vik_thor: (Pen)
(and mini reviews on some of them)

1: Skin Game by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, was the one I had the most fun reading. I think I have read the first book in the series, and a couple of comic series by Dynamite. [ profile] javarod has the whole series, or at least most of it, and I am planning on reading the rest of the series. I've read a couple of mentions of adding series and sagas to the Hugo ballots. Dresden Files would definitely qualify for saga.)

2: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Also enjoyable, though she overdid it on the names/titles a bit. There was a glossary at the back, though didn't know till I was done with the book (read e-book.) Steampunk level type world. Seems to have been a one shot. So I may switch these two at some point before the ballots are final.)

3: Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu) Moderately interesting, and already reviewed.

4: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie not bad, already reviewed.

5: No Award

Not voting for The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson. I was unable to actually finish it.

Best Novella (17,500-40,000 word stories)

1: "Flow" by Arlan Andrews Sr. (Analog, November 2014) Interesting. would be interested in reading more set in this world.

2: No Award

I am not voting for the other 4 nominees. 3(!) by John C. Wright and 1 by Tom Kratman. Basically, a boycott of Castalia House, the main backer of the Rabid Puppies slate. I wonder when the last time one author had a total of 5 works in the Hugo ballot. Something tells me whenever it was, the stories were MUCH better than Mr. Wright's.

Best Novelette (7500-17,500 word stories)
Not done reading them all yet.
Mostly they have been OK. Not really outstanding. Will probably vote no award, after some and before others. Will use all 6 slots.

Best Short Story (<7500 words)
Not done yet, includes 2 from Castalia House (including another by Mr. Wright) which will not be voted on.

I have also read proposals to consolidate the short fiction categories a bit, which would probably be good idea.
vik_thor: (barcode)
Finally finished this yesterday. Checked it out from the St. Louis County Library 09 May 2015.

I'm not quite sure what to say about it.

It is interesting. I don't know if I would have picked it up if it hadn't been a Hugo nominee.

It takes place during the Cultural Revolution in China and the present day. Radio Astronomy plays a part, as well as a VR computer game. The alien invasion is not explicit, and is actually only spelled out and confirmed in the last few chapters.


4.5 5.5 out of 10

ETA: As I was driving to the library to return it, I realized that in some ways, the writing reminded me of Isaac Asimov. Mostly in that there is not a lot of 'action' but a lot more of the characters talking
vik_thor: (Pen)
Well, I finally finished Ancillary Sword, after getting (and reading) Ancillary Justice by mistake first. (Though since Ancillary Justice did win the Hugo last year, not as big a mistake as I first thought.) They are the first 2 books in the Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie.

I haven't been reading a lot of new Science Fiction / Fantasy lately, just rereading older stuff, or getting used books. So I hadn't heard of her before, even though she lives here in Saint Louis.

I will say, I am a bit surprised that Ancillary Justice won the Hugo last year, though that may be a bit unfair, without reading the other nominees. I had some trouble getting through it, because of the structure. It is written in two time periods, the present and ~ 20 years BP, with occasional glimpses to ~1000 years BP. It wasn't bad, per se, just occasionally confusing.

Ancillary Sword is a standard style novel, and I was able to get through it quicker. I did enjoy it, and am looking forward to the third book in the series, Ancillary Mercy.

It is a space opera style series.

The main concept/idea behind the universe is that AIs that control the worships of the Radch Empire use bodies of conquered people as mobile units, or ancillaries. This is played with in Justice, when the ship Justice of Toren gives multiple viewpoints all while using I. Each conquered planet has to give so many of its citizens to be ancillaries. These are adults who are stuck in suspended animation until needed, then revived and implanted with the needed hardware. Justice of Toren is the main character, in the body of One Esk Nineteen now known as Breq.
The Radch Empire is ruled by a 3,000 year old multiple clone who uses the same technology.

Another interesting aspect of the book, the Radch do not distinguish people by gender. Mrs. Leckie uses the female personal pronouns throughout which definitely gives a different flavor to it. In Justice, one of the characters is described (in another language) as a male/him, but in every other reference in the books her/she is used.

In general, they are enjoyable reads. I give Justice 5 out of 10, and Sword 7 out of 10.

Is Ancillary Sword good enough to win Ann Lecke the Best Novel Hugo two years in a row for the same series? Before reading the other nominees, I will say that the others are going to have to be truly bad for me to vote Sword in first place.

(And yes, I know I need to work on my reviewing. :)


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