real quick, here we go, my WWW Wednesday!

Cover of The Progress of a Crime by Julian SymonsWhat are you currently reading?

Since it’s about to be 5th November (Bonfire Night, in the UK), I decided to pick up the recently reissued The Progress of a Crime, by Julian Symons. It’s in the British Library Crime Classics series, so it was pretty much an auto-buy; I’ve found Symons’ books very readable, though I don’t always find them pleasant — there’s something about the characters he centres that just feels too clever by half, and just generally unpleasant (and that’s not something that has to be the case with crime fiction! there are plenty with pleasant leads).

There are a few other books on the go, but this one is the top of the pile at the moment.

Cover of This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen CallenderWhat have you recently finished reading?

The last thing I finished was This is Kind of An Epic Love Story, by Kacen Callender. Very fun as a short read, though very YA in level, meaning it slipped by just a little too easily. That said, the portrayal of sign language and the way Callender avoids over-explaining the sign (or just treating it as “translation” and putting it in full English sentences) is pretty cool.

Cover of Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyWhat will you be reading next?

I intend to get properly stuck into my reread of James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes, for SciFi Month! I also want to start rereading Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold; I’d like to crack on with reading the Vorkosigan series in honour of SciFi Month, too. Finally, I need to read Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians, for the Clear Your Shit Readathon.

As ever, it’s also entirely possible I’ll head off in some other weird and wonderful direction, too.

What are you currently reading?

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