thanate: (bluehair)
[personal profile] thanate
I wandered Balticon on Saturday, and do not approve of the new venue (not that anyone asked me...) It's beautifully convenient for me in that I can take the light rail & walk over, but somewhat appalling in terms of parking, and (since I know the inner harbor decently well) I hopped over to the super secret crepe place in the Harborplace mall for lunch (and then they put canned mushrooms in my crepe, eew!, so yeah.) But the venue was slightly smaller than the old hotel, with no lounge space in the con public areas, so if you wanted to mingle either you had to go to the bar or stand around in the hallways, which made for ridiculous crowding. There *were* stairs, but they were super secret service stairs that were hard to find and very narrow between the two floors the con was on, so passing people on them was awkward to problematic, and there was a constant line for the elevators. So while I did get to chat with some people I wanted to see, there were a couple others I waved to once as they rushed by, and some I didn't manage to see at all, and the whole thing was overcrowded, poorly lit, and too loud. Woe.

Anyway, aside from sitting crossly in a hallway & penning some more of my break-up letter from the Bog Goddess to humanity (until my pen ran out of ink), it also occurred to me that I want to read more SF with xenobotany and/or terraforming. I've been doing all this naturalist stuff and learning the weird and still-new or still-being-discovered things about my biome! I'm interested in what other people do with imagined ones.

Things I've read and liked so far include Bujold-- particularly the recent bits with Sergyaran fauna; I loved the concept of investigating entirely unstudied ecosystems-- or the crazy terraforming from the second Steerswoman book. (The third one didn't work for me as well, but partly b/c the whole plot was tangential to the series plot.) I prefer non-awful main characters and to avoid horror/grimdark/dystopia and all that crap.

So far on my radar:
*Janet Kagen's Hellspark (presently sitting next to me!)
*MCA Hogarth, probably starting with Mindtouch

and suggestions from twitter today:
*Elizabeth Moon, Remnant Population
*Nicola Griffith, Ammonite
*Planetfall
*Carol Ives Gilman, Dark Orbit
*Julie Czerneda
*Joan Slonczewski

(Partly recorded here so I have a list to refer back to) Anyone else have recs that spring to mind? A little "this book (or story!) is cool/related because it has X" is also appreciated!

Date: 2016-05-30 02:54 am (UTC)
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
From: [personal profile] jazzfish
Ugh, I'm sorry Balticon was such a mess. If it helps you're far from the only person I've heard complaining about it.

A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arnason is mostly anthropological SF but there's a bit of xenobotany in there as well.

Dune (the first one) has some bits on terraforming that are probably the best parts of the book. If you've got access to a copy, you can read the appendix that's labeled something like "Report from Imperial Planetologist Pardot Kynes" and get most of it.

Graydon Saunders's second Commonweal book, A Succession Of Bad Days, has a small amount of magical biology and terraforming (mostly on the "civil engineering" side of things). The overall setting is a world that's been wracked with sorcery and Evil Overlords for thousands of years, and the books explore the impact that's had on "normal" life.

Seconding Ammonite, and Joan Slonczewski. (And also your opinion of the third Steerswoman book.)

Date: 2016-05-31 03:12 pm (UTC)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
From: [personal profile] jazzfish
Joan S's biggest book is A Door Into Ocean; it's also the only one I've read. I've heard good things about The Highest Frontier but it's set on a space station, so less of what you're looking for.

Have I not recommended A Woman Of The Iron People to you? I have been remiss; when I read it I kept thinking "this is either right up [personal profile] thanate's alley, or utterly wrongheaded and she will want to throw it against the wall."

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