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The Lounge => Media and Inspiration => Topic started by: One Horse Town on February 27, 2011, 08:15:45 PM

Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on February 27, 2011, 08:15:45 PM
I thought it might be nice to have a consolidated thread where we discuss books we're reading, maybe a little potted synopsis and recommendations etc.

I recently finished Ghost Story by Peter Straub.

A nice little horror very much in the vein of IT by Stephen King IMO (this came out earlier) - complete with chopping time-frames and a dreamlike quality.

I found the build-up to be very effective, although the conclusion was ever-so-sightly less so.

Overall, a thumbs up if you prefer atmosphere and ratcheting tension to balls-out viscera (although there is some of that).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 27, 2011, 08:23:12 PM
I just finished reading Territory by Emma Bull. It's a western with magic, set in Tombstone during the build-up to the OK Corral. It's a very good book, though the ending was a minor let-down. I still recommend it to anyone who loves Deadlands.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Arminius on February 27, 2011, 09:09:04 PM
Recently finished City of the Chasch, the first book of Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure series. I'd describe it roughly as Vance's take on classic Burroughs, with the omnicompetent Earthman hero making his way on a barbaric planet, accompanied by his faithful native companions, the exotic princess, etc. Overall a good read, but it doesn't have quite as much humorous dialog and portrayal of absurd situations as I'd hoped, based on some of his other works. I'm proceeding with the next book in the series, Servants of the Wankh. (Vance later insisted on renaming the Wankh, a race of aliens, as "the Wannek", in reprinted editions and in the GURPS Planet of Adventure sourcebook.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Tommy Brownell on February 28, 2011, 03:33:50 AM
So far this year I read The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster about a divorced retired man who moves back to Brooklyn to die, and winds up reconnecting with his favorite nephew (and finding reasons to live).

I followed that up with Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey, which was freaking hilarious and more than a little insane. A hapless family move to Tampa after a typo in a magazine makes their crime rate appear to be DRAMATICALLY less than it really is, while they cross paths with a straight edge, sociopath history buff and his sidekicks: his crackwhore girlfriend and his Every Drug Available friend.

Next was Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow...a supernatural urban action book that was VERY hard to read...a "Hunter" having to stop a "Hellbreed" and a rogue "Were"...I don't mind books that don't have anything NEW to say in their genre, but there were some inconsistencies with the internal logic (or at least things that weren't explained very well), and the protagonist was completely unlikable...an unlikable protagonist is great, if you can pull it off.

I read House of Dark Shadows in about two days...it is the first book in the Dreamhouse Kings series. Though the entire book is basically a prologue for the series, I plan on getting book two to see where it's all going. Basically, in the beginning, this big dude kidnaps a woman living in said house...but takes her away somewhere inside the house...and they are never found. Years later, The Kings move to this house and creepy stuff starts happening all over again...

I just started Bubba and the Dead Woman, which has been pretty funny so far...set in a small Texas town and Bubba Snoddy comes home from pulling an all-nighter at work (after everyone else quits, leaves early or refuses to answer their phone) to find a dead woman in his front yard...and he's the prime suspect, since it's his ex-fiancee.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on February 28, 2011, 02:40:28 PM
Just re-read Cellars by John Shirley (1982).

A visceral novel that foreshadows Shirley's later dark fiction. Definitely one of his bleaker works.

William Gibson (Neuromancer) said, "It reads like Lovecraft on PCP." I have to agree.

*****

An ancient evil deep beneath New York City turns subway stations into bloody altars for ritual sacrifice. Carl Lanyard, a skeptical journalist for a trashy occult tabloid, is called upon to assist the police in solving a rash of horrible cult mutilation murders.
*****


Good stuff. One of my favorite books.

Cellars was partially rewritten and republished in 2006.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on February 28, 2011, 03:53:38 PM
I picked up The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LeVay and am giving it a read. LeVayan Satanism isn't nearly as bizarro as I thought it might be. A lot of it makes pretty good sense.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on February 28, 2011, 04:34:41 PM
Quote from: jeff37923;442943
I picked up The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LeVay and am giving it a read. LeVayan Satanism isn't nearly as bizarro as I thought it might be. A lot of it makes pretty good sense.


Have not read that one since I was a teenager. I remember it being a very sensible personal philosophy, until you get to the mumbo-jumbo magick bits. I have heard it described as Ayn Randism in the Devil's red pajamas.:)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on February 28, 2011, 04:45:50 PM
I recently finished "Dream of the Dragon Pool." Suggested as wuxia, while it is fantastic and uses China as a setting, it misses out some of the wuxia themes I've been gathering. Not a bad read though.

Before that I read "The Book and the Sword," which was awesome wuxia novel.


Right now I'm reading "Journey into the West."
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on February 28, 2011, 05:05:49 PM
Quote from: hanszurcher;442950
Have not read that one since I was a teenager. I remember it being a very sensible personal philosophy, until you get to the mumbo-jumbo magick bits. I have heard it described as Ayn Randism in the Devil's red pajamas.:)


Well, the mumbo-jumbo magick bits are even described as mumbo-jumbo by the author so it becomes much more palatable. I've had all the fluffy bunny crystal hugging wiccanisms that I can stand.


Not a big fan of Ayn Rand. Read Anthem and found it pretty good, but when an ex-girlfriend gave me a copy of Atlas Shrugged to read, I thought she was trying to get me to commit suicide. I found the book that tedious of a read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: tellius on February 28, 2011, 05:26:57 PM
I picked up Threshold (http://www.saradouglass.com/threshold.html) by Sara Douglass at a secondhand book fair for the princely sum of $0.50 AUD last week. The only reason I picked it up was that I had read other books by Sara Douglass before and I thought I'd give this one a go.

This is a very good fantasy novel that is set in a pseudo medieval middle-eastern world revolving around mathematical Magi and their worship of the number One and their desire to build a bridge to Infinity (via the semi sentient malevolent pyramid, Threshold).

In any event, the story was good enough for me to consume in a couple days, something I haven't done for a couple years now.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on March 01, 2011, 12:00:42 AM
I've just gotten the omnibus edition of Barry Hughhart's Master Li and Number Ten Ox novels. The three novels are "Bridge of Birds," "The Story of the Stone," and "Eight Skilled Gentlemen." I'm really happy that they collected the novels because the second one is very hard to find on its own.

The books are set in mythic China. Master Li is a great scholar who has fallen on hard times and Number Ten Ox is his good-natured, strong traveling companion. They get tangled up in mysteries which are related to the supernatural world of ancient China. It's not really wuxia (there's not a lot of combat gymnastics and crazy weapon-play), but the adventures are a lot of fun to read and full of ideas for a GM to riff off of. There is a sly sense of humor at play throughout the books. My one complaint with this edition is that it suffers from poor editing. There are some silly spelling errors which seem to indicate that the book was primarily spell-checked by computer software.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 01, 2011, 01:37:27 AM
I just finished EE Smith's Spacehounds of the IPC fairly enjoyable, and very imaginative. However it suffers from what I have come to think of as the Heinlein Problem (although I'm fairly sure it's frequent occurrence in Heinlein's work is a result of Smith being one of his influences).  Anyway the Heinlein Problem is when the entire cast is made up of the beautiful people. For example the main characters of this novel are both not not only geniuses (the male lead is one of the three smartest people in the solar system) but also world class athletes. I can take some of this in limited doses, but it gets old pretty quick. I'd rather run with uglier sorts, like good old Gully Foyle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stars_My_Destination).
Anyway, I cracked open another Smith novel this evening The Galaxy Primes and there they are again, more beautiful people. I'm going to leave it for a year or two and read something else, I think.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on March 01, 2011, 08:29:53 AM
Quote from: Aos;443032
The Galaxy Primes and there they are again, more beautiful people. I'm going to leave it for a year or two and read something else, I think.


I'd say behold the power of genetic engineering, but it was a bit early for that in SF. I generally agree.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 01, 2011, 08:58:30 AM
My favorite book from childhood: The House With a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs.

*****

Orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan and quickly learns that both his uncle and his next-door neighbor are witches on a quest to discover the terrifying clock ticking within the walls of Jonathan's house.
*****


This book scared the pants of me when I was 8. I still give it a read every now and then.

Amazon Link (http://www.amazon.com/House-Clock-Walls-Lewis-Barnavelt/dp/0142402575/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299208797&sr=1-2)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 01, 2011, 09:04:53 AM
Quote from: jeff37923;442958
Well, the mumbo-jumbo magick bits are even described as mumbo-jumbo by the author so it becomes much more palatable. I've had all the fluffy bunny crystal hugging wiccanisms that I can stand.
...


I read something somewhere, maybe one of the LaVey biographies, that he had never intended to include magick in the book. It was his publisher that insisted...it was what people expected and what sells books.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on March 01, 2011, 01:22:44 PM
Quote from: IceBlinkLuck;443014
I've just gotten the omnibus edition of Barry Hughhart's Master Li and Number Ten Ox novels. The three novels are "Bridge of Birds," "The Story of the Stone," and "Eight Skilled Gentlemen." I'm really happy that they collected the novels because the second one is very hard to find on its own.

The books are set in mythic China. Master Li is a great scholar who has fallen on hard times and Number Ten Ox is his good-natured, strong traveling companion. They get tangled up in mysteries which are related to the supernatural world of ancient China. It's not really wuxia (there's not a lot of combat gymnastics and crazy weapon-play), but the adventures are a lot of fun to read and full of ideas for a GM to riff off of. There is a sly sense of humor at play throughout the books. My one complaint with this edition is that it suffers from poor editing. There are some silly spelling errors which seem to indicate that the book was primarily spell-checked by computer software.
I enjoyed Bridge of Birds immensely, so I looked up this omnibus on Amazon after I read your post. Yow! The cheapest one is going for $50! Good, but a little too pricey there....

Quote from: hanszurcher;443072
I read something somewhere, maybe one of the LaVey biographies, that he had never intended to include magick in the book. It was his publisher that insisted...it was what people expected and what sells books.


I've ordered his authorized biography, so I'll keep an eye out for that. Interesting...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on March 01, 2011, 04:37:25 PM
Quote from: Elliot Wilen;442842
Recently finished City of the Chasch, the first book of Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure series. I'd describe it roughly as Vance's take on classic Burroughs, with the omnicompetent Earthman hero making his way on a barbaric planet, accompanied by his faithful native companions, the exotic princess, etc. Overall a good read, but it doesn't have quite as much humorous dialog and portrayal of absurd situations as I'd hoped, based on some of his other works.

I think this is really a series that hits its stride later, although it isn't (and doesn't try to be) the black comedy of Cugel's misadventures. The Dirdir is particularly good; just a book where Vance gets all of his notes right -- although, pretty often, he is interesting precisely because what he writes is so dysharmonic. Anyway, the second book is where the series turns from Burroughs homage to something decidedly un-Burroughsian, so carry on. :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 01, 2011, 05:50:02 PM
For anyone that gives a damn, the 10th (of 11) book in Erikson's Mazlan series is available as of today.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 01, 2011, 08:16:28 PM
Quote from: Aos;443181
For anyone that gives a damn, the 10th (of 11) book in Erikson's Mazlan series is available as of today.


Could never get into it. After 100 pages of chaotic mish-mash that made no sense, i put the first one away.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on March 01, 2011, 08:28:50 PM
Quote from: hanszurcher;443070
My favorite book from childhood: The House With a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs.

*****

Orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan and quickly learns that both his uncle and his next-door neighbor are witches on a quest to discover the terrifying clock ticking within the walls of Jonathan's house.
*****


This book scared the pants of me when I was 8. I still give it a read every now and then.


I love John Bellairs. The first book I read by him was The Face in the Frost and I quickly moved on from there. I'm afraid that the two wizards from The Face in the Frost influence me heavily when I play magicians in a game.

Yeah the collected Master Li and Number Ten Ox can be pricey. I lucked into it at a used book store for $25. There's a really good one in my parents town so I check it out whenever I go over for a visit.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on March 02, 2011, 09:12:47 AM
I guess I should count myself lucky then that I had a copy of the Story of the Stone lying around the house when I was younger. I read that damn thing a dozen times...

Of course... that was (almost) two decades ago now... so its time for nostalgia to set in, and I no longer have it...

...


...


...


Damn you all.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IMLegend on March 02, 2011, 09:16:33 AM
Currently reading THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Modern vampire stuff. It's a bit of a slow starter, but it's growing on me. I love most of del Toro's movies so I thought I'd give it a try.

Recently finished SIDE JOBS, the collected short stories from the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Urban fantasy is everywhere nowadays, but I put Butcher at the top of the pile. They delayed his next full length novel until July so I had to make do with the short story collection. Glad I did. It fills in lots of little bits in between books. Especially love HEOROT. I've always had a soft spot for Beowulf and Norse mythology, this takes an interesting angle involving both.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 02, 2011, 09:37:49 AM
Currently reading Strange Histories by Darren Oldridge. I think this book would be of some interest to fantasy gamers/world builders. Unfortunately my reading has had to compete for time with my shiny new Roku digital video player and Netflix...so its been slow going.

*****

An accessible history of some of the more absurd sounding ideas and beliefs from the late Middle Ages to the 17th Century.

In 1438 a pig was hanged for murder in Burgundy. The French judge Henri Boguet described an apple possessed by demons in 1602. A few years later, Italian Jesuits tried to calculate the physical dimensions of hell.

Oldridge argues that the pre-modern mind was just as rational as that of the modern human, and that studying the convictions of the earlier age can also lead us to reconsider the reasonableness of our own beliefs.
*****

Amazon link (http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Histories-Walking-Medieval-Renaissance/dp/0415404924/ref=tmm_pap_title_0)

Very interesting.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 02, 2011, 01:34:59 PM
Quote from: hanszurcher;443281

In 1438 a pig was hanged for murder in Burgundy. The French judge Henri Boguet described an apple possessed by demons in 1602. A few years later, Italian Jesuits tried to calculate the physical dimensions of hell.



In a similar vein, the film The Hour of the Pig might be of interest.

I'm on the last of the Chaotic Earth trilogy by Jonathan Wylie. I read these a good 15 years ago and dug them out recently.

Dreams of Stone, The Lightless Kingdom and The Age of Chaos.

These are what i like to call "Eddings" fantasy. Powder-puff light, nearly every character is good-humoured and banter takes up as much page space as actual plot. Nevetheless, they are a decent read, the maguffin pleasingly spans across all three books even if it also turns out to be a deux ex machina to set up the trilogy finale.

I think they also jumped on the "meekats are cute" bandwagon before there even was one. The heroine's familiar is a troupe of meerkats.

The third of the books suffers from bad pacing compared to the previous two, otherwise the series is a decent time-passer.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on March 02, 2011, 02:38:50 PM
Quote from: hanszurcher;443281

In 1438 a pig was hanged for murder in Burgundy. .


The Day They Hanged An Elephant in Tennessee. (http://www.blueridgecountry.com/archive/mary-the-elephant.html)

A digression, but that statement just reminded me of this and it is too strange not to share.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 02, 2011, 04:49:21 PM
Now reading Jack of Kinrowan by Charles de Lint. It's an urban fantasy set in Ottawa. It features stuff like the Wild Hunt, boggins, and other fae. I have read most of de Lint's books, and I have yet to be disappointed.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 03, 2011, 08:12:03 AM
Quote from: IceBlinkLuck;443211
I love John Bellairs. The first book I read by him was The Face in the Frost and I quickly moved on from there. I'm afraid that the two wizards from The Face in the Frost influence me heavily when I play magicians in a game.
...


Many people speak very highly of The Face in the Frost. I picked up a nice hardcover copy over a year ago and I still have not read it. Making a note to get to it this month. Thanks for the reminder.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on March 03, 2011, 09:02:20 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;443538
Many people speak very highly of The Face in the Frost. I picked up a nice hardcover copy over a year ago and I still have not read it. Making a note to get to it this month. Thanks for the reminder.


It's great; hope you enjoy it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 03, 2011, 11:38:04 AM
I haven't read any Bellairs; I'll put him on my list as well.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on March 03, 2011, 06:43:38 PM
Not RPG-inspirational material, but I've just finished The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddartha Mukherjee.

As someone who works in cancer care, I'm obviously biased, but I felt it was a great, great book. My only and very minor complaint is that the author, a medical oncologist, has a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas when it comes to us surgeons. :mad:

Nonetheless, it was quite the page-turner and I finished it in a week.

Next on the reading queue, a veritable geekfest: Hawkmoon (Moorcock), The Book of the New Sun (Wolfe), Revelation Space (Reynolds), The Culture (Banks). What should I read next, o theRPGsite? I accept suggestions.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 03, 2011, 07:02:07 PM
Wolfe.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 03, 2011, 07:10:37 PM
I have not read Gene Wolfe extensively but I remember Soldier of the Mist being amazing.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 03, 2011, 07:21:42 PM
Stop whatever you are doing and get a copy of The book of the New Sun.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 03, 2011, 07:35:50 PM
Which is actually four books, or two omnibus editions. But it is good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on March 03, 2011, 08:24:07 PM
Quote from: Aos;443694
Stop whatever you are doing and get a copy of The book of the New Sun.


Like the man said.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 03, 2011, 08:38:26 PM
Quote from: Cole;443700
Like the man said.


Like that man said, also. :)

Luckily, i've got all the paperbacks signed by the great man himself.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 03, 2011, 08:54:22 PM
Awesome.
I have signed first of Vance's Dying Earth. It's extra special, because I bought it unsigned and got lucky enough to meet him a couple of years later.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 03, 2011, 09:02:57 PM
Quote from: Aos;443705
Awesome.
I have signed first of Vance's Dying Earth.


Cool. It's probably worth a few quid.

I'm pretty sure my BotNS books aren't first edition, but i'll have to check now!

I got them in a second-hand mail order book sale - had no idea that they were signed until they arrived. All four paperbacks for £5 IIRC.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 04, 2011, 12:34:57 AM
Quote from: Aos;443705
Awesome.
I have signed first of Vance's Dying Earth. It's extra special, because I bought it unsigned and got lucky enough to meet him a couple of years later.


What was he like? Terribly erudite?

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Tommy Brownell on March 04, 2011, 03:58:21 AM
So, I just finished Bubba and the Dead Woman...hee-larious, (and free, if you dig eBooks)...not a lot of game potential there, but she apparently has some supernatural books that I've put in the queue for later reading.

Just started my first Elmore Leonard novel, Pronto, mostly because I'm hooked on the TV show Justified.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 04, 2011, 07:23:20 AM
Quote from: Aos;443694
Stop whatever you are doing and get a copy of The book of the New Sun.


It is in the mail.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 04, 2011, 11:28:59 AM
Quote from: Seanchai;443713
What was he like? Terribly erudite?

Seanchai


Ha ha. No. He is a big old guy, mostly blind   and kind of grumpy. Well he was grumpy to the guy in front of me anyway. He was super nice to me, and we talked for a while. He was a regular joe, really, and very easy to talk to. This was at a signing in '96 or '97, whenever Nightlamp came out.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on March 04, 2011, 11:41:43 AM
Just finished War and Peace. It's a lot better than I thought it would be, and not actually a slog at all.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 05, 2011, 02:52:40 PM
Picked up kindle editions of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker books this morning. I haven't even glanced at these since the eighties, but i could use a laugh, and i seem to remember that they're pretty good space adventure as well as being very amusing.
Does anyone think digital watches are neat anymore?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 05, 2011, 03:59:00 PM
Quote from: Aos;443761
This was at a signing in '96 or '97, whenever Nightlamp came out.


What's Nightlamp about? I only every read the Dying Earth stuff.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 05, 2011, 04:09:14 PM
Quote from: Seanchai;444022
What's Nightlamp about? I only every read the Dying Earth stuff.

Seanchai


It's typical Vancian space opera; kind of Travlleresque, but with ray guns and witty banter. The best examples of Vance's take on the genre would probably be The Demon Princes books, or my favorites- the Caldwel Chronicles. These books are characterized by lots of planet hopping, many zany cultures, protagonists with near psychopathic resolve, cute dark haired girls (a fetish I share with JV), impossible, but extremely funny dialogue. Nightlamp is as a good a place as any to start, but my favorite is probably Araminta Station  (http://www.amazon.com/Araminta-Station-Cadwal-Chronicles-Vol/dp/0312930445/ref=pd_sim_b_2).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 05, 2011, 06:25:38 PM
Quote from: Aos;444031
It's typical Vancian space opera; kind of Travlleresque, but with ray guns and witty banter. The best examples of Vance's take on the genre would probably be The Demon Princes books, or my favorites- the Caldwel Chronicles. These books are characterized by lots of planet hopping, many zany cultures, protagonists with near psychopathic resolve, cute dark haired girls (a fetish I share with JV), impossible, but extremely funny dialogue. Nightlamp is as a good a place as any to start, but my favorite is probably Araminta Station  (http://www.amazon.com/Araminta-Station-Cadwal-Chronicles-Vol/dp/0312930445/ref=pd_sim_b_2).


He's done space opera? Huh! Maybe I'll have to see what's out there...

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Arminius on March 05, 2011, 07:12:12 PM
Quote from: Aos;444005
Picked up kindle editions of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker books this morning. I haven't even glanced at these since the eighties, but i could use a laugh, and i seem to remember that they're pretty good space adventure as well as being very amusing.
Does anyone think digital watches are neat anymore?
I remember being disappointed, or maybe worn out, by the third book, and also finding it to be somewhat of a downer. Would like to read the remaining 2 (?) books sometime but haven't gotten around to it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on March 06, 2011, 03:52:28 AM
Quote from: Seanchai;444062
He's done space opera? Huh! Maybe I'll have to see what's out there...

Even a book called Space Opera which is about, yeah, an opera in space (Vance was given a commission to write a book by that title, and he made the best of it).

I prefer his SF to his fantasy, and I really like his fantasy. Demon Princes is probably the best of them (the first three volumes more action-heavy and wahoo, the second two more introspective and ambiguous - and both approaches work beautifully), but I'd also strongly recommend To Live Forever, Emphyrio (although it is a different beast than his usual, very downcast), the Alastor trilogy (particularly Wyst: Alastor 1791) and Night Lamp. The books after Night Lamp, Ports of Call and Lurulu are just excercises in style, so I'd avoid them for the time, and his early short stories and novels are generic 50s SF with the odd glimpse of greatness here and there.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on March 06, 2011, 09:06:19 AM
Quote from: Melan;444174
Ports of Call and Lurulu are just excercises in style, so I'd avoid them for the time


What exactly do you mean by that? (I haven't read either of these two)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on March 06, 2011, 10:02:36 AM
They are almost entirely devoid of an overarching plot, more like vignettes in the vancian style, concluded more or less randomly in what could be the middle of the second book. Very strange, but I am still not sure it wasn't the point after all. It may have been a conscious stylistic decision, or he just got tired of them like the Cadwall series (where the second book of the trilogy is something like one half of the first, and the third one half of the second).

Anyway, they aren't for people who are into books with plots.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 06, 2011, 10:47:09 AM
Yeah the Caldwell trilogy is not perfect, but the first book is so good that it almost carries the other two. Of course, I think almost exactly the same thing about the Lyonesse trilogy; the first two are spectacular, but I have never been able to maintain my interest through Madouc.

Also I second Melan's opinion on Ports of Call ect.. I read/heard* somewhere that Nightlamp was supposed to be the first book in the  Ports of Call sequence but it got away from him and he started over, but just ran out of steam.



*I worked in and/or had contact with a SF bookstore near where he lived while these were coming out and we were privy to a lot of (possibly ill informed) industry gossip.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: tellius on March 06, 2011, 04:10:00 PM
Quote from: Aos;444199
Yeah the Caldwell trilogy is not perfect, but the first book is so good that it almost carries the other two. Of course, I think almost exactly the same thing about the Lyonesse trilogy; the first two are spectacular, but I have never been able to maintain my interest through Madouc.


I would have to agree whole heartedly with this sentiment about the Lyonesse trilogy. I love the first two books to bits but the third one I rarely have the patience for.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 07, 2011, 03:41:24 PM
Quote from: Elliot Wilen;444071
I remember being disappointed, or maybe worn out, by the third book, and also finding it to be somewhat of a downer. Would like to read the remaining 2 (?) books sometime but haven't gotten around to it.


I'm in the second one now, and I have to say that there is a substantial decrease in humor value after the opening chapters of the first book. As with you, I'm a bit disappointed.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 11, 2011, 02:50:44 PM
Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky is the first book in a rapidly expanding series called Shadows of the Apt (seemingly 2 books a year - the 6th has just been released).

Wow. Great start, edge the seat stuff and a super promising premise - human races are divided by insect traits! So you have Spider kinden, Beetle kinden and so on.

As i said, super start and intriguing. But then it just carries on in the same vein. I'm all for action, but when it's non-stop and you go from one set-piece to another, you lose things, like plot, characterisation and immersion in the world. The book suffers badly from "white-room syndrome" - that is, the action could be taking place anywhere.

Despite liking the ideas behind the book, i'm loathe to buy and read the rest, as i understand they pretty much carry on like this one.

Twenty years ago i would have been all over this series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 11, 2011, 03:57:23 PM
Wish me luck, for i now begin The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, starting with Quicksilver.

I might be some time...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 11, 2011, 04:08:15 PM
I fizzled out on the Adams books, btw.
I'm reading Jordan's Wheel of Time right now. Yeah, I know it's derivative crap, but I like the first couple of books okay, anyway. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.  His portrayal of relations between the sexes is a little cringe worthy, though, to say the least. Every woman in the book is an exasperated bitchy manipulator; every man is a dumbass.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: two_fishes on March 12, 2011, 11:00:47 AM
Quote from: One Horse Town;445372
Wish me luck, for i now begin The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, starting with Quicksilver.

I might be some time...


That's great stuff, but try to get a running start.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 14, 2011, 08:04:08 PM
Quote from: two_fishes;445510
That's great stuff, but try to get a running start.


100 pages in and reads more like a history textbook, so far.

Very interesting, but not an easy read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 14, 2011, 09:14:02 PM
I finished up Jack of Kinrowan, which is actually a compilation of "Jack the Giant Killer" and "Drink Down the Moon". I have to say this is easily my favorite book by Charles de Lint. I really like all his stuff, but this book, especially the first one, is just really, really great stuff. If you like books that involve all the different kinds of faerie, and how they could interact with the modern world, you really should read this compilation. Highly recommended!

Next up is Coyote Road, a compilation of Trickster tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. I am pretty sure I'll really like this, as well.

I'm also reading Grand Central Winter by Lee Stringer. It is a bunch of stuff that happened to him while he was homeless in New York City in the 80's to 90's. It's pretty good. Recommended, if you are at all interested in that type of book.

That's one nice thing about reading short stories, I can mix in a full book at the same time. I can't do that with two full books though, I get stuff mixed up.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Benoist on March 14, 2011, 09:43:04 PM
Right now, amongst other RPG related readings (Role-Playing Mastery and Master of the Game, by EGG), I am reading Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, vol. 2: The Door to Saturn. I'm liking both very, very much. I'm also re-reading some HPL on and off (The Whisperer in Darkness at the moment).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 15, 2011, 07:38:52 AM
Quote from: Benoist;446143
I am reading Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs


I read this book last month.  It was a good read, though somewhat generic by today's standards.

I've also been reading the comic book adaptation of it by Dynamite Entertainment.  (Issue #5 is being released tomorrow).  After reading the book last month, the comic book version seems kinda slow going in comparison.


From its vintage (first written and published in 1911-1912), I could see hints of where later stuff like Superman, Han Solo, Star Wars, Conan, Kull, orcs, Flash Gordon, The Warlord (DC comic series), etc ... were possibly influenced by.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on March 15, 2011, 09:40:52 AM
I couldn't get into Burroughs. Great concepts, but something about the execution felt flat, so I gave up after the first book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 15, 2011, 09:51:03 AM
Quote from: Melan;446265
I couldn't get into Burroughs. Great concepts, but something about the execution felt flat, so I gave up after the first book.


I am more of a William S. Burroughs man myself. Cities of the Red Night all the way.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 15, 2011, 11:18:15 AM
Quote from: Melan;446265
I couldn't get into Burroughs. Great concepts, but something about the execution felt flat, so I gave up after the first book.


I found Edgar Rice Burroughs' writing style kind of on the simplistic side.

I tried reading a few subsequent Barsoom/Mars books.  But so far, I couldn't really get into them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 15, 2011, 12:30:21 PM
ERB's best books are probably A Princess of Mars, Tarzan of the Apes and The Return of Tarzan once you've read these, you've really seen most of what he has to offer plot wise. He developed a formula in The Return of Tarzan that he used for just about ever single book after that. I have a special place in my heart for ERB, and I dig many of his books, but they are best read for the first time when you are 12.

Also the recent comic book adaption was ass.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 15, 2011, 12:58:43 PM
Quote from: Aos;446295
Also the recent comic book adaption was ass.


For the most part.

It sort of reads like a crappy action movie done in "slow motion".


After reading the "The Princess of Mars" book last month, the comic book series isn't so interesting anymore.  I don't know if I'm going to even bother picking up issue #5 tomorrow (or later this week).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 15, 2011, 01:56:08 PM
Quote from: ggroy;446307
For the most part.

It sort of reads like a crappy action movie done in "slow motion".


After reading the "The Princess of Mars" book last month, the comic book series isn't so interesting anymore.  I don't know if I'm going to even bother picking up issue #5 tomorrow (or later this week).


I think the thing I disliked the most about it was the injection of the completely cliched evil yankee soldier subplot. ERB left all that stuff alone. Princess of Mars was escapism, and was not in my opinion, meant to address any kind of social issue.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Benoist on March 15, 2011, 02:11:28 PM
Quote from: Aos;446329
I think the thing I disliked the most about it was the injection of the completely cliched evil yankee soldier subplot. ERB left all that stuff alone. Princess of Mars was escapism, and was not in my opinion, meant to address any kind of social issue.

Wow. Evil yankee soldier subplot heh? LOL that's bullshit. I'm reading Princess of Mars right now, and it's precisely the lack of "depth" of that ilk that I find compelling about it. It's a fantasy for the sake of the fantasy, and it's really cool that way. Even the simplistic tone of the writing fits this picture. I think it's different from what we have today, and it's cool in its own right.

*scoffs* "Depth" indeed.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ian Warner on March 15, 2011, 06:49:21 PM
I'm reading Prince Charles' rant book Harmony.

I mean from his initial premise which read something like "people think when I go on about modern archetecture, the collapse of tradition, the collapse of faith and saving the planet that I'm talking about different things. I'm not: they are all connected and this book shall explain how"

I mean how can you possibly read a statement like that and not be intrigued?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on March 16, 2011, 08:01:19 AM
I've just read the Hawkmoon books (against this thread's advice) -- solid book, most characters were kind of boring, but great and very game-worthy setting -- and I am now reading Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas.

I'm saving Wolfe for dessert. :D
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 16, 2011, 01:51:12 PM
Quote from: Benoist;446337
it's precisely the lack of "depth" of that ilk that I find compelling about it. It's a fantasy for the sake of the fantasy, and it's really cool that way. Even the simplistic tone of the writing fits this picture. I think it's different from what we have today, and it's cool in its own right.


I agree.  This is what I liked about it too.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Benoist on March 16, 2011, 02:33:03 PM
Which makes me think, I couldn't sleep last night and basically finished reading Princess of Mars. Good stuff.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 16, 2011, 02:35:32 PM
Quote from: The Butcher;446539
I've just read the Hawkmoon books (against this thread's advice) -- solid book, most characters were kind of boring, but great and very game-worthy setting -- and I am now reading Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas.

I'm saving Wolfe for dessert. :D


I prefer Hawkmoon to Elric, but i prefer Corum to both.

Have to dig them out once i'm done with Quicksilver.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Benoist on March 16, 2011, 02:47:57 PM
I'm a huge fan of the Eternal Champion series, so I like them all in different ways. It's hard for me to make a hierarchy between them. I think I'm most attached to Hawkmoon and Elric, however, which I re-read regularly. Some elements of both cycles make me like them very much. The Granbretons, the feel of the Tragic Millennium, its "sorcery," the Runestaff and all, and then the Demons, Elemental Lords, Pan Tang, the episodic feel of Elric... yeah. I like them both for different reasons.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on March 16, 2011, 10:53:26 PM
The thing I liked best about Hawkmoon is the very fine balance it strikes between the fantasy element and the post-apocalyptic/SF element, especially in its handling of "sorcery".

Also Granbretan. Totemic masked evil empire FTW.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on March 17, 2011, 01:03:55 PM
Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas
David Hume's Dialogues and Natural History of Religion
Rereading Being and Time

I've been on a big whirlwind of pulpy sci-fi for the past eight months or so, so I'm cleansing my palate and jumping back to the 19th century once I'm done these.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on March 17, 2011, 04:38:14 PM
Walter Simonson's Thor Volume 1
Patricia Brigg's Mooncalled (my sister's suggestion, I was hoping for something better than Dresden, its about the same.)
Glen Cook's Cruel Zinc Melodies
Simon Green's Guards of Haven/Swords of Haven collections (again)
Blue Beetle Trade, Black and the Blue
Showcase Phantom Stranger
Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus


Plus I started Journey into the West Volume 2

I have to get the Journey books from inter-library loan so I had to read other things in the meantime.

I started the Interstellar Patrol series as well, but I had to stop for Journey into the West.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 17, 2011, 04:50:42 PM
I tried to reread Simonson's Thor a few years back, but I could not get past that craptastic 80's Marvel color process.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 17, 2011, 04:53:24 PM
Quote from: Silverlion;446970

Patricia Brigg's Mooncalled (my sister's suggestion, I was hoping for something better than Dresden, its about the same.)


Like the Dresden series, Moon Called is the first book and the worst one. Book three is my favorite, so far ,though I haven't read the book that just came out this week.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on March 17, 2011, 05:10:53 PM
Quote from: Aos;446972
I tried to reread Simonson's Thor a few years back, but I could not get past that craptastic 80's Marvel color process.


You sir, you have no soul.

:D
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 17, 2011, 05:15:23 PM
Quote from: The Butcher;446983
You sir, you have no soul.

:D


Oh, don't get me wrong, they are great comics- I just find the washed out color process hard to look at. I have a bunch of original Kirby books from the 60's and early 70's that are easier on the eye. I was hoping they would recolor Simonson's stuff for the collections, but they did not. They deserve better. Hell, I'd prefer them in B&W than as they are.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 17, 2011, 06:23:44 PM
Quote from: danbuter;446974
Like the Dresden series, Moon Called is the first book and the worst one. Book three is my favorite, so far ,though I haven't read the book that just came out this week.


I have. It's River-Marked. And I have the sequel to Name of the Wind!

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 17, 2011, 07:31:15 PM
How about a few words about the books you're reading rather than simply listing them?

Might help a few people out.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 17, 2011, 08:13:22 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;447006
How about a few words about the books you're reading rather than simply listing them?

Might help a few people out.

Fine, you big meanie.

I'm reading a Game of Cages. It's the second in the Twenty Palace Society books (the first being Child of Fire). They're by new author Harry Connolly.

These books are, in a nutshell, Harry Dresden meets Call of Cthulhu. They're the story of Ray, an ex-con who works for the Twenty Palace Society, an organization which exists to hunt alien magical beings, anyone who can call said beings, and the spells and spell books necessary to do so.

Ray is a wooden man, a disposable retainer. He's the muscle. He has, however, figured out one spell, which he scribes on a slip of paper that he then laminates. This "ghost knife" can cut through any material and, when it cuts a human, somehow pacifies him or her.

I'm listening to Beautiful Darkness, the sequel to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Maragret Stohl. These books are coming of ages stories about a young man in the South who falls in love with an eccentric outsider who moves into a crumbling mansion outside of town. The outsider is, of course, eccentric for a reason: she comes from a family of witches and spell casters. And other, darker things.

The Beautiful books are okay. They're not too melodramatic, but you can tell they were written by women and probably for teen audiences.

As I said upthread, I finished reading River-Marked, the latest in the Mercy Thompson series, earlier this week. It's by Patricia Briggs. It was good. I enjoy the series, which is technically a "paranormal romance," but it definitely light on the romance.

They're about Mercedes Thompson, a half Native American "werecoyote." She's works as a car mechanic and has her own garage up in the Tri-Cities area in Washington. She has very little magic herself, but, of course, magic abounds. There are the requisite werewolves, witches, fae, and vampires. And, of course, Mercy falls in love with someone.

I like the series as it has some interesting ideas. The fae have come out to the public and other supernaturals are considering doing the same. The werewolf pack has "Pack Magic," which is sorta nebulous, but allows them to do nifty things.

River-Marked is...well, I can't say much without spoiling bits of the series.

I also enjoy a related series by the same author, Alpha and Omega. It is, in a nutshell, about a werewolf hit man and his lover, who is an omega werewolf. Omegas are submissive wolves who, well, are actually sort of outside the pack structure.

Before River-Marked, I listened to Skeleton Man, one of the latter Navajo mysteries by Tony Hillerman. Hillerman has a series of mysteries about two police detectives on the Navajo reservation. One, Joe Leaphorn, is analytical and methodical. The other, Jim Chee, is not and he is trying to balance his life as a detective with his desire to become a medicine man.

The mysteries, in addition to being set in a kind of alien cultural and physical landscape, usually involve bits of Navajo culture. The most famous book of the long series is, arguably, Coyote Waits.

I also recently listened to True Grit by Charles Portis. I was the Cohen brothers movie (twice - it's great!) and was intrigued by the idea of a novel.

It, also, is great. It's also different enough from the latest movie (ain't seen the John Wayne version) to make it worthwhile if you enjoyed the movie.

I'm reading a bunch of textbooks. Most are boring.

Once I get done with Game of Cages, I'll move on to Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. It is the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles and if you have not read the first book, Name of the Wind, literally - literally! - drop what you're doing, go to the bookstore or library, and pick it up. It's the kind of book you insist that your friends read, shoving it into their hands if you have to.

As the first book is one of the finest fantasy novels to come along in some time, I have high hopes for the second book.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 17, 2011, 08:18:24 PM
Quote from: Seanchai;447012
Once I get done with Game of Cages, I'll move on to Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. It is the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles and if you have not read the first book, Name of the Wind, literally - literally! - drop what you're doing, go to the bookstore or library, and pick it up. It's the kind of book you insist that your friends read, shoving it into their hands if you have to.

As the first book is one of the finest fantasy novels to come along in some time, I have high hopes for the second book.

Seanchai


I've heard good things about this new series. I think i'll have to pick it up shortly.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on March 17, 2011, 08:36:11 PM
Quote from: Silverlion;446970
Walter Simonson's Thor Volume 1
Patricia Brigg's Mooncalled (my sister's suggestion, I was hoping for something better than Dresden, its about the same.)
Glen Cook's Cruel Zinc Melodies
Simon Green's Guards of Haven/Swords of Haven collections (again)
Blue Beetle Trade, Black and the Blue
Showcase Phantom Stranger
Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus


Plus I started Journey into the West Volume 2

I have to get the Journey books from inter-library loan so I had to read other things in the meantime.

I started the Interstellar Patrol series as well, but I had to stop for Journey into the West.


Walter Simonson's Thor (Visionaries) Number 1, is one of the iconic set of Marvel comics Thor stories from post-Kirby era. When Beta Ray Bill shows up and when he faces Maglgrim the Accursed, and such. (Takes place in the 80's IIRC)


Patricia Brigg's book is the first book in a series about a car mechanic woman, who was raised by werewolves, and is not one. She's a skinwalker, a Native American shapechanger-coyote.  She gets involved and has to sort out a scheme among the werewolves when she is a drawn into it by a newly turned werewolf, and homeless boy, who shows up at her shop looking for work. Fae are out in the setting, the other supernaturals not so much.


Glen Cook's Cruel Zinc Melodies, is the latest in a long line of books about Garret, a private investigator, normal, mundane, human. In a world of fantasy elves, dwarves etc. His long time romantic partner Tinnie, and lovely relatives show up begging for him to help solve a series of hauntings and insect problems at the theater that Tinnie's father and Garrets often employer is having built.

Simon Greens books are all over the top pulp stories. The Haven books focus on two captains of the Haven city guard--Hawk and Fisher, a married couple with a reputation for violence, and getting things done. The collections are a bunch of short novels around their adventures--but doesn't include their origin book (which is technically not needed to get the Hawk and Fisher stories.) The stories have them fighting crime. So its in similar vein to the Cook series above, but goes very different ways.


Blue Beetle book is the final collection of the comic series about Jamie Reyes, the third Blue Beetle, empowered by the Blue Scarab, which gives him alien power armor. It wraps up some stories and kills off an important minor character.  The whole series was good--a lot like the Spider-Man as a teen written by his better writer's, shame it didn't get more life as its own title. It does deviate a bit from the SM formula. Really down to Earth for a DC book which was awesome.

Showcase Phantom Stranger, is a black and white reprint of stories drawn from the Phantom Stranger appearances in DC comics, him and Dr. Thirteen (who is the father of Blue Beetle's girlfriend, though now deceased IIRC) Phantom Stranger and Dr. Thirteen tell very Tales from the Crypt style stories, with a somewhat happier endings. Though not too much so. Phantom Stranger is sort of their Dr. Strange, phantom like. He's their big supernatural hunter, and Dr. Thirteen their big magic-athiest, who believes all magic is a hoax or a deception.

The Fourth World Omnibus is a collection of Jack Kirby's work for DC. It includes comics which include Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Pal, and various stories that tie to Apocalypse/New Genesis (taking place on Earth, but using people from those places like Beautiful Dreamer, and Darkseid.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 17, 2011, 09:03:11 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;447014
I've heard good things about this new series. I think i'll have to pick it up shortly.


No, you should pick it up NOW. Literally. If you're not doing anything important, run out, get it, and start reading it. Or maybe a eBook or audiobook that you can download ASAP.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 18, 2011, 03:58:46 AM
Quote from: Seanchai;447027
No, you should pick it up NOW. Literally. If you're not doing anything important, run out, get it, and start reading it. Or maybe a eBook or audiobook that you can download ASAP.

Seanchai


I strongly second this. Child of Fire and Game of Cages are both great reads, Circle of Enemies will be out in August. Not a dull moment.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 18, 2011, 06:19:05 AM
Next up is The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. I've never read it, but I have read several of his other books and loved them. The Journey to the East is still my favorite book of all time. I've heard this book is really good, though it has a underwhelming end. I still figure it will be worth reading.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 18, 2011, 10:55:26 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;447058
I strongly second this. Child of Fire and Game of Cages are both great reads, Circle of Enemies will be out in August. Not a dull moment.


I thought he meant Name of the Wind. I like Twenty Palaces, but it's not something I'd make someone rush out and get.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on March 18, 2011, 11:14:39 AM
Quote from: Seanchai;447086
I thought he meant Name of the Wind. I like Twenty Palaces, but it's not something I'd make someone rush out and get.

Seanchai


Indeed you appear to be right, my enthusiasm got ahead of me. I still strongly recommend the Twenty Palaces books. Very occult pulp noir.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on March 18, 2011, 11:25:20 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;447089
Very occult pulp noir.


Although I'm only halfway through Game of Cages, yes, that's exactly what they are. They remind me of Mike Carey's series.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on March 22, 2011, 09:30:14 AM
Quote from: danbuter;447069
Next up is The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. I've never read it, but I have read several of his other books and loved them. The Journey to the East is still my favorite book of all time. I've heard this book is really good, though it has a underwhelming end. I still figure it will be worth reading.


I'm not much of a Hesse fan, but the Glass Bead Game is the best of his books that I've read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Arminius on March 22, 2011, 12:38:49 PM
About Burroughs, A Princess of Mars was the last book of his I ever picked up, and I didn't get very far. When I was a teenager, it wasn't easy to find complete series, so I'd read a Pellucidar book (Back to the Stone Age), The Lost Continent, Tarzan, and most memorably the Land that Time Forgot trilogy. Loved them all. The Mars book just seemed silly. It might have been my changing taste or trope-exhaustion, but note that it was only his second novel. I wouldn't make a final judgment of Vance based on many of his early short stories.

(On that basis I should probably give Moorcock another go at some point, but there's lots of other stuff to read.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on March 22, 2011, 05:00:18 PM
I just finished "Werenight" and "Prince of the North" on my Kindle (they were free from Baen, who will be getting my money now, for doing such things.)

They are about a Bronze Age fantasy world bordering on Iron Age in some ways. The character Gerin the Fox a leader who is a good warrior, very literate, and part sorcerer--who never wanted to lead. He was happy being a scholar. Now he's got to turn his wiles upon various politics and problems around him and their battles with the Trokme raiders, and his own rival barons. In Werenight things go bad when they face down a powerful sorcerer who gains power over the Trokme.

In Prince of the North, now with upgraded rank, he faces trouble with his kidnapped son, and monstrous creatures unleashed during an earthquake. He's a fun character who may lead his people to greatness of the sort they don't expect.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 22, 2011, 08:57:52 PM
Been recently reading "The Outsider" (or "The Stranger") by Albert Camus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stranger_%28novel%29

Sort of a strange story.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 23, 2011, 10:56:33 AM
Quote from: Elliot Wilen;447662
It might have been my changing taste or trope-exhaustion, but note that it was only his second novel.


(On a slight tangent).

Personally, I think I reached the "trope exhaustion" stage, sometime when I was in my early-mid 20's.  It came about from an accumulation of many years of watching a lot of crappy movies (and tv), and also reading a lot of comic books when I was younger.  (I read some science fiction novels when I was a kid, but not a lot of fantasy).

By the time I was in my mid-20's, I found myself frequently second guessing which generic tropes were being used in a particular tv show, movie, comic, novel, video game, etc ..., and what sorts of story endings can occur.  A lot stuff fits into similar sorts of guessable patterns.

It sort of sucks out the excitement, when one can easily guess what's going to happen.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 25, 2011, 10:28:43 PM
Just started reading "The Coming Race (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vril)" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

It was originally published back in 1871.

Despite the book's notorious history, it reads like a generic early-mid 20th century science fiction or fantasy novel.  It was very much ahead of its time.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Danger on April 01, 2011, 03:08:22 PM
After bypassing the initial rush of popularity, I'm enjoying the Harry Potter series currently (more to keep abreast of my daughter's reading and have a additional topic track to have with her).

Much like a Dr. Who episode where someone winds up dead (i.e. nearly all of them); rather than magic their ass out of there, the intrepid bunch solve the mystery!  Quite fun mind candy for me.

On the serious side, I've got a huge tome about the KGB glaring at me every time I pass it with a Potter book in my hands, "Put that trash down," it says in its obvious accent, "read me now, da?"

Soon tovarisch, soon.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on April 01, 2011, 03:50:17 PM
Quote from: Elliot Wilen;447662
About Burroughs, A Princess of Mars was the last book of his I ever picked up, and I didn't get very far. When I was a teenager, it wasn't easy to find complete series, so I'd read a Pellucidar book (Back to the Stone Age), The Lost Continent, Tarzan, and most memorably the Land that Time Forgot trilogy. Loved them all. The Mars book just seemed silly. It might have been my changing taste or trope-exhaustion, but note that it was only his second novel. I wouldn't make a final judgment of Vance based on many of his early short stories.

(On that basis I should probably give Moorcock another go at some point, but there's lots of other stuff to read.)


I really don't think ERB improves with age. He wrote good and bad novels all the way through, I think. I'd forgotten about The Land that time Forgot, I don't know that I've ever read the sequels.  
Anyway, as this and my other comments may indicate, I have mixed feelings about ERB. That said, sometimes I get an undeniable urge to read one of his books. I've probably read Tarzan at the Earth's Core four times since I was 12.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on April 01, 2011, 03:54:59 PM
Oh, and I'm making my way through M. John Harrison's Viriconium right now. Overall,  it is enjoyable, but is perhaps best read on an ereader with a linked dictionary. If I have a complaint, it would be that occasionally Harrison seems to lose belief (if you will) in the dream he is spinning and things go a little flat, but it doesn't last.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on April 01, 2011, 04:34:49 PM
I have had Viriconium sitting on my shelf for a few years, but I couldn't make myself really start it. The main problem is actually the physical book.It is large, which makes it harder to fit into my briefcase than others. It uses a binding style used to imitate home binding, which makes turning the pages a shitty experience (so much for homemade charm). And third, the cover is horrible with embossed letters found on the trashiest romances. I tend to read novels on the train. I do not want to read this book on the train. So Viriconium isn't getting read (until I have a long weekend with nothing to do and that specific book beckoning to me).

WRT Harry Potter, they were completely guilt-free pleasures for me, although I think the series loses some of its zest after the second book, and instead of being perfectly good juvenile fantasy set in a magic-meets-modern environment, starts to get lost in its own mythology. A common trap in fantasy, and J. K. Rowling fell right into it. Still, I cannot say I did not enjoy the rest -- it was just a good read instead of genius.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on April 01, 2011, 04:51:06 PM
Quote from: Melan;449271
I have had Viriconium sitting on my shelf for a few years, but I couldn't make myself really start it. The main problem is actually the physical book.It is large, which makes it harder to fit into my briefcase than others. It uses a binding style used to imitate home binding, which makes turning the pages a shitty experience (so much for homemade charm). And third, the cover is horrible with embossed letters found on the trashiest romances. I tend to read novels on the train. I do not want to read this book on the train. So Viriconium isn't getting read (until I have a long weekend with nothing to do and that specific book beckoning to me).


Heh, it's for reasons like these that, despite being a lifelong book fetishist, I'm all about the e-reader these days.
I don't want to trigger a lynch mob or anything, but the form factor; the ability to alter the size of the font; and the linked dictionary make it a joy to use- and dare I say- a superior format.  Also, after years of hiding covers with naked Deja Thoris  from the other folks I'm on the bus with, I rather like not having the cover as a consideration. Beyond that, the ability to get a book in under a minute is pure awesome.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 01, 2011, 05:06:50 PM
Quote from: Danger;449259
On the serious side, I've got a huge tome about the KGB glaring at me every time I pass it with a Potter book in my hands, "Put that trash down," it says in its obvious accent, "read me now, da?"


Which KGB book?

I've been reading the "Mitrokhin Archive" on and off over the last several years.  Not exactly an easy read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrokhin_Archive
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on April 01, 2011, 05:30:15 PM
Aos: My brother has recently purchased a Kindle, and it actually seems neat (I used to be completely sceptical). Probably not buying one for a while, since it's mainly ideal for people who commute, while I live 5 minutes from work and the city centre and the university. The rest also tends to be within 15-20 mins. So I go on foot, and don't spend that time reading.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on April 01, 2011, 05:40:33 PM
Quote from: Melan;449283
Aos: My brother has recently purchased a Kindle, and it actually seems neat (I used to be completely sceptical). Probably not buying one for a while, since it's mainly ideal for people who commute, while I live 5 minutes from work and the city centre and the university. The rest also tends to be within 15-20 mins. So I go on foot, and don't spend that time reading.


Really, if you are happy with things as they are, put off the purchase for a while. It ruined books for me. I've found that if I bump the font size up one from what you normally find in paper backs that I tend to miss a lot less.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on April 01, 2011, 08:56:22 PM
Quote from: Aos;449267
Oh, and I'm making my way through M. John Harrison's Viriconium right now. Overall,  it is enjoyable, but is perhaps best read on an ereader with a linked dictionary. If I have a complaint, it would be that occasionally Harrison seems to lose belief (if you will) in the dream he is spinning and things go a little flat, but it doesn't last.


I've been meaning to pick these up since about 1988 and have never gotten around to it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on April 01, 2011, 09:32:12 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;449322
I've been meaning to pick these up since about 1988 and have never gotten around to it.


Me too, but I'd forgotten about them until I came across a reference to them in a a Meiville interview.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on April 02, 2011, 11:10:31 AM
I finished up Wailing Wind, a Tony Hillerman novel. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favorite, either. Chee and Manuelito get involved with the investigation of a dead body after Manuelito discovers it in a pickup in the back country. Leaphorn is asked by a self-made millionaire to find his missing wife.

I'm enjoying the hell out of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds). They're paranormal romance, but light on the romance.

The series is a modern fantasy. In it, magic and tech battle each other, one holding sway over reality and imposing it's own set of natural laws at a time. When "tech is up," IC engine cars work, electricity hums through power lines, guns will fire, but when the "magic wave hits," all those things cease to function and instead we get spells, magic swords, and all kinds of magical beasties (which exist in a lesser form during tech).

Shapeshifters of all sorts exists and they're pretty much bog standard. Vampires exist, but instead of being sexy non-predators, they're twisted corpses controlled by necromancers who pilot them like they're drones from Shadowrun. There's a whole host of other things. No fae so far.

The books are set in Atlanta and because magic hates technological devices, the city is in a kind of post-apocalyptic state. Much of its skyscrapers and modern building have fallen to ruin because of magic. Magic has also changed the landscape, turning some areas of the city into magical refuges or DMZs.

Kate Daniels is, as you might have guessed, the heroine. She's a merc who, because of her heritage, has magic powers which she must keep secret. For now. Kate does the sorts of things characters in these sorts of books do - get embroiled in other people's problems, solve mysteries, learn heretofore secret facts about the world, et al..

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Danger on April 03, 2011, 08:44:37 AM
Quote from: ggroy;449277
Which KGB book?

I've been reading the "Mitrokhin Archive" on and off over the last several years.  Not exactly an easy read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrokhin_Archive


That's the one.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 03, 2011, 11:29:02 AM
An oddly translated and incomplete collection of Gogol's short stories that had the temerity to call itself "Collected Tales of..."

A book on back pain and tension

Still working on Being and Time
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 03, 2011, 12:59:28 PM
Just started reading "The Myth of Sisyphus" (by Albert Camus) yesterday.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Sisyphus
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on April 03, 2011, 01:37:28 PM
A Russian Sharpe analogue, vampires and the Napaleonic wars? Sold!

Twelve by Jasper Kent.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on April 03, 2011, 09:38:12 PM
Just wanted to chime in for the sake of feedback, toor the people who encouraged me to read Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun ASAP.

I've finished Shadow of the Torturer in three days, and right now I'm midway through Claw of the Conciliator.

Holy shit, you weren't kidding.

This is not your average fantasy/SF writing.

To anyone who has not read this, go read it. Now.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 03, 2011, 11:15:17 PM
Reading 2 books right now, one fiction, one sorta fiction but with theology conversations being the gist of the book.

Rosemary and Rue
by Seanan McGuire is about a changeling woman, who is a retired detective, and is now dragged back into a case because of a rival/friend of hers. It's pretty good, though there are a number of parallels with "The Dresden Files".

A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren is about a pastor and a friend who are discussing the current church and why it is not meeting their needs. I like it. It has definitely made me rethink a few things, and I hope it gets more attention within church communities.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on April 04, 2011, 02:23:30 AM
I have tried for the second time to get into the Beats with an anthology of poems and stories. Like my previous experiment with Kerouac's On the Road and Ginsberg's poetry, it did not work out. Most of this stuff feels dated in a really bad way; a lot of it is nonsensical gobbledygook; a few stories are passable but not that great; in general, the writing and subject matter are boring me. Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it.

(Naked Lunch, while also chaotic, not to mention written by a pretty contemptible person, at least had a really strong opening part in describing the sorts of junkies prowling postwar America and the environments they inhabit, plus there was that great, great essay at the start on the nature and consequences of addiction. The rest was not so great, but at least there was some genius in it.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ian Warner on April 04, 2011, 04:33:12 AM
Just finished HRH Prince Charles' Harmony. It is very amusing to read the fantasies of his poryphiria riddled mind however he does have a couple of good points.

Also good news, he just stopped short of stating outright his intent to convert to Islam which will make him illegiable for the Defender of the Faith title and we will never have him as our King!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 04, 2011, 04:57:43 AM
Quote from: Melan;449812
...
(Naked Lunch, while also chaotic, not to mention written by a pretty contemptible person, at least had a really strong opening part in describing the sorts of junkies prowling postwar America and the environments they inhabit, plus there was that great, great essay at the start on the nature and consequences of addiction. The rest was not so great, but at least there was some genius in it.)


Big fan of Burroughs, love Naked Lunch. I found that reading The Letters of William S. Burroughs (http://www.amazon.com/Letters-William-Burroughs-Vol-1945-1959/dp/0140094520) revealed a lot about the man and his work. The letters may also represent some of his most entertaining writing, as well as providing context for Naked Lunch. I recommend it, great introduction to Burroughs.

Actually met the man himself once, back when I was a young punk-rocker. The high point of a long road trip.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 04, 2011, 06:00:31 PM
Quote from: Melan;449812
(Naked Lunch, while also chaotic, not to mention written by a pretty contemptible person, at least had a really strong opening part in describing the sorts of junkies prowling postwar America and the environments they inhabit, plus there was that great, great essay at the start on the nature and consequences of addiction. The rest was not so great, but at least there was some genius in it.)


Naked Lunch made a lot more sense, I thought, having read his more straightforward Junky.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 04, 2011, 06:02:36 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;449569
An oddly translated and incomplete collection of Gogol's short stories that had the temerity to call itself "Collected Tales of..."


Have you read "There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby" by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on April 04, 2011, 06:55:45 PM
A few words on Quicksilver now i'm wading through the deep-end.

I think it's an effort i'll lable as "worthy read, but not really enjoyable." That is, you can see the research that has gone into it too well and the author is all but saying look what i've researched! The end result is as one blurb put it -"this isn't a book you read, it's somewhere you move to with the family."

It's rich, detailed, and as i said, a worthy book - but like The Terror by Dan Simmons*, it is weighed down to some degree by the academic rigour that went into creating it.

I doubt that i'll get the other two books.

Good. Worthy. Informative to an amazing degree, but not what i would ever call a page-turner.

* A supernatural retelling of the voyage of The Terror to find the north-west passage and it's plethora of disasters.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 04, 2011, 09:12:34 PM
Quote from: Cole;450010
Have you read "There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby" by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya?


No, I haven't. Is it worth checking out?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 04, 2011, 09:40:20 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;450053
No, I haven't. Is it worth checking out?


I enjoyed it. Russian grotesque short fiction, as you might have guessed. Also reminded me to some degree of Joyce Carol Oates' "Haunted."
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on April 05, 2011, 12:30:18 AM
I finished Mercedes Lackey's book Invasion (superhero stuff, inspired by City of Heroes) definite skip for fans of superhero fiction, IMHO.

I started reading the Laumer Retief series, and another space sci fi series. (Lt. Leary)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on April 05, 2011, 02:55:13 AM
Quote from: Cole;450009
Naked Lunch made a lot more sense, I thought, having read his more straightforward Junky.

Having followed a similar suggestion, I can confirm this. It helps a lot with the puzzle.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: two_fishes on April 05, 2011, 04:22:28 PM
Quote from: Cole;450010
Have you read "There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby" by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya?


Yes, and I too want to give my thumbs up to it. t is definitely a book worth checking out.

In a different vein from the same country, if you were to seek out Moscow 2042 by Vladimir Voinovich, you will likely be very pleased.

I want to thank whoever recommended the Gene Wolf series. I have started it and it is fantastic.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 05, 2011, 11:53:56 PM
Quote from: Cole;450057
I enjoyed it. Russian grotesque short fiction, as you might have guessed. Also reminded me to some degree of Joyce Carol Oates' "Haunted."


Cool. I'll look into it when I get the chance. I'm about to finish the Gogol book tonight.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 06, 2011, 03:36:17 AM
Just received the official movie novelization of Solomon Kane. I normally don't go for such things, but it is written by Ramsey Campbell and I liked the movie. So, ++.

I have known for some time now that Mr. Campbell had finished some of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane story fragments. Does anyone know where those could be found?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 06, 2011, 10:27:45 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;450332
Just received the official movie novelization of Solomon Kane. I normally don't go for such things, but it is written by Ramsey Campbell and I liked the movie. So, ++.

I have known for some time now that Mr. Campbell had finished some of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane story fragments. Does anyone know where those could be found?

I have those versions in Baen books' paperback "Robert E. Howard Library Vol. III : Solomon Kane," but there may be other sources. (Amazon Link (http://www.amazon.com/Solomon-Kane-Robert-Howard-Library/dp/0671876953/))
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 06, 2011, 12:24:10 PM
Quote from: Cole;450354
I have those versions in Baen books' paperback "Robert E. Howard Library Vol. III : Solomon Kane," but their may be other sources. (Amazon Link (http://www.amazon.com/Solomon-Kane-Robert-Howard-Library/dp/0671876953/))


Wonderful, thanks!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 06, 2011, 12:52:23 PM
Now reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I haven't read anything by him since the early 90's, so I'll see if he's gotten better. He always seemed like a poor-man's Stephen King to me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on April 06, 2011, 04:11:35 PM
Quote from: danbuter;450386
Now reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I haven't read anything by him since the early 90's, so I'll see if he's gotten better. He always seemed like a poor-man's Stephen King to me.


I read the Odd Thomas series. I enjoyed it. The first book is, of course, the best, but I enjoyed number three quite a bit, too.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on April 06, 2011, 09:39:28 PM
Continuing my LeVayan Satanism kick, I picked up The Satanic Rituals before work. I cannot wait to get home because there is an entire chapter on the Ritual Calling of Cthulhu that I am betting will be a scream to read. If nothing else, it will become future game fodder for me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 07, 2011, 10:52:19 AM
Quote from: jeff37923;450482
Continuing my LeVayan Satanism kick, I picked up The Satanic Rituals before work. I cannot wait to get home because there is an entire chapter on the Ritual Calling of Cthulhu that I am betting will be a scream to read. If nothing else, it will become future game fodder for me.


Anton LaVey (ASL) wasn't much more than a con man.

Allegedly his own daughter debunked everything he said.

http://satanismcentral.com/aslv.html


In particular, for the case of the "Satanic Bible" (SB):

LEGEND: ASL wrote the Satanic Bible, his principal work, to fulfill his congregation's need for a scriptural guide.

REALITY: The Satanic Bible was conceived as a commercial vehicle by paperback publisher Avon Books. Avon approached ASL for some kind of Satanic work to cash in on the Satanism & witchcraft fad of the late 1960s. Pressed for material to meet Avon's deadline, ASL resorted to plagiarism, assembling extracts from an obscure 1896 tract - Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard into a "Book of Satan" for the SB, and claiming its authorship by himself. [Ironically these MiR passages are the ones most frequently quoted by ASL disciples.] Another third of the SB consists of John Dee's "Enochian Keys", taken directly but again without attribution from Aleister Crowley's Equinox. The SB's "Nine Satanic Statements", one of the Church of Satan's central doctrines, is a paraphrase, again unacknowledged, of passages from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. The last words in the SB - "Yankee Rose" - have been puzzled over for years by readers. "YR" is actually the name of an old popular tune in ASL's nightclub repertoire.

SOURCES: ASL, The Satanic Bible; Ragnar Redbeard, Might is Right, Port Townsend: Loompanics (reprint), 1896; Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (Galt's speech, ca. pages #936-993); "Yankee Rose" by Sidney Holden & Abe Frankl (Irving Berlin Music, 1926).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 07, 2011, 12:17:40 PM
Quote from: jeff37923;450482
Continuing my LeVayan Satanism kick, I picked up The Satanic Rituals before work. I cannot wait to get home because there is an entire chapter on the Ritual Calling of Cthulhu that I am betting will be a scream to read. If nothing else, it will become future game fodder for me.

What did you think of the Satanic Bible? IHave not read The Satanic Rituals. Is it just mumbo-jumbo or something more interesting?

Quote from: ggroy;450589
Anton LaVey (ASL) wasn't much more than a con man.

Allegedly his own daughter debunked everything he said. ...


While I can not dispute that claim, why do you consider his daughter more credible than LaVey himself? I ask because over the years I have seen Zeena's claims touted by both Christian groups and Satanic theists alike (as funny as it seems, nobody hates LaVeyan Satanism more than Satanic theists).

Many of us who read the Satanic Bible back when it was still naughty knew of its connection to Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard, it was mentioned in the dedication page of The Satanic Bible. Anton also wrote the introduction to a later edition of Might Is Right.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 07, 2011, 12:56:20 PM
Quote from: hanszurcher;450618
While I can not dispute that claim, why do you consider his daughter more credible than LaVey himself? I ask because over the years I have seen Zeena's claims touted by both Christian groups and Satanic theists alike (as funny as it seems, nobody hates LaVeyan Satanism more than Satanic theists).


I know very little about his daughters.  Whether Zeena LaVey has any credibility or not, a lot of stuff in that debunking document sounds more credible than the sort of stuff LaVey wrote in his books.  (At least to my cynical point of view).

A lot of LaVey's books I've read over the years, read very much like his own egotistical self-aggrandizement, masquerading and being passed off as a "religion" or "philosophy".  It seems like he's "projecting" his own personal issues and problems.

If Anton LaVey was a young person today, I wouldn't be surprised to see such egotistical ranting on a personal blog.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on April 07, 2011, 11:21:25 PM
Quote from: ggroy;450589
Anton LaVey (ASL) wasn't much more than a con man.



Quote from: ggroy;450636
A lot of LaVey's books I've read over the years, read very much like his own egotistical self-aggrandizement, masquerading and being passed off as a "religion" or "philosophy".  It seems like he's "projecting" his own personal issues and problems.



The main thing I have taken away from The Satanic Bible is that it is a joke played upon organized religion in general. The local Satanists I've been talking to agree with this.

As long as you do not take it too seriously, it is pretty cool and a mighty effective joke since it has lasted for this many years.

Quote from: hanszurcher;450618
What did you think of the Satanic Bible? IHave not read The Satanic Rituals. Is it just mumbo-jumbo or something more interesting?

Some of it is mumbo-jumbo, in particular the ritual magick stuff. However, the underlying philosophy makes more sense than a lot of others I have read about. I'd say it makes for a very entertaining read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 07, 2011, 11:27:57 PM
Quote from: jeff37923;450770
The main thing I have taken away from The Satanic Bible is that it is a joke played upon organized religion in general. The local Satanists I've been talking to agree with this.

As long as you do not take it too seriously, it is pretty cool and a mighty effective joke since it has lasted for this many years.

At times I wondered whether some famous books were actually written as a joke or parody, but the author never let anyone in on the joke during their lifetimes.

Stuff like Machiavelli (The Prince), Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, etc ...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 07, 2011, 11:34:18 PM
Quote from: ggroy;450772
At times I wondered whether some famous books were actually written as a joke or parody, but the author never let anyone in on the joke during their lifetimes.

Stuff like Machiavelli (The Prince), Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, etc ...


The Prince is actually a satire.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 07, 2011, 11:42:51 PM
Quote from: Cole;450774
The Prince is actually a satire.


Same story with "Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu" by Maurice Joly.  It was originally a satire on Napoleon III.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dialogue_in_Hell_Between_Machiavelli_and_Montesquieu

"Dialogue in Hell" was later plagiarized by the infamous antisemitic book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/protzion/DelaCruzProtocolsMain.htm
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on April 08, 2011, 02:54:42 AM
Quote from: Cole;450774
The Prince is actually a satire.

Indeed. And it is actually not as bad (or badass) as its reputation. It does not say the ends justify the means, rather that sometimes a statesman must sometimes take immoral actions (and assume the responsibility for them) for the common good - which isn't all that controversial as an observation. Overall, it is a fairly sober look at power instead of a work of moustache-twirling villainy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 08, 2011, 09:06:03 AM
Quote from: ggroy;450636
I know very little about his daughters.  Whether Zeena LaVey has any credibility or not, a lot of stuff in that debunking document sounds more credible than the sort of stuff LaVey wrote in his books.  (At least to my cynical point of view).

My own knowledge of Zeena Schreck is mostly superficial. In 1990 she had a falling out with the Church of Satan and her father's  "egocentric atheist" philosophy. She went on the join the Temple of Set and then to found her own religious organization called the Sethian Liberation Movement, which is headquartered in Berlin. She also has a book with a catchy title of her own out there, Demons of the Flesh: A Complete Guide to Left-Hand Path Sex Magic.

The most annoying thing about Anton LaVey: Legend and Reality, it is like the guy in the audience of a magic show that seems compelled to tell everyone how the tricks are done.

The most fallacious attacks, namely the sexual abuse of Stanton LeVay and the charges of animal cruelty, have long been debunked themselves. The first by Stanton himself and the other by Tippi Hedren who took in and cared for LaVey's lion Togar. Much of what is left is common knowledge found on wikipeadia and the Church of Satan web site or hearsay. So no, I do not find Zeena to be very credible.

(When I was writing punk/horror fanzines I had been to Hell House of Hollywood, Zeena's wax museum & occult books store, to try and get a interview with her husband about his band Radio Werewolf. Interesting folks.)

Zeena
(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/hanszurcher/forum/16_small.jpg)
Does this look like the face of a liar?

Quote
A lot of LaVey's books I've read over the years, read very much like his own egotistical self-aggrandizement...


Well, yeah. That is what LaVeyan Satanism is all about. m/:)m/
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 08, 2011, 09:31:16 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;450819
Many of the most fallacious attacks, namely the sexual abuse of Stanton LeVay and the charges of animal cruelty, have long been debunked themselves. The first by Stanton himself and the other by Tippi Hedren who took in and cared for LaVey's lion Togar.


That was the stuff which I found to be the least credible in that debunking document.

In general, allegations of abuse are very easy to make.  One would need a lot more evidence to document that actual abuse took place.

Quote from: hanszurcher;450819
Much of what is left is common knowledge found on wikipeadia and the Church of Satan web site or hearsay.


When I first read all that LaVey stuff, this was back in the 1980's before the internet was common.  Even without the internet, a lot of stuff in LaVey's books don't even pass the "laugh test" or "smell test" on a first inspection.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 08, 2011, 09:39:23 AM
Quote from: jeff37923;450770
...
Some of it is mumbo-jumbo, in particular the ritual magick stuff. However, the underlying philosophy makes more sense than a lot of others I have read about. I'd say it makes for a very entertaining read.


His philosophy is largely a syntheses of Ayn Rand and a few others. He just made it interesting and a lot more entertaining than Atlas Shrugged.

LaVey is actually one of my favorite characters to play in pulpy Call of Cthulhu games. The Black Pope fighting the Cthulhu Mythos.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 08, 2011, 09:41:16 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;450819
Well, yeah. That is what LaVeyan Satanism is all about. m/:)m/


Then why does one need a "religion/philosophy" based on self-aggrandizement in the first place?

Or is all that "satan" stuff nothing more than just shock value, like a cheesy horror movie?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 08, 2011, 09:51:08 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;450826
His philosophy is largely a syntheses of Ayn Rand and a few others. He just made it interesting and a lot more entertaining than Atlas Shrugged.


I tried reading Ayn Rand's stuff decades ago too.  I found her stuff was kinda boring and difficult to read.

I got the impression she was a very angry person.  Her writing reads like she's "projecting" her own personal anger issues and problems.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 08, 2011, 11:28:03 AM
Quote from: ggroy;450827
Then why does one need a "religion/philosophy" based on self-aggrandizement in the first place?

Good question. I don't know. The religious impulse has always baffled me and my knowledge of Satanism is superficial at best.
Quote
Or is all that "satan" stuff nothing more than just shock value, like a cheesy horror movie?


Cheesy horror movie?
   (http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/hanszurcher/forum/blackmass10_small.jpg)
Whatever gave you that idea?

(You can find more information on Wikipeadea: LaVeyan Satanism. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaVeyan_Satanism))
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: hanszurcher on April 08, 2011, 11:34:08 AM
Quote from: ggroy;450829
I tried reading Ayn Rand's stuff decades ago too.  I found her stuff was kinda boring and difficult to read.

I got the impression she was a very angry person.  Her writing reads like she's "projecting" her own personal anger issues and problems.


My experience exactly.

She was pretty angry...AT COMMIES!:)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 08, 2011, 11:39:35 AM
Quote from: hanszurcher;450843
Cheesy horror movie?

Whatever gave you that idea?

Most of the self-proclaimed "LaVey satanists" I knew back in the day, were basically heavy metal guys who were looking for attention.

For the most part, their knowledge of "satanism" was very superficial.  They were doing all kinds of stupid shit, like:  cutting themselves and drinking their own blood, killing animals, beating up "christians", spray painting satanic graffiti, etc ...

Essentially they thought that making themselves to resemble a (figurative) "cheesy horror movie", was an easy way to get attention.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: two_fishes on April 08, 2011, 03:49:25 PM
Quote from: ggroy;450829
I tried reading Ayn Rand's stuff decades ago too.  I found her stuff was kinda boring and difficult to read.

I got the impression she was a very angry person.  Her writing reads like she's "projecting" her own personal anger issues and problems.


Yeah, Bingo. I will recommend "We the Living". I think it's probably the best thing she ever wrote (not that that is saying very much.) It's more personal than her other books, and also significantly shorter.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 08, 2011, 05:19:15 PM
Quote from: Cole;450774
The Prince is actually a satire.


As are huge chunks of most of Nietzsche's work.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 08, 2011, 05:27:48 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;450918
As are huge chunks of most of Nietzsche's work.


What's hilarious is coming across wanna-be "nihilists" who take Nietzsche's work as the literal truth for real, and use it as an excuse to be destructive.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 09, 2011, 01:19:11 AM
Quote from: ggroy;450919
What's hilarious is coming across wanna-be "nihilists" who take Nietzsche's work as the literal truth for real, and use it as an excuse to be destructive.


Nietzsche is just a convenient dupe for most of these people. This kind of thing goes back to well before he wrote anything, to at least Pierre Lacenaire (the inspiration for Crime and Punishment).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 09, 2011, 06:56:03 AM
In the past, has anyone ever pulled off something similar to the "Sokal Hoax" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair) but didn't let anyone in on the hoax/joke/satire/parody?

(ie.  The writer died without ever telling anyone that it was a hoax/joke/satire/parody).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 09, 2011, 11:54:59 AM
Quote from: ggroy;450966
In the past, has anyone ever pulled off something similar to the "Sokal Hoax" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair) but didn't let anyone in on the hoax/joke/satire/parody?

(ie.  The writer died without ever telling anyone that it was a hoax/joke/satire/parody).


You should read the bottom chunk of articles you link to. The section entitled "Similar scandals" in it answers your question. The Bogdanovs in particular have never come clean about being frauds.

Also, the Sokal Hoax is overblown. The journal it happened in (Social Text) wasn't peer-reviewed.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 09, 2011, 12:19:26 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;450978
You should read the bottom chunk of articles you link to. The section entitled "Similar scandals" in it answers your question.


I was thinking of something that could have happened 100 or 200+ years ago.

For example, could somebody like Karl Marx have pulled off something like that?

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;450978
The Bogdanovs in particular have never come clean about being frauds.


I remember this back when it happened.  It was kinda funny at the time.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on April 09, 2011, 12:30:09 PM
I'm getting close to the end of The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card and am enjoying it much more than I thought I would. It is related to another work of his that he did some time ago, Stonefather (which I also enjoyed). It also reminds me of Stephen Gould's excellent Jumper.

In The Lost Gate, young Danny discovers he's a gate mage. He can create and use magical gates in various ways, including teleporting himself. Trouble is, his people, refugees from a magical world, consider gate mages trouble because of what one of them number did long ago (shutting down all the gates from Earth to their world) and so being a gate mage is a death sentence.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 09, 2011, 02:26:21 PM
Quote from: ggroy;450980
I was thinking of something that could have happened 100 or 200+ years ago.

For example, could somebody like Karl Marx have pulled off something like that?


Probably. Marx was smart enough to. However, his actual work, while it contains plenty of sarcasm and irony, is not meant to be a preposterous deceit, and it clearly isn't, if one actually takes the time to read it. Marx has an extremely lucid style in most of his published work. The Communist Manifesto is probably the easiest philosophical text to read in the history of philosophy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 16, 2011, 08:27:56 AM
Finished "Odd Thomas". Very good book. Dean Koontz has gotten to be a much better writer from when I read his stuff in the early 90's.

Next up is "Redemption Corps" by Rob Sanders. It's a 40k novel about the Imperial Guard. Hopefully it will be decent. I'm in the mood for military sf, so this should work.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on April 17, 2011, 10:49:31 PM
Just finished "Moon Called," a friend of mine and I have a game where we buy each other books at whatever convention we meet and exchange them. This was her latest selection for me. I enjoyed it, though I've yet to read an uban fantasy novel that has really enthralled me.

I'm moving on to "Let me in." The novel the movie "Let the right one in" was based on. I saw the Swedish film and enjoyed it very much, though I never got around to seeing the U.S. remake. Have high hopes for the book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 17, 2011, 11:20:25 PM
The novel is also "Let the Right One In". I guess they renamed that, as well.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on April 18, 2011, 12:12:05 AM
Quote from: danbuter;452173
The novel is also "Let the Right One In". I guess they renamed that, as well.


Yep, looks like they changed the title for the english release. Not sure why, but as long as the content is a good translation I'll be happy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pete on April 18, 2011, 03:24:03 PM
Due to the excellent first episode of "Game of Thrones", I've decided to give _A Feast for Crows_ another go. I ate up the first three books like candy, but struggled to get halfway through before putting it on the "maybe read later" pile. I still need to finish the last 100 pages of Erikson's _Deadhouse Gates_ before that, though.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on April 19, 2011, 12:56:13 AM
Quote from: Pete;452301
Due to the excellent first episode of "Game of Thrones", I've decided to give _A Feast for Crows_ another go. I ate up the first three books like candy, but struggled to get halfway through before putting it on the "maybe read later" pile. I still need to finish the last 100 pages of Erikson's _Deadhouse Gates_ before that, though.


Have you tried audiobooks? I've found they make it easier to "read" books I've always thought I should read but never could get into.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 19, 2011, 11:50:31 PM
Quote from: Pete;452301
Due to the excellent first episode of "Game of Thrones", I've decided to give _A Feast for Crows_ another go. I ate up the first three books like candy, but struggled to get halfway through before putting it on the "maybe read later" pile. I still need to finish the last 100 pages of Erikson's _Deadhouse Gates_ before that, though.


The last 100 pages of Deadhouse Gates are better than all of A Feast for Crows. AFfC was a HUGE letdown.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on April 20, 2011, 05:39:00 PM
I finished, Lt Leary Commanding. A sequel to the first book "With the Lightnings" available from Baen on their webscriptions service and for "free" with the caveat you pay what you like, if you like. It was an interesting book, military SF with a more personal touch than most. It spends most of the book building towards the why and where of the final conflicts. Nice and enjoyable. In this case Lt. Leary takes the ship they usurped in With the Lightnings, to shakedown under his own RCN service, but politics and manipulations abound to make it an eventful voyage.

After that, I read, Iron Kissed, one of the Mercy Thompson Books. It was a hard read for me though. I've amusingly enjoyed the series, unusual from books my sister recommends. She's got a real taste for damaged characters. In this one Mercy's mentor and friend the Fae Zee, ends up getting blamed for a murder he didn't commit, so she sticks her walker nose into a murder mystery. I figured out who it was early on as it wasn't complex, but it build up issues I don't care for towards the end.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 21, 2011, 11:05:20 AM
My vacation reading for next week:

The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake
The Plays of Anton Chekhov
Pushkin's Eugene Onegin
Complete Poems of John Donne
Some of Euripedes' plays
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 21, 2011, 12:47:34 PM
Finished up "Redemption Corps". Not bad for a 40k book, but not great. The author tried a flashforward mixed in with the story, and it didn't really work. If he'd just told the story straight, it would have been better. It had some neat ideas though


(spoilers) especially with genestealers taking over orks and then using them to invade the Imperium.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 21, 2011, 01:14:57 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;452838
My vacation reading for next week:

The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake
The Plays of Anton Chekhov
Pushkin's Eugene Onegin
Complete Poems of John Donne
Some of Euripedes' plays


Which English versions are you looking at for the dramas?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 22, 2011, 12:00:41 AM
Quote from: Cole;452875
Which English versions are you looking at for the dramas?


Paul Schmidt's translations for Chekhov. I've read most of Chekhov's plays in the Modern Library translations before and they were good, but I'm hoping this will be better.

I've got two books for Euripedes: A Penguin copy by Philip Vellacott (good), and a book called Ten Plays translated by Moses Hadas and John MacLean (a terrible translation). Neither is complete, but there's only a bit of overlap between them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 22, 2011, 12:08:43 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;452995
Paul Schmidt's translations for Chekhov. I've read most of Chekhov's plays in the Modern Library translations before and they were good, but I'm hoping this will be better.

I've got two books for Euripedes: A Penguin copy by Philip Vellacott (good), and a book called Ten Plays translated by Moses Hadas and John MacLean (a terrible translation). Neither is complete, but there's only a bit of overlap between them.


Schmidt is good. I get the impression he play it a little loose (I don't read any Russian) but at least he understands that the material is comic.

As far as Euripides it's hard to find good english versions in one place - I agree, that hadas/maclean collection is bad. I really like the Arrowsmith and Lattimore versions in the Chicago series but the remaining plays are lacking. Paul Roche has decent renderings of some of the other plays in the signet ten plays, which also has the virtue of "cheap."
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 22, 2011, 04:57:16 AM
Quote from: Cole;452996
Schmidt is good. I get the impression he play it a little loose (I don't read any Russian) but at least he understands that the material is comic.

As far as Euripides it's hard to find good english versions in one place - I agree, that hadas/maclean collection is bad. I really like the Arrowsmith and Lattimore versions in the Chicago series but the remaining plays are lacking. Paul Roche has decent renderings of some of the other plays in the signet ten plays, which also has the virtue of "cheap."


I'll check Roche out. Other than during the Bacchae, I've never felt as awed by E. as by Aeschylus and Sophocles. I suspect it's b/c of the shitty translations of him I've been reading.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 22, 2011, 11:15:12 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;453031
I'll check Roche out. Other than during the Bacchae, I've never felt as awed by E. as by Aeschylus and Sophocles. I suspect it's b/c of the shitty translations of him I've been reading.


Euripides is a bizarre writer with more comic tendencies than the other famous tragedians. The Bacchae is probably the masterpiece (public theatre did a fantastic version the year before last that I was lucky to see) and I think his other strongest works are also late plays, Iphigeneia in Aulis (the Roche is a decent rendering of this, it has a bad translation history and many versions cut large portions for dubious reasons) and the completely deranged Orestes. Though both in their own ways amount to vitriolic screeds against any sense of order or justice in the world as Euripides sees them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 22, 2011, 12:46:15 PM
Quote from: Cole;453062
Euripides is a bizarre writer with more comic tendencies than the other famous tragedians. The Bacchae is probably the masterpiece (public theatre did a fantastic version the year before last that I was lucky to see) and I think his other strongest works are also late plays, Iphigeneia in Aulis (the Roche is a decent rendering of this, it has a bad translation history and many versions cut large portions for dubious reasons) and the completely deranged Orestes. Though both in their own ways amount to vitriolic screeds against any sense of order or justice in the world as Euripides sees them.

Hah, you've pretty much managed to list the three plays of his I'm most fond of (with Medea in a close fourth behind I.@ Aulis). Have you ever heard any of the music for Orestes, btw? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S15s-HbCGIw) Edit: Also, I was doing some digging around the other day for Greek play stuff, and stumbled across this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEjBEVFRM7)

Bacchae is kind of overwhelming b/c of the missing climax on top of everything else. Makes the wrenching effect of the plot development that much more visceral.

Tho', I have a thing for damaged & missing texts, real and otherwise, from the Yongle Dadian to the Bacchae to the oral teaching of the Academy from the 7th letter to the MacGuffin in Eco's Name of the Rose to the lost second briefcase of the Arcades Project to pretty much everything Borges ever wrote to Bolano's Savage Detectives to the secret vowels in the name of God and so on.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on April 22, 2011, 03:15:21 PM
I'm going to counter all this intellectualnessitude by discussing City of Bones, the first of the Mortal Instruments books.

The problem with getting audiobooks from the library is that you can't always tell a lot about them from the information they have. Turns out, City of Books is a book for teen. Teen girls.

It's not too bad, actually. There's surprisingly little romance and dreaminess. It's also not that good. It's about a teen girl who learns that she's a Shadow Hunter, a human gifted with second sight who hunts down supernatural baddies.

Interestingly enough, the book mentions D&D quite a bit.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 26, 2011, 05:25:12 PM
I'm on vacation down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and it's raining, so I'm reading, reading, reading when I'm not online or consuming grotesque quantities of delicious fried foods. Thanks to the Canadian dollar's strength, cheap sales tax and lower book prices generally, I'm buying like a fiend. I was at three book stores today alone.

I ended up leaving the Donne, Euripedes and Blake at home and bringing Eugene Onegin, Grettir's Saga, the Chekhov Plays, and Baudrillard's the Transparency of Evil (finished Grettir and Chekhov on the 17 hour ride down) for space reasons.

On my way south I picked up Kraken by Mieville, the Ciaphas Cain omnibuses by Sandy Miller (not available in Toronto for obscure reasons), and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. There does not appear to be a copy of Burnt Njal's Saga south of the Mason-Dixon line, which is a shame because "Njal" is ten times more fun to say or hear when drawled in a thick Carolingian twang, and also because I want a copy of the Penguin edition since the Gutenberg version is trash.

Southern book stores differ from Canadian ones in all sorts of little ways, most of which are just parochial (we have more books on the British empire, they have more books on the Vietnam War; they carry all sorts of books lauding the South at the expense of the North, we carry books lauding Canada at the expense of America).

One unexpected feature they have is that their poetry sections are almost uniformly bad. I've been in one book store in the entire south (in Druid Hills, a suburb of Atlanta, a few blocks away from Emory) that had a decent poetry section, and that's if they even have a section devoted to poetry.

On the other hand, I like the section devoted to African American literature (I found Bury My Heart... stuffed in a neighbouring rack to the AA Lit section) most of them have. I nearly bought Frederick Douglass's second autobiography on two separate occasions today b/c of it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 26, 2011, 07:22:27 PM
I've been reading Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. It's very good, if you like modern werewolves living in the UK. Millar has an understated writing style that I like.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 26, 2011, 07:34:49 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;453833
Grettir's Saga


So awesome.

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;453833
Burnt Njal's Saga


Contains one of the best gallows humor lines I have ever read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 26, 2011, 09:19:25 PM
Quote from: Cole;453852
So awesome.


100%. I'm trying to get ahold of every saga I can at the moment. Laxdaela and Burnt Njal's are top of my list right now (I read BN a long time ago, but online in that terrible Gutenburg translation).

Quote
Contains one of the best gallows humor lines I have ever read.


Which one?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 26, 2011, 09:33:30 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;453868
100%. I'm trying to get ahold of every saga I can at the moment. Laxdaela and Burnt Njal's are top of my list right now (I read BN a long time ago, but online in that terrible Gutenburg translation).



Which one?


Quote
"Gizur looked up at him and asked, "Is Gunnar at home?"
"That's for you to find out," replied Thorgrim. "But I know that his halberd certainly is."
And with that he fell dead.


It's in part 77.

Eyrbyggja Saga is a good one; there's a chapter with this guy who becomes undead out of pure spite over a legal decision.

Also last year I read the penguin "Seven Viking Romances" and enjoyed that a lot.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on April 26, 2011, 10:28:57 PM
Quote from: danbuter;453850
I've been reading Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. It's very good, if you like modern werewolves living in the UK. Millar has an understated writing style that I like.


I like that one! I found out a few weeks ago that there's at least one sequel.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 27, 2011, 01:17:26 AM
Quote from: Cole;453872
It's in part 77.

Eyrbyggja Saga is a good one; there's a chapter with this guy who becomes undead out of pure spite over a legal decision.

Also last year I read the penguin "Seven Viking Romances" and enjoyed that a lot.


Eyrbyggja's great, I agree. I really loved the scatalogical motif, from the first fight over the shit rock and the holy hill to the constant assassinations that happen on the shitter . I was laughing out loud when someone tries to assassinate IIRC, Snorri when he's taking a shit, and they find out the hard way that he's brought his entire posse to the outhouse and they're hanging around inside it fully armed and armoured watching him crap one out just in case someone tries to take advantage - how big could that outhouse possibly be?

It and the Prose Edda are what got me going into Icelandic literature (which, in a roleplaying tie-in, got me interested in RQ Vikings). I'm looking forward to reading more of them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 27, 2011, 01:26:45 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;453902
I was laughing out loud when someone tries to assassinate IIRC, Snorri when he's taking a shit, and they find out the hard way that he's brought his entire posse to the outhouse and they're hanging around inside it fully armed and armoured watching him crap one out just in case someone tries to take advantage - how big could that outhouse possibly be?

Yeah that whole episode is such an RPG scenario, where no PC is about to go to the outhouse alone because there's clearly going to be an assassin hiding in the rafters, or vice versa. Then the assassin tries to climb out the top, but falls on his ass and is captured, etc.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 27, 2011, 01:41:23 AM
Also, "Killer Styr" is pretty much the most badass nickname ever.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on April 27, 2011, 01:52:04 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;453907
Also, "Killer Styr" is pretty much the most badass nickname ever.


Or when he delivers this verse:

Quote from: Styr

I knew that these berserks
unbending in battle
would prove a fierce pair
to me and my friends.
But I'm not afrair
of the fury of the fight:
I've buried those berserk's
bodies in a pit.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on April 27, 2011, 01:53:11 AM
Quote from: Cole;453905
Yeah that whole episode is such an RPG scenario, where no PC is about to go to the outhouse alone because there's clearly going to be an assassin hiding in the rafters, or vice versa. Then the assassin tries to climb out the top, but falls on his ass and is captured, etc.


I've actually kind of been reading them with the RPG angle in mind. The guys in the Icelandic sagas are PCs before PCs existed.

Grettir in particular of all the guy's I've read about acts pretty much exactly like you'd expect a sixteen year old kid playing a fighter to, right down to over-reacting to comments about his miniscule dick and calling people "fags".
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on April 27, 2011, 11:30:41 PM
Okay, so 'Let the Right One In' has taken a backseat to another book that came in the day after I picked it up. The new book is 'The Arabian Nights: A Companion.' It's an examination of the history of the compiled tales and of the different societies which spawned them.

So far its been a fascinating read and is making me want to re-read the tales. I just finished reading the chapter which talks about the criminal underworld of medieval arabia and how its reflected in the tales. Amazing stuff and very rich for gaming ideas.

After I finish this I'll go back to vampires and morse code.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Danger on April 28, 2011, 08:38:59 AM
Harkening to the siren call of the "cyber-street," I dusted off (literally) a few of my cyberpunky books; Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard and the "Mirrorshades," short story anthology.

Hardwired was as fun as I remembered it, but the Shepard book not so much.

Later, I'll haul out all my Gibson and read them in order and corral all the other cyberpunk themed books floating 'bout the house and give them the once-over too.

Get all that Harry Potter stuff washed out of my brain with some good, old fashioned ultra-violence and skull-duggery.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on April 28, 2011, 11:46:59 AM
Quote from: Aos;446295
ERB's best books are probably A Princess of Mars, Tarzan of the Apes and The Return of Tarzan once you've read these, you've really seen most of what he has to offer plot wise. He developed a formula in The Return of Tarzan that he used for just about ever single book after that. I have a special place in my heart for ERB, and I dig many of his books, but they are best read for the first time when you are 12.

Also the recent comic book adaption was ass.


Just recently picked up issues #5 and #6 of the comic book adaptation of the "Princess of Mars".  It turns out they modified the original story.

This comic adaptation entirely skipped the original chapters (XVIII and XIX) where John Carter gets captured by the Warhoon martians and is thrown into a gladiator ring to fight.  (This was immediately after John Carter, Sola, and Dejah Thoris escape the city of Thark).  At the conclusion of issue #6 of the comic, it goes straight to the chapter where John Carter reaches the Mars atmosphere factory.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Danger on May 03, 2011, 09:48:45 PM
Got sidetracked by Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat," stuff en route to my trip to the 1 and 20 proffered by the sleek, cyber-gods sitting high on their data thrones.

Subconsciously, I think I did that to contrast the futures offered.

When does the "Yankee in King Arthur's Court," phase end in terms of sci-fi (i.e. the smart guy who is optimistic, a genius but not an asshole about it, the "future is bright," etc.)?  The advent of the cyberpunk or before?  

Just curious; no need to derail the thread or anything so PMs are cool.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on May 03, 2011, 11:13:58 PM
Just started reading some cheesy 4E Forgotten Realms novels, which features the spellplague happening almost literally in "real time" in 1385 DR .  In particular, "Plague of Spells" (by Bruce Cordell) and "Undead" (by Richard Lee Byers).  Both titles were released back in 2008, when 4E D&D was first released.

In the past, I always thought most D&D based fiction (or gaming fiction in general) was largely shit.  But for some strange reason, I'm finding both "Plague of Spells" and "Undead" to be captivating in a sort of "guilty pleasure" way.  I suppose it's like the sci-fi/fantasy literature equivalent of admitting that one enjoys "consuming pornography".  :rolleyes:
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on May 05, 2011, 10:02:22 AM
Quote from: ggroy;455514
In the past, I always thought most D&D based fiction (or gaming fiction in general) was largely shit.  But for some strange reason, I'm finding both "Plague of Spells" and "Undead" to be captivating in a sort of "guilty pleasure" way.  I suppose it's like the sci-fi/fantasy literature equivalent of admitting that one enjoys "consuming pornography".  :rolleyes:


I think it more like literary junk food. I love the Star Wars universe, but get bored shitless by most of the written stories set in that universe. However, reading the Thrawn Trilogy, Wraith Squadron, and Rogue Squadron books are like eating popcorn - they are filling and tasty while you eat them, but do not provide any real nutritional value. Sometimes you just want to read stuff that is easy on the brain.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on May 06, 2011, 10:25:12 AM
Ravenor omnibus is currenlty within arms reach at the library i'm in. Should i read it?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 06, 2011, 10:45:21 AM
Quote from: Ghost Whistler;456128
Ravenor omnibus is currenlty within arms reach at the library i'm in. Should i read it?


It's one of the better 40K series. If you can get it for free and are interested in 40K, you could do worse (much, much worse).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on May 06, 2011, 02:02:17 PM
But could I do better?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on May 06, 2011, 08:40:09 PM
Quote from: jeff37923;455891
I think it more like literary junk food. I love the Star Wars universe, but get bored shitless by most of the written stories set in that universe. However, reading the Thrawn Trilogy, Wraith Squadron, and Rogue Squadron books are like eating popcorn - they are filling and tasty while you eat them, but do not provide any real nutritional value. Sometimes you just want to read stuff that is easy on the brain.


This may very well be the case.  Probably also depends on one's own perspective and background.

For a long time, my idea of "pleasure reading" was reading highly technical books on topics in engineering, mathematics, etc ... and other related areas.  This was especially the case during my 15+ years hiatus away from rpg games, and even for many years after I got back into playing rpg games (shortly after 3.5E D&D was released).  It was only within the last several years that I started to semi-regularly read fiction novels again, along with reading comic books and watching a lot of crappy tv shows + movies.  (Many years ago, I didn't have anything like cable tv or satellite tv.  Just local tv channels).

From where I'm coming from and my past history, I suppose reading D&D based novels may very well be like "consuming pornography".  Decades ago when I was still in the academy, reading dumbed down "popular science" type books would have been the equivalent of consuming "junk food" literature.

With all this being said, recently I've been getting bored of watching crappy television shows + movies.  Even more recently within the last several months, I've also been getting bored of reading comic books and graphic novels.

Regardless of my past thoughts about how crappy D&D novels are, at this point they are no worse than watching a 20+ episode season of crappy tv shows like CSI, Law & Order, Star Trek Voyager, Stargate SG-1, etc ... or for that matter, numerous newer movies being released these days.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 06, 2011, 09:03:46 PM
Quote from: Seanchai;453882
I like that one! I found out a few weeks ago that there's at least one sequel.

Seanchai


I finished up Lonely Werewolf Girl. Very good book. I checked the sequel at Barnes & Noble (Curse of the Werewolf Girl), but the font they used in the book is really hard to read for me. The letters are really skinny, so I didn't buy it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 06, 2011, 09:20:37 PM
Quote from: Ghost Whistler;456183
But could I do better?


Eisenhorn, Ravenor and the Ciaphas Cain series are the best of the 40K novels, though they all have their faults as literary material. Ravenor's the best of the three, IMHO.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 06, 2011, 09:29:01 PM
Just finished Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks, the new Culture novel.

It has pretty much the same structural problems the last half of the series has had: Too many viewpoint characters; too many montages; disconnected plot threads that resolve at the last moment without much satisfaction; too much teeping; the aliens are all dickheads. But, it is redeemed by an extremely clever concept for the conflict that drives the plot, and an unabashed bit of fan service in the very last line of the book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on May 07, 2011, 01:12:34 AM
Quote from: danbuter;456242
I finished up Lonely Werewolf Girl. Very good book. I checked the sequel at Barnes & Noble (Curse of the Werewolf Girl), but the font they used in the book is really hard to read for me. The letters are really skinny, so I didn't buy it.


Oh. Well, I have it in mind to check out sometime. Hopefully, I'll have better luck. Maybe I'll listen to it in audiobook form.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 10, 2011, 10:39:37 PM
About halfway through Broken Honour by Robert Earl. It's a Warhammer Fantasy novel set in Hochland, featuring a Free Company taking on beastmen. It's a great book if you like beastmen enemies, and still very good if you just like military fantasy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on May 14, 2011, 10:00:30 PM
Last night, I read a long novella by Tom Godwin, Space Prison, the Survivors. It was very old school, grim and kept me up until 3:00 AM.

I want suggestions: Good SF/fantsy books that take place in either a frozen wasteland, or a blasted desert. I've already read At the Mountains of Madness and Dune.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 14, 2011, 10:07:58 PM
Now reading the dead & the gone by Susan Pfeffer. It's a post-apocalypse story set in NYC.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Casey777 on May 15, 2011, 12:39:26 AM
Quote from: Aos;458095
I want suggestions: Good SF/fantsy books that take place in either a frozen wasteland, or a blasted desert. I've already read At the Mountains of Madness and Dune.


Off the top of my head, Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. leGuin and City of Bones by Martha Wells.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Casey777 on May 15, 2011, 12:44:30 AM
Quote from: Danger;455507
When does the "Yankee in King Arthur's Court," phase end in terms of sci-fi (i.e. the smart guy who is optimistic, a genius but not an asshole about it, the "future is bright," etc.)?  The advent of the cyberpunk or before?  

Just curious; no need to derail the thread or anything so PMs are cool.


Officially I'd say New Wave SF in 1964 with the New Worlds stuff et al, likely before then though. Probably some later Heinlein work or whatever people use these days to date the end of the Golden Age of SF.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 15, 2011, 12:46:09 AM
I recommend The Tower of Fear by Glen Cook.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on May 15, 2011, 09:59:15 AM
Just finished The Book of the New Sun. Good Lord, that was awesome. It's so refreshing to see a SF/fantasy writer who takes his cues to Marcel Proust and Jorge Luis Borges, as well as from Jack Vance and Clark Ashton Smith. Next time the snooty academic in my gaming group starts going on about SF and fantasy, I'm pointing him towards this book. :D

Now getting started on Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space. I'm a fan of the Eclipse Phase RPG, and I've been told that EP is pretty much Revelation Space: The RPG. Three chapters in and we already have alpha and beta forks, and a mysterious plague suspiciously similar to EP's Exsurgent virus. I think I'll like this.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on May 15, 2011, 10:33:09 PM
Just finished reading H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu".

Slowly making my way through H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness".


I thought "The Call of Cthulhu" was sort of a generic read by today's standards. "At the Mountains of Madness" seems to be turning out to also be a generic read by today's standards. (I didn't read much Lovecraft when I was younger).

I can see where the idea of "ancient astronauts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_astronauts)" was first made popular in "The Call of Cthulhu" and "At the Mountains of Madness", before it eventually became a popular generic sci-fi/fantasy trope (ie. such as in the tv show Stargate SG-1).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 15, 2011, 10:48:38 PM
Finished up the dead & the gone today. Very good book, though depressing. It's not as depressing as The Road but it tries. It does make me appreciate the ability to walk out into my kitchen and get food out of the fridge, though. Not nearly as violent as I had expected, either.

Next up is Promises to Keep by Charles de Lint. It's a Newford book focused on the character Jilly Coppercorn. I suspect I will love it, since I'm a huge fan of both.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 15, 2011, 10:49:58 PM
Quote from: ggroy;458227

I thought "The Call of Cthulhu" was sort of a generic read by today's standards. "At the Mountains of Madness" seems to be turning out to also be a generic read by today's standards.


That's because TV and horror authors have ripped these stories off thousands of times.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on May 15, 2011, 11:02:47 PM
Quote from: danbuter;458229
That's because TV and horror authors have ripped these stories off thousands of times.


Indeed.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on May 17, 2011, 07:53:11 AM
Twelve turned out to be ok, rather than awesome. The first person narration took me by surprise to start with, but like all 1st person books, i got used to it after a while.

The vampires here are feral rather than emo cuties or manipulative sods. They fight in wars in order to feed without drawing too much attention. They come across as transient hobos with big teeth and a bad temper.

I knew there was a sequel Thirteen Years Later, but on reading the blurb in the shop on that one, i see it's book 2 of a planned 5. I'm not interested enough in the premise to read the same thing 4 more times, so i'm leaving it at the more than adequate ending of book 1.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on May 17, 2011, 08:18:43 AM
I recently finished Empire of Illusions: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges. Very left-wing and very bitter (more rant/jeremiad than analysis), but some seriously thought-provoking and chilling points both about the dangers of unrestrained corporate power, and especially the way effort-free, trivialised entertainment warps social values and substitutes manufactured images for reality.

Actually, it may be more effective as an angry lecture (even on Youtube, where his stuff is readily found) than a book. Hedges is one of the better public speakers of our time, coming from a seminary education with the unmatched ability to lay down the blood and thunder like some Old Testament prophet.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Benoist on May 17, 2011, 08:29:52 AM
Quote from: Melan;458588
I recently finished Empire of Illusions: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges. Very left-wing and very bitter (more rant/jeremiad than analysis), but some seriously thought-provoking and chilling points both about the dangers of unrestrained corporate power, and especially the way effort-free, trivialised entertainment warps social values and substitutes manufactured images for reality.

Comie! ;) :D
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on May 17, 2011, 08:41:54 AM
Going by the way the German press likes to characterise the politics I subscribe to, more of a fascist, and by self-description, more of a christian democrat, but I will take commie if I must. ;)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on May 17, 2011, 02:01:41 PM
I'm now going to re-read the very excellent The Northern Crusades by Eric Christiansen.

This covers the more successful crusades to bring the word of God to the pagans of the Baltic, Lithuania, Prussia etc.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 17, 2011, 11:39:26 PM
After a bit of a dry spell, I read the Return of Martin Guerre today. It's practically screaming to be adapted into a RPG scenario, and I think I'll use it in the Moragne game if I get a chance.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 20, 2011, 03:16:37 AM
I finished Promises to Keep up yesterday. It was really good. If you are interested in urban fantasy, I recommend Charles de Lint in any case. Now I'd recommend this book as the starting point to his city of Newford books. It introduces most of the main characters in his books, and starts back in the early 70's, before the majority of his Newford stories take place.

Next up is The Autobiography of Mark Twain (the 1959 version edited by Charles Neider). I see that there is a big hardback collection that came out recently. It looks like it will include all of his notes. It is expensive though. I'm still tempted to get it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on May 20, 2011, 10:35:26 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;458826
After a bit of a dry spell, I read the Return of Martin Guerre today. It's practically screaming to be adapted into a RPG scenario, and I think I'll use it in the Moragne game if I get a chance.


How are you thinking of approaching it, having the trial be starting around when the PCs show up, something like that?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 20, 2011, 11:03:35 AM
Quote from: Cole;459473
How are you thinking of approaching it, having the trial be starting around when the PCs show up, something like that?


The fine citizens of Northminster will deputise them, as gentlemen of good character and the only people around who are not partisans for one side or the other, to investigate and present their findings to the court.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on May 20, 2011, 11:21:27 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;459491
The fine citizens of Northminster will deputise them, as gentlemen of good character and the only people around who are not partisans for one side or the other, to investigate and present their findings to the court.


Word.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 21, 2011, 03:34:25 AM
I realised my explanation doesn't do that good a job doing anything but compactly reciting the original story. Lemme re-explain.

The first chunk of the game will have the PCs hopefully help knock over a keep that some bandits have taken over so a baron can claim it. They'll get a list of how to find the hidden treasures of the bandits, but I'll expect they'll want to resupply before heading out after those. When they return to town, since the three knights with them and their entourage will be chilling out at Snowdon Hall, they'll be the only gentlemen in town (most everyone else is a freeman of the town).

Twelve years ago, a prosperous farmer decided to explore the Wastelands of Arminius (the new Moragnian frontier, opened for settlement in allod as part of a royal cash grab to fund a war against the Dakons). He left behind a farm, a wife, and a kid. Ten years later, he returned. He refuses to talk about what happened, but he had a large bag of silver, and everyone pretty much accepted him back into life.

Since then, he's gone on to become more than prosperous. In fact, he stood for election to the position of alderman, made it, and is now campaigning to be mayor. That's when the whispers started that he's really an impostor and the real Martin MacGuire is dead out on the frontier. This gets to the point where a court is convened by his rival, the current mayor, to establish the truth of the matter. Since everyone else is a citizen of the town and/or a member of one faction or the other, they send the PCs out to follow the trail Martin MacGuire was believed to have gone by, and to find proof of his life or death. This leads north, past the Castle of the Greltae and into the desert of the Yezid.

Real Martin MacGuire ran into the Yezid nomads years ago and has been dicking around with them for the past decade. He has no interest in returning, and encourages the PCs to just lie about having found him. He doesn't give a shit about some impostor, especially when he finds out he'd have to come back and give up the life of adventure and excitement he's living.

Meanwhile, future Mayor MacGuire is a great guy, an honest politician, good with the wife and kids. Only problem is that he's really a demon in disguise, setting this all up for total chaos when it's revealed he's actually a fake. His goal is to get as many innocent people burnt for consorting with diabolic forces as possible when people realise that half the town's been defending a demon and no one knows whether it's because they're a cult or just deluded.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on May 21, 2011, 12:11:12 PM
I finished Robert J. Sawyer's WWW Trilogy.

They're about a blind teen, Caitlin, who receives a retinal implant and gains sight. But because of how it is set up, she also discovers that she can "see" the Internet. Not in a cyberpunkish way, but as a series of lines and colors.

This sight, however, allows her to notice something unusual in the "background" of the Web. When Caitlin and her associates decide it's an emerging consciousness, she decides to pull an Annie Sullivan and teach it.

She succeeds.

Of course, there are some complications. The US government realizes that the consciousness exists and finds out that Caitlin knows much more about it than she should. And then there's the matter of whether or not to tell the rest of humanity. And the consciousness' attitudes about humanity...

I enjoyed the books. I listened to them as audiobooks. I haven't read much Robert J. Sawyer, but he seems to provide quite a bit of background explanation about various topics - in this instance, consciousness and sight.

My main complaints about the books are that they have "soft" climaxes. There's some building action, then something happens, and then you belatedly realize that was supposed to be the most exciting point in the book.

But, overall, I kept listening to them and enjoyed them.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on May 21, 2011, 12:18:47 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;459712
Real Martin MacGuire ran into the Yezid nomads years ago and has been dicking around with them for the past decade. He has no interest in returning, and encourages the PCs to just lie about having found him. He doesn't give a shit about some impostor, especially when he finds out he'd have to come back and give up the life of adventure and excitement he's living.


I like this element the best, I think.

Do you think it's likely the PCs will end up in a fight with him and his nomads?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 21, 2011, 01:25:33 PM
Quote from: Cole;459772
I like this element the best, I think.

Do you think it's likely the PCs will end up in a fight with him and his nomads?


I give it 50/50 odds.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on May 21, 2011, 01:29:48 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;459782
I give it 50/50 odds.


If he dies, how do you think the townspeople might react if they brought back his dead body or something?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 21, 2011, 01:57:08 PM
Quote from: Cole;459783
If he dies, how do you think the townspeople might react if they brought back his dead body or something?


Knowing my PCs, if they kill real MacGuire they will lie through their teeth about it and never fess up.

On the off chance they do develop a conscience, they'd probably be OK so long as they didn't try to leave town until the impostor issue is sorted out. After all, if it turns out that Alderman MacGuire is the real one, then all they've done is killed a Yezid, which isn't even a crime.

After Demon MacGuire's revelation, it might be cause for comment, but there's gonna be a witch-hunt forming, and higher priorities will prevail (it'll also be a good time to get out of town and go find that bandit treasure, I think).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on May 21, 2011, 02:16:56 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;459785
Knowing my PCs, if they kill real MacGuire they will lie through their teeth about it and never fess up.

On the off chance they do develop a conscience, they'd probably be OK so long as they didn't try to leave town until the impostor issue is sorted out. After all, if it turns out that Alderman MacGuire is the real one, then all they've done is killed a Yezid, which isn't even a crime.

After Demon MacGuire's revelation, it might be cause for comment, but there's gonna be a witch-hunt forming, and higher priorities will prevail (it'll also be a good time to get out of town and go find that bandit treasure, I think).


Sounds pretty good overall.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 21, 2011, 06:51:10 PM
Evidently they don't have good wifi in Heaven, since my first post-Rapture post got eaten.

Here's a bunch of books and stories that turn into RPG scenarios with barely any effort:

The Robbers by Schiller. A younger son connives to have his free thinking elder brother disowned by their father, and to steal his girl. PCs are Karl Moor & co.

The Double by Dostoyevsky. A man wakes up one day to discover that a perfect copy of himself that only he recognises as such is slowly insinuating its way into his life. One of the PCs is the man (or woman) in question.

Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Borges. A conspiracy forms to fully imagine an alternate world with the same depth as the real world. At first a fancy, the alien reality begins to invade the real world, at first innocuously. PCs are either the conspiracy, or resist the invasion. Also, everything else Borges ever wrote is worth reading for ideas.

Against the Day by Pynchon. Five siblings try to avenge their anarchist father's murder by an industrialist whose soul's fate is bound to the fate of another man and who cannot be killed unless the other man is as well. PCs are the siblings, or at least somehow connected to the dead man. There's tons of sequences you can pull out and use on their own as ideas.

Blood Meridian by McCarthy. A young man joins a band of robbers looking for excitement only to have everything go horribly wrong after a bald man who may or may not be the anti-christ joins the party. PCs are the robbers. The ferry robberies and the Apache chase sequence are adaptable to any game, really.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on May 22, 2011, 12:02:27 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;459821
Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Borges. A conspiracy forms to fully imagine an alternate world with the same depth as the real world. At first a fancy, the alien reality begins to invade the real world, at first innocuously. PCs are either the conspiracy, or resist the invasion.


WW did a nice version of this scenario, in Mage: The Awakening's Boston Unveiled, with the Prince of 100,000 Leaves.

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;459821
Also, everything else Borges ever wrote is worth reading for ideas.


True. Some books, like the Book of Imaginary Beings, or Universal History of Infamy, are obviously and particularly useful. And so many tales have gameable ideas.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 24, 2011, 10:28:26 PM
Finally bit the trade paperback bullet and bought the Crippled God by Erikson earlier today. SE's kind of like Tolkien in that he's a great world builder and very evocative, but only kind-of-sometimes-OK at pacing and plot. If anything, the series has gotten much worse as it went along, though kudos to him for actually finishing it (unlike Jordan or Martin).

The first three books are actually pretty good, and the fourth is OK. They manage to be fairly fast moving, feature characters who are interesting and reasonably distinct from one another, and develop a story. The fourth book is where it starts to break down, and 5-9 are mainly confusing, shambling narrative messes, though the setting itself continues to be the real star of the whole thing. I think if you cut out all the scenes where nothing happens except one or two characters sulking or whining, and all the scenes that degenerate into stream-of-consciousness semi-nonsense, you'd have a much tighter story that was probably a million words shorter (no hyperbole - the whole series is about 3.5 million words). If you cut out all the "Here's what happened to them!" stuff, you could probably strip out another million and a half.

Also, the whole Letherii diversion was a gigantic narrative mis-step that adds nothing to the series, and features only two or three characters that are interesting in any way (Udinaas, Trull Sengar, Mael), all of whom could have been introduced in other ways. The Letherii material would have been better served by cutting it out and putting it into its own three or four volume series, instead of clogging up the main story like a wad of overly dense shit.

Anyhow, I'm about two hundred pages in of nine hundred, and I feel like the entire thing is strung together with cling wrap at this point. I don't know whether Erikson actually thinks we care about all these indistiguishable side characters with obscure names, or whether he's intentionally saying "Fuck You" to his fans by refusing to stay with the main narrative of the book, and focus on characters we've come to care about (or even to feature them at all in certain cases). Also, it's totally unclear why anyone's doing anything.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 24, 2011, 11:24:38 PM
The basic plot of the Malazan Books of the Fallen, in significantly less than 3.5 million words.

Gardens of the Moon

The Romans send the A-Team to soften up New Delhi. While the A-Team does that, but it turns out someone is waking up an undead magic giant orc just outside the city. Elric of Melniboine, formerly the A-Team's enemy, saves the day with help from an undead caveman and New Delhi makes peace with the Romans as a result.

Deadhouse Gates

Roman civilians have to flee from cities in Libya to cities in Egypt. Geronimo is in charge of the Roman's forces protecting the civilians, and he fights a ton of cool battles. Procopius is around to help. In the end, they get the civilians to safety, but are killed because the Empress of the Romans is worried Geronimo is too big for his britches and her satrap refuses to let him in after the civilians. Procopius gets resurrected.

Memories of Ice

The A-Team meet up with Marty Sue, who is their bro. Moses has everyone practicing cannibalism, so the A-Team refuse orders to sit tight, and instead get Elric to help them defeat Moses. Marty Sue and the undead caveman become bros, then Marty-Sue kind of dies (for the first time), and more undead cavemen show up. Undead cavewoman Jesus helps the A-Team, and they win despite Moses using magic dinosaur engineers. The grizzled veteran of the A-Team gets killed, and everyone reading the series goes "WTF?"

House of Chains

The sister of one of the A-Team is now a Badass Commander, and she gets an army from the Romans to go avenge Geronimo. It has A-Team version 2. It turns out the army that slaughtered Geronimo was led by Womanhamed and General Leo. Womanhamed is another sister of the same guy in the A-Team. There's a battle, and Badass Commander sister wins. The subplot is the life and times of Ogre Conan.

Midnight Tides

None of the characters you know or like are in this book. Good Eskimo Elf and his sidekick sit around whining while Evil Eskimo Elf conquers some empire you've never heard of and don't care about that's on the other side of the world from the story so far. Silk from the Belgariad shows up for comic relief.

The Bonehunters

Badass Commander is hunting down the last of Womanhamed's army, led by General Leo. They fight in some city, but the whole city is a trap and it burns down and kills a bunch of the Romans and General Leo escapes even though his army is destroyed. He never shows up again. I think Marty Sue is alive again at this point, but if it's not now, it's the next book. Most of the members of the A-Team are all killed, except for Scotty the Engineer, who takes over A-Team version 2. Badass Commander decides to go kill Evil Eskimo Elf, though how she knows about Evil Eskimo Elf in the first place is unclear.

Reaper's Gale

Good Eskimo Elf dies (unless that was last book). Evil Eskimo Elf dies when Ogre Conan kills him. His empire partly blows up, but Silk becomes emperor of the rest. Badass Commander shows up at the tail end of all of this, and makes peace with Silk. A bunch of stuff happens with the undead cavemen but it's impossible to care about it, except for one undead caveman who has a bro-mance with Good Eskimo Elf until he dies.

Toll the Hounds

All the elves are dying. Elric dies. More magic dinosaur engineers show up and blow shit up. Some magic dogs die. The god of death dies. More magic giant orcs die. Some of the old A-Team members hang around in New Delhi while it happens. Marty Sue is alive again by this point, but he dies. But after the god of death dies, he can come back and so can a bunch of the A-Team members who died, and they kill some dragons and werewolves or something like that. The undead caveman from the first book is alive again. Scotty turns out to have magic plot exposition powers, that are only usable in the form of spouting Portentous Drivel.

Dust of Dreams

Some kids wander around a desert. The undead caveman from the first book dies. A bunch of gods die. Good Eskimo Elf's sidekick fucks a hot goddess chick and has a dragon son. There are a bunch of half-elves around you're supposed to care about, but you don't, and it's impossible to understand why if they're so important they've only been introduced so late. Also, it turns out the main bad guy, Smallpox Jesus, isn't so bad and the Greys are the real enemy because they want to use Smallpox Jesus to wipe out all life. It ends with everyone fighting the magic dinosaur engineers and winning a Pyrrhic victory. Everyone from A-Team 2 survives... or do they?

The Crippled God So Far (pg 250)

Yup, they do. Undead cavemen whine. Badass Commander has a cunning plot that will defeat the Greys but only if Everyone Can Work Together.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on May 24, 2011, 11:35:51 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;460358
The basic plot of the Malazan Books of the Fallen, in significantly less than 3.5 million words.


Brutal. I could only get as far as.

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;460358

Silk from the Belgariad shows up for comic relief.


Ouch.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 24, 2011, 11:57:08 PM
The Malazan series does have a fantastic setting, to be fair to it. Even the backstory to it is cool, especially whenever Erikson slyly alludes to the whole "Born from a GURPS fantasy campaign" angle. And it does have some genuinely interesting characters doing interesting things.

It's just that, after book 4, you stop hearing about them and instead focus in on a bunch of irrelevant, tedious bullshit. The rot sets in with Ogre Conan, who is one of the three great Marty Sues of the series (I mentioned one of the others, the third is the Wandering Jew as a Nuclear Bomb Orc who doesn't do much of anything). Ogre Conan is impossible to like, and he eats up space in the book that could be spent on characters you know, like, and have been waiting to hear about for years now.

Also, everyone starts wandering around lost in the desert all the time. Seriously. In book 10 so far, literally everyone in the fucking story is wandering around lost in the desert (The same fucking desert too) except for some elves who are hidden in an abandoned city in a desert next to the sea. Nor are they all wandering around together. That would be too simple. They're all just out of sight of one another, it appears.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 25, 2011, 12:01:57 AM
Erikson has the same problem I said Banks had earlier in this thread: Too many characters that disperse the narrative focus and the concern the audience can develop for any of them, and that destroy any continuity by each having to have their own conflict and situation only marginally related to the others. I've yet to read a section of The Crippled God where we stay with any character's viewpoint for longer than about two or three pages.

Martin has the same problem, btw.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ian Warner on May 25, 2011, 07:24:53 AM
You'd enjoy HRH Prince Charles' little treatise "Harmony."

A bloody good laugh!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 26, 2011, 03:05:48 PM
Fuck Chucky. I kind of hope he becomes King so we can become a republic that much more quickly and surely.

Also, he's making a movie of it. (http://www.theharmonymovie.com/)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ian Warner on May 26, 2011, 03:22:56 PM
Oh dear God that is hillarious!

Hopefully it'll transfer some of the hate of the wingnuts off Al Gore and destroy the silliness of America having a higher approval rating for our Royal Family than we have.

Oh and if we do become a Republic I want the Head of State to have a better title than President.

President is boring.

Lord Protector on the other hand...

Obviously elected this time
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 26, 2011, 07:31:02 PM
Still working my way through Mark Twain's Autobiography. He's a great writer, but I can only handle his style in this book a chapter or two at a time. It's like listening to my grandfather talk about the good old days, interesting yet interminable ;).

I'm also reading the Enforcer Omnibus by Matthew Farrer. It's the trilogy about Shira Calpurnia, an Adeptus Arbite in the 40k universe. I really like it so far. It has a fair amount of info-dumps, but that doesn't bother me. I would say I wouldn't recommend it to a complete newbie to the 40k setting.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 27, 2011, 01:37:03 PM
The back half of the Crippled God has a stronger narrative and style than the first half, and people stop wandering around in the desert, but it's still kind of a letdown. Also, it's one of those books where it ends with someone doing something magical, but it's described so confusingly that you don't actually know what it was (I think the Crippled God binds the Otataral Dragon and then gets killed which releases him from the ersatz body he's trapped in so he can go back home - maybe?).

I'd still recommend the first four books to anyone, and since each one is self-contained, you can read them without feeling compelled to go and do the rest of the series. Also, there's going to be an Encyclopedia Malaz released four or five years from now, and that'll be worth picking up, since it remains an extremely well-built setting, both as a gaming setting and as an internally consistent fantastical world. Also, the Esslemont books may be better - I haven't read them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on May 27, 2011, 06:12:28 PM
Quote from: danbuter;460775
Still working my way through Mark Twain's Autobiography. He's a great writer, but I can only handle his style in this book a chapter or two at a time. It's like listening to my grandfather talk about the good old days, interesting yet interminable ;).


I think a lot of that has to do with the way it has been edited in most editions. My understanding is he left a big whopping pile of notes and manuscripts and left it editors to handle after his death.

Have to say I agree with you on the autobiography. I've been picking through it for a while now. A chapter or two at a time is fine, but I really don't want to sit down and read the entire thing over the week. Found some chapters are hysterical, while others are pretty bland.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on May 29, 2011, 01:45:48 AM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;460914
Have to say I agree with you on the autobiography. I've been picking through it for a while now. A chapter or two at a time is fine, but I really don't want to sit down and read the entire thing over the week. Found some chapters are hysterical, while others are pretty bland.


I'm somewhat skeptical of autobiographies and "authorized" biographies in general.

Unauthorized biographies are amusing in their own ways, though not always believable.

More interesting are the biographies which are independently researched after a subject's death.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on May 29, 2011, 01:53:06 AM
Something which gives the best insight into how someone was thinking at a particular point in time, is if they wrote a diary.

An unabridged uncensored diary published as a book, is very much like a stream of consciousness monologue during a particular period in time.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on May 29, 2011, 07:31:16 AM
Quote from: ggroy;461066
Something which gives the best insight into how someone was thinking at a particular point in time, is if they wrote a diary.

An unabridged uncensored diary published as a book, is very much like a stream of consciousness monologue during a particular period in time.

I used to transcribe old diaries from Lynn (mostly written in the 1800s and mostly written by women) when I was doing an internship, and I agree 100%. You can definitely learn a lot reading them. I also learned a lot about local history transcribing the books of local merchants.

Autobiographies are enormously problematic in my opinion. But if you know what to looks for, and have a good feel for rehearsed material they can be of value. Plus they tell you something about the writer's sense of identity. Again when I was in college I did my final research paper on the Ali-Foreman fight in 1974. Read a ton of autobiographies (including of other fighters who were there like Ken Norton). I ended up placing info on tiers of reliability based on how many sources they appeared in independently. I also found some of the stuff I knew was smoke was fascinating. Found that most of the autobiographies were about how the writers perceived themselves or (wanted to be perceived) more than anything else.

With the Twain autobiography, I was really reading it for entertainment. If anything I was hoping for more exaggeration and made up stuff than was actually in the thing. Don't get me wrong, the book has some of Twain's best humor. But it is scattered throughout a lot of dry material.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on May 29, 2011, 01:02:25 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;460878
The back half of the Crippled God has a stronger narrative and style than the first half, and people stop wandering around in the desert, but it's still kind of a letdown. Also, it's one of those books where it ends with someone doing something magical, but it's described so confusingly that you don't actually know what it was (I think the Crippled God binds the Otataral Dragon and then gets killed which releases him from the ersatz body he's trapped in so he can go back home - maybe?).

I'd still recommend the first four books to anyone, and since each one is self-contained, you can read them without feeling compelled to go and do the rest of the series. Also, there's going to be an Encyclopedia Malaz released four or five years from now, and that'll be worth picking up, since it remains an extremely well-built setting, both as a gaming setting and as an internally consistent fantastical world. Also, the Esslemont books may be better - I haven't read them.


i've read Gardens of the Moon and didn't really understand all the stuff with tattersail.
i've read Deadhouse Gates and didn't really understand the stuff with the guy with no hands/invisible hands.
I started Memories of Ice...

I have read the first McEsselmont book (Night of Knives?). It was an easier read and shorter, yes shorter. Not a bad book, nice atmosphere but the world is still inscrutable.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on May 29, 2011, 06:31:12 PM
Quote from: Ghost Whistler;461109
i've read Gardens of the Moon and didn't really understand all the stuff with tattersail.
i've read Deadhouse Gates and didn't really understand the stuff with the guy with no hands/invisible hands.
I started Memories of Ice...

I have read the first McEsselmont book (Night of Knives?). It was an easier read and shorter, yes shorter. Not a bad book, nice atmosphere but the world is still inscrutable.


As always, spoilers are the hobgoblins of lesser minds, so don't read this if you don't like 'em:

Tattersail is the first example of a recurring character type in the series: The chubby witch who likes to screw. In brief, she's a mage whose lover gets killed at Pale IIRC, and she buddies up with the Bridgeburners, so as they're gradually being wiped out, she starts to catch flack for her lover's death. She tries to transfer her soul into a dead body to escape when the Empire sends someone to grab her, but it fucks up. Some witches buddy up with her in exchange for getting her out of the body, and they all merge and become Silverfox, who is like the T'lan Imass Jesus. She's only really important in that first book - I think Ganoes Paran feels bad about her, but that's it.

Heboric's an important guy, and the reason it's hard to understand what's going on is b/c he drops out of the narrative (a perfect example of Erikson forgetting about a character we all like to concentrate on other bullshit).

The basics of it are that when his hands are cut off and he's thrown out from the priesthood for being a heretic, that forms a link between him and the Crippled God. The CG uses that link to manipulate the other gods Heboric's linked to - Treach and Fener. This becomes important in the narrative though not until much later.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on May 29, 2011, 10:21:46 PM
I've finished all the current Mercy Thompson books, I've realized they're nice light reading, which I enjoy, but that Patricia Brigg's has to show any aptitude in writing a fight scene. I've read her two Alpha & Omega novels which center on two werewolves--a mated pair, in the same chronology and setting as Mercy. Anna the female has abuse issues (which apparently occurred in a short story, that brought the pair together, not reprinted in the novel.) And Charles, the Marrok's assassin so to speak who has issues with his role, and loves Anna. I like them better than Mercy Thompson actually. The characters seem a little stronger.

I also finished reading the three Bazhnell Bazhnakson novels written by David Weber, his fantasy series about a "berzerker" race the hradani. Who have suffered by ancient wars to be other races monster, but were in fact once the calmest of all races. Bazhnell fights destiny with stubbornness, and rises to the challenges the War God of the setting put forward to him in a manner of speaking.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on June 02, 2011, 12:09:43 AM
Reading the Yacoubian Building by Alaa al-Aswany. It's a collection of short stories all centered around the people who live or work near an old apartment building in Cairo. The book is set in 1990s and it's interesting to read it in light of the political unrest going on in Egypt right now. Many of the characters, however, could easily be worked into a modern game. I really like to cherry-pick my way through books of short stories and lift themes and character motivations and then use them to flesh out NPCs.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on June 02, 2011, 12:22:43 AM
Dicking around with a bunch of stuff. Finished The Stars My Destination today, and started the Demolished Man. Trying to start Paradise Lost again (last time I read it was Sept 11, 2001 when I quoted Satan's first speech on a blog shortly after they announced it was OBL whodunnit).

Buddy of mine lent me Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience (http://www.amazon.com/Interstellar-Migration-Human-Experience-Finney/dp/052005878X), but I'm struggling to read it while the weather's good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on June 02, 2011, 12:31:40 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;461825
Buddy of mine lent me Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience (http://www.amazon.com/Interstellar-Migration-Human-Experience-Finney/dp/052005878X), but I'm struggling to read it while the weather's good.


That looks really interesting. Are you saying its a dry read though or that your reading list is just overcrowded? Because I'm really tempted to go on and order it and put it on the stack next to my desk.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on June 02, 2011, 12:49:23 AM
Quote from: IceBlinkLuck;461828
That looks really interesting. Are you saying its a dry read though or that your reading list is just overcrowded? Because I'm really tempted to go on and order it and put it on the stack next to my desk.

Little bit of both. The guy who lent it to me really knows his shit on the subject though, so I'm gonna have to get through it. The book itself is a collection of articles from a symposium, so the authors vary in quality of prose.

Edit: It is a really good consideration of the challenges of space travel, though. If you have an interest in hard sci-fi, it's probably worth the investment.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Werekoala on June 03, 2011, 04:38:27 PM
Started reading the complete works of HP Lovecraft a couple of days ago (going for short-stories to try to improve my flagging concentration) - got about five stories in so far. Tip - if you lose your bullet proof vest, keep a copy of this book handy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Casey777 on June 04, 2011, 10:55:09 AM
On the first Hollows book, Dead Witch Walking and just finished the first Chicagoland Vampires book, Some Girls Bite. By Kim Harrison and Chloe Neil respectively. Fun change of pace from Dresden Files though it's not likely the best of signs that the first is a witch and her vampire roommate in Cincinnati and the other is a vampire and her witch roommate in Chicago. >_< Somewhat Romance with fangs and spells but that's ok as I consider a lot of action/adventure/fantasy/sci-fi to be Romance novels for boys and the only soap opera I like is Dark Shadows.

So far none of the rape as the spur for adventure I've encountered far too often in fantasy books written by women, which is a welcome difference.

Started reading more genre books written by women in the last few years and am noticing a trend that the cover depiction of the heroine(s) are a lot more baberrific than the actual heroine(s) in the books. :hmm:


Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;460358
The basic plot of the Malazan Books of the Fallen, in significantly less than 3.5 million words.


I tried getting into Books of the Fallen once, but the first hardcover looked like a more conventional fantasy book (maps, thick, etc.) than the similar Black Company books which I rather enjoy.*

Is Malazan worth slogging through if I already am reading Black Company, which I understand had a part in inspiring Malazan? My main interest in the Black Company books is the dialogue, the company's characters and the wizards. That and the fairly small size of the books.

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;461825
Finished The Stars My Destination today, and started the Demolished Man.


How are you liking Alfred Bester (assuming this is your first time reading these novels)? Pretty good take on psionics and a good chunk of how I view them in RPGs along with Babylon 5 (which was inspired by AB anyway).



*  not finished yet, since I got bogged down somewhere in the South post-Silver Spike but hope to figure out which book is next (there's either a jump in narrative or I keep skipping a book)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on June 04, 2011, 11:03:04 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;461825
Finished The Stars My Destination today, and started the Demolished Man.


Awesome. Both favorites of mine.

Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;461825

 Trying to start Paradise Lost again (last time I read it was Sept 11, 2001 when I quoted Satan's first speech on a blog shortly after they announced it was OBL whodunnit).


Have you read Vondel's Lucifer? It's an interesting play that sort of prefigures PL (there is debate on whether Milton was actually familiar with it.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on June 04, 2011, 11:09:30 AM
Quote from: Casey777;462208

I tried getting into Books of the Fallen once, but the first hardcover looked like a more conventional fantasy book (maps, thick, etc.) than the similar Black Company books which I rather enjoy.*

Is Malazan worth slogging through if I already am reading Black Company, which I understand had a part in inspiring Malazan? My main interest in the Black Company books is the dialogue, the company's characters and the wizards. That and the fairly small size of the books.


I only liked the first Black Company book (though I've read 'em all). Gardens of the Moon, the first Malazan book, will remind you of it the most, and then they diverge. Basically, the Bridgeburners = The Black Company, but over time the Bridgeburners' importance recedes in relation to the overall narrative.

My guess is that if you like the Black Company, the first three novels will appeal, but the fourth onwards may not.

Quote
How are you liking Alfred Bester (assuming this is your first time reading these novels)? Pretty good take on psionics and a good chunk of how I view them in RPGs along with Babylon 5 (which was inspired by AB anyway).


It was my first time, and I loved them. One reason in particular isn't so much to do with the worlds (which I do like) as with the narrative. They're rare examples of strongly-plotted pulp fiction in which no one acts like an idiot for the sake of moving the plot forward. Reich vs. Powell is well done and convincing, as is the multi-part clusterfuck in Stars. I was really and truly genuinely surprised and delighted.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on June 04, 2011, 11:12:10 AM
Quote from: Cole;462210
Have you read Vondel's Lucifer? It's an interesting play that sort of prefigures PL (there is debate on whether Milton was actually familiar with it.)


Interesting. I hadn't heard of it before now. Is there a good translation you recommend?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on June 04, 2011, 11:17:43 AM
Revelation Space is pretty good actually; it's a nice combination of hard SF, and larger-than-life space opera.

Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword vs. the Amber omnibus. Which one should I read next?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on June 04, 2011, 11:19:26 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;462214
Interesting. I hadn't heard of it before now. Is there a good translation you recommend?


I only know the one by Noel Clark which I have to admit I think is a little stiff (it rhymes and rhyming translations sometimes end up that way despite the best intentions.) There may be a better one somewhere; amazon doesn't suggest an obvious contemporary alternative. I can't speak for accuracy, I have no familiarity with dutch.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on June 04, 2011, 11:20:49 AM
Quote from: The Butcher;462217
Revelation Space is pretty good actually, being both hard SF and balls-out space opera.

Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword vs. the Amber omnibus. Which one should I read next?


I'd say go for Amber but Broken Sword is certainly a good choice. Maybe read one or two of the books of amber then take a break for Anderson?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on June 04, 2011, 01:37:07 PM
Just finished probably the 2nd warhammer novel i've ever read (Blackhearts book 2 was the other), Brotherhood of the Snake by Dabnett. Pretty good I thought. Nice narrative tying the seemingly disparate stories together. Nice insights into the workings of a marine chapter. Not much on the Dark Eldar though.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 10, 2011, 12:24:44 PM
I finished up Enforcer a day ago. It was pretty good, though the ending was inconclusive, which I didn't care for. If you like the 40k setting, and especially the Arbites, it's worth reading. There was a great Mechanicus fight in book 2.

Now reading The Executioner: Deadly Command. It's a Pendleton story about the vigilante Mack Bolan. You can definitely tell that the Punisher is based off of this character. Even the Vietnam vet whose family gets killed by the mob is the same. The book itself is ok, nothing spectacular. I haven't read one of these since I was a kid, so I figured I'd give one a shot. I doubt I'll read another.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on June 11, 2011, 02:23:17 PM
Just about to start The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G.W.Dahlquist.

Bought it mainly for the name, to be honest. Seems to be a sort of Edwardian adventure story with weird stuff thrown in.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 12, 2011, 04:28:44 PM
Now reading Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman. I'm in the mood for a regular fantasy book, having read so much Warhammer stuff lately. This one looks pretty interesting, so far.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on June 18, 2011, 06:56:18 AM
The new Stephen Hunt novel is out at the start of July. This is the fifth of his steampunk fantasy stories set in an alternate world that's win more than fail, though to say it had no fail would be a fail of its own. I like these books, there aren't enough of such ideas around, though I would love to see something in a more urban setting. Perhaps more with the detective characters from either book 2 (Kingdom under the Waves) or the last book (Secrets of the Fire Sea) set in Middlesteel (london, basically). Given how people bang on about having an rpg based on any old thing, I'm saddened noone has seen fit to want a Court of the Air (book 1's title) rpg.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on June 19, 2011, 10:34:39 AM
I'm about halfway through John Fowles' The Magus, which is such a tedious read I'm having trouble getting through it.

A friend interested in cognitive-behavioural therapy and variants lent me "Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy: It Works For Me - It Can Work For You!" which is Albert Ellis' autobiography. Ellis was a pretty weird guy, always a good thing in an autobiography, though the book is a little too boastful at points for my taste.

I've mostly been watching movies and TV lately, so my reading has temporarily slowed down.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on June 19, 2011, 08:27:28 PM
I have 'Mrs. Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children' on order from Amazon. Should show up Monday or Tuesday so I can start it next week.

From the reviews I've read it sounds like a story revolving around a group of young children with odd abilities (one is invisible, another is lighter than air and has to be tied down to keep from floating away). The writer has added reproductions of early trick photography to illustrate the book. Sounds like it might be a kind of 'x-men' if Edward Gorey had imagined it. Could be interesting.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on June 19, 2011, 08:40:47 PM
Quote from: IceBlinkLuck;464862
I have 'Mrs. Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children' on order from Amazon. Should show up Monday or Tuesday so I can start it next week.


I noticed that one myself and plan to pick it up. It looks good.



I've finished the latest in the Kate Daniels series. It was predictably awesome. That series is damn close to being a Must Read for me, something I force upon others...

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 22, 2011, 12:48:26 AM
I finished up Ember and Ash. VERY good book. All kinds of normal human relationships, with a bunch of low key magic throughout.  The world is really cool, with strange Powers running around. It's also revealed slowly, with no huge infodumps.  It's regular fantasy, and easily one of the best ones I've read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 23, 2011, 02:25:21 PM
I'm now reading two different books. The first is Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of Greek Myths. This goes into all the major gods and myths and gives a nice chapter on each, telling what happened, without going into huge amounts of detail. I like it. The writing feels like an old sage is telling a story, instead of being an analytical study of a myth.
I'm also starting Downshadow by Erik Scott de Bie. It's about a paladin in Waterdeep. I hope it's good, but I was very disappointed in an earlier de Bie novel, so we'll see.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on June 24, 2011, 11:29:53 AM
I have recently read Grey Maiden: The Story of a Sword Through the Ages by Arthur D. Howden Smith. This is a compilation of historical pulp stories originally appearing in Adventure between 1926 and 1927. The stories are set in Antiquity and the Dark Ages, following the fate and wielders of a sword named Grey Maiden from its forging in Egypt to the Greeks and the Empire of Alexander, the Punic Wars, the collapse of the Limes and the Western Roman Empire, then to the rise of Islam and its first confrontations with Byzantium.

Grey Maiden is sort of a silent protagonist, a precursor to cursed weapons like Stormbringer. Someone who possesses it cannot be slain by blade, and it can grant triumph over one's enemies. However, its relief is only temporary, and most of those who take it can only avoid their doom for a while.

The stories are really well-written, ranging from good to great; there are all sorts of effective images like a wounded general dying in a temple dedicated to his victories, a group of fleeing Carthaginian swordsmen having to cut through their only war elephant at tremendous losses to cross a ravine where the beast became stuck, the reminiscences of two Roman officers about the old virtues in a land where their powers are gone and their beliefs no longer relevant, or the meeting between Khalid [ibn al-Walid, a real historical figure], the envoy of Mohammed and a Byzantine commander. Unlike a lot of old pulps, these have aged rather well.

The collection I own contains four of the nine stories in the cycle; fortunately, there is another one (http://www.amazon.com/GRAY-MAIDEN-Three-Thousand-Years/dp/1935585851/) which has all of them. If you'd like a taste of these great tales, the first, The Forging (http://www.blackmaskmagazine.com/theforging.html), is available online.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on June 29, 2011, 05:02:51 PM
More pulp: Arthur O. Friel's Tiger River. Part two in a series of four novels, each set in the Amazon basin and featuring a "lost worlds and white heroes" premise, this is a very good book as well.

Friel had had personal experiences in the area, and it shows. The adventurous mystery of Tigre Yacu or Tiger River (where "tigre" stands for jaguars), its golden treasures, savage head-hunters, and men who have returned to civilisation with cut-off toes and addled minds, is contrasted with a very physical description of survival in the wilderness, the muddy squalor of native villages, and the customs of local tribes. The contrast works, and the two sides end up reinforcing each other neatly. So, even though about two thirds of the book are "only" about jungle travel up a river, it never feels dull (like a lot of travel stories) or tired (like a lot of pulps). There is a lot of subtly mounting tension, and some frankly creepy elements; the "guys on the colonies back-slapping each other" angle, which tends to feel forced now, is thankfully kept to a manageable level.

The main cast, consisting of four North American explorers (who had already met in the first volume, and three of whom are WWI vets) are okay, but the characters who really stand out are José, a flamboyant outlaw adventurer from the bloodline of the conquestadores, and the main antagonist, who, for very little screen time, leaves a lasting impression before the book's cataclysmic conclusion.

So, again, this is a book to recommend, and it comes affordable on eBay. You may wish to watch Aguirre, the Wrath of God before you read it to drink in some imagery (there is a very interesting parallel to that movie in the book -- although things of course turn out differently).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on July 02, 2011, 11:27:22 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;464821
I'm about halfway through John Fowles' The Magus, which is such a tedious read I'm having trouble getting through it.

wn.


My dad had this on the shelf when i was a kid so i read it. The magus doesn't get any better. Couldn't stand the thing.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on July 02, 2011, 12:05:48 PM
I would like to find more comics like Phil Amarra and Guy Davis' Nevermen, published by Dark Horse, which is in my top five of all time. Guy Davis (who provided pix for Aberrant and Adventure!) is a genius of this genre of comic.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 07, 2011, 01:17:08 AM
I finished Downshadow by Erik Scott de Bie yesterday. It was a pretty good book, much better than an earlier book of his I read. However, it felt like he just got lost in the last 50 pages. The ending just kind of petered out, with no real resolution to most of the books conflicts. Up until then, I liked it. If the ending had been written better, I would strongly recommend this book. Instead, only read it if you like Waterdeep and the Forgotten Realms.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on July 08, 2011, 09:43:51 PM
I have a hankering for stuff i read when i was but a teenager. I kicked the Belgariad to the kerb and decided on the original Shannara trilogy.

First up is The Sword of Shannara. Then my favourite of the 3, Elfstones of Shannara.

I'll let you know what i think 20 odd years later...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 09, 2011, 05:13:11 AM
I actually like the Shannara series. I think it gets unfairly panned.

Next up for me is Plague of Shadows by Howard Jones. It's about an elven adventurer having to save her ex-lover, a current noble, from a curse brought about by an old adventuring companion. It's set in Golarion as part of the Pathfinder novel series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on July 09, 2011, 10:57:27 AM
Just purchased vol 1 and 2 of The Goon, which I am going to enjoy the shit out of.

Also saw that Rebellion have collected 2000ad's Bad Company series, but even though it's on glossy paper i'm not paying £20 for it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Seanchai on July 13, 2011, 09:59:23 PM
I've finished listening to Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan, the author of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Throne of Fire is the second book of the Kane Chronicles.

The Kane Chronicles are very much like Percy Jackson - same humor, same use of mythology, same teen aged protagonists, same basic style. Instead of being about Greek myths, however, they focus on the Egyptian pantheon.

The magic and focus of the Kane Chronicles differs from Percy Jackson. While the Kane children, Sadie and Carter, have godly blood in them, they don't have special powers per se. Instead, their blood allows them to merge with a deity and wield a bit of his or her power. And they use Egyptian type magic - scrolls, amulets, certain hours of the day, etc..

I'm enjoying the books quite a bit.

I also started Ill Wind. It's the first in the Weather Wardens series. I'm not sure what to make of it. I read a fair bit of what librarians term "paranormal romance" (I know, I know) but this series seems to have quite a healthy heaping of romance in it. On the other hand, it's a bit like Avatar: The Last Airbender and has some interesting ideas.

More about it when I finish.

I'm getting near the end of Wise Man's Fear, too.

Seanchai
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on July 14, 2011, 06:52:57 AM
Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest. This book has not aged one bit since 1929. Lean, nasty and full of entirely unlikeable characters - I was a bit sceptical, but it is easy to see how it could create a genre all by itself.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Cole on July 14, 2011, 11:25:28 AM
Quote from: Melan;468141
Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest. This book has not aged one bit since 1929. Lean, nasty and full of entirely unlikeable characters - I was a bit sceptical, but it is easy to see how it could create a genre all by itself.


Man, that's a good one.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 19, 2011, 03:05:41 PM
Finished up Plague of Shadows a couple days ago. It's pretty good, if you like Golarion.

Next up is French Lessons by Peter Mayle. It's kind of a travelogue and a foodie book, by a guy living in Provence, France. It's very good, so far.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 24, 2011, 11:46:07 PM
I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom over a few hours. It's pretty short, but I liked it. It is an interesting look at the afterlife. I kinda hope it turns out to be true. It would be good to meet people in heaven, who then help explain why everything happened in life. I also liked that it wasn't all sugary. Tough life lessons were important.

I'm also over halfway through French Lessons, which is really good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on July 25, 2011, 07:43:17 AM
I finished reading Out of the Silent Planet by C.S Lewis and find it an interesting space opera allegory. (I could have sworn I've read it before but my memory was terrible.)

The basic idea is a man doing a walking tour of England is kidnapped by two unsavory sorts to be given to aliens, but it is a bit more complicated when the planet they go to is a dying world, but with other species.

I also read John Carter of Mars, looking forward to the movie. I quite enjoyed the re-read, its kind of an interesting contrast to Out of the Silent planet with some interestingly cultural examinations of its own. (Tour of alien worlds by a man from Earth.)

I'm going to find something else to read this week. Not sure what at the moment.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 25, 2011, 12:04:01 PM
John Carter is easy to come by these days. I got a very nice hardbound with the first 3 stories at B&N for $12.98. It's amazing how much cheaper books are when the books are out of copyright.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ian Warner on July 26, 2011, 12:35:31 PM
City of Sin by Catherine Arnold at the moment. I thought I exagerated the 18th century for comic effect... turns out I didn't :P
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on July 27, 2011, 12:00:44 AM
Just finished reading 'Tamastara' by Tanith Lee. I've been culling through my science fiction and fantasy books so that I can donate a bunch to the library and open up some more space on my shelves. I'll be keeping 'Tamastara,' as well as most of my other books by Lee.

'Tamastara' is a collection of short stories set in India. Some of the stories are mystical/occult in nature others are science fiction. One story predicts our current fascination with reality TV stars so perfectly that it's a little scary it was written almost 20 years ago.

The real star of the book is the writing. Lee is very much in the style of Ray Bradbury. Her prose has a lyrical quality that picks you up and sweeps you along with the events of the plot. You find yourself both intrigued by the way the story has developed, but also unsurprised, because looking back, you realize the events have unfolded in the only way they could. If you haven't read any Tanith Lee and are curious if her work would be something you could enjoy, this would be an excellent start.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 27, 2011, 04:13:23 PM
Finished up French Lessons by Peter Mayle. Loved it! His books always make me want to go to France and just tour around visiting restaurants. He's a very good writer, and I recommend this and his other books if you like stuff like the Food Network or if you want to go to France on vacation.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 28, 2011, 01:37:58 PM
Now reading The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho. It's about a demon arriving in a remote village with bars of gold, trying to tempt people into evil. So far, it's pretty good. I've read a number of Coelho's other books, and I've liked most of them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on July 29, 2011, 03:31:23 AM
I wrote a long reply and the my browser fucked my shit up, so long story short:

Last week I read The Atrocity Archives, first book of The Laundry series by Charles Stross. It's so good I got the game right after that. British version of Delta Green (though he claims he didn't read either Delta Green or Declare, by Tim Powers, and I believe him). Very good stuff.

This week I'm finishing Time enough to love, by R.A. heinlein, who is one of my most favourite authors of science-fiction. Basically, a man who cannot die tells fragments of the story of his life doing different things, for the benfit of one of his descendants who is trying to find a way to keep him interested in living. One of Heinlein's greatest classics.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on July 29, 2011, 07:19:36 PM
I really hate Time Enough for Love except for "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail", which is a great little short story.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on July 30, 2011, 10:38:29 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;470788
I really hate Time Enough for Love except for "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail", which is a great little short story.

A fairly common reaction. Heinlein doesn't leave you indifferent. :)

I don't think all the stories in Time Enough for Love are that great, but the one which are good make the book worthy, IMO. Heinlein is one of my favourite sci-fi authors but I don't like absolutely all his production. Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Stranger in a Strange Land, I like them more :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 02, 2011, 11:27:58 AM
I finished The Devil and Miss Prym. It was a very good book. Coelho does seem to have more faith in people than I do, though. He figures that most people are basically good, when I've encountered much the opposite in my life.

Next up is Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. I expect to really like it. It's Book 13 in the Dresden Files already! Doesn't feel like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on August 02, 2011, 02:49:57 PM
About to start The Jennifer Morgue (2nd installment of The Laundry Files) and re-reading A Game of Thrones.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 06, 2011, 09:24:59 PM
I finished up Ghost Story by Jim Butcher today. I liked it, though it was definitely different from the rest of the series. I like how minor characters from previous books are very important in this one, while some of the earlier major characters are barely mentioned. The story was pretty good, and the pace was excellent. I thought the sideline adventure wasn't really necessary, but it was interesting, at least. The bad guy has been seen in an earlier book, so that was pretty cool.

Once again, the book ends in a cliffhanger, though not nearly as big as the one in Changes. I hope this does not become a theme. It's not needed. Anyways, I recommend the book to an fans of the Dresden Files. Be forewarned, if you haven't read Changes, you wont' have much of an idea what's going on in this book, so don't use it as a way to check out the series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 07, 2011, 11:30:05 PM
Next up is Daughter of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts. I've had it sitting on the shelf for several years, finally going to give it a go. I'm around 50 pages in so far. The story is good, so far. The setting reminds me strongly of Tekumel.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on August 09, 2011, 04:20:12 AM
Going to start ordering in the Metabarons trade paper backs. I read one of these years ago and it fascinated me so now I'm getting around to collecting them and reading the series. I really like the Space Opera vibe created by comic artists like Moebius and I used to read lots of stuff like that in my father's copies of Heavy Metal back when it was still fun to read. Metabarons seems to be very much in that style so I can't wait :).

Also just got finished re-reading Jerry Cornelius' Airtight Garage. A very trippy space-fantasy by Moebius that's played out on multiple levels of reality. When I was 12 I wanted to be Major Grubert so much, actually I still do, but I now know I look very sad in a pith helmet.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Simon W on August 10, 2011, 10:28:16 AM
I've recently been on a western kick with True Grit (Charles Portis), Valdez is Coming & Hombre (Elmore Leonard) and Appaloosa, Resolution, Brimstone & Blue-Eyed Devil (Robert B Parker).

The latter 4 books led me to the Spenser novels of Robert B Parker, which I've been enjoying immensely.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 13, 2011, 04:33:05 PM
Now reading Spook Country by William Gibson. It's been a few years since I've read anything by him. I just had too many other books in line. Hopefully this is as good as his early stuff.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 19, 2011, 03:31:43 AM
I stopped reading Spook Country three chapters in. I just didn't like it. The writing was confused and parts were just poorly written (Gibson hates pronouns, apparently), and I couldn't tell what was going on.

I'm now reading Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson. Some powerful secret is hidden in a number of pulp fiction stories, and a detective has inherited a collection of the books. He is now going to search for the secret. Sounds pretty cool. I love books, so stories like this about hidden knowledge tucked away in everyday stories always intrigue me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pete on August 19, 2011, 04:47:56 PM
Quote from: danbuter;474608

I'm now reading Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson. Some powerful secret is hidden in a number of pulp fiction stories, and a detective has inherited a collection of the books. He is now going to search for the secret. Sounds pretty cool. I love books, so stories like this about hidden knowledge tucked away in everyday stories always intrigue me.


That sounds pretty interesting! Does Roberson use actual pulp fiction stories, or ones he made up? A very brief Amazon.com read didn't answer that.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 19, 2011, 07:22:21 PM
I'm pretty sure he wrote them. They definitely sound just like the writing of the time, including a masked cowboy with his chinaman helper.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ian Warner on August 21, 2011, 02:29:41 AM
Finished reading Scottish Murders a couple of days ago.

The Scotts are dead prowd of their "Not Proven" verdict but all it seems to do in practice is piss the public off!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 31, 2011, 09:40:32 PM
I finished up Book of Secrets. It was very good, though the ending was a bit of a let-down. Still, I recommend it.

Next up is Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. It's all about the food industry. I'm a couple chapters in, and I really like it. He has a very conversational tone, and is quite knowledgable about how the restaurant business works.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on September 01, 2011, 02:43:27 AM
I recently finished King Kull and the Ancients, a collection of REH's Am-Ra, Kull and James Allison stories. I have read a lot of them before, but not in translations which were based on the original, unadulterated Howard texts. The difference is really quite stunning. It is mostly small details, but the end result is a much more powerful work. James Allison (who was new to me), in particular, is a fascinating character, and both of the complete stories included in this anthology were amazing - pessimistic, bitter, but expertly plotted and flawlessly written. Apparently, this part of his literary legacy is still not fully explored; a pity because they deserve more attention.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 05, 2011, 01:08:11 PM
I finished up Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain yesterday. I really liked it. It's aimed squarely at foodies, though, so if you aren't interested in how restaurants and food critics operate behind the scenes, it likely won't do much for you.

Next up is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. I'm in the mood for some regular fantasy, and this is one of the few fantasy novels currently out that isn't part of some trilogy or 10 or 20 book series. Hopefully, it's really good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on September 05, 2011, 02:52:33 PM
Finishing the Catcher in the Rye, because I got it this morning and didn't know it was around. God, it's awful. I hate the protagonist. Don't know if I will finish it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 05, 2011, 04:23:55 PM
I attempted Catcher in the Rye maybe 10 years ago. I got about 3 chapters in and tossed it. Very over-rated book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on September 05, 2011, 05:33:12 PM
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is about the story of a dirt-poor black woman from Baltimore, who died of cervical cancer in the 1950s. A biopsy from that cancer became the world's first successful in-vitro cell culture, launching pretty much the whole modern biotechnology industry. Meanwhile her family are still poor, suffering from all sorts of health issues, and have trouble getting an appointment with a doctor or buying medicine. A very interesting story, the book reads like proper journalism, an in-depth exposure of both sides to the story (what happened to the woman's family vs. what happened to her cells).

Next up is a Portuguese-language book, Guia Politicamente Incorreto da História do Brasil (The Politically Incorrect Guide to the History of Brazil) which is, by all accounts, a riot. An extensively researched and annotated book on famous episodes of Brazilian History which turns certain notions from school textbook history on its head. There's a "sequel" of sorts coming out which focuses on the History of Latin America (outside of Brazil, that is).

After which I finish my "serious book" break and get to start on Gaiman's American Gods and Asimov's Second Foundation. :D
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on September 08, 2011, 09:03:05 AM
Reading a lot on the Roman Empire for a project I am working on. Have a bunch of new more up-to-date books but right now re-reading Durant's From Caesar to Christ and Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on September 15, 2011, 06:02:20 AM
Reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. A few things to note on it after a couple hundred pages.

A) There are similarities to Empire of the Petal Throne.

B) If this guy hasn't read Talislanta, i'll eat my hat. Complete with blue skinned humans, mottled red/black humans that are docile slaves or savage barbarians. Weird flora and fauna.

C) I'm a little tired of the fantasy trope of starting with 3 or 4 characters that are removed by the best part of the world, yet are obviously meant to meet and save the world a few books later.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on September 17, 2011, 12:42:32 AM
Mad book porno: http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/Explore.aspx?VID=7&ID=11

The first and only handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the advent of the Gutenberg press 556 years ago.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on September 17, 2011, 05:23:28 AM
Starting to re-reading The Black company series by Glen Cook, after a bunch of only-work-related reading. I like this kind of fantasy, gritty and low-key. Glen Cook has a real grip on creating a compelling setting with lots of grey, and not the classical fantasy of Evil God vs Goodies.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on September 17, 2011, 12:42:31 PM
Quote from: Imperator;479475
Starting to re-reading The Black company series by Glen Cook, after a bunch of only-work-related reading. I like this kind of fantasy, gritty and low-key. Glen Cook has a real grip on creating a compelling setting with lots of grey, and not the classical fantasy of Evil God vs Goodies.


The first Black Company series is by far the best. They go downhill pretty quick after that, IMHO.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on September 17, 2011, 12:53:57 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;479589
The first Black Company series is by far the best. They go downhill pretty quick after that, IMHO.


Well, I only have the first series and the following book, The Silver Thorn. It's been some time since I read them, I'll tell how it goes. So far, I'm enjoying a lot the first book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 18, 2011, 08:57:02 PM
I finished up The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley last night. I liked it. The world she built was really cool. The story was more of a cultural expose than anything. I will say the big battle was a let-down, but even so, the book was good.

Next up is The Runelords by David Farland. This book looks really interesting. I managed to pick it up at 60% off during the Borders closing, so that was cool.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on September 19, 2011, 08:23:58 AM
A collection of "antiquarian horror stories" by Montague Rhodes James (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._R._James). A truly fascinating set, right on the border between traditional ghost stories and Lovecraft's alienated horror. They are not really frightening any longer (they were written in the late Victorian era), but they are still a treat to read. The author's familiarity with mediaeval manuscripts and British locales shows through, and he also displays a sense of understated humour which gives the stories a small counterpoint to the creepy elements.

I could also see theire elements used in gaming - the little touches of grotesque, and supernatural evil in general, is imaginative, and manages to be both familiar and strange.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on September 19, 2011, 08:42:26 AM
Finished The First Chronicle of The Black Company series, about to start the 2nd installment of the saga, Shadows Linger. The writing of Glenn Cook is solid, and I've enjoyed the book, a real page-turner. The way they confront the different problems they find is great, and I love the sorcerers of the company.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 19, 2011, 11:32:42 AM
I really love the first 3 Black Company novels. Book 4 The Silver Spike kinda sucks, though. I also like the Books of the South, but they are very different in feel.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Werekoala on September 19, 2011, 11:35:30 AM
All the 40K tallk over the last few weeks made me want o start checking out some of the fiction that's out there. Someone mentioned/recommended Dan Abnett's stuff so I got the first three volumes of his Gaunt's Ghosts series at B&N and started reading it last night. I have to say its very entertaining so far.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on September 19, 2011, 12:04:46 PM
I'd recommand Ian Watson's books in that area.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Werekoala on September 19, 2011, 12:49:25 PM
Quote from: Melan;480170
I'd recommand Ian Watson's books in that area.


Duly noted. B&N has a huge selection of 40k novels, and even an entire display of the Horus Heresey series by different authors apparently? Anyone have experience with that particular series?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 19, 2011, 01:11:55 PM
With reference to 40k books, I strongly recommend Storm of Iron by Graham McNeil. Very good story featuring the Thousand Suns vs. the Imperial Guard.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on September 19, 2011, 03:26:19 PM
Quote from: danbuter;480157
I really love the first 3 Black Company novels. Book 4 The Silver Spike kinda sucks, though. I also like the Books of the South, but they are very different in feel.


Duly noted. I didn't read The Silver Spike.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: JongWK on September 20, 2011, 03:56:45 PM
Has anyone read The Years of Rice and Salt? Is it any good?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on September 20, 2011, 06:57:43 PM
Quote from: Imperator;480203
Duly noted. I didn't read The Silver Spike.


I kinda liked it. It was the last one that i did.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Werekoala on September 21, 2011, 11:45:40 AM
Just wanted to say that as I continue to read the Gaunt's Ghosts stories that anyone who thinks there is no heroisim, RP potential, or that humanity isn't objectively "better" (if not quite "good") than what they are fighting (looking at you Koltar) is nuts. This is some good stuff.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on September 26, 2011, 08:34:57 PM
Going through a bunch of Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest; The Thin Man; The Big Knockover (which is actually a collection of short stories that includes the Big Knockover as one of them).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on September 27, 2011, 02:11:22 AM
About halfway in Through a Glass Darkly, a Delta Green novel by Dennis Detwiler. This far, excellent stuff, as usual. Once I finish it, I will get back to the Black Company, starting the third book of the first saga.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on September 27, 2011, 02:22:12 AM
Hammett is definitely good stuff. I read Red Harvest recently, and it was just as lean and mean as it was at the time of its writing.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on September 27, 2011, 08:17:19 PM
Quote from: Melan;481888
Hammett is definitely good stuff. I read Red Harvest recently, and it was just as lean and mean as it was at the time of its writing.


The Big Knockover is worth checking out if you liked Red Harvest. The stories tend to wrap up a little more neatly, but they're very thrifty with the words-to-plot ratio. Also, while I wouldn't straight up copy any of them for an adventure, some of them are great inspiration (Couffignal and Dead Yellow Women in particular).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on September 27, 2011, 08:22:30 PM
Finished the Hammett, picked up Burnt Njal's Saga and the Laxdaela and a Dover book called "Myths of Mexico and Peru" from the UoToronto bookstore (first time I've been there in years, and I could barely keep myself from drooling over the philosophy section). I'm going through Burnt Njal's Saga and then DFW's The Broom of the System. I'm hoping it's better than Infinite Jest.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on September 28, 2011, 11:32:50 PM
Awhile ago I was given a box of old Star Trek novels, from friends who were moving.  (They were going to throw out the Star Trek novels they had collecting dust for years, but gave them to me instead).

Finally got around to skimming through them.  From briefly reading the prologs and first chapters, back cover descriptions, intros, etc ... most of these Star Trek novels seemed like horrible generic reads.  Sorta like the science fiction equivalent of "junk food".

It seemed like they just cranked out numerous generic stories using just about every single cliched sci-fi trope, while featuring the main Star Trek characters.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on October 07, 2011, 10:13:53 PM
Broom of the System was OK. Not great, not bad. Couldn't finish the Laxdaela.

Friend of mine released a book of poetry called Skullambient that I'm working through at the moment (picked it up at the launch last night). Drifting into finally reading Life of Galileo by Brecht, which has been sitting forlornly on the front seat of my car for a week.

Hunting down: Complete Poems by Elizabeth Bishop & Anatomy of a Moment by Javier Cercas & Africa's World War by Gerard Prunier. A guy I know recommended the last after a discussion about WW3 / the Second Congo War prompted by the recent death of Steve Jobs. I have a longtime fascination with the machinations of Paul Kagame (the political figure in the world today who bears the closest resemblance to Hitler) and his Rommel (or maybe just his Pavelic), Laurent Nkunda.

Edit: The War Nerd recommended Machete Season, but this is mostly about the Hutu perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, rather than Kagame's genocidal machinations once he had assumed power.

Also, I'm looking for a good English history of the most recent Chinese civil war that isn't about Chiang Kai Shek, Mao, or what happened to some white guy who was around for some chunk of it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on October 11, 2011, 05:15:27 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;478818
Reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.


I ended up really liking this. The first new fantasy book that's really grabbed my attention for a few years.

While i wait in vain for the next installment, i'll fill the time with 4 monster tomes from Tad Williams, starting off with Shadowmarch.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on October 12, 2011, 05:35:04 PM
Reading "Life and Law of Rome" by John A. Crook. Pretty dry, but full of good info.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 15, 2011, 08:05:42 PM
I finished up The Runelords last night. It was a good book, but not good enough that I want to read the rest of the series. I liked it's take on magic, where you can steal the attributes of another person, leaving them crippled, but making you much stronger, faster, or smarter.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Malleus Arianorum on October 19, 2011, 12:00:50 AM
I finished reading The Young Man's Guide by William Andrus Alcott. It's a collection of antiquated advice to the young American men of the 1830s. He doesn't claim to have reached perfection, but he does have a system -- and it works. My fondest memory of the book was his continual tirade against the wastefulness of shaving with hot water, since someone has to get up early and boil it instead of doing real work. Some of the advice was good enough to live by, "be neither the first nor the last to adopt a new fashion" and also some tips on how to sleep efficiently.
 
The Ladies' Book of Etiquitte, and Manual of Politenes a complete handbook by Florence Hartley. I thought this was more interesting because wheras the mens' guide deals in broad strokes, this handbook really gets into the nitty gritty of being polite. As such it's harder to summarize but generaly I'm glad for the education on why women of the 1860s wore so many kinds of clothing. I also liked some of the senarios detailing how to deal with all sorts of disasters.
 
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. It's been over twenty years since I read this, but I have seen the movies and read the Silmarilian. As such it's been a real joy to "come home" to the books that sparked my love of reading and roleplaying. Now that I have a handle on the history the book seems much deeper and more full of meaning, although there are still a couple of scenes where Tolkien recites a laundry list of flowers. I don't know what's up with that. Are the flowers steeped in historical alegory? Are they of contrasting forms or colors?
 
Heresy and Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton. A sort of flamewar that ends with loving Jesus. I'm still reading Orthodoxy, but I feel like he's describing my love afair with the Catholicism, so I don't expect any surprise apart from the surprise of deja vu.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 20, 2011, 04:37:53 PM
I'm now reading 1901 by Robert Conroy. It's an alternate history where the Germans invade America, taking NYC and Connecticut, to force the US to hand over the territories such as the Phillippines, Hawaii, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. It's based on actual German war plans.

It's a pretty silly premise, but the writing is good. I like what-if books, so I'm ok with it. Conroy is great at making characters believable, and does well on the battle scenes.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 21, 2011, 05:28:35 PM
Finished up 1901 last night. I liked it.

Next up is Space Viking by H. Beam Piper. I've heard of him, but never read any of his stories. I look forward to it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on October 21, 2011, 10:20:14 PM
Just 'cause it fits so well.

(http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/316178_10150498415203976_691103975_11186818_2065661919_n.jpg)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on October 22, 2011, 02:20:44 PM
Quote from: jeff37923;486028
Just 'cause it fits so well.

(http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/316178_10150498415203976_691103975_11186818_2065661919_n.jpg)


The same can probably be said for other time periods.

ie.

2000's - Survivor

1990's - The Real World

1980's - Dukes of Hazzard

1970's - ?

1960's - Gilligan's Island?

etc ...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Danger on October 24, 2011, 08:30:53 AM
Steve Fainaru's Big Boy Rules: America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq - a pretty good and easy read so far.  I think I'll dig a bit deeper into the whole "contractor," mess for yucks.

Before that, I plowed through Harry Yeide's The Tank Killers in about 2 days.  

Next up on the plate is something to do with the narco-war going down in Mexico - just don't know what yet.  And, I'll re-read World War Z in light of Halloween.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Windjammer on October 26, 2011, 03:35:40 PM
Quote from: Malleus Arianorum;485629
Heresy and Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton. A sort of flamewar that ends with loving Jesus. I'm still reading Orthodoxy, but I feel like he's describing my love afair with the Catholicism, so I don't expect any surprise apart from the surprise of deja vu.


His book on Aquinas is top notch. Never quite got as much out of his other stuff, including the one on Francis. Fun trivia: the CoC London sourcebook has an entry in case the PCs want to meet Chesterton in person.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 28, 2011, 12:24:38 AM
I finished up Space Viking by H. Beam Piper. Good book, though the protagonist was anything but a hero. Talk about a cruel, cynical view of humanity. This book really had no guys in it. I now know where the Death Star and much Traveller lore was lifted from.

Next up is The Good Faeries of New York by Martin Millar. I've liked his other books, so hopefully this one will also be good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on October 28, 2011, 09:33:28 AM
Quote from: Windjammer;486601
His book on Aquinas is top notch. Never quite got as much out of his other stuff, including the one on Francis. Fun trivia: the CoC London sourcebook has an entry in case the PCs want to meet Chesterton in person.


I have an aunt who watched the catholic channel religiously (no pun intended) and I noticed they have a program featuring a Chesterton impersonator (a bit like Holbrook doing Twain).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: kryyst on October 29, 2011, 10:46:33 AM
If you are at all interested in Viking tales (or what the 13th Warrior does).  I'd really suggest checking out Giles Kristians Raven Trilogy.  It's very engaging, the characters are interesting and the combat scenes are brutal.

I'd also suggest checking out Brom's novel The Child Thief.  It's a Peter Pan story but its built on the original principles, which weren't nice and modernizes it a bit.  It also gives some more purpose to all the characters.  Brilliant.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on November 03, 2011, 11:09:42 PM
I finished up The Good Faeries of New York last night. It was very good. Lots of subtle humor. Recommended!

Next up is Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I've heard he's a good author and I know he's finishing up the Wheel of Time, so I expect this will be good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on November 04, 2011, 10:07:19 AM
I read "Dead Dwarves Don't Dance" by Derek J. Canyon on Kindle. It was cheap. Here is a novel that desperately wants to be a Shadowrun novel, but wants to be "serious" Sci Fi with genetic engineering and psychics instead of magic. It suffers a lot, it just isn't well paced, and isn't all that fun a read. It needed a bit more tempo, something to give it some fire. The lead character(s) just seemed disconnected from the events around them on an emotional level.

Before that I knocked of the Dark Heaven Trilogy by Kylie Chan, the series is "Modern" Oriental "Urban fantasy".  It deals with the new Nanny hired by the God of Martial Arts (The Emperor of the Dark Northern Heavans, a turtle in human form.) It is a fun read but feels more romance than action urban fantasy. It suffers in places due to her not being able to write interesting conflict/combat scenes. Being an allegedly complete trilogy it wraps up poorly at the end, and simply leaves too much hanging for an alleged trilogy.


I also read Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds.  It was fun, and felt right on the money in terms of wonder and tone of what an "Ancient Mystic" China might be. It isn't very wuxia in the martial arts sense, but turned up under my wuxia research as a suggested read and was well worth it! I look forward to tracking down more of the series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on November 20, 2011, 09:41:37 PM
I'm making my way through the huge Walter Simonson Thor Omnibus for the second time. I read it over the summer, but eager to see what happened next, i rushed through it.



@Pseudo, I know I'm a fucktard and all, but I actually really liked Ogre Conan. Next to good Eskimo elf he was my favorite character. I know I'm alone in this, but for me the series is at its peak in books 3- 6.

By the way, who is Marty-sue? Is it the General Onearm guy? You lost me with that one, its been a while since I read the first three.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Malleus Arianorum on November 20, 2011, 10:03:12 PM
I just read Sense and Senseability by Jane Austin and am 75% done with Sense and Sensability and Zombies.
 
I was only reading Sense and Senseability to more fully enjoy SSZ, but I found some of it quite funny. SSZ seemed by comparison a much duller book. A few good laughs but mostly sophmoric jokes about balls.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on November 21, 2011, 01:29:39 AM
Quote from: Aos;490866

@Pseudo, I know I'm a fucktard and all, but I actually really liked Ogre Conan. Next to good Eskimo elf he was my favorite character. I know I'm alone in this, but for me the series is at its peak in books 3- 6.

By the way, who is Marty-sue? Is it the General Onearm guy? You lost me with that one, its been a while since I read the first three.


Toc the Younger, who is an interesting character who becomes less so as the result of his adventures.

Ogre Conan and Eskimo Elf both would have been better served by being spun off into a separate series, even if it happened in the same setting at the same time. I think it's mainly their occupation of valuable narrative space I want devoted to characters I care about that makes me so angry at them.

Also, I am going to start evaluating all fantasy novels on "Page Count to Aimless Wandering", being a quantitative measurement of how long before at least one protagonist is wandering around in the wilderness.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on November 21, 2011, 01:31:18 AM
Finished Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh today. It's considerably nastier than the movie, though one can't accuse it of romanticising heroin addiction.

Starting JR by William Gaddis and Dead Men Tell No Tales by Emile Zola, which I will be reading in Edinburgh this week while I am there.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on November 21, 2011, 02:42:00 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;490905

Also, I am going to start evaluating all fantasy novels on "Page Count to Aimless Wandering", being a quantitative measurement of how long before at least one protagonist is wandering around in the wilderness.


I was actually speaking about this to my wife earlier tonight, and it kind of goes with the territory, so to speak. You get sword fights, battles, magic shit and travel through the wilderness. Even Vance and Wolfe do it quite a bit. I mind it less if there's actually a point to it, and it's well done. With Erikson it did get a trifle old, though; it's more or less all anyone ever does- outside of the first book.  That said, in Sanderson's Mistborn series he eschews travel as a padding device and replaces it with meetings, having meetings, getting ready for meeting, and talking about the ramifications of meetings. I couldn't get past the first chapter of the third book. I'll take wilderness wandering any day.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on November 24, 2011, 06:44:13 AM
Finished the first of the Shadowmarch books by Tad Williams. Not sure i'm going to other with the other 3 - so much bloat with very little happening. 800 pages of only slight engagement with the characters. Most of them i want to die so they stop being so annoying. Which is odd, 'cos i liked Tad's earlier books very much.

In my absense, i've also read Scar Night by Alan Campbell. Started off really well in the Gormanghast mould, then veered off with more characters that i don't care about. Given the attrition rate of characters in the book, i think it should be subtitled Rocks Fall - Everyone Dies. Not bothering with the sequels.

Also read Transformation by Carol Berg. Much better fare and the first of an intriguing trilogy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on November 30, 2011, 06:31:52 AM
The Carol Berg trilogy turned into another bust for me. Tragic - brilliant first book which quickly descended into soap opera in the next volume.

Never mind, i've decided to re-read Christopher Stasheff's Warlock - To the Magic Born which is a compilation of the first 3 warlock books. Escape Velocity, The Warlock in Spite of Himself and King Kobold Revived.

Haven't read these in a dog's age, so i'm looking forward to it!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Kaldric on November 30, 2011, 06:53:03 AM
I stopped going back and reading the fiction I enjoyed as a tween and a teenager. Too depressing to constantly be confronted with the fact that my tastes have changed so much.

I'm old.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on November 30, 2011, 09:18:08 AM
Read His Master's Voice by Lem, reading JR by William Gaddis.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on November 30, 2011, 11:23:46 AM
Lately the only book I've been reading is the Skyrim Official Game Guide, mainly for alchemy recipes and when I get stuck on a puzzle.  :o
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on November 30, 2011, 04:12:08 PM
Only the icy waters of the Atlantic ocean managed to tear me away from Skyrim long enough to read anything. Now that I'm back home, I'm going to try to finish JR before Skyrim sucks me back in.

BTW, JR is tremendous, even though any sort of description of it is going to seem boring or trivial or inaccessible. Kinda like Moby Dick, which remains one of the funniest books I have ever read. Here's the big Gaddis website (http://www.williamgaddis.org/) (Gaddis died in 1998 and doesn't have one himself).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on November 30, 2011, 10:33:10 PM
Moby Dick is my favorite novel. If you're interested in another less than easy but extremely amusing read, check out Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

I just picked up an e-copy of Sanderson's The Way of Kings; seems pretty good so far. I have definite love hate relationship with fat fantasy books. I keep reading them even though it always ends in frustraion. It's a sickness.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on November 30, 2011, 11:57:33 PM
After two years sitting on my shelf, I'm giving the Amber omnibus (The Great Book of Amber) a fair shake. Read the first two and I have to say, I really like it. Zelazny's no Vance or Wolfe, but he's pretty damn good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on December 01, 2011, 12:02:40 AM
Quote from: The Butcher;492981
After two years sitting on my shelf, I'm giving the Amber omnibus (The Great Book of Amber) a fair shake. Read the first two and I have to say, I really like it. Zelazny's no Vance or Wolfe, but he's pretty damn good.

I think at his peak he is every bit as good as Vance and Wolfe- it's just that, imo, his peak isn't to be found in Amber. Check out some of his short fiction- especially A Rose for Ecclesiastes, The Keys to December and The Doors of his eyes and the Lamps of his Mouth.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on December 01, 2011, 05:26:37 PM
Quote from: Aos;492974
Moby Dick is my favorite novel. If you're interested in another less than easy but extremely amusing read, check out Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

I just picked up an e-copy of Sanderson's The Way of Kings; seems pretty good so far. I have definite love hate relationship with fat fantasy books. I keep reading them even though it always ends in frustraion. It's a sickness.


Gravity's Rainbow is good. Have you read Against the Day?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on December 01, 2011, 05:47:33 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;493155
Gravity's Rainbow is good. Have you read Against the Day?


No, but as we seem to have similar tastes, I'll add it to my list.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: stu2000 on December 01, 2011, 06:43:21 PM
Against the Day is almost physically exhausting to read.
It's a great book--I love Pynchon. I did my master's thesis on him.
But every page--every page, man--is just kinda in your face.

Totally recommend it, but be prepared to let it occupy a significant amount of your brain RAM untill you're done--and for a while afterward.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: David R on December 01, 2011, 07:49:18 PM
After a dry spell I'm easing my way back to Indonesian lit. Halfway through Ayu Utami's Saman. Good stuff so far, a potent brew of Suharto era malfeasance, Dutch colonialism, ethnic conflict and feminist awakening. I should have read this sooner.

Regards,
David R
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: JongWK on December 06, 2011, 12:47:59 PM
Has anyone read Fukuyama's latest? (http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Political-Order-Prehuman-Revolution/dp/0374227349/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323193319&sr=1-1)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on December 06, 2011, 01:01:32 PM
I finished The Way of Kings last night. I don't have a single bad thing to say about it. It was padding free; didn't end on a cliff hanger; didn't jump around too much from character to character; didn't leave you hanging for 100's of pages at a time; had interesting magic; and intriguing setting and a manageable cast.  The worst I could say was that I predicted a couple of things before they went down- but they were cool things, so it was okay. I wasn't terribly impressed with his Mistborn trilogy, but Sanderson totally won me over with this one. It is exactly what one hopes for from this kind of book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on December 06, 2011, 01:24:15 PM
Quote from: Aos;493936
I finished The Way of Kings last night. I don't have a single bad thing to say about it. It was padding free; didn't end on a cliff hanger; didn't jump around too much from character to character; didn't leave you hanging for 100's of pages at a time; had interesting magic; and intriguing setting and a manageable cast.  The worst I could say was that I predicted a couple of things before they went down- but they were cool things, so it was okay. I wasn't terribly impressed with his Mistborn trilogy, but Sanderson totally won me over with this one. It is exactly what one hopes for from this kind of book.


I pretty much agree. After a couple hundred pages i was not convinced, but by the end i had been totally pulled in and rather sad that i've got in at the beginning of a series rather than the end, where i can read all of them concurrently.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on December 06, 2011, 01:30:02 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;493941
I pretty much agree. After a couple hundred pages i was not convinced, but by the end i had been totally pulled in and rather sad that i've got in at the beginning of a series rather than the end, where i can read all of them concurrently.


Yeah, I was totally skeptical for awhile. The pacing is the first thing I noticed. A chapter would end on a cliffhanger and if it flowed like a typical novel in this genre, you wouldn't get resolution for 100's of pages, but in this book, the next chapter delivers pretty much every time.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on December 07, 2011, 01:11:12 AM
JR's really fucking wonderful, if sometimes exhausting. Finished it yesterday. Probably gonna do Egil's Saga, and Lem's Chain of Chance next. Agamben's the Sacrament of Language and Simmel's Individuality and Social Forms for nonfiction.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on December 10, 2011, 10:37:09 PM
Idiot that i am, Shadowmarch just about made me interested enough that i bought Shadowplay to see if the series was good enough to carry on with.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on December 11, 2011, 03:25:01 PM
Anyone have thoughts on taking breaks while reading a book. I normally read a book straight through over a few days. But lately i've had a lot going on and find myself reading 30 pages of a book then putting it down for a day or two before continuing. It is a very different experience.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Kaldric on December 13, 2011, 09:55:23 AM
I generally read books through in one or two sittings. I want to have the whole thing in recent memory. I also prefer to watch television one season at a time, rather than weekly. You get a lot more of the callbacks, you get more of a sense of the whole.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on December 13, 2011, 11:29:44 AM
I tend to read a book over a few nights until finished. I break during the day for other activities. Reading is a wind down entertainment for me.

Sometimes, however,  a book is so good I read it at one sitting.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on December 14, 2011, 05:00:22 PM
Finished the others, still have to get through Simmel. Picked up my fourth or fifth copy of Blood Meridian (I read it every year on my birthday then give the copy to someone for Christmas), and I'm rereading Wittgenstein's On Certainty.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on December 14, 2011, 05:21:29 PM
I once read Blood Meridian and The Sound and the Fury back to back over the course of one insomnia fueled evening. I was absolutely insane by dawn.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: David R on December 14, 2011, 07:21:59 PM
I have often wondered why Cormac McCarthy has yet to be awarded the Nobel Prize for lit. Anyways, I'm reading Eric Van Lustbader's Floating City. I make no apologies.

Regards,
David R
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on December 14, 2011, 10:12:36 PM
Am i the only person who reads at about 40 pages per hour?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on December 14, 2011, 10:26:18 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;495295
Am i the only person who reads at about 40 pages per hour?


It completely depends on what I'm reading. Melville and Pynchon both take me for fucking ever.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on December 15, 2011, 05:23:56 AM
Quote from: One Horse Town;495295
Am i the only person who reads at about 40 pages per hour?


I average about 30 pages an hour depending on the font and page size.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on December 15, 2011, 11:57:33 AM
Quote from: One Horse Town;495295
Am i the only person who reads at about 40 pages per hour?


I read pretty quickly. 450 wpm is a very comfortable reading pace for me, so I read just under 120 pages an hour, and try to spend 1-4 hours a day reading.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on December 15, 2011, 02:05:10 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;495382
I read pretty quickly. 450 wpm is a very comfortable reading pace for me, so I read just under 120 pages an hour, and try to spend 1-4 hours a day reading.

That is more or less my current speed. I don't get to spend 4 hours a day reading, though, but I do my best.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on December 15, 2011, 03:00:43 PM
I pretty much need to read slow or I find I don't retain as much. When I have time I'll read about 100 pages a day (but that is about 3-4 hours of my time);a lot less if it is something complicated that requires re-reading and pauses like a game system or philosophy book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on December 15, 2011, 09:11:42 PM
Quote from: Imperator;495414
That is more or less my current speed. I don't get to spend 4 hours a day reading, though, but I do my best.


I don't watch TV with any regularity, I don't currently have a SO, I'm an insomniac, and my work at the moment is mainly contracts for writing projects / strategy documents I do from home, or at a coffeeshop. So I have a lot of free time compared to most people.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on December 16, 2011, 03:28:33 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;495485
I don't watch TV with any regularity, I don't currently have a SO, I'm an insomniac, and my work at the moment is mainly contracts for writing projects / strategy documents I do from home, or at a coffeeshop. So I have a lot of free time compared to most people.


Nice, it's similar to my situation. :)

I don't watch TV (though my missus and I like to watch a TV series on the PC, but usually only an episode a day), my work is in training and consultancy resulting in my working a lot from home, so I have more free time than others. But having an SO and sleeping like a baby takes time away, I will concede that :D
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on December 17, 2011, 06:36:00 PM
I tend to read quite slow, especially for highly technical type books.  (For example, engineering or advanced mathematics type books).

I find myself reading the same few technical pages over and over again, in an attempt to understand the technical arguments.


For non-technical stuff, it usually takes me around a week to finish a 300-400 page novel.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on December 17, 2011, 07:12:15 PM
Quote from: ggroy;495780
I tend to read quite slow, especially for highly technical type books.  (For example, engineering or advanced mathematics type books).

I find myself reading the same few technical pages over and over again, in an attempt to understand the technical arguments.


For non-technical stuff, it usually takes me around a week to finish a 300-400 page novel.


I'm dyslexic so reading has always been a pretty slow process for me (i basically need to sound out the words in my head so I don't mix up the word itself or its place in the sentence). But I found this helped alot with technical material and stuff like philosophy (since I was already going at a slow speed). With stuff like creative writing and literature it really helped me appreciate the sound and flow of the words.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on December 17, 2011, 07:16:03 PM
In the case of technical stuff, I frequently try to independently do some of the mathematical calculations myself with pencil and paper.

In most technical books, they usually skip all the intermediate steps and just quote the final answer.  Sometimes it is not obvious how they got that final answer.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on December 17, 2011, 07:20:23 PM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;495781
I'm dyslexic so reading has always been a pretty slow process for me (i basically need to sound out the words in my head so I don't mix up the word itself or its place in the sentence). But I found this helped alot with technical material and stuff like philosophy (since I was already going at a slow speed). With stuff like creative writing and literature it really helped me appreciate the sound and flow of the words.


I'm not really quite sure what exactly my problem with reading fiction is.

I do find my mind "wandering" all the time, whenever I'm reading fiction.  With technical stuff, my mind doesn't really wander much.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on December 17, 2011, 07:22:13 PM
Now that I think about it, my mind actually becomes very hyper-focused when I'm reading and figuring out technical stuff I'm interested in.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on December 17, 2011, 07:33:50 PM
Quote from: ggroy;495784
I'm not really quite sure what exactly my problem with reading fiction is.

I do find my mind "wandering" all the time, whenever I'm reading fiction.  With technical stuff, my mind doesn't really wander much.


I think with fiction you (general you, not you specifically) tend to read to be entertained and often have no bigger purpose (unless you are realy analyzing the writing for something in particular) so its easy to drift. Also fiction prompts thoughts of other things, which can cause wandering. Usually with fiction I am pretty focused but there have been times when I had to go back and re-read a page because I started day dreaming.

But with technical material (or even RPG books) there is a practical goal involved (i.e. i need to understand this section so I can run combat in D20 OR I need to grasp focus on this and absorb it so I can fix my text boxes in INdesign).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 03, 2012, 08:45:29 AM
I finished Elantris by Brandon Sanderson last night. Excellent book. It was a little slow in the first half, but the last 200 pages really picked up the pace. The world was really cool, and the characters quite good. The finale should be easily guessable for most people, but even it held some surprises. The writing was great throughout. Recommended.

Next up is Call to Arms by Mitchel Scanlon. It's a WFRP novel about the Hochland Swordsmen. I'm in the mood for a little less dense material, now.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on January 04, 2012, 01:09:27 AM
Elantris is okay, but The Way of Kings by the same author is much better.

I just completed The Winds of Gath by EC Tubb. Pure trash, but not without a bleak and stripped down charm.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Rincewind1 on January 04, 2012, 05:51:30 PM
http://io9.com/5872490/if-famous-writers-had-written-twilight

Worth a chuckle imo.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 05, 2012, 12:09:38 AM
I finished up Call to Arms this evening. I liked it. It was fast-paced and told a good story about one new recruit's experience in a fantasy army. It was set in Hochland, and featured the Empire fighting an orc army.

Next up is Elminster's Daughter by Ed Greenwood. It's a Forgotten Realms book about everyone's favorite munchkin mage.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 05, 2012, 02:18:08 PM
Turns out I already read Elminster's Daughter. Must have shelved it in the wrong area. Next up is The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I've read a number of good reviews for it, so I expect I'll like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Rincewind1 on January 05, 2012, 02:32:17 PM
Quote from: danbuter;500922
Turns out I already read Elminster's Daughter. Must have shelved it in the wrong area. Next up is The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I've read a number of good reviews for it, so I expect I'll like it.


It is pretty awesome. Second book sadly, is "only" good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: tellius on January 05, 2012, 07:21:17 PM
I got A History of the World in 100 Objects (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/). It is pretty awesome transcription of a BBC radio series and has just craploads of ancient artefacts from the British Museum.

So far it has been rivetting and exposed me to a shiteload of stuff I have never seen or heard of before.

Not to mention that for me there is just massive amounts of game fodder hidden in real world artefacts.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on January 06, 2012, 12:43:51 AM
Fuller Memorandum by Charlie Stross is a solid 5/10.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on January 06, 2012, 03:22:00 PM
Re-read Mordant's Need, a two book series by Stephen Donaldson - The Mirror of her Dreams and A Man Rides Through.

It has its faults, as in too many coincidences and deux ex machina, but it remains one of my, say top 20 fantasy reads.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on January 07, 2012, 09:49:54 PM
Reading Edward N. Luttwak's The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. It's a very good book, though it presumes you're already pretty familiar with the Byzantines (I read some books about them between 2010 and 2011 when I realised I wasn't). It's very laudatory of the Byzantines as a military-political entity, which is a nice change from the usual shit you hear about them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 08, 2012, 08:00:50 AM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;501649
Reading Edward N. Luttwak's The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. It's a very good book, though it presumes you're already pretty familiar with the Byzantines (I read some books about them between 2010 and 2011 when I realised I wasn't). It's very laudatory of the Byzantines as a military-political entity, which is a nice change from the usual shit you hear about them.


I was thinking of picking this one up as I have heard he goes into the details quite a bit (have a campaign setting loosely modeled on Tge Byzantine Empire). Read good reviews of it. How much familiarity is required to grasp the content in your opinion. I took a course on the byzantine empire back in 2001 (i am sure i've forgotten a good deal). I still have A Concise History og Byzantium by Treadgold, which I'd probably read before tackling Luttwak. But wouldn't want to do more additional reading than that.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: tellius on January 08, 2012, 04:06:16 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;501227
Re-read Mordant's Need, a two book series by Stephen Donaldson - The Mirror of her Dreams and A Man Rides Through.

It has its faults, as in too many coincidences and deux ex machina, but it remains one of my, say top 20 fantasy reads.


Never fails to surprise me that I like those books so much. Even with all of it's faults it's one of the few series I can happily go back and read and enjoy thoroughly.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on January 08, 2012, 05:48:25 PM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;501781
I was thinking of picking this one up as I have heard he goes into the details quite a bit (have a campaign setting loosely modeled on Tge Byzantine Empire). Read good reviews of it. How much familiarity is required to grasp the content in your opinion. I took a course on the byzantine empire back in 2001 (i am sure i've forgotten a good deal). I still have A Concise History og Byzantium by Treadgold, which I'd probably read before tackling Luttwak. But wouldn't want to do more additional reading than that.


It's a thematic treatment with a chronological substructure, so if you're familiar with the basic chronology of the empire, you should be able to get by.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 08, 2012, 05:56:54 PM
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine;501947
It's a thematic treatment with a chronological substructure, so if you're familiar with the basic chronology of the empire, you should be able to get by.


Thanks. That sounds easy enough. Byzantium is very interesting. That one class I took mass quite an impression.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 08, 2012, 05:58:46 PM
I'm reading Heart of Valor, and have already read The Better Part of Valor. Both by Tanya Huff. Military SF. Although I didn't read the fist one (Valor's Choice). It wasn't necessary to do so to understand what was going on. I picked up book two somewhere but never could find book one.

All three cover the career of a Staff Sergeant/Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr. A touch, direct woman who does her job, and does it well. Its a pretty interesting Military SF. She doesn't become super-powered like other Space Marine/Navy/Soldiers, but is stil effective. Tanya Huff has a few interesting races, and then some strange ones for Military SF/Space Opera. Still a fun read. Far better than her last book.

I recently re-read Changeling, a Shadowrun Novel. Which was always entertaining even if set in the current SR's "past." I'm not a big fan of licensed novels for games. Yet this one was quite a good read. Next up. I've got Howl's Moving Castle, or another SF/Space Opera book, whose name I'm neglecting right now.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 20, 2012, 08:42:02 PM
After 3 weeks, I was only 180 pages into The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, so I shelved it. The writing was good, quite clever and very descriptive. Problem is, the book is boring. 180 pages in, and nothing had happened other than some flashbacks and the start of a con operation. I am not going to give it another 50 pages for something to happen.

Next up is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I saw the movie preview. It looks really cool. Children have to fight to the death on TV for the entertainment of everyone. It is an interesting look at what reality TV and stuff like Ultimate Fighting could become. Philip K. Dick wrote a book similar in plot, so it will be interesting to see how this compares.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 20, 2012, 09:03:18 PM
I'm reading Valor's Trial. The fourth in the Valor series. I picked up an omnibus of book 1/2 so I could read book 1. I've got the the next book as well. Valor's Choice? I think. They're fun mil-sci fi and tend to have a good set of characters when they aren't killing them off, and some nice universe building.


I've also been rereading


Turning Point, Fortune's Wheel, and am making my way through the rest of the Sholan alliance novels. I enjoyed it before when I first read it. The series posits (at first) a human colony invaded by aliens, the aliens use human females for pleasure. A third alien race shows up less human than the first one. They're mammals too--cat people, and they've got Telepathy so does our heroine, they bond in one of those romance SF superlove things that tie them together forever that is common in fantasy/sci fi to make "TRUE LOVE." happen. While I enjoy the books, I can laugh at the tropes too.

The cat person and the heroine fall in love (given) and proceed to have problems from the humans (and a few of the Sholan cat peoples, but they're like so very much more enlightened than us, and have sex with whomever, plus they being so advanced have trials by combat for certain honor problems.)  Humans deny telepathy, then the Sholans find ones that really are and the human-cat people begin having more bonds and having babies. (Well pregnancies.)

Its kind of a Space Opera meets women romance novel. I enjoy them, unashamedly, but they aren't for everyone. Of course there author (Lisanne Norman)  has sold like six or more books in this series, so she at least did SOMETHING right.

Story eventually involves time travel, cross genetics sharing and so on. (So there is a REASON we can interbreed with alien cat people.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Malleus Arianorum on January 21, 2012, 12:22:47 AM
The adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock is much more of a people person than I gave him credit for.
 
Moby Dick
My goodness, I've never laughed so much. That innkeeper is hillarious.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: brunz on January 23, 2012, 12:30:51 AM
Just started on the Dresden Files. A fun read! I'll be onto the second by tonight, for sure. :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 23, 2012, 12:32:53 AM
The Dresden Files keep getting better. Honestly, the first book is the worst in the series, which is unfortunate when I tell people the series is really good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: brunz on January 23, 2012, 12:37:41 AM
Yeah, it hasn't been all great so far, and it's a bit fluffy or clunky in places, but even so - like I said, fun! :)

I guess it's a really different genre for me too, so... novel? Heh.

Glad to hear he was, what, finding his feet back then? Very promising. :cool:
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Rincewind1 on January 23, 2012, 09:34:49 AM
Quote from: danbuter;507920
The Dresden Files keep getting better. Honestly, the first book is the worst in the series, which is unfortunate when I tell people the series is really good.


I must say I am tempted to check out DF books - the series were good, but judging from the narrator's voice (whose lines I presume are drawn straight from the book), the novels are a bit more noir then the series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 24, 2012, 01:27:37 PM
Quote from: brunz;507918
Just started on the Dresden Files. A fun read! I'll be onto the second by tonight, for sure. :)


That is a fun series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 24, 2012, 01:29:27 PM
Quote from: danbuter;507920
The Dresden Files keep getting better. Honestly, the first book is the worst in the series, which is unfortunate when I tell people the series is really good.


I think that was his first book and by Butcher's own account he doesn't have a natural talent for prose, so I think he kind of honed his style and voice as the series progressed.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: stu2000 on January 24, 2012, 02:49:03 PM
I may be the only gamer-type that doesn't like Harry Dresden. I gave it the most generous reading I could muster based on the ravings of my friends, but by the 5th book I just couldn't take any more. The prose is weak, the characters are poorly defined and inconsistent on top of it, and the plots are ragged and oddly paced.

Obviously, they're enjoyed by a large number of people, but there are much, much better examples of supernatural detective fiction out there.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 24, 2012, 04:31:53 PM
Quote from: stu2000;508629
I may be the only gamer-type that doesn't like Harry Dresden. I gave it the most generous reading I could muster based on the ravings of my friends, but by the 5th book I just couldn't take any more. The prose is weak, the characters are poorly defined and inconsistent on top of it, and the plots are ragged and oddly paced.

Obviously, they're enjoyed by a large number of people, but there are much, much better examples of supernatural detective fiction out there.


I will say this, I don't think they are very well written books. The writing itself is quite awkward and he indulges too many of his personal tastes through characters. But I still think they are a blast to read. You gave it five books though. If I don't like a series halfway through the first book I stop right there.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: two_fishes on January 25, 2012, 01:46:48 PM
Quote from: stu2000;508629
I may be the only gamer-type that doesn't like Harry Dresden. I gave it the most generous reading I could muster based on the ravings of my friends, but by the 5th book I just couldn't take any more. The prose is weak, the characters are poorly defined and inconsistent on top of it, and the plots are ragged and oddly paced.

Obviously, they're enjoyed by a large number of people, but there are much, much better examples of supernatural detective fiction out there.


I'm about a quarter through Declare, by Tim Powers. It's espionage rather than detective, I supppose, but i'm enjoying it a great deal. It makes me think, if John leCarre and HP Lovecraft has written a novel, this might be what it looked like.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on January 25, 2012, 02:02:13 PM
Quote from: two_fishes;509071
I'm about a quarter through Declare, by Tim Powers. It's espionage rather than detective, I supppose, but i'm enjoying it a great deal. It makes me think, if John leCarre and HP Lovecraft has written a novel, this might be what it looked like.


I'm a bit of a Tim Powers fan. If you want more recommendations of his stuff, i really enjoyed Last Call and The Stress of Her Regard.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 25, 2012, 10:04:21 PM
Finished up The Hunger Games. It was really good. Great pacing, and the world is well-done, and not over-described. I look forward to the movie, and I really hope they don't mess it up.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: stu2000 on January 26, 2012, 12:30:20 AM
I love Tim Powers. The guys on the Unknown Armies mailing list got me into his novels a few years ago. UA is kind of a Tim Powers rpg.

I like CJ Henderson a lot. His Teddy London books aren't really any deeper than the Dresden books. The characters are vivid though, and they're just more professionally written overall. He's also edited a couple outstanding anthologies of occult detectives. Worth reading if you haven't already.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spinachcat on January 26, 2012, 03:17:43 AM
Over the holiday, I read Tales of Ravenloft. It's an anthology of short stories set in the D&D horror setting. If you are a Ravenloft fan or a fan of horror mixing with fantasy, then its a good fun read. There are about a dozen stories and half are well done and the rest are what you expect from game fiction.

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Ravenloft-Brian-Thomsen/dp/1560769319
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 26, 2012, 11:45:25 AM
Quote from: Spinachcat;509317
Over the holiday, I read Tales of Ravenloft. It's an anthology of short stories set in the D&D horror setting. If you are a Ravenloft fan or a fan of horror mixing with fantasy, then its a good fun read. There are about a dozen stories and half are well done and the rest are what you expect from game fiction.

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Ravenloft-Brian-Thomsen/dp/1560769319


Man haven't read Ravenloft novels in a long time. One if my guilty pleasures. Knight of the Black Rose is fun and I enjoyed Heart of Midnight as well.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 26, 2012, 12:40:57 PM
Same here. There were a lot of good Ravenloft novels, especially compared to the other game lines.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 26, 2012, 11:17:05 PM
Next up is Left Hand Magic by Nancy Collins. It's set in an alternate New York City, where faerie and mages live in a fenced off neighborhood in southwest Manhattan named Golgotham. This is the second book in the series. I liked the first one, so hopefully this will also be good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 04, 2012, 11:33:59 PM
Finished up Left Hand Magic. It was pretty good. I like it more than the first book, for sure.

Next up is After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn. A woman's parents are superheros, and she isn't happy about it. Mainly because supervillains kidnap her all the time. It looks really interesting.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 09, 2012, 10:55:11 AM
Finished After the Golden Age. Excellent book. If you like superheroes, I highly recommend it.

Next up is River Marked, by Patricia Briggs. It's book 6 in the Mercy Thompson series, and is one of only two series that I actively follow (the other being The Dresden Files). If you like Dresden, you'll probably like these books.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: StormBringer on February 17, 2012, 10:59:54 PM
Holy crap, I am about twenty years late and all, but I just started the Wheel of Time series.  Pretty good stuff so far, but I am only halfway through the first book.  Right before that, I polished off the Word and the Void trilogy by Terry Brooks.  Should I tackle the Genesis, then Original, or are the Legends and the First King pretty vital?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Vile on February 18, 2012, 02:04:14 AM
I read the first three Thieves' World collections when they first came out, But I recently discovered that they went on and on - so I'm currently enjoying that craziness again, this time in epub format.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 21, 2012, 01:04:58 AM
I finished River Marked by Patricia Briggs. Very good book! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes urban fantasy.

Next up is Bloodforged by Nathan Long. It's an Ulrika the Vampire novel set in Praag in the Warhammer fantasy world.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on February 21, 2012, 04:43:52 AM
I've been making my way through A Song of Ice and Fire lately. I'll probably lose whatever meager geek cred I've managed to amass by stating that I watched the HBO series before actually reading the books.

I'm finishing A Storm of Swords right now, and I like what I've read so far. Low fantasy, low magic (on the rise), intrigue and perversity aplenty. Reads like a fantasy version of Maurice Druon's Accursed Kings historical fiction series, one of my favorite books from back when I was a teen.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on February 26, 2012, 04:36:07 AM
Finally tracked down the first volume of Fernand Braudel's Civilization and Capitalism: 15th to 18th century: the structures of every day life. I enciuntered it years ago in college and managed to find the second volume after graduation (wheels of commerce) but the first (which I had scattered photocopy chapters of) is ideal for gaming purposes. It goes into extensive detail on daily living in the periods covered. Great resource.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on February 28, 2012, 11:00:24 PM
Reading another Star Trek novel.  (Assignment: Eternity).

More junk food for the mind.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on February 28, 2012, 11:05:14 PM
I just read the Magic Bites, Magic Burns, and Magic Strikes series by Illona Andrews. They have a sort of Shadowrun feel absent the cyberpink elements. More Urban Fantasy but with the decay of cyberpunk.

Not bad. Seems like a fun series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Marleycat on March 11, 2012, 05:39:01 AM
I am rereading WoT in anticipation of Memory of Light this November, up to Path of Daggers currently,  right in the middle of Rand's journey into insanity.   Fun times.  I started this series when I was 20 something, I'm not 20 anymore, I deserve to see the end of this story before I die dammit! :D

*Anybody hear of an author called Wilhelmina Baird?  She did an offbeat cyberpunk trilogy back in the '90's I'd like to get again.  Anybody know if she is still writing?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 12, 2012, 02:08:24 PM
Finally bit the bullet and carried on with Tad Williams' Shadowmarch series, this time with Shadowplay. I have to say that already, only a quarter of the way into the book, it is 10 times more entertaining than the first installment.

However, his heroes are still annoying.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Marleycat on March 12, 2012, 02:53:03 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;521270
Finally bit the bullet and carried on with Tad Williams' Shadowmarch series, this time with Shadowplay. I have to say that already, only a quarter of the way into the book, it is 10 times more entertaining than the first installment.

However, his heroes are still annoying.
True, but I do like that Sword and Memory series.  The Norn/Sitha are an excellent rendition of elves.  It gives good fodder into what would be a truely alien mindset, such as an elf should be.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 12, 2012, 03:05:02 PM
Quote from: Marleycat;521282
True, but I do like that Sword and Memory series.  The Norn/Sitha are an excellent rendition of elves.  It gives good fodder into what would be a truely alien mindset, such as an elf should be.


I love that series, which is why i picked this one up.

The heroes i was referring to are in this series of books. A stuck-up Princess and a childish/crazed man/boy Prince.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Marleycat on March 12, 2012, 03:21:07 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;521284
I love that series, which is why i picked this one up.

The heroes i was referring to are in this series of books. A stuck-up Princess and a childish/crazed man/boy Prince.


I haven't read it yet but that does sound close to his first series protagonist wise.  So you think it's good enough to pick up at a used bookstore since I liked the previous series?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 12, 2012, 03:41:38 PM
Quote from: Marleycat;521288
I haven't read it yet but that does sound close to his first series protagonist wise.  So you think it's good enough to pick up at a used bookstore since I liked the previous series?


It's not as good and there are analogue characters from Memory, Sorrow & Thorn. But overall, the characters aren't really a patch on those from MST. He still has a thing for fairies/fey/elves and they are again to the fore with slight differences from before.

This series has greater scope than MST and i'm just getting to that about 1/4the way through book 2 of 4. So it's pretty slow too.

That wasn't a ringing endorsement was it?

To sum up, i think the overarching story is more epic and with more strands to it, but characterisation isn't up to his normal standard.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Marleycat on March 12, 2012, 03:49:39 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;521291
It's not as good and there are analogue characters from Memory, Sorrow & Thorn. But overall, the characters aren't really a patch on those from MST. He still has a thing for fairies/fey/elves and they are again to the fore with slight differences from before.

This series has greater scope than MST and i'm just getting to that about 1/4the way through book 2 of 4. So it's pretty slow too.

That wasn't a ringing endorsement was it?

To sum up, i think the overarching story is more epic and with more strands to it, but characterisation isn't up to his normal standard.
Sounds like it wouldn't hurt to pick it up at Half Price books or something.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on March 16, 2012, 10:04:40 PM
Anyone ever read Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons by Shelly Mazzanoble?

I got it thrown at me by a friend and I'm about a quarter of the way through it and it just feels weird. Entertaining, but weird.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Marleycat on March 16, 2012, 11:57:50 PM
Quote from: jeff37923;521959
Anyone ever read Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons by Shelly Mazzanoble?

I got it thrown at me by a friend and I'm about a quarter of the way through it and it just feels weird. Entertaining, but weird.


Haven't read but I'd love to I enjoy her column.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 18, 2012, 09:02:51 AM
I finished Bloodforged by Nathan Long. It was pretty good. The story was all about vampires vs. Chaos, with the majority of it taking place in the city of Praag, in Kislev.

While technically book 2 of a trilogy, the book is fine as a standalone, if you are even mildly familiar with the Warhammer world. I mainly read it because it was set in Kislev, and I enjoyed it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on March 18, 2012, 06:09:19 PM
Quote from: Marleycat;521970
Haven't read but I'd love to I enjoy her column.


I'll mail it to you if you want it.

Fair warning, though. The book seemed to transform into a veiled advertisement for D&D 4E in the chapter that used character roles (controller, defender, striker, leader) as a form of pop psychology Myers-Briggs personality profile. You have been warned.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 19, 2012, 10:29:03 PM
Next up is The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. I've read one of his other books and liked it, so hopefully this will be good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on March 24, 2012, 06:03:31 AM
Just started "Throne of the Crescent Moon," by Saladin Ahmed today. I'm four chapters in and am really enjoying it so far. The two heroes of the story are an aging ghul hunter and his young dervish apprentice. I really like how the old ghul hunter (he's in his 60s when the book begins) is looking back on his life of adventure and regretting not settling down, raising a family and living a non-adventuresome life. It makes for a nice counterpoint to his younger partners zeal for the life of a warrior.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 26, 2012, 11:24:11 AM
I finished The Heroes last night. Very good book, especially if you like military fantasy. It's a take on England vs. Scotland, but in a fantasy world. Not a lot of magic, mostly just warriors. Probably half the book was battle scenes (from a big, three-day battle).

Next up is Realms of the Dead, which is a short story collection about undead in the Forgotten Realms.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on March 27, 2012, 08:08:58 PM
About a quarter of the way through the first Mass Effect book "Revelation".

It reads like a generic space opera story so far, with numerous generic tropes from numerous other sci-fi IPs.  Not sure if I'll finish this book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 27, 2012, 08:37:46 PM
Next up is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I've heard it's really good, and I'm partway in and like it. Very different from my standard fantasy/sf reading.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on March 27, 2012, 10:23:54 PM
Reading God's Demon by Wayne Barlowe, about halfway through and it is pretty damn entertaining so far. Barlowe is known as a science fiction and fantasy artist, but he is quite capable as a writer as well. I'm both disgusted and fascinated by his description of Hell and its inhabitants.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: two_fishes on March 28, 2012, 10:48:17 AM
I read the Dying Earth series by Jack Vance a few years ago, and I loved it. So a little while ago I picked up a copy of Araminta Station by him and now I'm a few chapters in. There's been a bunch of exposition and now some fairly stock, wooden characters have been introduced. I've been waiting for it to start getting good. Does it, or am I wasting my time with it?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: two_fishes on March 28, 2012, 10:49:57 AM
Also, Love in the Time of the Cholera, yes. Classic for a reason.

"Go ahead and shoot. There is no greater honour than to die for love!"

"You son of a bitch!"
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 28, 2012, 11:00:47 AM
Quote from: two_fishes;524457
I read the Dying Earth series by Jack Vance a few years ago, and I loved it. So a little while ago I picked up a copy of Araminta Station by him and now I'm a few chapters in. There's been a bunch of exposition and now some fairly stock, wooden characters have been introduced. I've been waiting for it to start getting good. Does it, or am I wasting my time with it?

It is an awesome book, one of my absolute favorites from Vance. It will go places you never expect, and I was actually surprised by the resolution of the central mystery. Also the ending kicks ass, but if you don't like Glawen who is 100% cop, you wont like the series.  The first sequel Ecce and Old Earth is also great, the second Throy, is more like an epilogue than an actual novel.
Anyway, I'd wait until after Glawen makes a couple of trips out of town before dropping it- that's where shit really starts to cook.

Vance takes his time with it, though, but i think the payoff is worth it. I reread it every few years,
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on March 28, 2012, 12:01:54 PM
Quote from: two_fishes;524457
I read the Dying Earth series by Jack Vance a few years ago, and I loved it. So a little while ago I picked up a copy of Araminta Station by him and now I'm a few chapters in. There's been a bunch of exposition and now some fairly stock, wooden characters have been introduced. I've been waiting for it to start getting good. Does it, or am I wasting my time with it?
The novel doesn't go much anywhere, and Glawen is a fairly uninteresting character compared to Wayness, the vastly more likeable and active heroine of Ecce and Old Earth, but the trilogy has some of my pieces of vancian prose:

Quote
Sunje inspected Glawen sidelong. "Bureau B? What a fascinating line of work! As I undestand it, you patrol the shores and guard the Conservancy from attack?"
"That is a fair statement", said Glawen. "Although for a fact we have other duties as well."
"Would you think me impertinent if I asked to see your gun?"
Glawen smiled politely. "You are at a misapprehension. We handle guns only when out on patrol."
"Oh, what a shame! I have long wondered whether the patrollers truly file notches for every Yip they had killed."
Again Glawen smiled. "I'd be filing every minute of my spare time! My business is killing Yips, not keeping a head count, which never would be wholly exact. When I set fire to a crowded boatload, I can only estimate the casualties. In any event, it's a useless statistic, since for every Yip I kill, two or three step forward. The sport has lost its zest."
Milo asked: "Could you possibly take Sunje out on a patrol and let her shoot a few Yips on her own?"
"I don't see why not." Glawen turned to Sunje. "Mind you, I can't guarantee any sport. Sometimes days or even weeks go by without a single honest shot."
Julian looked at Sunje. "What do you say? Here's your chance, if you're ready for it."
Sunje stalked across the room and flung herself into a chair. "I think you're all rather vapid."
Milo told Glawen: "Perhaps I should mention that Sunje endorses the program of the New Humanists, who are in turn the cutting edge of the Peefers."
"LPFers, if you don't mind."
"These are terms and phrases from the nomenclature of Naturalist politics, Milo explained to Glawen. L, P and F stand for 'Life', 'Peace' and 'Freedom'. Julian is an ardent member of the group."
Glawen said: "With such a slogan, how dare anyone raise his voice in opposition?"
"It's generally agreed that the slogan is the best part of the program", said Milo.
Julian ignored Milo's remark: "Against all sanity, opponents to the great LPF movement not only exist but flourish like noxious weeds."
"These are evidently the 'DWSers': the advocates of 'Death', 'War' and 'Slavery'. Am I right?" said Glawen.
"They are clever and devious!" said Julian. "Never would they flaunt their true colors so brazenly. Instead they call themselves Chartists and think to hold the high ground by waving funny old documents at us."
Milo said: "These documents are known as the Articles of the Naturalist Society and are otherwise known as the Charter. Julian, why don't you read them someday?"
Julian made a debonair gesture. "Far easier to argue from ignorance."
"All this comes as a shock to me," said Glawen. "At the Station we consider the Charter to be the First Law of the Universe. Anyone who thinks otherwise must be a Yip, a madman or the Devil himself.

Quote
At noon she arrived at the Trieste Central Depot, which served New Trieste, north of the Carso, one of the few remaining urban areas still dominated by the Technic Paradigms: a checkerboard of of concrete and glass shapes, rectilinear and identical save for the numbers on the flat roofs. The 'Technic Paradigms' had been applied to New Trieste, and thereafter rejected almost everywhere else on Earth in favor of construction less intellectual and less brutally efficient.

From the Central Depot Wayness rode by subway ten miles south to the Old Trieste Station: a structure of black iron webbing and opal-green glass covering five acres of transit terminals, markets, cafés and a cheerful animation of porters, school children, wandering musicians, persons arriving and departing. At a kiosk Wayness bought a map, which she took to a café by a pair of flower stalls. While she lunched on mussels in a bright red sauce redolent of garlic and rosemary, she studied the map.
For Vance's standout SF, I'd rather recommend The Demon Princes (the best thing he has written IMO), Emphyrio or the early but great To Live Forever (which, oddly, feels like a novel written in and about the roaring twenties).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 28, 2012, 12:15:29 PM
To each there own, I actually prefer Araminita to the Demon Princes, however, Emphario tops them both, imo.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 28, 2012, 12:40:41 PM
Looking over my shelf, I'm going to back peddle a bit. I think the Caldwell Chronicles, like Vance's other  80's-90's series the Lyoness books, starts strong and finishes weak*.  The quality of the Demon Princes is pretty constant, with The Killing Machine being a particular high point imo.

However, I'm going to put my neck out and say that I don't think that Glawen and Kirth are very different from one another in terms of personality. Sure Kirth has the Batman origin to drive him, but Glawen is similarly driven by an urge to preserve his homeland and to solve the central mysteries of the novel the nature of which i wont spoil here. Both of them are very much driven police types.

FWiW, i read Aramanita first and TDP much later, as it was very difficult to find here for a long time and it took me a couple of years to find copies of all 5 books.


*I'm willing to be wrong here in regards to the Lyonesse books, but fuck me if i can remember a single memorable thing about Madouc.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: two_fishes on March 28, 2012, 02:59:37 PM
I think Melan's first quote touches on a concern I'm beginning to have. Glawen seems stiff, a bit of a prude, and not exceptionally likeable, especially if it turns out he'll be slaughtering Yips. The Yips seem to have a genuinely sympathetic cause, and the Chartists come off as elitist and reactionary. Am I intended to love to hate Glawen and enjoy his exploits in a sort of ironic way, like with the characters in Dying Earth? So far it seems to play more straight than that.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on March 28, 2012, 03:08:25 PM
Glawen doesn't slaughter yips, he is purposely being a dick to that girl, and not without justification, but even I said that some folks might have hard time liking him. As with many of Vance's protagonists his cheif character trait is probably near psychotic resolve.  
There's more going on with the yips than it first appears, way more. Try to keep in mind that the charter fucks the people who support it too, they can't expand their settlements and many of them are forced to move off world as adults as a result. the point of the charter is not to serve the chartists but to keep Caldwell as a nature reserve.

Frankly, I have no issue with the fact Melan isn't a fan of the book, but I very much disagree with his contention that it doesn't go anywhere.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 11, 2012, 10:16:32 PM
Made it about halfway through Love in the Time of Cholera. Not my cup of tea.

Next up is The Urban Fantasy Anthology, edited by Peter Beagle. I've already read three of the stories (by Bull, de Lint, and Gaiman), and I really like it. Of course, they are three of my favorite authors, so it's no real surprise.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on April 12, 2012, 09:05:33 AM
A local bookstore has decently preserved copies of Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Hassan, and Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

They're cheap, but it's not like I have a lot of time to read right now.

What does the thread have to say? Pick 'em up or leave 'em?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 12, 2012, 09:28:46 AM
I'd get them, if I were you. I haven't read that particular Kay series, but his other stuff has all been good. I like the Covenant series, though if you are easily offended, you'll probably not like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on April 12, 2012, 02:41:28 PM
I haven't read anything bad by Guy Guvernel Kay.

Don't pick up God's Demon by Wayne Barlowe. Thie first half of the book is good, but it starts to slow down and just lost me near the end. Good feeling for the hellishness of Hell, though.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on April 21, 2012, 09:58:42 PM
I'll be in the UK next week, and I intend to buy a lot of books. Mostly rounding out the series I've started to read (Lankhmar, Dune, Elric, Revelation Space), plus Jack Vance's Demon Princes, maybe some old school space opera (Anderson, Bester, Piper) and hard SF (Niven, Pournelle), and whatever else catches my eye.

Also I'm seriously considering some urban fantasy, maybe Tim Powers, maybe Jim Butcher. What do you suggest? I'm specifically on the lookout for nWoD inspiration.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on April 22, 2012, 01:46:35 PM
Quote from: The Butcher;532424
Also I'm seriously considering some urban fantasy, maybe Tim Powers, maybe Jim Butcher. What do you suggest? I'm specifically on the lookout for nWoD inspiration.


I'd say Powers.

I haven't kept up to date with his stuff over the last few years, but Last Call, The Anubis Gates, Expiration Date and The Stress of Her Regard are all good yarns.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 06, 2012, 07:44:51 PM
I finally finished The Urban Fantasy Anthology. It was very, very good. If you like urban fantasy, this book provides an excellent cross-section of the genre.

Next up is A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire. I thought the first book in the series was pretty good, so hopefully this will improve upon it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on May 06, 2012, 08:17:15 PM
Picked up another pile of SF and fantasy (mostly SF) stuff. Right now I'm 2/3s through Redemption Ark and boy it's getting good. Next up is Absolution Gap, of course.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 15, 2012, 09:14:33 PM
I finished A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire. It was very good. Much better than the first October Daye novel (it's a series). Not sure yet what I'm going to read next.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 17, 2012, 08:02:43 PM
Now reading The Belgariad by David Eddings. I read this back in the 80's, and largely forget the storyline. I'm maybe 50 pages into Pawn of Prophecy, and so far, it's pretty damn good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 20, 2012, 09:48:56 PM
I finished Pawn of Prophecy. Excellent book. I can see why it was so popular. Next up is Queen of Sorcery.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 25, 2012, 09:45:40 AM
I finished up Queen of Sorcery and then started Magician's Gambit last night. The series is still very good, though there were a couple odd lapses in Queen (especially Silk not recognizing Ce'Nedra in her "disguise").

In any case, I am really glad I decided to read this series again. I don't remember most of it, so it's almost like reading it for the first time.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 27, 2012, 04:18:56 PM
Finished up Magician's Gambit last night. It was very good. I'm already halfway through Castle of Wizardry. I have to say I'm very glad I decided to read this series again.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on May 27, 2012, 10:50:21 PM
Just finished Hex by Allen Steele (it was OK) and am now starting on Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. I already like this book because by page 9, Scalzi has managed to make me laugh with the character's banter including the phrase that made me do so, "Jack, you let your dog blow shit up."

I think H. Beam Piper would be happy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 28, 2012, 07:52:14 AM
I finished Magician's Gambit last night, after basically just reading all day. I liked it. Next up is Enchanter's Endgame.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: StormBringer on May 29, 2012, 11:38:49 AM
Ok, finished up the first three Wheel of Time books, and I am considering whether or not to continue.  I have heard from Sigmund that the next books start getting bogged down in talky-talky political stuff, which doesn't sound particularly interesting.  There are tons of non-fiction books I would rather read along those lines.

I will probably check the fourth book out of the library before buying it, or at least read a few chapters while I am there.  Any opinions?  Does it start out well then quickly sink into a morass of character development?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 29, 2012, 06:35:28 PM
Stopping at book 3 is a very good idea for the Wheel of Time series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Imperator on May 30, 2012, 02:31:09 AM
Re-reading A Song of Ice and fire because the Spanish translation of A Dance of Dragons is coming next month. I'm at A Storm of Swords and this far I'm happy. There are many things I forgot from previous readings, and I am enjoying it inmensely.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: StormBringer on May 30, 2012, 12:04:54 PM
Quote from: danbuter;543638
Stopping at book 3 is a very good idea for the Wheel of Time series.
Between you and Sigmund, I will consider the matter resolved.  :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 31, 2012, 05:03:16 PM
I finished Enchanter's End Game last night. I liked it quite a bit. The Belgariad held up very well since I last read it, which is a pleasant surprise.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 02, 2012, 10:59:15 PM
Now reading The World House by Guy Adams. It's ok, so far. Not a lot happening. Just people getting sucked into some interdimensional house that has all kinds of weird stuff happening in it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on June 02, 2012, 11:51:31 PM
Quote from: StormBringer;543780
Between you and Sigmund, I will consider the matter resolved.  :)

Hold to this as if your life depends on it. Remember those boring chapters that take place in Tar Valon in which nothing really happens? Things get ever so much worse, and its not politics that ruin the books, it's padding combined with a really fucked up view of gender relations. Honestly I don't which annoys me more his portrayal of women, men or the relationships between the two. There are time when it seems that every woman is the book is suffering from a bizarre form of pms and every man has somehow given up his nuts.

Now, if you'll excuse me, sheepherder, I have to go tug on my braid, stomp my foot and withhold important information from my friends, because despite the fact we're continuously being separated, I'm sure I'll have time to tell them later.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: StormBringer on June 03, 2012, 12:20:45 AM
Quote from: Aos;545273
Hold to this as if your life depends on it. Remember those boring chapters that take place in Tar Valon in which nothing really happens? Things get ever so much worse, and its not politics that ruin the books, it's padding combined with a really fucked up view of gender relations. Honestly I don't which annoys me more his portrayal of women, men or the relationships between the two. There are time when it seems that every woman is the book is suffering from a bizarre form of pms and every man has somehow given up his nuts.

Now, if you'll excuse me, sheepherder, I have to go tug on my braid, stomp my foot and withhold important information from my friends, because despite the fact we're continuously being separated, I'm sure I'll have time to tell them later.
Your last sentence convinced me.  If that wasn't channelling Jordan, I don't know what is.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 05, 2012, 04:40:11 PM
I finished up The World House last night. It was ok. There were some pretty cool ideas in it, but the writing wasn't great and the ending was flat.

Next up is The God Catcher by Erin Evans. It's set in post-spellplague Waterdeep. It's standalone, like the other Waterdeep novels. I'm only partway in, and so far it's decent. The plot is still getting set up, so I don't have a whole lot to go off of, yet, other than there's some dragons using people as part of some game.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on June 05, 2012, 06:52:25 PM
I reread Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, and am not re-reading Monster Hunters International, MH: Vendetta and soon MH: Alpha.

I'm doing this because I'm out of new books and they're the ones that are the oldes in my sets which fit my mood.  I'm waiting on a book in the Rachel Morgan series. I'm hoping it will stop making me want to strangle the protagonist, if it doesn't I'm done. She's just rather good at causing her own problems and you'd think she'd learn.

 I may be going back and re-reading Kitty Norville stuff--at least that character  learns from her mistakes.

I do have a couple of books on the way. About it.



I need new stuff to read, any ideas folks? Preferably stuff, not so new, that I can get it from the library. Urban Fantasy is good, strange modern stuff is good, sci-fi is good. Traditional fantasy is out for now. Kinda burned out on it unless its got a bit of humor (The Garrett series for example.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 05, 2012, 07:17:39 PM
Look up Charles de Lint. He's my favorite urban fantasy author, and he has something like 40 books in print. His Newford books are must-reads if you like the genre.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Melan on June 06, 2012, 11:22:36 AM
Ray Bradbury has died today. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18345350) May he rest in peace.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 06, 2012, 11:28:36 AM
Crap. I've read a bunch of his books. But honestly, I didn't think he was still alive. He got to live a very long life.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on June 12, 2012, 02:24:52 AM
I'm reading Wim Hof's Becoming the Iceman, its about a modern day adventurer who holds eighteen world records in ice endurance. Not your normal fictional source of inspiration, but I'm finding it very interesting in terms of what the human body can do when the mind is fully in control. Hint: just about anything.

This in turn has led me to research Buddhist practises like Tummo Yoga, which has opened up a whole world of fascinating disciplines, readily applicable to games. If someone wanted to play hard sci-fi or say espionage, you could still introduce apparently magical powers with these guys.

Jogging up Mount Everest in your shorts is impossible you say? :D Yeah he's a real life PC if ever I've seen one.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: StormBringer on June 12, 2012, 12:33:24 PM
Quote from: danbuter;546544
Crap. I've read a bunch of his books. But honestly, I didn't think he was still alive. He got to live a very long life.
And he had some very devoted fans (http://en.vidivodo.com/video/fuck-me-ray-bradbury/412065).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 17, 2012, 07:48:34 PM
I finished up The God Catcher a few days back. I really enjoyed it (in fact, I recommend all of the new Waterdeep novels though Downshadow was only average).

Next up is Lisey's Story by Stephen King. It's been a few years since I've read one of his books, and I expect I will love this one.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on June 21, 2012, 02:42:15 AM
Read Banks' Surface Detail which led to a reread of Use of Weapons. The latter book engaged me far more than it did on my first read through over a decade ago. It's billed and often described as a meditation on redemption, but to me it seemed more concerned with the absurdity of trying to measure justice within the context of war and the license for atrocity those acting in the interest of the  'greater good' grant themselves.  The final scenes juxtaposing the truth about what Zakalwe has done in the past with the shit the Culture has just had him do on their behalf, the shit they did themselves after lying to him and the drone attempting to save his life in the name of good works when its obvious he wants to die is sublime. I couldn't make sense of it all and I was left with the distinct impression that there was no sense to made of it, which is neato.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 01, 2012, 08:30:36 PM
I gave up on Lisey's Story about halfway through. It just wasn't doing anything for me. I guess if you're looking for an introspective look at a widow dealing with some very nasty insanity issues, you'll like it. I didn't. Also, Stephen King has for some reason decided that inventing new words makes up for storytelling. He did it in the latter Gunslinger novels, and he's doing it here in spades.

Next up is Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire. It's book 3 in her October Daye series. I liked the first two, and hope this one will also be good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 10, 2012, 08:27:11 PM
I finished An Artificial Night a few days back. It's very good, especially if you like Faerie mythology (Blind Michael is the major antagonist in this book, for example). Seanan's writing is also improving. This is book 3 in her October Daye series, and so far, it's the best I've read. I'll be looking for Book 4 in the near future.

Next up Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson. It's part of the Malazan series, and I fully expect it will be fantastic, like all the previous books.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on July 27, 2012, 08:01:45 PM
Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy
I have a couple of military history books by Goldsworthy which have served me well over the years, so I decided to check out this title. Quite large and packed with detail but a good solid read. I enjoy the fact that Goldsworthy doesn't just mention things and move on. Instead he really explores all the components of his narrative. Goldsworthy's background on military history really shines here.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: taknight on July 28, 2012, 08:08:59 AM
Read A Warrior's Tale by Lorna Suzuki. She's a fantastic indie fantasy author who has scored a movie trilogy deal for her first three books. The first is in full production and will be out in 2013.

The book was amazing.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jibbajibba on July 30, 2012, 09:24:37 AM
Just reading Song of Dying Earth. A bunch of Fantasy names riffing on the Dying Earth wizard-verse. Martin, Gaiman amongst others.

Some really nice short stories and best thig i got the hardback for £2 in a remaindered book shop.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on July 30, 2012, 01:58:44 PM
I'm currently reading Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan stuff, because hey most of it was free, and I'd been interested in reading it in the past.

The series varies a bit in quality, but overall is quite good. I'm rather amused by the character of Vorkosigan/Naismith (depending on which name and personality is using at the time.) Unlike some military-esque space opera/sci fi,  he doesn't seem to get overall more powerful as time goes on. He shows the same skills, honed, and improved, but not increased to absurd levels. He also has several critical flaws which make him far from the normal protagonist of such fiction. His ego, his brittle bones and stature (and the social prejudice that comes with that) among other things.


Overall I could recommend this series, especially since its available for free on e-book readers via the Baen website. (Mind you a couple of the books aren't available there for free, but the vast majority are.)

Its fun and fast, and quite a quick read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: taknight on August 01, 2012, 03:15:08 PM
I picked up The Hunger Games eBook for $5. I figure I'll see what it's all about, then maybe see the movie.

I've also got Robert Jordan's Eye of the World in my queue, and Stephen King's Eye of the Dragon.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 03, 2012, 01:17:12 AM
I like Hunger Games. The movie is pretty good, as well, though very limited, because of its PG rating.  Toget a good idea of what it is about, there is a fan movie on YouTube that covers a much earlier Hunger Games (and has no spoilers for the books or the theater movie) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mUjssn86h4 . This version is only 10 mins long, and is very well done.

I finished up Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson. I really liked it, but I've liked all of the Malazan books so far.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on August 03, 2012, 04:53:52 PM
Just finished The Wind Through the Keyhole, by Stephen King. Its another in his gunslinger opus, which started magnificently before winding down to a cynical and shallow ending, in my opinion, so I wasn't overly optimistic getting into this. After three pages, I was sure I had guessed correctly, but by ten pages in I was absolutely hooked.

Its an extract from the adventures of Roland and his ka-tet (karmic social circle) on their way towards the tower. I won't give any spoilers but it hearkens all the way back to his Eyes of the Dragon book, a great read I was unable to put down, and there aren't many books I can say that about these days.

King elaborates on the richly detailed cultures of Midworld, giving life to the setting by including its own peculiar slang and sayings, echoes of an alien yet so familiar culture. More dry dusty wisdom from the gunslinger Mr King! Moar!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 04, 2012, 09:22:50 PM
Now reading The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson. I figured I'd stick with Malazan a bit longer. I usually take a break between books, but I really liked the last one. This book is back to my favorite characters, which is a huge plus.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: IceBlinkLuck on August 09, 2012, 11:23:10 PM
I'm about a third of the way through 'The Drawing of The Dark' by Tim Powers. I've read a ton of James Blaylock and it occurred to me that I've never read any Powers, even though he and Blaylock are often mentioned at the same time. So I ordered 'Anubis Gates,' 'The Drawing of the Dark,' and 'The Stress of her Regard' from Amazon and have been working my way through them.

Drawing of the Dark is a historical/fantasy set during the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into what had been the remnants of the Holy Roman Empire. The main character is a ex-soldier, sometimes fencing master who is hired to become the bouncer at tavern in Vienna that makes a very special beer. The events of the book are set against the backdrop of the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman army. It's been a fun read so far. Powers seems to have a firm grasp of the time period and great skill at describing combats. At the heart of the book seems to be a mystical struggle between the supernatural elements of western European mythology and those of the Near East.

I've already finished Anubis Gates. I really enjoyed the strange mix of time travel and historical fantasy. It's certainly has a varied cast: Egyptian sorcerors, romantic poets, time-travelling Coleridge scholars and a clown-faced, stilt-walking beggar king who performs strange experiments in London's sewers.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ronin on August 13, 2012, 06:36:31 PM
Finished "The Spy" by Clive Cussler part of the Isaac Bell series, two weeks ago. Read "Beyond Thirty" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a couple days ago. I am currently reading "Fire Burst" by Don Pendleton (House name now a days, actual author Mike Newton) Which I know is trashy adventure. But Im an adventure junkie. Spys, military, and/or pulp style action, yeah count me in:)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: CAJackson on August 28, 2012, 10:07:13 AM
Quote from: danbuter;549553
I finished up The God Catcher a few days back. I really enjoyed it (in fact, I recommend all of the new Waterdeep novels though Downshadow was only average).


If you liked God Catcher, by Erin M. Evans, you should read Brimstone Angels.  She creates some really fine characters.  The sequel "Lesser Evils" will be out soon... I got to read an advanced copy of that and reviewed it.

Erin will also be in on the new "Sundering" series, with Ed Greenwood, RA Salvatore, Richard Lee Byers and others...  She is a true rising star.
Title: Pathfinder Tales novels
Post by: CAJackson on August 28, 2012, 10:12:06 AM
Anyone else enjoying the Pathfinder Tales novels being put out by Paizo?  Dave Gross, Tim Pratt, James Sutter and others have really put out some good stuff.  Not the same feel as the WotC novels...  More like "Small characters, Big Story" type novels...

They also have free webfiction up on their site.  Good stuff!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 03, 2012, 09:05:18 PM
I finished up The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson last night. Very good book. I'm glad he returned to the main Malazan cast.

Next up is Return of the Crimson Guard by Ian Esslemont. This is also set in the Malazan world, and looks like it takes place immediately after "The Bonehunters". I liked his first novel, so hopefully this one is just as good, if not better.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on September 14, 2012, 07:16:10 AM
Are the following China Mieville books good:

Embassytown
City And the City
Railsea
Kraken.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on September 14, 2012, 06:19:44 PM
I'm reading Perdito Street Station, its long and has interesting language choices, but so far its been fun. I've got a few problems with its pacing, but other than that its a decent read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 16, 2012, 10:31:56 PM
I finished up Return of the Crimson Guard. It was very good. Esslemont's writing style is slightly different than Erikson's, and I think the book benefited from it. There was a major setting change near the end of the story, which I'll be interested to see how it's handled in Erikson's Malazan series.

Next up is Reaper's Gale, by Steven Erikson. At this point, I think I'm going to plow through the rest of the series. I really, really like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Simon W on September 18, 2012, 03:34:21 PM
The Jack Nightingale supernatural trilogy by Stephen Leather

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nightfall-Stephen-Leather/dp/1444700642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301773746&sr=8-1

Superb!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on October 02, 2012, 08:01:56 AM
Just started reading the first book i ever bought...and i've never read it until now. Saga of The Exiles by Julian May.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ladybird on October 07, 2012, 07:32:39 PM
I've started on This Book is Full of Spiders, the sequel to John Dies at the End (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dies_at_the_End). It's a rare thing, a comic horror novel that is both funny and horrific, and David is a good writer.

Spiders doesn't quite seem as refined so far - JDATE having been continually worked on for years, as it was published in pieces every halloween - but it's still great.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 09, 2012, 01:07:54 PM
I finished up Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson last night. It was kind of slow for the first half, but the second half made up for it. I'm glad so many of my favorite characters returned in this book. Not sure what I'm going to read next.

SPOILERS


Parts of the finale were kind of lame (how easy the Soletaken dragons were taken out), but overall, it was pretty epic. I'm glad the two Beddict brothers ended up faring so well. It's rare to see the good guys win in this series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on October 09, 2012, 03:35:39 PM
I find Malazan too much hard work. I've no idea what's going on half the time with all the warrens/dimensions and the complete lack of explanation. The books are about twice as long as they need to be. A good length for a fantasy novel is Gemmell's books.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 09, 2012, 10:14:05 PM
I'm the opposite. Malazan has pretty much become my favorite fantasy series, at least up to this point. I do love Gemmell's books, though. I've certainly read enough of them.

In fact, I've decided to continue reading Malazan books. They are addictive. Next up is Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson. It starts all the way back in Darujhistan, which I'm happy about. I'm curious to see what all happens, though the book probably won't contain some of my favorite characters (Fiddler and Quick Ben).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on October 17, 2012, 11:49:29 AM
Reading Sailing to Sarantium. Almost finished. There is a good story in the book somewhere but clouded by shifting perspective, flashes-forward and backward (usually by just ten minutes or so and from a different point of view) and occassionally changes in tense (deliberate, not accidental). The structure, while I get he is going for a mosaic effect to mirror the main character's profession, simpy doesn't work for me. I find thesriter keeps pulling me out of the book by these jarring changes. Also not sold on the protagonist. He seems too clever and has too much integrity to be believable to me. Was really looking forward to liking this one too.

I will say the prose is nice when it manages to hold my attention and there are some real stand out moments in the book. But there is a lot to wade through.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: CAJackson on October 18, 2012, 03:41:04 AM
Changes in tense make me...tense.  Seriously, I recently had some serious problems while reading Robin D. Laws "The Worldwound Gambit", which is in present tense.  My problems were not with the book - no jarring changes in tense, and I can't imagine dealing with that - but I was writing a piece in past tense while reading the present tense novel.  I caught myself writing in present tense, and would have to go back and correct myself...  Sheesh!

The Worldwound Gambit is a nice twist on stock RPG fantasy, by the way.  Robin D. Laws is a pro...  I posted a review on Goodreads, and mirrored it on my blog: http://jaxbooks.com/2012/10/the-worldwound-gambit-is-a-nice-twist/
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on October 18, 2012, 07:01:14 AM
Quote from: CAJackson;592223
Changes in tense make me...tense.  Seriously, I recently had some serious problems while reading Robin D. Laws "The Worldwound Gambit", which is in present tense.  My problems were not with the book - no jarring changes in tense, and I can't imagine dealing with that - but I was writing a piece in past tense while reading the present tense novel.  I caught myself writing in present tense, and would have to go back and correct myself...  Sheesh!

The Worldwound Gambit is a nice twist on stock RPG fantasy, by the way.  Robin D. Laws is a pro...  I posted a review on Goodreads, and mirrored it on my blog: http://jaxbooks.com/2012/10/the-worldwound-gambit-is-a-nice-twist/


I fairnessthe changes in tense were not abrupt and they were rare (so they never happened in the middle of a section written in past tense). But with all the other stuff like flashbacks andchanges in point of view) it just felt a bit dizzying.

Interesting you mention Robin D Laws. I just woke up from a dream where he wastrying to kill me for some reason.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ladybird on October 18, 2012, 08:19:17 AM
So I finished This Book is Full of Spiders. David Wong is great at foreshadowing a situation, letting the reader think it's going to be pretty bad, and then making it worse when it does appear. It's great, I would totally recommend this book.

Contrary to my first impressions earlier, I think that it hangs together as a better story, due to having been written as one book and not a series of instalments. The alternating viewpoints work for the story, it means that the John segments are much more sensible, but that's okay.

I like that there are a lot of questions about [Undisclosed] that are still unanswerred, which makes it more than just another boring hellmouth; this book does not tie up any loose ends, Dave and John are just as much in the dark as we are, and I hope if there are any more books that this doesn't change. It's also got a brilliantly fierce critique of "zombie apocalypse" culture, which I really enjoyed.

Next on the list, when it arrives next week, is Jam, by Yahtzee Croshaw. Apparently it's about an apocalypse, with jam in it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on October 19, 2012, 03:01:28 AM
Not a lot of book loot on this trip. Just a battered copy of Greg Egan's Diaspora (is it any good?) and a TPB of 1960s Marvel stuff (I'm on a big Silver Age and Jack Kirby kick, thanks at least in part to Aos).

Also managed to lose my copy of Ken MacLeod's Cosmonaut Keep when I was in chapter 6. Wasn't crazy about it but again, I was only in chapter 6. Does it pick up after that?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: CAJackson on October 19, 2012, 04:30:28 PM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;592244
Interesting you mention Robin D Laws. I just woke up from a dream where he was trying to kill me for some reason.


Bad review, maybe?  ;-P
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on October 19, 2012, 07:25:51 PM
Quote from: CAJackson;593115
Bad review, maybe?  ;-P



Who knows. This dream was followed by another last night where I was eating prawn flavored bagels and being chased by a mad robot space queen. So my guess is stress is to blame for the first nightmare.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on October 20, 2012, 07:42:52 AM
Read Priests of Mars by Graham Mcneill.

Most of the reviews i've seen are pretty fair; it's clearly part of a sequence which is fine. Bit slow to get going, lots of basil exposition but the pieces are in place for the grand plot involving eldar and mechanicus shenaninigans. the antagonist thus far is interesting and a bit creepy. Apart from a couple of places (I don't liek the use of 'ancient terran' words, and the naming of a prominent enginseer character as karyn sylkwood was naff) the writing is solid.

I started reading DC's 'Blackest Night' but it's toilet. Like most modern DC it seems yet another superhero soap opera, only this time it's an attempt to cash in on the popularity of zombies (particularly int he wake of marvel zombies). Lot's of big heroes are dead, boo hoo, we all know that won't last.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: noisms on October 23, 2012, 05:41:15 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;588559
Just started reading the first book i ever bought...and i've never read it until now. Saga of The Exiles by Julian May.


How was it? I read it when I was about 13 but have forgotten almost everything about it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on November 09, 2012, 06:52:00 PM
I'm still reading Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson. I'm about 500 pages in. I hate to say it, but this book is a big letdown from the rest of the series. I could easily have cut 100 pages out of this half and not even noticed.

500 pages in, and there's only been a few interesting things happening. There is a lot of set-up going on, though, so I suspect the final 200 pages will basically be awesome. At least, I hope so.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: noisms on November 10, 2012, 06:49:44 AM
I'm reading Dark Companions, a collection of horror short stories by Ramsey Campbell. My minor claim to fame is that I went to school with Ramsey Campbell's son.

It's pretty good. Some of the stories are scarier than others, and some a bit too slow, but they're all nicely creepy. There are three pieces - "Napier Court", "The Proxy" and "The Little Voice" - that I found genuinely disturbing and upsetting. Campbell has a way of building an eerie atmosphere without ever quite letting you know what has happened, even in the climax. And universally the endings are bleak beyond measure.
Title: Free is good...
Post by: CAJackson on November 29, 2012, 04:41:14 AM
Picked up a give-away copy of "His Majesty's Dragon" at a con last summer, and I'm finally getting around to reading it.  Man!  Naomi Novik can effing write!  Then again, I'm a huge Patrick O'brian fan, and this is basically "Master and Commander" with dragons...  Really well done!  I can see why she got a Campbell award.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on December 03, 2012, 04:38:48 PM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;592244
Interesting you mention Robin D Laws. I just woke up from a dream where he wastrying to kill me for some reason.

I'm envious, I had a dream where a four armed half-spider lady of impressive proportions had captured myself and a few others and was doing experiments on us in a surreal high tech lab. I managed to convince the turncoat of the group to do away with her using a scientific utensil before waking up. I'll never buy that brand of Brie again I can tell you.

Currently reading Red Seas Under Red Skies, the sequel to the Lies of Locke Lamora. Its not as compelling as the first book, but I feels it's building towards something. Normally I'm charitable towards the sequels of insanely awesome books, but this is just tough going. We shall see.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on December 04, 2012, 12:56:37 PM
My confidence is fully restored, this is a great book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: ggroy on December 09, 2012, 01:46:38 PM
Been reading a "Galaxy Quest" novelization.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on December 21, 2012, 01:50:54 PM
Tried reading Hell Ship by Philip Palmer, about the last member of a warrior race whose home and people are killed by the inscrutable masters of the titular slave vessel that goes around doing just that acorss the universe. I couldn't get into the story, but the writing is fantastic. Light on the science, colourful, peppy and just the right amount of camp and humour. Very pulpy in many ways. The characters are extreme and diverse and the language at times is quite fruity, witness an insult such as "son who comforts his mother's rapist"!

Read THe Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder who is also an excellent writer. Both are people i've never read before. This is the second in a light steampunk trilogy revolving around an alternate nineteenth century that is created in book 1 which i've yet to read. The main characters are taken from real life and the main duo are Algernon Swinburne and Sir Richard Burton. It's got a lot of humour and the plot revolves around mesmerism and robots and also features a steampunk cyborg version of Isembard Kingdom Brunel with a cameo from Babbage and others (without spoiling).

Currently I'm reading and thoroughly enjoying the latest Kingdom of Jackals novel, From The Dark of the Deeps, by Stephen Hunt. His first novel in this sequence, The Court of the Air, was rubbished by sniffy people on rpg.net much to my chagrin, but I really like these books. They are a steampunk/fantasy in a world like our own but with differences. The titular kingdom is essentially England, but there are also such things as a race of steampowered robots with their own voodoo religion, magic (though that rarely manifests explicitly) and even a religion based around rationality ("synthetic morality") and atheism called Circlism. It's a well developed setting, and the books are very enjoyable with some recurring characters, rousing dialogue and epic plots.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: CAJackson on December 22, 2012, 08:39:40 AM
Quote from: CAJackson;603498
Picked up a give-away copy of "His Majesty's Dragon" at a con last summer, and I'm finally getting around to reading it.  Man!  Naomi Novik can effing write!  Then again, I'm a huge Patrick O'brian fan, and this is basically "Master and Commander" with dragons...  Really well done!  I can see why she got a Campbell award.


Okay, I spoke too soon.  I put this up when I was about halfway through the novel... I have changed my opinion.  The novel started beautifully, but then Ms. Novik blew the whole thing out the window...  I was utterly let down by the second half of the book.  Breaking the laws of physics with no magical or other explanation is one of my MAJOR peeves...  Read my review: http://jaxbooks.com/2012/12/betrayed-by-his-majestys-dragon/
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 02, 2013, 09:30:38 AM
I finally finished Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson last night. As usual, the final 200 pages were amazing. It's the lead-up to them that was a yawn. I really think that Erikson would benefit greatly from a tough editor. I could have easily cut 100 pages from this book and no one would have noticed.

Not sure what I'm going to read next, but I'm definitely taking a break from Malazan.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: tuberose on January 03, 2013, 05:40:56 AM
I suspect I will love it, since I'm a huge fan of both.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jibbajibba on January 03, 2013, 06:05:58 AM
Quote from: The Traveller;605355
My confidence is fully restored, this is a great book.


Scott was talking about a release date for book 3 Republic of Thieves on his Blog - Lynch Industries, but still looks like he has issues with anxiety and depression so we may get more delays, but fair play to him the Lies of Locke Lamora is a work of Genius anyway.

I read my first Dresden novel. Pretty poor really. Writing is weak and characterisations are paper thin but I can see why it appeals to gamers. Nice magic system openly explained.

Started reading the Dark Tower from book 1 which I had sworn to avoid until it was finished and liking that a lot more though I know in my heart that as with all of Stephen King's Opus the ending is bound to be shit.

Just finished Extremly Loud and Incredibly Close which is a great book. Jonathan Safran Foer has turned out to be a really great writer even if he is obsessed with the halocaust.

Also re-read Making Money by Pratchett. Almost genius apart from the last bit.

Hey it was xmas holiday and I went on a coach trip intoe h Cameron Highlands what else was I going to do apart from Read and play Angry Birds :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on January 03, 2013, 01:50:30 PM
Quote from: danbuter;613755
I really think that Erikson would benefit greatly from a tough editor. I could have easily cut 100 pages from this book and no one would have noticed.
He's lucky he doesn't have one otherwise he wouldn't have a career. Not taking anything away from the guy, but there's no way, wihtout a very sympathetic editor and publisher, this series would have gotten anywhere. I've thought he needds a better editor ever since I read Deadhouse Gates and didn' thave a fucking clue what the hell was going on.

By contrast Night of Knives was much better. Though again there really is zero exposition.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 03, 2013, 03:42:00 PM
Quote from: jibbajibba;614121

I read my first Dresden novel. Pretty poor really. Writing is weak and characterisations are paper thin but I can see why it appeals to gamers. Nice magic system openly explained.


I assume you read Storm Front. It's easily the worst book in the series (which is really too bad). The series gets better with time (though I think the last book may have jumped the shark).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 03, 2013, 04:52:37 PM
Quote from: danbuter;614298
I assume you read Storm Front. It's easily the worst book in the series (which is really too bad). The series gets better with time (though I think the last book may have jumped the shark).


RE: Dresden Files
While I enjoy the books, I'd like to point out that they're pretty much modern day "pulp." Stories that aren't too complex or deep. I classify them in with Simon Green's Nightside/Hawk and Fisher books. Fun diversion for a short while. I've got a lot of friends who read them and ADORE them, but I don't go that far. Of the urban fantasy lot there are quite a few that are better constructed.




I myself have just finished "Have Spacesuit Will Travel" which is an amusing look at juvenile SF, and "Forever War" which is an interesting SF book, albeit the way people talked about it I expected some more detail on the time dilation aspects. It is interesting and about as deep as I expected from Mil-SF of its era.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 03, 2013, 07:46:06 PM
Speaking of the Dresden Files, I'm now starting Cold Days, the latest book in the series. It was a Christmas gift, and I'm hoping it's awesome.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 08, 2013, 10:47:21 AM
I finished Cold Days last night. It was pretty good, though not the best of the series (much like Ghost Story). I think Butcher is trying too hard. Also, maybe I'm just getting inured to it, but his constant pop culture references fell a bit flat. Not at first, but over time. I think he relies upon them too much.

I won't post spoilers, but I didn't care for the end at all. It was exciting, and big changes are now happening in the series, but I don't like them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on January 08, 2013, 05:37:41 PM
Just finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Great book. I really, really like Gaiman's books, better even than I liked his comics. Put me in the mood for some urban fantasy gaming. Seriously considering picking up The Anansi Boys which I'm told is a sequel of sorts.

Now it's either back to the original Dune series (next up is God-Emperor of Dune) or to some other series I've stopped reading in the middle like Amber (barely even got started with this one, Guns of Avalon is where I stopped) or Revelation Space (Absolution Gap is all that's left) or the Elric saga (I got the second volume of the Del Rey compilation and fuck me if I know what's the first story. I want to say that it's Sailor on the Seas of Fate but I'm not sure).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on January 08, 2013, 05:43:05 PM
Quote from: danbuter;615961
I finished Cold Days last night. It was pretty good, though not the best of the series (much like Ghost Story). I think Butcher is trying too hard. Also, maybe I'm just getting inured to it, but his constant pop culture references fell a bit flat. Not at first, but over time. I think he relies upon them too much.

I won't post spoilers, but I didn't care for the end at all. It was exciting, and big changes are now happening in the series, but I don't like them.


Do you think The Dresden Files is worth picking up for a WW/WoD fan who's not particularly well-read in modern-day urban fantasy? I'm kind of curious but for some reason I'm afraid it's going to read like Joss Whedon (whose TV and movie writing I enjoy, but I'd probably hate it in novel form, if that makes any sense).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 08, 2013, 10:42:13 PM
Probably. I actually think you would be better off picking up some of Charles de Lint's short story collections. He is easily my favorite urban fantasy author. The Dresden Files are very good, though (barring the first book, as I mentioned earlier).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Piestrio on January 09, 2013, 12:43:18 AM
Anyone else reading the last Wheel of Time book?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 10, 2013, 04:46:51 PM
I'm now reading The Knights of the Cornerstone by James P. Blaylock. I haven't read any of his books in years, but I remember they were very good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 16, 2013, 10:39:52 PM
I finished up The Knights of the Cornerstone today. I liked it. It wasn't amazing or anything, but it was fun. I think Blaylock did a great job showing the humanity of both the heroes and villains. Both made really stupid mistakes, along with grand plans that sorta worked out. He does a great job with characterizing people, though not too deeply.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jibbajibba on January 17, 2013, 08:54:48 AM
started reading Abercrombie's Red Country.

genius... started reading it 2 days ago and will finish it tonight . Only 480 pages but it just whizzes by.

He takes the fantasy novel and moves it to the Western frountier of the Union and you get the wild west + s&S...fantastic
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 17, 2013, 05:49:27 PM
I read Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay. Dark story, aimed at teens, world building is kind of interesting, I'd call it a low B story over all.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 17, 2013, 11:01:01 PM
I'm now reading The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It's a modern-day evil vampire book, and it's starting out pretty good, so far.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: noisms on January 18, 2013, 04:56:19 AM
I just finished Teatro Grottesco, a collection of short stories by Thomas Ligotti. I really liked it. Ligotti is billed as horror, but the horror is more existential than anything else - it takes the Lovecraftian idea of an uncaring, cold universe where human lives are meaningless and runs with it to a very dark place indeed. None of the stories shock at all, except in the extremely depressing nature of their conclusions, but the sense of dread they build is really something else.

Some of the stories are better than others. I really liked "In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land", "The Bungalow House", "The Clown Puppet", "Gas Station Carnivals", "Purity", and "Sideshow, and Other Stories".

All the rest are good, except two which I found a bit weak - "Severini" and "The Red Tower" - mostly because I just didn't really understand where they were going. All of the stories in the collection are weird and eschew clear conclusions, but those two in particular just kind of went over my head.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on January 22, 2013, 08:59:39 AM
Has anyone read any Terry Finch? (http://thereprisalizer.com/The_Reprisalizer/About.html)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Joshua Ford on January 23, 2013, 06:33:37 PM
Quote from: Silverlion;619299
I read Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay. Dark story, aimed at teens, world building is kind of interesting, I'd call it a low B story over all.


I read them because I have a deal with one of the students at school that we each recommend books for the others. I'd not enjoyed the film and to be honest found the last two books really slow. Part of it is having a main character who I just didn't like much and who for the most part lived a charmed life, with everyone falling over themselves to die for her.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: CAJackson on January 23, 2013, 07:41:06 PM
Recently finished "The Lost Gate" by Orson Scott Card, and was woefully disappointed.  Ender with magic and a host of cardboard cutouts just didn't work.  You can read my entire review, here.http://jaxbooks.com/2013/01/the-lost-gate-not-quite-ender-with-magic/ (http://jaxbooks.com/2013/01/the-lost-gate-not-quite-ender-with-magic/)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 25, 2013, 05:00:45 PM
I finished up The Strain by del Toro and Hogan last night. It was decent. Pretty much your standard "evil vampire arrives in NYC and starts killing everyone" book. There were some really cool ideas involved, but the plot was pretty straightforward. It also has a much better love story than Twilight! [spoiler]That involves a divorced couple fighting over child custody and their current spouses/girlfriends and basically most everyone dying[/spoiler]

Next up is A Soldier's Duty by Jean Johnson. I haven't read any military sf in a while, and I'm in the mood for it. This looks like it should be pretty decent.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: carla2013 on February 05, 2013, 05:58:54 AM
"Possession" - A.S. Byatt
The action is kind of slow, the book is mostly about letters exchanged by two writers.
There's a movie based on this book too, with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 06, 2013, 03:30:37 PM
I finished up A Soldier's Duty last night. It was pretty good. A powerful psychic as a space marine fighting aliens and organized smugglers. The boot camp part was great (but for some reason, I love boot camp scenes in books and movies).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 09, 2013, 06:03:56 PM
I'm now reading The Last Centurion by John Ringo. It's a post-apocalypse book, set as a bunch of blog entries, as the initial crash is over and the internet is just restarting. It's actually quite good, so far, if a bit crude (the perspective is from a combat Marine).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on March 02, 2013, 05:19:28 PM
Working my way through George RR Martin's "A Dance With Dragons" at the moment, a hefty volume. I have to say I'm not really enjoying it, working through it is an apt description. He appears to have succumbed to the same name spaghetti literary technique as Steven Erikson's Malazan series, where numerous characters are named in part or in full on the bulk of pages, many of whom have no bearing on the story and will never be heard from again.

This has the jarring effect of disorienting a reader as the mind tries to recall where these characters came from, or if they have any connection to anything. It doesn't add to the story or move the plot forward that Martin is sitting there with a big list of names on wall chart beside him. Filler for fat novels comes from describing the mundane details of a character's life, an area at least where Martin has shown some mastery, not engaging in the written equivalent to vocal fry.

One page for example, the one I have open in front of me, we have Jon Snow, Tormund Giantsbane, Jarl, Craster, Craster's son, Arya, Dalla, Stannis, Val, Melisandre, and the red woman. That's just one page, the majority are similar, I'm having a hard time calling up the details of half these characters. It makes for a painful read, I feel like I should have a spreadsheet to check on the computer beside me.

He was doing the same thing earlier with the standards and houses of Westeros but at least that was mercifully short lived. In summary, I don't think you should need experience with relational databases to be able to enjoy a book of fantasy fiction.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Sigmund on March 07, 2013, 05:36:19 PM
Reading Punktown right now, which is ok. Kinda reminds me of a sci-fi Thieve's World where all the short stories are written by the same author.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 09, 2013, 10:02:22 PM
I finished up The Last Centurion by John Ringo last night. It had some neat ideas, but overall, was pretty average. He harped a bit too much on political hot topics. Even though I kind of agree with him on many of his points, it got a bit tiresome.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 11, 2013, 05:34:00 PM
I'm now reading Death's Heretic by James L. Sutter. It's a Pathfinder book, set in Golarion's version of Arabia. It seems pretty good so far.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: CAJackson on March 15, 2013, 12:49:23 PM
Quote from: danbuter;636212
I'm now reading Death's Heretic by James L. Sutter. It's a Pathfinder book, set in Golarion's version of Arabia. It seems pretty good so far.


Sutter weaves a wonderful tale indeed.  If you enjoy this one, look into Dave Gross's novels and Tim Pratt's as well.  Of course, you may also look at the soon to be released "Pirate's Honor" by...well...some guy...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on March 18, 2013, 06:06:49 PM
I'm reading The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham at the moment. Very enjoyable, striking a good balance between pace and detail, maybe not Literature but if you like fantasy, you'll like this.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on March 18, 2013, 06:52:28 PM
I'm reading the "Master of White Storm" by Janny Wurts. Man I used to love this book, but it really isn't as good as I remember.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 25, 2013, 07:14:24 PM
I finished Death's Heretic last night. I liked it a lot. It wasn't perfect, but the story revolved around a guy whose mission is killing people who are trying to extend their lives unnaturally, along with undead. He works for the Goddess of Death, and I really liked this concept.
Title: Stuck on RPG fiction
Post by: CAJackson on March 26, 2013, 03:27:35 PM
Been reading (and writing) a lot of RPG fiction lately.  I loved James Sutter's "Death's Heretic", and Tim Pratt's two Pathfinder Tales novels, City of the Fallen Sky, and Liar's Blade.  it's great to see a Hugo winner writing for Paizo and enjoying it.

Lately read Dave Gross's latest Pathfinder Tales, Queen of Thorns, and very much enjoyed it.  He's doing very well with that series.  I also had the honor of doing a beta read for him on his next work, King of Chaos, and loved that as well.  One of the POV characters in that novel is a secondary character from the previous novel, and a paladin.  Writing a paladin first person alongside his other two mainstays must have been a challenge, but he pulled it off.  That novel is due out in August, from Paizo.  Dave is on a roll, and will undoubtedly do more in that series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Saplatt on March 30, 2013, 01:09:05 AM
Just finished Nightglass, by Liane Merciel. (Pathfinder Tales, set in Nidal and Cheliax).

First half of the book was slow and dismal.  Like Harry Potter set in Star Trek's  Evil Parallel Universe.  I actually gave up on it for a couple weeks and only went back because I needed something to read while killing time in a hospital waiting room.

Halfway through, it made a big shift.  Suddenly we're in Golarion's version of Deadwood. My interest peaked. The plot picks up and oh so many possibilities there! But way too soon we fall into a Dances with Wolves resolution. Not really what I was hoping for, but the main character is just interesting enough to support a sequel.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 31, 2013, 10:22:43 PM
I'm now reading The Wizard and the Warlord by Elizabeth H. Boyer. This was one of my favorite books back in high school. I am pretty sure I haven't read it since 1988 or so. I was digging through my books and found it, so I am now going to reread it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 03, 2013, 11:01:27 PM
I've not really been reading much this month. I'm about halfway through The Wizard and the Warlord by Elizabeth H. Boyer. It's one of the first fantasy novels I ever read, as my sister gave it to me at Christmas when I was a kid. It's still pretty darn good, though I notice stuff that I never noticed when I was a teen. If you like viking-style books, Boyer is a good find.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 15, 2013, 06:03:41 PM
I finished up The Wizard and the Warlord. I enjoyed it, but I have to admit my tastes have changed. Not sure what I'll read next.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jibbajibba on May 16, 2013, 02:30:00 AM
I have moreorless given up on The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, I think you really need to be into 20th Italian history and popular culture to grokk it.

I am on a bus to Tioman next week so imight take it to finish off on the way.

Am reading Calvino's on a Winter's Night a Traveller ands its compelling and frustrating in equal measure (it involves a guy trying to track down a book and each other chapter is from a different book he reads whilst trying to track it down)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 16, 2013, 09:35:17 AM
I also tried that book a few years back (Mysterious Flame). I got about 100 pages in and gave up. Eco seems to wander to much in his later books. I still love some of his earlier stuff, though.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Rincewind1 on May 16, 2013, 01:56:51 PM
I also have a love/hate relationship with The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. I love fragments from the book - when I randomly open and read a few pages, they are usually grand. As a whole however, it is somewhat boring.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 30, 2013, 03:02:12 PM
Next up is Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis. I'm only partway in. It is pretty good so far, though I suspect it may get a bit more into the underground sex scene in the US than I will be comfortable with. In any case, it's about a private eye who is hired to find an alternative Constitution, that was lost and is being traded around among various groups.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 05, 2013, 10:21:06 PM
I finished up Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis. It was well written, but fairly disturbing. He intentionally had the main character, a private investigator,  run into some serious freaks while on the trail of an important document wanted by the US government. The writing was great, as were the main characters, but some of the content was disturbing.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on June 06, 2013, 05:47:46 PM
Patrick Rothfuss, Kingkiller. Beg borrow or steal this book, it's like a cross between Harry Potter and The Lies of Locke Lamora, rocking my socks off at the moment.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Mistwell on June 06, 2013, 08:53:53 PM
On that note, I highly recommend Ben Aaronovitch's "River's of London" series.  It's Dresden Files, in London, only a bit better IMO.  And it's (comically) connected directly to Dresden Files (he orders Mac's Beer from Chicago).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ghost Whistler on June 09, 2013, 02:07:20 PM
perhaps against better judgement I am reading the Fractal Prince, which is the sequel to The Quantum Thief.

I like the guy's writing, but lacking a degree in Sheldon Cooper Science it's hard going!

The author is a string theory physicist and, well, it shows...a bit too much.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 09, 2013, 07:24:04 PM
I'm now reading The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams. It's about a woman who is a tracker for the fae, hunting down fae who oppose the faerie king. I've just started it, and so far, it's pretty good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 25, 2013, 10:48:46 AM
I finished up The Shadow Reader . I liked it. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good. Having a human getting mixed up in a fae civil war definitely is a good plot device.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: StormBringer on June 26, 2013, 03:31:55 AM
Recently re-read Neuromancer; highly enjoyable, although a bit disjoint in a couple of places.  Never cared much for the rest of the Sprawl trilogy, but I may dig those up and try reading through them again.  There are definitely a few themes in there that resonate differently from when I first read it all those years ago.

Still need to get moving on the Lensmen series(es?).  Not terribly easy to find in print and locally these days.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on June 26, 2013, 09:31:43 AM
I'm now reading Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey. It's the second Sandman Slim novel. He was brought back from Hell (because he was a very bad person before he died) and is now hunting down and killing evil people. He works both for God (through an angel) and Lucifer, and that makes for a very interesting dynamic at times. If you remember the old Brimstone TV show, it has that same vibe.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 01, 2013, 12:01:43 PM
I finished Kill the Dead last night. I really liked it. If you are a fan of the Dresden Files or Mercy Thompson series, I think you would really like this series.
This would be the zombie apocalypse book of the series.

The main character is very definitely not a white knight. He does great things, including saving cities, but he also will happily stop along the way to watch "stupid" civilians get eaten by zombies, and do nothing to help them. He figures they were dumb and deserved to die. (He does help one group that was fighting its best, but just outnumbered).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Justin Alexander on July 02, 2013, 01:23:33 AM
Quote from: StormBringer;665690
Still need to get moving on the Lensmen series(es?).  Not terribly easy to find in print and locally these days.


Do yourself a favor and read them in original publication order:

Galactic Patrol
Gray Lensman
Second Stage Lensmen
Children of the Lens
Triplanetary (revised version)
First Lensman

The last two volumes were written (or rewritten) to serve as prequels to the series. Like the Chronicles of Narnia, however, the series was renumbered into internal chronological order. And like the Chronicles of Narnia (or the Star Wars movies) the prequel volumes spoil what are supposed to be the surprise revelations of the original stories.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 02, 2013, 09:56:23 PM
I'm now reading Blood Prophecy by Stefan Petrucha. It's about a vampire, set in the Napoleonic era. He was a pilgrim and turned in the very late 1600s. So far, I like it. Petrucha used to write for White Wolf, and did the Dark Ages: Assamite book. His research for that really shines in this book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: StormBringer on July 03, 2013, 09:22:28 PM
Quote from: Justin Alexander;667415
Do yourself a favor and read them in original publication order:

Galactic Patrol
Gray Lensman
Second Stage Lensmen
Children of the Lens
Triplanetary (revised version)
First Lensman

The last two volumes were written (or rewritten) to serve as prequels to the series. Like the Chronicles of Narnia, however, the series was renumbered into internal chronological order. And like the Chronicles of Narnia (or the Star Wars movies) the prequel volumes spoil what are supposed to be the surprise revelations of the original stories.
I've already read Triplanetary, but it was a while ago.  If I can dig up the others, I will read them in the above order.  The internal structure of Triplanetary was quite odd; I could tell the middle story about the WWII munitions team was supposed to be dropping hints, because it served no other purpose and as I recall, nor did it mention the Arisians or Eddorians.  Not directly anyway, although I suppose the reader is to assume they are working in the background.  I figured it was just a standalone-ish story collected from the magazine series and didn't really fit anywhere else.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 10, 2013, 11:50:00 AM
I finished Blood Prophecy last night. Very good book! If you like the idea of a vampire story set in Napoleonic France and Egypt, this will fit the bill.

Next up is Sharpe's Battle by Bernard Cornwell. I have not read any of this series, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. This one seemed to be the most interesting, based upon the back cover.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 22, 2013, 08:45:28 PM
I finished Sharpe's Battle. Fantastic book! I really recommend it to anyone interested in the Napoleonic wars. Heck, if you just like military stories, this is a must-read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on July 22, 2013, 09:17:07 PM
I am re-reading Tanya Huff's Valor series (Military SF) its pretty fun little series. The story is about Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr, who aims to keep her people alive. Unfortunately, she ends up in the sites of a minor general who sends her on the worst missions, because she is GOOD at them.

I'd say its a very IHW: Starcluster, or Classic Traveller (Military) game.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 23, 2013, 10:47:10 PM
I'm now reading Directive 51 by John Barnes. It's a post-apocalyptic novel, where terrorists manage to destroy modern technology via nanotechnology in an effort to get back to nature. I'm only partway in, but so far, it's pretty good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 01, 2013, 02:06:46 PM
I finished up Directive 51 last night. It was a very good book, though the ending was a bit of a letdown. If you like relatively realistic post-apocalyptic books, it's definitely worth reading.

Next up is Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. I read this a few years back, and just feel like reading it again. I remember it being very good the first time through.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 10, 2013, 09:24:48 PM
I finished Best Served Cold. It was even better than I remembered. Very good book, especially if you have an interest in a fantasy version of the Italian Wars of the Renaissance era.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ronin on August 11, 2013, 09:31:51 AM
Finished "Berlin Game" the other day. Almost done with the next book in the series "Mexico Set". Great reads. Wonderful cold war spy novels at their best
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on August 11, 2013, 08:18:05 PM
Having read Charles Stross' A Colder War, available free online, many times and with great enjoyment it was with some anticipation that I recently picked up his 2004-2012 The Laundry Files books. This I thought would be just the ticket, Cthulhu busting secret agents, time to brew a nice hot cup of tea and put the dog on pillow guarding duty.

[spoiler]Sadly I have to say I'm not really that impressed although perhaps my hopes were unfairly built up. The first book in the series, The Atrocity Archives, details the entry and adventures of 'Bob' into the Laundry, a secret agency, wherein he saves not just the world but the entire universe from horrible nazi experiments gone wrong.

From start to finish it's enthusiastic but very unpolished, I doubt an editor went within two bookshelves of the work. The attempt at an affectionate caricature of British civil service bean counting, the never use two words when six will do, and never use a simple word when you can fill it with technobabble, really brought down the whole book for me. And I understand what 90% of the technobabble he used actually means so it's not as though I'm frustrated by ignorance, it's gibberish strung together to confound for the most part.

There's just not much I can say to recommend the books so far, I'm into book two and we're doing... sigh... James Bond... what might be charitably seen as tongue in cheek fitting for the Mythos just falls flat. I'll persevere, maybe he reaches his muse in subsequent works, but high expectations are not what you should have when you pick up these books.[/spoiler]

Onwards and upward eh.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 12, 2013, 08:23:00 AM
I started reading Triumff by Dan Abnett. Sadly, I gave up maybe 50 pages in. He is attempting to write in the style of Dumas, but doesn't really pull it off.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: noisms on August 12, 2013, 08:38:30 AM
I'm reading The Children of Hurin finally. I have read the "Narn i hin Hurin" in The Unfinished Tales several times, and have been looking forward to reading the "completed" version. I've not been disappointed so far. I think it is actually Tolkien's best work, and it reminds me a lot of the Icelandic sagas. There is a real sense of tragedy throughout. My main hope is that Peter Jackson doesn't get his hands on it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 13, 2013, 03:50:57 PM
Started Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson last night. Book 9 of the Malazan series. I've loved all the previous books in the series (barring a few silly bits like [SPOILER]dragons getting beaten by a guy with a grenade[/SPOILER]), so I hope this book is just as good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Rincewind1 on August 13, 2013, 04:59:27 PM
Quote from: danbuter;680929
Started Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson last night. Book 9 of the Malazan series. I've loved all the previous books in the series (barring a few silly bits like [SPOILER]dragons getting beaten by a guy with a grenade[/SPOILER]), so I hope this book is just as good.


Well, it's a well known fact Erikson has 2 fetishes:

1)Deserts & Beduins (everyone who walks down the desert turns into a demigod, I swear)
2)Sappers
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on August 15, 2013, 04:56:37 PM
Okay I've managed to make it as far as The Fuller Memorandum from Stross, and my persistence has been rewarded. It's taken him a while to get into his stride, this was only released three years ago or so, he seems to really work better in short form stories, but this is not half bad. I'm not going to say to avoid his prior novels but just to be aware of what to expect. Looking forward to reading the rest. He's started to recognise the epic bits and riff on them a bit more.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ronin on August 15, 2013, 09:51:49 PM
Finished Mexico Set the other day. Now reading the last book in the trilogy, London Match
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 31, 2013, 07:28:07 PM
I'm a little over half way through Dust of Dreams. This book is really, really good. I was worried after the last book, which was not that great, but the quality has jumped back up again.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ladybird on September 02, 2013, 06:17:48 PM
I'm reading a fake biography of The Stig... or rather, a stupid story about a man writing a fake biography of The Stig and interviewing fake people to learn fake facts about this fake person who is clearly barely even real in the story.

I have no idea why I'm still reading it. There were some funny Top Gear-related jokes near the start (ie, the bit I flicked through in The Works), but now it has got quite dull. Not recommended.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on September 07, 2013, 01:51:49 PM
Jesus, i've been waiting for the 2nd book in The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson. The first one is awesome.

The second one is due out in November. I read the blurb and find out he's planning for it to be a 10 book series...

Never mind him, i might be dead before this gets finished. :(
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Rincewind1 on September 07, 2013, 02:29:04 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;689331
Jesus, i've been waiting for the 2nd book in The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson. The first one is awesome.

The second one is due out in November. I read the blurb and find out he's planning for it to be a 10 book series...

Never mind him, i might be dead before this gets finished. :(


I'd not be pessimistic - he has a very good pace (Mistborn was out almost every year). I suspect he was just swamped with working on his own stuff and Wheel of Time the last few years.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 28, 2013, 10:12:05 AM
I finally finished Dust of Dreams last night. I liked it a lot, though the ending was a big surprise for me. It had been foreshadowed in prior books, [spoiler]but man, that sucked. So many great characters killed off.[/spoiler]

Next up is The Crippled God. I want to finally finish the Malazan series, as it has become my favorite fantasy series. I just hope the final book lives up to it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: deleted user on October 22, 2013, 05:09:25 PM
Just reading The Red Knight by Miles Cameron - although it is told from far too many viewpoints for my liking I like how it's the only Fantasy book I've read in ages where the soldiers are actually organized as if they have experience in battle and logistics.

Another good point is that the female characters are interesting and not as one-dimensional as most current fiction (I read The Grim Company before this - that book's female characters are mere doodles in comparison - otherwise it's alright - like Tigana but written in a Joe Abercrombie style).
Title: Dresden files drag
Post by: CAJackson on October 23, 2013, 04:51:01 AM
I'm trying very hard to like the Dresden Files novels.  The writing is solid, but the glitch for me is that I can't make myself really like the main character.  Harry is just a little too sexist, egotistical, self-centered, etc for me, and with the first person perspective, it gets old fast.  

Ho hum...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Omega on October 24, 2013, 01:51:20 AM
Currently finishing re-reading Pail Kidds Mus of Kerbridge novel from TSR. It is set in his Lace & Steel RPG world.

Fun book with some interesting characterizations all around. Ends a bit anti-climacticaly as TSR cut it short.

Next up is Paul's whole Greyhawk trilogy. White Plume Mountain, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, and Queen of the Demonweb Pits. That is a fun romp with Justicar, Escalla, Cinder and company.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 24, 2013, 12:26:55 PM
Kidd's Greyhawk series is really good. Pretty much my favorite rpg-setting books.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Arduin on October 24, 2013, 01:22:54 PM
I just started reading De Origine et situ Germanorum by Tacitus.  It describes the German area tribes and their cultures around 100 A.D.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on October 24, 2013, 03:58:00 PM
Quote from: Arduin;702547
I just started reading De Origine et situ Germanorum by Tacitus.  It describes the German area tribes and their cultures around 100 A.D.



I read the english translation. Really helped me with my Roman campaign.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on November 08, 2013, 08:59:39 AM
I finished The Crippled God last night. Book 10 of the Malazan, Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. Damn, what a ride. I started the series maybe 5 years ago, and have been reading it off and on since then. It's easily become my favorite.

Regarding this book, I loved it. Tension mounted throughout, until the big finale. Even the epilogues were well done. It was a great finish.

The only issue I have with this series at all is how major characters from the early books just disappear. Some of them are killed off, but a lot of them just sort of move away from the main plotline and are really not covered again. Even then, it's ok. It kind of helps give the world a more realistic flavor.

[SPOILER]I did think the short epilogue of Crokus rejoining Apsalar was just tacked on, but it was still kind of nice to know they ended up together.[/SPOILER]

Anyways, I'm really glad I read this series, and highly recommend it to everyone.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on November 10, 2013, 07:53:29 AM
I'm now reading The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia. It's an urban fantasy set in Moscow (naturally). So far, it's something of a mystery, with people turning into birds and going through gates found only in reflections. It's pretty interesting.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Omega on November 10, 2013, 05:15:33 PM
Started finally on Lin Carters "Janar of Callisto" series someone picked up for me becasue they knew I liked the ERB John Carter series.

Didnt get too far. Reminded of why I dislike Carters writing so much. Not to mention despise his review books. This at least continues my track record of not thinking very much of all of Carters writing thus far.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on November 27, 2013, 10:57:17 PM
Next up is Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. I've never read anything by him, but I've heard good things. At least the concept of magic needing color is pretty cool.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on November 30, 2013, 05:15:05 PM
I've been working through The White Sybil by Clark Ashton Smith, and wow is it a doozy. It's had me reaching for the dictionary, something I haven't had to do since I was twelve, when I read the dictionary. Needless to say most of his elaborate flights of loquaciousness are largely impenetrable to a modern linguistic catalogue, so one must simply make do. Onomatopoeiaism is a light in the darkness here.

Nonetheless, deeply recommended.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Omega on December 01, 2013, 12:45:03 AM
Quote from: The Traveller;712501
I've been working through The White Sybil by Clark Ashton Smith, and wow is it a doozy. It's had me reaching for the dictionary, something I haven't had to do since I was twelve, when I read the dictionary. Needless to say most of his elaborate flights of loquaciousness are largely impenetrable to a modern linguistic catalogue, so one must simply make do. Onomatopoeiaism is a light in the darkness here.

Nonetheless, deeply recommended.


Smith was a true wordsmith with the way he wove in words that seem alien but were once more mundane.

Austral threw me at first - southern hemisphere. Makes sense.
Ignescent was parsable since it mentions fiery ocean.
Infrangible didnt figure out till later.
Welkin was a tough one.
Uranian still not sure on how he was using the word in refference to the story. Best guess is he meant the muse. Which would make sense in context.
Machicolated recognized from reading AD&D actually.
Damaskeening I knew from my grandfather who was a watchsmith.

The rest was parsable or even familliar.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on December 01, 2013, 04:02:19 AM
Yeah, I should say that most of his stuff is very legible in case anyone gets scared off, but he really went to town in that short story. Perhaps because the subject was a muse and the protagonist a poet. Damaskeening is a good example of what I mean - I wasn't familiar with that exact term but I was aware of damascening, a similar effect except used to beautify weapons instead of watches. The same meaning held, and so on we wobbled with the story.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on December 01, 2013, 05:03:39 PM
Quote from: Omega;712552

Uranian still not sure on how he was using the word in refference to the story.


As as synonym to "celestial" or "heavenly"?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on December 11, 2013, 02:36:04 PM
Anyone here own a Kindle, or a tablet with a Kindle app? Any experience with the "Megapack" anthologies?

I ask because I've never read H. Beam Piper (a seminal classic SF author and one of Traveller's leading inspirations) and it just so happens Amazon's Kindle Store have a Piper Megapack for US$1 right here (http://www.amazon.com/The-H-Beam-Piper-Megapack-ebook/dp/B00BPZF234/ref=zg_bs_158593011_12).

It's not complete but still, it does look like a deal. What do y'all think?

Oh, they have Jack Vance's Demon Princes (http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Princes-Jack-Vance-ebook/dp/B00A1S4EHQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386790604&sr=1-3) too (another one I've been meaning to read for a long time), but this one's a tad pricier.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on December 21, 2013, 10:47:05 PM
I gave up on Warbreaker. It was good, but I am just not in the mood for it. I'll read it eventually. Next up is Across the Nightingale Floor by Liam Hearn. I'm a couple chapters in, and I really like it. Fantasy pseudo-Japan is always a winner for me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on December 22, 2013, 12:25:03 AM
I have one of the SF megapacks, and I think the H. Beam Piper one--and that's a LOT of fine fine reading.

(I still haven't finished one of the megapacks I own, so...I mean a LOT of reading.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on January 07, 2014, 07:53:09 AM
I have a love/hate relationship with Peter F Hamilton. I love one book, then hate another. I love one book of a trilogy, then am disinterested in the others.

Well, i decided to bite the bullet and pick up his latest paperback Great North Road. Good stuff so far, a mix of police procedural and near-ish future sci-fi.

I hope that he pulls off an ending for once.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 09, 2014, 04:44:36 PM
I finished Across the Nightingale Floor last night. It was very good. If you like samurai, it's definitely worth reading. Next up is Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. I've liked all of the other books I've read by him, so I expect to like this one as well.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 16, 2014, 02:11:39 PM
I finished Red Country last night. It was very, very good, especially if the idea of a western with swords instead of pistols intrigues you. If you're read Abercrombies other books, several of his older characters are here, as well.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 16, 2014, 04:09:24 PM
Finished the Monster Blood Tattoo series--very interesting gothic Victorian world building.

Finished Dreams of a Golden Age; superhero fiction second of Carrie Vaughn's series.

Starting up Sci fi "Girls of Alcyone," to see if its worth it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Traveller on January 16, 2014, 04:33:56 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;721530
I hope that he pulls off an ending for once.

Ugh, he does love him some deus ex machinae.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 17, 2014, 09:39:19 AM
Read The Eleventh Son by Gu Long and translated by Rebecca Tai. Really great read. Held my interest and had trouble putting it down. The few books like this i have found in english normally suffer from terrible translations (not that I know how accurate the translations are, but the prose is normally hard to read and some of the word choices are off---like using karate for chinese martial arts). The translation here is excellent, and the introduction from the translator is quite helpful.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 17, 2014, 10:26:41 AM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;724201
Read The Eleventh Son by Gu Long and translated by Rebecca Tai. Really great read. Held my interest and had trouble putting it down. The few books like this i have found in english normally suffer from terrible translations (not that I know how accurate the translations are, but the prose is normally hard to read and some of the word choices are off---like using karate for chinese martial arts). The translation here is excellent, and the introduction from the translator is quite helpful.


I was looking at that book..awesome to hear its good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on January 17, 2014, 12:53:39 PM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;724201
some of the word choices are off---like using karate for chinese martial arts


Well, if you want to be pedantic about it, "karate" originally meant "China hand" or "Tang (as in, Tang dynasty) hand" (唐手), but when Gichin Funakoshi submitted his martial arts system for consideration by the Japanese Ministry of Education (to be taught in schools), he called it "empty hand" (空手). ;)

But of course, the question still stands, on why would I use a Japanese word when translating a Chinese work to English. Beats me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 17, 2014, 01:02:48 PM
Quote from: The Butcher;724292
Well, if you want to be pedantic about it, "karate" originally meant "China hand" or "Tang (as in, Tang dynasty) hand" (唐手), but when Gichin Funakoshi submitted his martial arts system for consideration by the Japanese Ministry of Education (to be taught in schools), he called it "empty hand" (空手). ;)

But of course, the question still stands, on why would I use a Japanese word when translating a Chinese work to English. Beats me.


I think it may be because the translation is old and at the time karate probably was pretty recognizeable to most english readers. But have to admit it feels wierd when i read it now.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 17, 2014, 01:06:03 PM
Quote from: Silverlion;724221
I was looking at that book..awesome to hear its good.


I highly recommend it. And if you have and interest in louis cha, and find the translations lacking, I highly recommend watching the tv series based on his books (there are a ton of them, and their all like forty episodes and great inspiration for gaming).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 19, 2014, 07:06:57 PM
I'm now reading Innocence Proves Nothing by Sandy Mitchell. It's about the 40k Inquisition, and so far, I really like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Ent on January 29, 2014, 04:43:16 AM
I've just finished Abercrombie's First Law trilogy.

I liked it fine. Fairly ASoIaF-esque but different enough to be its own thing I'd say. Nice characters (well not nice but), I particularily liked Logen and Jezal, and a fun story. Recommended.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 29, 2014, 08:06:54 AM
I finished Innocence Proves Nothing yesterday. I really liked it. One of the better 40k stories. It seems it was the middle book of a trilogy, but was largely standalone.

Next up is Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. It's the latest Mercy Thompson series. Since this is one of my favorite series ever, and I'm already 50 pages in, I know I will love it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 29, 2014, 08:07:30 AM
Quote from: The Ent;727803
I've just finished Abercrombie's First Law trilogy.

I liked it fine. Fairly ASoIaF-esque but different enough to be its own thing I'd say. Nice characters (well not nice but), I particularily liked Logen and Jezal, and a fun story. Recommended.


The rest of his books are also really good, and set in the same world. If you continue reading them, some of the characters will reappear in the later books.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 29, 2014, 08:09:13 AM
Quote from: danbuter;727832

Next up is Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. It's the latest Mercy Thompson series. Since this is one of my favorite series ever, and I'm already 50 pages in, I know I will love it.


Awesome. I want to know if its any good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Ent on January 29, 2014, 08:20:25 AM
Quote from: danbuter;727833
The rest of his books are also really good, and set in the same world. If you continue reading them, some of the characters will reappear in the later books.


I think I'll have to read the rest of them too, yeah. :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Sacrosanct on January 29, 2014, 10:28:03 AM
Just finished The Deed Of Paksenarrion trilogy based on a suggestion here.  While not an intellectual read or anything, I think she did an excellent job creating a story that pretty much represents the D&D paladin, going from peasant to soldier to finally paladin.  I tell people to watch Excalibur when getting inspiration on playing a paladin, and this series will be up there now as well.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on January 29, 2014, 05:21:21 PM
Quote from: Sacrosanct;727845
Just finished The Deed Of Paksenarrion trilogy based on a suggestion here.  While not an intellectual read or anything, I think she did an excellent job creating a story that pretty much represents the D&D paladin, going from peasant to soldier to finally paladin.  I tell people to watch Excalibur when getting inspiration on playing a paladin, and this series will be up there now as well.




I agree. Its a pretty fun read, and well done for representing Paladins.

The only other one I can think of is the Bazhnell Bazhnakson series...(Oath of Swords), and its still not as good as Paks.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Daztur on February 01, 2014, 09:20:36 AM
One of my favorite short stories is The White People by Arthur Machen (take a look here if you haven't read it: http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/whtpeopl.htm). It's one of the very few "weird fiction"-type stories to really get under my skin.

It's a wonderful eerie fever dream of a story and I'd like to find more like it. I tried to read more of Arthur Machen's stuff and it was just OK, sort of a drier, flatter proto-Lovecraft.

Any similar stuff to look up? Anything else in the same vein by Machen? I read some of his move famous stuff including the Great God Pan and they didn't really do anything for me...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 07, 2014, 08:54:44 AM
I finished up Frost Burned last night. I really enjoyed it. It just feels like the Mercy Thompson series gets better with each book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Sacrosanct on February 07, 2014, 11:18:04 AM
Went into Powell's and found all 5 books from the Prydain series from Lloyd Alexander.  Those were the first fantasy books I read as a kid.  Total score!  Rereading them now. :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on February 07, 2014, 04:23:37 PM
Quote from: Sacrosanct;729828
Went into Powell's and found all 5 books from the Prydain series from Lloyd Alexander.  Those were the first fantasy books I read as a kid.  Total score!  Rereading them now. :)


I applaud your sense of taste in books. :hatsoff:

(Reminds me that I should dig out my own set of Lloyd Alexander books and give them a read.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: J.L. Duncan on February 08, 2014, 02:27:38 AM
Bram Stokers: Dracula

It’s been about 20 years since I cracked open this book; reading it again, I still love it. The pacing is slow, as the entire book is told through the main characters letters and correspondence to each other-as well as a collection of journal entries from a few of the characters.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on February 08, 2014, 08:58:15 AM
I just read The Grendel Affair, a SPI Novel, it was passable urban fantasy; not great or brilliant, but passable. Sort of Urban Arcana the novel. Only the seer can see the monsters as they are, and they basically police the ones who can't live nice with others.

Pretty simple premise. Pretty basic execution.
It has a minor romance element which is light and only touched upon briefly but is telegraphed way in advance. (At least to me.)


I also read the "3rd" (actually the 4th, but they labeled it he 3rd) Kid Sensation work. I won't call them "books" because the real number three was a short story, and touches upon things you might want to know for "book" 4. They're all pretty short but fun superhero works. The longer ones being short novel or long novellas. The lead character is fun, and pretty overpowered, but it still usually challenges him, mostly his wits. Unlike some supers he's got a pretty good relationship with his family (both having been supers) which I enjoy. Much like the Jaime Reyes  "Blue Beetle" from DC, whose family finds out early on.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 09, 2014, 10:22:10 PM
I'm now reading Faith and Fire by James Swallow. It's a 40k book about the Sisters of Battle. So far, it's not bad.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 20, 2014, 10:25:16 PM
I finished up Faith and Fire last night. I enjoyed it, but it was pretty average. I'm a huge fan of the Ecclesiarchy and the Sisters of Battle, so that certainly made the book more interesting to me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on February 23, 2014, 06:02:48 PM
The Lost City of Z is required reading if you're interested in jungles, lost tribes, lost cities, maverick archeologists, late 19th and early 20th century explorers... it's safe to say that if you're reading theRPGsite, you'll be interested in the tale of Col. Percy Fawcett, and the parallel, humorous narration of the exploits of David Grann following in on his footsteps.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Simon W on February 25, 2014, 02:28:21 AM
Quote from: The Butcher;732745
The Lost City of Z is required reading if you're interested in jungles, lost tribes, lost cities, maverick archeologists, late 19th and early 20th century explorers... it's safe to say that if you're reading theRPGsite, you'll be interested in the tale of Col. Percy Fawcett, and the parallel, humorous narration of the exploits of David Grann following in on his footsteps.


I noticed this is due to be a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock/Smaug).

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Sorrow Wood and Front Porch Prophet by Raymond L Atkins and Magnus Mills' The Restraint of Beasts and All Quiet on the Orient Express recently. Looking for something else to read now. Disappointed by the latest Carl Hiassen book, Bad Monkey.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Saplatt on February 26, 2014, 12:32:09 AM
Quote from: danbuter;724015
I finished Red Country last night. It was very, very good, especially if the idea of a western with swords instead of pistols intrigues you. If you're read Abercrombies other books, several of his older characters are here, as well.


Loved that book and pretty much everything Abercrombie has written to date.

Looking forward to Half a King, which is supposed to be released this summer.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on February 26, 2014, 08:50:56 AM
Quote from: Simon W;733023
I noticed this is due to be a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock/Smaug).


Is Benedict slated to play Fawcett? Not my first choice, I'm afraid. But then he wouldn't be my first choice for Khan, either, even though he's a great Sherlock and a brilliant Smaug. Needs moar physique du rôle.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 10, 2014, 10:00:35 PM
I'm currently rereading Devil's Tower by Mark Sumner. It is very much in the vein of Deadlands (and came out at the same time). I really enjoyed it, but I forget a lot of it, and I figured it was time to read it again.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on March 30, 2014, 04:45:22 PM
Wrapped up Absolution Gap, closing the Revelation Space trilogy, which Ive been reading since 2009 with long gaps between the three books.

Neat book, actually; I found it entertaining. But the ending... ugh. You think Mass Effect was bad? Try this one on for size.

[spoiler]After building up the Shadows as inhabitants from another Universe, or "brane", who might conceivably hold the key to defeating the scary, monolithic, apparently invincible Inhibitors, we are suddenly and inexplicably presented with the idea that contacting the Shadows is a no-no, because the hitherto unheard-of Nestbuilder aliens apparently wiped down the Scuttlers because they contacted the Shadows. The epilogue suggests that the Inhibitors have been pushed back, but not defeated, over the following four hundred years; and supposedly the Nestbuilders had something to do with it, though we don't know what they did, or why, or even what they look like, or anything other than "they hid in the darkness of space, between the stars".[/spoiler]

Supposedly Galactic North complements the vague and unhelpful epilogue. Well, fuck you, Alastair Reynolds.

On a more serious note, I loved the worldbuilding, but the ending was utter crap.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 09, 2014, 10:29:24 PM
I'm now reading Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein. I've just started, but so far, I like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on April 11, 2014, 08:49:52 AM
Quote from: danbuter;741881
I'm now reading Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein. I've just started, but so far, I like it.


I have been curious about that one. Interested in your final assesment.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 30, 2014, 12:17:30 AM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;742105
I have been curious about that one. Interested in your final assesment.


I'm about halfway in, and so far, it's really good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on May 06, 2014, 10:03:48 AM
Been reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Excellent book. Long but well worth it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jibbajibba on May 08, 2014, 12:01:04 AM
Just came back from a trip to Burma/Myanmar which involved an overnight on a very slow train so managed to read The Name of the Wind.

Fairly good fantasy with a different focus.
Well realised world.
Reads as a very playable setting.

The lead characters development
Child - Bard (Actor Kit)
teen - Thief (Begger Kit)
young adult - Wizard (academic kit)

is very liftable.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on May 08, 2014, 08:27:04 AM
I've just wrapped up In the Name of the Wind, and started on its sequel, Wise Man's Fear. Its pretty interesting overall, I'm rather burtned out on fantasy but I'm finding Rothfuss work transcends that for me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jibbajibba on May 08, 2014, 10:23:49 AM
Quote from: Silverlion;747720
I've just wrapped up In the Name of the Wind, and started on its sequel, Wise Man's Fear. Its pretty interesting overall, I'm rather burtned out on fantasy but I'm finding Rothfuss work transcends that for me.


Yeah I agree the setting and the character arc in NotW are unique enough that it doesn't quite feel like yet another fantasy novel.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Sacrosanct on May 08, 2014, 10:48:09 AM
Quote from: Silverlion;747720
I've just wrapped up In the Name of the Wind, and started on its sequel, Wise Man's Fear. Its pretty interesting overall, I'm rather burtned out on fantasy but I'm finding Rothfuss work transcends that for me.


My brother recommended NotW a couple weeks ago and I just started (about 100 pages in).  He had high praise for it.  Whenever I get burned out on fantasy, I typically read Dean Koontz ;)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on May 08, 2014, 04:30:10 PM
Quote from: Sacrosanct;747753
My brother recommended NotW a couple weeks ago and I just started (about 100 pages in).  He had high praise for it.  Whenever I get burned out on fantasy, I typically read Dean Koontz ;)


How is it so far?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Sacrosanct on May 08, 2014, 05:17:50 PM
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;747873
How is it so far?


It's OK, but a bit slow.  So far it's all still the main character telling his story rather than present tense things going on.  The style is easy to read though.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on May 08, 2014, 05:27:56 PM
Quote from: Sacrosanct;747894
It's OK, but a bit slow.  So far it's all still the main character telling his story rather than present tense things going on.  The style is easy to read though.


I found it moved rather quick myself, but that may be just my reading pace..:D
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 15, 2014, 01:41:42 PM
I've been fairly busy with gaming lately, so my book reading slowed down. However, last night I finished up Time Enough For Love by Robert A. Heinlein. It's a very good book, and if you like science fiction, I highly recommend it.

It does get a bit political, so people on the far side of Right or Left won't like it, as Heinlein is very conservative about how government cannot fix any real problems and very liberal about sex. If that doesn't bother you, I highly recommend it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Silverlion on July 15, 2014, 06:03:04 PM
I finished the prequel to Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, named Origins of a D-List Supervillain. Was fun, but not unexpected.

I also read Action Figures Issue One, and Issue Two which are nice teen-super books, as well as Monster Hunter: Nemesis (I didn't care for it as much as other books because it was about Frank, and while interesting story over all, he's just not got enough emotional oomph to carry a boo.)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 20, 2014, 09:28:28 AM
I'm now reading Magic and Loss by Nancy Collins. It's part of her Golgotham series. It's an urban fantasy set in NYC, but in a world where centaurs and other fantasy creatures have always existed. The first two books were pretty good, and I expect that this one will be, as well.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Raven on July 25, 2014, 02:05:13 AM
Finished Ex-Heroes (http://www.amazon.com/Ex-Heroes-A-Novel-Peter-Clines/dp/0804136572), Peter Clines novel focusing on superheroes during a zombie apocalypse. A lot of fun and thus highly recommended. I ordered the other three books in the series straightaway after finishing the first.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: JeremyR on July 29, 2014, 05:02:21 AM
I've been reading the Witcher novels (or books, the first is short stories).

More than a few fantasy series have been inspired by D&D, and this is one of them.  It's more D&D than many of the D&D novels.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Ent on July 31, 2014, 10:24:56 AM
I'm currently reading Enter Player One. It's basically a love letter to 80s geekery.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 08, 2014, 06:28:49 PM
I finished up Magic and Loss last night. It was very good, like the previous two books in the series. Not sure what I'm going to read next. Probably some military sf.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 09, 2014, 07:28:32 AM
I started reading On the Verge by Roland Green last night. It was one of the Alternity novels for the StarDrive setting. It's about space marines fighting aliens. So far, it's pretty good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 12, 2014, 04:31:01 PM
I finished up On the Verge. It ended up being ok. Certainly not great, but not terrible. Next up is Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. Hopefully, it will be very good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 16, 2014, 10:22:50 PM
I finished Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. It was very good. Different from my usual fare, being more about space exploration than either fantasy or miltiary sf, but I liked it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on September 17, 2014, 12:52:47 AM
Quote from: danbuter;787369
I finished Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. It was very good. Different from my usual fare, being more about space exploration than either fantasy or miltiary sf, but I liked it.


I was a fan of Alastair Reynolds, but the ending of Redemption Ark filled my heart with a hatred that burns like a thousand suns. Curse you, Reynolds, for such a piss-poor ending to such a great buildup.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 18, 2014, 10:03:39 AM
I'm now reading The Crusader Road by Michael Stackpole. It's set in Golarion (the Pathfinder rpg world). I'm only partway in, but so far, I like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Sacrosanct on September 18, 2014, 10:48:01 AM
Quote from: Silverlion;747899
I found it moved rather quick myself, but that may be just my reading pace..:D


I'm reading the 2nd one now.  I'm finding the second one flowing much faster than the first.

Quote from: The Ent;773898
I'm currently reading Enter Player One. It's basically a love letter to 80s geekery.


Do you mean Ready Player One by Earnest Cline?  One of my favorite books.  Super easy to read too.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Dan Vince on September 18, 2014, 04:44:46 PM
Just read Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley. I find crime fiction is generally much better inspiration than fantasy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on September 19, 2014, 08:38:47 PM
Quote from: The Butcher;787376
I was a fan of Alastair Reynolds, but the ending of Redemption Ark filled my heart with a hatred that burns like a thousand suns. Curse you, Reynolds, for such a piss-poor ending to such a great buildup.


I'm still enamored with Alastair Reynolds, and have only about a hundred pages to go before finishing House of Suns.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Simlasa on September 20, 2014, 09:42:47 PM
My reading group just finished Ancient Images by Ramsey Campbell. While it probably should have been a short story and had some 'cinematic' stuff that didn't work as text I still thought it had some spooky (rather than scary) things going on. It's the sort of melancholy horror I enjoy... not overtly terrifying or shocking... just slowly lurching toward something inevitable and bad.
Also, it gave me some new ideas for running a fertility god in CoC or DCC.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Omega on September 25, 2014, 03:18:04 AM
Finished re-re-re-re-reading Quag Keep by Andre Norton. Overall pretty good and an interesting artifact of the very early days of D&D. The characters are a little stilted at times, especially the amazon. And the wereboar character came across poorly every other time he opened his mouth.  

Made an interesting discovery too. Since getting the book Id allways wondered why the Greyhawk lands described did not jibe with my boxed set maps. Then recently got to see one of the early Greyhawk/Blackmoor maps and there were the missing lands.

As someone here explained recently the kingdoms were absorbed into other kingdoms in the time between the book and the box set.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 30, 2014, 10:16:30 AM
I finished up The Crusader Road last night. It was enjoyable. Nothing amazing, but I liked it. If you like gaming fantasy novels, it's worthwhile.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on October 01, 2014, 07:57:05 PM
I'm just about to re-read the Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley, but rattling about the back of my head is the fact that the ending after 6 books really does suck huge donkey balls.

I have fond memories of the journey, even if the destination was worse than Hull. I hope my memory of the journey holds up to a repeated reading!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 03, 2014, 02:18:51 PM
I'm now reading People of the Longhouse by W. Michael and Kathleen Gear. It's a historical fiction set in the Iroquois Nation just before the Europeans arrived. I'm only a few chapters in, but it's very good. The authors work closely with archeologists, trying to make the setting as realistic as possible.

Just in the intro, I've learned some things that I was not really aware of. (Did you know the concept of individual liberty was from the Iroquois, and that the colonials adopted it wholeheartedly and the British used to make fun of them for it?).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jibbajibba on October 06, 2014, 09:48:53 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;789631
I'm just about to re-read the Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley, but rattling about the back of my head is the fact that the ending after 6 books really does suck huge donkey balls.

I have fond memories of the journey, even if the destination was worse than Hull. I hope my memory of the journey holds up to a repeated reading!


Nothing is worse than Hull, and I include Wolverhampton on that list. At least you can get a decent curry in Wolverhampton and have fun laughing at the accent.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Simlasa on October 11, 2014, 10:35:59 PM
I finally went and bought a copy of the infamous Sarah by JT LeRoy. I'd been wanting to read it for years and it's not disappointing me. Magical realism about truck stop prostitutes and their adventures. Not exactly porn... more like road trip fantasy... or something.

I'm also listening my way through NOS4A2 by Stephen King's son... which reminds me a whole lot of various Stephen King books... especially IT... but more streamlined and pretty creepy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Ladybird on October 14, 2014, 04:57:46 PM
Quote from: Sacrosanct;787638
Do you mean Ready Player One by Earnest Cline?  One of my favorite books.  Super easy to read too.


Great book, really enjoyed it, don't know where my copy is.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on October 18, 2014, 02:53:46 PM
My reading has been way, way WAY down in the last few years, which is one reason I haven't been posting in this thread.  

So instead of things I am reading, or just read (the Elric books, actually), I really just have to post what I keep planning to read.

WHich is currently a Canticle for Liebowitz and The Glass Bead Game, both of which are sitting on my table, ready to go.

The E-reader on my tablet is a different story. I've been nugging my way thought the Phillipics of Demosthenes, the Communist Manifesto, and An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, by John Locke.

Before I bask in your adulation for my intellectual superiority for my refined tastes: I've been working on those same books since before Christmas of Last year...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 22, 2014, 06:42:42 PM
I finished up People of the Longhouse today. It was pretty good, but it ended right in the middle of an adventure. I didn't realize it was part of a series.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Omega on October 24, 2014, 04:35:23 AM
Finished reading an odd fantasy book called Gamearth by Kevin J. Anderson.

The book is about a group playing some odd sort of combination hex-crawl board game and an RPG. Though feels mostly like they are playing a board game really. They meet up each week at one players home. She seems to be the one most into the game, nearly obsessively so as she has a huge hand painted table map of the world as the board.

Sounds mundane. The trick is... There exists simultaneously the actual game world. and all the characters are aware that they are characters in a game and treat the players as gods. This is reinforced by the fact that they get quest compulsions from the players and even more mysterious events. The world is even marked out in hex grid lines and terrain sometimes changes abruptly as the characters travel.

Fairly neet set up. Though the writing is all over the place. Stuff happens. Worse is that things are accomplished and then a chapter or two later rendered meaningless and undone. This happens at least three times and starts to wear a little thin.

The overarching plot is that one player is hellbent on quitting. But the obsessed player gets him into a roll off to see yes or no. and wins. So the reluctant player determins to destroy the whole world. The characters in Gamearth set out to find a way to prevent it.

Another problem is that nothing is explained. I am sure theres some explanation in the later books. But as a standalone story it leaves way too much unanswered. The second book came out in the same year (1989) so there was not that long a pause.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: JeremyR on October 25, 2014, 05:51:33 AM
Ugh. I read that back when it came out. It made me never read another Kevin J. Anderson book. Only then he wrote some Star Wars novels, and I gave him another try. Improved, but still a terrible writer (and plotter and character developer). But he writes fast, which is something.

And speaking of the opposite of that, I just started reading Karl Wagner's Conan novel The Road of Kings. It seems to be a quality Conan pastiche. Some of the Jordan ones were okay, but this is excellent so far, and as dark as a Kane novel (Wagner's own sword & sorcery anti-hero).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on October 25, 2014, 12:42:13 PM
Quote from: JeremyR;793980
as dark as a Kane novel (Wagner's own sword & sorcery anti-hero).


Speaking of which — what's a good starting point for KEW's Kane?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 31, 2014, 11:54:10 AM
I'm just starting Grass for his Pillow, book two in The Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn. I really liked book 1, so I have high hopes for this book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on November 27, 2014, 07:57:44 PM
Read my first 'young adult' book since, well, i was a young adult. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. The first in a 6 book series!

I found moving the story on right from the beginning, and not having endless pages of internal dialogue or a books worth of a 'holding pattern' refreshing for about 200 pages and then the non-stop nature of it became rather boring. The book is fine as it goes - a page-turner where you can disengage your brain, but its not something i'm going to invest any more time and money in following.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on November 28, 2014, 03:00:37 PM
Quote from: The Butcher;794070
Speaking of which — what's a good starting point for KEW's Kane?


It is like Conan, you can start just about anywhere, really.
I guess I'd suggest Darkness Weaves as a good place to start.

Btw, I don't know if you have read Erikson or not, but his third book in the Mazlan series bears some pretty heavy marks of influence to the Kane novel The Dark Crusade.

The only real problems I have with the Kane stories are that the titles are pretty fogettable and I usually have to look to match them up with the story, and he occasionally uses words like "buddy" or "pal" which totally break the S&S vibe for me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on November 28, 2014, 03:27:27 PM
Thanks. I'll look into it.

And no, I've never read Erikson/Malazan. I admit to not being particularly well-read in fantasy; I was only familiar with Tolkien, Howard and Moorcock up until 4-5 years ago, and I've been catching up since. It's been fun. :)
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on November 28, 2014, 10:18:28 PM
Quote from: The Butcher;801375
Thanks. I'll look into it.

And no, I've never read Erikson/Malazan. I admit to not being particularly well-read in fantasy; I was only familiar with Tolkien, Howard and Moorcock up until 4-5 years ago, and I've been catching up since. It's been fun. :)


I like REH, a lot, the other two not so much. Erikson's opus falls apart for me at about book 7, prior to that I enjoyed the fuck out of it. One summer I got caught overseas with only one of his books in English. I also got the shaking sweating shits that year and was on bedrest for several days. I read that fucker three times.  

I only just read KEW myself during the field season this year, when they became available on the kindle and such.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on December 03, 2014, 03:11:50 PM
I finished Grass for his Pillow last night. It's good, but not as good as the first book in the series. It's mainly prepping for the last two books in the series.

Next up is Dead Men Walking by Steve Lyons. It's a 40k novel featuring the Death Korps of Krieg. I suspect I will like it a lot.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on December 11, 2014, 07:52:53 PM
Still reading Dead Men Walking, which is pretty good.

I reread The Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse, and it is still a great book, one of my favorites.

I've also restarted The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. I attempted it a few years ago, but stopped. I love a lot of his books, so I'm giving it another shot.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on December 12, 2014, 09:02:23 AM
Reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. I heard a lot of good things about it and won a bunch of awards, but a little disappointed so far (about 160 pages in). It isn't bad, but it also isn't as good as I was expecting. Has some interesting concepts, is reasonably engaging, but I think my expectations may have been too high.

EDIT: Almost near the end. It does get better I think after page 200. Still surprised it got so much acclaim though. I was kind of expecting to be floored when I saw it had five awards and so much praise from critics.

EDIT AGAIN: Just finished. I have to say after page 200 my impression of the book improved considerably. I think I will definitely be checking out Ancillary Sword (the sequel).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on December 18, 2014, 05:20:04 PM
Onto Ancillary Sword now (part II in the series) by Ann Lecke. I have to say, despite my initial misgivings at the start of the first book, the storyline has really grabbed me.

EDIT: Finished Ancillary Sword. Initial misgivings were well founded.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 01, 2015, 08:29:13 PM
I finished Dead Men Walking. It's very good, if you like military sf and especially the 40k universe.

Still reading The Glass Bead Game. I like it much more this time through.

Started metatropolis, a short story collection edited by John Scalzi. Not sure about this one...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: taknight on January 02, 2015, 12:16:01 AM
I recently finished Catching Fire and Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins.

Now I'm on to The Dark Tower IV: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King.

I'm also working on an eBook: Osric's Wand by Jack D. Albrecht Jr. and Ashley Delay which is pretty good when the POV isn't jumping around randomly.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Kiero on January 02, 2015, 07:45:06 PM
I received a Kindle One for my birthday, and I've resolved not to spend any money on books if I can help it.

So does anyone have any recommendations from the thousands of free books available? I've got just over a dozen so far, mostly history.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 02, 2015, 09:09:25 PM
https://www.gutenberg.org/

Hit the Fiction section. Thousands of amazing books for free.

Looks like all of the Oz books are there.
Lord Dunsany as well.
Bunch of different Arthurian collections.
Mark Twain.
Jeckyl and Hyde.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Kiero on January 03, 2015, 04:52:33 AM
Quote from: danbuter;807488
https://www.gutenberg.org/

Hit the Fiction section. Thousands of amazing books for free.

Looks like all of the Oz books are there.
Lord Dunsany as well.
Bunch of different Arthurian collections.
Mark Twain.
Jeckyl and Hyde.


Uh, I meant those available for free on the Kindle Store - I can't find any of those on there for free.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Kiero on January 05, 2015, 09:42:31 AM
Quote from: Kiero;807553
Uh, I meant those available for free on the Kindle Store - I can't find any of those on there for free.


Correction: apparently you can transfer ebooks from Project Gutenberg onto a Kindle, so thanks for the recommendation.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Flipped Bird on January 11, 2015, 11:03:32 PM
I am currently reading The Entropy Effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Entropy_Effect), although the cover of the edition I have (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8a/The_Entropy_Effect.jpg) suggests that its name is A Star Trek Novel. It's actually not that bad, unlike the atrocious Planet X (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_X_%28Star_Trek%29), the only other Star Trek novel I've read in my life.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on January 15, 2015, 10:21:39 AM
Reading Emperor Huizong by Patricia Ebrey. It is a fairly long biography of Emperor Huizong. Very well written, engaging, and informative. It is also based on primary sources and Ebrey's own research; she is one of the most respected Historians of the Song Dynasty (so it is still a serious historical analysis even though it is a biography). So far I really like it (but only 100 pages in). I've always felt that biographies are a good way to get a sense of a historical period. If you are curious at all about what life in the Imperial Palace was like, how the Song state was governed, etc then this is a good inside look. I don't know how her argument will change over the course of the book but Ebrey seems to be more positive toward Huizong than most writers.

EDIT: About half way through and it is quite good. I sometimes feel like her analysis is a bit on the subjective side, at least for my tastes (especially when she talks about the emperor constructing a persona). On the whole though this is a great book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: rawma on January 19, 2015, 01:10:54 AM
I read Lev Grossman's The Magicians for a book discussion group. I hated it: utterly whiny and uninteresting main character, very little happens, all the characters seem to regularly forget about what little they've done before.

I was told there were lots of fan friendly allusions, but Grossman is either surprisingly unfamiliar with fantasy literature for a book critic, or he couldn't be bothered to dig any deeper than Narnia, LOTR, Harry Potter and D&D.

And the D&D stuff featured [SPOILER]the most dismal dungeon crawl I can imagine near the end of the book.[/SPOILER]
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on January 19, 2015, 04:49:25 AM
Just bought Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) and Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1). What can I expect?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Rincewind1 on January 19, 2015, 06:11:39 AM
Early Malazan books are awesome, as long as your anus will not clench so hard that blood will spew out of it because someone dared to use another word than drow for dark elves (who, to be fair, also have nothing to do with typical depiction of dark elves). Or about other 100 invented words. First few chapters will be overwhelming, then it's straight course for awesome.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 27, 2015, 06:40:39 PM
I'm still reading The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. It's good, but it is a slow read, at least for me.

I'm also reading Mythbreaker by Stephen Blackmoore. It's an urban fantasy with gods and prophets in the modern world. So far, it's good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: JeremyR on March 06, 2015, 06:44:15 AM
I just read Karl Wagner's Bran Mak Morn novel. I don't think any author  came closer to Howard more than he did, and what's more, unlike some of the other pastiche authors, he clearly had a lot of respect for Howard's work.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: tuypo1 on March 06, 2015, 09:05:02 PM
im reading journeys of the great explorers by rosemary burton, richard cavendish and bernard stonehouse. isbn 0 74950501 x

lots of good inspiration in here
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: rawma on March 06, 2015, 10:46:44 PM
People are reading such serious books. I'm enjoying Ready Player One at the moment.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: tuypo1 on March 06, 2015, 10:52:39 PM
oh looks interesting
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 12, 2015, 06:38:20 PM
I finished The Glass Bead Game by Hesse last night. I liked it, though it is not my favorite of his.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Kiero on March 13, 2015, 03:52:35 PM
I've positively raided Project Gutenburg for G.A Henty's historical adventure stories. Having avoided any non-European conflicts, I think I've side-stepped any of the potentially racist/anti-semitic stuff that he's accused of. They're blatant boys' own type stuff, no female characters of any depth, but entertaining enough.

Finished Lion of the North, which is about the Swedish-led phase of the Thirty Years' War, now reading Won By the Sword, about the French-led phase. I've got a good twenty-odd others in my Kindle.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 14, 2015, 07:55:43 PM
Finished Mythbreaker. It was pretty good. Not amazing, but if you like urban fantasy, it's worth a read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 17, 2015, 02:57:57 PM
I'm now reading Night Broken by Patricia Briggs. It's part of the Mercy Thompson series, and odds are, I'll love it. This series is one of the best in urban fantasy, at least to me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 24, 2015, 08:04:37 PM
I finished Night Broken today. Very good book. I really like the Mercy Thompson series, and this continues the great quality. Briggs has managed to become my favorite urban fantasy author (though I still love Charles de Lint, but he doesn't publish much anymore that I can find).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on March 26, 2015, 07:57:48 PM
Next up is Cold Days by Jim Butcher. It's part of the Harry Dresden series, and I suspect I will like it. The first couple chapters are certainly pretty good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on April 11, 2015, 03:01:11 PM
Just finished Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (The Expanse series, book #1). Fun little book that reads at least a bit like what I'd want a Traveller: Orbital game to be (STL Solar-system antics sans the exaggerated transhuman accretions that seem so ubiquitous nowadays), but I found Macguffin a bit too much like Revelation Space. I mean, it's always been a genre trope, but this is a bit too transparent. Nice read for a long trip, though.

Can anyone say whether the subsequent books are any better?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on April 23, 2015, 08:25:29 PM
I finished Cold Days. I had read it before, but somehow didn't realize it until about halfway through. I guess I'm getting old. ;)

Next up is In the Night Garden by Catheryn Valente. Seems like it's going to be a riff on the Arabian Nights. So far, it's pretty good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on May 08, 2015, 12:57:35 PM
I ended up dropping In the Night Garden about halfway through. It's interesting, but ends up being a huge mess of intertwined short stories.

Now reading Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar. I like his writing, and I'm pretty sure I'll like this book.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on May 15, 2015, 07:54:11 PM
I've set aside Asteroid Mining 101 by John S. Lewis for now. Only 20 pages into what would normally be a fascinating book for me and I've run across a section where two whole paragraphs were repeated and I am having trouble continuing. I'm not a professional editor, but having done freelance proofreading, this kind of mistake just kills the enjoyment for me.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on July 23, 2015, 05:38:19 PM
I finished up Curse of the Wolf Girl a couple days ago. I liked it, but it took a while for me to finish. Too much other stuff to do!

Now reading Empire State by Adam Christopher. It's a pulp 30s setting, but in a slightly different world than ours. So far, the main hero (a tough detective) and his friend (a savvy reporter) have gotten a case from a damsel in distress to find her missing girlfriend. The atmosphere is similar to the old Chandler detective stories, but with ironclads, robots, and other pulp stuff added in. I like it!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on August 23, 2015, 04:06:11 PM
Finished up Empire State. If you like pulp adventure, I recommend it!

Next up is Blood and Bone by Ian C. Esslemont. It's set in the Malazan world, and I expect I'll love it, as it is my favorite fantasy setting.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: jeff37923 on August 23, 2015, 06:51:45 PM
If you like science fiction survival thrillers, then The Martian by Andy Weir is a must read. Once I started it, I could not put it down. Great book. Scientifically sound and very entertaining.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Nikita on August 26, 2015, 06:58:25 AM
Last book I read as a source book was:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany_and_the_Second_World_War

Part VI: "The Global War"

It is excellent in teaching how wars are being fought at strategic level and how personal suspicions and infighting grow and grow within supreme headquarters.
It also gives good examples on how to buy and sell countries according to situation and what kind of strategic concerns need to be taken into account in war time planning. Overwhelming need to take logistics and realism to account are also well presented.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on September 12, 2015, 05:11:36 PM
Curiosity about the upcoming TV series got me to pick up and start reading The Sword of Shannara.

Maybe it was the originator of at least some tired old tropes, but nowadays it just feels like, well, a bunch of tired old tropes. And the expository writing makes me cringe.

But I spent money on this, so I might as well finish.

Does it get better? Please tell me it gets better.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on September 13, 2015, 05:39:32 AM
Quote from: The Butcher;855443
Curiosity about the upcoming TV series got me to pick up and start reading The Sword of Shannara.

Maybe it was the originator of at least some tired old tropes, but nowadays it just feels like, well, a bunch of tired old tropes. And the expository writing makes me cringe.

But I spent money on this, so I might as well finish.

Does it get better? Please tell me it gets better.

I enjoyed it as a teenager, but i recognised, even then, that it was a hackneyed plot. I keep meaning to pick it up again to see what i think after 20 odd years of reading other hackneyed plots to see how it stands up. I prefer Elfstones of Shannara myself.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 13, 2015, 06:38:03 PM
I agree. Elfstones was a much better book. I will say that the Shannara books have some great battle scenes. Terry Brooks is very good at writing them.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 14, 2015, 08:52:03 PM
I just finished Blood and Bone by Ian Esslemont. It is very good, and if you like the Malazan setting, definitely a must-read.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Doom on September 15, 2015, 01:04:35 AM
I tried reading Shannara too, around 25 years ago. I couldn't make it past the first chapter.

I'm sad to say I think I read more of Twighlight. It was page 28, if memory serves, when Bella had decided that she had fallen hopelessly, utterly in love with the vampkid. And, it was page 28 when I put the book down, never to open it again.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 15, 2015, 04:05:25 PM
I'm now reading Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle. It's presented as a series of anecdotes and stories, each a chapter long. I really enjoyed his first book (A Year in Provence), and so far, this book is also really good. Mayle has a very conversational style, and his stories are informative and humorous.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Aos on September 16, 2015, 04:19:36 PM
I reread Shannara recently, it is okay, but I'm pretty lenient,  and well ontouch with my inner 14 year old, though.
I like the post apocalytptic elements, and I don't read much high fantasy, these days, so I probably wasn't as predisposed to find it tired as some, although I can see how that could easily be the case.  I will say that Vs. Jordan or GRRM,,at least some shit happens on a fairly regular basis. I found the lack of child-rape and hundreds of pages devoted to Tar Valon kitchen politics, refreshing.

I hadn't heard there would be a TV show, because I intentionally keep my head under a rock.

I fisnished up both Jack Kirby's Omac and The Demon over the last couple of nights; I'm rereading Simonson's Thor; reading The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens, and listening to Oliver Twist (also by Dickens) while I draw. The latter makes me cry.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on September 25, 2015, 08:53:28 PM
I finished Toujours Provence. It was pretty good. Some funny stories and an interesting look into life in rural France.

Next up is Deadeye by William C. Dietz. It's a scifi police book, set after a terrorist unleashes a biological agent on the world that kills a huge chunk of the population and also mutated some survivors. The main character is a "normal" cop in what is left of LA. I'm a few chapters in, and so far, it's pretty good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: J.L. Duncan on September 26, 2015, 02:56:29 PM
Just Finished.

The Dwarves by Markus Heitz
The Expats by Chris Pavone

Dwarves wasn't very good-to much writing for not enough story that interested me-I did finish it so there is that-there is a sequel, though I probably won't be reading it.

The Expats was very good. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 09, 2015, 04:17:20 PM
I finished up Deadeye. It's ok. The book had some interesting ideas, but overall, was just kind of average. Not sure what I'm going to read next.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: J.L. Duncan on October 10, 2015, 09:45:57 AM
HackMaster GMG.

Overall, very well put together. I bit too much for crit-tables.

The books binding and cover aren't on the same scale as the PHB and Hacklopedia of Beasts-there is nothing wrong with it-It's just that the other two are just so awesome...

Character advancement has had some nice additions for training and such.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on October 13, 2015, 08:29:51 AM
Now reading Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll. It's an urban fantasy story set in London. Just started, but so far, it seems pretty decent.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on January 13, 2016, 06:38:34 PM
Recently finished Eyes Like Leaves by Charles de Lint. It is a fantasy novel with a strong Celtic flavor (druids, etc.). I liked it.

Now reading Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It's pretty interesting so far. Urban fantasy where the main character can see a person's death if she makes skin contact with them, and at least at first, isn't trying to save anyone, as helping never works.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on January 15, 2016, 05:03:48 AM
Been on a murder mystery run recently. The Devil in the Marshallsea by Antonia Hodgson is the best of the bunch so far. Set in a debtors prison in the 18th century. Good stuff. The Mathew Bartholomew series by Susanna Gregory is pretty good stuff too and there's 21 (!) books in the series so far for the completists (i've got the first 5).

I'm back to fantasy now and although i like the setting, the writing is pretty bad in Lord of the Isles by David Drake. Hope it improves because its hard going when you have to re-read a paragraph here and there to actually make sense of it as the structure is so poor. Hope it gets better 'cos i've got 4 chunky books in the series on my shelf...
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on February 03, 2016, 06:05:09 PM
The David Drake book was hard going - i'm going to wait to tackle the other 3 books in the series...

In the meantime i read Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay which is another hefty tome that's been on my shelf unread since 1990! A slow burner this one, which i thought was being padded out too much, but the ending draws it all together well with a humdinger of a plot-twist i really didn't see coming.

Now i'm heading into the murky depths of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. Yet another hefty tome. Hey ho.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 03, 2016, 07:46:02 PM
Dropped Blackbirds about halfway through. I just didn't care for it. Too graphic at times, and the protagonist is not likable at all.

Next up is Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matt Crawford. It is about how making stuff with your own hands is actually really good for your soul/ego, and how the modern West has largely abandoned this field because of the concept that you need college to succeed.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 03, 2016, 07:46:39 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;876828


In the meantime i read Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay which is another hefty tome that's been on my shelf unread since 1990! A slow burner this one, which i thought was being padded out too much, but the ending draws it all together well with a humdinger of a plot-twist i really didn't see coming.



That's one of my favorite fantasy novels.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on February 04, 2016, 07:39:57 AM
Quote from: danbuter;876842
That's one of my favorite fantasy novels.


I'd give it a solid 6/10. I prefer the Fionavar (sp?) trilogy. although i haven't read that in many a year.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Daddy Warpig on February 05, 2016, 04:14:20 PM
Late to the party, but I'm reading through the Discworld novels (up to 11 or so) and they're FANTASTIC.

Sad I missed them for so long.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on February 06, 2016, 01:26:58 PM
I've been spending a massive amount of time on the road lately, so I'm going to count the audio books I've been listening to as 'books'.

I've recently discovered the Travis McGee novels by John MacDonald, which were written between 1964 and 1984, and of which I've listened to roughly two thirds. They are an interesting time capsule.  MacDonald was a creature of an earlier era himself, maybe twenty years older than his character, and McGee/MacDonald is constantly commenting on the world around him, outside the needs of the plot.


Also, as a fan of the Anita Blake books (er... former fan? I find I enjoy them far less the more recently they've been written...), I picked up an audio book of the Meredith Gentry series (the second I believe), which I had avoided earlier.

Oh.My.God. was it bad.  Laughably, ludicrously bad. Not quite Eye of Agon bad, in that there was actual writing craft being used to form real sentences and such, but bad.  


Then there was the VI Warshowski novel/audio I picked up. Loved the movie, not sure I like the book(s), but it was actually pretty good for what it was.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: danbuter on February 12, 2016, 12:27:56 PM
I read Shop Class as Soulcraft. It was alright, but was a bit too academic and dry.

Next up is Hammer and Anvil, by James Swallow. It's a 40k novel about the Sisters of Battle. I'm about a third of the way through, and I like it.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on February 17, 2016, 12:50:05 PM
Well, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters turned out to be the best thing i've read in ages. Really good writer in G.W. Dahlquist, whose style i really liked in this book. Sure, it's a steam-punk style Saturday matinee story with far too many near escapes for its own good (i think one of the heroes escapes 3 separate instances of death in a single chapter) but the prose is so good that i didn't care.

The only thing i didn't care for was finding out once i'd finished it that there's 2 more books in the 'series' as it seemed to have tied up the loose ends at the end.

The heroes are great - Cardinal Chang, a hired assassin, Doctor Svenson, an army surgeon, and Miss Temple, society lady extraordinaire!
 
Got the second book, The Dark Volume today, but i think i'll give it a short rest before plunging back in.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on February 27, 2016, 11:02:52 PM
well, for the umpteenth time I've started GT Almasi's 'Blades of Winter".  I swore I've been lugging this book around for ten years, but since the copyright is only 2012...

Let me put it gently.

Its bad.

Yet I shall force myself to make it past chapter three this time, and maybe even finish it, so I can more clearly explain WHY it is so very, very bad*.  And who knows? Maybe the plot will redeem the writing.







* An example to whet your appetite: in chapter two the main character (19 year old cyber-spy/gymnast) is talking to her mother in a way that simply SCREAMS sociopathy.  Now, I don't think the character is supposed to be a sociopath, and I'm reasonably sure GT Almasi isn't a sociopath, but his inability to write the scene of a late teen girl manipulating her mother, with interior dialog, creates the impression of a person who doesn't 'get' emotions, but does know how to pretend to feel them.

Of course, 19 year old girl cyber-super-spy is a bad enough premise I'm not entirely sure why I bought it in the first place.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 03, 2016, 11:02:31 AM
I'm not a massive SF fan anyway, but i was disappointed with Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. Nothing particularly exciting happens to a bunch of unsympathetic characters and there's telling, not showing, a lot of the time.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on March 05, 2016, 08:34:51 AM
Finally tracked down a new copy of Arthur C Clarke's The City and the Stars (not a fan of used books). This was the novel that first got me into science fiction as a kid and I haven't read it in ages because it has generally not been that easy to find. Curious how well it holds up after all these years.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bren on March 05, 2016, 11:12:45 AM
I recently read The Anvil of the World, a fantasy novel by Kage Baker published in 2003. I knew nothing about the author beforehand and it was a very pleasant surprise. It's a picaresque kind of tale with the tone of Lord Dunsany crossed with the characters of Jack Vance with a dash of Fritz Leiber. I gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars (http://honorandintrigue.blogspot.com/2016/03/what-im-reading-anvil-of-world.html).
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on March 23, 2016, 06:45:32 AM
Currently nearly finished book 2 in the Voyages of the Chathbrand series. The Red Wolf Conspiracy was great and whilst the 2nd book, The Rats and the Ruling Sea has dropped the excellence a notch, i look forward to getting and reading the last 2 books in the series.

It's all a bit gonzo, which isn't that common in fantasy books, which is odd when you think about it. We have a race of 6 inch high human stowaways, woken animals who are some of the major characters in the series, a mage who lives in another world that can only be accessed through a portal found in a maritime clock...and he takes the form of a woken mink when he emerges. You have child-abducting Flikkermen, which are humanoids with a bit of electric eel DNA in them, shape-changing shark-men, cannibal mermaids, ghosts of all the captains that previously ran the Chathbrand - which is a super-ship that holds 800 men. Add in a plague of rats woken by an apocalyptic artifact in the hold that resides in the grasp of a man who has been turned to stone and is guarded by a sorcerer who survived being hanged for nine days, being cut into pieces and flung into the sea.

Did i mention its a bit gonzo?
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: The Butcher on March 23, 2016, 03:36:49 PM
Quote from: One Horse Town;883043
I'm not a massive SF fan anyway, but i was disappointed with Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. Nothing particularly exciting happens to a bunch of unsympathetic characters and there's telling, not showing, a lot of the time.


Redemption Ark is better. Absolution Gap has a great buildup but the ending is very unsatisfactory.

Didn't read the others.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Saplatt on April 01, 2016, 02:09:35 PM
Quote from: The Ent;773898
I'm currently reading Enter Player One. It's basically a love letter to 80s geekery.


I spent most of the 80s in bars or behind bars, but Ready Player One still made me laugh out loud at least 5 times.

Highly recommended!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on April 16, 2016, 04:07:15 PM
So, i've moved on to alt history for a bit. I've finally finished Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson which is so dense you could stand a spoon in it. Not an easy read at all, but pretty damned engrossing all the same. I didn't have the heart to move on to its 2 equally large sequels until i've recovered.

Instead i moved onto some steam-punk alt-history, The Strange Case of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder featuring Sir Richard Burton (the explorer not the actor chap) and the poet Algenon Swinburne investigating the eponymous jack. Even though its perfectly ok, it seems so light-weight and insignificant compared to Quicksilver.

Oh well, i'll have to move on to one of my favourite books of all time The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers. I didn't even know that he'd penned a sequel of sorts to it a few years back, which i have promptly ordered Hide Me Among the Graves, which moves on a generation from Shelley, Keats and Byron onto the pre-raphaelite movement and the Rossetti family (and also features Algenon Swinburne!). Really looking forward to revisiting Stress and reading Graves for the first time.

Completing my 'historical artistic figures in alt-history and supernatural situations' suite of books is Dan Simmons Drood which sees Dickens chasing after a shadowy figure that haunts him and remains his unfinished novel.

Blimey, that lot is very nearly literature! I'm off for a glass of port what! what!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on May 13, 2016, 12:01:14 PM
Thought i'd have time to read that lot as i'm laid up but haven't even finished Stress yet!
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Bedrockbrendan on May 22, 2016, 12:46:27 PM
Started reading Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. About half way through and really enjoying it. Someone recommended it to me as kind of fantasy wuxia. It isn't quite a straight analog, it is more like it takes a lot of the underlying themes and concept but makes them more universal. It definitely has a strong Imperial china root to it, but there are airships and the people of the setting are pretty diverse. Feels a little like Game of Thrones or Way of Kings in terms of scale and flow (but so far not nearly as dark). There is also definitely a Romance of the Three Kingdoms vibe to it. The prose is strong, the characters are interesting and the story engaging (I find myself quite interested seeing how things pan out). The world building is good too. One thing I like about the writer is he isn't striving for authentic Chinese material. It is more like he is building on a living tradition and he freely draws from other sources. I started the book half expecting it to be an obvious China analog, but it was more than that. Some of the sentiments feel a bit modern on occasion; that doesn't bother me in fantasy literature, as long as it is consistent with the setting material.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on June 06, 2016, 06:14:15 PM
Finished Drood by Dan Simmons. Not a lot happens over 700 pages that i thoroughly enjoyed reading, although the ending left an unsatisfied taste - which i guess is what happened to Dickens eponymous last novel. Bit too contrived when all is said and done, but i enjoyed the ride, even if i disliked the fixed grin of the driver.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on June 06, 2016, 09:24:15 PM
Quote from: danbuter;822339
Next up is Cold Days by Jim Butcher. It's part of the Harry Dresden series, and I suspect I will like it. The first couple chapters are certainly pretty good.


I finished up Skin Game a couple of weeks ago. Curiously, I hated the first couple of chapters, but liked how it ended up.  Of course, I've got an issue with teh Harry Dresden stuff, in that I've only read a few books, scatter shot fashion, and Butcher, like most long series writers, relies heavily on self-reference.  Huge chunks of the plot apparently happened in previous books, and several long running ideas (I think) were resolved (?) in Skin Game. I put that (?) in there, because I seem to recall that Butcher is one of those authors who can tie up a plot thread in one book, and in a later book reveal that it isn't over, it's... evolved.

For example, from Skin Game,: once upon a time the fallen angel Lashiel possessed Dresden (or somethign), and left in his head an imprint he named Lash.  Then Lash became good instead of evil, so thread resolved. Then Lash Died, so thread Resolved. Now Lash has left a baby in Dresden's soul that has to be born or it will kill him, which is Resolved at the end of Skin Game.

Five books later (at a guess) teh Lash Baby Spirit thing will now be the big McGuffin all the evil people want to use to take over the world, the Farie Queen/God Morrigan (Mab?) wants to kill it for practical reasons, and Harry Dresden has to drive across Hell Itself in a SmartCar (TM!), in order to save the world and his spirit-baby!.

Or something.




One problem I did have with Skin Game was that the plot apparently was resolved (In a manner of speaking) back in Chapter Two, off screen.  I thought the difficulty tracking I was having was simply crap writing, but it was deceptive crap writing instead.  There is such a thing as being a bit too elliptical for your own good.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on June 06, 2016, 09:39:25 PM
Just re-read the Unremembered Empire by Dad Abnett, one of the Horus Heresy books. I liked the series when it first came out, but someone realized it was a money making machine, and it very quickly degenerated into  devoting entire books on essentially minutia, instead of pushing the Heresy forward. So the first few books resolve most of the Heresy very quickly, then... the interminable grind as Horus Lupercal advances on Terra to be soul smited by Da Emprah!.

Twenty books now?


Dan's a good writer, for all that, but I could feel him chaffing at the bit.  A lot happens, but almost all of it is just moving pieces around the board for later.  With Sanguinus arriving on Maccragge near the end of the book I have to wonder if the series editor (or whomever is planning these suckers) has lost the ball.  A BIG part of the plot of the battle for Terra was Robot Gullman stuck on Maccragge, too far away to intervene at teh start of the siege (and threatening to emanenetly arrive at the end, leading to Horus's 'big gamble' of luring Da Emprah! to him.  Big Gamble, because the official text pretty much establishes that Horus curb stomped Da Emprah pretty handily for all that he lost in the end.

But, of course, Sanguinus is there on Terra for the whole fight, defending the Gates to the very last, then dying to Horus on the barge. So two pieces are in the same place when they should be a galaxy apart.

The other nagging bit, one that surfaces frequently in the series (and other books...) is a question of ability.  Robot is depicted as merely sorta superhuman. A single squad of Alpha Marines almost end him in an assassination attempt.  Kurze on the other hand is shown being capable of murdering the entirety of the Ultramarines Legion, the Dark Angels Legion (say 40k Space Marines), along with thousands of other Space Marines just lying around aimlessly in most of a single night.  Bolter round impacts to Robot's armor genuinely hurt him and impair his fighting ability, but Kurze gets stabbed quite a few times, drawing blood, once with a chain sword, and merely seems annoyed. Lion El Johnson is showed to be as capable at hunting Kurze as Kurze is at avoiding him (ruling out excessive deamonic influence), until, of course, Kurze takes two Primarchs on at the same time and suddenly Lion El Johnson is only slightly better than his lieutenants.

Who knew there was a rule of Ninja Conservation for Primarchs?

But seriously: I expect that roughly equal beings of roughly equal power to be at least roughly equal matches. Sure, some primarchs are better in some areas than others, but this book puts Kurze on a level above, to the point its not even close, and only fate intervenes saves him from essentially murdering everyone.  That is not good writing.


And since this post has not yet met my minimum word count: This is especially bad seeing as the only main non-marine character thumps a whole lot of 'Primarchs are only human' into the heads of Robot's men after his attack, and just before Kurze lands on Macragge.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Simlasa on June 17, 2016, 01:03:23 PM
I just finished reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere... and was entertained enough to finish it... but only just.
A kitchen sink of cool-ish ideas, with flat but familiar archetypes as tour guides. The story isn't much of a story and the whole setting seems pasted together with spit and glue... I got no sense of ANYTHING going on outside of what was on the page.
Maybe I would have gotten more out of it if I'd spent more time in London? (I did once wander its streets all night, interacting with various street characters... ALL of whom were more interesting than any character presented in this book).

I also think the overall tone was a bit too 'twee' for me... it kept suggesting danger and darkness but pretty much always pulled its punches, never letting it get anywhere near as dark as it kept teasing it would be.
 
I've never read Sandman but I've liked some other projects that had his name on top... but now I'm wondering if I should bother reading more, except maybe to mine for game ideas.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: One Horse Town on November 27, 2016, 05:35:28 AM
Here it is. For some reason this sub-forum defaults to showing only the threads from the last month.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on December 03, 2016, 08:22:26 PM
Fine, I'll keep it fresh.

Just finished 'Reading' Dan Abnett (Again!), this time a non-40k book called Embedded.  Slightly Sci-Fi Military fiction, with a twist, which I will now reveal (since its in the blurb and is essentially THE PLOT, rather than a spoiler...), that a hapless reporter type is mentally riding that bad-ass soldier into combat to get the scoop, when said Bad Ass Soldier dies, and the non-soldier on board has to take over the not-quite cooling meat.  

Its pretty good, but not great.   Abnett tries too hard to sell his near-ish future with things like 'Scotch-effect', and 'chicken-effect'... by which he apparently means 'fake scotch' and 'fake chicken', because real scotch or chicken would be too expensive for normal people to eat... or something.  On the other hand, it was very nice to see him come up with a plausible alternative to normal greetings, and not spend pages explaining it.   He's usually pretty good at minor cultural details like that.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: CTPhipps on December 03, 2016, 11:20:09 PM
I'm currently reading STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE, which is just PAINFUL if you're a fan of Quinlan Vos.

I'm also reading Rob J. Hayes TO CATCH A THIEF. It's a steampunk fantasy.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Spike on December 04, 2016, 05:40:11 AM
Quote from: CTPhipps;933676
I'm currently reading STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE, which is just PAINFUL if you're a fan of Quinlan Vos.

.

I have no idea who Quinlan Vos is, I assume a character. So what I have to know is: Is it painful becuase lots of bad things happen to him, or is it painful because its so badly written and untrue to the character as established?

Grammar Nazis want to know.
Title: The Book Thread
Post by: Warboss Squee on December 04, 2016, 03:25:18 PM
Quote from: Spike;933717
I have no idea who Quinlan Vos is, I assume a character. So what I have to know is: Is it painful becuase lots of bad things happen to him, or is it painful because its so badly written and untrue to the character as established?

Grammar Nazis want to know.

Being a Star Wars novel, likely both.