Starting Against All Things Ending

Having finished the excellent “The Girl who Played with Fire” by Stieg Larsson (partly as paper book partly as audiobook) I was left without a paper book to read at night so decided to make my first Kindle purchase.

I don’t have a Kindle but I do have the Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy S Android phone. I had already earmarked Stephen Donaldson’s “Against All Things Ending“, Book 9 of 10 in the Thomas Covenant series, and knew a Kindle edition was available. A major attraction is that if you want the book you can just buy it there and then, even if you are sitting in bed (which I was). It appears on your phone as if by magic and you can just start reading.

I didn’t get more than a couple of pages into the “What has gone before” section before lights out. I always read the recaps, not because I’m not already familiar with all of it, but seeing the whole saga to date summarised in that fashion gets you nicely oriented as you go into the new narrative. Also, Donaldson is very skilled at picking out the key issues and plot points from his past works in a way that helps you gain a better perspective than you might have when you actually read the books.

My wife thinks the screen on a phone is too small to read a book on. But then she wouldn’t use a Kindle either. Too hooked on the smell and feel of paper. The Galaxy S has a 4″ screen which is adequate and you can read perfectly well on it. The text can be set the same size as if you were reading a paper book, or larger, so you can hold it the same distance away. The only effect of the small screen is that you “turn the pages” far more often and it is a bit odd seeing so little of the text in one glance. I think I’ll get used to it.

I did once manage to read Michael McCollum’s Gibraltar Earth as an eBook on my old HTC Tytn II Windows Mobile phone using the Mobipocket software. That was a far worse experience. Smaller, lower resolution screen and a dreadful book. It had been a recommendation of Steve Gibson on the “Security Now!” podcast. I respect Steve Gibson beyond measure as a software engineer and security maven, but am less impressed with his taste in SF after Gibraltar Earth. I had been toying with giving Peter F Hamilton’s “Fallen Dragon” a go but Steve’s enthusiasm for it is actually putting me off.

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