melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-08-29 08:37 pm
Entry tags:

FMK #21: Cyberpunk

FMK is back! Yay! Review of Enchantress From the Stars coming shortly. (Also I continue to read City Watch books to write Sedoretu AU fic, and can I just say, it's really hard to write Vimes/Vetinari AU fic because rewriting the first couple books as if it's their courtship changes NOTHING in their scenes together. Like: "I wonder if there's canon on whether you can see the Patrician's Palace from Sybil's house so I don't have to check the maps," and then "Of course there is, here's the scene where VIMES STARES WISTFULLY ACROSS THE CITY AT THE LONELY LIGHT IN VETINARI'S BEDROOM WINDOW.")

Anyway! Last time's winner was The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is the first occasion where you have voted me into finally reading a canon that I have already written fanfic about. :P Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to actually finish the next part of the story with Mary Russell in it. Loser was The Ghosts of Bly, so off it goes.

Also I have finally made up my mind that I will be reading The Dragon and the George out of the tie from a couple weeks back, because I had a dream that crossed it over with Heimskringla (which I also have not read yet, but apparently Earl Hákon got his brain transferred into a falcon as part of a palace plot, and then ended up being taken to a wizard who was all "I do dimensional portals, not political intrigue, go away!")

This week's theme: Cyberpunk! Because I kept whittling it down by using the books in other sets so I figured time to do it while I still had enough left. (Themes are going to get harder and harder as we approach the halfway point of my unreads.)

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 #18756 FMK #21: Cyberpunk
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 30


Godheads by Emily Devenport (1998)

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F
7 (50.0%)

M
2 (14.3%)

K
5 (35.7%)

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdon by Cory Doctorow (2003)

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F
10 (50.0%)

M
0 (0.0%)

K
10 (50.0%)

Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane (2010)

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F
16 (69.6%)

M
5 (21.7%)

K
2 (8.7%)

The Mocking Program by Alan Dean Foster (2002)

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F
6 (35.3%)

M
3 (17.6%)

K
8 (47.1%)

Radio Freefall by Matthew Jarpe (2008)

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F
4 (36.4%)

M
1 (9.1%)

K
6 (54.5%)

Fool's Run by Patricia McKillip (1987)

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F
10 (55.6%)

M
5 (27.8%)

K
3 (16.7%)

The Long Run by Daniel Keyes Moran (1989)

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F
6 (42.9%)

M
2 (14.3%)

K
6 (42.9%)

The Android's Dream by John Scalzi (2007)

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F
15 (68.2%)

M
3 (13.6%)

K
4 (18.2%)

The Diamond Age by Neal Stevenson (1995)

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F
9 (42.9%)

M
6 (28.6%)

K
6 (28.6%)

Vacuum Flowers by Michael Swanwick (1987)

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F
7 (46.7%)

M
4 (26.7%)

K
4 (26.7%)

Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology edited by Bruce Sterling (1986)

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F
7 (38.9%)

M
7 (38.9%)

K
4 (22.2%)


rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: You keep using that word)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-08-30 01:53 am (UTC)(link)
Slightly skewed in that I don't like cyberpunk.

Diamond Age was flashy but unmemorable. Vacuum Flowers was dull. I know I read Fool's Run but recall nothing of it. I like Scalzi's blog but not his fiction. The one book of Cory Doctorow's I read was one of the worst books I've ever read, his insufferable YA that assumed teenagers are idiots who need every other word painfully-- and often incorrectly--defined for them. I raged about it here: I drank a glass of milk, a nutritious liquid squeezed from cows.

Diane Duane has never yet failed to be entertaining. I have not read her cyberpunk book because I'm afraid it will be her one fail. So you need to read it so I know!
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-08-30 03:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I liked Stealing the Elf-King's Roses more on rereading. I find with a number of her books I don't really know what's going on in the plot until the second read. Don't know what that's about.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-08-30 02:32 am (UTC)(link)
I actually tried to read this particular Doctorow book and couldn't finish it even though I was without hardcopy books or internet and so stuck with what I'd downloaded before leaving home. I didn't like the writing. I didn't buy the world building. I hated the POV character and not in the way that makes it still fun to read about him. It was enough that I swore I wouldn't touch another Doctorow book.
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2017-08-30 02:03 am (UTC)(link)
Diamond Age is something to have read, and it's got some interesting ideas that were more interesting at the time than now, but it's ultimately not super weighty.

I voted F on Vacuum Flowers because I don't know anything about it, but I've recently read another Michael Swanwick (Chasing the Phoenix) which was fun as hell but in a fluffy way. So if they're anything alike, you'll probably enjoy reading it once and then you can be done.

I am apparently the only person who really liked The Android's Dream - I'm not a huge fan of Scalzi's other work (I thought Redshirts was fucking dreadful) but this one hits the spot for me, for whatever reason. The right balance of funny and weird and action and aliens.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-08-30 03:02 am (UTC)(link)
My feeling on Scalzi is that his prose is competent rather than enticing and that the things that interest him in stories aren't the things that interest me. My husband likes his books, though. Not in a passionate, 'Ooh! There's a new Scalzi!' way but in a 'This will entertain me for an afternoon' sort of way. My impression is that he's got the old fashioned gosh wow style plotting of the pulps without all the layers of sexism and racism and such that one finds there.
cyprinella: Aeryn and Chiana (Farscape: chiana and aeryn)

[personal profile] cyprinella 2017-08-30 01:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Is that the one that starts with a chapter long fart joke? Because I enjoyed that one.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-08-31 01:00 am (UTC)(link)
Yes. *wince* That's my least favorite part of the book, but it is, in a certain mood anyway, still funny.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-08-30 02:42 am (UTC)(link)
Are you aware that The Long Run is actually the second book in the series? I voted M on that, which I almost never do, because I really love it, but it is the second book. The first book is focused on different characters, the previous generation, and sets the stage for the conflict in The Long Run. Emerald Eyes, the previous book, is not as much fun being rather grimmer and ending in tragedy so that the characters in The Long Run can have their origin story.

I think that it's probably possible to read this book without having read Emerald Eyes, but I read them in order, so I can't be sure.

But any book that features a character who becomes known as 'Trent the Uncatchable' is a winner in my book. The Long Run goes more in the romp direction than toward the gritty side of cyberpunk.

This is one of those series that I think everyone should read.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-08-30 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
There's a bit of weirdness in the first book in terms of, if I recall correctly, the French having taken control of the UN (somehow) and put their boot on the throats of everyone they didn't like. I'm not sure where Moran came up with that.

The main characters in The Long Run are children in Emerald Eyes and adults in The Long Run. They're the only survivors of their extended family.

Moran had plans for a long series, but the books didn't sell well enough. I know he's put out at least one more as an ebook, but I haven't picked it up yet because I'm prone to forgetting about the ebooks I have, so I worry that I'd buy it and forget to read it.
katherine: A line of books on a shelf, in greens and browns (books)

[personal profile] katherine 2017-08-30 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
I've read Mirrorshades! Or maybe only two or three stories in it. There was a super weird one with a gargoyle.
rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-08-30 04:43 am (UTC)(link)
I love Fool's Run, it's one of my favorite McKillips, and how you feel about it will depend entirely on how you feel about McKillip rather than how you feel about cyberpunk-- granted, one of the things I love about it is the cognitive dissonance of McKillip's usual prose and metaphors and imagery being applied to really rather dark SF.

Have spent years wishing Cory Doctorow would just go away. Keeps on not happening.

The Diamond Age turns out to have been incredibly formative for the current state of SF as a field, and I can see its descendants every time I turn around, but I'm kind of meh on it as a thing in itself? If I had to teach an SF course I'd make the students read it, but I'd feel vaguely guilty about that. It is doing different things from Snow Crash, though, and in fact from anything else I've read of Stephenson (though I must admit I gave up sometime during the Giant Historical Bricks).

I have not read this Duane, but Stealing the Elf-King's Roses is completely unreadable, it's not just you.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-08-30 12:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Contrayr to others posted, I actually like Stealing The Elf-King's Roses, but it's not my favorite Duane; it's a lot of interesting worldbuilding for a partner-detective set up that doesn't quite land before it turns sideways into palace intrigue and an abrupt ending. My favorite Duane books are The Door Into Shadow, sequel to the Dorr Into Fire, and the second and third Young Wizards books, and The Book Of Night With Moon, the first cat wizards book.

I also enjoyed Little Brother because of what it critiques, but found it not terribly memorable. I want to like Cory Doctorow because of his advocacy for leveling access to information, but my favorite of his works are a scattered few short stories.

Somehow, The Android's Dream is my favorite Scalzi, and I find it hilarious and rereadable, though I don't love the opening scene. I think it's because of how much I enjoy the character and backstory of Robin. Also, hover shoes.

I've never been able to get into Neal Stephenson.

...The conceptual trouble with FMK is I want to recommend you more authors to put on the list... (Is Paolo Bacigalupi cyberpunk-esque? What about RoAnna Sylver?) and more topics to accumulate books on, which kind of defeats the purpose.

:)
brithistorian: (Default)

[personal profile] brithistorian 2017-08-30 02:21 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted on the two of these that I've read:

Diamond Age got an M. I loved this book. This era of Neal Stevenson is the part of his career I enjoyed best - he was doing hi best at balancing ideas and story. (As opposed to, say, Cryptonomicon, which I think would have been improved by stripping out the story entirely and publishing the infodumps as a nonfiction anthology.)

Mirrorshades got an F. Would have gotten an M, but I haven't read it since the last 80s and I don't know how well it has aged.
brithistorian: (Default)

[personal profile] brithistorian 2017-09-05 09:27 am (UTC)(link)
One of my strongest memories from reading Cryptonomicon was getting about a third of the way in and being uncertain if there was an actual coherent story there. I ended up telling myself that I needed to have either faith in Stephenson that he was going to tie it all together or else if I couldn't do that, then give up on the book without putting any more time into it. In the end I was glad I finished it, but I doubt I'll ever reread it.
isis: (Default)

[personal profile] isis 2017-08-30 03:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I read Down and Out before I was on Goodreads, apparently, but I remember thinking it was a great premise, not so much with the execution.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)

[personal profile] liv 2017-08-30 08:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I also disliked Little brother though I didn't hate it as much as some of your other commenters. But if Magic Kingdom is annoying in similar ways, maybe it should be a K, not an F.

The long run is not a lot like anything else. It's pretty cool, but it's also book two of a series which will probably never be finished.

I voted M on The Diamond Age. It's definitely flawed, partly by Stephenson's besetting excessive infodumping, but its good points are really good. It's using SF to explore philosophical questions, but more interesting and less obvious ones than many, and it's also very fun to read. IMO much better than Anathem, much more accessible than Cryptonomicon, and shortish by Stephenson's standards.
stellar_dust: Stylized comic-book drawing of Scully at her laptop in the pilot. (Default)

[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-08-31 12:02 am (UTC)(link)
The Doctorow really annoyed me. I don't remember liking ANY of the characters, and also I think the way he did gender really grated on me - like maybe he was trying to be progressive and failing super hard?? I don't really remember the details but I feel like I expected to mostly like it but I really kind of hated it.
cahn: (Default)

[personal profile] cahn 2017-08-31 03:06 am (UTC)(link)
I adore the Duane ST and YW books, and I thought Omnitopia Dawn was OK, but I found it (as I find much of Duane's work) a little... sloppy, like, one of the main plots of the book is so simplistic that it wouldn't actually work in real life.
evil_plotbunny: (Default)

[personal profile] evil_plotbunny 2017-08-31 04:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I remember liking Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom when it first came out, before I got tired of Doctorow recycling his boingboing posts in his fic (that only took about 2-3 books). I also suspect it hasn't aged well. YMMV

Ommitopia Dawn is probably my least favorite DD, which makes it good for a first read but not something I'd ever be likely to reread. I feel the same way about Scalzi, though I haven't read the one listed.

I remember nothing about The Diamond Age, though I'm sure I read it.