JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2006/01/good-books.html (17 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1138024041-341008  emdfl at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 13:47:21 +0000

I have to assume that you have also done Dave Webers' stuff??

jsid-1138025284-341012  Kevin Baker at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 14:08:04 +0000

Some. Weber's stuff tends to the space-opera, which many like, but it just doesn't do much for me.

jsid-1138026887-341021  tomWright at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 14:34:47 +0000

I just finished Dies the Fire last week. A very good book, with what I think are very realisitic depictions of how people would react to such a situation.

I too am waiting for the sequel in paperback, though once in a while B&N gives me a good enough discount that I can buy the HB sooner.

For those that need the premise:

Electricity seems not to work at all. Smokeless powder still burns, but too slowly to work. (I wonder if he will explore black powder?).

Steam power seems work, but only at the low pressures attainable by 19th century tech, as produced by wood fires. This is the "Deus ex machina" technique so popular in much fiction, where something causes a problem, which sets the stage for the story to follow. In this case though, there has been no resorting to 'special powers', mind reading, magic, alien invaders or other such plot cheating that authors with less imagination resort to.

With the above premise, think of how society would react. The author does a good job, IMHO, of doing this.

Highly recommended for fiction lovers.

jsid-1138027277-341023  tomWright at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 14:41:17 +0000

I'll have to add some of the books you mention to the list. But I have four books on the active stack, and about a dozen in the waiting stack.

Plus I ordered a bunch of stuff from Loompanics 50% off going out of busines sale. I should get those this week. I am 'fully booked', if you'll forgive me.

jsid-1138029189-341028  Chublogga at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 15:13:09 +0000

Kevin, check out some books by Michael Z Williamson - these revolve around a place called Freehold which is something akin to a libertarian's wet dream. Virtual Heinlein!

Freehold - free here
and The Weapon

jsid-1138044399-341058  BenD at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 19:26:39 +0000

I also reread The General on a regular basis, not to mention the other books in the series (The Chosen, The Tyrant, and The Reformer). There is another one in a similar vein (based on Belisarius) and I don't remember the name of the series but it just ended. The first book is called An Oblique Approach, the last is the Dance of Time. Very similar to the General, but I enjoy both of them. Check out Baen.com, the first couple of books are available in their free online library. When it comes to Gates of Fire, I was actually working for a Barnes and Nobles store at the time, and was lucky enough to get an advance copy of it. WOW. I'm a member of Toastmasters International, a public speaking organization. One of the speeches I gave was supposed to be an interpretive reading, and I chose a section of Gates of Fire. Could've heard a pin drop. Some POWERFUL writing.

jsid-1138048396-341076  LabRat at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 20:33:16 +0000

Lois McMaster Bujold's sci fi stuff is pretty damn good, too. (Haven't tried her fantasy series.) Her Vorkosigan series got me coming back to the sci-fi shelves.

jsid-1138048805-341078  Kevin Baker at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 20:40:05 +0000

Her fantasy stuff is quite good, too. And I'm not a sword-and-sorcery fantasy fan, either. I can highly recommend The Spirit Ring, and I enjoyed both The Curse of Chalion and its sequel, Paladin of Souls. However, her Vorkosigan Saga stuff is just outstanding. The conference room scene near the end of Barrayar - "Where have you been, woman!"

"Shopping! Want to see what I bought?"

That scene just floored me. Exquisitely crafted, perfectly written.

jsid-1138048990-341079  TJIC at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 20:43:10 +0000

You might be interested in my review of the sequel to _Dies the Fire_ (_The Protector's War_): here.

jsid-1138057213-341109  Doug Sundseth at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 23:00:13 +0000

I'll mention Elizabeth Moon's books, both SF and Fantasy (The Deed of Paksenarrion is an especially good hard-nosed military fantasy) and also David Drake's Lt. Leary series.

If you haven't read them, you might want to take a look.

jsid-1138059509-341117  Kevin Baker at Mon, 23 Jan 2006 23:38:29 +0000

I like Elizabeth Moon. I found The Deed of Paksennarion to be an excellent work, though the middle part is very much a "my fifth-level mage defeats your third-level fighter" Dungeons-and-Dragons theme. Still, the conclusion of that book is all-redeeming, and I strongly recommend it. Her other works are good, but not, I think, up to the same standard. I can recommend Remnant Population, though.

David Drake is one of my favorite authors, but his Lt. Leary stuff is classic space-opera, and space-opera just doesn't do it for me. His Hammer's Slammers stuff is excellent, and I've enjoyed most everything else he's written, including his fantasy stuff. I'm not saying I didn't like the Lt. Leary books, but they're just not my cuppa.

jsid-1138119314-341218  tomWright at Tue, 24 Jan 2006 16:15:14 +0000

Have you ever read the Janissaries books by Pournelle?

A not dissimilar premise, though taken off world.

Premise: Earth is really a sort of refuge for wild humans, who are domesticated as servants for toher races elsewhere in the galaxy.

Periodically, aliens that deal in a universally illegal drug kidnap human soldiers from earth to populate a planet where the source plants are grown. Sort of a galactic coke farm.

This book opens with US soldiers being kidnapped, semi-voluntarily, and transported to this planet where they need to establish themselves amongst the remnants of previous cultures, everything from Vikings, Scots hill people and Rome.

At the same time, they need to provide the harvest of the drug to the aliens.
(this plot summary is from memory)

I haven't read this for years and years, and missed a couple of them.

(sigh). Add 'em to the list.

jsid-1138124712-341250  Kevin Baker at Tue, 24 Jan 2006 17:45:12 +0000

There were only three of the Janissary novels, if I recall correctly: Janissaries, Clan and Crown, and Storms of Victory. Pournell never did (as far as I am concerned) complete that series. He left far too many questions open with the third book, but it was a great series as far as it went.

jsid-1138211716-341395  tomWright at Wed, 25 Jan 2006 17:55:16 +0000

Really? I thought there were more. If only three than I only missed the last one.

I like the 'what if' type of SF/F, so long as the author stays away from including cheats like 'special powers' or seemingly omnipotent aliens. Such plot devices indicate a lack of imagination to me.

Not that I dislike stories with aliens, Nivens Known Space series is a favorite with me. It is all how it is handled.

jsid-1138279669-341516  al at Thu, 26 Jan 2006 12:47:49 +0000

Interesting suggestions.

I've been reading alot lately - must be a winter thing. My picks were a bit more traditional: Clive Cussler - Polar Shift, W.E.B. Griffith - Hostage, and John Ringo - Ghost.

jsid-1138738151-342199  Janine at Tue, 31 Jan 2006 20:09:11 +0000

I assume you read Michael Yon's blog. In case you missed this, here's a quote from Gates of Fire (http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/gates-of-fire.htm)

When Kurilla woke in recovery a few hours after surgery, he called CSM Prosser and asked for a Bible and the book: Gates of Fire. Kurilla gives a copy of Gates of Fire to every new officer and orders them to read it. He had given me a copy and told me to read it. In my book, there is a marked passage, which I thought rather flowery. But I have it beside me on the table by the map of Iraq.

“I would be the one. The one to go back and speak. A pain beyond all previous now seized me. Sweet life itself, even the desperately sought chance to tell the tale, suddenly seemed unendurable alongside the pain of having to take leave of these whom I had come so to love.”

A short time after Kurilla gave me the book, following the death of one of his soldiers, he said to me, “I want you to write about my men. You are the only one who might understand,” the passage registered in my mind.

It's a great book.


jsid-1138739289-342202  Kevin Baker at Tue, 31 Jan 2006 20:28:09 +0000

Yes it is.

 Note: All avatars and any images or other media embedded in comments were hosted on the JS-Kit website and have been lost; references to haloscan comments have been partially automatically remapped, but accuracy is not guaranteed and corrections are solicited.
 If you notice any problems with this page or wish to have your home page link updated, please contact John Hardin <jhardin@impsec.org>