Past Reading & Book Reviews

Cryptonomicon4.0

2006.12.13

by Neal Stephenson
Brilliant in parts, but also perhaps over-long and ultimately unsatisfying.

Genie Out of the Bottle3.5

2006.09.23

by David Freer & Eric Flint
Short prequel to Rats, Bats and Vats.

Digital Fortress2.0

2006.06.26

by Dan Brown
Well, I finished it, which is more than I can say for some books. The basic premise isn't bad, and some of the action sequences are compelling (the pursuit in Spain, for example). But the plot holes are huge, the obtuseness of supposedly intelligent characters unbelievable, the tech dodgy (even for 1998) and the writing is at junior school level -- though perhaps that's the author bowing to his target audience. I can't help thinking how much better this would have been if the same ideas had been written up by, say, Tom Clancy.
This review says it better than I can.

Excession5.0

2006.05.06

by Iain M. Banks

March to the Stars4.0
We Few3.5

2006.05.02

by David Weber & John Ringo
The climax of March Upcountry and March to the Sea

Stars over Stars4.0

2006.04.22

by K.D. Wentworth

The Shadow of the Lion4.5

2006.04.20

by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint & David Freer

Rats, Bats and Vats3.5

2006.04.07

by David Freer & Eric Flint

The Forlorn4.0

2006.03.15

by David Freer

Anansi Boys4.5

2006.03.14

by Neil Gaiman

Pyramid Scheme5.0

2006.03.12

by David Freer & Eric Flint
"I, the wily Odysseus, the son of Laertes, Sacker of Cities, Conqueror of the Cyclops, the Symplegades, the Sirens, and even the mighty Tritons, have outwitted you! I have stolen your great chain! I gloat!"

Monstrous Regiment4.5
The Last Continent4.0

by Terry Pratchett

The Algebraist5.0

by Iain M. Banks
The latest SF from IMB. Verdict: the Master is back, in full form. Excellent!

Against a Dark Background4.5

by Iain M. Banks
An older book which I've only just got around to. It doesn't quite match up to his usual genius, but still good.

Look to Windward5.0

by Iain M. Banks
Banks. The Culture. 'nuff said.

Crusade4.5

by David Weber & Steve White

Redliners3.5

by David Drake
Military S-F. Not quite as good as Drake's classic Hammer's Slammers mercenary S-F, which I first read many years ago, and which has since influenced or been referenced by many other writers.

An Oblique Approach4.5
In the Heart of Darkness5.0
Destiny's Shield4.0

by David Drake & Eric Flint
The first three books of the Belisarius series. Very funny.

March Upcountry4.5
March to the Sea4.0

by David Weber & John Ringo

Inversions5.0

by Iain M. Banks

Dziedziczki3.5

by Andrzej Pilipiuk

Narrenturm4.0

by Andrzej Sapkowski

With the Lightnings
Lt. Leary Commanding

by David Drake
The Lt. Leary series. More naval space opera in the Honor Harrington vein, though with a slightly different style. One might say that where Honor Harrington is Hornblower in space, Lt. Leary is Aubrey/Maturin in space.

The War God's Own4.0
Oath of Swords4.0
The Apocalypse Troll
Mutineer's Moon
Changer of Worlds

by David Weber
The first two books of the War God fantasy series, and three S-F books. Changer of Worlds is an unusual and slightly different look into the universe of Weber's hugely popular and very readable Honor Harrington series, many of which I have also read but which are too numerous to list here.

Ex Libris5.0

by Anne Fadiman
A wonderful book about ... reading books.

The Complete Robot

by Isaac Asimov
Read this a long time ago, re-read it now to remind myself of the stories the film I, Robot is based on. Some of the stories show their age in the setting or the behaviour of the characters (the male chauvinism in particular) but the ideas are still as good as ever. If you haven't read it before, do. If you have, read it again.

Richelieu and the Making of France5.0

by Anthony Levi
Currently perhaps the best biography of the famous Cardinal.

Shadow of the Hegemon
Shadow Puppets

by Orson Scott Card
These two books conclude the story of Bean, Peter Wiggin and the children of the Battle School. Not as brilliant as Ender's Game or Ender's Shadow, but a 'must-read' nonetheless.

Belgarath the Sorcerer5.0

by David Eddings
Prequel to the Belgariad and the Malloreon.

The Malloreon4.0

by David Eddings
5 book epic fantasy, continuing on from the Belgariad (below).

The Belgariad4.5

by David Eddings
5 book epic fantasy.

Ender's Shadow4.5

by Orson Scott Card
A parallel view of one of the classics of S-F, as good as the original and better than the direct sequels Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind.