ebooks, readers, and reading lists

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2010 at 1:57 am

A few months back – actually, close to a year ago, as my travel schedule was picking up, I found the stanza iPhone app for reading ebooks and liked it well enough to dig into the list of Creative Commons licensed Sci-Fi books at Feedbooks (lists of lists is here, sci-fi list here).

Since then, I've been working my way through the list to the point that I was doing the vast majority of my reading on my iPhone.

For Christmas, my wife surprised me with a Kindle – which was really a surprise.  I'd been joking around about wanting a kindle or some other ebook reader for a while, but had more or less decided that the devices weren't yet at a point where they did everything I wanted them to do.  Mind you, I didn't have an exhaustive list of features that would be necessary to tip me over.  I guess I just wasn't yet convinced, even though for the past 10 months, most of reading has been ebook and on an iPhone.

In any event, getting up and running with the kindle gave me pause to go back and look at the list of books and I thought I'd take a minute to give a quick run down of what I've read and share any thoughts I had about the books.

So, going down the Feedbooks Sci-Fi list:

  1. Makers by Cory Doctorow.  READ THIS BOOK.  This was one of my favorites.  I enjoy Doctorow's writing, but this one is one of the books that I want to own in paper format.
  2. The Ant King and Other Stories by Benjamin Rosenbaum.  Not terribly memorable, rather pomo-trippy.  Not bad, but not quite speed.  Was great for reading while on the road though – worked nicely to pop little stories in between meetings, etc.
  3. Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow.  I think this was the first ebook I read, and it is the one that sucked me in.  Like I said earlier, I like Doctorow's writing.  I also really like his philosophy on releasing books free online *and* in print.  It's smart, he's smart, he's prolific, and I think he's a good writer/storyteller to boot.
  4. Burn, by James Patrick Kelly. Don't remember this one as well – remember it being a good story, a page turner in fact, but not a top of the list book for me.  Still, I'd read more by Kelly.
  5. The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other stories by John Kessel.  Some really great stories in here, many that I wished weren't short stories.
  6. Postsingular, by Rudy Rucker. This was another favorite.  Very odd at times.  Very very interesting.  A captivating story.  One of the things I learned in reading all these one after the other is that I really like reading work that envisions dystopic societies because of how they show us who we are.  Rucker's vision highlights some of the ways in which our technological prowess can run ahead of our ability as a species to be able to understand and adapt to the ramifications of that technology.
  7. Metrophage, by Richard Kadrey. Good story, quite a page-turner.  Well written sci-fi pulp (and I should note that I love pulp).  Deserves a read if you like good sci-fi.
  8. Roo'd, by Joshua Klein. Fast read – the pace is quick, pulls you in, and the writing is good.  Very interesting story – if you liked Neuromancer, and the Matrix movies, you'll likely enjoy this.
  9. My Own Kind of Freedom, by Steven Brust.  Firefly fan-fic.  Loved it, but loved Firefly.
  10. Star Dragon, by Mike Brotherton. A good read.  Slow at times, but worth sticking with.
  11. Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow.  Another great ready.  This one probing security, privacy, and what encroaching government surveillance could look like in a not too distant future.
  12. True Names, by Cory Doctorow. This one was just odd.  Enjoyable, but odd.  What a concept – turning the raw materials of the universe into computing matter – CPU cycles and storage.  This is a concept that comes back in very slightly different forms in a lot of sci-fi. 
  13. Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow.  Thoroughly enjoyable, and a bit different from most of the rest of his stuff.
  14. Everyone in Silico by James Munroe. One of the first "people leave their physical bodies and upload into virtual reality" books I read.  Have to say that I enjoyed it.  It's a great concept on its own, but when you juxtapose it with the implications the technology has vis-a-vis the population/climate/biosphere crises, it becomes a very interesting idea to chew on.  Would you upload yourself, if you could?
  15. Blindsight, by Peter Watts.  Watts is a fantastic writer.  I read Blindsight, Starfish, Behemoth, and Maelstrom more or less back to back and loved them all.  All are books I'd love to add to my _paper_ collection.
  16. Ventus, by Karl Schroeder.  Great book – terraforming, nanotech, AI, and a great storyline as well. Definitely recommended.
  17. Accelerando, by Charles Stross.  A set of short stories, but they read as a novel – well written, very enjoyable read.
  18. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow.  Another enjoyable read by Doctorow.  Didn't enjoy as much as some others, but a good read nonetheless.
  19. Starfish by Peter Watts.  Mentioned earlier – great read.
  20. Maelstrom by Peter Watts. Mentioned earlier – great read.
  21. Behemoth by Peter Watts. Mentioned earlier – great read.
  22. Snake Eyes by Tom Maddox.  Don't really remember this one too well….
  23. Halo by Tom Maddox. Very enjoyable story
  24. Scratch Monkey, by Charles Stross.  An interesting and fun take on the "upload our consciousness" meme.
  25. Craphound, by Cory Doctorow.  A fairly short one, and a fun one.
  26. Appeals Court, by Cory Doctorow.  Another short story from Doctorow, this one a bit odder.

By my count, I've got another 29 books to post about – that is, books from the list that I've read to date, so I'll have to pick this up again later.