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Ancillary Sword—I enjoyed this immensely. Intelligent commentary (that I agree with) says that the book is even better than its impressive antecedent in terms of psychological observation, but falls down in plot development. There is not the same energy driving the story onward. Personally, I liked the other aspects of Ms. Leckie's writing so much that I didn't care.

The Goblin Emperor—I read little fantasy, but thought this was marvelous. I felt viscerally happy every time I had an opportunity to sit down with it a read a little more. The characters felt more emotionally real than anything I have read in a long time. Two things keep it from being perfect. First, the characters are exquisitely delineated and cover a rich spectrum, but are monochromatic; real humans have internal inconsistencies and contradictions. Second, the central theme is unconvincingly simplistic. Word to the wise: Look at the appendices first!

Three-Body Problem—Probably the first SF work translated from Chinese to get major play in the English speaking world. To me, the core attraction is the ties to the Cultural Revolution and the ongoing role that plays in the psychology of Chinese intellectuals. As SF, it is pretty good but not excellent. It ends in a lengthy info dump, explaining the mysteries developed in the first 80% of the book, which is much less satisfying than working them into the narrative.

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