I decided to try actual historical fiction, instead of alternate historical fiction: Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara.
Four stars; although I probably would have given it five if I had been able to read it straight through.
The point of view jumps all around, following all the big names (and a couple of less big ones) to all the big scenes, giving nice context to all the vaguely remembered events of history. I was amused to have another viewpoint from that of the 1776 musical.

I have a bunch more historical fiction in the queue, both more Jeff Shaara and others, all on loan from my brother-in-law. Family is like a library, but the due-dates are better.
I finished Ring of Fire 2, a collection of short stories in the 1632 world, this weekend. It was OK. The stories varied a bit in terms of quality, and the weakest one was probably the one by Weber himself-it dragged on and on, and had trouble finding a point. The romantic bits in the last few pages were nice. Still, it scratched the itch, combining military action with amusing culture clash and name-dropping(What if Hobbes was shown a copy of Calvin and Hobbes?) Many of the bad guys were transparently bad, but I suspect that is true in real life, too. The jerks who commit 90% of real world crime are very jerky, so when their equivalents appear in fiction they seem unrealistically jerky, since the rest of us avoid jerks as much as possible in reality.

4 of 5 stars to fans of the series, 3 of 5 for everyone else.
As part of my attempts to beat the heat, I finished The Short Victorious War.
In short, unless you are a Honor Harrington fan, skip this book.
Read more... )
1 of 5 stars.
Contact with Chaos by Williamson.

[livejournal.com profile] ejmam had this out from the library, but let me borrow it while she went on a road trip. I've liked the previous books set in this world (well, setting. It spans multiple planets) but I think this one is fairly weak. The story involves first contact with an alien species on a planet with no usable metals (some astrophysical freakiness, whatever), and the struggles of the free-market libertarian government dude to keep the situation under control without the rest of humanity trying to exterminate, oppress or generally fleece the 'primitives'. As military fiction, it fails. There are maybe 4 scenes of violence, and those seem almost like after-thoughts. I never really found the characters that engaging, which made the lack of action-packed action a serious loss. One of the characters links back as the daughter of the star of a previous book, but very little continuity is actually generated by it. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't as good as The Weapon or Better Beg Forgiveness. I liked it better than Freehold, despite Freehold's clearly superior fight scenes, since Freehold had such an annoying protagonist. So 3 of 5 stars for interesting alien culture and amusing thrills. Marked down from perfect for not being what I had hoped for based on the author's other work. Branding counts.

More Books

Jul. 12th, 2009 09:28 am
The UP Trail by Zane Grey. Not very good. The story centers around a heroic engineer on the UP Railroad, surveying the route for the transcontinental railroad, his colorful friends and beautiful, secretly wealthy love interest.. Many unlikely pulp hijincks ensue. When I want that sort of 1900s pulp craziness, I'll talk to ERB.

1633 by David Weber and Eric Flint. Does what it says on the tin. Not as good as the first book in the series, but still a solid bit of military alternate history gun porn. I'll be asking the library for the next book in the series.

Beyond the Gap by Harry Turtledove. Good book; a solid B+ for content. A good deal of in-character amusing wordplay. However, I mark it down to FAIL for not listing anywhere on the cover that it was the first of a series, and ends in a cliffhanger. I'm very glad I didn't buy this book. Had I known it was a series, it would be fine and I'd move on to the next book. As it stands, I drop it into the crapper.
I stayed up late finishing The Rivers of War last night. 4 of 5 stars. If you like alternate military history, you'll probably like this one. Name-dropping includes Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. Quite a lot of Sam Houston, actually. I read it more for having stayed up to late already, rather than really being gripped. I'll try to get the sequel from the library as well.

[EDIT: I didn't read it online; I had a copy from the library.]
I finished Monstrous Regiment. It was pretty good. I think I should limit myself to one Pratchett a month, or even perhaps on per season; they have enough in common that reading them too frequently steals some of the novelty charm from them.
Not much on the headline for my weekend. Friday night ... I honestly don't recall. I think we went for a walk along the shore.
Saturday we ran errands, picking up sunglasses and shoes for me. That evening we had some friends over to play games, including Munchkin, Car Wars and 99. I really need to practice some of those SJ games before I can really demo them again.
Sunday included a trip to the library and family dinner.

Books read recently: A Desert Called Peace. Credible gun porn, with an elaborately re-constructed future earth parallel. The UN is stupid and evil, all institutions except a ruthless military are corrupt, and bad guys should be shot, except when they are tortured and hung.

Making Money An OK Discworld book; not as good as Going Postal. Still, an entertaining read.

There was another book, even less memorable. I grabbed several more at the library, and I may well mention them here as I finish them.
First, This is funny, and has beefcake.

This past weekend I read The Scourge of God and Shadow of the Giant. About both books I say 'eh'. There were good enough to stay up late finishing, but I didn't have any reason to get up early the next day. Scourge has too much supernatural stuff for my tastes. I can understand why the author needs it, though-he's made all his characters uber-cool, super competent ninja masters, so unless the bad guys are unkillable psychic zombie fiends, the book would lack conflict. Shadow suffered in that I missed the middle books of the series, since the jacket was poorly marked. I'm glad for that; it seemed like OSC was just coasting on the hullabalue over Ender's Game. I don't blame him, though. I'm sure his publisher was all like "We don't care if it sucks, just tie it to Ender, and it will sell". I hope he bought a fun car or had a good vacation with the money.

I enjoyed building another large Lego set, part of the BrickCon loot. It ends up surprisingly large. Safety tip: the interior bags are NOT labeled, so assembly is more challenging than most modern sets. But all the tank treads are cool. I look forward to building more cool stuff using treads.

Sunday we went to West Seattle Bowl and hung out with some of the WSB forum folks. I don't bowl well ( Some strikes, more gutterballs), but I had fun. Family dinner, and finishing (heh) prep for my GURPS game tonight (Spiders!) followed.

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