Three science fiction books that I've been reading recently and my opinions...
The Sky People by Steve Stirling-I picked it up recently, and I remembered why I'm not a big fan of S.M. Stirling.
Ever read an author and think, "he's got a good first book-not great, but good. Give him some experience and he'll be a great author"? Then, you check and realize that he's on book #6 of the series and he's already published about sixteen other books...
That's what reading Stirling is like. It feels like he has about a dozen or so stock characters (made of 100% American cardstock!), a half dozen plot situations, and he strings them all together, somehow. I got a same feeling from some of his characters in every book that he's written-that he combines stock core motives with (barely) modified external casings. What's frustrating about it is that he occasionally comes up with good ideas, but can't quite pull it off.
My advice? Wait for paperback. Hell, this is good advice for any of Stirling's books.
Hell's Gate by David Weber and Linda Evans-It's the start of David Weber's fourth series of books, and it's proving to be a pretty good start.
David Weber is one of about five or six authors that I'll buy the books from, sight-unseen and just "oooh, shiny!" that he has a new book out. The concept is good, it looks like he's worked out all the "blind spots" in the concept, and it's good writing of an on-going and continuing cluster-fuck that is being fed by politics, personal greed, ignorance, mistaken assumptions, and human stupidity.
In short, good story material. Wouldn't want to live in those times...but it makes for good reading.
The Android's Dream by John Scalzi-Let's see, we have an interstellar war in the making, a religion made by a mediocre sci-fi writer, a software ghost in the machine, and a sheep.
It reads, and is like reading, a lot like the early Spider Robinson. Which is a good thing, and it reads a lot better because John Scalzi has thought through a lot of his plot points, unlike a lot of the later Spider Robinson books.
I'm thinking that he'll write a lot better once he has a few more books under his belt. So far, so good.