melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-05-23 05:30 pm
Entry tags:

FMK #13: First Book in the Series

Last week's F winner was Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm! Should be interesting; it's one where I have no idea why I own it or why I kept it. K was Alas, Babylon.

Since I will be away from my book collection for the next two weeks, there will be an FMK break; next poll should go up June 12. I will keep reading and possibly posting reactions, though - the plan is to take the K books that I really wanted to read first with me on the trip, and leave them there.

This week's poll: Books where I own only the first book in the series (and have read none of them.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)


Poll #18407 FMK #13: First Book in the Series
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 50


Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (Culture series, 1987)

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F
13 (44.8%)

M
10 (34.5%)

K
6 (20.7%)

A Million Open Doors by John Barnes (Thousand Cultures series, 1992)

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F
5 (27.8%)

M
5 (27.8%)

K
8 (44.4%)

Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh (Foreigner series, 1994)

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F
16 (48.5%)

M
13 (39.4%)

K
4 (12.1%)

A Thousand Words for Stranger by Julie E. Czerneda (Trade Pact Universe, 1991)

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F
15 (62.5%)

M
4 (16.7%)

K
5 (20.8%)

The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle and James MacDonald (Mageworlds, 1992)

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F
12 (54.5%)

M
5 (22.7%)

K
5 (22.7%)

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings (Belgariad, 1982)

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F
12 (33.3%)

M
1 (2.8%)

K
23 (63.9%)

Expendable by James Alan Gardner (League of Peoples, 1999)

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F
7 (43.8%)

M
5 (31.2%)

K
4 (25.0%)

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (Magic ex Libris, 2012)

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F
18 (62.1%)

M
5 (17.2%)

K
6 (20.7%)

Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn (Chronicles of Tornor, 1979)

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F
17 (73.9%)

M
4 (17.4%)

K
2 (8.7%)

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (InCryptid, 2012)

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F
20 (60.6%)

M
8 (24.2%)

K
5 (15.2%)

The Man-Kzin Wars by Larry Niven (Man-Kzin Wars, 1988)

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F
6 (21.4%)

M
3 (10.7%)

K
19 (67.9%)

Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa A Barnett (Pointsman, 1995)

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F
15 (51.7%)

M
10 (34.5%)

K
4 (13.8%)

On Basilisk Station by David Weber (Honor Harrington, 1993)

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F
18 (60.0%)

M
4 (13.3%)

K
8 (26.7%)


jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)

[personal profile] jain 2017-05-23 10:05 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted "fuck" for it, but I think Point of Hopes is actually a pretty bad book with good characters and fascinating worldbuilding. Imo it's still worth reading for the worldbuilding and so that you can better appreciate and understand the sequels, but don't expect too much from its plot.
Edited 2017-05-23 22:07 (UTC)
isis: (Default)

[personal profile] isis 2017-05-24 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
Heh, I totally agree. The plot has really weird pacing. But the characters and worldbuilding are really cool, and as the series progresses I think it gets more cohesive, so it's worth trying out to see if you want more in this world.
petra: Barbara Gordon smiling knowingly (Default)

[personal profile] petra 2017-05-23 10:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I have yet to recover from C. S. Forester enough to attempt David Weber's Horatio Hornblower-Always-A-Girl...in SPACE! but I have On Basilisk Station, so if it wins F, I'll read it with you.

The Jim Hines has polyamory and consent issues done well, plus a cool concept where librarians rule.

McGuire's Incryptid series has a plot hole you could drive the Spruce Goose through, but apart from the massive, ridiculous flaw that never gets fixed, it's pretty well-done and is charming.
isis: (Default)

[personal profile] isis 2017-05-24 02:00 am (UTC)(link)
I liked the first Honor Harrington book enough to finish, but not enough to read any more in the series!
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

[personal profile] vass 2017-05-24 08:31 am (UTC)(link)
I read like five of the Honor Harrington books in my teens, and all I can remember is stoic angsty protagonist, bad romance plot later on, and that she had an awesome pet hexapod cat named Nimitz.
beatrice_otter: Honor Harrington with exploding spaceships (Honor Ashes of Victory)

[personal profile] beatrice_otter 2017-05-26 01:59 pm (UTC)(link)
There are indeed soulbonded space cats! Weber's writing is very clunky, and this gets a lot more obvious in the later books of the series when it's less "Girl!Horatio Hornblower In SPAAAAAACE" and more "epic political and economic intrigue across THE ENTIRE GALAXY with war as the background" but the first bits are pretty good.

Also, it was the first book that introduced me to the fact that "she" and "her" could be default pronouns, which was fairly revolutionary as a teenager.

(This icon is the second set of covers from Ashes of Victory, one of the later books in the series.)
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-05-23 10:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted K for the Eddings in spite of some of those being comfort reads for me because they're not actually good. More later when I'm not on my phone.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-05-23 11:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreigner is excellent but I didn't continue the series for lack of brainpower; it took some concentration to read. I think it works as a standalone.

Expendable has a super-dark premise - people with disabilities/physical differences used as redshirts because the beautiful, physically perfect majority doesn't give a shit if they die - but ends up a fairly light adventure story. It was interesting and I liked the writing style but the disjunct didn't really work for me.

Consider Phlebas isn't as representative of the Culture as some other books, but I liked it. It's also got a lot of tonal shifts (tragedy! black comedy! gory violence! jokes!) but they worked for me better than Expendable did.

I am really hoping Pawn of Prophecy wins fuck because it would be a fun review. I retain fondness in memory for the series, which I enjoyed as a teenager, but I am positive it is not actually good.
muccamukk: Keren looking extremely dubious. Text: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus? (Christain: Lobster Jesus)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-05-24 04:59 am (UTC)(link)
I am really hoping Pawn of Prophecy wins fuck because it would be a fun review.

It occurs to me that we should be voting F on this principle generally. Like those reality shows where you vote on what would be most fun to watch, not on who would be best at whatever.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

[personal profile] rmc28 2017-05-24 08:58 am (UTC)(link)
I vote F quite often for books I haven't read but would like to read the review ...
muccamukk: Text: "We're way over our daily quota of emo." (RoL: Daily Quota of Emo)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-05-24 09:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh I do too, but not say books I know are terrible and think it would be funny to make Mel read. Which is a thought.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

[personal profile] vass 2017-05-24 08:36 am (UTC)(link)
Foreigner is excellent but I didn't continue the series for lack of brainpower; it took some concentration to read. I think it works as a standalone.

Seconding the concentration thing.

I am really hoping Pawn of Prophecy wins fuck because it would be a fun review. I retain fondness in memory for the series, which I enjoyed as a teenager, but I am positive it is not actually good.

And this, which is why I voted F for it. (I didn't like the Belgariad series much, but I loved and wallowed in the Eleniad when I was twelve or so.)
blueswan: girl reading book (book reading)

[personal profile] blueswan 2017-05-24 12:35 am (UTC)(link)
I was hoping the Eddings book had a shot at F, because I want to know if I should continue trying the first book. I've had three stabs at it over the years and have yet to get much past the first chapter.

I remember little detail of either Foreigner or Watchtower, but I read both series and they are still here. I should re-read them. Hey you are doing a great service here, I'm back to re-reading with an eye to disposing of books that no longer work for me.
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-05-24 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, so many kill votes for the Eddings. Now I'm afraid to reread it ever and discover it's not as entertaining as I thought in middle school.
muccamukk: Close up of Finn's beautiful face, highlighted in blue and purple. (SW: Finn)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-05-24 01:50 am (UTC)(link)
I enjoyed Eddings. It was high fantasy fluff, but it was FUN high fantasy fluff. Granted, I also read them in middle school.

Voted kill on Niven because of unspeakable sexism and general rapeyness. I don't remember which of that series what story was in, but UGH.

I usually like Hines, but bounced off this series. I found the protag boring, and the heroine a bit of a stereotype (which he was trying to subvert, but it fell flat for me.)

Found Weber really, really boring.

Never met a McGuire book I've liked.

My wife ADORES the early books of the Foreigner series.

I keep meaning to read the Culture series, since so many friends love it.
Edited 2017-05-24 01:53 (UTC)
umadoshi: (InCryptid - Heroic Stand)

[personal profile] umadoshi 2017-05-24 02:28 am (UTC)(link)
I voted in one of these for the FIRST TIME. ^_^

I love InCryptid overall (some books more than others; Discount Armageddon is one I like quite well but not one of my very favorites), but have no sense of how you might do with it, so I voted F.
umadoshi: (InCryptid - true love)

[personal profile] umadoshi 2017-05-25 04:56 am (UTC)(link)
Partly it's my love of the books/author, but also, it's kinda rare for a book I actually know (or remember much detail about) to turn up in these polls, so it seemed only right to vote! ^_^

(I know I don't have to have read something to cast a vote, but I'm not really wired that way, much as I enjoy reading other people's "I want you to read this so I don't have to!" comments.)
snickfic: (Default)

[personal profile] snickfic 2017-05-24 03:41 am (UTC)(link)
Kill: the Niven (because Niven, ie dated and sexist), the Banks (because I tried one of the other Culture books once and hated it - no one felt like a real person, and none of his worldbuilding felt like it had any concrete reality or emotional weight to it at all), and the Hines (I love his blog, but his fiction comes off feeling pretty shallow to me).

Fuck: the Czerneda (forgettable but pleasant SF romance hard on the h/c) and the Cherryh (mentally exhausting and emotionally unsatisfying, IMO, but some people seem to really like that series, so).
Edited 2017-05-24 03:42 (UTC)
rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-05-24 05:59 am (UTC)(link)
I highly recommend both the Culture series and the Cherryh atevi books, but Consider Phlebas is my least favorite Culture novel (and does not have continuity with the others in a way that means you need to start with it). Also, I personally bounced off Foreigner SO HARD, and then I read book two, and then I read the other jillion, and then I had fallen deeply in love with the universe and characters so I went back... and bounced right off Foreigner again. What I'm saying here is, if you don't like either of these, do not discard the series, and book two is a fine starter in either case.

If you read Man-Kzin Wars, you will know everything you might ever need to know about the political, aesthetic, and cultural roots of modern furry fandom. I don't know whether that's a plus or a run-away-screaming sign. (SO many kzinti fursonas out there, even now. SO MANY.)
rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-05-24 11:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Not... all of it did? Some of it came from fandom for Warner Brothers cartoons, so there just weren't many women and you could celebrate the genderqueerness of Bugs Bunny? But a significant chunk of furry fandom did start around Man-Kzin Wars (haven't read Ringworld, so I don't know if there are significant differences in how kzinti are in that vs. their own books).

I don't think of furrydom as being a terribly woman-unfriendly fandom, but I also tend to run around in the TBLG+ portions and avoid straight male furs like the plague, so. I definitely believe that organized furry fandom started as primarily straight men who liked a certain kind of cheesecake/porn art, though there's been a large TBLG+ contingent from the beginning. The early fur netspaces were heavily male and heavily kzinti; the fandom at large has moved away from that now but all that still exists, just as a minority. And it is an avoidable minority, mostly-- Anthrocon is the best con I've ever been to as far as code of conduct/handling harassment, and I went years before the famous incidents in SFF conspace started.

I think at the moment kzinti and furry fandom are a lot like how Gor RPers exist in BDSM spaces, and were among the early subcultures involved in that, and there's a lot of history there and most people in those spaces know about the subculture and history and who they are and kind of wince when the whole thing comes up, except the ones who are actively into that. That's the best analogy I can think of.
torachan: (Default)

[personal profile] torachan 2017-05-24 07:22 am (UTC)(link)
I feel like I've said something similar quite a few times so far, but I really, really loved those David Eddings books as a teen. I am actually afraid to reread them as an adult because I have a feeling they wouldn't hold up, but I still vote for giving it a try because NOSTALGIA.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

[personal profile] rmc28 2017-05-24 08:56 am (UTC)(link)
I voted K for it, because I LOVED all the Eddings books as a teen, and then I tried to reread them in my late twenties and the Suck Fairy had come through quite thoroughly.

(I got rid of my own copies, after a brief dither over whether to keep them for when my own children are teens, but they're really not that good, and there's so much better YA stuff being published now, and libraries will probably have them forever anyway ...)
rachelmanija: (Books: old)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-05-25 04:45 am (UTC)(link)
To be fair, even as a kid I thought the first book was pretty weak and the series only got interesting later on. So you'll get the flavor but maybe not why people liked it.
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2017-05-24 11:18 am (UTC)(link)
The Eddings... I mean, I too read these when I was a teen and loved them and even reread as an adult and enjoyed them as fantasy fluff. But I actually think you will be bored by the book and not even find it entertaining to blog about. It just really doesn't seem like your thing. Also, there is a lot of 'women are mysterious and we'll never understand what's happening inside their weird and beautiful brains, amirite?' which, yeah, I hate that.
fuckyeahseb: an icon with the letters FYS in mint green against a chocolate brown background with a yellow diamond below the letters and then a think stripe of mint green at the bottom (Default)

[personal profile] fuckyeahseb 2017-05-25 11:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted M for Discount Armageddon because I hope you don't axe it after the first read and miss out on the rest of the series. I've been devouring Seanan's books for.. a year and a half? Maybe two years? And I've discovered that I like each of her settings for different reasons. This setting in particular and its series have that fun, not-insubstantial-but-not-really-a-proper-meal snackiness about it.

I like the setting itself and the characters that inhabit it - especially that they feel like they have lives and there's continuity from one book to another.

(Every series has to have some kind of continuity, of course, but it doesn't always feel like it matters and with this one it does.)
tetsubinatu: (Default)

[personal profile] tetsubinatu 2017-05-26 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
I love the Foreigner series and I know a lot of people find it dull - in one book almost nothing happens outside the main protagonist's head - but I love that it demands thought and attention from me. I just eagerly bought the most recent book.

Eddings was dull to me even as a teen. It was LotR lite, imho.

Watchtower was one of the first books I read with non-whitebread sexuality. I have no idea how it stands up today but together with a disabled hero that made it confusing in a very interesting way to me as a teen. It broke stereotypes.
beatrice_otter: A sword in front of a dome (Harrington sword and dome)

[personal profile] beatrice_otter 2017-05-26 01:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted "kill" for Man-Kzin wars, because although I have never read it, I have tried various times to get into later books in the series and bounced off of them hard ... and this was as a very undiscriminating teenager who read a novel a day during the school year and more in the summer and was always desperate for something she hadn't read before. I mean, it's possible the first one was better! It's possible I just don't like Niven! (The only thing of his that I ever liked was Falling Free, and that mostly for the weird quirky fandom self-inserts.) But I could never get into Ringworld, Footfall was okay but not one I'd ever read again, etc.

As for On Basilisk Station, read it! Here, have a post on why Honor is the most awesome character ever, or at least why I thought so when I was in middle and high school. I don't know if you've ever read Weber, but beware that he does love his infodumps (though less so at the beginning of the series) and he's not a great writer, but if you want Horatio-Hornblower-as-a-woman-in-SPAAAAACE, the Honor Harrington series is for you! (At least the first half of the series. The later books ... the more he focuses on the grand overarching plot, the more his defects as a writer become obvious.)

(BTW, the icon above is taken from one of the French covers of a later Harrington book.)

ETA: Do be aware the Weber and Bujold were both starting out as Baen authors at close to the same time, and Weber was a big ol' Bujold fanboy. So you will note plot echoes and homages all throughout the first half of the series.
Edited 2017-05-26 13:45 (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)

[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-05-30 06:50 pm (UTC)(link)
A Million Open Doors is a terrific book with a fabulous character arc for the protagonist, but STOP THERE. The rest of the series ranges from disappointing to unfinishable. I heard somewhere that Barnes was going thru a bitter divorce while he was writing these, which would explain a lot. The fourth book (the one I couldn't finish) seemed to be an attempt to re-write the first one with an older character, and it failed miserably.

The Price of the Stars -- this whole series is on my Desert Island Books list. There are 7 books to date, and I strongly recommend that you read them in publication order -- in particular, the 4th book will seriously spoil the end of the trilogy if you read it first. There's supposed to be an 8th book in the works, but it's been "real soon now" for more than 5 years and I'll honestly be amazed if it ever gets finished.

Libriomancer is a good start to a worthy series, and does some interesting trope-avoidance along the way.

The Honor Harrington series is a space-opera classic; I had it recommended to me by someone who knew I liked the Mageworlds books, and although it's quite different in style from those, it has great characters and character arcs. Content warning for violence, but it's not glorified or sexualized; it's just that in battle scenes, there's going to be blood and death, and Weber doesn't pretend there isn't. I lost interest after Ashes of Victory, but that's about 12 books in. :-)