C.J. (misanthropic13) wrote in double_t_books,

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The great return of the not so great... or is it the other way around?

Alas, I find myself back here after months of... well... doing absolutley nothing. Luckily, during this extended period of boredom I've managed to scrape through literally a pile of books without distraction. Nearly everyone of these novels was a SCiFi, so if that doesn't interest you, I apologize.

I finished Gibson's Neuromancer Trilogy with Mona Lisa Over Drive. By this time Gibson has finally gotten over his problem w/ conveying time dialation. This book is really just an excuse to fill in all the holes left in Neuromancer and Count Zero, and connecting the two novels. Despite simply riding on the first books in the series w/ out taking The Sprawl in a new direction, I really did enjoy Mona Lisa. What is lacking in concept is made up by deep thoughtful characters, and vivid descriptions of parts of the world yet unvisited in the first two stories. A must read, but I would only recomend for those who have read the prior books.

On a whim I decided to pick up Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Before I dove in, I assumed it to be a pulpy and cheesy as the film, and the first chapter definitely did NOT let me down. But that was about it. The rest of the novel was... how do I say this... intelligent, VERY intelligent. Military and social theory littered every page from the second chapter to the second to last chapter. Apparently Heinlein kept the pulp action as book ends to the novel to keep people from thinking he might be too preachy. Needless to say, if you didn't know Heinlein was an USNA graduate, you definitely wouls assume so by the end. Where the Ender series asks the question "What does it take to be a leader/soldier?", Starship Troopers asks the question "Why be a leader/soldier to begin with?" Very poinient and enjoyable, but I would only recommend to those who have an open mind or are interested in social/military theory.

I also read The Diamond Age by Neal Stevenson. What Stevenson did to the 21st century w/ Snow Crash, he did to the Nth degree to the 23rd century here. Instead of focussing on the internet and digital information, he pulled the attention to nanotechnology and cultural superiority. From get go, the book is hyper active and , for lack of a better term, insane. Bizzare situations mixed with his humorous characters in a reality where anything can happen, plus a dash of Stevenson's "look how clever I am to come up with this" feeling that smothers every book of his. Overall, good... but I believe you can't really appreciate this book until you've read Snow Crash, just to ween you into the weirdness.

Oh oh!!! I almost forgot. I have finally read my first Steven King book!!! Sadly to say, it will be my last. I read the first book in his Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger. *sigh* It was ok... that's all I have to say.

Probably my favorite book out of the pile that I read is Jennifer Government by Max Barry. Everyone should read this book!! This biting social satire has everything anybody could want... ok, so it is a bit pulpy and exhaggerated, but it's still funny as shit. Barry does a great job of making a not-so-strong argument for each side, exposing to each of the strengths and weaknesses of socialistic, capitalistic, and totalitarian societies as the book follows 6 parallel story arcs of the highly creative characters he's created for this world of his. The unfortunate part is that the book was extremely short, a couple hour read.

Ofcourse everyone here should know that I read Neil Gaiman's latest, Anansi Boys. Whimsical and entertaining, but not as dark as Neverwhere or American Gods, and not as funny as Good Omens. Never-the -ess the book is solid Gaiman, magical to the core. Fun, short and simply a pleasant read. The only disappointing thing about this novel is that it doen't really explore any new territory of Gaiman, it's all stuff he's done before in his previous novels, only this one seems to be a little more all encompassing, but not as powerful. Read American Gods first.

Last but not least, I finished the first 3 books of Orson Scott Card's Shadow series, the first of which, Ender's Shadow, parallels Ender's Game. Ender's Shadow made me remember exactly what an excellent book Game was, without rehashing the same things that made it good and still manages to surprise the reader despite the fact they already know what's happening. With Shadow of the Hegemon and Shadow Puppets, Orson Scott Card expands his use of themes to a more Tom Clancy-ish direction while keeping his excellent charaters strong and empathetic, even on a global scale. OSC also introduces something in all 3 books that really hasn't had a place in the first series, a villian. Not someone who is simply misunderstood, not a person or society that hasn't openned their doors to diplomacy, but true calculating evil. This concept is the most intriguing bit of this series since the first series focussed mainly on understanding your enemy perfectly in order to avoid destruction of either side.

Now I know this site has been dead for about 2 months, but I'm still looking for interesting new novel's to read that I perhaps have never heard of. If the dice roller wishes, assuming the mutual interest, I vote for another book pick for the group

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  • 1 comment
The Diamond Age: I disliked the ending a little - it seemed too rushed from the rest of the book. Nothing seemed contrived, just not really sketched out. Like the Miranda thing - she drops off about halfway into the book, and then all of sudden comes back as an important character (although I think various references to her situation are made leading up to her reintroduction).

But overall I really enjoyed it, and I agree with the need for the reading of Snow Crash (also in order to catch the allusion to it in The Diamond Age.).

The Gunslinger: I agree. It just kinda drops you in the middle of an incredibly confusing place with no real bearings with which to align yourself.

Jennifer Government: Yeah, it is a bit pulp and exaggerated, but that's why I love it!