vik_thor: (Pen)
Well, after about of month of trying to read The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, I finally gave up on it a couple days ago.
I first checked it out from the library on 2 June, and renewed it once. I then loaded the ebook version from the Hugo packet onto my Kindle, and gave up at less than 50%. (At 672 pages, I think I gave it a more than fair shot @ ~45%)

Every chapter focuses on a different character than the one before it, and while there there are repeating characters, every character is involved with a different plot, it seems. I just pulled it up on my Kindle, I gave up after Chapter 59, of which there had been around 30 main/viewpoint characters, of which several of them have only on chapter so far. and 60 introduces yet another viewpoint character. Chapter 59 had introduced a viewpoint character, and her next chapter is 139, the last one in the book. (The chapters are named after the main character in the chapter.) That's not saying that they are brand new characters. They've been introduced previously in previous chapters, interacting with that chapter's character…

I will say that several of the characters do seem to have been featured in Mr. Anderson's previous 7(!) book series, The Saga of Seven Suns (Each of which is ~500 pages), so maybe we got to know them there…

I have not yet decided if I will vote for No Award before this or not.
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.

Meh.

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. :)
vik_thor: (Asgard)
Seph and I will be attending Archon 37 this weekend. Anyone else going?

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