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Highlights and Lowlights - July&August 2021
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Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2021-09-05 16:18:50 UTC
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Highlights and Lowlights - July&August 2021
In appreciation of how I've benefitted from recommendations & info
here over the years, I have a low-level goal to add more on-topic content.
I’m aiming to do this type of post every couple of months, with this being
the fourth one.
Thanks for these!
I think there are no spoilers this time, not even minor ones. If something
does seem spoiler-ish, it happens early in the book in question and is
front-and-center.
Below is a slightly augmented list of what I read in July&August, with a
“+” are good, and more “+” are better
“-“ are not good, and more “-“ are worse
Books are listed in reverse chronological order from how I read them.
I’m happy to answer questions about anything on the list.
Highlight - Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
Lowlight - Well, hm
nothing here was disappointing or unenjoyable,
so I guess there’s no reason to single anything out.
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Question: One point of confusion - Silverberg mentions that a Tiptree story
was in the top 15, but there is no Tiptree story is in this collection. Does
anyone know what happened there?
I know I read and enjoyed the SF Hall of Fame volumes, but this I had
missed. Looking at the TOC, it seems light on the "Weird Tales" crowd,
in particular no Howard, Lovecraft or CA Smith. I would not have picked
that Fafhrd & TGM story above a number of others for sure, and I was
non-plussed by "Bears Discover Fire", but there is definitely some stuff
I liked in there, and it's probably worth me reading the rest.
(++) Protector - Niven
First-time read - one of those odd gaps in how/when I came to the field. It
was very good, the only minor knock being how slow I was to get used to
Roy Truesdale in the middle of the book. (That’s on me, not Niven, of
course.) Once Roy & Alice found Brennan, things really zipped along. I
really enjoyed the fast pace and the self-contained nature (while leaving
things open for sequels, of course). I’m not sure an editor would let this
story be told the same way nowadays.
I have very few memories of this other than Brennan got a raw deal, but that's
the Pak for you.
(++) Miro Hetzel, Effectuator - Vance
I’m filling in the gaps of Vance books I have missed. Set in the Gaean
Reach, this one collects both Miro Hetzel stories into one volume - The
Dogtown Tourist Agency, and Freitzke’s Turn. As hoped, it’s very
Vance-like, and very good.
This is in my SBR, and I really ought to move it up as it's been a while
since I Vanced.
(++) Trade Secret - Lee & Miller [Liaden - This is the 12th one I’ve read, all
pretty much in publishing order.]
Trade Secret is the second book featuring Jethri Gobelyn, the first being
Balance of Trade. This one picks up almost immediately where Balance of
Trade leaves off, and further chronicles Jethri’s growth and progression as
a young adult who has just become the first Terran to become an
apprentice to a Liaden trader. He is tangled up in both Liaden and Terran
situations, including at least one that entangles both cultures. Very
enjoyable characters, interactions, development, and world-building. I’ll
probably choose Fledgling and Saltation next.
Another good book. I think there were clues to link it with the Theo books
but as yet we have not learned the denoument of Jethri's story.
July
(+++) Oath of Gold - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #3]
(+++) Divided Allegiance - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #2]
(++++) Sheepfarmer’s Daughter - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #1]
These three were great - I really enjoyed the characters Moon created
here, especially Paks herself. I enjoyed Sheepfarmer’s Daughter so much
that I immediately read the next two. (I usually spread out series entries.)
Enough people have praised these books that I really ought to move them up
too.
(++) A Darker Magic - Stewart [Starship’s Mage #10]
This entry is primarily focused on Roslyn Chambers, as Damien
Montgomery is currently restricted to Mars - communicating from afar,
not on missions, etc. Plot-wise, it reads a lot like the earlier Damien
stories, just with Roslyn as the protagonist. However, Roslyn is very much
a different character in a different environment. There are plot & character
progressions, including an interesting revelation near the end. I’m looking
forward to the next one.
I've enjoyed his Duchy of Terra books modulo a few of his tics -- I probably
ought to give these a try.
(++) A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking - T.Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)
14-yr-old Mona is a minor mage, whose meager wizard talents apply
only to baking. In a standard medieval setting, Mona and a couple others
uncover a plot to depose the Duchess and take over the city. This is fun,
thoughtful, and has really nice voice&tone.
(++) Over the River & Through the Woods - Simak (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?25475
This was very enjoyable. 6 of the 8 stories were new to me, or perhaps
some of those 6 were forgotten by me. I read all 8 stories - the 2 familiar
ones were The Big Front Yard and The Grotto of the Dancing Deer (both
excellent). There’s a nice forward by Poul Anderson too. A couple of
these could properly be considered horror, but not of the blood-and-gore
type. They all have Simak’s distinctive voice - I struggle to think of anyone
similar.
Same comment as for the Moon -- I probably need to raise this one in the
queue as well.
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2021-09-05 16:20:30 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Highlights and Lowlights - July&August 2021
In appreciation of how I've benefitted from recommendations & info
here over the years, I have a low-level goal to add more on-topic content.
I’m aiming to do this type of post every couple of months, with this being
the fourth one.
Thanks for these!
I think there are no spoilers this time, not even minor ones. If something
does seem spoiler-ish, it happens early in the book in question and is
front-and-center.
Below is a slightly augmented list of what I read in July&August, with a
“+” are good, and more “+” are better
“-“ are not good, and more “-“ are worse
Books are listed in reverse chronological order from how I read them.
I’m happy to answer questions about anything on the list.
Highlight - Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
Lowlight - Well, hm
nothing here was disappointing or unenjoyable,
so I guess there’s no reason to single anything out.
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Question: One point of confusion - Silverberg mentions that a Tiptree story
was in the top 15, but there is no Tiptree story is in this collection. Does
anyone know what happened there?
I know I read and enjoyed the SF Hall of Fame volumes, but this I had
missed. Looking at the TOC, it seems light on the "Weird Tales" crowd,
in particular no Howard, Lovecraft or CA Smith. I would not have picked
that Fafhrd & TGM story above a number of others for sure, and I was
non-plussed by "Bears Discover Fire", but there is definitely some stuff
I liked in there, and it's probably worth me reading the rest.
(++) Protector - Niven
First-time read - one of those odd gaps in how/when I came to the field. It
was very good, the only minor knock being how slow I was to get used to
Roy Truesdale in the middle of the book. (That’s on me, not Niven, of
course.) Once Roy & Alice found Brennan, things really zipped along. I
really enjoyed the fast pace and the self-contained nature (while leaving
things open for sequels, of course). I’m not sure an editor would let this
story be told the same way nowadays.
I have very few memories of this other than Brennan got a raw deal, but that's
the Pak for you.
(++) Miro Hetzel, Effectuator - Vance
I’m filling in the gaps of Vance books I have missed. Set in the Gaean
Reach, this one collects both Miro Hetzel stories into one volume - The
Dogtown Tourist Agency, and Freitzke’s Turn. As hoped, it’s very
Vance-like, and very good.
This is in my SBR, and I really ought to move it up as it's been a while
since I Vanced.
(++) Trade Secret - Lee & Miller [Liaden - This is the 12th one I’ve
read, all
pretty much in publishing order.]
Trade Secret is the second book featuring Jethri Gobelyn, the first being
Balance of Trade. This one picks up almost immediately where Balance of
Trade leaves off, and further chronicles Jethri’s growth and progression as
a young adult who has just become the first Terran to become an
apprentice to a Liaden trader. He is tangled up in both Liaden and Terran
situations, including at least one that entangles both cultures. Very
enjoyable characters, interactions, development, and world-building. I’ll
probably choose Fledgling and Saltation next.
Another good book. I think there were clues to link it with the Theo books
but as yet we have not learned the denoument of Jethri's story.
July
(+++) Oath of Gold - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #3]
(+++) Divided Allegiance - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #2]
(++++) Sheepfarmer’s Daughter - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #1]
These three were great - I really enjoyed the characters Moon created
here, especially Paks herself. I enjoyed Sheepfarmer’s Daughter so much
that I immediately read the next two. (I usually spread out series entries.)
Enough people have praised these books that I really ought to move them up
too.
(++) A Darker Magic - Stewart [Starship’s Mage #10]
This entry is primarily focused on Roslyn Chambers, as Damien
Montgomery is currently restricted to Mars - communicating from afar,
not on missions, etc. Plot-wise, it reads a lot like the earlier Damien
stories, just with Roslyn as the protagonist. However, Roslyn is very much
a different character in a different environment. There are plot & character
progressions, including an interesting revelation near the end. I’m looking
forward to the next one.
I've enjoyed his Duchy of Terra books modulo a few of his tics -- I probably
ought to give these a try.
(++) A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking - T.Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)
14-yr-old Mona is a minor mage, whose meager wizard talents apply
only to baking. In a standard medieval setting, Mona and a couple others
uncover a plot to depose the Duchess and take over the city. This is fun,
thoughtful, and has really nice voice&tone.
(++) Over the River & Through the Woods - Simak (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?25475
This was very enjoyable. 6 of the 8 stories were new to me, or perhaps
some of those 6 were forgotten by me. I read all 8 stories - the 2 familiar
ones were The Big Front Yard and The Grotto of the Dancing Deer (both
excellent). There’s a nice forward by Poul Anderson too. A couple of
these could properly be considered horror, but not of the blood-and-gore
type. They all have Simak’s distinctive voice - I struggle to think
of anyone
similar.
Same comment as for the Moon -- I probably need to raise this one in the
queue as well.
OOPS, I meant this comment for Defensive Baking, not the Simak, though I
do like Simak.

Bad fingers!
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
James Nicoll
2021-09-05 16:48:29 UTC
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Permalink
(++) A Darker Magic - Stewart [Starship’s Mage #10]
This entry is primarily focused on Roslyn Chambers, as Damien
Montgomery is currently restricted to Mars - communicating from afar,
not on missions, etc. Plot-wise, it reads a lot like the earlier Damien
stories, just with Roslyn as the protagonist. However, Roslyn is very much
a different character in a different environment. There are plot & character
progressions, including an interesting revelation near the end. I’m looking
forward to the next one.
Stewart is local to me, so I am a bit embarassed that I still have not
got round to reading any of his books.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My tor pieces at https://www.tor.com/author/james-davis-nicoll/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Magewolf
2021-09-06 19:58:27 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
(++) A Darker Magic - Stewart [Starship’s Mage #10]
This entry is primarily focused on Roslyn Chambers, as Damien
Montgomery is currently restricted to Mars - communicating from afar,
not on missions, etc. Plot-wise, it reads a lot like the earlier
Damien stories, just with Roslyn as the protagonist. However, Roslyn
is very much a different character in a different environment. There
are plot & character progressions, including an interesting revelation
near the end. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Stewart is local to me, so I am a bit embarassed that I still have not
got round to reading any of his books.
He surely writes a ton of stuff. I've only read this one series, but I
expect to try a different one (and/or the spinoff subseries of this one)
some time.
The writing is plain and direct, and certainly doesn't get in the way.
It's also thoughtful, or at least, you can tell serious thought went
into what he's writing.
The series I'm reading is basically interstellar space opera, with some
mages integrated in. There aren't a ton of mages around. They have
limits on using their magic, suffering exhaustion after
not-all-that-much magic usage; and there are serious physical
consequences (including long-term or permanent) if they don't heed the
limits. For example, ships need mages to "jump" across space, but a mage
typically has to rest 8(?) hours after a jump.
Anyhow, to me, this series isn't great, but it's good, and I'm looking
forward to reading #11.
Tony
He has written a collaboration with Terry Mixon(Heart of Vengeance is the
first one and the only one I have read so far) that is very Traveller so
it might be of interest to James.

They use swords and pistols(mostly) for onboard ship combat with rather
loose laws in space. It also reads very much like Traveller character
generation with the main character ending his term as a free trader with
an event then changing over to mercenary and getting a ship. But of
course that leaves him very wealthy or dead broke depending on how you
look it. On one hand he owns a starship which is worth millions, on the
other hand he has no money and has a ship that needs a lot of work done
to it.
Michael F. Stemper
2021-09-05 17:38:05 UTC
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Permalink
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Interesting. Thirty years after he edited (what turned out to be) the
first volume of _The Science Fiction Hall of Fame_, he does the same for
fantasy. The cover says that it's courtesy of "Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of America". Is this a rebranding of "Science Fiction
Writers of America," under whose sponsorship the science fiction version
was published?
(++) Protector - Niven
First-time read - one of those odd gaps in how/when I came to the field.
Wow, lucky you! What other Known Space stuff is still pending for you?
<http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?684>
the only minor knock being how slow I was to get used to
Roy Truesdale in the middle of the book.
I don't follow you here. Was it his personality or just the fact that
a new character was introduced after two centuries or so, or the shift
in point of view?
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
(+) The Paradiso - Dante
I’d read Inferno and Purgatorio in the preceding summers, and so it
was time to read Paradiso this summer. In addition to the poem itself,
this enhanced volume included an extensive Intro, very extensive
Endnotes, and a wonderful section called “The Story in Brief“ — where
each canto gets a paragraph. All were helpful and illuminating, for if
I’d read the poem alone, I’d have missed and/or misunderstood a heck
of a lot. I found it very interesting, very educational, and even inspirational
in places.
Cool. I've never really read any poetry beyond the Nash or Milne level;
my eyes tend to roll back in my head when I try.
(++) Over the River & Through the Woods - Simak (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?25475
Thanks. Out of those, I've only read "The Big Front Yard", so it goes on
my list.
--
Michael F. Stemper
This post contains greater than 95% post-consumer bytes by weight.
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2021-09-05 18:21:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 12:38:05 -0500, "Michael F. Stemper"
Post by Michael F. Stemper
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Interesting. Thirty years after he edited (what turned out to be) the
first volume of _The Science Fiction Hall of Fame_, he does the same for
fantasy. The cover says that it's courtesy of "Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writers of America". Is this a rebranding of "Science Fiction
Writers of America," under whose sponsorship the science fiction version
was published?
SFWA added "and Fantasy" to their name late in the 20th century --
somewhere between 1987 and 1997, I don't remember exactly.
--
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
https://www.avast.com/antivirus
Tony Nance
2021-09-05 19:31:36 UTC
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Permalink
<some snipping for brevity>
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++) Protector - Niven
First-time read - one of those odd gaps in how/when I came to the field.
Wow, lucky you! What other Known Space stuff is still pending for you?
<http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?684>
I'd guess just about all of it. Let me check the link you provided (thanks).
Yeah, I think the only thing I've read there is The Borderland of Sol.
Post by Michael F. Stemper
the only minor knock being how slow I was to get used to
Roy Truesdale in the middle of the book.
I don't follow you here. Was it his personality or just the fact that
a new character was introduced after two centuries or so, or the shift
in point of view?
It was that Roy was coming across as a jerk, but I didn't think he
was supposed to; and then after enough pages went by, he wasn't
coming across as a jerk any more.
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
To my relief and mild surprise, I did like it. I was worried enough about
reading it that I put it off until July 2020.
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(+) The Paradiso - Dante
I’d read Inferno and Purgatorio in the preceding summers, and so it
was time to read Paradiso this summer. In addition to the poem itself,
this enhanced volume included an extensive Intro, very extensive
Endnotes, and a wonderful section called “The Story in Brief“ — where
each canto gets a paragraph. All were helpful and illuminating, for if
I’d read the poem alone, I’d have missed and/or misunderstood a heck
of a lot. I found it very interesting, very educational, and even inspirational
in places.
Cool. I've never really read any poetry beyond the Nash or Milne level;
my eyes tend to roll back in my head when I try.
Oh, welllllll...the poetry itself was actually my least favorite part, and
I skimmed some of it in places -- or perhaps better said, my eyes glossed
over some lines & stanzas, and I didn't go back for them.
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++) Over the River & Through the Woods - Simak (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?25475
Thanks. Out of those, I've only read "The Big Front Yard", so it goes on
my list.
It's good stuff. His story in the Fantasy Hall of Fame volume
("The Ghost of a Model T") is also good if you can turn it up.

Tony
Michael F. Stemper
2021-09-06 18:07:16 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Tony Nance
Post by Michael F. Stemper
the only minor knock being how slow I was to get used to
Roy Truesdale in the middle of the book.
I don't follow you here. Was it his personality or just the fact that
a new character was introduced after two centuries or so, or the shift
in point of view?
It was that Roy was coming across as a jerk, but I didn't think he
was supposed to; and then after enough pages went by, he wasn't
coming across as a jerk any more.
Okay, so his personality. However, I don't recall him being a jerk, I
just recall him being a victim and then taking action to end his
victimhood. Maybe I'm a jerk so his behavior seemed find to me.

I'll watch out for this the next time that I read it.
Post by Tony Nance
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(+) The Paradiso - Dante
I’d read Inferno and Purgatorio in the preceding summers, and so it
was time to read Paradiso this summer. In addition to the poem itself,
this enhanced volume included an extensive Intro, very extensive
Endnotes, and a wonderful section called “The Story in Brief“ — where
each canto gets a paragraph. All were helpful and illuminating, for if
I’d read the poem alone, I’d have missed and/or misunderstood a heck
of a lot. I found it very interesting, very educational, and even inspirational
in places.
Cool. I've never really read any poetry beyond the Nash or Milne level;
my eyes tend to roll back in my head when I try.
Oh, welllllll...the poetry itself was actually my least favorite part, and
I skimmed some of it in places -- or perhaps better said, my eyes glossed
over some lines & stanzas, and I didn't go back for them.
Ah, I appear not to have parsed your original post properly. I missed
the part about the paragraph/canto bit. That's really enough to get the
whole story?
Post by Tony Nance
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++) Over the River & Through the Woods - Simak (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?25475
Thanks. Out of those, I've only read "The Big Front Yard", so it goes on
my list.
When I went to do this, I found that I'd already done so, based on your
post about it in early August.
--
Michael F. Stemper
Indians scattered on dawn's highway bleeding;
Ghosts crowd the young child's fragile eggshell mind.
Tony Nance
2021-09-06 19:36:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Tony Nance
Post by Michael F. Stemper
the only minor knock being how slow I was to get used to
Roy Truesdale in the middle of the book.
I don't follow you here. Was it his personality or just the fact that
a new character was introduced after two centuries or so, or the shift
in point of view?
It was that Roy was coming across as a jerk, but I didn't think he
was supposed to; and then after enough pages went by, he wasn't
coming across as a jerk any more.
Okay, so his personality. However, I don't recall him being a jerk, I
just recall him being a victim and then taking action to end his
victimhood. Maybe I'm a jerk so his behavior seemed find to me.
<CLICK> Yes..."victimhood". That was it. Thank you.
Post by Michael F. Stemper
I'll watch out for this the next time that I read it.
Oh, it's no big deal - and again, it's all me.
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Tony Nance
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(+) The Paradiso - Dante
I’d read Inferno and Purgatorio in the preceding summers, and so it
was time to read Paradiso this summer. In addition to the poem itself,
this enhanced volume included an extensive Intro, very extensive
Endnotes, and a wonderful section called “The Story in Brief“ — where
each canto gets a paragraph. All were helpful and illuminating, for if
I’d read the poem alone, I’d have missed and/or misunderstood a heck
of a lot. I found it very interesting, very educational, and even inspirational
in places.
Cool. I've never really read any poetry beyond the Nash or Milne level;
my eyes tend to roll back in my head when I try.
Oh, welllllll...the poetry itself was actually my least favorite part, and
I skimmed some of it in places -- or perhaps better said, my eyes glossed
over some lines & stanzas, and I didn't go back for them.
Ah, I appear not to have parsed your original post properly. I missed
the part about the paragraph/canto bit. That's really enough to get the
whole story?
Oh yeah, no doubt - the Intro (including "The Story in Brief") takes up
roughly 70 pages, and the Endnotes -- which explain every non-obvious
word, allusion, and reference -- take up another 168 pages.(!) The poem
itself, including generous spacing, and illustrations by Gustave Dore,
takes up 177 pages.

The "algorithm" I used to read was:
- Read the full Introduction
For i = 1 to 33
- Read the paragraph about Canto <i> in "The Story in Brief"
- Read the Endnotes for Canto <i>
- Read Canto <i>, sometimes flipping back again to the Endnotes.
Next i

And some lines/stanzas got glossed over.

Oh, just fyi, this is the Barnes & Noble Classics Edition, with Introduction
and Notes by Peter Bondanella and Julia Conaway Bondanaella. The
translation is by Henry Longworth Longfellow.(!)

It was a mix of work and enjoyment, but it was well worth doing.
I don't yet have any idea what "classic" I will read next summer.

Tony
Titus G
2021-09-06 04:50:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
snip
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
My reaction was the same as Tony Nance's. I gave 5 stars to Revelation
Space and Chasm City with 4 for the other two. I also really enjoyed
Diamond Dogs. What was the second you tried and did you enjoy that?
Michael F. Stemper
2021-09-06 21:27:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Titus G
snip
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
My reaction was the same as Tony Nance's. I gave 5 stars to Revelation
Space and Chasm City with 4 for the other two. I also really enjoyed
Diamond Dogs. What was the second you tried and did you enjoy that?
I've since read:
_Chasm City_
_Pushing Ice_
_Redemption Ark_
_Absolution Gap_

These were all a bunch of work for me to read, but they paid off in
the end. That was not the case with RS, where I never knew what was
even going on except that some people were in a big space ship.
--
Michael F. Stemper
No animals were harmed in the composition of this message.
Titus G
2021-09-21 17:41:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Titus G
snip
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
My reaction was the same as Tony Nance's. I gave 5 stars to Revelation
Space and Chasm City with 4 for the other two. I also really enjoyed
Diamond Dogs. What was the second you tried and did you enjoy that?
  _Chasm City_
  _Pushing Ice_
  _Redemption Ark_
  _Absolution Gap_
These were all a bunch of work for me to read, but they paid off in
the end. That was not the case with RS, where I never knew what was
even going on except that some people were in a big space ship.
I see there is now a fifth book, Inhibitor Phase.
Jerry Brown
2021-09-21 20:42:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Titus G
Post by Titus G
snip
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
My reaction was the same as Tony Nance's. I gave 5 stars to Revelation
Space and Chasm City with 4 for the other two. I also really enjoyed
Diamond Dogs. What was the second you tried and did you enjoy that?
  _Chasm City_
  _Pushing Ice_
  _Redemption Ark_
  _Absolution Gap_
These were all a bunch of work for me to read, but they paid off in
the end. That was not the case with RS, where I never knew what was
even going on except that some people were in a big space ship.
I see there is now a fifth book, Inhibitor Phase.
I prefer his non-RS books, and wish he'd follow up Pushing Ice,
Century Rain or Terminal City.

Not going to happen, apparently.
--
Jerry Brown

A cat may look at a king
(but probably won't bother)
Titus G
2021-09-23 05:33:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jerry Brown
Post by Titus G
Post by Titus G
snip
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
My reaction was the same as Tony Nance's. I gave 5 stars to Revelation
Space and Chasm City with 4 for the other two. I also really enjoyed
Diamond Dogs. What was the second you tried and did you enjoy that?
  _Chasm City_
  _Pushing Ice_
  _Redemption Ark_
  _Absolution Gap_
These were all a bunch of work for me to read, but they paid off in
the end. That was not the case with RS, where I never knew what was
even going on except that some people were in a big space ship.
I see there is now a fifth book, Inhibitor Phase.
I prefer his non-RS books, and wish he'd follow up Pushing Ice,
Century Rain or Terminal City.
Not going to happen, apparently.
I have _House of Suns_ and _Galactic North_ unread but will probably
read _Inhibitor Phase_ first.
Are the books you mentioned standalone but so good you want more or are
they unfinished stories?
Jerry Brown
2021-09-25 06:30:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Titus G
Post by Jerry Brown
Post by Titus G
I see there is now a fifth book, Inhibitor Phase.
I prefer his non-RS books, and wish he'd follow up Pushing Ice,
Century Rain or Terminal City.
Not going to happen, apparently.
I have _House of Suns_ and _Galactic North_ unread but will probably
read _Inhibitor Phase_ first.
Are the books you mentioned standalone but so good you want more or are
they unfinished stories?
"Pushing Ice" and "Terminal City" left me wanting direct sequels to
see what happens next, and I'd like to see more stories in the
"Century Rain" continuity
--
Jerry Brown

A cat may look at a king
(but probably won't bother)
Titus G
2021-09-26 02:18:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jerry Brown
<snip>
Post by Titus G
Post by Jerry Brown
Post by Titus G
I see there is now a fifth book, Inhibitor Phase.
I prefer his non-RS books, and wish he'd follow up Pushing Ice,
Century Rain or Terminal City.
Not going to happen, apparently.
I have _House of Suns_ and _Galactic North_ unread but will probably
read _Inhibitor Phase_ first.
Are the books you mentioned standalone but so good you want more or are
they unfinished stories?
"Pushing Ice" and "Terminal City" left me wanting direct sequels to
see what happens next, and I'd like to see more stories in the
"Century Rain" continuity
I'm sure I will try them one day. I have just read his short story _A
Spy in Europa_ in which the spy is required to go under the ice. It was
great. Ruthless pragmatism, biochemistry, betrayal and astronomical detail.
Jaimie Vandenbergh
2021-09-21 23:53:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Titus G
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Titus G
snip
Post by Michael F. Stemper
(++ -) Absolution Gap - Reynolds
This was good - about the same as Redemption Ark, but not as good as
Revelation Space or Chasm City.
You liked _Revelation Space_? It was my first exposure to Reynolds, and
if Andrew Wheeler hadn't said "try another one", it would have been my
last.
My reaction was the same as Tony Nance's. I gave 5 stars to Revelation
Space and Chasm City with 4 for the other two. I also really enjoyed
Diamond Dogs. What was the second you tried and did you enjoy that?
_Chasm City_
_Pushing Ice_
_Redemption Ark_
_Absolution Gap_
These were all a bunch of work for me to read, but they paid off in
the end. That was not the case with RS, where I never knew what was
even going on except that some people were in a big space ship.
I see there is now a fifth book, Inhibitor Phase.
Oh good, I was looking to do a re-read and that seals it.

Cheers - Jaimie
--
If you mean 'am I serious about what I do', the answer is yes.
If you mean 'am I serious about how I do it', the answer is no.
Tony Nance
2021-09-05 20:14:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
<some snipping for brevity>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Question: One point of confusion - Silverberg mentions that a Tiptree story
was in the top 15, but there is no Tiptree story is in this collection. Does
anyone know what happened there?
I know I read and enjoyed the SF Hall of Fame volumes, but this I had
missed. Looking at the TOC, it seems light on the "Weird Tales" crowd,
in particular no Howard, Lovecraft or CA Smith. I would not have picked
that Fafhrd & TGM story above a number of others for sure, and I was
non-plussed by "Bears Discover Fire", but there is definitely some stuff
I liked in there, and it's probably worth me reading the rest.
Yeah, some of the selections and omissions surprised me, but they're the
results of a pretty straightforward voting process by SFWA members.
Of the 30, maybe 4-5 were not to my liking and/or pretty forgettable,
which is fewer than I would have expected.
<some snipping for brevity>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
(++) A Darker Magic - Stewart [Starship’s Mage #10]
This entry is primarily focused on Roslyn Chambers, as Damien
Montgomery is currently restricted to Mars - communicating from afar,
not on missions, etc. Plot-wise, it reads a lot like the earlier Damien
stories, just with Roslyn as the protagonist. However, Roslyn is very much
a different character in a different environment. There are plot & character
progressions, including an interesting revelation near the end. I’m looking
forward to the next one.
I've enjoyed his Duchy of Terra books modulo a few of his tics -- I probably
ought to give these a try.
Interesting! I'm 99% sure I tried Stewart due to your summaries here.

<some snipping for brevity>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
(++) A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking - T.Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)
14-yr-old Mona is a minor mage, whose meager wizard talents apply
only to baking. In a standard medieval setting, Mona and a couple others
uncover a plot to depose the Duchess and take over the city. This is fun,
thoughtful, and has really nice voice&tone.
Same comment as for the Moon -- I probably need to raise this one in the
queue as well.
After reading her (completed) webcomic Digger and two books now,
I think I just like how she writes & tells stories, and I'll seek out another
one of hers soon.
- Tony
Titus G
2021-09-06 04:35:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Highlights and Lowlights - July&August 2021
In appreciation of how I've benefitted from recommendations & info
here over the years, I have a low-level goal to add more on-topic content.
I’m aiming to do this type of post every couple of months, with this being
the fourth one.
Thanks for these!
Yes. I enjoy peoples' opinions and comments on their reading more than I
do formal reviews.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Highlight - Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
snip
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
July
(+++) Oath of Gold - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #3]
(+++) Divided Allegiance - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #2]
(++++) Sheepfarmer’s Daughter - Moon [The Deed of Paksenarrion #1]
These three were great - I really enjoyed the characters Moon created
here, especially Paks herself. I enjoyed Sheepfarmer’s Daughter so much
that I immediately read the next two. (I usually spread out series entries.)
Enough people have praised these books that I really ought to move them up
too.
I now have a copy of Sheepfarmer’s Daughter.
Michael F. Stemper
2021-09-06 20:54:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Titus G
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Highlight - Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
Enough people have praised these books that I really ought to move them up
too.
I now have a copy of Sheepfarmer’s Daughter.
This title keeps reminding me of "Where the men are men, and ..."

Thus, I share.
--
Michael F. Stemper
Galatians 3:28
Robert Carnegie
2021-09-06 17:20:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Highlights and Lowlights - July&August 2021
In appreciation of how I've benefitted from recommendations & info
here over the years, I have a low-level goal to add more on-topic content.
I’m aiming to do this type of post every couple of months, with this being
the fourth one.
I think there are no spoilers this time, not even minor ones. If something
does seem spoiler-ish, it happens early in the book in question and is
front-and-center.
Below is a slightly augmented list of what I read in July&August, with a
“+” are good, and more “+” are better
“-“ are not good, and more “-“ are worse
Books are listed in reverse chronological order from how I read them.
I’m happy to answer questions about anything on the list.
Highlight - Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
Lowlight - Well, hm…nothing here was disappointing or unenjoyable,
so I guess there’s no reason to single anything out.
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Question: One point of confusion - Silverberg mentions that a Tiptree story
was in the top 15, but there is no Tiptree story is in this collection. Does
anyone know what happened there?
Nope. But what exactly did Bob say?

I think all the 30 stories are listed as by named authors who
are not Alice Sheldon, Racoona Sheldon, or Alice Bailey and/or
Hastings. But maybe one of them, expanded, would be secretly
a collaboration. Or not. Maybe ISFDB doesn't know all.

Maybe the voting didn't consider story availability
and it was in a collection this year already. I assume
that that would be a complication.

I checked on "Basileus" as by... Robert Silverberg,
which appeared in a lot of collections, so not a ringer.
A slightly interesting detail does appear in ISFDB
that the "Locus" short story poll for 1984 was won by
James Tiptree's "Beyond the Dead Reef" while
Robert Silverberg took 20th place - and 11th and 13th,
but with titles that are sci fi or I'm a Klingon. ;-)
Tony Nance
2021-09-06 19:15:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Highlights and Lowlights - July&August 2021
In appreciation of how I've benefitted from recommendations & info
here over the years, I have a low-level goal to add more on-topic content.
I’m aiming to do this type of post every couple of months, with this being
the fourth one.
I think there are no spoilers this time, not even minor ones. If something
does seem spoiler-ish, it happens early in the book in question and is
front-and-center.
Below is a slightly augmented list of what I read in July&August, with a
“+” are good, and more “+” are better
“-“ are not good, and more “-“ are worse
Books are listed in reverse chronological order from how I read them.
I’m happy to answer questions about anything on the list.
Highlight - Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
Lowlight - Well, hm…nothing here was disappointing or unenjoyable,
so I guess there’s no reason to single anything out.
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Question: One point of confusion - Silverberg mentions that a Tiptree story
was in the top 15, but there is no Tiptree story is in this collection. Does
anyone know what happened there?
Nope. But what exactly did Bob say?
Let me check...yeah, he says:
"...
The fifteen most popular stories, ranked by individual vote
totals, were:

...
10. "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever", James Tiptree, Jr.
...

..."

He had also said earlier that Tiptree was the 9th most popular
author, based on the aggregate vote totals.
I think all the 30 stories are listed as by named authors who
are not Alice Sheldon, Racoona Sheldon, or Alice Bailey and/or
Hastings. But maybe one of them, expanded, would be secretly
a collaboration. Or not. Maybe ISFDB doesn't know all.
Sure, all possible, but seems unlikely. And I'm fine not knowing,
it was just a curiosity.
Maybe the voting didn't consider story availability
and it was in a collection this year already. I assume
that that would be a complication.
Let's see...isfdb says "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever" did not
appear in any collections between 1993 and 2000 -- and not
in any English language collections between 1993 and 2004.
(The Fantasy Hall of Fame was published in 1998.)

Tony
<snip rest>
Robert Carnegie
2021-09-07 09:29:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tony Nance
Highlights and Lowlights - July&August 2021
In appreciation of how I've benefitted from recommendations & info
here over the years, I have a low-level goal to add more on-topic content.
I’m aiming to do this type of post every couple of months, with this being
the fourth one.
I think there are no spoilers this time, not even minor ones. If something
does seem spoiler-ish, it happens early in the book in question and is
front-and-center.
Below is a slightly augmented list of what I read in July&August, with a
“+” are good, and more “+” are better
“-“ are not good, and more “-“ are worse
Books are listed in reverse chronological order from how I read them.
I’m happy to answer questions about anything on the list.
Highlight - Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
Lowlight - Well, hm…nothing here was disappointing or unenjoyable,
so I guess there’s no reason to single anything out.
August
(++) The Fantasy Hall of Fame ed. by Silverberg (I read this off and on
between the previous novels)
Story list can be seen here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?39602
30 stories ranging from 1939 to 1990, and presented in chronological
order. About 20 were new to me (including a couple I’d never even heard
of), and almost all of the 30 are distinctive and memorable. Silverberg’s
forward explains the selection process (voting from SFWA members, 15
winners and 15 “runners-up”, one story per author, etc.)
Question: One point of confusion - Silverberg mentions that a Tiptree story
was in the top 15, but there is no Tiptree story is in this collection. Does
anyone know what happened there?
Nope. But what exactly did Bob say?
"...
The fifteen most popular stories, ranked by individual vote
...
10. "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever", James Tiptree, Jr.
...
..."
He had also said earlier that Tiptree was the 9th most popular
author, based on the aggregate vote totals.
I think all the 30 stories are listed as by named authors who
are not Alice Sheldon, Racoona Sheldon, or Alice Bailey and/or
Hastings. But maybe one of them, expanded, would be secretly
a collaboration. Or not. Maybe ISFDB doesn't know all.
Sure, all possible, but seems unlikely. And I'm fine not knowing,
it was just a curiosity.
Maybe the voting didn't consider story availability
and it was in a collection this year already. I assume
that that would be a complication.
Let's see...isfdb says "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever" did not
appear in any collections between 1993 and 2000 -- and not
in any English language collections between 1993 and 2004.
(The Fantasy Hall of Fame was published in 1998.)
Hmm, I suppose that leaves a movie rights issue and
_The Last Dangerous Visions_......
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