I've recently put a few down after struggling through four or five chapters, notably Greg Bear's City at the End of Time. Feel free to chastise if you liked this book, but I can't get into a novel that deliberately keeps the reader in the dark about almost everything. I like a puzzle, but this was too convoluted for my tastes.
I just finished S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire, and I was pleasantly surprised. A good post-apocalyptic yarn hooks me every time, and while some of his dialogue falls flat, the man can write some action scenes. Sword fights, brawls, archery and battles were nuanced and knowledgeable. I may have actually learned a bit reading it. The big surprise was Stirling's interesting attempt to use Wiccan culture as a major part of his story. He doesn't always succeed (characters say things like "Well, Goddess bless me!" far too much), but it's one of the more even-handed and realistic depictions of pagans I've read in fiction. Nobody pulls out a fireball or some "secret knowledge," talks to animals, or anything like that. He also demonstrates some insider knowledge of the pagan community (lingo, religious activities) although I'm unsure if he's pagan himself. Anyhoo, I liked it well enough, but not necessarily for that reason. I'll resist the urge to read the sequels, at least for now.
Help me decide what to read now! Pick a random unread from my bookcase or suggest something different (I tend toward "classic" sci-fi, the post-apocalyptic, first contact novels, and "sociological" sci-fi such as Ursula K. LeGuin).
- The Ghost Light by Fritz Leiber
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- Souls in the Great Machine by Sean McMullen
- Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec
Any thoughts on this greatly appreciated. Happy reading!