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22 April 2009 @ 08:15 pm
The things you learn from TVTropes :) (Or more exactly, what you learn through curiosity spawned by looking through TVTropes.)

The 5th Lost Fleet book is coming out _next_week_! *bounce!* Hopefully Audible will get it in stock at the same time.

I used to think all military SF was kinda dumb, but in the last several years i've gotten sucked into several such series. (I think the Vorkosigan Saga may actually have been the gateway drug =) Unfortunately i'm not sure what's particular about the series i like and the ones that i still think are dumb. Which makes it hard to find new ones.

The ones i do like so far are Weber's Honor Harrington series, and his Safehold series, though that is a _little_ less military focused, Weber and Ringo's Prince Roger series (which has the added benefit of also having a strong element of the "relatively high tech people stranded in a relatively low tech environment" theme that i really like, which come to think of it is also one of the strong points of the Safehold series as well,) and obviously Hemry/Campbell's Lost Fleet series (which has a pretty weak initial setup, but gets better after that.)
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Steuardsteuard on April 23rd, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
I actually got kinda tired of the "Prince Roger" series along the way (though I did eventually finish it). Like you, I'm intrigued by "high tech people stranded in low tech environment" stories (I really need to read more of them), but my impression of the series was mostly "high tech people killing oodles of low tech people in increasingly improvised ways", which left me a bit queasy. Meanwhile, I had actually been intrigued by the initial setup leading them to get stranded in the first place, and there was essentially no followup to that until the fourth and final book (which for its part had practically no real "high tech/low tech" elements and felt almost like a different universe than its predecessors).
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 23rd, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
Have you read S.M. Stirling's "Island in the Sea of Time" trilogy or Weber's Off Armageddon Reef/the Safehold series? (Since i knew you like the Honor Harrington series)

Actually i don't know if i can 100% recommend the Safehold series. I've heard he invented some rather creative spellings for names (to try and give a sense of time having passed i guess, but it doesn't really make sense for the changes to only apply to proper nouns) which apparently gave some people real difficulty in reading the books. I can't really comment on it though since i listened to the audiobook version.
Steuardsteuard on April 23rd, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
I've been meaning to track down Stirling for a long time, but I'm stingy and the (first) book hasn't been in any of the nearby libraries. Maybe I should just place a hold so they'll deliver me a copy from another LA library branch. (I haven't tracked down Safehold yet, either. I don't think I'd be overly frustrated by funny spellings.)
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 23rd, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Well aside from the funny spellings i quite like the Safehold series so far. It's got a bit of the Honor Harrington military theme, but in an _actual_ Age of Sail, combined with something like Neal Stephenson's sidetracking in Cryptonomicon. (It's very similar to the techno-geeking in Honor Harrington, but it's with _real_ technology, with bits of actual history attached.)

And there's also the high tech people (or rather person) in a low tech environment, with just a bit (ha) of "organized religion sucks" thrown in, which is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me :)
Kevinbellwethr on April 23rd, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
So, I've read the first Lost Fleet book, and thought it was pretty far-fetched and really weak on characters. Have the sequels improved?

Also, you and I need to talk about Stirling. I often agree with your book reviews, but how do you handle Stirling? I've read the first few (are there four now?) books in the Island in the Sea of Time series. I *loved* the premise, and even the first book, but why are all of his characters so flat? And why are they all martial arts experts? I have a hard time containing my disbelief. The books felt very repetitive to me.

That said, I enjoyed one of his one offs, that dealt with an alternate Southern California, quite a bit.... I'm wondering if I will like the modern day sequel series to the Island books. Any thoughts on their similarity to the Island books?
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 23rd, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
Well to tackle the middle first, the martial arts part didn't even cause me to blink. All the people who knew martial arts at the beginning were members of the Coast Guard. Don't they _teach_ martial arts in the military? And that's also certainly the category of people who i'd expect to be interested in learning martial arts in their spare time. I found it to be stretching coincidence a lot more that the captain was a black lesbian.

As for characterization, i didn't think it was that bad, but he certainly makes his villains a lot more vivid than his heroes. But i guess i look for the technological/sociological elements a lot more than characterization. I wouldn't say that Lost Fleet has great characterization, but i didn't really notice the lack, and there were some characters i got rather attached to. (I rather liked the captain of the main ship and the (relatively) older captain of the other ship that's got the main guy's back.)

The Emberverse books (the Stirling pseudo-sequels) are... very different from the Islandverse books (of which there are still only three btw, although there are one or two short stories set in the same universe.) They're post-apocalyptic and start out with something over 90% of the people on earth dying of starvation and/or violence. Then the survivors band together and start fighting over who's going to be in charge of the remnants of civilization (such as it is.) And regardless of whoever wins, they're going to be stuck with pretty much an early 19th century level of technology for the rest of the foreseeable future. It's all rather depressing. But if you enjoy reading about people trying to make the best of a very bad situation you may enjoy it.

After the Islandverse books though i much prefer his Lords of Creation books ("Sky People" and "In the Courts of the Crimson Kings,") and "The Peshawar Lancers."
Kimchalgaryn on April 23rd, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
Hey, you two, stop giving Steuard more ideas of good things to read! I need him to run out of new reading material so he'll get bored enough to want to think about house hunting :-P

On an entirely off topic note: will we be seeing either of you at Alumni Weekend?
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 23rd, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Er, when is that again? I wasn't planning on signing up for anything i don't think, but i'll probably at least stop by.

We really ought to do some hanging out things again outside of alumni weekend though =P
Kimchalgaryn on April 24th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
It's in a week: May 1-3. On the Friday night there is a free dinner in honor of Jeanne Noda at 6:30pm. There is no general registration fee this year, so you can always register online if you're considering coming just so they have a better headcount. The only things that have a fee are lunch and dinner on Saturday, and you can always pay for them that day if you decide you want to.
Kevinbellwethr on April 24th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Not me... buying and remodeling a house has pretty much tapped me out for now. Which is too bad, since this is my tenth. But anyway.

If anyone who enjoys good SF hasn't started reading Alastair Reynolds yet, then I absolutely recommend it to them. :)
Geoffthegreatgonz on April 23rd, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
My gateway drug to military sci-fi was Schlock Mercenary.
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 23rd, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
Did that actually get you to pick up any military SF books? And if so, how?
Geoffthegreatgonz on April 23rd, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
Not unless you count the bound collections of the comics. It just left me favorably disposed to the genre when I started encountering it in the books you give to 2gouda4u.