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Dragon’s Time – Review

Dragon's Time by Anne and Todd McCaffreyTitle: Dragon’s Time
Author:  Anne & Todd McCaffrey

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 321
Originally published: 2011

Genre: Science fiction
The dice landed on: 3
Did I finish?: Yes
Do I like the cover?: Yes

One-sentence summary: Dragonriders are “timing it” a lot to save Pern.

I read the whole book through. Mostly because it was an exciting story set in the, for me, familiar landscape of Pern. Lots of engaging and sympatetic characters and great dragons.

But….
It all gets too complicated. There are so many characters jumping back in forth in time and space that I have a hard time keeping up. There are also a guy who can predict the future  and keeps giving other characters snippets about what is going to happen later. As I mentioned before, there are too many people to keep track of, and then, when dragon’s are impressed the new male dragonriders change their name. They change it to an abbreviation of their old name, and I know this always happens on Pern, but it kept keeping up with all the names even harder for someone who was already a bit annoyed. And don’t get me started on all the romances going on in all this…

So, to sum it up: The exciting how-are-they-going-to-resolve-this-predicament kept me reading. The too-many-characters-with-their-relationships-jumping-back-and-forth-in-time-and-space kept me annoyed.

If you’re already familiar with Pern, and a bit more patient than me, this is an OK read. If you haven’t read any Pern books I’d recommend starting with the first book Anne McCaffrey published about Pern: “Dragonflight“.

Pern books – in order of publishing.
Pern – books in Pern historical order.

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Year’s Best SF 15 – Review

Year's Best SF 15Title: Year’s Best SF 15
Editors: David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Publisher: HarperCollins
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 512 s.
Originally published: 2010

Genre: Science Fiction
The dice landed on: 5
Did I finish? Yes!
Do I like the cover? Yes. It does promise more space opera than the book delivers, but I love space opera.

One-sentence summary: Good science ficton short stories.

In science fiction short stories are still an important part of what’s being written, and every year there are several anthologies collecting the stories the editors think are the best from that year.

As in any good short story collection I’ve ever read this one has stories I really love and stories I’m more indifferent to. However, it has no stories that I dislike or think is really bad. The editors have done a solid job of selecting a wide array of different sorts of science fiction stories. Alternate pasts, alternate presents and possible futures all play their part in these 24 stories. They all do what is my main reason for loving science fiction as a genre, they speculate on the what might have been or what might be.  The themes are different, but the stories all have that common core of good storytelling and of speculation. A collection well worth reading.

Book beginnings on Friday – Dragon’s Time

Book Beginnings on Friday is a bookish meme sponsored by Katy at A Few More Pages.

Here’s what you do: share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments section . Include the title and author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you are so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and if you liked or did not like that sentence. Link-up each week at Katy’s place.

There’s a library book laying beside me, Dragon’s Time by Anne and Todd McCaffrey. I’m looking forward to reading another book in Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series and hope it’ll be good.

Dragon's Time by Anne and Todd McCaffreyOne

The way forward is dark and long. A dragon gold is only the first price you’ll pay for Pern.

Cold. Black. Silent.
Deadly.
Between. That strange nothingness where dragons can go that can only be described as “between one place and another.”
Between only lasts as long as it takes to cough three times.” For a short journey, yes. For a journey from one place to another, anywhere on Pern – yes, three coughs is enough. But when traveling between one time and another – it takes longer. A cold, silent, freezing longer that saps life.

I’ve read enough Pern books to know about between, so this doesn’t tell me anything new. Still, I like it.


Book beginnings on Friday : The Unstrung Zither

Book Beginnings on Friday is a bookish meme sponsored by Katy at A Few More Pages.

Here’s what you do: share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments section . Include the title and author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you are so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and if you liked or did not like that sentence. Link-up each week at Katy’s place.

I guess my contribution this week might be regarded as cheating as it’s the beginning of a short story instead of a novel. I’ll go ahead with it anyway.

The beginning is from the short story The Unstrung Zither by Yoon Ha Lee and you can find it in the short story collection Year’s Best SF 15, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. So far it’s a really good collection and I’m reading it on my Kindle.

Year's Best SF 15, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer“They don’t look very dangerous,” Xiao Ling Yun said to the aide. Ling Yun wished she understood what Phoenix Command wanted from her. Not that she minded the excuse to take a break from the compositon for two flutes and hammered dulcimer that had been stymieing her for the past two weeks.

Through a one-way window in the observation chamber, Xiao Ling Yun saw five adolescents sitting cross-legged on the floor in a semicircle. Before them was a tablet and two brushes. No ink, these were not calligraphy brushes. One of the adolescents, a girl with short, dark hair, leaned over and drew two characters with quick strokes. All five studied the map that appeared on the tablet.

“Nevertheless”, the aide said. “They attempted to assassinate the Phoenix General. We are fortunate to have captured them.”

It’s a beginning that makes me curious. That’s always a good thing.

Book beginnings on Friday – Cryoburn

Book Beginnings on Friday is a bookish meme sponsored by Katy at A Few More Pages.

Here’s what you do: share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments section . Include the title and author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you are so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and if you liked or did not like that sentence. Link-up each week at Katy’s place.

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster BujoldLast weekend the winners of this year’s Hugo Awards were announced and Connie Willis won a well deserved Hugo for Blackout/All Clear. However, there were other good books on the list of nominees. This week I’ll share the beginning of one of them; Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Angels were falling all over the place.
Miles blinked, trying to resolve the golden streaks sleeting through his vision into mere retinal flashes, but they stubbornly persisted as tiny, distinct figures, faces dismayed, mouths round. He heard their wavering cries like the whistle of fireworks from far off, the echoes buffeted by hillsides.
Ah, terrific. Auditory hallucinations, too.
Granted the visions seemed more dangerous, in his current addled state. If he could see things that were not there, it was also quite possible for him to not see things that were there, like stairwells, or broken gaps in this corridor floor.
I adore the Vorkosigan books, so I was already happy about this book before I started. And the beginning didn’t disappoint. Miles is in trouble, nothing unusual about that, but how did he get in this situation and how is he going to get out of it? As always with Miles, very few things are straight forward.

How’s Your Fantasy Life? NPR’s Top 100 SF & Fantasy Books

Thank you to My Reader’s Block who made me aware of this list from NPR Books.

I’m a sucker for lists and just had to find out how many of these I’d read.

The ones I’ve read are in red, the ones in my TBR pile in blue.

44 isn’t too bad.

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert (just number 1)
5. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
12. The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan (tried, but just couldn’t do it)
13. Animal Farm by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer by William Gibson
15. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
16. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (I’m well into book 2)
19. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman (parts, but not everything)
30. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
32. Watership Down by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
35. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
36. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
38. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
39. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
40. The Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad by David Eddings
42. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (I tried)
43. Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (Everything by Ursula K. Le Guin)
46. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson (I tried)
59. The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold (absolutely everything by Lois McMaster Bujold)
60. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote in Gods Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (I tried and will try again)
65. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan the Barbarian Series by Robert E. Howard & Mark Schultz
69. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way of the Kings by Brandon Sanderson
72. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
73. The Legend of Drizzt Series by R. A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War by Jon Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
76. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series by Iain Banks (Most of it anyway)
84. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher
87. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (Didn’t like it much)
88. The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
90. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Oh, my….everything by Connie Willis)
98. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
99. The Xanath Series by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

Disengage

Star Trek, always useful 🙂

Mr. Data is trying to become human, by becoming a religious nutcase.

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