The Hugos

I’ve been mostly ignoring the whole mess.  Mostly because the Hugo’s themselves never made any difference to me (wait, I’m supposed to be picking my reading material based on the awards won???  Damn, why didn’t anyone tell me??).  But since several authors I read are involved in the current uproar, and several more bloggers I read have commented on it I’m certainly aware of it, at least a bit.

Today however I ran across this, and this……

Never met any of the authors mentioned, though I follow Ringo on Facebook.  But I’ve read enough of the books by the various authors mentioned to completely get the references…..

Put down your drink and food before reading…..

Why I have a problem with piracy protection on ebooks

Though it would potentially apply to legally downloaded music or movies too.

When I buy a Dead-Tree book (from here referred to as a DT book), I can read it, my husband can read it, and if I’m so inclined I can hand it off to a friend to read cause they didn’t have the money for the hardcover and are having to wait for the paperback.  Its mine.

When I buy a DT book I can store it on my bookshelves, or in a box, or in a storage facility, and, baring bad luck, I can pull it back out again 2, 3, 8, 20 years later and still read it.  Its mine.

When I buy a DT book it doesn’t matter where I buy it, whether its the bookstore down the road, a major online retailer, a special order from an out of country online retailer, or from the little bookstore in France while I’m traveling.  Its mine.

When I buy a DT book I’m not subject to the whims of the company I bought the ebook from.  Amazon has been known to delete both individual books AND whole libraries when they feel someone might have broken the rules.  Barnes and Noble requires you to keep a valid credit card on file in order to re-download books.

When I buy a DT book I’m not subject to the technology used to read it.  If I buy an ebook to read on the Kindle software, and two years from now I have to buy a new reading device, I still have to download the Kindle software in order to re-read the book.  Yes Kindle software is currently availible for pretty much every operating system.  Are you willing to bet your entire library on the assumption that it always will be?  20 years from now?

I do buy ebooks.  And currently I read them on my iPad.  And the first thing I do after buying them?  I strip the DRM.  The second thing I do is backup the stripped file to a backup that’s not connected to the internet.  Its my book, and I’m damn well going to make sure I can still access it in the future, regardless of what happens to the company I bought it from or the device I read it on.

Time to go download some ebooks

Via Walls of the City

Baen has finally worked a deal with Amazon to carry their books.  Parts of that deal are going to result in changes to the Webscriptions, Free Online Library, and Book CDs.

I don’t really blame them, the reasoning makes sense, for their authors and for themselves.  But DAMMIT!

Sigh.  Time to go mass download ebooks and CD files…..

The Hunger Games

I have no intention of watching the movies, I barely watch movies anyway, but the reviews of the books were good, so I decided to give them a try.  Finished the 3rd book yesterday and I have to say I enjoyed reading them.  Not gonna try for an analysis, others have done better than I could.  But I enjoyed them alot.

NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy

As several other bloggers have posted, I might as well follow along, bolded books Ive read (or at least read part of the series mentioned)

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
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
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary 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, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
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
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange, Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A 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 John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
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 M. Banks
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
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
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 and Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

45 out of 100 isn’t bad, I’m actually familer with a bunch more and have for what ever reason decided not to read them, and its possible that some of the Asimov’s and Bradbury’s, and Clarke’s I did read and just don’t remember, as my dad is a huge fan and I would randomly pull them off his shelf to read when I was a kid

I will say I don’t know why Bujold’s Vorkosigan series isn’t higher on the list, I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, even if you don’t normally read scifi. First off she wrote the series TOTALLY out of order, and yet has less “ooops” mistakes in continuity than an awful lot of authors who wrote their books in order, 2nd this is a space opera like no other, Miles certinally isn’t your standard hero! I’ve found that the series generally goes over well with the folks who like Urban Fantasy.

Top 10 Fantasy and Sci-Fi books of all time

Go vote here.

Personally I found it very difficult to narrow it down to just 10 (I was at close to 30 before I realized how many I had, and I wasn’t done), but I also found it interesting what books they were missing.  For example:  they list Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series, but not his Dresden books, and Dresden is a much more popular and acclaimed series.  Anne McCaffrey gets the mention with ONE title, instead of the whole dragon series, which would have made ever so much more sense.  David Eddings, again one part of a series, instead of the entire series.  Mercedes Lackey gets mentioned in two different places for two different trilogies….that are really just parts of a larger series.  David Weber only gets a mention for the FIRST book in the Honor series rather than the whole series itself, even though that first book did NOT do well untill well after the next few books were out and people were going back to find it after having read books 2 & 3  (infact I read books 2,3 & 4 before I was finally able to track down a copy of 1, and THAT was only because they re-released it!). 

I do have to say though that I was delighted to see so much Asimov and Heinlein, not to mention the inclusion of the Liaden Series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oh Helene!!! if you don’t mind your fantasy with a distinct touch of Sci-Fi mixed in you need to pick up this series!!!).  And of course the Princess Bride is listed, as is The Last Unicorn…..Choices choices!!

Found via a Facebook link from Think Geek, though I’m now seeing it crop up in several places I frequent.

It was TOO a cliffhanger ending Mr Butcher!!!

So, my copy of Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (Dresden #13) arrived in the mail today.  And yes I promptly sat down and ignored the world to read it.  (Ok, not really, I had to take the puppy out a couple times….I think I forgot to eat anything though….I don’t remember eating anything for supper anyway, guess I ought to do that.)  I won’t spoil the book for those who don’t read as fast as I do, or the previous book for those who are just starting the series and haven’t gotten this far, but I must say…..Take that Mab!!!  Take that!  Heh.

I’m off to go re-read it now, after I eat something…..As for the ending of Book 12, Butcher states in the acknowledgements “To my dear patrons, the readers, I can only thank you for your patience, after leaving the last novel the way I did, then making everyone wait another three months past the usual delay while I made sure this book was ready to go.  Enjoy! (And, technically, guys, Changes did NOT end in a cliff-hanger.  Seriously.)”

Maybe by the technical definition of the term, but it was a cliff-hanger regardless!

Book Recommendations, in addition…

I posted a bunch of Urban Fantasy book recommendations not to long ago.  Realized today I’d forgotten a series.

The Trickster Novels by Rob (short for Robyn, female) Thurman.  Now I don’t care for Thurman’s Cal Leandros series, but the two Trickster books have caught my attention.  Trick of Light, and The Grimrose Path, are the two titles, they’re a deliberate mix of Christian, Norse, and Native American (and probably a bunch of others) mythologies, done up with a twist or two.  No idea how long the premise will hold up (I’m thinking that it won’t hold up for to many more books, but we’ll see), but I’ve enjoyed the first two anyway.

And of course Helene mentioned S.M. Stirling‘s Change series.  For the people who wanted to know just how society would manage if suddenly electricity went away.  Just a note of warning for anyone who picks up a Stirling book, in his older stuff especially, but still to some degree in his new stuff, he LIKES making his bad guy a GRAPHICALLY sadistic, intelligently evil, person.  You have been warned.  Don’t come back complaining about the blood, rapine, and slaughter.

Book Recommendations

On my previous post Helene asked for additional recommendations, seems we have similar tastes, at least to some degree, and she wants more.  I’m going to try to stick to urban fantasy for this, though no promises as I read anything that’ll stand still…..

Now this is going to be a long post, so I’m going to toss the rest below the fold for those of you who don’t want to scroll through it all.

So.  First off, as I mentioned previously, I highly recommend Patricia Briggs‘s Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson series, and its off-shoot Alpha and Omega:

Mercy was raised by wolves…..werewolves that is.  Her father was killed in a car accident before he knew her mother was pregnant, her mother barely knew her father.  When she realized she was pregnant she decided she WAS going to raise this child….till one day she stepped into the nursery, and found a coyote cub in place of her infant. In a world where magic, the fey, and other such creatures of the night are unknown to the general public Mercy’s mother still managed to track down someone who would be able to raise a child who could turn into a coyote….the Alpha of the werewolves.  Fast forward 25yrs, the fey have exposed themselves to the world, choosing to do so in a method under their control instead of being forced there by technology.  Some humans are enamored, some hate, but all acknowledge their existence.  What most humans don’t know is that there’s more than just the fey hiding in the shadows of life!  The werewolves are next to have to decide how to share their existence with the world, and somehow Mercy’s caught up in the middle.

The Alpha and Omega take up the story plot where it diverges in the first Mercy book, Moon Called, and tell the other half of the story you only hear about.  I highly recommend reading at least a couple of the Mercy books before reading any of the Alpha and Omega books as you’ll want the background.  Also, when you’re looking up Alpha and Omega books, be advised the first “book” was actually a short story published in an anthology titled On the Prowl.  It was later republished as a stand alone for the folks who wanted it.  Both series have some romance touches, but only enough to make their main characters human.  Its by no means the point of the stories.

Also as mentioned Jim Butcher‘s Dresden series.  If you like urban fantasy, mysteries, and things that get a bit dark you’ll love this set. Jim’s philosophy is to see how bad he can screw things up for Harry this time!

Lets see… up: Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld series isn’t bad, more romance than I prefer, and I got bored about book 5, but its got the requisite werewolves and vampires, and magic, and she does keep it different.

Gail Carriger‘s Parasol Protectorate series is a much lighter read than any of the so far mentioned books, but adds some interesting touches to the vampire/werewolf mythos that I’d not seen elsewhere.  Worth looking at anyway, so far there’s (I think?) only 3 books in the series, though a 4th is due shortly.

For a technically young adult read I suggest Diane Duane‘s So You Want to be a Wizard series, and its companion set Cat Wizards Trio.  They follow the life of a preteen as she discovers magic, and what it can, and can’t do!  Cat Wizards is just that, same world, but all those hints about how smart your pet is…..yah, turns out they’ve got nothing on reality!

Jennifer Estep has a new series titled the Elemental Assassin series.  Only 4 books so far, but a few short stories are floating around too.  Bit more romancy, but not bad.

Mark Del Franco‘s Conner Grey series isn’t bad either, a druid, who’s lost his powers, appears to be the only one who can save the world!  Not steller, but one I keep an eye out for to read when I’m bored.

Laura Anne Gilman‘s Retriever series is another totally worth the read.  Six books in the series, plus a couple shorts, and a side set with another two books and at least one short.  Retrievers are thieves, except they use magic to get what they want.  Its not all fun and games though, using to much magic makes you crazy!

CE Murphy‘s Urban Shaman series is worth picking up too: Joanne has grown up stubbornly ignoring her genetic heritage, half Native American, half Irish, and wanting nothing of either, she became a mechanic.  But when her mother contacts her out of nowhere, advising her to come to Ireland to her deathbed, she returns to the good’ole USA and finds things aren’t quite how she left them.  She may not have wanted her heritage, but its not letting her go!

Hmmm, that’s all that’s jumping out at me for Urban Fantasy, at least for the moment.  I might have to do this again for general fantasy and scifi though!

On a related side note, I got to meet Jim Butcher and Patty Briggs (and spouses) at a con a couple years ago, they’re all very nice people, and I got a bunch of stuff signed, so cool!

New Book!

So yesterday I  finally got to read a new book.  Its been out for a month or so and I finally got to pick it up.

Specifically Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Now first off “Ilona Andrews” is actually a husband wife writing team, and I gotta say they do good work.  Husband and I get along very well, but we’d never be able to pull that off, I’d probably kill him in short order.  So I find that particular fact to be very impressive.

The second interesting fact is that Magic Slays is book 5 of the Kate Daniels series.  I’ve stuck around through book 5, wow, there are a few authors that I do that with, but not many.   The others at the moment are Jim Butcher, and Patty Briggs. ( Infact I’ve been going slowly nuts since Butcher’s last book (number 12!) in the Dresden series, bastard ended it with a cliffhanger from hell (which he NEVER did before!!!!) and book 13 was supposed to be out two months ago…..sigh….just a couple more weeks and then I can find out happened!!!!)  *clears throat*  Sorry, back to Magic Slays.

The Kate Daniels series is urban fantasy, which doesn’t mean that it takes place in a major city (although it kinda does), it just means that it takes place in a setting recognizable from the real world.  Urban fantasy can take place in a farm house in the middle of no-where, but if that farmhouse and surroundings is a recognizable setting from the real world then its considered “urban fantasy.”  But in this case a major city is involved, Atlanta GA infact.

In Kate’s universe most of humans recorded history tech has ruled.  Magic hasn’t functioned, to the point where “magic” was a fairytale (ie: our world).  Till shortly before Kate’s parents met (I’m a bit iffy on the exact timing, not sure the books say).  Then Magic swung back.  Now the world lives in a fractured place where part of the time technology works just fine, the rest….magic rules.  Kate, raised in this fractured place, is very comfortable in it.  Raised by her step-father to function as a mercenary, to be able to fight and defend and keep herself alive in both the tech, and the magic.  And above all, keep herself secret, cause as soon as she brings attention to herself her REAL father will find out…..

The books feel like they’re a bit lighter read than Briggs or Butcher, but it could be a size issue, as its hard to compare size of books due to different fonts and the like.  Either way I enjoy them immensely.  There’s some romance touches, but its not the point of the story so thats ok, it just makes Kate more human.  I was a bit worried about Magic Slays as several of the reviews on Amazon talk about a specific instance halfway through that turn a whole BUNCH of previously KNOWN facts on their heads (and knocks Kate for a loop), that they weren’t happy about.  Once I knew what they were talking about though I really don’t see where they’re coming from.  Infact it makes very clear some specific issues that I’d wondered about before (what had appeared to be minor loose ends to me apparently weren’t obvious to these folks and they didn’t LIKE it when they became MAJOR loose ends that mattered).

At any rate the first book in the series is Magic Bites, and if you’ve liked urban fantasy at all previous to this I highly recommend this series.  If you’ve not read urban fantasy before you might find this a bit weird, but the authors do a good job at explanation and I promise the vampires don’t sparkle!