October 31, 2003

Miles To Go

I needed a break from depressing political books, so I finally jumped back into Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series by reading "Young Miles", which is a compilation of two novels sandwiched around a short story.

Very good stuff. Even an improvement on the already good first parts of the series. By the end of second novel in the omnibus, "The Vor Game", I was really turning the pages quickly and setting aside time to finish reading, which is not something I've done much of lately. Four kids, two dogs, sexy wife, work, cards, blogs, etc. means I don't do too much reading now, so it has to be gripping to get my attention. This fits the bill. It's always a smart plot, with Miles Vorkosigan somewhat similar to Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos, though in a completely different milieu. Definitely looking forward to the next one.

I went out and bought the next omnibus, "Miles, Mystery & Mayhem", at the bookstore yesterday evening, but I couldn't find the one after that, "Miles Errant". This should last me at least another week or two. I also noticed Brust has a new series out set in Dragaera (Vlad Taltos' world), and I can't wait for that one to be all finished. I couldn't find that Tuchman book I mentioned yesterday, but I did get "The Amber Spyglass" for Cody, which is the third book in that series by Philip Pullman. He says big thumbs up so far.

Posted by Observer at October 31, 2003 07:10 AM
Comments

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I've been an avid fan of the Brust Vlad series since he started it.

The Dragaera series you are referring to is a follow up to the Phoenix Guards books. I had a devil of a time getting through the first handful of pages of the first one, Paths of the Dead, but it began to pick up after the first chapter. After finishing it I immediately picked up The Lord of Castle Black and enjoyed it immensely. It's definately an interesting take on some familiar characters. Especially after the last Vlad book it was great to see many of the same faces. (I will say no more lest I spoil something for you...)

Posted by: Bav on October 31, 2003 08:03 AM

I last read Brust more than 10 years ago. I really liked some of the first Vlad books, but then they started to really suck for me, so I dropped him from my "must read author" list.

I've never read a Bujold book I didn't throughly enjoy.

Posted by: Humbaba on October 31, 2003 10:43 AM

There were a couple of seriously hum drum books in that series. (The ones with Cawti & Vlad's issues...) I think it depends on your frame of reference wether you'll like the direction the series has taken. I really liked the most recent book in the series, but that's me...

Posted by: Bav on October 31, 2003 12:51 PM

All of the Taltos books have been really, really good. I don't mind the occasional change of pace. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the insanely complex and fun "Yendi". The Khaavren books were also top-notch. Brilliant, engaging and funny.

The best thing about them is the world. Not only do you have a great plot, but an awesome backdrop where details are revealed bit by bit in a very casual way. Bujold's Miles books have the plot and the characters, but the overall world setting isn't anything to write home about (at least, nothing I've seen yet).

Brust also wrote the stand-alone "Gypsy" which is very good, set in the "real world" more or less. Same thing for "Agyar".

The only books by him I didn't care for were "Cowboy Feng's" and "To Reign in Hell". I was also pretty iffy about "Freedom and Necessity", which was an interesting (but kinda boring) experiment in writing a novel completely in terms of correspondence back and forth between the main characters. I was also tepid on "Brokedown Palace".

Like Bujold, Brust is re-releasing the Taltos series in omnibus novels, each with multiple books inside (so far, "The Book of Jhereg", "The Book of Taltos", and "The Book of Athyra"). That's a good way to get caught up if you don't know Brust.

Posted by: Observer on October 31, 2003 02:21 PM

I only buy omnibuses if I can't find the individual books at used bookstores. I normally buy new books new (aka in print this year or last) and old books used.

Since my understanding is everything but the most wildly popular stuff is paid via an advance and genre authors never sell enough to earn royalties beyond that advance, I'm not really costing authors anything by buying old books used. With the new ones there's always the chance it'll sell wildly. (Of course that chance is between slim and none, and Slim's on vacation)

Of course, this is coming from a guy with over 1200 scifi paperbacks.

Posted by: Humbaba on October 31, 2003 03:58 PM

Wow, 1200. I don't know how many I have. They are all stuffed in a dozen+ boxes in Sarah's closet until we get adequate shelving someday. But it is most definitely less than half of what you got. And about 100 of those are paperbacks that I still haven't read from the time I went nuts at Powell's in Portland in like 1995.

I used to write (mostly speculative fiction) book reviews regularly, and I solicited recommendations, so now after some filtering (aka "delete email from fans of Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, etc."), I have a "watch for this book" list that is about 500+ titles long (it was from this list I picked up the titles at Powell's). I doubt I'll ever catch up, but every once in a while I crack one open and am usually pretty happy with it.

Actually, I shouldn't bash Jordan because I've never read him, but I do have some curiousity about whether the whole "Wheel of Time" series is any good. I may pick up the first book and start the series if I ever get some indication the series has ended.

Posted by: Observer on October 31, 2003 04:44 PM

Heh, I doubt that gravy train will end until he croaks. Never read any, would be curious to try someday.

I kept a list of recommendations, bought many of them.

As for shelving, I had to build my own, to my specs, since nobody sells shelving designed for paperbacks. I've got roughly 180 linear feet of bookshelf. (4 bookcases with 10 four-foot shelves each, a pair of 10' shelves above one of them.)

Posted by: Humbaba on October 31, 2003 05:02 PM