Posts Tagged Elizabeth Moon

Best new-reads in 2010

These are the best books I read for the first time in 2010. The genres are Fantasy and Science Fiction, because that’s what I usually read. I strongly recommend all of these books.  I’ll happily read these multiple times – either for sheer enjoyment, or to find further depths in the writing, or both.

These first few are in the top one-percent of books that I have EVER read.

  • The City & The City – so richly detailed, it’s fascinating.  I read it in 2010, posted the review later 😛
  • The Speed of Dark – an amazing book with an autistic protagonist. It makes you think, but it is not depressing
  • Voyages by Starlighta collection of short stories which are that much more amazing when put together. What a variety of voices!
Four point five stars: these are merely excellent.
  • Not Wanted on the Voyage – literature, and Canadian. Reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  • Remnant Population – fun and very, very good.  Always nice to hit that combination.
  • Before they are Hanged – Think of this as The Belgariad re-interpreted by Hannibal Lechter. Warning: this is book 2: the first book in this trilogy, The Blade Itself, was only 4 stars so it’s not on this list.  But you definitely should read the first book first – it will get you used to the point-of-view whiplash.
  • The Last Argument of Kings – Closing book of the First Law trilogy. This dark fantasy takes an ironic delight in turning the genre conventions upside down.

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Babes with Blasters – genre guide

Front cover

Dont mess with Kylara Vatta

What I mean by Babes with Blasters is:  science fiction with a strong female protagonist, with a military context. The alliteration was too fun to pass up.

  1. Number one in my category – the Vatta’s War series by Elizabeth Moon. Pure fun!  Military science fiction, and excellent covers in the copies I’ve seen.
  2. Hammered, Scardown, Worldwired – Elizabeth Bear. I think the middle book is the best of the series. Here we notice the bizarre trend in this genre to crop the heads off female cover models who wear tight space-suits.
  3. Babe number three is Tanya Huff’s Sergeant Torin Kerr, in the Valor series.  The first books are: Valor’s Trial, Valor’s Choice, The Better  Part of Valor Torin wears a reasonable space-suit on that cover.
  4. Sauscony Valdoria kicks butt as a Jagernaut and heir to the Skolian Imperial throne – Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro launched her many-book sago on that universe.
  5. Women of War is actually the anthology that inspired me to collect this list. Some of the shorts in this anthology are AMAZING. Some, well, not so much. I was hoping it would lead to more authors for this list, but many of the writers were very new.
  6. C.J. Cherryh’s Jago, e.g. in Destroyer. The Foreigner Universe by C.J. Cherryh features a strong female alien character – Jago – a member of the assassins’ guild. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sporting Chance – Elizabeth Moon

Cover of "Sporting Chance"

cover of Sporting Chance - my copy

Sporting Chance is Elizabeth Moon’s second book in the Familias Regnant universe. It takes up shortly after the end of the first-in-series Hunting Party.

It follows the same kind of plotting arc as the prior book: the first half of the book develops characters and themes and presents the conflicts; the second half of the book accelerates into action! Adventure! Blasters!

This is a solid, fun adventure with a good balance of character and action.  The forces of menace are reasonably drawn in, although things are pointing towards a larger conflict or conspiracy to come.

About this cover art on my paperback copy published in 1994. Would I have thought this looked cool in the early nineties? It sure looks dated now…

Developments…

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Hunting Party – Elizabeth Moon

Cover of "Hunting Party"

This is the cover of Hunting Party, in the edition I own.

Hunting Party is the first of Elizabeth Moon’s space-military novels, and it is a very good one.   This book’s only flaw is that it does not dig into complex issues or ethical conflicts – this is a fun book and executes its mission of fun pretty flawlessly.  It’s worth locating a copy, which may take effort since it was published in 1993.

The book establishes all sorts of the themes which are explored successfully in later novels.  You could compare it to Jordan’s first Wheel of time, Eye of the World, insofar as this stands alone yet subtly introduces dozens of themes and characters that are later developed in multiple novels.

What’s good:

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