Read Every Mountain: Books For Your Mount To-Be-Read

Installation by Alicia Martin

By Daniel Dern: It seems a shame to have the topic of “what’re we reading, what do we recommend” as a late-comer thread (some starting some 400 comments in, give or take) to an existing page (# 39769), which is mostly about con stuff, I suggest we dive into the topic in its own scroll, sic:

Allow me to kick this recommendapalooza-fest with a few that I’ve read (and enjoyed) over the past several months. Note, some aren’t sf or f, some aren’t even fiction — but IMHO they’re the kind of books that Filers and other sf/f fans might (also) enjoy:

PERSEPOLIS RISING, James A. Corey. The seventh novel in THE EXPANSE series. This one starts about three decades after the previous book — soon enough that the protagonists we’ve come to love (James F***ing Holden, Bobbi Draper, Amos, etc.) are still alive and causing trouble trying to solve problems… but long enough that they’re not spring or even summer chickens. I enjoyed this one; as Nero Wolfe says (sparingly), “Satisfactory.”

CODE NAME VERITY. I saw something about this in one of my magazines, which led me to getting it from the library. The prose is incredible compelling, particularly the descriptions of airplane maintenance, aerial views of terrain… and, well, everything else.

I’ll let Wikipedia do the heavy info-lifting: (Hmm, there’s two related books, I’ve just gone and library-reserve-requested ’em.)

Code Name Verity is a young adult historical novel by Elizabeth Wein that was published in 2012.[1] It focuses on the friendship between two young British women, one English and one Scottish, in World War II – a spy captured by the Nazis in German-occupied France and the pilot who brought her there. It was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book in 2013, and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

A loose sequel, Rose Under Fire, was published in 2013. A prequel novel, The Pearl Thief, was published in May 2017; it is a mystery involving Code Name Verity’s protagonist Julie one year before the war starts.

THE EMERALD CIRCUS, Jane Yolen. A collection of stories. I’m about halfway through, it feels wrong to read these hastily.

Steven Brust’s VLAD TALTOS series. Somehow I never tried these before. I picked one up at our town recycling’s take some/leave some book cabin — always great to find an author new to me with 10 or more books I haven’t read yet.

I started enjoying it enough that I set it aside, so I could read them in order. (Brust says that it doesn’t matter what order you read them in, and, five in, I can see that; that said, one method is “order written in” (which I’m doing), or “chrono order”). Medium-rigorous fantasy with interesting politics. Clearly owes a lot to Zelazny’s Amber and other works for attitude, narrative tone also reminds me of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe in spots.

THE RIVER OF CONSCIOUSNESS, Oliver Sacks. Essays, by the neurologist who brought us “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” and other fascinating stuff. The first essay alone, on Darwin’s writings about plants and evolution, could fuel a bookshelf of sf and f stories.

OK, fellow Filers, the bouncing ball is in your court!

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47 thoughts on “Read Every Mountain: Books For Your Mount To-Be-Read

  1. Oh, you’ve got a treat with the Vlad Taltos books if you’ve never read them. One of my favourite ongoing series.

    You’ll find an interesting left-turn if you try The Phoenix Guards and sequels which are in the same setting (and sort-of interact with the Taltos books). Having made a merit of tight plotting and terse prose in the Vlad books, Brust demonstrates that there’s merit in the exact opposite as well!

  2. Mark, thanks — perusing the web, and my public library’s shelves, shows other Brust’s in the Draegerean universe. I’ll finish the Vlads, then make said left turn.

  3. The Brokedown Palace Is a stand alone novel in the Vlad Taltos universe. It’s definitely one of his best works. And there’s a new novel in that series out this Fall on Tor.

    Matt Wagner’s Grendel graphic novel series which is I think is very good is four volumes deep from Dark Horse with Wagner’s script and art being superb. Highly recommended.

  4. One of the advantages of reading the quite excellent Code Name Verity is that after you read it once, you can go back and read it again and it’s a completely different book. That’s quite a feat!

  5. Code Name Verity! Excellent book, though caused me a bit of “holy {^}#, what is this doing in YA?!?!”

    Very well written. I haven’t tried the sequel, partly due to the above mentioned reaction… but you might be tougher than I am!

    And Brust is endless amounts of fun. One of them is structured around a laundry list and another is based around sitting in one place for hours and doing nothing/witchcraft and He Makes You Like It. 🙂

    Re: Brust – speaking of fantasy Nero Wolfe, has anybody else read Glen Cook’s Garret, P. I. series?

  6. Macimillian asks Re: Brust – speaking of fantasy Nero Wolfe, has anybody else read Glen Cook’s Garret, P. I. series?

    I loved that series right up to the last novel so far published in which he did something to Garret that I cannot forgive him for. His publisher has the entire series save the last few available in four omnibus trade paper editions. Do read them in order as there is story and character development in them.

  7. @Cat – Whoa! Is this a series of reprints? I have most of the originals in floppy format – hunted them down after getting into it via the War Child “reboot” in the early 90s. I’m tempted to get the graphic novels of the early stuff, if that’s what you’re talking about.

  8. Daniel, I have yet to read a Brust novel or short story that isn’t wildly creative in some way and well worth my time. E.g., you start To Reign in Hell and think ‘No, you can’t do a realistic retelling of Paradise Lost, and then he pulls it off. You think ‘No, a Dumas pastiche with Dumas’s florid narrative style intact will never work’, and then he pulls it off with the Paarfi Romances. You think ‘No, you cannot tell a (genre name redacted) story without once mentioning a (genre name redacted), and then he pulls it off with Agyar.

    He’s the master of the I-did-this-on-a-dare concept that he nonetheless pulls off, usually really well.

    And, heck, I’d recommend the Paarfi Romances just for the afterwords. In one volume, there’s an About the Author by Brust about Paarfi of Roundwood accompanied by an About the Author by Paarfi about Brust. In the follow-on volume, he had to top that, so there’s an afterword where Paarfi and Brust interview each other. It’s a hoot.

  9. Kathodus asks me Whoa! Is this a series of reprints? I have most of the originals in floppy format – hunted them down after getting into it via the War Child “reboot” in the early 90s. I’m tempted to get the graphic novels of the early stuff, if that’s what you’re talking about.

    Yeah it’s everything in rather thick trade paper editions with superb printing including the John Shirley prose work that wraps up the story. They’re called Grendel Omnibuses, so be careful you don’t get the work called Grendel Tales Omnibus as that features (imho) inferior art and stories inspired by Wagner but without his involvement.

    They’re all availible as digital pubs on iBooks, Kindle and such. If I ever end (conscious hopefully this time) in the hospital again I’m planning on having all four on my iPad.

  10. The structure of the most recent Vlad book reminded me strongly of old computer games (e.g. Sierra or Infocom). It had to be deliberate.

  11. @Nickp: Oh, yes. I kept thinking as I was reading the book “isn’t this Zork?”

  12. Thanks for the pointer to the Oliver Sacks collection, which I have not seen before. I love his work. Just picked up his memoir “Uncle Tungsten.”

  13. Computer-game-reference-wise, in the Brust/Vlad I just finished there was a mention of a [maze] of twisty passages, all alike.

  14. I’ve been a big fan of the Vlad books. I was not terribly fond of the latest one, but the series as a whole is definitely worth it.

    In other works — three of my very favorite reads from the last two years, out of roughly 250-300 books.

    I already mentioned the Lens of the World trilogy by RA MacAvoy in that other thread, but it’s worth making sure it gets mentioned here as well. A young man changes the world — several times — while questioning reality vs. perception along the way. If you like Patricia McKillip books, you’ll probably like this; these three short books are written with appealing and efficient prose and interesting, likeable characters.

    I also want to mention The Devourers by Indra Das. On the surface, this is about shapeshifters, mostly in India. Underneath, it’s about a lot of things — identity, belonging, self-reinvention; how knowledge, like the knowledge of love, can throw you out of Eden (and how Eden is a really savage state of being), and how you may destroy what you love but also transform yourself into what you love; and similar twisty thoughts. Beautiful prose, intense imagery — but only for readers who can stand strong violence and gore.

    Speaking of strong violence and gore — I gotta also recommend The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. A really striking book — exceptional in its wtfery and the range of emotions it’ll wring out of you. This is another book that’s about a lot of things (do you notice a pattern in the type of books I like best?), especially how we should be careful not to lose ourselves along the way while we think we are “progressing” to something “bigger and better”. I strongly recommend NOT reading reviews before you read the book, because a lot of the fun is in being surprised by all the twists and turns — and there are many of them. But again, NOT a book for those easily horrified or grossed out.

  15. I’ve just read two books that I strongly recommend: _Santa Olivia_ and its sequel _Saints Astray_, by of all people, Jacqueline Carey. A while ago someone here was compiling a list of lesbian love stories with happy endings—these definitely belong on it, if they are not there already.

    The story is near-future SF with a gritty, all too believable real world setting, a Texas border town that has been taken over by the U.S. military and is now a secret Outpost that no civilian is allowed to leave. The love affair is between two adorable teenage girls (one of whom is a genetically engineered superhero, or at least her father was) and is very sweet—but to my happy surprise, I found it refreshing rather than cloying.

    I would never have guessed that these are by the same author as the Kushiel books, which I just haven’t been able to get into, even though from my viewpoint, the kinky sex is a definite plus, as is the lush quasi-French setting. But I totally love the Santa Olivia books despite the sweetness of the sex and the down-to-earth, impoverished American setting. I suspect that one reason I like them so much is that by the end of the second book, the protags have in fact significantly improved the scarily familiar world they started out in. It’s a message of hope that is much appreciated as we move into a New Year.

  16. Two recently finished books:

    The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
    Enjoyable third book in the Gentlemen Bastards series. I wish he wrote faster. I also wish he’d write a novel with the characters in his short “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” in GRRM’s anthology

    A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
    Recommended by a Filer. Holmes and Watson are women. 1st in a series. The mystery was pretty good and all the clues are given to the reader. I didn’t care for all the author’s choices but a solid first book to set up the series. I read this aloud to my roommate when she cooks or cleans the kitchen. We will read another book in this series, but not right away. We started this practice when Our Wombat serialized Summer in Orcus (fantastic book) and enjoyed it so much that we just continued the practice.

    Current kitchen read is The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. We just started this one, but we loved her earlier book Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.

    I’m also reading In Legend Born by Filer Laura Resnick. This is a great fantasy novel. I’m enjoying it so much that I was nearly an hour late coming back from lunch today.

  17. estee, my roommate and I really enjoyed Jacqueline Carey’s Agent of Hel series, which begins with the book of that name. Also her Sundering series, which is sort-of Simarillion from the point of view of the orcs and other bad guys. Every one of her series is completely different than all the others.

  18. Just finished reading The Big Meow, by Diane Duane. Feline wizards. A very nice comfort read. Currently listening to Neogenesis, by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Liaden. Another comfort read, or rather, comfort listen. Doing a fair bit of that, while hiding out in 7758, from the stresses of 2017/18.

  19. Contrarius: Speaking of strong violence and gore — I gotta also recommend The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins.

    That book was on my list for Hugo Best Novel in the year it came out. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of horror, but I thought the worldbuilding was amazing and the plot really well-done. But yes, Trigger Warning for physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and grim narrative; I would not recommend it for anyone for whom those might be issues.

  20. From the other thread:

    I just got done with Chris Brookmyre’s Places in the Darkness. At first I wasn’t sure whether I would want to finish it, because the two main characters were so unlikable. But a little patience is rewarded, and it ended up being a solid SF mystery on a space station with great worldbuilding and character development.

  21. Also from the other thread:

    Catherine Asaro’s got another winner in the Skolian War Saga with The Bronze Skies, another Major Bhaajan mystery. The beauty of it and its predecessor Undercity is that they make a nice standalone duology for those who haven’t read the rest of the series. Definitely on my Hugo Best Series list this year.

  22. @JJ —

    Yes, exactly. And I don’t read “horror” either. Except these days you might find a lot of UF labeled “horror” just because it has vamps or weres, and then something truly violent and gory like Mount Char is NOT labeled “horror”. IMHO whoever is doing the labeling needs to pay more attention to the reasons behind the violence/gore/whatever before slapping the label on.

    Of course, maybe I just don’t understand the category, in which case I should read some official “horror” to educate myself. 😉

  23. As I mentioned in the 2017 recommended list, City of Miracles was pretty amazing.

    In the “urban fantasy that looks a bit like horror but isn’t really” category, Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw* was awesome, starting off a series about Greta Helsing, a GP to the undead of London whose grandfather is exactly who you’d think. Excellent mystery-solving fun. My one complaint is that Greta’s character tends to play second fiddle to the secondary cast of exclusively male vampire + otherwise demonic bros, and there were other female characters in the background who I desperately wanted to show up more – perhaps my wishes will be granted in the sequel. Also, bonus points for a “hang on a minute, I’ve read this person’s fanfic!” moment when I got to the acknowledgements…!

  24. I loved The Library at Mount Char and although i like horror books, I didn’t think of The Library as such. Weirdly enough, it mostly made me think of Gaiman’s Anansi Boys. The same surreal feel and humour to it.

  25. Not a new book, but I’ve just finished “Child of Fire” by Harry Connolly. I didn’t have any particular expectations, but it turns out to be very much my kind of thing. I guess it’s technically urban fantasy, but I’d describe it as a fast-paced noir action-thriller with a strong tinge of horror. Nothing groundbreaking, but a lot of rather grim fun if (like me) you find it comforting to read about people coping with a week that’s much worse than yours.

    Other recent reading I’ve enjoyed includes a lot of detective fiction and a short history of trifle, none of which is relevant here… but I did re-read John Masefied’s “The Midnight Folk”, which is one of the best children’s fantasies I’ve ever read and strongly recommended if you don’t know it.

  26. I also mentioned this in the recommendation thread, I loved Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden. Its a book with a lot going on (AI sentinence! Ancient Gods! The meaning of friendship! Emotional Abuse can hurt too!) but manages to bring everything together smoothly

    Other recent reads are: Artemis by Weir. The sciency sections are great. The plot is exciting. The relationship and character building parts are shallow and unconvincing. Unfortunately, the ratio of sciency parts is lower than The Martian.

    DODO by Neal Stephenson. Its a well written book, but all setup, you get to the end and realize the story hasn’t started yet. I was also irritated by the characters lack of concern for the morality of their actions. And over five years no-one seems to learn anything or grow at all.

    Nelf Rings by Marvin Miller. Humans find alien artifacts on several worlds and try to figure them out. There are some great concepts here but they are buried under pages and pages of irrelevant details of what x tertiary character liked to do in high school etc. Could have been a great book at half the length.

    Autonomous – Annalee Newitz. In the near future, a bootleg drug is causing serious side effects. I enjoyed the very sweet central romance in this book. The other parts were okay.

  27. Hardinge, A Face Like Glass. Another Filer found the massively-structured underground society unbelievable; I didn’t, and thought this better than her usual high level. Title from the fact that infants are taught to show no facial expression, then trained to put on the expression they want to present (new expressions are the equivalent of haute couture), but that’s just one thread.

    Goss, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. Jekyll’s daughter, fighting poverty, accumulates characters/legacies from other period ~horror. Result is not even vaguely horror, but a what-is-human thread through a great plot, with snarky side comments (on the narration) by several of the characters.

    non-fiction: Mundy, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II. Will infuriate many modern readers, either with sometimes-chatty tone or with how the women were treated (cf Sobel’s The Glass Universe), but still a fascinating story. (Possible-bias note: this feels like it has a family connection, but like almost all the others she’s dead now. Maybe I’ll see if Navy records are accessible.)

    @Rick Moen: +1 on Brust. He said at a recent Boskone that one of the latest books was structured like the Flying Karamazov Brothers’ “Terror Trick”: (display gimmick, put it aside)^N, then throw them all up in the air at the end and watch them land perfectly.

  28. @Cat Eldridge – Thanks!

    @Lis Carey – The Big Meow? I looked this up and found the books. As much as I love SJW credentials, I haven’t been able to get through any books about them (Gaiman’s Dream of a Thousand Cats aside, which is a one-issue graphic story, anyway). But the description of this series makes it sound good. I’m going to buy the first one. I read the description to my girlfriend and she wants to reinstate our nightly bedtime stories.

    Book recommendations from my recently-read list…

    Mongrels, by Stephen Graham Jones. A coming-of-age/werewolf/road trip story in approximately YA format. Very enjoyable and well-written. Sometimes dark, but never gleefully so.

    Song for the Basilisk, by Patricia McKillip. Well known in these parts. A story about music and revenge (sort of). Every time I read a McKillip novel I find myself further immersed in music in real life. I loved this. Wonderful prose, multi-dimensional characters, excellent world-building, and descriptions of music that make sense to me.

    The Lie Tree, by Francis Hardinge. Another home run by Hardinge. A Young Adult fantasy novel set in Victorian(?) England, with a smart, sensitive protagonist who is slowly beginning to comprehend and deal with the larger world around her. Aside from Hardinge’s usual storytelling skills, one element that stood out was the way the protagonist refused to accept anything as supernatural – in her view, any phenomenon can be tested and eventually, understood.

    Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon. Sweet and funny Middle Grade novel about a young wannabe witch attempting to fake her way into wicked witchdom.

  29. @Cat Hmm… I appear to have erased that last Garret book from my memory, I had to google to get the kinda-Hunger Games plot. Trying to decide whether it’s safe to re-read.

    @Ghostbird Love Harry Connollly’s 20P books. He just released a new novella in that.

    Have any of you read Connolly’s “A Key, An Egg, And An Unfortunate Remark”? Not the same series and very different feel. Our heroine is a wealthy 60ish lady who retired from being the hero of an (unwritten) UF series and swore a vow of non-violence.

  30. @ Maximillian – I’m not Ghostbird, but I have read A Key, An Egg, And An Unfortunate Remark and enjoyed it immensely. I wish there were more books like it – protagonists that really use their heads and hearts, even if it isn’t the most convenient way to solve problems.

    Mount TBR… Oh lordy, let’s not tackle that right now – since I migrated to the Kindle, it’s gotten quite out of hand. And my local library only encourages the habit (online lists, Overdrive, Hoopla).
    Recently I finished Autonomous and wasn’t impressed. The world was interesting, but the characters didn’t grab me. And Paladin and Eliasz both deserved a bullet for being torturing, murderous fug heads, romantic subplot or not.
    Also John Ridley’s American Way was a great graphic novel, but a gut punch. Highly recommended, but not comfortable.
    Warren Ellis Injection volumes 1, 2 and 3. Fun! Violent, profane, but a lot of fun. Ellis seems to do his best when he cares about the work and it looks like he cares about this one. Looking forward to seeing how it wraps up.
    Currently reading A Matter of Oaths and A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away.
    And I suspect that this thread will give me more items to consider…

  31. I’m currently reading the latest Donna Andrews mystery, “How the Finch Stole Christmas”. The series has an SFF connection, in that the protag’s partner used to play an important role on a fantasy tv series. There is an earlier book set at a show fan convention (“We’ll Always Have Parrots”). It was pretty funny. The protag’s brother runs a game company, and the protag is a craft smith, and earlier books spent more time around her smithwork and his game company. They tend to be more family and community-oriented now. I like the books – well-written, with progressing relationships and a touch of humor. They do tend to start a bit slowly, but then I get sucked in and stay up reading. I have that problem with a lot of books these days, so YMMV.

  32. Katherine Arden: The Girl in the Tower.
    Book two in a planned trilogy, following The Bear and the Nightingale. I wrote about it in the 2017 recommended works thread. Summary: I liked it a lot.

    Kirill Yeskov: The Last Ringbearer
    A spin on Lord of the Rings – the premise being that Mordor was a peaceful country on the brink of industrial revolution, and that Gandalf and the elves tricked Gondor into attacking Mordor because Mordorian science and technology threatens the magic-based supremacy of elves. Well written, but a bit disjointed – the best parts are where Yeskov plays directly on turning LotR on its head, but the middle third of the book is a caper story with too little connection to the main plot. Written in Russian, an English translation is available for free download.

    Nnedi Okforator: The Book of Phoenix
    I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. There’s some fantastic descriptions, but I was a bit put off by the way a story that begins as SF veers into what I can best describe as quasi-religious mysticism.

  33. bookworm1398: DODO by Neal Stephenson. Its a well written book, but all setup, you get to the end and realize the story hasn’t started yet. I was also irritated by the characters lack of concern for the morality of their actions. And over five years no-one seems to learn anything or grow at all.

    I saw a reader point out that although the cover says Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, the copyright page says only Neal Stephenson; they surmised that Galland was an editorial hand who reigned in Stephenson’s worst excesses *cough*Seveneves*cough*.

    Whatever the collaboration was, I definitely enjoyed reading the book, but agree that there were some serious issues with the characters and the plot. And yes, at the end it is clear that it’s a setup for an ongoing good guys / bad guys conflict using time travel to accomplish — or prevent — results, with widely-varying motivations.

    I can’t see Stephenson being interested in participating in that, though. It looks to me as though they’re setting up another The Mongoliad, where a Big Name starts it out, and then lesser-known authors are invited to contribute stories to the universe in a neverending franchise.

    And if that’s the case, meh, no thanks, I’ll pass.

  34. Stuff I’m reading:

    Still working away at the Stone Sky but I needed to take time with something lighter.

    So I’m reading Jim C. Hines’ Terminal Alliance which is roughly the polar opposite as far as tone.

    I’ve also been pouring through Girl Genius, after realising I was about 3 years behind. I started before the big jolt – where the story jumps 2 1/2 years – which was what gradually knocked me out of following it back then. Knowing it’s coming made it actually go much more smoothly this time and made it much easier to keep going.

    The Devourers (indra Das) is on my TBR but this is the first I’ve seen anyone else review it at all, so I’m glad to know that despite gore it’s a good story.

  35. DODO felt like a full collaboration to me. I don’t know Galland’s other work to recognise her hand specifically but I was sure the style wasn’t full Stephenson and you could tell he was actively being reined in.

    It’s a while since I read it but iirc I thought it was good in parts but a bit flawed, and overall worth a try.

  36. @Maximillian – Have any of you read Connolly’s “A Key, An Egg, And An Unfortunate Remark”?

    Me too, along with a fair number of others here. I’m always trying to get more people to read it, along with the rest of Connolly’s output (which is nothing like this).

    I picked up and put down The Stone Sky again yesterday. I’m reading Elizabeth Bonesteel’s The Cold Between instead. I’m not sure why I waited so long.

  37. I’m currently reading The Tiger’s Daughter by Rivera. It’s taking me a lot longer than even my usual snail’s pace because of how the holidays (and then being sick) disrupted my gym schedule. It’s also turning out to be one of those books that I wanted very much to love but am ending up merely liking. One of these days I’m going to have to figure out what the key is to that difference.

    I won’t even attempt to list a TBR. I’m participating–slightly askew–in a “Lesbian Book Bingo” reading challenge, though more as a participant in the promotion side (and contributor to the prizes). I barely read 25 novels total in a year, much less managing to hit 25 specific lesbian fiction tropes and sub-genres. But I’m putting my own spin on the challenge by writing a mini-fiction for each of the categories and using it as part of my blogs promoting the challenge. (I figure that the chances are it’s the only way anyone’s going to read my stuff as part of the challenge at all, even if they don’t get bingo credit for it.)

  38. I guess I missed the other thread (though I commented in a recent one about what I was reading), but I’ll repeat/expand a little here.

    I was reading Weaver’s Lament by Emma Newman, but it wasn’t totally doing it for me at first. It didn’t help that I totally hate the protagonist’s brother, who’s just a pompous jerk who has no reason to be full of himself but is. Still, things were getting interesting, but random events caused me to not get back to it before getting engrossed in . . .

    . . . the sample for D. Nolan Clark’s Forsaken Skies (The Silence #1), which I bought and kept reading the night I read the sample! One minor annoyance is one pair of the several POV characters; the guy’s an idiot and the thread makes me roll my eyes. It feels like a tedious YA storyline (by which I do not mean all YA storylines are tedious, in case that’s unclear) grafted onto an adult SF novel. But the rest of it is great and there is something useful happening in that thread. I’m pretty sure I know what’s going on in the book, and it’s a great ride so far with high tech, mystery invaders, mostly-interesting characters, etc.!

    I’m listening to The Druid Gene by Jennifer Foehner Wells (I forget the rename for this), read by the awesome Robin Miles. It started a little slow, but things are getting more and more interesting, threads are going to start coming together methinks, and it’s already clear it’s solidly in the universe of Fluency. Once I finish this, I’ll move on to the new one in the “main” Confluence series.

    @Various Upthread: I periodically see “A Key, etc.” by Connolly showing up in automated rec lists, but I’m going to finally look at it now. Thanks!

    @BravoLimaPoppa3: American Way sounds very good and that artwork looks good, too – thanks for mentioning it! Have you read the sequel, American Way: Those Above and Below?

    Annoyingly, Amazon’s incorrectly linked these two together, so the paperback page is for the 10-year-anniversary collection, the Kindle/comixology link is for the “Those Above..” sequel, and the “Look Inside” is of course for the latter – the wrong book! Thanks, Amazon.

  39. I’ve been kind of blocked on my TBR queue for a while now, at least in terms of prose fiction. (Graphic novels are a different story; I read those on a different device.) The book lodged in the pipeline is Spilled Milk, second in the indie-published “Two Percent Power” superhero series, by brothers Brian and Allen Manning.

    The reason it’s blocking me is that I like the world and characters enough not to want to discard it, because I want to know what happens… but there are enough basic editing issues (verb tenses, oddly-placed commas, omitted periods, that sort of thing) that I kind of dread picking it back up after putting it down. I’ve been stuck at about the 25% mark since October, which is very unusual for me, although I have been making more of an effort this year.

    Aside from those two categories, I’ve been doing a bit of online research into various medical conditions. Nothing that affects me or mine; I’m not WebMD-ing a diagnosis for anyone – it’s editorial fact-checking.

  40. I have an interesting TBR problem; I’m about to moderate a book discussion on River Of Teeth on what used to be the old Compuserve SF Literature forum (Compuserve has finally pulled the plug on the forums; the remaining ones have set up their own site. (The SF Literature one is at for anyone interested in joining the discussion; it’ll be in The Reading Group)….

    My problem is, I’ve not yet read the book. So I don’t know what a good number of chapters are to assign. I generally like to give folks three days per block-of-text to discuss, since folks are busy, and some people read slower than others. I have the e-copy, so I can’t easily flip through to see how many pages per chapter, which is my usual practice (I like to do books in 30 to 40 page chunks) and the Amazon “Look Inside” for the dead-tree edition doesn’t include the table of contents with page numbers, which is my usual go-to in such circumstances. Can someone help me out here?…

  41. @Cassy B:

    Amazon says River of Teeth is 178 pages… or, if you prefer, six 30-page chunks. Looking at my Kindle copy (also unread, sadly) in the iApp, it looks like the Epilogue ends at the 90% mark on page 168, followed by an excerpt from the sequel. Mathematically, five chunks of 90% would be 18% increments, or about 34 pages. Smoothing that out to even chapter breaks looks like:

    Foreward and chapters 1-3 (17%)
    chapters 4-6 (38%)
    chapters 7-9 (55%)
    chapters 10-12 (74%)
    chapters 13-14 and Epilogue (90%)

    So, basically three chapters per chunk. (The Kindle app has a feature that lets you skim page thumbnails, so I took advantage of that while composing the reply. 🙂 )

  42. Rev. Bob, thank you, thank you, thank you! Interested in joining the discussion? Should be fun. We’ll be starting in a week or two….

  43. However: those pages are very spaced-out — about half the density of normal paperbacks and less than half that of hardbacks, based on how long it took me to read. (I’ve seen the book classified as a novella rather than a novel, which would max it at ~225 words per page where pb are more like 400.) You may want to make larger chunks of it.

  44. Cassy B: I’m about to moderate a book discussion on River Of Teeth

    I have River of Teeth at ~33800 words, and Taste of Marrow at ~37800 words. You might consider doing them as a pair; together they’re still a very short novel.

  45. Chip Hitchcock, well, I’ve posted the schedule over on Compuserve Forumania (that just looks weird to me, after 26 years), but I’ll mention that it’s really short and ask for feedback. And that’s a good suggestion, JJ; I think I’ll leave it to the participants whether to continue with the next one, but I’ll definitely raise the issue.

    It would be lovely if you both joined the discussion; the more the merrier!

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