triadruid: Apollo and the Raven, c. 480 BC , Pistoxenus Painter  (Default)
[personal profile] triadruid

  1. Arthur C. Clarke, Imperial Earth (7, lots of ideas but very little plot make for rather boring sci-fi)
  2. Bram Stoker, Dracula (5, I read this strictly for the historical value; the ending in particular was interminable. I seem to have a real difficulty allowing 'classics' to exist solely as a product of their time period/prior literary history)
  3. Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men* (8, this was the audiobook version which was often hilarious, but Stephen Briggs' Scottiwelsh accentie for the Feegles was nae so gud)
    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Statistics (gave it up as an irredeemably wrecked job by Chapter 7)
  4. T.H. White, The Once and Future King (7, confusingly written Arthurian pastiche that had trouble holding my attention until the later sections)
  5. Mary Roach, Spook (6, got better as it went along but her glib skeptic's bias and unorthodox methods really put me off this look at the afterlife at first)
    Jay Griffiths, A Sideways Look at Time (gave up when I got to the 4th or 5th fact that *I* knew was wrong. I'm not a scientist or historian, but some of these were just glaring. Plus, the book contains no real structure or narrative, it's just a collection of musings and anecdotes)
  6. Stephen Gould, Reflex (7.75, well-paced and entertaining sequel to the original, which I actually haven't gotten around to reading yet. Terrible things happen, and yet our heroes and their powers are Awesome anyway without getting in the way of the story)
  7. Stanislaw Lem, Solaris (7, starts off strong and interesting but then devolves into needless and off-topic philosophical posturing)
  8. IDW Publishing, Star Trek: Countdown (7.5, tie-in graphic novel for how the Star Trek reboot film came about. A bit gratuitous in its use of TNG characters who happen to be in the same place at the same time for different purposes, but that's ST for you..)
  9. IDW Publishing, Star Trek: Mirror Images (6, derivative and slow-paced Mirror Universe backstory comic)
  10. Wayne Barlowe, God's Demon (6.5, good ideas on the redemption of demons, marred by truly bad writing. Barlowe is probably better off sticking to the graphical arts...)
  11. Mike Carey, Lucifer: Devil in the Gateway (7, Gaiman's Prince of Hell has retired and runs a nightclub in L.A. That doesn't mean Heaven, or Hell, are done with him though... witty and urbane, if a bit glib at times, but a solid graphic novel)
  12. Mike Carey, Lucifer: Children and Monsters (6, Lucifer's scheming gets fairly baroque and wanderful here, but there's good moments tucked away among the almost gratuitously weird path)
  13. Mike Carey, Lucifer: A Dalliance with the Damned (6.5, the saga moves on, but slowly)
  14. Stephen King et al, The Dark Tower: Treachery* (7, powerfully illustrated but weirdly thin; new characters abound)
  15. Stephen King et al, The Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead (8, Gilead continues to tear itself apart; unlike the previous entry, LOTS of things happen in this arc, and it's heartbreaking to watch)
  16. Stephen Gould, Jumper (8, very good basic sci-fi bildungsroman with internal consistency and good characterization overall; very different from the film, and to the better)
  17. Stephen King, The Bachman Books (7, mixed bag of 'short' novels from King's non-supernatural alter-ego. Rage has always been a favorite, and I'm sorry he pulled it from print. The Long Walk and The Running Man are very engaging, but Roadwork drags a bit comparatively)
  18. Alan Moore, V for Vendetta (7, weirdly flat compared to the film. Moore has a tendency to get severely didactic)
  19. Jim Butcher, Changes (9, seriously moving and seriously serious book, with the Worst Things Yet to happen to Harry Dresden, more pop culture references than you can shake a stick at, and at least seven heartbreaks and ten fist-pumping scenes; Butcher just keeps getting better, but and boy does he love torturing his characters)
  20. James P. Hogan, The Proteus Operation (5, potboiler spy novel with sci-fi flavoring but not enough actual science to make it tasty)
  21. Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals (6, disappointing entry in the Discworld saga, not so much because of the subject matter as the remarkably straightforward writing. Having to dictate it probably cut down on his in-jokes and word-play)
  22. Charles Stross, On Her Majesty's Occult Service (8.5, seriously funny spy-horror-infotech mash-up. This is an omnibus collection of The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue, which I bought halfway through the first book, that's how entertaining it was)
  23. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (7, hard-to-read and hard-to-stomach, with an unlikable protagonist narrator and a very different story from the films; however, there was some small payoff in the end, and especially in the analysis in the afterword)
  24. Robert Bly, Iron John (6, mostly unremarkable and thoroughly unresearched, but there's some interesting elements to his poetic take on what it means to be an adult male)
  25. Elizabeth Bear, Chill (8, delightful return to Jacob's Ladder and its weird, broken, egotistical, amazing inhabitants... the ending is weak, but the trip there is terrific)
  26. China Mieville, Perdido Street Station (8, very engrossing but strangely unfinished love affair with a fantasy city and, incidentally, what happens to its inhabitants. Mieville always feels like he's trying a little too hard, somehow... even though he really is that smart)
  27. Steve Krug, Don't Make Me Think (5, mostly trite but occasionally useful overpriced book on web design principles)
  28. Neal Asher, Africa Zero (6, I need to remember not to trust book jacket blurbs. Boring and derivative story of post-apocalyptic Africa, mostly as told by a "white" cyborg and his genetically modified creations)
  29. Richard Matheson, I Am Legend (7, dated but gripping story, though I think the movie was a better medium for this story, in all honesty. The short stories accompanying this edition were extremely uneven, but some were quite good)
  30. G. C. Edmondson, The Aluminium Man (4, nearly unreadably wretched 70's eco-sci-fi. Noble indians, free love, and some other claptrap I forgot as soon as the book was over. At least it was short...)
  31. Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan, The Gathering Storm* (8, reread before Dragon*Con and before the new book comes out. Still good, spotted a few more ideosyncracies, but overall it held up)
  32. China Mieville, The Scar (7, unsatisfying shaggy dog story that starts off attempting to be another 'travelogue' of the setting, which frankly doesn't make much sense, and drifts off into a world-spanning plot that... just ends up going nowhere, literally)
  33. Frank Herbert, The Dragon in the Sea (8, thank goodness this story makes more sense here than the snippet of it that shows up in his short-story collection Eye. Taut psychological sci-fi about a nuclear submarine, treachery, war, and oil)
  34. China Mieville, Iron Council (7.5, still long but tighter than the first two New Crobuzon stories, and a fantastic second half. I wish he hadn't started quite so in media res though, as the characters withhold things from the reader for No Good Reason, repeatedly)
  35. Homer (trans. by Robert Fagles), The Iliad (8, very engrossing translation that sacrifices a bit of poetry for readability)
  36. Roger Ransom, The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been (7.5, well-researched but surprisingly brief look at some of ways things might have gone if the Civil War had ended in 1865 with an armistice; the epilogue seemed totally unnecessary, but the appendices were good)
  37. Stephen King, Under The Dome (7, ripping good yarn about a mysteriously isolated town, that is surprisingly NOT overlong, but the typical King ending is typically weak, and the good/bad guys are getting a little repetitive, if you've read things like The Mist)
  38. Stephen King et al, The Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill (7, slender but grimly satisfying end to the prequel comics)
  39. Michio Kaku, Physics of the Impossible (8, good if surprisingly superficial look at technology from science fiction that could be, will be, and probably won't be possible in the future. I wish he'd delved a bit deeper into what the possibilities are for some of these, or the reasons behind the impossibilities, but overall he whetted my appetite for modern physics well)
  40. John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In (8, disturbing story about how dysfunctional *everybody* is in Sweden, and a vampire that happens to get in the way of it all for a time; good and engaging despite the occasional translation pitfalls)
  41. Lawrence Watt-Evans, Nightside City (6, disappointing sci-fi detective story with some interesting moments, but overall I couldn't wait for it to be over, much like the last thing I read by Watt-Evans)
  42. Peter Watts, Starfish (8.5, deliciously dysfunctional tale of undersea geothermal power plants, psychotic line staff, and the people who both fuck them over and need them; not easily summarized, to say the least, but worth the ride)
  43. Peter Watts, Maelstrom (8, slightly less tightly focused than its predecessor but no less gripping, the climax of Starfish leads its plot device above shore here; character and world are king, but it moves right along toward the third book(s)
  44. Stephen Gould, Jumper: Griffin's Story (7, slightly repetitive movie-tie-in book that changes the universe to account for things we see in the film. Starts out interesting, but ends up treading mostly the same water as the first two books, but with less of a sense of fun)
  45. David Hajdu, The Ten-Cent Plague (8.5, excellent summary of the panic about comics in the twentieth century, marred only by an abrupt ending with little description of the aftermath, and a tendency to wander along the timeline)
  46. Peter Watts, Behemoth: β-Max (6.5, wordy and unfocused first-half of the final novel of the series; characterization falls down a bit here, which is a shame since it is one of Watts' strengths)
  47. Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, Towers of Midnight (9 for story, 8 for dialog and pacing, 4 for copyediting. Now I wish I'd waited to get a later edition; the editing fell off a cliff in this book, but the story clips right along, and there are several cheering/gasping moments)
  48. Peter Watts, Behemoth: Seppuku (7.5, overall much better than the first half but I have to agree that this would have been better off as a tightly-written single book. The ending is intriguing, and the trip there contains some of the old magic from Starfish/Maelstrom)
  49. Dan Savage, Skipping Towards Gomorrah (8, side-splittingly funny look at morality and humanity through the lens of the seven deadly sins, which he tries to commit to the best of his ability. Could have used a bit of tightening in places, but Savage's rambly nature is also his strength)
  50. Timothy Zahn, Angelmass (4.5, terrible book with some minor potential about halfway through. the science is execrable, the characters are flat, and the plot is predictable. Zahn's Star Wars stuff was much better, possibly because he had a framework)
  51. Jim Butcher, Side Jobs (6 or 8 depending on the story. Butcher's conversational style suffers somewhat in the cramped environment of the short story, but a couple of the later stories really shine. He has trouble finding anybody's narrative voice except Harry, however.)
  52. Joe R. Lansdale, Flaming Zeppelins (5, trite and overlong pastiche of Wild West, steampunk, and talking animals)
  53. James Swallow, Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers (7, surprisingly good Star Trek novel, centered on the backstory of DS9)

Date: 2011-01-06 07:31 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I think I may have to check out #22.

Date: 2011-01-02 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You sir, seem very hard to please in your reading.

Date: 2011-01-03 03:28 am (UTC)
ext_3038: Red Panda with the captain "Oh Hai!" (hell yes)
From: [identity profile]
I probably am, actually. My ratings are NOT a bellcurve... very few things make the 8+ cut. Luckily, I hardly ever read (well, finish) anything under 5...

Date: 2011-01-03 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As someone whose yearly seasonal reading includes two of the novels mentioned in your list, I am curious as to which version of Frankenstein you have read. While this may seem an odd question, it must be pointed out that Mrs. Shelley, in 1831, edited and rewrote her initial tome into quite a different form than what was initially published in her initial 1818, three-volume edition. If you have read the later edition, I highly recommend the earlier one. In any event, I also highly recommend the editions of this one and of Dracula annotated by Leonard Wolf; the introductions and annotations go a long way to aiding in the appreciation not only of the works themselves but also of the literary styles from whence they sprang. They also provide nice breaks from the literature, which has a tendency to get pretty thick at times.

Date: 2011-01-03 05:20 am (UTC)
ext_3038: Red Panda with the captain "Oh Hai!" (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Hrm. It's not exactly clear what version it is - it includes both an Author's Introduction and a Preface, the latter of which appears to be in-character. The Author's Introduction makes reference to some "changes of style" in a revision, and is dated 1831, so probably it's that later edition you spoke of.

Date: 2011-01-03 02:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I totally second the Leonard Wolf comment. His stand-alone books speak volumes as well, if you like that sort of thing.

I love, love, love Dracula, and Frankenstein runs a close second. I agree the book is hard to stomach -- what an ass Frankenstein is, eh? His creation is anything but a monster despite what Hollywood says, poor neglected and shunned critter. (And vegetarian. :-))

Date: 2011-01-03 03:18 pm (UTC)
ext_3038: Red Panda with the captain "Oh Hai!" (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, much of my displeasure with that book was the utter distate for the 'protagonist'. Victor is in that class of unsympathetic main characters that can turn me off a book about as fast as anything... (unfortunately, wretched science also is high on the list, so classics suffer there too).

The monster was indeed fascinating. I was pleased to see that Peter Boyle's Young Frankenstein was more than just a pretty face. ;)
Edited Date: 2011-01-03 03:18 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-03 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, see, that's one of the ways I think Shelley showed her true genius. She knew that the science bit was too much for her, that she didn't really understand it, so Frankenstein tells Captain Walton that he won't tell him the particulars of how he made his creation come to life (although this seems to be one of the main points of Hollywood adaptations). Genius. Instead of Shelley fumbling through science, her anti-hero claims to not want anyone to duplicate his awful experiment. Genius, I tell you!

Date: 2011-01-03 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What an excellent list! We only share one book this year. You make me consider giving Jim Butcher another chance. I thought the first in the series was quite ok but kinda cheesy. Maybe there is more to it.

Date: 2011-01-05 06:11 am (UTC)
ext_3038: Red Panda with the captain "Oh Hai!" (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, Butcher's Dresden Files is always cheesy... but it does get decidedly better about 3 books in, IMO.

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