What I’ve read – Summer 2016

Here’s what I read last summer – I’ve been neglecting this website and had forgotten to post this.

2016 Summer:

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

A friend was getting rid of an Asimov anthology – a big hardback featuring several of his novels. While I’d grown up with many of Asimov’s books being available in my house, I’ve never read any of them. So I figured I’d borrow the anthology before passing onto the charity shop, and read the collection. The first novel in the collection was Foundation. So what do I think?

My initial thought was that Asimov writes weirdly. It wasn’t bland, but it wasn’t too descriptive. It’s somewhere in between, but closer to the bland end of the spectrum. It seemed very narrative driven, yet the world seemed to develop naturally and when description did rear its head, it wasn’t poor nor over the top – just in the Goldilock’s zone.

Just as I’d get used to how things were working at one point in tie, the chapter or book would end and I’d find myself transported thirty or so years into the future. This meant that an awful lot of time was covered in a novel that – in my edition – is less than 200 pages long. While I think it would have been interesting to have had more detail, perhaps individual stories or tales that take place within the Foundation or the Galactic Empire (I don’t know enough about Asimov’s books yet to know if these exist), I think that Foundation serves as a good “core” or “skeleton” that tells the story of a changing Universe.

Armada by Ernest Cline

This was fun. With space battles that took all the good stuff from Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet and added in more fun, a writing style that isn’t bland but isn’t pretentious: Cline’s writing seems to ooze enthusiasm and a  love for sci-fi. While I didn’t like the ending [tries not to give spoilers] the premise of the story is great.

Good fun, and I can’t wait to read Ready, Player One.

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelzany

I’ve had this in my “to-read” pile for a long time. Last night I was looking for something to read, and I picked it up. I read half of it last night and half of it this morning. It’s not particularly long, and the plot isn’t particularly complicated. The cast is pretty small, and the book is pretty short. Yet Zelzany creates a believable post-apocalyptic world with hints of Mad Max and Fallout (although, that should really be the other way round as this was written first), with a protagonist who is nasty yet nice.

Short, simple and good.

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