Doing any recreational reading? v.5.8

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user Stupid cockwomble
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Started reading The Magicians because I was watching the SYFY show.

Looks like to make the show they took the book and stuffed it into a salad shooter.
Neither is particularly bad. Think I like the books better.
<sigh> My penalty for being an early adopter, I guess. My second book in as many months for which I already have and read in dead-tree form.

The March 2019's free ebook of the month is Walkaway by Cory Doctorow. I wrote an enthusiastic review which you can read here. The usual restrictions and limitations apply. Available for downloading until 11:59 EDT on April 19th.
Time for the May edition of the Tor Books free (for the cost of signing up for their newsletter) e-book: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz. The usual restrictions and limitations apply. Available for download until 11:59 pm EDT on Friday, May 17th.

I like this series. It's set thousands of years in the future and is ilke Agatha Christie wrote the screenplay for National Treasure.
An out-of-schedule free e-book offer from Tor Books, and one which does not require signing up for their newsletter: "Download Publishing’s 2019 Debut Sampler for Free!"

This is a collection of sampler chapters from recent books by new authors. It is available through links at the above link via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Indie Bound (though I just tried each of them: the Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound links are not yet working). There appears to be no time limit on this deal (yet).

Personally I am not inclined to pick up any such samplers mostly because all too often I have read either chapters or short stories by some authors that I simply didn't like for whatever reasons, but I post this here for anyone who is so inclined to give this a try.
Two-fer bundles of LGBTQ+ e-books for June, one from Tor Books and another from StoryBundle:

The Tor Books collection is In Our Own Worlds, a set of novellas by four authors, specifically:

The Lamb Will Slaughter The Lion by Margaret Killjoy
Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang

The usual restrictions and limitations apply: available for download in epub (Apple) and mobi (Kindle) formats only in the US and Canada; free to people who have or will sign up for the Tor Books monthly newsletter; must be downloaded by 11:59 EDT on June 7th; may be withdrawn at any time.


The "LGBT+ Fantasy Bundle" was assembled by Melissa Scott for StoryBundle. As usual this is a two-tiered offer: for a minimum of $5 you can get a base set of 4 specific books on this theme, but for a minimum offer of $15 you can get a total of 9 books (oddly the linked page has different numbers of books at two places, but I believe my numbers are correct). At the link you can click on a book cover to get a note about the book by Melissa Scott, some reviews and an excerpt from the text. Available in epub (Apple) and mobi (Kindle) formats.

This offer can be downloaded after purchase through 12:59 am EDT on June 28th.
A SECOND free e-book from Tor Books for June: The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson. This is the first book in a to-be-series because the second book in the series, The Survival of Molly Southbourne, is set to be released on July 9th.

The usual restrictions and limitations apply. Downloads must be completed by 11:59 EDT on June 28th though this offer may be withdrawn at any time.

I have not read anything by Tade Thompson mostly because he is a relatively new writer than anything else.
Time for July's Tor Books free e-book: The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley. Unlike most other offers this is NOT the first book in a series, to-be or otherwise. The usual restrictions and limitations apply, with this book available for download which must be completed by 11:59 pm EDT on July 19th.

As far as I can recall I have not read anything by Staveley.
justine Elitist Beer Lover
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I'm trying to find the time to read Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan.
The Labyrinth Index by Charles Stross (2018).

This is the latest and ninth book in Stross' series "The Laundry Files". As such, I cannot recommend reading this novel by itself as it is highly dependent upon details from the previous novels in the series.

Wow. Just wow.

Mind you: this is the novel which Stross had started but then Brexit happened which caused him to toss out much of what he had written, AND THEN he did that again when Trump was elected president in 2016. Presumably because the earlier forms of "The Labyrinth Index" weren't weird enough compared to how the world now stood.

Well, with the current text Stross has achieved THAT. I do wonder if at sometime in the future Stross might release the those previous incantations just so that his readers might see how Brexit and Trump had caused him to drastically revise the novel.

The primary narrator of this somewhat Lovecraft-based novel is Mhari Murphy who had appeared in previous novels (the original series narrator, Bob Howard, makes only a short appearance). It is difficult to fully explain what Mhari is without having replicate the whole series, so let me summarize by explaining that Mhari had contracted (through mathematics) PHANG syndrome, i.e., she is a vampire, although it should be noted that Stross' vampires in the The Laundry Files differ from the usual depictions. Just a small example of the differences: vampires here cannot see only him-/herself in the mirror thus making this a mental aberration rather than any sort of violation of physical laws. Thus there is a scene where Mhari complains to the reader how this limitation means that she MUST use her smartphone in video mode in order to apply her make-up.

Mhari assignment from the British Prime Minister: rescue the president of the United States. There are complications, not the least of which is what fate Mhari will have by rescuing him, she being only a tiny piece through which the fate of the wide multiverse hangs NOT in balance.

Highly recommended though with that caution that a reader should read the rest of The Laundry series before starting this novel.
It is past time for Tor Books' month free e-book: The Necessary Beggar by Susan Palwick.

Sorry, but I had neglected to check my GMail account for a few days which is the reason why the time remaining for this book's availability is so short.

The usual restrictions and limitations apply. The download must be completed by 11:59 pm EDT on August 16th. As far as I can tell this is NOT any book in a continuing series (although it CAN be the first one).

As far as I can recall I have not read anything by Palwick.
maurvir Steamed meat popsicle
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I finally got around to reading "The Murders of Molly Southbourne", and I was pleasantly surprised. It is a short, fast, read, but very well done IMO. I will cop to figuring out the ending by the middle of the second chapter, but it definitely didn't take anything away from the book. There were plenty of surprises left to go. I was also particularly pleased by the fact that the book mixes what feels, at times, like supernatural and sci-fi themes so seamlessly.

I hope the author continues to write this well. I would like to read more like this. :up:
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fall and rise: the story of 9/11

a very detailed retelling of the events of that day, focusing on the human stories -- he doesn't just give someone's name and describe what happened to them, he tells you about who they were and what their lives were like before the attack

needless to say, it's a fairly intense read

(i'm only halfway through ... the south tower just collapsed)
The Necessary Beggar by Susan Palwick (2007).

TL;DR: a pleasant read, although perhaps not recommended for anyone who is troubled by our current times.

"Beggar" is superficially about parallel universes where there are humans in both. It begins in Lémabantunk, the "Glorious City" where life in general seems to be roughly parallel to a Mid-Eastern city at the height of the Moslem expansion but without (much of?) the poverty that must have existed there and then. Zamatryna is a 7-year-old girl in a family whose business is the selling of handmade carpets, but then her uncle Darroti is accused of murdering a highborn woman who had been serving her year as a mendicant. He offers no defense to the accusation, so his FAMILY is to be sent through a "blue door" which is a standard punishment for such an egregious crime. There is no explanation of how or why these blue doors exist. The only guarantee that anyone making such a transit has is that the world on the other side of the blue door is hospitable to life AND that there is no return.

Zamatryna's family goes through their blue a version of America which is close to but not quite our world. There America has suffered a recent traumatic incident similar to our 9/11, but that event is so commonly known that no one ever discusses it. Zamatryna and family find themselves in the common detention yard of refugee camp stuck out in the Nevada desert somewhat close to Reno, so somewhat fortunate for them there are many families there who do not speak any English. They are processed being entered into the camp, but lacking any papers and even any comprehensible language it is assumed by the camp's staff that Zamatryna's family had been picked up by their version of ICE but their paperwork had gotten lost in the administrative shuffle, and that the camp simply did not have anyone who spoke their obscure language assumed to be from some remote corner of Afghanistan. It is up to Zamatryna and her cousins (she is the eldest of the four) to more quickly pick up English and serve as translators for the family.

Thereafter follows the story of how the family is treated in the camp, how they escape (with the aid of a camp volunteer) to the outside world of Reno, and their PARTIAL integration into American society and culture.
Finally got around to reading The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu. It's definitely a headthink, with the concept of a future alien invasion written from a perspective I haven't really seen before.
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Doing any recreational reading? v.5.8

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