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Just started this one. A friend suggested I give it a try.

This one is fun and maybe the next two in the series, but after that there is a pretty steep decline. Weird thing about P. Anthony is that his series get worse (and more ridiculous) as he goes along. Not sure why this is. Most writers of massive serial works are pretty consistent (the master Edgar Rice Burroughs, Stephen Donaldson, Michael Moorcock, and even Zelazny (consistent within series though I would agree the later books of Amber are a steep drop off from the first series)). Terry Pratchett has seemed to get better as time goes on and his fictional universe expands. But Piers definitely gets worse. The Xanth series is completely unreadable now. The only other equivalent I can think of is Philip Jose Farmer who had a solid 4 books in the Riverworld series and then kind of got bored and squeezed out another two (I think) that were a major stylistic change and certainly a disappointment for me.

Thanks fo the input, greatly appreciated. My friend that reccomended the P.Anthony book had pretty much the same take on the quality of the series. He has read them all but felt that after the first 3 or 4 the writing was getting weaker. Funny that you mentioned the Riverworld series of books, the same friend had suggested those to me as well.

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Nice cover. Never seen that particular edition.

I can't seem to link to it, but I have City with the 1981 cover (you can see this on Amazon: City)

Anyway, I decided this would be a good book to read one last time and give away. I'm just not enjoying it nearly as much this time around. I think it's because he is sort of a utopian at heart (at least in this book). If food was unlimited and energy was unlimited, there would be huge surplus workforce. In a utopian society, people would have near-infinite leisure. In a distopian society, unproductive people would be culled. Given what I have seen over the last twenty years, I know which way the U.S. would go, and it wouldn't be in the direction laid out in City. For me, the most convincing futurologist is the very distopian Paolo Bacigalupi, who has a couple of novels out now. My gut feeling is that a clear majority of SF writers end up with futures that are mostly utopian in terms of the political economy that governs the overall society, even if that society is then threatened by internal or external forces (particularly bug eyed monsters).

I'm also halfway through Jack Hodgins' Innocent Cities. It's a little slow going at first, but it definitely picks up. Here's a pretty decent summary:

Set in Victoria, B.C., in 1881, Innocent Cities brilliantly weaves together the lives and lies of an entire community. Logan Sumner is a young widower and architect who dreams of transforming the tiny port city of Victoria into one of the great cities of the world. ... Sumner awkwardly courts the daughter of James Horncastle, an inveterate gambler and the swaggering proprietor of The Great Blue Heron Hotel. Their lives ... are changed forever when a mysterious widow from Australia arrives in Victoria with startling revelations from her past.

This book in particular strikes me as having similarities with Peter Carey's work, specifically Oscar and Lucinda and The Tax Inspector. So if you are a Peter Carey fan, this might be one to check out.

Edited by ejp626
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Just picked up Nica's Dream, David Kastin's new biography of the good Baroness. Will report back presently. Anyone who has already read it by all means weigh in.

But spoil the ending and I'll moiderlize ya. Wait, wait, er, I forgot. It's not fiction ! Damn, gotta read those pill bottle labels more careful-like.....

Also writings, book excerpts, audio interviews and speeches by Josef Skvorecky. If you haven't read him or don't know him, go to where they live, here:


The Bass Saxophone, a novella, is a great place to start, but you can't really go wrong with anything. Great man of conscience also, who moved to Canada after the bitter ending of the Prague Spring, and has been there ever since inveighing about and lampooning totalitarianism.

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Half-way through this. Great writing skills and intriguing plot!

I'm in the middle of this one too! Some funny bits in it -- I laughed at the though of black-market halvah.

Mine has this cover:


That last is the cover I had, though with mine the writing at the top was not encased in a red stripe.

Ted Gioia's revised edition of THE HISTORY OF JAZZ.

Much difference from the first edition?

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With work being quiet, going thjrough a few ones the last few weeks.


Interesting stories but this biography falls into the category where it tells more about the guy writing it than the main subject, a bit gossipy for its own good sometimes . The MR X stories were fun though but a definitive story about this man is still needed.


Powerful fiction book, quite haunting, it reminded me a bit of Agota Kristoff's writings (The Notebook, Le Grand Cahier) in the way it tells horrible story in such a delicate and casual fashion, well crafted. For the record I read the French translation

Finally going through this right now.


As knowing very little about him, finding this book very informative, insightful gives the man his dues without falling into the trap of an hagiography. Another solid one by Giddins.

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Decided I needed a "B. Cool and Lam Detective Agency" fix. Love these A. A. Fair novels from Gardner. The bickering between Bertha and Donald remind me of that of my other favorite detective duo, Archie and Nero. And I wonder if that isn't intended, even if Bertha and Donald are sort of an inversion as far as brain power goes.


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Just wrapped up Macho Camacho's Beat


Not really my cuppa. But it definitely made me nostalgic for the old days when Avon/Bard had a substantial line of Latin American (and Brazilian) fiction. That's where I went for Vargas Llosa, Garcia Marquez and Amado.

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Some interesting things coming from Library of America -- the first in a three volume set of Vonnegut: Vonnegut on Amazon.

Oddly, they are publishing the middle works first, then apparently will be publishing a volume with his first three novels (and more stories). Not sure what the last volume will contain, as it probably couldn't be all his novels post 1973. I could see it going through 1985, which would be 4 novels and a bunch of stories and maybe some of the essays. Or it could focus more heavily on stories and essays.

I've actually only read two or three Vonnegut novels. I might be in the market for this set, but I think I'll hold off until some used copies start circulating.

Anyway, then they have 2 collections of Harlem Renaissance fiction. As it happens, I have read nearly all of the material, since I took a course on the Harlem Renaissance in college. Some of it was quite interesting, but I won't be buying these volumes as my shelves are pretty full at the moment!

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