Escape Artists

The Lounge at the End of the Universe => Gallimaufry => Topic started by: Russell Nash on January 08, 2007, 07:58:52 AM



Title: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 08, 2007, 07:58:52 AM
What are you reading and what is in your waiting to be read pile?

I'm reading three books right now.
1) The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
It's a look at the American food supply chain. You'll never eat at McDonald's again.

2) The Swarm
I got this one for my birthday last year and knew nothing about it. It's an English translation of a best-selling German book. The translation is a little academic, meaning no one uses any slang and the Canadians and Americans speak perfect British English. The book started out as kind of an enviromental warning story, but around page 200 of over 700 it started sliding slowly towards being SF. I don't know where it's going now.

3) A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
The silmilarities and differences of the three "linked" religions and a real look at what the three holy boooks have to say. Fascinating, but I find it can only be read 50 pages at a time. There's so much in it that you need to take a couple of weeks off every so often.

On my to be read pile I have three books
1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series. (What did everyone think of these?)

3) I forget the exact name of the third, but it's book one of a three part history of the Third Reich. The history of Germany leading up to the 1933 elections. I started it last year and set it aside. Hopefully I can get into it more on my second attempt.


I hope to hear what you guys are reading and maybe get some ideas of what else belongs in my pile.

Tom


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: scottjanssens on January 08, 2007, 04:21:18 PM
I'm about to finish up Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories by Jean Shepherd.  After that it'll be Gaiman's latest.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 08, 2007, 04:24:42 PM
my readin pile is huge... well, i cant be readin for fun much lately
but im trying to read Clive Cussler's Trojan Odyssey (love them Dirk Pit novels!)

to be read:
more clive cussler
Dune
A Briefer History of Time
Nietche (spellin is bad i know)
Plato's Republic
Harry Potter 7 will be out by the time i get here
umm think thats all...

plus i have all the school readins i gotta do...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on January 09, 2007, 01:31:12 AM
I just finished Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions.  That book was insane.  Entertaining, but insane.

I'm now reading:

  • Walter Wangerin's The Book of the Dun Cow (an excellent epic fantasy about barnyard animals)
  • Frank Key's Befuddled by Cormorants (http://www.lulu.com/content/584182) (selected essays from Hooting Yard on the Air, one of my favorite podcasts)
  • Agile Web Development With Rails, Second Edition
  • Cascading Style Sheets for Dummies
  • Batman: Child of Dreams (a sort of comic/manga crossover)
  • an awful lot of short fiction, some of which we'll buy for Escape Pod or Pseudopod >8->


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: spycer on January 09, 2007, 02:36:25 AM
Aas always, I'm in the middle of 3 or 9 diffrent books, but the one that I've been sticking to lately has been Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming by Rodger Zelazny (of Amber fame) and Robert Sheckley.  So far it's well writen, entertaining, and most of all FUN.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: FNH on January 11, 2007, 04:41:59 AM
All my reading at the memoent seems to be coming from online resources.

In between other things I read one of Lovecraft's stories.  Most of the time I'm reading American Civil War related books downloaded from "Project Gutenberg".  Right now I'm reading about Teddy Roosevelts Trek through the Brazillian Jungle.

Am I the only one who reads books off a screen, I seem to be in a minority?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 11, 2007, 08:32:32 AM
I read mostly in bed at night. The kids are asleep. The day has been put to rest. Nothing more to do until tomorrow. A book just fits in bed better than a laptop. When a really good electronic book reader comes along, maybe I'll change my mind. Maybe that can be Apple's next product line.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Jim on January 11, 2007, 11:25:28 AM
I have a tough time reading without falling asleep, but right now I'm inching my way through Daughter of the Sun (http://lonnieezell.com) by Lonnie Ezell of The Dragon's Landing podcast.

It's a podiobook now, too, so I'm going to have a listen to what I haven't already read of the book on my upcoming automotive vacation.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: FNH on January 11, 2007, 02:56:19 PM
Daughter of the Sun by Lonnie Ezell of The Dragon's Landing podcast.

I've been listening to this at Podiobooks and so far I really like it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 11, 2007, 09:18:23 PM
Maybe that can be Apple's next product line.
riiight, because apple would "stoop so low" as to actually provide meaningful technology, something that WOULDNT be loved by the masses of teens geared soley towards incredibly stupid music and pop culture.  Reading would be completely detrimental to the apple line! god forbid anyone reads!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on January 11, 2007, 11:01:24 PM
What are you reading and what is in your waiting to be read pile?

I'm reading three books right now.
1) The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
It's a look at the American food supply chain. You'll never eat at McDonald's again.

2) The Swarm
I got this one for my birthday last year and knew nothing about it. It's an English translation of a best-selling German book. The translation is a little academic, meaning no one uses any slang and the Canadians and Americans speak perfect British English. The book started out as kind of an enviromental warning story, but around page 200 of over 700 it started sliding slowly towards being SF. I don't know where it's going now.

3) A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
The silmilarities and differences of the three "linked" religions and a real look at what the three holy boooks have to say. Fascinating, but I find it can only be read 50 pages at a time. There's so much in it that you need to take a couple of weeks off every so often.

On my to be read pile I have three books
1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series. (What did everyone think of these?)

3) I forget the exact name of the third, but it's book one of a three part history of the Third Reich. The history of Germany leading up to the 1933 elections. I started it last year and set it aside. Hopefully I can get into it more on my second attempt.


I hope to hear what you guys are reading and maybe get some ideas of what else belongs in my pile.

Tom


I am not reading anything. I never read fiction when I am writing it, and for the last two years or so that's all I've done with my spare time. I do have two weeks pencilled out in February to take a keyboard hiatus and scream through a little stack of books I've had recommended by some friends and family as well as reread the only two books I've ever reread - Wells' The War of the Worlds and Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

Then it's back to nonfiction while I work through another bunch of shorts (provided my shorts don't bunch!!! thank you very much I'll be here all week, don't forget to tip your server).



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 12, 2007, 04:01:36 AM
Maybe that can be Apple's next product line.
riiight, because apple would "stoop so low" as to actually provide meaningful technology, something that WOULDNT be loved by the masses of teens geared soley towards incredibly stupid music and pop culture.  Reading would be completely detrimental to the apple line! god forbid anyone reads!

I chose Apple only because there stuff is always elegant and simple to use. You don't have to be a total tech head to use it. Which is why they have 75% of the MP3 player market and have over 90% of the market for MP3 users over 35.

The problem with the ebook readers now is they don't really work well.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on January 12, 2007, 05:35:27 AM
I have a huge stack of 'to-be-read' books, but sadly I lack the time to read (aside from studybooks)
Instead I listen to Podiobooks and Escapepods. (and a lot of other podcasts)

The Podiobooks I'm currently into are "Prophecy of Swords" by M.H. Bonham, and "The Immortals" by Tracy (and Laura) Hickman.
Sadly I've listened to nearly all episodes available, I have one or two episodes of Prophecy of swords waiting for me when I get home.
But they trickle in so slowly. :(


I do have a book on the top of the stack, in which I've already started in, and that's called "The Traveller" by John Twelve Hawks. It's an interesting story, but it paints a scary picture for the future. A Big-Brotherian future.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 12, 2007, 06:50:14 AM
The Podiobooks I'm currently into are "Prophecy of Swords" by M.H. Bonham, and "The Immortals" by Tracy (and Laura) Hickman.   ....   But they trickle in so slowly. :(

This is a problem I have with Podiobooks. If a book isn't finished when I sign up for it, I won't start it until I get the "it's over" file.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Shade53 on January 12, 2007, 07:19:36 AM
Maybe that can be Apple's next product line.
riiight, because apple would "stoop so low" as to actually provide meaningful technology, something that WOULDNT be loved by the masses of teens geared soley towards incredibly stupid music and pop culture.  Reading would be completely detrimental to the apple line! god forbid anyone reads!

Unless of course they paired the release with the release of Harry Potter 7... each reader would have it already downloaded.... then they would sell faster than popcorn for an HP movie. And maybe even get used more than once. Maybe. Personally, I'd love to have a reader device - I love to read but rarely seem to have enough time to read what I really want to read.

~S


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: VBurn on January 12, 2007, 04:08:47 PM
I think it would be fairly easy to incorporate a reader into the iPod.  I think the publishing company's grimace at the thought of best sellers so easy to copy and distribute, so there is no big market driver for the technology.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on January 12, 2007, 05:03:00 PM
This is a problem I have with Podiobooks. If a book isn't finished when I sign up for it, I won't start it until I get the "it's over" file.
Heh, well I have enough content to listen to.
There are the Scott Sigler (http://scottsigler.podshow.com/) stories :) 
Silent Universe (http://www.silentuniverse.com/) (when they update),
Children of the Gods (http://www.childrenofthegods.net) (again when they update)

And a lot of other (non-story) podcasts to listen to...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 12, 2007, 05:17:37 PM
I think it would be fairly easy to incorporate a reader into the iPod.  I think the publishing company's grimace at the thought of best sellers so easy to copy and distribute, so there is no big market driver for the technology.

You can put a couple different text forms into the iPod. It's just that the screen isn't right for extended reading. Slate's Explainer podcast has the full text and sometimes when the subway is too loud I read along instead of blowing out my ears and it just isn't comfortable.

There are a few different companies working on "electronic paper" or "e-ink" which really has the look of real paper, but they mess it up with the size/weight and the Sony Librie was perfect, but then they crippled it with stupid DRM. It sold only for a while in Japan and then Sony pulled it. According to Make magazine (http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2005/08/how_to_make_drm_1.html) you can find these on eBay and Make has a crack for it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on January 13, 2007, 06:10:42 PM
on E-readers... I would like to get the Iliad (http://www.irextechnologies.com/products/iliad).
But I may be biased, it's developed here in The Netherlands ;) (it's just a tad too expensive for me to right out buy) :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Jonathan C. Gillespie on January 15, 2007, 07:10:34 PM
I don't know if it's like this with all iPods, but my 2G Nano seems to have a hard word-limit on parsing text files when I copy them over.  It seems to be around 1,000 words.  So I can never e-read anything on my Nano.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on January 17, 2007, 07:45:51 AM
What are you reading and what is in your waiting to be read pile?

1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series. (What did everyone think of these?)

I'm a fan of Pratchet, but I can't quite figure out why. The disc world has many enjoyable characters and fun plots, some sapient pearwood, and Pratchet has an interesting view of his world. I can't say any of his books are very meaty, and they're all a bit satirical, but a good "young adult" fiction with a lot of inside jokes.

Currently: Uncivilized Beats and Shameless Hellions; Travels with and NPR Correspondent

On deck: A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Huh... so much for the fiction.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Brian Reilly on January 17, 2007, 09:03:31 AM

On my to be read pile I have three books
1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series. (What did everyone think of these?)

I find them a bit lacking, compared to his later stuff. They are deliberate parodies of the fantasy genre, and the joke kind of wears thin. I am almost alone among my friends (I'm British, so I have lots of friends who have read Pratchett) in thinking that his stuff just keeps on getting better (most of my aforementioned Pratchett-reading freinds have discworld fatigue. He is a wee bit prolific). His latest stuff has better characterisation, it's darker and it has more to say about society and less about obscure pulp fantasy books I have never and will never read.

I've read the first two, they are for those of us who have to read the full set.

Currently i am reading a popular science book- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I've just read Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast, one of the best political books I have ever read, in a combative American attacking-the-oppressors way.

The last fiction I read was Glasshouse by Charles Stross. A brilliant piece of Post-Singularity SF. Less idea-dense than its predecessor Accelerando, this novel trades long jargon-filled exploration of future technology for a rather good futuristic mystery story.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on January 17, 2007, 12:46:04 PM
I find them a bit lacking, compared to his later stuff. They are deliberate parodies of the fantasy genre, and the joke kind of wears thin. I am almost alone among my friends (I'm British, so I have lots of friends who have read Pratchett) in thinking that his stuff just keeps on getting better (most of my aforementioned Pratchett-reading freinds have discworld fatigue. He is a wee bit prolific). His latest stuff has better characterisation, it's darker and it has more to say about society and less about obscure pulp fantasy books I have never and will never read.

I'm with you on that.  The Discworld series started as pure parody and nothing else -- and I personally found the first two books very funny as a teenager.  (The first one in particular; I still remember the scene where Twoflower tries to pay his tab at the seedy tavern with pure gold.)  I haven't tried to read them since.

His parody gradually spread out, picking more diverse targets.  He had a lot of one-gag books like Moving Pictures (the fantasy world invents Hollywood) and Soul Music ("sex, drugs, and music with rocks in.")  Even at their shallowest they were still pretty funny, or at least funnier than a lot of the other stuff out there, but they didn't stick with me.

Then I read Small Gods.  That book stuck.  It's the first time I felt that his satire was trying to say something really interesting -- in this case about religion, and how gods need believers more than believers need gods.  On a side note, it's also the first Discworld book I pushed on Anna that she liked.

Since then he's been all over the map.  Some books are still silly satire, and there are some that just plain aren't good (Jingo and Thief of Time did nothing for me), but sometimes he gets deep.  Really deep.  And the jokes are always there, but sometimes the jokes are serious.  I'd put Night Watch up against just about any other fantasy novel for complexity, character depth, and capacity to astonish.  And Wee Free Men is one of the best YA novels I'd read in a very long time.

So yeah, the series has definitely gotten better with age.  Not with total consistency -- like wine or whisky, some barrels just don't come out right -- but on the whole.

And if you're just starting Discworld now, and you intend to read it through, man, are you going to stay busy for a while.  >8->


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 17, 2007, 02:24:42 PM
And if you're just starting Discworld now, and you intend to read it through, man, are you going to stay busy for a while.  >8->

A friend forced the first two on me and they've been sitting there for a year now. She has the full series and seems to expect me to read it. I was just wondering if I should start the fight or run.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on January 17, 2007, 02:52:50 PM
A friend forced the first two on me and they've been sitting there for a year now. She has the full series and seems to expect me to read it. I was just wondering if I should start the fight or run.

1.) Do you deeply enjoy fantasy?

2.) Are your reading sensibilities such that an entertaining style and humor will get you through sections (or entire books) of weak plot, until the plot picks back up again and becomes strong?

3.) Is she cute?


(One has to weigh all the factors.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 17, 2007, 03:48:06 PM
A friend forced the first two on me and they've been sitting there for a year now. She has the full series and seems to expect me to read it. I was just wondering if I should start the fight or run.

1.) Do you deeply enjoy fantasy?

2.) Are your reading sensibilities such that an entertaining style and humor will get you through sections (or entire books) of weak plot, until the plot picks back up again and becomes strong?

3.) Is she cute?


(One has to weigh all the factors.)


I enjoy any entertaining story. I prefer a good plot that doesn't insult my intelligence.(hence why I hate Jerry Bruckheimer movies) However if the book is extremely intelligent and amusing it can cover for a weaker plot. She is easy on the eyes, but is an absolute Psycho.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on January 17, 2007, 05:48:10 PM
For the PTerry fans (Pratchett's online handle), his book Mort is dramatized for the English radio (BBC7), and everyone can listen to it on the web.
You have till Saturday. (then comes the next episode)

And this is the link (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/listenagain/saturday/) to the page with the 'listen now' button.
Warning it's a realplayer link. :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Brian Reilly on January 20, 2007, 06:07:09 AM

Since then he's been all over the map.  Some books are still silly satire, and there are some that just plain aren't good (Jingo and Thief of Time did nothing for me), but sometimes he gets deep.  Really deep.  And the jokes are always there, but sometimes the jokes are serious.  I'd put Night Watch up against just about any other fantasy novel for complexity, character depth, and capacity to astonish.  And Wee Free Men is one of the best YA novels I'd read in a very long time.


Night Watch may be my favourite Discworld book. There's an incredible depth to it, and my Pratchett-fatigued friends are really missing out.

My first discworld book was Reaper Man, which I see as one of the lesse ones. I'm glad I stuck with the series though.

Wee Free Men was fantastic. I am Scottish after all.

Russell- I wouldn't start with the first two. It's not that they aren't funny books, but perhaps you should start with one of the better early ones- try Small Gods.

 
Quote
3.) Is she cute?

On a tangent- this gives me an idea for a thread topic.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bekemeyer on January 22, 2007, 05:22:06 PM
I am sort of new to reading any kind of SF/fantasy and there's so much out there, I'm not sure where to start.  By that I mean, what's worth reading and what's not.  So my question is, what are your selective top 3-5 must read "books"?  the ones that are already in my que to read are The Foundation Series, some Orson Scott Card books, The Lord of the Rings series and a book called "The Traveler" by John Twelve Hawks. 

i'm sure people have books that made them want to come back for more. 

thanks. 

-B   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on January 23, 2007, 05:38:52 AM
> "The Traveller" by John Twelve Hawks. 
I have this book on the night stand at the moment. It is a book that evokes a lot of different emotion for me :)
Mostly anger because of the picture of the future that it paints. (A very 1984-esque picture)
Anger because I can see it happening in real life too (well the intrusion of privacy described in the book at least)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bekemeyer on January 23, 2007, 05:43:36 AM
do you like the book, or is it making you miserable? 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 23, 2007, 06:55:36 AM
I am sort of new to reading any kind of SF/fantasy and there's so much out there, I'm not sure where to start.  By that I mean, what's worth reading and what's not.  So my question is, what are your selective top 3-5 must read "books"? 

My advice is always read a series from the beginning. If someone gives you part 2, don't read it until you read part 1. Even if it isn't a continuation of the storyline, it has necessary information about the world the story is in.

1) Dune by Frank Herbert (sf)
2) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (sf)
3) The Belgariad by David (& Leigh) Eddings (f)

There is a discussion about Dune (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=6.0) going on right now. The emphasis is really on how much of it you should read. Everyone seems to agree that the first is essential reading and form there it kind of slows down and gets dense. How much further you want to go seems to be a personal thing.

Ender's Game is the book that broke Card onto the scene.

The Belgariad is my favorite fantasy series. It's got a good epic story and they ended the epic. This is important. Steve was commenting in one of the intro on how many epic series now just never end. they get the readers hooked in and just keep going long past the point of interest. The Belgariad also has a really good sense of humor. I think this helps readers who are new to the fantasy genre.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bekemeyer on January 23, 2007, 07:04:17 AM
definitely read Ender's Game.  i just started Children of the Mind.  then i will take a break from OSC for a bit.  Dune keeps coming up on the list.  so, i'll make sure and read that one.  but the third one on you list, is one i don't think i had heard of.

thanks.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bekemeyer on January 23, 2007, 07:16:36 AM
sorry, but i keep wondering what it is about the rest of the Dune series that seems to irritate everyone so much?  is it one of those things that i will get once i read the first book, or what?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 23, 2007, 08:39:27 AM
sorry, but i keep wondering what it is about the rest of the Dune series that seems to irritate everyone so much?  is it one of those things that i will get once i read the first book, or what?

The thread on Dune (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=6.0) really covers it. Basically as you go through the books, the complexity of the politics emerges more and the action evaporates. Check out the thread for more detail.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bekemeyer on January 23, 2007, 08:51:02 AM
i will, but, i'll wait until i've read the book.  thanks.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 23, 2007, 12:02:18 PM
i will, but, i'll wait until i've read the book.  thanks.

The thread doesn't give away any plot elements yet. It just argues the value of the later books.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bekemeyer on January 23, 2007, 12:04:58 PM
okay.  cool, thanks. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on February 21, 2007, 11:38:05 PM
I've actually just finished Garth Nix's Sabriel. It's pretty interesting, and though heavily based on our real world's past history, which Nix takes and twists into an Earthsea [Ursula Le Guin] typed world. This is especially so when... Actually, I'll just leave it as "This is a pretty good book".

I'm also reading what is supposedly SF, a book called "Echelon", by Josh Conviser. It's a very... Action-packed, future James Bond kind of book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on February 22, 2007, 06:43:44 AM
   A couple of things at the moment:

DEEP STORM by Lincoln Childs-An oil rig burrows through to Atlantis, except...it might not be.  Really well done adventure fiction from one half of the team behind The Relic.

ENIGMA by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo-One of the most under rated, and arguably best, graphic novels of the '90s.  A young man discovers that the comic he loved as a child is coming to life and its all his fault...  Funny, horrific and incredibly smart, its one of those books that deserves more attention than its got.

MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS by Kelly Link-Some of my friends love her stories, others think they're irritating and twee.  I fall somewhere between the two.  I'm four stories in and the vast majority of what I've read, especially 'The Hortlak' has been pretty good.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on February 23, 2007, 09:16:36 AM
do you like the book, or is it making you miserable? 
I like the way it's written, but the picture it paints is making me a little bit depressed.
Mind you I'm only halfway, and I know that it's fiction, but it seems sooo close to reality at times. :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on February 23, 2007, 09:27:19 AM
I've actually completed Sabriel... I recommend it. But, what is the name of the writer who dismissed Global Warming?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on February 23, 2007, 10:17:05 AM
I've actually completed Sabriel... I recommend it. But, what is the name of the writer who dismissed Global Warming?

That would be Michael Crichton.  I am told that he argues against global warming in State of Fear, claiming that scientific evidence is weak (it isn't) and that the current concern over it is just another Hollywood fad.  He also gave a lecture at CalTech titled "Aliens Cause Global Warming," equating 'consensus science' with belief in UFOs.

This annoys the crap out of me -- not so much that he expressed his opinion, but that he's being treated as an expert by so many people, testifying before committees, etc.  Crichton is not a scientist.  He is a doctor, and in my opinion he wrote one damn good medical SF thriller (The Andromeda Strain) before he realized he could make up anything he ever needed.

And that's fine.  I don't mind science fiction writers making things up.  The field would be pretty damn boring if they didn't.  But treating science fiction writers as scientists, with real-world expertise, on the virtue of stuff they've made up, is dangerous.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on February 23, 2007, 03:48:00 PM
Yes. Actually, I think he was sued by people like the CBC. I hear, from word of mouth, that is. But, I believe that people like him have only the right of free speech protecting them from being jailed. I mean, what is he talking about? I don't quite know. Allegedly, his book is a real drag, too.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Reap3r on February 23, 2007, 06:33:31 PM
That would be Michael Crichton.  I am told that he argues against global warming in State of Fear, claiming that scientific evidence is weak (it isn't) and that the current concern over it is just another Hollywood fad.

I don't think it should be a discussion about whether or not global warming is happening, but whether or not it's actually a problem. Is it a bad thing, are we just coming out of an ice age, or is it something else? At the moment, I don't think it's a bad thing; but that's because of some of the talks I've had with my dad, not my personal knowledge on the subject. I may do some reading about the facts, but I never know if I'll actually remember to.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on February 23, 2007, 06:36:52 PM
It's a bad thing, but I think that it's not yet completely imminent yet. We're getting there, but slowly. This could also be a story. The days before complete destruction of the Ozone layer.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on February 23, 2007, 07:14:47 PM
I don't think it should be a discussion about whether or not global warming is happening, but whether or not it's actually a problem. Is it a bad thing, are we just coming out of an ice age, or is it something else? At the moment, I don't think it's a bad thing; but that's because of some of the talks I've had with my dad, not my personal knowledge on the subject. I may do some reading about the facts, but I never know if I'll actually remember to.

It's Pascal's Wager with more evidence.  There can never be absolute certainty about the future, but there are enough signs that the rational course is to assume we're bound for Hell and do whatever we feasibly can to stop it.

Worst case if it isn't a problem and we treat it like it is?  We spend a shitload of money, and make a number of sacrifices in personal lifestyle, to clean up the environment and extend our fossil fuel supply.

Worst case if it is a problem and we treat it like it isn't?  Sea level rises 10 to 20 feet, the failure of the Gulf Stream freezes Western Europe, ecosystems are disrupted globally, hundreds of millions may die.  That is an extreme case, but a scientifically plausible one.

The reason it's Pascal's Wager is because we have to choose now.  By the time we get to find out whether we were right or not, it's far too late to choose.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on February 23, 2007, 07:21:20 PM
I don't think it should be a discussion about whether or not global warming is happening, but whether or not it's actually a problem. Is it a bad thing, are we just coming out of an ice age, or is it something else? At the moment, I don't think it's a bad thing; but that's because of some of the talks I've had with my dad, not my personal knowledge on the subject. I may do some reading about the facts, but I never know if I'll actually remember to.

It's Pascal's Wager with more evidence.  There can never be absolute certainty about the future, but there are enough signs that the rational course is to assume we're bound for Hell and do whatever we feasibly can to stop it.

Worst case if it isn't a problem and we treat it like it is?  We spend a shitload of money, and make a number of sacrifices in personal lifestyle, to clean up the environment and extend our fossil fuel supply.

Worst case if it is a problem and we treat it like it isn't?  Sea level rises 10 to 20 feet, the failure of the Gulf Stream freezes Western Europe, ecosystems are disrupted globally, hundreds of millions may die.  That is an extreme case, but a scientifically plausible one.

The reason it's Pascal's Wager is because we have to choose now.  By the time we get to find out whether we were right or not, it's far too late to choose.

This isn't new news: Al Gore said it, and many other "Save the Earth" pilgrims. They have good ideas, and we should follow them. It's too bad that no-one actually has the self-control to do anything about this.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Reap3r on February 23, 2007, 08:17:57 PM
I've done a little searching and everything I saw was about negative effects, and none of them talking about what the actual possibilities are.
It's a bad thing, but I think that it's not yet completely imminent yet. We're getting there, but slowly. This could also be a story. The days before complete destruction of the Ozone layer.
What if the extra water molecules due to a warmer planet are able to replace the ozone layer? I'm not saying I have any proof of this being even possible. It is simply one of many possiblity that should be discussed. There is no way anyone will ever figure out what will actually happen unless they discuss all the possiblities and look at it without the bias of "The world will be destroyed if we don't stop global warming"(I know that most people aren't saying that). I think we should be warming up. The last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago.
It's Pascal's Wager with more evidence.  There can never be absolute certainty about the future, but there are enough signs that the rational course is to assume we're bound for Hell and do whatever we feasibly can to stop it.
I agree that we should assume the worst, but we could be missing something that could be found if we stopped assuming our assumptions are right, and try to discover if our assumptions are right.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on February 23, 2007, 08:21:27 PM
I think that we should assume the worst. But not just the worst, we should also assume that we need to stop or slow the global warming.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on February 23, 2007, 08:38:02 PM
I agree that we should assume the worst, but we could be missing something that could be found if we stopped assuming our assumptions are right, and try to discover if our assumptions are right.

You do realize that there's a hell of a lot of work going on in that right now, right?  Scientists are doing science.  For the last few years it was difficult in the U.S. because the Bush administration had a policy of making life very difficult for publicly funded science on global warming, but it has been happening.

Really.  No one's just assuming it'll happen.  There's actual math, and it's being improved on all the time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on February 23, 2007, 08:49:47 PM
Oh, No. I'm not saying that nothings happening, but, for example, Canada, where I live, is WAY below Kyoto standards. I mean, this is a very big issue, and I also think that things are happening quickly, but the whole problem is that we have to figure out a way to work being green into life as we know it. What I mean, is,

- Shutting off the lights
- Not wasting materials and resources in general
- ets.

I'm pretty sure everyone knows what I mean. Basically, take what you need, or otherwise what will not waste. I'm not saying that one should turn to extremes, but little things, such as carpooling, and un-plugging your laptop when it's charged, then plugging it in again when it needs to be re-charged. Or something like that.

We also need to look into stuff like having different energy efficient habits, and giving that old Windows 2000 to your uncle's kid, who wants a computer.  I hate when people tell me how to live. No, these are just suggestions.
Another to add, that can slightly be applicable: keep your laptop screenlight down low, until you actually need it to be higher for one reason or another. I do, espetially when listening to Sudopod ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Reap3r on February 23, 2007, 10:30:06 PM
I agree that we should assume the worst, but we could be missing something that could be found if we stopped assuming our assumptions are right, and try to discover if our assumptions are right.

You do realize that there's a hell of a lot of work going on in that right now, right?  Scientists are doing science.  For the last few years it was difficult in the U.S. because the Bush administration had a policy of making life very difficult for publicly funded science on global warming, but it has been happening.

Really.  No one's just assuming it'll happen.  There's actual math, and it's being improved on all the time.

Sorry, I typed without thinking there, and no i can't redeem my statement. That's the price I pay for putting myself out there. I'm going to be wrong sometime.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on February 28, 2007, 03:09:39 PM
I'm reading three books right now.
1) The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
2) The Swarm
3) A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong

On my to be read pile I have three books
1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series.
3) I forget the exact name of the third, but it's book one of a three part history of the Third Reich.

Update
Finished The Swarm it got insanely stupid. It's also the book, I complained about in the Pet Peeves (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=523.0) thread.

I gave back the History of the Third Reich. I just don't get enough time to read to slog (sp?) through that.

I started reading the first Discworld book. I'm about 80 pages or so in (They just started the inn-sewer-rents fire) and it's a lot of fun.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on February 28, 2007, 03:36:05 PM
The next few books I'm going to read are:

1. The World is Flat (v2.0), Thomas Friedman
2. Sandman, Neil Gaiman
3. The Earthsea books, Ursula Le Guin
4. 300, Frank Miller


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on February 28, 2007, 04:06:48 PM
I am reading off-genre during my writing vacation.

I've read "The Devil Wears Prada" by Laura Weisenberger.

Hated it.

I am currently reading "The Sand Pebbles" by Richard McKenna and it is fantastic. Set in 1925 China the crew of the US Gunboat San Pablo deals with the transition of China from country controlled by warlords to a modern nationalist state.

On tap I have "Nevermore" by Harold Schechter (E.A. Poe and P.T. Barnum solve a series of murders). Schechter is the undisputed master of grisly true-crime non-fiction. I've read a half dozen or so of his books and I can't wait to get into his fiction. Had to get it from the library though as it's out of print in all formats.

Finally, "The Ruins" by Scott Smith. Recommended by a friend, I have no idea what the hell this one is about.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on March 01, 2007, 04:11:34 PM
I just finished 'Possible Side Effects' by Augusten Burroughs. I highly recommend his stuff, the guy's incredibly observant and scathingly witty. Next up is 'Chainfire' by Terry Goodkind.  And I badly need to get my hands on a copy of 'Fragile Things.'  I have several more books lying around the apartment in various stages of being read, but I don't know when or if I'll get to those.

I'll probably give Jim Butcher's books another shot at some point soon since he'll be a guest at I-Con and I might want to see him speak.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on March 05, 2007, 05:43:23 AM
I started reading the first Discworld book. I'm about 80 pages or so in (They just started the inn-sewer-rents fire) and it's a lot of fun.
Say hi to Twoflower for me. :)

I've just finished Wintersmith by T. Pratchett, I really loved that story.
Now I have to find another good book to pick up, but given my enormous stack of books-to-be-read that won't be a problem.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 05, 2007, 10:02:18 AM
Oh, No. I'm not saying that nothings happening, but, for example, Canada, where I live, is WAY below Kyoto standards. I mean, this is a very big issue, and I also think that things are happening quickly, but the whole problem is that we have to figure out a way to work being green into life as we know it. What I mean, is,

- Shutting off the lights
- Not wasting materials and resources in general
- ets.

I'm pretty sure everyone knows what I mean. Basically, take what you need, or otherwise what will not waste. I'm not saying that one should turn to extremes, but little things, such as carpooling, and un-plugging your laptop when it's charged, then plugging it in again when it needs to be re-charged. Or something like that.

We also need to look into stuff like having different energy efficient habits, and giving that old Windows 2000 to your uncle's kid, who wants a computer.  I hate when people tell me how to live. No, these are just suggestions.
Another to add, that can slightly be applicable: keep your laptop screenlight down low, until you actually need it to be higher for one reason or another. I do, espetially when listening to Sudopod ;)

(It must be my week to jump in on "controversy threads"!)

It always seemed like common sense to me that more pollution = a Very Bad Thing.  However, until I saw Al Gore's movie, I didn't really know much about the science behind it.  Now I talk about it, and my friends pooh-pooh the whole thing as some kind of publicity stunt, and cite Crichton as some kind of "common sense authority" on the matter.  The gist of their arguments -- no matter how they phrase it -- seems to come down to, "Al Gore isn't a scientist, he's just using his platform to try to run for President.  Crichton and 1% of the scientific community (paid for by the world's leading polluters) have much more credibility in my book that he does."

But if you look at the correlation between CO2 in the atmosphere, and world-wide temperatures, combined with all of the predicted weather effects, you can't deny that something needs to change pretty quickly.  Bio-fuels won't do it, because they still pump CO2 into the air; no one "silver bullet" technology can do it.  But there are:
* new solar technologies coming online - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deployment_of_solar_power_to_energy_grids new solar technologies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deployment_of_solar_power_to_energy_grids new solar technologies))
* wind power is beginning to overcome "NIMBY" obstacles -  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Large_scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Large_scale)
* and even nuclear is safer now - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_Bed_Reactor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_Bed_Reactor)

Well, it's safer, at least, than the prolonged use of fossil fuels.  (As one commentary I heard on NPR put it, "At least with nuclear waste, you know where it is; waste from fossil fuels goes everywhere."  Not comforting, but something to consider.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on March 05, 2007, 11:57:20 AM
Maybe someone should start a "little things you can do to be greener" thread.

Recently, I (well, me and my family) did two things:
1) I replaced nearly all of my light bulbs with CF light bulbs.  It wasn't cheap, but what I save in electricity will pay for it in about six months, IIRC.  And the less electricity I use, the less coal gets burned.
2) I stopped buying little bottles of water.  We used to go through about a case a week. They all went into my recycle bin, but as many times as I saw or heard about garbage men throwing the recycle into the garbage truck and saying to complainers "we'll sort it out later,"  I began to wonder how many of those bottles ended up in landfills.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on March 09, 2007, 07:11:27 PM
This is probably a thread I should stay away from, for a number of reasons.  Hey, it's never stopped anyone on t'internet in t'past.

Y'all (US; Scotch: youse) seem to like Terry Pratchett: I recommend early Robert Rankin if he's available in the States.  Amargeddon: The Musical and the first three books of the Brentford Trilogy are comic-fantasy genius.  Maybe a little parochial but they should work for foreign readers in the "write of what you know" sense.

[topic switch]
Environmentalism isn't as hard as you imagine when you try it.  Live in the right place is the hardest part*.  Then don't drive, don't fly, lag your loft, switch to a renewable energy supplier and recycle what you can.  Do a bit better every week: nobody expects you to be perfect straight away.  I know that there's a lot more that I could do but I'm working on it.  Doing a little feels better than doing nothing.

I see at as much more positive than Pascal's Wager.  I always assumed that God could see right through the percentage players and would send them straight to hell.  On the environment you actually help the economy: peak oil is by many accounts already here and we have to get ourselves ready for the post-carbon economy.  Let's steal a march!  The more carbon we keep in the ground, the less climate change we all have to adapt to.

[topic switch]
I'm reading:
+ The Lord of the Rings in real-time: a project I've been intending to tackle for years, but I didn't plan it properly and I'm falling behind.
+ some Neil Gaiman Sandman stuff: I just discovered Brighton's comic shop and I've got a lot of catching up to do.
+ the entries in the EP FlashFic contest, again and again: there are some overlooked gems in there.
+ a Joe Haldeman collection (Infinite Dreams) that I found in a second-hand bookshop: okay, but nothing thrills me so far.  The EP contest stories beat it hands down.

In my in-tray:
+ The Briar King by, uh, Greg Keyes I think: I seem to have lost the damn thing.
+ Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk: can't go wrong there.
+ The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649-1815: my wife's a naval history/Napoleonic wars fan and reckons this is a good 'un.
+ Glasshouse, by Charles Stross: I'm saving this one up as a treat in case one of the other disappoints me.
+ House of Leaves.  Again.  So I can join in the Pseudopod thread.

* Admittedly easier in the UK where the distances are less intimidating.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 09, 2007, 07:43:44 PM
Ha, ha!  I had the WORST time trying to get around in the UK!  Of course, we were in rural Lincolnshire, with one bus passing through twice each weekday.  When you're talking about commuting, the phrase "Your Mileage May Vary" is really true.  ;)

I was also USAF while there, and they tend to keep you consuming like a Yank wherever they send you.  "Damn the cost, you need to travel 60 miles for a drug test!"  That sort of thing. 


[back to the reading topic]
You have caught me during a rare "I'm not reading anything at all" moment.  My free time (especially this week) has been spent in the car (NPR or mp3s), on the computer (doing this!), watching Boston Legal with my lovely bride (who has a strange crush on James Spader), or playing baseball on the Nintendo (my Diamondbacks are on a 7-game winning streak, thanks to Johnny Bench!), and I haven't found anything compelling at the library.

My beef with the library:  they have an excellent selection of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" franchise novels*, book 2 of Peter Hamilton's "Naked God", and a bunch of stuff I have read already.  I can't get the "hold" feature on their website to work, and browsing has not worked.  When I asked at the info desk about the new Iain M. Banks, we had a lovely conversation about how to spell "Iain", but no joy finding the book.

*I find those books to be unreadable, even in a "light, fun" mood, which I am not in of late.  Must be the weather.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on March 09, 2007, 08:52:02 PM
Ha, ha!  I had the WORST time trying to get around in the UK!  Of course, we were in rural Lincolnshire

Meh.  Well if you will try to cope with the Midlands...

(Speaking as a Scot living in the public transported-up South.  Which reminds me...)

Quote
When I asked at the info desk about the new Iain M. Banks, we had a lovely conversation about how to spell "Iain", but no joy finding the book.

Iain was round our way this week on a book-promotional tour for his latest non-SF (The Steep Approach To Garbadale, sounds pretty good, in The Crow Road vein) and claimed that he had his forthcoming SF book in his pocket.  He waved around a couple of USB memory sticks.  It's unusual for him to be writing while he's on the road as he's been particular about separating his writing time from his glad-handing, but the important facts are (a) the new book is Culture (b) it's ~114,000 words in and (c) it's going okay.

Hurrah.  :D


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on March 09, 2007, 10:45:52 PM
I'm reading:
+ The Lord of the Rings in real-time: a project I've been intending to tackle for years, but I didn't plan it properly and I'm falling behind.

Out of curiosity, what does this mean?  You take precisely as long to read it as the characters took from leaving the Shire to returning to it?  I'm intrigued, but I'm not sure how to interpret this.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on March 10, 2007, 06:01:41 AM
I'm reading:
+ The Lord of the Rings in real-time: a project I've been intending to tackle for years, but I didn't plan it properly and I'm falling behind.
Out of curiosity, what does this mean?  You take precisely as long to read it as the characters took from leaving the Shire to returning to it?  I'm intrigued, but I'm not sure how to interpret this.

That's what I'm attempting.  I skipped the 17 years between the Long-Expected Party and Frodo leaving Bag-End, but since then I've been trying to read each day's-worth of action on the day that it took place.  It does require quite a bit of jumping around after the Breaking of the Fellowship -- the result is a more movie-style intercutting of the scenes which I'm enjoying so far.

And it's amazing how long they hang around in Rivendell and Lothlorien.  Lazy blighters.  Don't they know there's a war on?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 10, 2007, 10:10:35 AM
I'm reading:
+ The Lord of the Rings in real-time: a project I've been intending to tackle for years, but I didn't plan it properly and I'm falling behind.
Out of curiosity, what does this mean?  You take precisely as long to read it as the characters took from leaving the Shire to returning to it?  I'm intrigued, but I'm not sure how to interpret this.

That's what I'm attempting.  I skipped the 17 years between the Long-Expected Party and Frodo leaving Bag-End, but since then I've been trying to read each day's-worth of action on the day that it took place.  It does require quite a bit of jumping around after the Breaking of the Fellowship -- the result is a more movie-style intercutting of the scenes which I'm enjoying so far.

And it's amazing how long they hang around in Rivendell and Lothlorien.  Lazy blighters.  Don't they know there's a war on?

Dude, YOU are totally hard core.

I told my wife about your project, and we both want to know, did you figure out the pacing yourself, or is there a published "LOTR day by day" outline somewhere?  I've seen the "Bible in 365", so it wouldn't surprise me either way.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on March 10, 2007, 12:55:07 PM
I told my wife about your project, and we both want to know, did you figure out the pacing yourself, or is there a published "LOTR day by day" outline somewhere?  I've seen the "Bible in 365", so it wouldn't surprise me either way.

I've been winging it.  I thought about trying to work out a schedule in advance but I thought that might take the fun out of it.  I'm beginning to regret my decision now, because I've been going badly wrong since the start.

Once I've finished I'm thinking of going back through and making a plan for next time, in case I ever get the urge to do it again.  If I do I'll put my notes up on the web.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: fiveyearwinter on March 12, 2007, 11:44:29 AM
I just started Stephen King's Cell, I'm getting ready to finish Atlas Shrugged (yes, it takes time to prepare), I've begun Pale Fire, and I desperately want to read House of Leaves.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on March 12, 2007, 12:48:53 PM
At the risk of sounding like a slacker, I only have a couple books on the stack right now:
-Uncivilized Beasts and Shameless Hellions: Travels With an NPR Correspondent
-Several picture books of shiny metal bits from 200ad ~ 600ad
-"The Last Continent" by Terry Pratchett

I'm thinking of picking up "Armageddon: The Musical" on Roney's recommendation


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on March 16, 2007, 12:21:35 AM
I just finished Stephen King's Cell. Before that was Harry Turtledove's Days of Infamy and Beginning of the End.

Now I've begun Douglas Coupland's jPod. It's a hoot, so far.  :D If you like Microserfs you'd like jPod.

Finished LoTR a few weeks ago, for, like, the fifth time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on March 17, 2007, 04:25:50 PM
My reading in-tray has just been disrupted by the publication of Hal Duncan's Ink, the second (and, I believe, final) part of The Book of all HoursVellum blew me away and I can't wait to get started.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: sayeth on March 20, 2007, 07:28:13 AM
Four sets of reading:

1. Real book, for at home light reading: The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman. I was at first turned off by the horrid cover design (at least in my copy), but I eventually read The Golden Compass (aka The Northern Lights elsewhere) and found it to be an excellent fantasy/steampunk adventure. So, now I'm on the sequel.

2. Real book, for work-related reading: Learning to Smell by Don Wilson.  I'm a neuroscientist studying how certain pathways in the brain change during olfactory learning, so this is right up my alley, and well-written to boot.

3. Ebook, for bus reading: The People of the Black Circle by R.E. Howard. I've found that pulp novels work best for the piecemeal reading I do on the bus, so I'm working my way through the Conan stories. The writing is much better than I would have thought it would be.

4. Audiobook, for walking and lab chores: The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin by Maurice LeBlanc. I picked this one up from LibriVox.org. Not all their books are read especially well, but this one has had competent enough readers to be enjoyable. Lord Jim, which I just finished, was better than some professional audiobooks I've heard.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on March 24, 2007, 06:08:50 PM
1. Real book, for at home light reading: The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman.

You have such a treat in store.  I envy you.  Why has nobody yet invented the device that wipes books from my memory so that I can enjoy them again?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 24, 2007, 10:28:41 PM
1. Real book, for at home light reading: The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman.

You have such a treat in store.  I envy you.  Why has nobody yet invented the device that wipes books from my memory so that I can enjoy them again?

More Guiness, my friend.... more Guiness.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on March 24, 2007, 11:18:20 PM
1. Real book, for at home light reading: The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman.

You have such a treat in store.  I envy you.  Why has nobody yet invented the device that wipes books from my memory so that I can enjoy them again?

It's called "age"


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on March 26, 2007, 09:06:16 AM
Aas always, I'm in the middle of 3 or 9 diffrent books, but the one that I've been sticking to lately has been Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming by Rodger Zelazny (of Amber fame) and Robert Sheckley.  So far it's well writen, entertaining, and most of all FUN.
That was an awesome series, IIRC there were 3 books in that, I know there were at least two.  I loved those stories.  If you like that you would probably like the Myth series by Robert Aspirin.  All of the titles are bad puns using Myth in the title.  Like Mythnomers and Impervections


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on March 26, 2007, 09:57:38 AM
Currently reading Christopher Moore's Island of the Sequined Love Nun  If you like satire I strongly recommend Christopher Moore. 

On my to read pile:
Stephen King Lisey's Story
Michael Gruber Valley of Bonesand Tropic of Night
Kim Harrison Every Which Way but Dead
Carol O'Connell The Man Who Cast Two Shadows

The last 4 were recent finds at one of those discount booksellers.  The Kim Harrison looks like it may be about book 4 in an Anita Blake Vampire Hunter sort of clone series.  Carol O'Connell I have read before and enjoyed.    Their scifi selection sucked, so I wound up mostly with thrillers this time *shrug*.  Discount booksellers it's always a gamble what you will find, but it's a good way to try different authors, given that most paperbacks are about $6.50-$7.00 anymore here in the US.  And I live about a 5 mile walk from my closest library.  Now that it's warming up, won't be so bad, but...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on March 27, 2007, 11:39:58 PM
i might pick up the Simarillion again soon.  ive tried to read it 3 times... cant get too far because all the different names overwhelm me... but i have a feeling it would be fun... (and i hope one day to be able to speak elvish)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: sayeth on March 28, 2007, 07:26:34 AM
i might pick up the Simarillion again soon.  ive tried to read it 3 times... cant get too far because all the different names overwhelm me... but i have a feeling it would be fun... (and i hope one day to be able to speak elvish)

You do know that The Children of Hurin is being published next month? Christopher Tolkien cobbled together the book from his father's writings. It'll be a regular novel, not the disjointed notes of History of Middle Earth. If you're planning on reading The Simarillion, I would read up to "Of Turin Turinbar" and then read the new book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on March 28, 2007, 07:45:20 AM
Currently reading Christopher Moore's Island of the Sequined Love Nun  If you like satire I strongly recommend Christopher Moore. 

On my to read pile:
Stephen King Lisey's Story
Michael Gruber Valley of Bonesand Tropic of Night
Kim Harrison Every Which Way but Dead
Carol O'Connell The Man Who Cast Two Shadows

The last 4 were recent finds at one of those discount booksellers.  The Kim Harrison looks like it may be about book 4 in an Anita Blake Vampire Hunter sort of clone series.  Carol O'Connell I have read before and enjoyed.    Their scifi selection sucked, so I wound up mostly with thrillers this time *shrug*.  Discount booksellers it's always a gamble what you will find, but it's a good way to try different authors, given that most paperbacks are about $6.50-$7.00 anymore here in the US.  And I live about a 5 mile walk from my closest library.  Now that it's warming up, won't be so bad, but...

   That Kim Harrison series is quite fun.  It's a slightly more scientific approach than the Anita Blake one (In this case, the supernaturals are very public and have whole neighbourhoods and police forces of their own) and works a little better, at least for me.

   Been reading a lot of graphic novels recently, if nothing else because I've borrowed a lot from a friend of mine:)

-The Alan Moore run on Captain Britain is both interesting and arguably the weakest thing Moore has ever written.  There's a lot to enjoy in it (And some early indications of his fascination with Miracleman) but the end of the story honestly feels like an issue is missing.  However, the alternate Captain Britains are great fun, especially Kapitan Englander and Captain Airstrip One ('It'sdoubleplussgoodtomeetyou!')

-The Jame Delano run on Captain Britain.  Going very slowly with this one.  It's good but it's dated horribly and the central concept is a bit too cosmic, a bit too weird after getting nothing but cosmic and weird in the Moore run.  Having said that, it's nice to see an early appearance by Dai Thomas, who would go on to become the lead character in the superb, and criminally under-rated Knights of Pendragon.

-Hellblazer-Setting SunThe second collection of Warren Ellis' truncated run on the title and effectively a short story anthology.  Some of Ellis' best work is in here, especially 'One Last Love Song', one of Ellis' best riffs on the idea of Constantine being haunted by London.

-Hellblazer-Rare Cuts  A collection of some of the most unusual and least well known stories in the title's history and one with some real gems in it.  The two part Grant Morrison story in here, which takes in secret weaponry, pagan festivals and the US Listening Post at Menwith Hill somehow got reprinted in a newstand comic over here in the early '90s.  Scared the bejeesus out of me then and now:)

-Storming Heavin-The Frazer Irving Collection-A splendid collection of the work Irving has done for 2000AD.  The artist on Necronauts(He's Charles Fort!  He's Harry Houdini!  They fight Cthulu!), Irving's work is staggeringly impressive and he's teamed with some great writers on this.  The stand out is 'Storming Heaven', a '70s hippie superhero story that, oddly, could stand a sequel.

   Meanwhile, over on the prose file we have:
  • Eyes of Amber by Joan Vinge
    Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
    The Forever Omnibus by Joe Haldem
an


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on April 03, 2007, 04:49:04 PM
The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on April 04, 2007, 10:15:30 PM
Im beginning Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for school


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on April 04, 2007, 11:27:18 PM
I am beginning Stephen Coonts' "The Traitor".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Brian Reilly on April 05, 2007, 09:51:44 AM
I've just bought The Execution Channel by Ken Macleod. Unlike his recent Space Opera style stuff, this is a near-future spy thriller. Fast-paced and exciting, in a dark, dystopian, scary sort of way. I can't wait to get stuck into it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on April 08, 2007, 10:34:40 PM
Updating, I just finished off Sandman and then The Old Man and the Sea. Poaching shamelessly from our fearless leader, next up is Breakfast of Champions.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on April 08, 2007, 10:53:55 PM
Updating, I just finished off Sandman and then The Old Man and the Sea. Poaching shamelessly from our fearless leader, next up is Breakfast of Champions.

Have you read other Vonnegut?  It's not the one I'd recommend starting with.  (It's also far from his best, IMO, now that I'm finished with it.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on April 09, 2007, 01:50:37 AM
Updating, I just finished off Sandman and then The Old Man and the Sea. Poaching shamelessly from our fearless leader, next up is Breakfast of Champions.
Have you read other Vonnegut?  It's not the one I'd recommend starting with.  (It's also far from his best, IMO, now that I'm finished with it.)
Slaughterhouse Five in High School. I meant at the time to read some of his other stuff on my own at the time, but I think it was... Monstrous Regiment that I started reading and made me forget entirely about my Vonnegut plans.

Come to think of it, Going Postal stopped me from reading This Side of Paradise and Thud! derailed my Shakespeare reading.

Terry Pratchett, the black hole twixt me and my literary intentions.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: SFEley on April 09, 2007, 11:04:16 AM
Slaughterhouse Five in High School. I meant at the time to read some of his other stuff on my own at the time, but I think it was... Monstrous Regiment that I started reading and made me forget entirely about my Vonnegut plans.

Heh.  This is probably going to get a corner cut off of my Intellectual Chit, but I would hazard to declare that, at his best, Pratchett is a better philosophical humorist than Vonnegut.

(To hedge my bets, though: the Vonnegut novel I think everyone should read isn't Slaughterhouse-Five, it's Cat's Cradle.  It's not as gut-wrenching, but it's funnier, deeper, and has an absolutely astounding SF idea at its core.  It very nearly made me convert to Bokononism.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on April 12, 2007, 01:04:05 PM
Im beginning Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for school

Oh honey.  I'm so sorry.  It's a wretched book.

Happily, I no longer have bad books assigned to me by teachers, and can instead spend my time re-reading Ray Bradbury's "The October Country".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on April 12, 2007, 01:23:11 PM
Im beginning Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for school

Oh honey.  I'm so sorry.  It's a wretched book.

Happily, I no longer have bad books assigned to me by teachers, and can instead spend my time re-reading Ray Bradbury's "The October Country".


Really? I absolutely loved Heart of Darkness. I read it in high school and it was okay, but when I re-read it as an adult I just fell completely in love with it. An awesome indictment of Eurpoean colonialism. I also read and loved Lord Jim, which for my money, has the most fantastically descriptive language I have ever read in any book anywhere.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on April 12, 2007, 01:35:14 PM
Really? I absolutely loved Heart of Darkness. I read it in high school and it was okay, but when I re-read it as an adult I just fell completely in love with it. An awesome indictment of Eurpoean colonialism. I also read and loved Lord Jim, which for my money, has the most fantastically descriptive language I have ever read in any book anywhere.

Really.  Had it assigned twice (high school, college) and hated it both times, though it was certainly worse the second time through.  I wondered if there was a shortage of books on colonialism, since I kept having to read the same dreadful one.  Just saying Conrad's name puts my teeth on edge, a completely aversive Pavlovian response, I'm sure.  To cap it, the second time around it was paired with a V.S. Naipaul book.  Guh.  I hate Naipaul's writing so much I struggle to keep it from extending to a hatred of him as a person.

Let's hope BDoomed feels like you do, and not like I do, or he's in for a dreadful time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on April 12, 2007, 02:01:23 PM
Really? I absolutely loved Heart of Darkness. I read it in high school and it was okay, but when I re-read it as an adult I just fell completely in love with it. An awesome indictment of Eurpoean colonialism. I also read and loved Lord Jim, which for my money, has the most fantastically descriptive language I have ever read in any book anywhere.

Really.  Had it assigned twice (high school, college) and hated it both times, though it was certainly worse the second time through.  I wondered if there was a shortage of books on colonialism, since I kept having to read the same dreadful one.  Just saying Conrad's name puts my teeth on edge, a completely aversive Pavlovian response, I'm sure.  To cap it, the second time around it was paired with a V.S. Naipaul book.  Guh.  I hate Naipaul's writing so much I struggle to keep it from extending to a hatred of him as a person.

Let's hope BDoomed feels like you do, and not like I do, or he's in for a dreadful time.

I am not sure if it qualifies as an indictment of colonialism but The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna is certainly explores the themes of a nation emerging from a colonial shadow. Good read, but harder as it gets into the guts of how steam engines work and I am about as mechanically inclined as a flatworm. But if you can get past that and into the story itself, it's a brilliant read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on April 12, 2007, 09:46:46 PM
Updating, I just finished off Sandman and then The Old Man and the Sea. Poaching shamelessly from our fearless leader, next up is Breakfast of Champions.

Have you read other Vonnegut?  It's not the one I'd recommend starting with.  (It's also far from his best, IMO, now that I'm finished with it.)

Breakfast of Champions wasn't too bad - my favourite Vonnegut is Galapagos


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on April 17, 2007, 04:34:53 PM
Im beginning Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for school

Oh honey.  I'm so sorry.  It's a wretched book.

Happily, I no longer have bad books assigned to me by teachers, and can instead spend my time re-reading Ray Bradbury's "The October Country".


Really? I absolutely loved Heart of Darkness. I read it in high school and it was okay, but when I re-read it as an adult I just fell completely in love with it. An awesome indictment of Eurpoean colonialism. I also read and loved Lord Jim, which for my money, has the most fantastically descriptive language I have ever read in any book anywhere.
i agree with you, I am enjoying Heart of Darkness.  While some of it is pretty hard to follow, i like it overall.  From what i've heard, however, most people (at least last year's junior class) absolutely abhorred (did i spell that right?) the book.  This year, most of my class is enjoying it.  My only problem is not being able to read it on my own terms.

next up in school reading is "The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters"... dont know what that'll be like.

next up in personal reading is going to be Asimov's Foundation series (where should i start there? prelude or order of writing?)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on April 18, 2007, 06:54:19 AM
next up in personal reading is going to be Asimov's Foundation series (where should i start there? prelude or order of writing?)

I would recommend order of writing.
If you wanted to read them chronologically, you'd really have to start all the way back with his original robot short story collections and then some of the robot novels and then some of the foundation novels and then some of the crossover novels.  AFAIK, there is no official chronology.  If you read them in the order they were written, then books that really belong together (like the foundation trilogy) will be together anyway.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: RichGarner on April 18, 2007, 12:23:31 PM
Right now... I'm reading this forum.

Actually, I'm not much of a reader. It's the ADD in me. Even my Bible reading times have been supplemented with audio commentaries just so I get some education out of the time. I can't even read instructions without dropping the book after the first page thinking that setting up a four person tent is easy enough to do without help.

Oh, that reminds me to get a new tent. WOOHOO! Shopping spree!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on May 05, 2007, 08:54:57 PM
I've just bought Foundation and ill start reading tonight maybe...?
ive composed a list of other books i want to read (all in all i have 21 books to read... woo!)

Foundation series
Harry Potter (7th)
Slaughterhouse-Five
Breakfast of Champions
Fight Club
Crime and Punishment
Dune series
the second half of this Clive Cussler novel im reading, Trojan Oddysey
The Things They Carried
and for required reading...
The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (reading now for school, its very good! Pretty funny!)
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (dunno anything about this book)

and i have to get a book on Visual Basic so i can learn it over the summer, so I can take C++ next school year....

sooo yea i think thats actually over 21 books...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on May 07, 2007, 01:49:24 PM
Just finished Scar Night that a buddy loaned me.  Fantasy type novel by Alan Campbell.  I guess he worked on the original Grand Theft Auto.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: JaredAxelrod on May 07, 2007, 03:20:50 PM
Horses Don't Fly: A Memoir of World War I, by Fredrick Libby.  It's the true story of a cowboy-turned-flying-ace.  I'm serious.

It's comforting to know that often, the fantasy I enjoy can't hold a candle to the history I'm constantly discovering.  What a delightfully strange world we live in.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Holden on May 07, 2007, 06:53:16 PM
Right now I'm reading:

The Epistle of James - Bible
The Consolation of Philosophy - Boethius
Gulliver's Travels – Swift

I'm always reading the Bible, and I usually have an easy read and slow read going at the same time that I alternate between depending on how much time I have, how awake I am, etc.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Startrekwiki on May 11, 2007, 04:49:12 PM
Right now, I have started "SPACE", by James A. Michener.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on May 11, 2007, 04:52:41 PM
Almost finished with Scalzi's Old Man's War.  I'm also reading Anne Lamott's Grace, Eventually.  My wife loves her and so I finally decided to read one of her non-fiction pieces.  It's pretty entertaining so far. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on May 14, 2007, 02:02:27 PM
"Terraforming Earth" by Jack Williamson

On deck: "The First Immortal" by Halperin

In the hole: "Across Realtime" by Vinge


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: raygunray on May 14, 2007, 02:17:31 PM
"Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris. I'm reading it more to see how the movie diverged from the book, but that doesn't take any wind out the great movie.

In my heavy rotation pile is "Fitzpatricks War" by Theodore Judson. I have a B & N gift card i''ve been itching to use on some paperbacks.  I'm just waiting for them to have a sale.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 15, 2007, 10:43:55 AM
"Terraforming Earth" by Jack Williamson

On deck: "The First Immortal" by Halperin

In the hole: "Across Realtime" by Vinge

I couldn't get into "Terraforming Earth".  Don't know why.

Just finished reading all the Harry Potters again.  Now rereading "Good Omens" for like the 20th time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on May 15, 2007, 11:13:00 AM
Just finished reading all the Harry Potters again.

I'm so insanely jealous.  I wanted to read them all again before the new one came out.  I think I'll end up settling for rereading just the last two.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: FNH on May 15, 2007, 01:29:03 PM
"An Excellent Mystery" by Ellis Peters.  About as far from sf and fantasy as you can get!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 15, 2007, 04:10:16 PM
Just finished reading all the Harry Potters again.

I'm so insanely jealous.  I wanted to read them all again before the new one came out.  I think I'll end up settling for rereading just the last two.

Here's a summary for you:

HP:SS - Harry finds out he's a wizard, plays Quidditch, dislikes Snape, defeats Voldemort.
HP:CS - Harry meets Dobby, discovers Lockhart's an idiot, speaks Parseltongue, defeats Voldemort, ticks off Malfoy Sr.
HP:PA - Harry finds out that the person who supposedly killed his parents really didn't kill his parents but is actually his godfather.  Also, Hermione hits Malfoy Jr.
HP:GF - Harry does a lot of difficult things before escaping Voldemort.

And now, the last two books, for those who are only watching the films, in ubersmall type:
HP:OP - Harry's scar hurts a lot.  He is tricked by Voldemort.  He faces off against Umbridge.  Sirius dies.  Harry is very emo.
HP:HBP - Harry accuses Snape and Malfoy of a lot.  Then Dumbledore dies.

That about covers it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 03, 2007, 01:33:18 PM
And now, the last two books, for those who are only watching the films

Is any one actually just watching the movies??

I found the first movie incoherent and it just got worse from there.  The last film (Goblet) was just "selceted scenes of a book everyone has read".  I don't see how anyone who hadn't read the book could have followed it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 03, 2007, 01:41:09 PM
I started reading the first Discworld book. I'm about 80 pages or so in (They just started the inn-sewer-rents fire) and it's a lot of fun.
I'm up to book five now. It's still a lot of fun.  He hasn't been beating me over the head with the same charactors and that keeps it fresh.
Say hi to Twoflower for me. :)

He said hi and mentioned something about you almost losing a hand trying to get into the luggage.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on June 04, 2007, 06:44:22 AM
Is any one actually just watching the movies??
I found the first movie incoherent and it just got worse from there.  The last film (Goblet) was just "selceted scenes of a book everyone has read".  I don't see how anyone who hadn't read the book could have followed it.

I had exactly the opposite experience.  I read the first book then saw the first movie.  The movie seemed so much like the book that I got too lazy to read books 2,3 and 4, despite people telling me that with each movie more and more things get left out.  I broke that trend and read books 5 and 6 a month or so ago.   Reading book 5, I could tell that there was back story that I had missed out on, but I had no problem following the book.  Someday, I'll go back and read them all.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 04, 2007, 10:55:41 AM
Finished Vellum.  May comment further in that thread.

Read Maker, the Star Trek novel by Michael Jan Friedman.  As usual, Friedman's writing is enjoyable and the story engrossing enough to hold my attention, but it seems like he's phoning it in these days.  The book was good, but not as good as Reunion or Double, Double.

Now reading Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliott Perlman.  Not SF.  Also not the first book with that title.  So far, lots of good passages, but it's hard to read sometimes because some of the paragraph chains are LONG.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on June 04, 2007, 11:28:21 AM
And now, the last two books, for those who are only watching the films

Is any one actually just watching the movies??

I found the first movie incoherent and it just got worse from there.  The last film (Goblet) was just "selceted scenes of a book everyone has read".  I don't see how anyone who hadn't read the book could have followed it.

Funny, I had the opposite reaction.  I didn't like the first movie either but I feel like they're getting consistently better.  (Although they still haven't made one that holds a candle to the books.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 04, 2007, 11:39:21 AM
And now, the last two books, for those who are only watching the films

Is any one actually just watching the movies??

I found the first movie incoherent and it just got worse from there.  The last film (Goblet) was just "selceted scenes of a book everyone has read".  I don't see how anyone who hadn't read the book could have followed it.

Funny, I had the opposite reaction.  I didn't like the first movie either but I feel like they're getting consistently better.  (Although they still haven't made one that holds a candle to the books.)

Goblet was my least-favorite of the films, but I think it's almost tied with Stone as having the best music.  I mean, there's nothing that can stand up to John Williams's original HP score, but Patrick Doyle did some beautiful things with the music for Goblet.  I wish he'd have come back for Phoenix, but whoever Norman Hooper is, I'm hoping he does well also.

I know this is OT, but would it not be the most awesome thing ever if Nobuo Uematsu could be convinced to score the seventh film?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on June 20, 2007, 03:32:57 AM
Dead tree substrate books:
Finished Cell by Stephen King a little whole ago.
I was feeling nostalgic so I bought Larry Niven's Draco's Tavern and started on it. Mostly stories I've read 25-odd years ago, but there were a few I had not seen.
Next will probably be something by Harry Turtledove, possibly Conan of Venarium or one of his alternate histories.

Audio:
Listening to mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court from Librivox.org.
Next is probably Star Surgeon by Alan E. Nourse, also from Librivox.org

Recently recorded and uploaded chapter 1 of Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki, for Librivox.
Also finished recording (but still need to edit before upload) chapter 2 of Chronicles of Canada Volume 6 - THE GREAT INTENDANT A Chronicle of Jean Talon in Canada 1665-1672 by Thomas Chapais.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Simon on June 20, 2007, 04:21:21 AM
Currently I am hacking my way through this:

The Rediscovery Of Man by Cordwainer Smith.

I have to admit, i'm rather baffled by why I'm not enjoying it any more than somewhat.  It's beautifully written, classic 50's era SF, with some fantastic ideas and beautiful themes...  But for some reason I'm just not revelling in it. Maybe time for me to give up and get another SF classic off the shelf (I recently re-read both The System Of The World and The Mote In God's Eye)

Cheers


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: clichekiller on June 20, 2007, 10:20:03 AM
I have just picked up the first book of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  So far I'm loving it.  It's an interesting take on a very old topic, wizards. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Simon Painter on June 20, 2007, 10:40:05 AM
I'm alternating between The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E Howard and The War-Hound and the World's Pain by Michael Moorcock, they're both most excellent ;D

Simon Painter
Shropshire, UK


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on June 20, 2007, 10:47:30 AM
I just finished Peter Watts Blindsight last week, and it's my new evangelizing book (the one I try to get people to read, because it's that good).

And what do you know, it's about freewill.  And vampires.  And first contact.  And multiple personality disorders as a neural hack.  And language as a weapon.

Pretty much all things guaranteed to make me go "oooh, shiny!"


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on June 20, 2007, 08:06:08 PM
Ender's game


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 21, 2007, 12:30:36 PM
I just finished the first five Discworld books and I'm starting Stephen King's Cell


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 22, 2007, 09:19:36 AM
I just finished rereading the Roger Stern novelization of the death of Superman.  I'm now reading a Japanese mystery novel called "Out".  It's pretty compelling so far.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on June 22, 2007, 09:34:44 AM
I just finished the first five Discworld books and I'm starting Stephen King's Cell
*L* Wow. With a change of gears like that, you're lucky you didn't drop your transmission. :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 22, 2007, 10:31:30 AM
I just finished the first five Discworld books and I'm starting Stephen King's Cell
*L* Wow. With a change of gears like that, you're lucky you didn't drop your transmission. :)

I can never just keep reading the same thing.  I think it runs in the family.  My cousin, Thomas Tryon wrote horror novels and historical romances.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 25, 2007, 10:13:58 AM
Finished "Out".  It was pretty good -- a lot of description, but I think maybe too many characters and too much scene-shifting.

Next I'm either going to read:

"The Green and the Grey" by Timothy Zahn
"From Russia With Lust" - a three-book collection, I forget the author, about a guy in the year 2652 in a world where the russian revolution never happened.  Apparently it's swords-and-sorcery.

Of course, when HP7 comes out, I'll be dropping everything for that.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 25, 2007, 12:37:48 PM
Of course, when HP7 comes out, I'll be dropping everything for that.

I will be too, but not because I need to read it.  Since it's so popular, if I don't read it really fast, some ass will tell me how it ends before I read it.  If it wasn't for that, it would go into my pile and maybe I'd read it by Christmas.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 25, 2007, 12:41:39 PM
Of course, when HP7 comes out, I'll be dropping everything for that.

I will be too, but not because I need to read it.  Since it's so popular, if I don't read it really fast, some ass will tell me how it ends before I read it.  If it wasn't for that, it would go into my pile and maybe I'd read it by Christmas.

I read insanely fast, though.  I read Hamilton's "Lunatic Cafe" in four hours, McMullen's "Voidfarer" in about six over two days, 75% of Robson's "Silver Screen" in three hours at an airport, Potter 5 in five hours, and Potter 6 in about four.  For me, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to put down my current book, lock myself in the bedroom, and rip through Potter 7 in a few hours.  Amazon says 784 pages... if the font size is the same as the other Potter books, I figure I'll get through it in 4-5 hours and probably read it again a few days later.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 25, 2007, 12:52:01 PM
Of course, when HP7 comes out, I'll be dropping everything for that.

I will be too, but not because I need to read it.  Since it's so popular, if I don't read it really fast, some ass will tell me how it ends before I read it.  If it wasn't for that, it would go into my pile and maybe I'd read it by Christmas.

I read insanely fast, though.  I read Hamilton's "Lunatic Cafe" in four hours, McMullen's "Voidfarer" in about six over two days, 75% of Robson's "Silver Screen" in three hours at an airport, Potter 5 in five hours, and Potter 6 in about four.  For me, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to put down my current book, lock myself in the bedroom, and rip through Potter 7 in a few hours.  Amazon says 784 pages... if the font size is the same as the other Potter books, I figure I'll get through it in 4-5 hours and probably read it again a few days later.

I still wouldn't pick it up before I wanted to if it wasn't for the chance of someone telling me the ending.  I look at my books and say, "what mood am I in now?" and then I pick up something.  That's know I went from 5 Pratchetts to Stephen King.  I will start HP7 when I get it, not when I want to start it.  Since my wife and I read the HP stories to each other 150 pages an hour is unenjoyable.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 25, 2007, 02:31:33 PM
Of course, when HP7 comes out, I'll be dropping everything for that.

I will be too, but not because I need to read it.  Since it's so popular, if I don't read it really fast, some ass will tell me how it ends before I read it.  If it wasn't for that, it would go into my pile and maybe I'd read it by Christmas.

I read insanely fast, though.  I read Hamilton's "Lunatic Cafe" in four hours, McMullen's "Voidfarer" in about six over two days, 75% of Robson's "Silver Screen" in three hours at an airport, Potter 5 in five hours, and Potter 6 in about four.  For me, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to put down my current book, lock myself in the bedroom, and rip through Potter 7 in a few hours.  Amazon says 784 pages... if the font size is the same as the other Potter books, I figure I'll get through it in 4-5 hours and probably read it again a few days later.

I still wouldn't pick it up before I wanted to if it wasn't for the chance of someone telling me the ending.  I look at my books and say, "what mood am I in now?" and then I pick up something.  That's know I went from 5 Pratchetts to Stephen King.  I will start HP7 when I get it, not when I want to start it.  Since my wife and I read the HP stories to each other 150 pages an hour is unenjoyable.

My wife doesn't read Potter.  She reads VC Andrews, Sandra Brown, and JD Robb (which is technically sci-fi, from what I hear her tell me about it).  She actually likes sci-fi, just not really reading it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: pralala on July 18, 2007, 09:59:04 AM
I've been boucning back and forth between my genres, and am currently reading Octavian Nothing, Tratior to a Nation: The Pox Party, which starts off reading like SF/Fantasy but by the middle (where I am now) plants its foot firmly in Historical Fiction.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on July 18, 2007, 12:26:08 PM
I just finished the first five Discworld books and I'm starting Stephen King's Cell
*L* Wow. With a change of gears like that, you're lucky you didn't drop your transmission. :)

I can never just keep reading the same thing.  I think it runs in the family.  My cousin, Thomas Tryon wrote horror novels and historical romances.

Finished Cell.  Hated the ending.

Finished the sixth Discworld and starting the seventh.

Prepared for the drop everything and read HP this saturday when the delivery truck comes.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on July 19, 2007, 01:49:03 PM
Finished Hydrogen Steel by K.A. Bedford

Starting on Blood Rites (Dresden Files Book Six) by Jim Butcher

After that I'm going to read Night Watch (forgot the name of the author)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: madjo on July 20, 2007, 07:10:55 AM
After that I'm going to read Night Watch (forgot the name of the author)
Sergei Lukyanenko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Watch_%28Russian_novel%29)?
Or Terry Pratchett (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Watch_(novel))?
Or Sarah Waters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_Watch_%28Waters_novel%29)?
Or Sean Stewart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Stewart)?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 20, 2007, 09:34:16 AM
I'm on break from Narnia right now to finish rereading HP6 so I can be ready for 7 when I get it tomorrow.

I was in the middle of Prince Caspian when I did that, though.

The anthology I have has them in what they call "the order CS Lewis intended the stories to be read in", which means Magician's Nephew came first.  I was unimpressed.  And, although it was a good book, I felt the Lion Witch Wardrobe movie did some things better than the book itself.  (Blasphemy, I know.)

Anyway, that's what I'm reading.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on July 20, 2007, 11:24:08 AM
I'm just curious...what do you think the movie did better than the books?  Was it characterization or something else? 

Although I think the battle at the end came off more epic than it does now in the books, although as a kid reading it I thought it was as action-packed as it could get. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 20, 2007, 11:34:47 AM
I'm just curious...what do you think the movie did better than the books?  Was it characterization or something else? 

Although I think the battle at the end came off more epic than it does now in the books, although as a kid reading it I thought it was as action-packed as it could get. 

Mostly the battle.  Reading the book as an adult, I felt the ending was a little weak -- ended too fast, that sort of thing.  But the movie really did the last... oh, I don't know... half hour, maybe 45 minutes... very well.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on July 20, 2007, 02:02:33 PM
The anthology I have has them in what they call "the order CS Lewis intended the stories to be read in", which means Magician's Nephew came first. 

I've read them both ways and I think the "original" order, where "The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" comes first works better.
The Magician's Nephew works better as a flashback than as a starting point.  It was always one of my favorites in the series because it had a lot of "oh THAT's there that came from" moments in it - like the lamp post.
Whenever I read them, I have to almost force myself through Prince Caspian - it just seems so bleak and boring.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 20, 2007, 02:07:58 PM
The anthology I have has them in what they call "the order CS Lewis intended the stories to be read in", which means Magician's Nephew came first. 

I've read them both ways and I think the "original" order, where "The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" comes first works better.
The Magician's Nephew works better as a flashback than as a starting point.  It was always one of my favorites in the series because it had a lot of "oh THAT's there that came from" moments in it - like the lamp post.
Whenever I read them, I have to almost force myself through Prince Caspian - it just seems so bleak and boring.

Oh... great...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Holden on July 20, 2007, 10:32:45 PM
Quote
The anthology I have has them in what they call "the order CS Lewis intended the stories to be read in", which means Magician's Nephew came first.

Source, please!

Quote
I've read them both ways and I think the "original" order, where "The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" comes first works better.

Yes, definitely.

Most people I talk to say that Prince Caspian is their least favorite in the series, though some say their least favorite is A Horse and His Boy. The best chance for enjoying Caspian is to slow down, relax, and not expect a lot of action. I also give that same advice for anyone starting the Fellowship of the Ring.

When the BBC made a miniseries based on the Narnia books, they combined Caspian and Dawn Treader into one season. I believe this is because it would be difficult to make Caspian last long enough to fill six episodes.

The Silver Chair is my favorite in the Naria series, and I was well pleased with the BBC's performance of it. Tom Baker (!) played Puddleglum.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on July 23, 2007, 07:01:37 AM
Quote
The anthology I have has them in what they call "the order CS Lewis intended the stories to be read in", which means Magician's Nephew came first.

Source, please!
[/quote]

Just to jump in, I have a big soft cover version that I bought to read to my daughter when the first movie came out.  It has the stories in the chronological order and I think there is a comment in the forward about C.S. Lewis wanting them to be this way.


Quote
I've read them both ways and I think the "original" order, where "The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" comes first works better.

Yes, definitely.

Most people I talk to say that Prince Caspian is their least favorite in the series, though some say their least favorite is A Horse and His Boy. The best chance for enjoying Caspian is to slow down, relax, and not expect a lot of action. I also give that same advice for anyone starting the Fellowship of the Ring.
[/quote]
Horse and his Boy was my second least favorite.  It's not that Caspian is awful, so much. It just seemed like a depressing retread of the previous book. The two books on either side of it always inspired my imagination because they were going to new, wonderous places.  I always like Silver Chair, even though it seemed bleak, for the same reason.

Of course, that was my take as a kid.  I read them now and see things in it I really have a problem with.

Quote
When the BBC made a miniseries based on the Narnia books, they combined Caspian and Dawn Treader into one season. I believe this is because it would be difficult to make Caspian last long enough to fill six episodes.

The Silver Chair is my favorite in the Naria series, and I was well pleased with the BBC's performance of it. Tom Baker (!) played Puddleglum.
Did they ever make all the books?  I saw a DVD set that covered maybe the first three, but I shied away from it because the reviews I saw for it made it sound pretty awful.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on July 23, 2007, 10:12:16 AM
Just finished Blood Rites (Book 6 of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files)

Starting on Sergei Lukyaneko's Night Watch

Next is Robert J. Sawyer's Rollback.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 23, 2007, 01:30:36 PM
Quote
The anthology I have has them in what they call "the order CS Lewis intended the stories to be read in", which means Magician's Nephew came first.

Source, please!

The back of the book I have said that.  It's a softcover, trade-sized anthology edition.  List price $19.99.

Finished "Prince Caspian".  It wasn't bad, but I think toward the end it was almost too bleak, and the way the kids came back and had to re-figure-out what was going on was a little meh.

Now reading "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", and while I like it so far, it does feel a little formulaic, as if Lewis had to bring in Eustace to get the outside view on Narnia for people who'd never read the other books.

I liked "Horse and His Boy", actually.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Holden on July 23, 2007, 02:39:33 PM
Quote
Quote
When the BBC made a miniseries based on the Narnia books, they combined Caspian and Dawn Treader into one season. I believe this is because it would be difficult to make Caspian last long enough to fill six episodes.

The Silver Chair is my favorite in the Naria series, and I was well pleased with the BBC's performance of it. Tom Baker (!) played Puddleglum.
Did they ever make all the books?  I saw a DVD set that covered maybe the first three, but I shied away from it because the reviews I saw for it made it sound pretty awful.

They only had three seasons: LWW, Prince Caspian and Dawn Treader, and the Silver Chair. I would have liked them to cover the entire series. The special effects are about the same as late '70s/early '80's Doctor Who episodes. Not that impressive - even laughable at times. That being said, they closely follow the books, so if you are a fan of the books you know you will like the story. I watched them with my daughter after reading the series to her.

Quote
The back of the book I have said that.  It's a softcover, trade-sized anthology edition.  List price $19.99.

Thanks. I've never heard that before. I feel a bit foolish in disagreeing with the author on the order that his books should be read, but I'll stand by my position. Have fun with Dawn Treader. I know a few who say it's their favorite in the series.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on July 23, 2007, 02:50:40 PM
I just finished "Shadowplay" by Tad Williams.  Like most of his stuff, I like it, but it's highly abridgeable.  You could cut it down by half and miss no plot whatsoever.  Interesting characters, though, if you care to read about what they think and feel about anything and everything.

One thing I like about Williams is that you never have any idea which of his characters is going to live or die.  He'll develop a character for a 1000 pages, then kill them off BAM without a single paragraph's forewarning or foreshadowing.  That's kind of frustrating, but it's also realistic and it adds to the authentic feeling of his worlds.

I started reading "Zima Blue," a collection of short stories by Alasdair Reynolds.  I'm about half done, and so far they're mostly bleh, except for "Zima Blue" itself, which is one of the coolest stories I have ever read.  (Hopefully, it'll be featured on Escape Pod someday!)

My mother bought a copy of HP7, which will be passed around the family until everyone has read it.  My turn will come eventually, but my wife has already read it, which will make the waiting just a bit more anxious.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on July 23, 2007, 02:54:57 PM
Try Galactic North, it is much better than Zima Blue and features a few stories about people from the Revelation Space Trilogy.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on July 23, 2007, 04:15:32 PM
I figure I'll probably end up reading everything Reynold's has written.  I'm most of the way there now.  I'm starting on his shorts because (I think) I finished all the novels.

I like his ideas a lot, but he seems to have a hard time with endings.  "Chasm City" had one of the best, most mind-bending endings ever, but all the others came off pretty flat or (as in the Revelation Space Trilogy) failed to have any ending at all and just sort of–


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on July 23, 2007, 04:32:09 PM
When I finished Absolution Gap I just about bought a ticket to Europe and a good sniper rifle.

BTW, Strange Horizons review says that his newest book "The Prefect" is crap.  I don't know the critics viewpoints very well (I find it nice to know that especially when our local movie critic hates all scifi and fantasy unless it is 100% indi.) so I can't judge if his thoughts on it were biased but the guy seemed to know his stuff.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on July 23, 2007, 04:53:31 PM
Nooo!  As long as he's alive, there's some chance he'll write a sequel to Absolution Gap and tell us what the heck happens to everybody.  What you should do is kidnap his dog.  "Write the ending or we'll feed the pooch a Hershey bar!"

Century Rain was fairly lame.  If he's gone downhill from there, then the new book just might suck.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: eytanz on July 24, 2007, 03:22:00 AM
Nooo!  As long as he's alive, there's some chance he'll write a sequel to Absolution Gap and tell us what the heck happens to everybody.  What you should do is kidnap his dog.  "Write the ending or we'll feed the pooch a Hershey bar!"

I wouldn't read it if he did - the Absolution Gap trilogy is marked by a clear "each book is worse than its predecessor" progression, so I would hate to see book number 4. I Reynolds is really best with stand-alones - Chasm City was excellent, and Diamond Dogs was also very good in a very disturbing sort of way.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on July 24, 2007, 05:34:39 AM
I'm about half done, and so far they're mostly bleh, except for "Zima Blue" itself, which is one of the coolest stories I have ever read.  (Hopefully, it'll be featured on Escape Pod someday!)

Write him an email and suggest it to him.  Steve says the best submissions he gets have a cover letter something like: "Several fans have told me that I should submit X, Y, or Z to you, so here is this."  Steve says it's the best way to get a famous author to take the risk of selling something to EP. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on July 24, 2007, 08:59:18 AM
I'm about half done, and so far they're mostly bleh, except for "Zima Blue" itself, which is one of the coolest stories I have ever read.  (Hopefully, it'll be featured on Escape Pod someday!)

Write him an email and suggest it to him.  Steve says the best submissions he gets have a cover letter something like: "Several fans have told me that I should submit X, Y, or Z to you, so here is this."  Steve says it's the best way to get a famous author to take the risk of selling something to EP. 

I already did, actually.  I'm afraid his stuff is mostly on the long side, though.  "Zima Blue" is a bit over 8000 words.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on July 24, 2007, 09:03:06 AM
Nooo!  As long as he's alive, there's some chance he'll write a sequel to Absolution Gap and tell us what the heck happens to everybody.  What you should do is kidnap his dog.  "Write the ending or we'll feed the pooch a Hershey bar!"

I wouldn't read it if he did - the Absolution Gap trilogy is marked by a clear "each book is worse than its predecessor" progression, so I would hate to see book number 4. I Reynolds is really best with stand-alones - Chasm City was excellent, and Diamond Dogs was also very good in a very disturbing sort of way.

Hmm.  I disagree.  I thought all three books were very good, with the caveat that they all leave loose ends floating like crazy.  Every book has more than one subplot that remains unresolved or is not fully explained.  I didn't mind that much because I figured everything would come together in the final book.  I think a fourth book that actually finishes the story and ties the loose ends to together would be very satisfying.  (Although your wish is obviously more likely than mine to be granted.)   ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on July 24, 2007, 11:00:42 AM
I love Reynolds writing and style it is jus that he always craps out in the last 10 to 15% of the book.  Which is one of the only two parts that create the story, without an end it a book becomes somewhat crippled.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 26, 2007, 01:47:02 PM
And now, my Narnia update.

So far, I think Dawn Treader was the most "visual" of the books -- it had the most eye candy in it.  In terms of engrossing-ness, it was only slightly second to TLTWATW.  I liked it a lot.  Except for the ending.  I was okay with what happened to Edmund and Susan, but like the previous Narnia books, I felt it wrapped up WAY too fast.

I'm now reading The Silver Chair, and so far it reads like "Narnia: the Next Generation"... we know what's happening, but Eustace is being used to tell us everything.  I'm not terribly happy with it so far; Jill Pole is not a very likeable character, even though Lewis uses her troubles at school to make us sympathize.  Even as a prat, Eustace was likeable in Dawn Treader.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on July 27, 2007, 11:08:21 AM
Recently (last two weeks) finished Brimstone by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Sequel to Relic, Reliquary, et al.) followed by Dance of Death (Sequel to Brimstone) followed by Harry Potter 7 and I am now about 1/3 of the way into Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 31, 2007, 08:15:20 AM
Finished Narnia.  Was more than a bit disappointed by the last 20% of The Last Battle.  It made no sense to me, even after we found out WHY it was happening.

Started The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn.  So far I don't quite understand what's going on, but it's early in the story yet.  I bought the book because (a) it was $5 and (b) I liked Zahn's Star Wars books.  So we'll see how it goes.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on July 31, 2007, 08:44:44 AM
What didn't make sense?

(It makes sense to me, so I could probably explain it, if you're interested.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 31, 2007, 09:24:05 AM
What didn't make sense?

(It makes sense to me, so I could probably explain it, if you're interested.)

The whole come further up, come further in thing was weird to me, and then how they all seemed to transsubstantiate into higher beings... was that part of the "Christian allegory" thing?  And the real Narnia/false Narnia/real England/false England thing was a little peculiar also.  And I didn't think the reverse-onion metaphor worked.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ClintMemo on July 31, 2007, 12:04:39 PM

The whole come further up, come further in thing was weird to me, and then how they all seemed to transsubstantiate into higher beings... was that part of the "Christian allegory" thing?  And the real Narnia/false Narnia/real England/false England thing was a little peculiar also.  And I didn't think the reverse-onion metaphor worked.
[/quote]

I think that was just his version of Heaven.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on July 31, 2007, 12:17:41 PM
Recently (last two weeks) finished Brimstone by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Sequel to Relic, Reliquary, et al.) followed by Dance of Death (Sequel to Brimstone) followed by Harry Potter 7 and I am now about 1/3 of the way into Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead.

Speaker for the Dead= worst book EVER written by ANYTHING in the entire 356478987 universes.

Ever since Ender's Game Card has seemed to go downhill.  It is like he can start a book well but after about 50 pages he just craps out for the rest of it.  Just look at my review of Empire.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on July 31, 2007, 01:31:59 PM
I think that was just his version of Heaven.

Pretty much.  His idea of Heaven was not static: Lewis pictured Heaven (in several books) as a continual journey of maturation and growth.  In "The Great Divorce" he depicts this as a journey up a mountain of infinite height.  In Narnia he depicts it as a reverse onion.  In either case, the idea is that a person continually goes to better, more "real" places.

To Lewis, Hell is static and unchanging (and very dull).  Heaven is dynamic and moving, and everything in it is always growing.  Earth is defined retroactively.  In "Divorce" a character says that to people in Hell, Earth was just a part of Hell, while people in Heaven see Earth as simply the first stage of Heaven.

Note that this isn't necessarily Christian doctrine or even what Lewis believed: He was using fantasy to wrestle with big ideas, and he was strait-forward in saying that his stories are simply his thoughts, not a revelation from God.

It makes perfect sense, though.  Human life is not static: Growth and change define us.  Heaven, then, would be a place where positive growth and change–discovery, learning, creativity, love–could flourish without limit.  If there is such a place as Heaven, it must be something along those lines.

This is all highly compatible with speculation I've read about the Universe having a layered nature, but it would take a long time to digress on that.  Briefly: A "false" England might be like a flat Google Earth view: 2 dimensional.  A "real" England is the 3D version that Dr. Who hangs out in.  Above this there would be a higher-dimensional England (which I have no means to describe).  When the kids go from the "false" to the "real" Narnia, they are moving from a lower to a higher level of existence and a more complete perception and understanding of reality.

Hmm...  I hope I didn't just make things worse.  It's not a very simple or easy idea, really.  "The Great Divorce" explains it better (and is a great book).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on July 31, 2007, 01:58:13 PM
Speaker for the Dead= worst book EVER written by ANYTHING in the entire 356478987 universes.

Ever since Ender's Game Card has seemed to go downhill.  It is like he can start a book well but after about 50 pages he just craps out for the rest of it.  Just look at my review of Empire.

How did Card crap out with this one?  I loved it.  I don't think I liked it more than Ender's Game but sometimes I'm not sure.  True, it was a completely different kind of story but I thought it was still pretty enthralling.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: AmoryLowe on August 01, 2007, 10:32:03 AM
Let's see.

Just finished with "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman. Saw the movie was going to come out, saw that it was on my shelf, said why not and read it. A lot better than I thought it was going to be.

Right now I'm reading "The Illuminatus Trilogy" By Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. Reminds me of a more coherent version of Burroughs. Very good.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on August 01, 2007, 11:29:28 AM
"The Golden Compass" is the only book I ever bought on the basis of its cover illustration.  The picture of Lyra, Pantalaimon and Iorek on the front was very cool.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f6/HisDarkMaterialsUS.jpg)

I read it and loved it.  I loved the combination of fantasy and sci-fi elements, and the story was intriguing, and the end was a great cliffhanger.  I loved it so much that I went out and bought the sequel "the Subtle Knife" the same week as I finished "Compass."

I was disappointed.  It's not that "Knife" was bad, but it was definitely a step down from "Compass."  There were lots of cool ideas in it, but the whole thing seemed less coherent.  "Compass" was tightly focussed and suspenseful, while "Knife" kind of meandered.  I wasn't sure why people were doing a lot of things or where the story was supposed to be going.  Then half of the characters suddenly die three-fourths of the way through, and some of the other characters get special powers for reasons that aren't really explained.

So when "The Amber Spyglass" came around, I didn't buy it, but I was still curious to see how the story would resolve.  This time I was very disappointed.  Coherency?  Pshaw!  The whole story is a bunch of random events that are barely explained and not logically connected.  The previously established rules of inter-dimensional travel are tossed out the window.  Villains are suddenly heros and new villains spontaneously appear from nowhere.  People are endowed with cosmic powers for no apparent reason.  The end comes as a dues ex machina.  Loose ends dangle left and right.

In sum, the trilogy was possibly the biggest literary letdown I've ever experienced.

As far as I can understand, the only reason these books are popular is because they were reviewed well and pushed in the literary media: I don't think they would have remained popular by their own virtues.  And the primary reason they were praised by reviewers is because they are explicitly anti-Christian and therefore cool and trendy.  Never mind that the quality of literature declines precipitously as the series progresses, it's got the correct values, and that makes it good.

If I were you, Amory, I'd quit while I was ahead.  Stop with Compass, because Compass is really good.  Reading the rest of the series will just spoil it.

Incidentally, this dovetails with something I'd wanted to say about "Speaker for the Dead."  I really liked Speaker.  It sits proudly on my book shelf at home (next to The Golden Compass, as it happens).  But, like Compass, it ends on a cliffhanger, and the books that follow do such a terrible job of resolving it that you wish the author had just left you with the cliffhanger and not tried to write an ending.  "Ender" was great.  "Speaker" was almost as good.  But "Xenocide" and "Children of the Mind" both sucked real bad.  Read "Speaker," but skip the sequels.  You're better off making up your own ending than watching the author's initially strong ideas fizzle out and die.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on August 01, 2007, 12:39:42 PM
Interesting.  I don't even remember the cliffhanger Speaker of the Dead ended with but I do remember feeling terribly let down with Xenocide and Children of the Mind.  I'd still like to read Ender's Shadow, though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Holden on August 01, 2007, 01:15:35 PM
Quote
This is all highly compatible with speculation I've read about the Universe having a layered nature, but it would take a long time to digress on that.  Briefly: A "false" England might be like a flat Google Earth view: 2 dimensional.  A "real" England is the 3D version that Dr. Who hangs out in.  Above this there would be a higher-dimensional England (which I have no means to describe).

This sounds more like a description of Flatland's philosophy than Narnia or the Great Divorce. Flatland....another great book, but ultimately, it's all in Plato. Bless me, what do they teach at those schools!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on August 01, 2007, 01:16:30 PM
"Speaker" ended with a fleet of warships bearing down on the planet with the intention of reducing it and all of the characters to atomic dust.

The situation is resolved in "Children of the Mind" when one of the characters is arbitrarily given god-powers, which is always quite a cop-out, IMHO (anyone see "The Parting of Ways?).   >:(


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on August 01, 2007, 01:19:05 PM
Quote
This is all highly compatible with speculation I've read about the Universe having a layered nature, but it would take a long time to digress on that.  Briefly: A "false" England might be like a flat Google Earth view: 2 dimensional.  A "real" England is the 3D version that Dr. Who hangs out in.  Above this there would be a higher-dimensional England (which I have no means to describe).

This sounds more like a description of Flatland's philosophy than Narnia or the Great Divorce. Flatland....another great book, but ultimately, it's all in Plato. Bless me, what do they teach at those schools!

Eh.  I don't think I explained it real well.  Or rather, what I did was more to offer an interpretation than an explanation.  (It's not like I'm a genius or anything.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on August 01, 2007, 01:22:46 PM
Golden Compass sounds awesome, I'll need to pick that up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on August 02, 2007, 07:03:22 PM
In sum, the trilogy was possibly the biggest literary letdown I've ever experienced.

I couldn't disagree more.  The Northern Lights / The Golden Compass is a thrilling adventure story about how Lyra gets pulled out of her everyday life.  But as its horizons expand, His Dark Materials keeps putting Lyra's previous victories into their context and presenting her with more meaningful challenges.  She starts by winning her battles by being smart and resourceful; by the end she needs to find emotional and moral strategies.  It's an immensely satisfying progression, although it's eventually heartbreaking for the reader.

I particularly have to quibble with
Quote
Villains are suddenly heros and new villains spontaneously appear from nowhere.

Characters have priorities that shift as they learn more about themselves, about their environment and about other characters.  Thus the same character may be at different times in direct opposition to Lyra, trying to manipulate her, accidentally obstructive to her, condescending to her or actively on her side.  A few characters appear to be remote from redemption but they're generally ones with such long habits (sometimes millennia) of selfish and arrogant behaviour that of course it's difficult for them to change.  So there are a few villains, no real heroes, and a lot of people in the middle who are guided by their understanding of their own interests.

I wouldn't agree that it's anti-Christian either.  It has a strong bias against any person or organization demanding obedience without first earning respect or being able to provide a logical justification for its actions.  The primary embodiment of this in the books (although hardly the only one) is a form of organized religion that's a kind of caricature of the mediaeval Catholic church.  (But I say that as an atheist, so I'll be less sensitive to off-hand slights.)

What I can promise is that the positive response is not a conspiracy of critics pushing an agenda.  My wife was even more taken by them than I was and has been recommending them to friends ever since she read them (even buying copies for her family) and they've been universally well-received (by a lot of people who wouldn't usually go near children's fiction or fantasy).  His Dark Materials is genuinely one of the most beautifully written and emotionally affecting stories that I've read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on August 03, 2007, 12:15:00 AM
at the moment im on "Prelude to Foundation"
next comes either second foundation (already read the 1st 2)
or Slaughterhouse Five, or the Sirens of Titan

and i have required school reading: "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"
its okay... so far...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on August 03, 2007, 10:49:10 AM
Just hope your not forced into The Scarlett Letter.  It is the only book that made me contemplate becoming a vampire hunter.  Then I could legally re-kill Hawthorne.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on August 04, 2007, 01:39:43 PM
oh ive already been forced into reading that book.  it just made me want to murder people.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Mr. Tweedy on August 06, 2007, 10:10:30 AM
In sum, the trilogy was possibly the biggest literary letdown I've ever experienced.

I couldn't disagree more.  The Northern Lights / The Golden Compass is a thrilling adventure story about how Lyra gets pulled out of her everyday life.  But as its horizons expand, His Dark Materials keeps putting Lyra's previous victories into their context and presenting her with more meaningful challenges.  She starts by winning her battles by being smart and resourceful; by the end she needs to find emotional and moral strategies.  It's an immensely satisfying progression, although it's eventually heartbreaking for the reader.

I particularly have to quibble with
Quote
Villains are suddenly heros and new villains spontaneously appear from nowhere.

Characters have priorities that shift as they learn more about themselves, about their environment and about other characters.  Thus the same character may be at different times in direct opposition to Lyra, trying to manipulate her, accidentally obstructive to her, condescending to her or actively on her side.  A few characters appear to be remote from redemption but they're generally ones with such long habits (sometimes millennia) of selfish and arrogant behaviour that of course it's difficult for them to change.  So there are a few villains, no real heroes, and a lot of people in the middle who are guided by their understanding of their own interests.

I wouldn't agree that it's anti-Christian either.  It has a strong bias against any person or organization demanding obedience without first earning respect or being able to provide a logical justification for its actions.  The primary embodiment of this in the books (although hardly the only one) is a form of organized religion that's a kind of caricature of the mediaeval Catholic church.  (But I say that as an atheist, so I'll be less sensitive to off-hand slights.)

What I can promise is that the positive response is not a conspiracy of critics pushing an agenda.  My wife was even more taken by them than I was and has been recommending them to friends ever since she read them (even buying copies for her family) and they've been universally well-received (by a lot of people who wouldn't usually go near children's fiction or fantasy).  His Dark Materials is genuinely one of the most beautifully written and emotionally affecting stories that I've read.


It's been a while since I read them (5 years) so I've forgotten a lot of the reasons for disliking them that I had had.  My main gripe was that the story simply didn't make sense.  Like I said, loose ends everywhere.  How does Lord Asriel get his army?  Not explained.  Why, exactly, are Lyra and Will the new Adam and Eve?  What makes them so special that their falling in love is the event that marks a new cosmic era?  Not explained.  Why does inter-dimensional travel suddenly become so easy when previously it had been so hard?  Not explained.  Why should I suddenly have sympathy for characters (Asriel and Coulter) who spent the last two books murdering all the characters we were supposed to care about?  A bigger, badder villain than either of them is introduced, and we're supposed to root for them because they're against the greater evil, but the greater evil comes in so late in the game that swapping my allegiance is very unsatisfying.

As for it being anti-Christian, maybe you should go back and reread "Spyglass": The anti-Christian element is so strong that there is no story at all without it.  The villain in the story is God.  The whole thing is about a rebellion against God, which ends with God being killed.  It is explicitly stated several times that this character is not ambiguous: He is the God of the Bible.  Satan, although mentioned only briefly, is the great hero of history, the founder of the rebellion against the oppressive totalitarianism of God.  All of the bad actions of every character, even those who spent the first books murdering Lyra's friends, are justified because their actions were directed against God, and so were for a worthy cause.  It is explicitly stated that there are no Heaven or Hell: These places were made up by God so that He could manipulate people with hollow threats and promises.  Quotes like these are sprinkled throughout the stories:

"For all of [the Church's] history...it's tried to suppress and control every natural impulse. And when it can't control them, it cuts them out."

"That's what the Church does, and every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling."

"the Christian religion…is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all"

The whole point, the philosophical crux of the series, is that people need to be free of religion with its externally-originated principles and ideas.  Saying the books are not anti-Christian is akin to saying that "Atlas Shrugged" is not anti-Communist or that "The Chronicles of Narnia" or not pro-Christian.  If you don't think they were anti-Christian, then I frankly wonder if you understood them.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 06, 2007, 11:29:51 AM
Finished "The Green and the Gray", by Timothy Zahn.  Very good, great storytelling, and quite interesting.  The ending was a tad too talky for my taste, but otherwise no complaints.

Now re-reading "The World on Blood" -- I needed something easy, that I'd read before, before getting into anything new.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on September 01, 2007, 06:18:36 AM
Since last post, I've finished a couple more Discworld (http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/408710/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/102-6298206-6976919?ie=UTF8&tag=escapepod-20) novels.  I'm currently half way through number 8 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061020648/escapepod-20). 

Read HP7 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0545010225/escapepod-20)

Bought the whole Narnia series (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0064471195/escapepod-20) on sale and I'm half way through LWW (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060530839/escapepod-20). 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 01, 2007, 12:26:37 PM
Just finish Night Watch (Legiovich(sp)) and I Am Legend

Starting on On Basalisk Station (1st Honor Harrington Book)

Then Stephenson's Snow Crash


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on September 05, 2007, 08:42:38 PM
finished One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.  it was okay...
started and finished The Art of War - Sun Tzu - interesting stuff
started and finished Slaughterhouse-Five.  odd book, pretty good
started and am currently reading The Sirens of Titan.  Very good, very funny, very interesting
started reading The Stranger for school.  have to read to ch. 3 today.  so far... blech.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 06, 2007, 11:45:15 AM
Now on Book Three of "His Dark Materials".  So far, overall pretty awesome.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on September 06, 2007, 01:16:05 PM
Reread Captains Courageous outloud to my son. Doing the various fisherman accents was stupendous fun, and the book is short enough that we tore through it in about four hours spread over two days.

Also reading slowly through H.G. Wells "Outline of History".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on September 06, 2007, 03:23:08 PM
finished the Sirens of Titan...
wow.
just wow.
that had to be one of the best endings i have ever read.
beautifully sad-ish

now, i need to go to BORDERS and get Second Foundation and some other stuff, maybe Choke or something...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 06, 2007, 07:49:44 PM
finished the Sirens of Titan...
wow.
just wow.
that had to be one of the best endings i have ever read.
beautifully sad-ish

now, i need to go to BORDERS and get Second Foundation and some other stuff, maybe Choke or something...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on September 07, 2007, 02:59:23 PM
Leon ya forgot to actually reply to that :P


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 07, 2007, 03:46:18 PM
finished the Sirens of Titan...
wow.
just wow.
that had to be one of the best endings i have ever read.
beautifully sad-ish

now, i need to go to BORDERS and get Second Foundation and some other stuff, maybe Choke or something...

Yeah, great ending on Sirens.  I would recommend Choke....have you read any of Chuck's other stuff? 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on September 08, 2007, 11:52:21 AM
finished the Sirens of Titan...
wow.
just wow.
that had to be one of the best endings i have ever read.
beautifully sad-ish

now, i need to go to BORDERS and get Second Foundation and some other stuff, maybe Choke or something...

Yeah, great ending on Sirens.  I would recommend Choke....have you read any of Chuck's other stuff? 
oooh oh yea! forgot to mention that on my last "read" list.
i read Fight Club recently! It was like reading heaven, if thats at all possible


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on September 08, 2007, 05:11:03 PM
Just read The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker for the first time.

Wow.

Somewhere in amongst Doug Bradley covered in pins and the blood and the guts and the gore, the movie's pretty much lost how...I don't know, how the story itself has a weirdly sweet central core to it.  One of the introductions describes it as a fairy tale and it's absolutely spot on.  Phenomenally good.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on September 08, 2007, 07:07:32 PM
I have to double check, I may need to go to the library, I think I am caught up after having finished in the last two days both Card's Children of the Mind and Kim Harrison's Any Which Way but Dead.  Either the Library or Bookcrossing.com, to plan a hunting trip.  Unemployment sucks!  I want to buy new books.  I have enjoyed the Harrison books so far, as well as the Ender books by Card.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bolddeceiver on September 09, 2007, 12:07:25 AM
On Eley's recommendation (on an archived podcast, as I devour them one by one), I picked up Stanislaus Lem's Cyberiad from the library, and while I've just read the first few pages I love it already.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 09, 2007, 11:27:52 PM
Trying to get through the First Honor Harrington book, but I think I may stop.  It's just sooo boring!  Please someone tell me it gets better!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on September 10, 2007, 03:07:50 AM
Trying to get through the First Honor Harrington book, but I think I may stop.  It's just sooo boring!  Please someone tell me it gets better!

It gets better.

Actually, I have no idea, but you asked.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 10, 2007, 10:16:24 PM
This is it.  Harrington is getting shelved.

Now, 13 Bullets by David Wellington


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Holden on September 11, 2007, 02:34:17 PM
If you like Lem's Cyberiad, then you should read The Star Diaries and Memoirs of a Space Traveller.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: FNH on September 11, 2007, 03:41:33 PM
Just starting "Triplanetary", recently released by Project Gutenberg ( free text of out of copyright books ).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ajames on September 12, 2007, 05:42:32 AM
Picked up The Illustrated Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell [two books in one] at Borders super cheap.  Now I've read the Brief History of Time twice and don't understand it  :), even with pictures.  Starting The Universe in a Nutshell now.

But the reason I am posting here is to put a plug in for From the Earth to the Moon by an exciting young author name of Jules Verne, whose on the cutting edge of science.  Found it in pdf format from Project Gutenberg, and came with the sequel Round the Moon.  I read it because I thought it would be interesting to go back to the roots of SciFi [and it was], but I was amazed at how much fun it was to read, too, and was fascinating to see what Jules got right and what he didn't.  A good read all around!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on September 13, 2007, 12:38:51 AM
"On Basilisk Station" - does get better. Most of the Honor Harrington series spend a lot of time revealing Honor's internal maunderings, dithering about her love life (or lack thereof), worrying about what her crew thinks about her and so on, but they pay off with a grand finale of a battle (or three) fought against overwhelming odds that always made me clap politely and say "well done, Harrington. Nicely played". She would have beaten the Kobayashi Maru scenario without cheating.

Picked up The Illustrated Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell [two books in one] at Borders super cheap.  Now I've read the Brief History of Time twice and don't understand it  :), even with pictures.  Starting The Universe in a Nutshell now.
You might like "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" by Gary Zukav, which takes physics concepts and illustrates them in a fairly simple manner, and then takes them to seemingly outlandish conclusions. It's non-fiction, but sometimes it reads like, well, fantasy and/or science fiction, since the further you delve into, say, the atom, the more mystical it gets. Things that make you go "Hmmmmm".
The wikipedia article on says it is "a popular new age book from 1979 about mysticist interpretations of quantum physics". I'm not at all a fan of most New Age notions, but I found it at least intriguing. Sort of a "speculative non-fiction" book, if there is such a thing.
---

I've started re-reading "Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon, having first read it sometime around 1974, I think. Pynchon, Vonnegut, and Richard Brautigan were all the rage back then. In my household though, we also went through all the Barsoom and Conan stories, just to lighten things up a bit.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ajames on September 13, 2007, 06:36:30 AM
Thanks for the tip, Planish.  Funny you should mention it, as a friend of mine also recommended this book, very enthusiastically.  It is definitely on my list now.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on September 13, 2007, 07:30:39 AM
But the reason I am posting here is to put a plug in for From the Earth to the Moon by an exciting young author name of Jules Verne, whose on the cutting edge of science.  Found it in pdf format from Project Gutenberg, and came with the sequel Round the Moon.  I read it because I thought it would be interesting to go back to the roots of SciFi [and it was], but I was amazed at how much fun it was to read, too, and was fascinating to see what Jules got right and what he didn't.  A good read all around!

I had the same reaction with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea when I read it to a Kindergarten class some years back.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 13, 2007, 08:26:41 AM
She would have beaten the Kobayashi Maru scenario without cheating.

What is the Kobayashi Maru scenario?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on September 13, 2007, 08:42:09 AM
She would have beaten the Kobayashi Maru scenario without cheating.

What is the Kobayashi Maru scenario?

A no win combat scenario used by Starfleet to train/test officers. First mentioned in Star Trek 2 the Wrath of Khan when Lieutenant Savik fails. As of that film Kirk was the only captain to have actually beaten the Koboyashi Maru scenario. (FYI Kirk cheated, he reprogrammed the sim so he could succeed.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on September 21, 2007, 06:10:02 PM
mmmmmm, well ive finished Choke (by the guy who wrote fight club, Chuck Palahniuk)
sooo good.  highly recommend it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on September 21, 2007, 09:54:10 PM
I have read almost everything and would recommend all of it except for haunted.  It was just way too slow.  twisted as anything else he has written, but real slow and plodding. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on September 21, 2007, 11:54:45 PM
Thanks for the tip, Planish.  Funny you should mention it, as a friend of mine also recommended this book, very enthusiastically.  It is definitely on my list now.
Which - Dancing Wu Li Masters or Gravity's Rainbow?

Gravity's Rainbow is a rather difficult book to read. Not as hard as Finnegan's Wake, but at times a sentence might run on for half a page or so, people are talking that you don't know who they are, you don't know whether stuff is happening for real or in imagination, settings change without warning. Oh, wait a minute..., it was publish just after the '60s. There's a big piece of the puzzle.

from wikipedia:
Quote
The plot of the novel is complex, containing over 400 characters and involving many different threads of narrative which intersect and weave around one another. The recurring themes throughout the plot are the V-2 rocket, interplay between free will and Calvinistic predestination, breaking the cycle of nature, behavioral psychology, sexuality and conspiracy theories such as the Phoebus cartel and the Illuminati. Gravity's Rainbow also draws heavily on themes that Pynchon had probably encountered at his work as a technical writer for Boeing, where he edited a support newsletter for the Bomarc Missile Program support unit.

I'm still only about 100 pages in.

I've also added The Difference Engine to my stack of books to reread.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ajames on September 22, 2007, 08:38:56 PM
Dancing Wu Li Masters, though now you've got me interested in Gravity's Rainbow, too.  ;D


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 24, 2007, 08:05:12 PM
Just finished Harry Potter 7 again.  Less impressed this time around than I was the first time.

Now reading "The Diamond Age" again.  I pick up new subtleties each time around.  (This is the third or fourth, I don't recall.)

"Going Postal" and "Thud!" (both Pratchett) are on deck.

Cobb County Library Book Sale is 10/12 - 10/14, so I'm hoping those two will tide me over until that weekend.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on September 25, 2007, 09:13:25 PM
Been reading The Tin Drum for a very long time now, because I keep pausing to read other books very quickly along the way. One of these I just finished is Blue Moon of the Anita Blake series. It's the only one I hadn't read in order (I've read everything else up to halfway through Dance Macabre) since it wasn't in the library the other summer when I went on my Anita Blake kick. Kind of an interesting trip back in time, and I finally know what happened in Tennessee.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 26, 2007, 09:45:29 PM
Just finished David Wellington's 13 Bullets

Starting on Neil Gaiman's American Gods

Next is either Snow Crash or HP7


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on September 29, 2007, 01:59:30 PM
Enjoyed The Execution Channel.  I always liked Ken MacLeod's nearer-future stuff more than his space opera, and this one's as near-future as it gets.  It's also a tense thriller right up to the rather wacky ending.

Currently enjoying The Atrocity Archives.  Very silly but enormously good fun, even by Charles Stross's grin-inducing standards.

For those forum readers who are also signed up to Facebook I recommend the Bookshare application (if you like to see what people are reading, and get mini book reviews).  It's also not bad at making recommendations, given that it's got a lot less data to work from than Amazon.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on September 29, 2007, 10:08:15 PM
"Gravity's Rainbow" is now officially on hiatus, because I found a shopping bag with a copy of Turtledove's A World of Difference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_World_of_Difference_%28Harry_Turtledove%29) that I had forgotten I had bought last summer, and I've started on that.
It pays to try to clean your desk once in a while, I guess.

Also listening to Bill DeSmedt's "Singularity", from podiobooks.com. Seems to be more of a techno-thriller than SF, but enjoyable. It's the first story involving a micro-singularity that I've read since Niven's "The Hole Man", but maybe I just don't read enough.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 01, 2007, 12:41:08 PM
I started reading Un Lun Dun this weekend.  Pretty cool, thus far, although I'm getting Zanna and Deeba confused at times. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 01, 2007, 02:27:51 PM
Finished "Going Postal" for the 3rd time.  Now reading "Thud!" for the third time in advance of "Making Money", which I just ordered.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 01, 2007, 02:28:16 PM
I started reading Un Lun Dun this weekend.  Pretty cool, thus far, although I'm getting Zanna and Deeba confused at times. 

I never really got them confused, but the first six or seven chapters of that book were a little blah, IMO.  But don't worry, it gets better.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on October 02, 2007, 11:23:46 AM
Finished "Going Postal" for the 3rd time.  Now reading "Thud!" for the third time in advance of "Making Money", which I just ordered.
I'm behind on my Pratchett.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 02, 2007, 12:08:15 PM
I started reading Un Lun Dun this weekend.  Pretty cool, thus far, although I'm getting Zanna and Deeba confused at times. 

I never really got them confused, but the first six or seven chapters of that book were a little blah, IMO.  But don't worry, it gets better.

Maybe confused was the wrong word.  I just meant they both seemed very similiar to me.  But yeah, it's definitely picking up now :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on October 12, 2007, 09:58:43 AM
So is Terry Pratchett any good?  I've seen his stuff at the book store from time to time, but been a little leery of it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on October 12, 2007, 10:04:45 AM
Short answer is yes.

   The Discworld novels get better as they go along although there's a little bit of an intellectual speed bump to get over in the early books where he's trying out different protagonists.  However, once you get past that and onto the idea that the world is in essence the character, tons of fun are to be had.

   If you're slightly leery, may I recommend Good Omens, co-written with Neil Gaiman?  Great book and some off the best work by both authors.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 12, 2007, 10:50:32 AM
I'll second Good Omens as a good place to start.  I've read some of Pratchett's solo stuff and liked it, but I think Good Omens is really good. 

I'm about halfway through Un Lun Dun.  That book got wicked exciting very fast and it's hard for me to put down right now.  Maybe I'll get to finish it this weekend...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on October 12, 2007, 12:18:56 PM
So is Terry Pratchett any good?  I've seen his stuff at the book store from time to time, but been a little leery of it.

One of my posts back in January or so was asking this question, because someone had just forced a bag of Pratchett on me.  I'm on Discworld number 12 or so right now and I love 'em.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on October 12, 2007, 03:49:15 PM
I'm on my 13th book since june! :)
Im reading Foundation and Earth.  After reading Foundation's Edge and Prelude to Foundation, Asimov is seeming a little childish with incorporating his robots... like.. 'yea, foundation, and stuff happens... AND ROBOTS YEA COOL!'  Great tie in in Prelude to Foundation, a little forced in Foundation's Edge... ill see how Foundation and Earth goes.

anyways, in school i just finished reading 4 short stories by Franz Kafka.  I read "The Judgement", "Metamorphosis", "In the Penal Colony", and "A Country Doctor".  I liked "In the Penal Colony" and found the rest were okay.... yeeep.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jodymonster on October 14, 2007, 05:45:33 PM
And people say the printed word is a dying art form!  Thanks everyone for proving (at least to me) that real, physical books aren't anywhere close to obsolete.  I'm currently reading Dangerous Visions, an anthology of short scifi by lots of big names and a few I hadn't discovered before.  It's edited by Harlan Ellison and I think it's worth reading just for his intros and insights.  I'm a little biased, I've had a kind of writer's geek-crush on him ever since I read I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream when I was about thirteen. 

I am also reading The Dreams of Dragons by Lyall Watson, which is more like speculative non-fiction.  It's a great book to plant ideas in your head for new stories, or just to find a bunch of really enertaining musings on the natural world. 

I just finished Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy.  Don't be scared by the 'Young Adult' classification.  This is great entertainment reading, fastpaced with enough action to keep me awake (and reasonably sane) through an eight hour flight, but intellegent enough so that I didn't get bored.  Speaking of, somebody better invent the hoverboards they have in this book.  I don't care how much I have to pay, I want one.  I'll sell a kidney or something.  But anyway, I liked this trilogy so much I went out and bought everything else I could find of Westerfeld's, which was unfortunatly only the young adult books, and I didn't really like the Midnighter's trilogy as much.  It's leaning toward fantasy, which I normally prefer, but just didn't quite get sucked into it.  Still read all of it though, and felt it was worth my time.  Also, I suggest giving either of these to any young adult you know.  It's intellegent and PG.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gedion_ki on October 15, 2007, 11:30:46 AM
Currently I'm reading The Difference Engine by Gibson & Sterling and Listening to Alvin Maker book 6 by Card.

Next up for me is Stardust by Gaiman, haven't seen the movie yet but it's queued up in my NetFlix account so I thought I would get the book in before it is released.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 15, 2007, 01:07:47 PM
Just finished Pratchett's "Making Money".  It was in the same vein as "Going Postal", but it was even funnier (the Mr. Fusspot's New Toy gag was hilarious) and the dynamic between Moist and Spike is still good.  Also, this one perhaps had the most Vetinari we've seen since Feet of Clay.  If it fell down somewhere, it was that... okay... this isn't really a spoiler, but for the sake of argument, very rarely are Pratchett's bad guys killed by the good guys; mostly, they're victims of their own hubris... and in "Making Money", the main villain is (a) pretty weak and (b) pretty thin in terms of character development.  I mean, the guy was developed so that you know why he's doing what he's doing, but it felt weak to me.

Still, I was overall quite happy with the book.

Now reading Michael Jan Friedman's "Death in Winter".  So far okay; not brilliant.  But then, MJ Friedman's books usually get much better toward the end, and I've rarely truly disliked any of them.  Except some of the later Stargazer novels.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on November 12, 2007, 03:49:26 PM
Just finished Faust Eric (http://www.amazon.com/Exec/obidos/ASIN/0380821214/escapepod-20), Moving Pictures (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006102063X/escapepod-20), Reaper Man (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061020621/escapepod-20), and Witches Abroad (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061020613/escapepod-20), in my continuing quest through Discworld.

Finished The Lion, the With and the Wardrobe (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060764899/escapepod-20).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on November 12, 2007, 10:31:40 PM
Just finished "Cloud Atlas".  Loved it. 

Next up:  "Across Realtime" by Vinge .  The time it will take to get through my "to read" pile probably exceeds the time I have left on this planet.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on November 13, 2007, 02:41:40 AM
The time it will take to get through my "to read" pile probably exceeds the time I have left on this planet.

I can't remember the last time my "to read" pile was down to one book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on November 13, 2007, 03:36:52 PM
Modified per Russell Nash's instructions.

Finished "The Historian" (Elizabeth Kostova).  Will post my thoughts in that thread.

Now reading "Wicked" (Gregory Maguire).  Very amusing.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on November 13, 2007, 03:43:30 PM
When giving the title of a book, please include the author's name.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on November 13, 2007, 06:07:29 PM
I'm working through "Iron Council", by China Mieville, though I appear to be the last person on this forum to do so.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through.  Honestly, I'm a little disapointed, but I'll press on.  It' still an enjoyable read, I'm just kind of confused on the timeline.
Also reading "A History of the Persian Empire" by A. T. Olmstead.  It's almost as dry as it sounds, but if you can get past the tone, the stories are just amazing.  The world is a lot bigger and older than we think sometimes.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on November 13, 2007, 07:38:26 PM

Now reading "Wicked" (Gregory Maguire).  Very amusing.

Has anyone seen the play "Wicked".  I hear great things about it but was unable to get tickets when it came to Minneapolis.   I'll have to check out the book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on November 13, 2007, 11:09:05 PM
bout halfway through "Diary" by Chuck Palahniuk
next i have to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintinence" by Robert Pirsig for a school term paper.  cant wait to start it, just gotta finish Diary first, which is GREAT by the way.  i was planning on reading Breakfast of Champions next but school comes first of course! :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on November 14, 2007, 05:12:44 AM
Modified per Russell Nash's instructions.

Thank you


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on November 14, 2007, 10:59:29 AM
I'm working through "Iron Council", by China Mieville, though I appear to be the last person on this forum to do so.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through.  Honestly, I'm a little disapointed, but I'll press on.  It' still an enjoyable read, I'm just kind of confused on the timeline.
Also reading "A History of the Persian Empire" by A. T. Olmstead.  It's almost as dry as it sounds, but if you can get past the tone, the stories are just amazing.  The world is a lot bigger and older than we think sometimes.


What may help is this:  Chapters with numbers are happening now.  Chapters without numbers are happening in the past.  At least, IIRC.

It's worth going all the way through for two reasons:  the battle in New Crobuzon and what Judah does at the end with the golems.

(I don't consider those spoilers, but just in case you might...)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: louhi on November 14, 2007, 02:07:01 PM
bout halfway through "Diary" by Chuck Palahniuk
next i have to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintinence" by Robert Pirsig for a school term paper.  cant wait to start it, just gotta finish Diary first, which is GREAT by the way.  i was planning on reading Breakfast of Champions next but school comes first of course! :)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was really enjoyable when i read it. And Vonnegut is always good (if crazy).

currently....World War Z by Max Brooks, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, and Cryptonomicon, also Stephenson. Snow Crash is a reread; i really enjoyed it, read Diamond Age and found it too...fluffy; it lacked substance. Cryptonomicon seems to have a lot more going on, though it's not as fast-paced and fun as Snow Crash was.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on November 14, 2007, 03:28:35 PM
I'm working through "Iron Council", by China Mieville, though I appear to be the last person on this forum to do so.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through.  Honestly, I'm a little disapointed, but I'll press on.  It' still an enjoyable read, I'm just kind of confused on the timeline.
What may help is this:  Chapters with numbers are happening now.  Chapters without numbers are happening in the past.  At least, IIRC.
It's worth going all the way through for two reasons:  the battle in New Crobuzon and what Judah does at the end with the golems.
(I don't consider those spoilers, but just in case you might...)

Thanks for the tip!  That's a big help.  It took me a while to figure out that this happened a generation or so after PSS, so that didn't help at all.
Don't worry, nothing spoiled.  I actually kind of see both coming.  I'm enjoying it a bit more now, and I've got it fixed a bit better in my head.  I just finished a big Judah flash-back, so he makes a helluva lot more sense now.
Mieville's style is realy something else, and I love the setting.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on November 14, 2007, 03:38:25 PM
The big Judah flashback in the book was the hardest part for me.  Not because it wasn't cool, (it was) it just felt like a completely different book. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on November 14, 2007, 04:01:07 PM
He definately takes a different tone in that section.  I won't begrudge China his weirdness.  It seems to be working so far.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: swdragoon on November 15, 2007, 05:43:13 PM
I am curently reading podcasting for dummies,the slyon brown trilogy and chef ramsies newest


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on November 16, 2007, 05:18:16 PM
Documentation for Quartz Composer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz_Composer).
Looks like it might be fun to play with. It's giving me ideas for a screen saver that looks like a Wilson cloud chamber (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_chamber), if I can figure out how to do (or fake) particle effects.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DarkKnightJRK on November 27, 2007, 10:58:29 PM
I just finished Stephen King's The Mist and I'm currently reading Greg Rutka's adaptation of the comic book epic Batman: No Man's Land. Yes, I'm also a comic book geek, so sue me. >:(


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on November 28, 2007, 11:55:41 AM
I'm reading Tim Pratt's Blood Engines.  Er, sorry.  TA Pratt's Blood Engines.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gedion_ki on November 28, 2007, 03:05:17 PM
Just finished up Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder, thanks to whoever it was that recommended it in this thread (too busy to try to track back in this long thread!) Anyway, loved it! It was just plain fun and had a bit of Steam-punkery about it.

Currently reading Dark River by John Twelve Hawks and Gregory Maguire's Wicked which I left on an airplane year ago while in the middle of the book, ahh! Finally sucked it up and bought a used copy...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on November 28, 2007, 06:31:29 PM
Picked up Dune again.  All the new material coming out got me thinking about the series.  I read it about a million years ago, way back in high school.  I can barely remember the story, and something that complicated, I had to miss some important bits.  I'm starting over.
Still reading Iron Council, almost finished.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on November 29, 2007, 12:47:03 PM
Finished Gregory Maguire's "Wicked".  It was good, though I think the last part was a little too fast.

Now reading the duology "Steel City Magic" by Wen Spencer, featuring the novels "Tinker" and "Wolf Who Rules".  If you look past Spencer's annoying Laurell-K-Hamilton-isms (which isn't difficult) and the "all elves are beautiful and studly" thing, the story is pretty good.  Kind of SF, kind of fantasy, and a halfway-decent twist at the end of "Tinker".  "WWR" is a little more from Windwolf's perspective (the head of the Elves in the Westernlands), but there's lots of nice little "living as an elf" things.

If I have one problem with the books, it's that they stretch and compress time too much... the first six or seven chapters of Tinker are two or three days... then the next one is three months... then a couple of days... then three weeks compressed into a few pages... it was a little jarring.

Still, a good read so far if you can get it on discount.  (I paid $1 at a library book sale.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on December 03, 2007, 11:22:59 AM
Finished "Steel City Magic" (Wen Spencer).  I was pleased, though the writing, the style, and the story arcs remind me vaguely of Laurell K. Hamilton in her earlier years.

Also read "Resistance" (Star Trek novel by JM Dillard).  Let me just say, if the character of Sara Nave isn't some sort of Mary Sue for Dillard, I don't know what is.  Some of Dillard's older Trek novels are really quite good, and she has a whole continuum of characters she uses in them and calls back upon, but this particular book was... eh... for a book with the Enterprise-E and revenge-crazed Borg, it didn't really blow my skirt up.

Last night, I blazed through Peter David's "Before Dishonor".  Better than "Resistance", although for David I consider it a little weak.  Contained obligatory humor, Q action, and at least one familiar character ends up naked (it's Dr. Crusher, if you're interested).  He does, however, write Worf very very well (as does Dillard in "Resistance").  David has a real affinity for the TNG characters and it shows.  He also manages to work in his favorite security guards (Meyer and Boyajian... and how the hell are they just security grunts after 15 years?) as well as Captain Calhoun -- always enjoyable -- and the moment between Picard and Calhoun at the end is good and also amusing.

If "Before Dishonor" was a fanfic, I would put "WARNING: Major Character Death".

Also, "BD" calls back to "Vendetta", David's TNG novel about the Borg.

I liked "BD", for the most part.  You don't even have to read "Resistance"... just meet Admiral Exposition (I mean Janeway) in the first couple of chapters and you're set.

Next up, "Titan: Sword of Damocles" by Geoffrey Thorne.

(I got a Borders discount coupon.  That explains all the Trek.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on December 03, 2007, 04:06:06 PM
"The Tin Drum" (Gunter Grass) dragging on, still not finished, but I swear I will push through the last pages before Christmas.

Started "The Line of Beauty" (Alan Hollinghurst) just to read something else and I'm maybe a third through it and enjoying it fairly well.

Also have several books out of the library that I'm kind of/not really reading, such as "Teaching Sex: The Shaping of Adolescence in the 20th Century" (Jeffrey P. Moran), "The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature" (Matt Ridley), and "I'm Only Bleeding: Education as the Practice of Violence Against Children" (Alan Block). I find them randomly while shelving books and can't help it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on December 12, 2007, 01:45:53 PM
I just finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.  Anyone else read it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on December 12, 2007, 01:52:29 PM
That's next on my to read pile, gelee.  Did you like it?

I'm finishing up Nobody Gets the Girl by James Maxey right now.  If you like superhero stuff or Union Dues, I highly recommend you check out Nobody Gets the Girl.  It's a lot of fun and a rollercoaster of a story. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on December 12, 2007, 02:05:24 PM
Recently:

"Star Trek Titan: Sword of Damocles" by Geoffrey Thorne -- another excellent entry in the Titan universe; I think the best stories really are going to that series.  Plus, it was told mostly from the POV of everyone EXCEPT Riker and Troi, who we already know and... well... know.  If the science was a little too confusing at times and the second-to-last chapter required a little too much thought, oh well.  Still a great book.  The "secret" Riker and Troi are hiding is blitheringly obvious, and that was an annoying aspect, but it's made up for by a great ribald moment in the second-to-last chapter.  And if you liked Jaza (the science officer), this book has a lot of him in it.

Then:

"Moist" by Mark Haskell Smith -- not SF.  It's in the mold of "Big Trouble" and some of the Elmore Leonard novels -- it's about a guy who works at a pathology lab and is swept into the web of the mob by a severed arm that shows up at his office.  A very entertaining read.  Enough sex, violence, and humor (a masturbation coach???) to keep you going.  I enjoyed it thoroughly, and read it in about 2.5 hours.

Now:

"The Autograph Man" by Zadie Smith -- also not SF, but lots of really cool Jewish stuff.  It's about four Jews -- a black guy, a half-chinese guy, a rabbi, and a briton.  (They're actually all British, but only one of them is a plain ol' British Jewish dude.)  I'm not 100% sure where the book is going, but it's got some really funny bits in it and, as a Jew, I appreciate a lot of the references and stuff.  I'll let you know how it goes.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on December 12, 2007, 02:44:26 PM
That's next on my to read pile, gelee.  Did you like it?

I'm finishing up Nobody Gets the Girl by James Maxey right now.  If you like superhero stuff or Union Dues, I highly recommend you check out Nobody Gets the Girl.  It's a lot of fun and a rollercoaster of a story. 
The Road: Great, but flawed.  Allow me to elaborate:
The story is great.  It's more about the relationship between a father and his son than anything else.  Those of us who are either fathers, sons, or both will be touched most by it.  Some women will find the story objectionable.  On that point, I'm surprised it won the pullitzer.
The writing itself is spare and clean, in the tradition of Hemmingway, who could have ghost-written this (pun definately intended).  I kept having flashbacks to "In The Garden of Eden".  I count that as a good thing, on the whole.  When he does wax poetic, he can really turn a beutiful phrase.
I do have a gripe, and I don't have the vocabulary to name it.  I'll call it the "editing" style.  No apostrophes, no quotation marks, few periods.  It's not stream-of-consciousness, like Kerouac or Joyce, he just drops punctuation.  To my eye, it comes off as ridiculously pretentious.  I'm sure there's some sort of symbolism involved about the decay of societal norms, but I just found it cheap.  I've never read anything from McCarthy before, so I don't know if this is his "thing" or if he cooked it up special for the occaision.
I hope that wasn't too long-winded.
I'm a HUGE UD fan, so I'll be sure to have a look at James Maxey.  Jeff Derego says he's already sold another UD story to EP, so I guess it's just waiting in line.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on December 12, 2007, 02:52:25 PM
That's next on my to read pile, gelee.  Did you like it?

I'm finishing up Nobody Gets the Girl by James Maxey right now.  If you like superhero stuff or Union Dues, I highly recommend you check out Nobody Gets the Girl.  It's a lot of fun and a rollercoaster of a story. 
The Road: Great, but flawed.  Allow me to elaborate:

Thanks for the review.  This book is on my short list.  I was originally leery of this book because it was on Oprah's book list.  I'll give it a shot.   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on December 12, 2007, 05:55:55 PM
I do have a gripe, and I don't have the vocabulary to name it.  I'll call it the "editing" style.  No apostrophes, no quotation marks, few periods.  It's not stream-of-consciousness, like Kerouac or Joyce, he just drops punctuation.  To my eye, it comes off as ridiculously pretentious.  I'm sure there's some sort of symbolism involved about the decay of societal norms, but I just found it cheap.  I've never read anything from McCarthy before, so I don't know if this is his "thing" or if he cooked it up special for the occaision.
I hope that wasn't too long-winded.

Not at all.  For what it's worth, I've read 4 other books by McCarthy and they all have little to no punctuation in them.  I think all he uses are periods and the very occasional comma.  It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, yeah, he paints some beautiful pictures. 


I'm a HUGE UD fan, so I'll be sure to have a look at James Maxey.  Jeff Derego says he's already sold another UD story to EP, so I guess it's just waiting in line.


Let me know what you think of Nobody Gets the Girl.  It's less superhero populated and structured (no unions or anything) than UDs, but still very much fun.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on December 13, 2007, 02:03:39 PM
I do have a gripe, and I don't have the vocabulary to name it.  I'll call it the "editing" style.  No apostrophes, no quotation marks, few periods.  It's not stream-of-consciousness, like Kerouac or Joyce, he just drops punctuation.  To my eye, it comes off as ridiculously pretentious.  I'm sure there's some sort of symbolism involved about the decay of societal norms, but I just found it cheap.  I've never read anything from McCarthy before, so I don't know if this is his "thing" or if he cooked it up special for the occaision.
I hope that wasn't too long-winded.

Not at all.  For what it's worth, I've read 4 other books by McCarthy and they all have little to no punctuation in them.  I think all he uses are periods and the very occasional comma.  It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, yeah, he paints some beautiful pictures. 


I've found valid use for that technique in a limited basis, but I find that to be the exact opposite of the way I write.  I use a LOT of punctuation and craft very complex sentences with several nested ideas -- not all the time, but at least a few times in each story.  I use the no-punctuation technique, or more likely a LOOOOOOOOOONG run-on sentence with a ton of commas, to indicate a rush of emotion or action.  I think it might bother me, though, if I saw it used on more than just a limited basis.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on December 13, 2007, 05:17:05 PM
I do have a gripe, and I don't have the vocabulary to name it.  I'll call it the "editing" style.  No apostrophes, no quotation marks, few periods.  It's not stream-of-consciousness, like Kerouac or Joyce, he just drops punctuation.  To my eye, it comes off as ridiculously pretentious.  I'm sure there's some sort of symbolism involved about the decay of societal norms, but I just found it cheap.  I've never read anything from McCarthy before, so I don't know if this is his "thing" or if he cooked it up special for the occaision.
I hope that wasn't too long-winded.

Not at all.  For what it's worth, I've read 4 other books by McCarthy and they all have little to no punctuation in them.  I think all he uses are periods and the very occasional comma.  It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, yeah, he paints some beautiful pictures. 


I've found valid use for that technique in a limited basis, but I find that to be the exact opposite of the way I write.  I use a LOT of punctuation and craft very complex sentences with several nested ideas -- not all the time, but at least a few times in each story.  I use the no-punctuation technique, or more likely a LOOOOOOOOOONG run-on sentence with a ton of commas, to indicate a rush of emotion or action.  I think it might bother me, though, if I saw it used on more than just a limited basis.
There is certainly a place for it, like the stream-of-consciousness stuff that Joyce wrote in Ulysses.  A lot of great writers play with grammar a bit to convey something without spelling it out.  Your example of a long run-on sentence is a great one.  I've also seen sentence fragments used to convey confusion.
My gripe with McCarthy is that us does it through the whole novel.  I was able to read past it after a while, but it was kind of "WTF?"  What is his point?  "I'm too cool for grammer because I have a Pulitzer."  Maybe someone here knows him and now thinks I'm an ass, but it just seems contrived.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on December 20, 2007, 01:18:02 PM
Currently reading "Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #3", from the late 80s, edited by Datlow and Windling.

Got it for a buck at a library sale.  Can't beat that.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on December 20, 2007, 01:53:39 PM
I do have a gripe, and I don't have the vocabulary to name it.  I'll call it the "editing" style.  No apostrophes, no quotation marks, few periods.  It's not stream-of-consciousness, like Kerouac or Joyce, he just drops punctuation.  To my eye, it comes off as ridiculously pretentious.  I'm sure there's some sort of symbolism involved about the decay of societal norms, but I just found it cheap.  I've never read anything from McCarthy before, so I don't know if this is his "thing" or if he cooked it up special for the occaision.
I hope that wasn't too long-winded.

Not at all.  For what it's worth, I've read 4 other books by McCarthy and they all have little to no punctuation in them.  I think all he uses are periods and the very occasional comma.  It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, yeah, he paints some beautiful pictures. 


I've found valid use for that technique in a limited basis, but I find that to be the exact opposite of the way I write.  I use a LOT of punctuation and craft very complex sentences with several nested ideas -- not all the time, but at least a few times in each story.  I use the no-punctuation technique, or more likely a LOOOOOOOOOONG run-on sentence with a ton of commas, to indicate a rush of emotion or action.  I think it might bother me, though, if I saw it used on more than just a limited basis.
There is certainly a place for it, like the stream-of-consciousness stuff that Joyce wrote in Ulysses.  A lot of great writers play with grammar a bit to convey something without spelling it out.  Your example of a long run-on sentence is a great one.  I've also seen sentence fragments used to convey confusion.
My gripe with McCarthy is that us does it through the whole novel.  I was able to read past it after a while, but it was kind of "WTF?"  What is his point?  "I'm too cool for grammer because I have a Pulitzer."  Maybe someone here knows him and now thinks I'm an ass, but it just seems contrived.

That's interesting.  I think it would bother me if he wasn't consistent about it throughout the book -- actually, I think that's why it works for me, because his voice is consistent throughout.  Then again, I got annoyed when Charles Frazier substituted something esle for quotation marks in Cold Mountain. (I believe Charlie Huston does this in his books, too.  Maybe it's a Charles thing?)

"What is his point?" especially with the way he tosses punctuation is an interesting question, though.  I'd like to know his reason behind it. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on December 21, 2007, 06:09:20 PM
I do have a gripe, and I don't have the vocabulary to name it.  I'll call it the "editing" style.  No apostrophes, no quotation marks, few periods.  It's not stream-of-consciousness, like Kerouac or Joyce, he just drops punctuation.  To my eye, it comes off as ridiculously pretentious.  I'm sure there's some sort of symbolism involved about the decay of societal norms, but I just found it cheap.  I've never read anything from McCarthy before, so I don't know if this is his "thing" or if he cooked it up special for the occaision.
I hope that wasn't too long-winded.

Not at all.  For what it's worth, I've read 4 other books by McCarthy and they all have little to no punctuation in them.  I think all he uses are periods and the very occasional comma.  It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, yeah, he paints some beautiful pictures. 


I've found valid use for that technique in a limited basis, but I find that to be the exact opposite of the way I write.  I use a LOT of punctuation and craft very complex sentences with several nested ideas -- not all the time, but at least a few times in each story.  I use the no-punctuation technique, or more likely a LOOOOOOOOOONG run-on sentence with a ton of commas, to indicate a rush of emotion or action.  I think it might bother me, though, if I saw it used on more than just a limited basis.
There is certainly a place for it, like the stream-of-consciousness stuff that Joyce wrote in Ulysses.  A lot of great writers play with grammar a bit to convey something without spelling it out.  Your example of a long run-on sentence is a great one.  I've also seen sentence fragments used to convey confusion.
My gripe with McCarthy is that us does it through the whole novel.  I was able to read past it after a while, but it was kind of "WTF?"  What is his point?  "I'm too cool for grammer because I have a Pulitzer."  Maybe someone here knows him and now thinks I'm an ass, but it just seems contrived.

That's interesting.  I think it would bother me if he wasn't consistent about it throughout the book -- actually, I think that's why it works for me, because his voice is consistent throughout.  Then again, I got annoyed when Charles Frazier substituted something esle for quotation marks in Cold Mountain. (I believe Charlie Huston does this in his books, too.  Maybe it's a Charles thing?)

"What is his point?" especially with the way he tosses punctuation is an interesting question, though.  I'd like to know his reason behind it. 
I'm sure I'm blowing it all out of proportion, but pretentiousness just really gets under my skin.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on January 02, 2008, 02:45:39 PM
Finished reading The Road and thoroughly enjoyed it.  In addition to the lack of punctuation, I also noticed there weren't any real paragraphs, only paragraph breaks (with the exception of dialogue).  Like when you read an online magazine.  It didn't really detract for me, but I understand the frustration with pretentiousness. 

Not really sure what I'll jump into next. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on January 02, 2008, 03:00:41 PM
Finished reading The Road and thoroughly enjoyed it.  In addition to the lack of punctuation, I also noticed there weren't any real paragraphs, only paragraph breaks (with the exception of dialogue).  Like when you read an online magazine.  It didn't really detract for me, but I understand the frustration with pretentiousness. 


Got a B & N gift card for Christmas, I might have to pick up The Road.  Has anyone read The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier?  That also looks interesting. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 03, 2008, 01:21:10 PM
Currently reading "I Am Charlotte Simmons", by Tom Wolfe.  It inspired me to outline and write a story that could potentially turn into a novel.  It's not SF/F/H, though, so probably won't appear here.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on January 03, 2008, 10:47:34 PM
Finished:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Took me a little while to get use to the style, but enjoyed it even more because of it.
Ender's Game - Terrific story, and although I kind of saw the end coming, I loved the twist.
A Wizard of Earth Sea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore - terrific stories

Reading:
Shibumi - Jury is still out on this one. Only a few pages in.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 04, 2008, 04:46:54 PM
Finished:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Took me a little while to get use to the style, but enjoyed it even more because of it.
OK, I'm curious about something.  Did you read Manny with an accent?  If so, what kind?  I stuck an accent on him right away (I won't say what kind) and it seemed to fit all the way through, but it occurred to me that it might be the wrong one.  After all, he grew up on Luna.  Why have any accent at all?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 04, 2008, 07:27:25 PM
Finished:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Took me a little while to get use to the style, but enjoyed it even more because of it.
OK, I'm curious about something.  Did you read Manny with an accent?  If so, what kind?  I stuck an accent on him right away (I won't say what kind) and it seemed to fit all the way through, but it occurred to me that it might be the wrong one.  After all, he grew up on Luna.  Why have any accent at all?

Everyone has an accent.  (I'll have to go read that, now, so I can contribute something more intelligent that just that. :) )


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on January 04, 2008, 10:43:00 PM
Finished:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Took me a little while to get use to the style, but enjoyed it even more because of it.
OK, I'm curious about something.  Did you read Manny with an accent?  If so, what kind?  I stuck an accent on him right away (I won't say what kind) and it seemed to fit all the way through, but it occurred to me that it might be the wrong one.  After all, he grew up on Luna.  Why have any accent at all?
Now that you mention it, it did seem a little Australian in that it had origins in low-brow, butchered English... And I mean that in all the nicest possible ways! *waves at the Kiwis real friendly like while getting ready to run*
 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 05, 2008, 04:23:27 AM
Finished:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Took me a little while to get use to the style, but enjoyed it even more because of it.
OK, I'm curious about something.  Did you read Manny with an accent?  If so, what kind?  I stuck an accent on him right away (I won't say what kind) and it seemed to fit all the way through, but it occurred to me that it might be the wrong one.  After all, he grew up on Luna.  Why have any accent at all?
Now that you mention it, it did seem a little Australian in that it had origins in low-brow, butchered English... And I mean that in all the nicest possible ways! *waves at the Kiwis real friendly like while getting ready to run*
 

Umm, Aren't the Kiwis the New Zealanders?  Maybe you should just start running.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on January 05, 2008, 09:53:38 AM
Finished:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Took me a little while to get use to the style, but enjoyed it even more because of it.
OK, I'm curious about something.  Did you read Manny with an accent?  If so, what kind?  I stuck an accent on him right away (I won't say what kind) and it seemed to fit all the way through, but it occurred to me that it might be the wrong one.  After all, he grew up on Luna.  Why have any accent at all?
Now that you mention it, it did seem a little Australian in that it had origins in low-brow, butchered English... And I mean that in all the nicest possible ways! *waves at the Kiwis real friendly like while getting ready to run*
 

Umm, Aren't the Kiwis the New Zealanders?  Maybe you should just start running.
Oh... um... right (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwi_(people)). Look! A dingo's eating your baby!! *Runs the other way*


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: qwints on January 05, 2008, 11:22:47 AM
I kinda thought he was speaking with a heavy Russian accent.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: sirana on January 06, 2008, 05:14:53 AM
Stuff I read recently:
- Thank you for Smoking by Christopher Buckley, wonderfull satire, much better than the movie
- Ender's Game by OSC, my first touch with him, one of the best SciFi books I ever read
- Old Man's War by John Scalzi, don't really know, seemed shallow in the beginning but got better towards the end
- The Brothers Lionheart and Ronja, the robbers daughter, by Astrid Lindgren, n-th reread, best children books that are out there
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, made be cry
- Diaspora by Greg Egan, mind-boggling

Stuff I'm reading
- Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, because anything that is called mannerpunk deserves a read
- The Call of Cthulu and other stories by HP Lovecraft
- The Scar by Cina Mieville, I'm "reading" this for quite some time now

Stuff i'm planning to read
- The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem, my brother gave me this for christmas as an audiobook, I'm really looking forward to listening to it

Stuff I'm waiting for
- A Dance of Dragons by G.R.R.Martin, GRRRRR, curse you Martin!!
-  Jhegala by Steven Brust
- Luminous by Greg Egan, his second (out of print) short story collection which will be reprinted in February



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 07, 2008, 08:20:47 AM
I kinda thought he was speaking with a heavy Russian accent.
HAH!  It wasn't just my imagination!  I read it the same way, but I can see why others would read it differently.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on January 07, 2008, 11:18:03 PM
Finished The Line of Beauty I enjoyed it most of the way and then it just kind of crashes at the end...Which may be the point? But enjoyed the earlier parts better. Weird book, but good.

Still working my way through The Tin Drum. I get a cookie if I finish it before next semester starts.

Dearest got me Neverwhere, unabridged, read by the author, on CD, for Christmas so I am working my way through that as well. Not "reading" per se but I did read it in high school. I love Neil Gaiman to bits.

EDIT: I don't think I gave Manny an "accent" beyond what was on the page. I guess Lunar speech cadences might lend themselves to an accent much like many Earth speech cadences. It seemed like they might have an accent we were not meant to wot of, some kind of soup comprised of the national accents of convict settlers and isolation--so, like Australians only on the Moon?  ???  8)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 08, 2008, 04:17:57 AM
This is the first thread we have had that has been active for a year.  Happy Anniversary!  I find it very cool that our longest running thread is about reading.

I'm going to give myself a quick pat on the back, because this was one of the first threads I started.  Steve had just made me a moderator and I was just trying to come up with something to help get the forums moving.  It was just a shot in the dark.  I never thought it would go more than a week, but every time it goes quiet for a month or so, someone brings it back to life.  Maybe this is the real zombie thread.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 09, 2008, 11:32:25 PM
For the first time in my memory, I had a reading dry spell.  I went through most of the holiday season without really reading anything in particular!

Then came the day for Jury Duty, and I grabbed my magic time-passing talisman for the day: Use of Weapons, by Iain M. Banks.

Now, for those of you who either don't know, or haven't cared enough to figure it out - I'm a borderline pacifist who isn't really all that "into" weapons.  This is both why I choose to enlist in the Air Force (as opposed to the Marines) and why I got out (in May 2001, or as I like to call it, "the nick of friggin' time".)

For those of you about to be locked in a room for two days with 10 other dudes and 1 woman (it was a child molestation case, and the defense rejected as many women as he could, which backfired because we ended up convicting the SOB), I do NOT suggest taking a book that will give the wrong impression of your basic character.  I read Banks because I like his world building; I like the Culture, LOVE the ships, and am fascinated by the layers of character and the always-interesting structure of his books.  But the fellas saw "Weapons", and had seen me stand up when the judge asked about military veterans in the jury pool, so I was stuck talking about War Movies, hunting, guns, and football .... when all I wanted to do was read my book!

And did I mention that I really, really don't like football?  Not to the roomful of angry Ravens' fans, I didn't!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on January 10, 2008, 12:49:27 AM
And did I mention that I really, really don't like football?  Not to the roomful of angry Ravens' fans, I didn't!
What is it about sports? I have a fondness for the Packers and the Badgers because I grew up in Wisconsin, but I don't actually care whether they're any good; and I had a potential new friend ask me somewhat nervously if I would go ballistic if Michigan beat them because that was "her team." I don't know whether this person would've hated me if I actually had had a problem with "my team" being beaten...

(And parking here is INSANE because of that freaking team on game days...)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on January 10, 2008, 10:31:21 AM
And did I mention that I really, really don't like football?  Not to the roomful of angry Ravens' fans, I didn't!
What is it about sports? I have a fondness for the Packers and the Badgers because I grew up in Wisconsin, but I don't actually care whether they're any good; and I had a potential new friend ask me somewhat nervously if I would go ballistic if Michigan beat them because that was "her team." I don't know whether this person would've hated me if I actually had had a problem with "my team" being beaten...

(And parking here is INSANE because of that freaking team on game days...)

What is it about sports?  I can't figure it out either.  I grew up in WI also and am still a Packer fan/ once a year Lambeau attendee but if they lose it doesn't ruin my day like it does for some people I know.  A few of my friends are downright ornery if the Pack loses.  I now live in MN so I get regular anti-Packer emails from the rabid Vikings fans.  And if the Vikings beat the Packers that's all I hear about the following day.  Get over it!  It's not that big of a deal. 

That being said..........GO PACK Saturday.

Oh yeah - I'm currently reading A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier.  


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: shwankie on January 12, 2008, 09:46:00 PM
Currently, I am reading "The World Without Us," by Alan weisman, and "Variable Star" by Spider Robinson (and, according to the cover, R.A. Heinlien; but, that's a whole different post I suppose).  "The World Without Us," while excellent, can be a bit dry at times; so, I'm enjoying the lighter break of the new Robinson book. Thus far, I have to give it to Spider. He's hitting Heinlien on the head (I desperately want to make a dead author joke here, but am refraining because they're so rarely funny), and I am a huge Heinlien fan.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on January 14, 2008, 02:52:32 PM
I'm reading Steve Gould's Jumper.  Wanted to read it before the movie came out.  It's an incredibly quick read (I'm about halfway through) and it looks nothing like the movie previews I've seen.  (For example, if Sam Jackson's character is in this book, I haven't met him yet).  Still, it's a fun book and the movie trailers look good. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Czhorat on January 14, 2008, 06:29:22 PM
Listening to an audiobook of Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet, just finished Gavin Grant and Kelly Link's best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet collection and am just starting Hal Duncan's Vellum. I'm finding the Lethem as compelling as he always is despite the awkwardness of running into a big sex scene while I was listening at work. It's odd hearing that kind of thing in your ear while you're around other people doing their jobs and you're trying to focus on doing yours. The stories in the Grant/Link collection were very compelling and had some nice variety. I'd strongly recommend it to anyone who hasn't been reading the magazine so far.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 15, 2008, 08:35:15 AM
Finished Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons".  Very vivid, depressing for the last third or so, and I didn't think the ending really wrapped anything up well.

Finished "Forged in Fire" by Michael Martin and Andy Mangels.  It's a Star Trek novel, which may not be your cup of tea, but it was up to the AM/MM standard -- which is to say, very good -- even though I kept wondering when we'd switch from 2290 to 2295 and finally deal with the bad guy.  The ending was a little too open to suit my taste, but the bulk of the book was very good -- incorporated a LOT of characters we know from TOS, the films, TNG, and DS9, and finally explained how Sulu took command of Excelsior between ST3 and ST6.  Also dealt further with the transition of Klingons from ridged-to-smooth, then smooth-to-ridged -- a little too much science, IMO, but I can handle it.  A good entry into the ST universe.

I think, since I'm watching "Stardust" right now (well, not RIGHT NOW, but when I'm exercising in the mornings), I'm going to go through the basement and find the novel so I can read it again.  I remember not really liking it the first time around, but maybe I'll like it better the second try.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 15, 2008, 09:08:38 AM
I think, since I'm watching "Stardust" right now (well, not RIGHT NOW, but when I'm exercising in the mornings), I'm going to go through the basement and find the novel so I can read it again.  I remember not really liking it the first time around, but maybe I'll like it better the second try.

Do try to find the comic-book-sized version that's credited to "Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess".  I lucked into a copy at a used book store a couple of years ago and have since tossed my mass market copy.

Reading: between books at the moment.  Just finished C.J. Cherryh's Faery in Shadow which was a chore that I got through by telling myself that every page turned brought me one closer to the end.  I love Cherryh's science fiction -- Cyteen is my favorite book by any author -- and I liked the story "Brothers" which Faery builds on, but this one just didn't do it for me.

On deck: The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair by Haruka Takachiho, which I've been wanting to read ever since I first heard it's been translated by Dark Horse.  I'm a fan of the anime and of Adam Warren's graphic novels.

Also currently ripping a library copy of Horizon Storms "The Saga of Seven Suns" book 3, by Kevin J. Anderson, to listen to on my iPod.  Not sure if I really like this one or not but the story is interesting enough to listen to during my downtime at work.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on January 15, 2008, 10:16:02 AM
... am just starting Hal Duncan's Vellum.

I just finished Vellum last week.  I'd be interested in hearing your analysis of it when you are done.  I think it's a book that lends itself to discussion.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 15, 2008, 10:37:05 AM
... am just starting Hal Duncan's Vellum.

I just finished Vellum last week.  I'd be interested in hearing your analysis of it when you are done.  I think it's a book that lends itself to discussion.

I started a thread on this book after I read it a few months ago, in case you're interested:
http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=861.0 (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=861.0)



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on January 15, 2008, 11:54:53 AM
I started a thread on this book after I read it a few months ago, in case you're interested:
http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=861.0 (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=861.0)

Thanks, Listener, I'll check it.  And maybe Czhorat will join us when he's done.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Simon on January 15, 2008, 12:30:24 PM
I haven't got involved in this thread... The time has come.

The thing about me as a reader, is a plough through books and forget them almost instantly...  I don't really know what I have read recently, but here's some little bits that stuck in my mind:

I read The People Trap (and other stories) by Robert Sheckley.  It was terrific...  A new angle on SF I hadn't met before.

I recently finished The Best Of Cyril Kornbluth... Which was just brilliant (particularly The Black Bag and The Marching Morons, which is so obviously the source for the movie Idiocracy) but nothing out of the ordinary.

I am struggling with Hard Revolution by George Pelikanos... It's very good noire, but I just cant hook myself into it.

Next time something SF wows me, I will put it on this list.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 15, 2008, 01:45:15 PM
Next time something SF wows me, I will put it on this list.

Simon, this list isn't limited to SF.  In fact I think non-SF reading needs to be included.  SF is such a broad category and I think seeing what kind of non-SF reading you do helps show what angles you approach SF from.

 Ex:
I would be far more interested in reading the SF choosen by someone who reads noir mysteries than someone who reads Harlequin romances.  But that's just me.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Kurt Faler on January 15, 2008, 02:41:21 PM
I read alot. like, 3 novels a week at least. Today I'm reading Postsingular by rudy rucker and the second dresden files book. yesterday I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora, and for a first novel, that book was unbelievably good. I would hate to be Scott Lynch because he set his bar way high right out of the gate :P


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 15, 2008, 04:35:47 PM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the best book ever... well... for me its about tied with Hitchhiker's Guide...
anyways... its AMAZING and EVERYONE should read it :P
it spoke to me.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on January 15, 2008, 04:58:33 PM
Listening to an audiobook of Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet, just finished Gavin Grant and Kelly Link's best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet collection and am just starting Hal Duncan's Vellum. I'm finding the Lethem as compelling as he always is despite the awkwardness of running into a big sex scene while I was listening at work. It's odd hearing that kind of thing in your ear while you're around other people doing their jobs and you're trying to focus on doing yours.

Usually, I love Lethem, but that one left me cold.  Still, he might write the best dialogue I've ever read. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on January 15, 2008, 10:41:37 PM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the best book ever... well... for me its about tied with Hitchhiker's Guide...
anyways... its AMAZING and EVERYONE should read it :P
it spoke to me.
Wow. That book gave me such a headache. When he started talking math, I started glazing over. I read it 8 years ago and didn't understand it, but liked it anyway.

Have you read Slaughterhouse 5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughterhouse-Five)? You might like it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: swdragoon on January 16, 2008, 01:44:51 AM
im curently reading tricks of the podcasting masters mur laferty. talon reverent mikle stakpole and grillin for life bobby flay.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on January 17, 2008, 09:22:56 AM
Speaking of noir, there's a pretty interesting series of noir anthologies set in various cities and/or boroughs of NYC.. I just finished reading one of them, 'Bronx Noir' ( a search on amazon turns up other titles in the series), and it was pretty darn good. Really captured a lot of the feel of the city/region it was based in.

I recently finished Richard K. Morgan's 'Thirteen,' which was really excellent (although to warn, contains both graphic sex and violence.. more of the latter than the former). Imaginative and more than a bit creepy. I would also HIGHLY highly recommend his Takahashi Kovacs trilogy, which starts with 'Altered Carbon.' Fast paced, imaginative and terribly fun. I pulled an all nighter to finish the sequel, 'Broken Angels,' and I think the Borders card I got for xmas is going towards the purchase of the third.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on January 17, 2008, 12:05:04 PM
I finally finished The Tin Drum. And I have to say, not much of a payoff at the end. You spend the whole book waiting for the punch line, and then it's just... It was characteristic, but not really illuminating. I don't know. Obviously some people liked it because it won a Nobel Prize. And it wasn't bad, it was just... Maybe I'm not German or Polish enough to "get it." What are the judging criteria for these big literary prizes, anyway? (Internet, I choose you!)

Now I'm catching up on four months of Popular Science. I'll most likely read The Ethical Slut next.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 17, 2008, 05:09:11 PM
Rereading "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman.  No particular reason why.

I am finding that Gaiman's writing is extremely tight; there are very few wasted words.  After spending so much time NOT reading him, it amazes me to compare AG with some of the Star Trek books I read recently and see how much better AG is.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 17, 2008, 05:40:29 PM
If you haven't read Gaiman's "Anansi Boys", I'd recommend it strongly.  Neil said he wanted to point out to some folks that he could write humor, even without Terry Pratchett.  He succeeds marvelously.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 17, 2008, 08:26:14 PM
If you haven't read Gaiman's "Anansi Boys", I'd recommend it strongly.  Neil said he wanted to point out to some folks that he could write humor, even without Terry Pratchett.  He succeeds marvelously.

He does... and it's a story that has some depth, too.  It certainly had some staying power in my head.  It inspired me to take a stab at a story along those lines a few months after I read it: The Tiger in the Airport (http://happyphuntime.blogspot.com/2007/02/tiger-in-airport.html) (not my best, but I'm still laboring to get away from semi-autobiographical snapshots).



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 19, 2008, 12:34:49 PM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the best book ever... well... for me its about tied with Hitchhiker's Guide...
anyways... its AMAZING and EVERYONE should read it :P
it spoke to me.
Wow. That book gave me such a headache. When he started talking math, I started glazing over. I read it 8 years ago and didn't understand it, but liked it anyway.

Have you read Slaughterhouse 5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughterhouse-Five)? You might like it.
oh yea ive read it, great book too!

there is one chapter where Pirsig is talking about hierarchies and dividing them up, and that gets extremely confusing, but once you get past that part (its not that important to the book as a whole) it gets (i think) easier to swallow.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 20, 2008, 12:37:10 PM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the best book ever... well... for me its about tied with Hitchhiker's Guide...
anyways... its AMAZING and EVERYONE should read it :P
it spoke to me.
Wow. That book gave me such a headache. When he started talking math, I started glazing over. I read it 8 years ago and didn't understand it, but liked it anyway.

Have you read Slaughterhouse 5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughterhouse-Five)? You might like it.

Bdoomed... have you attempted Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del,_Escher,_Bach), by Douglas Hofstadter?  I'm curious whether ZAMM is more or less difficult to get through.  I've had a copy of GEB for 17 years, and have never gotten all the way through it, but whenever I do pick it up, I learn something profoundly interesting.

Slaughterhouse 5 is brilliant, too, but I don't always recommend it to Vonnegut first-timers.  I'm partial to Cat's Cradle and Breakfast of Champions.  The latter was made into a movie starring Bruce Willis not to long ago, by the way.  Can anyone tell my how horribly they mangled it, or will I have to wait until my "driving past a traffic accident" reflex takes over and I rent it?  (I gave in and rented Simon Birch because I loved Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany so much, and I nearly required stiches and a course of antibiotics to recover from the horribleness.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on January 20, 2008, 02:03:55 PM
Quote from: Tango Alpha Delta
(I gave in and rented Simon Birch because I loved Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany so much, and I nearly required stiches and a course of antibiotics to recover from the horribleness.)
I've studiously avoided the movie because the book changed my life.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on January 20, 2008, 02:45:31 PM
Slaughterhouse 5 is brilliant, too, but I don't always recommend it to Vonnegut first-timers.  I'm partial to Cat's Cradle and Breakfast of Champions.  The latter was made into a movie starring Bruce Willis not to long ago, by the way.  Can anyone tell my how horribly they mangled it, or will I have to wait until my "driving past a traffic accident" reflex takes over and I rent it?  (I gave in and rented Simon Birch because I loved Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany so much, and I nearly required stiches and a course of antibiotics to recover from the horribleness.)

I never saw BOC, some friends of mine who are also into Vonnegut saw it and said it was terrible.  I have meant to rent it but haven't of yet.  I'll bump it forward on the ol' NetFlix queue.  Has anyone seen the movie adaptation of "Mother Night" with Nick Nolte?  I thought that was pretty good.  The screenplay was written by Robert Weide, the guy who wrote a bunch of the Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes.  If I remember right, Weide was pretty close to Vonnegut and Kurt gave the movie a positive review.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 20, 2008, 06:07:37 PM
Quote from: DDog
(I gave in and rented Simon Birch because I loved Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany so much, and I nearly required stiches and a course of antibiotics to recover from the horribleness.)
I've studiously avoided the movie because the book changed my life.
You were wise.  Normally, I can handle seriously unfaithful adaptations if they stand on their own merits, but this... it was worse than the time we visited a KFC in England.  ("No biscuits?  Fair enough, since your clientele wouldn't know what to do with them... No 'extra crispy'?  Okay, I guess that's too fancy... No mashed potatoes?  WTF?  Then what is the pint of gravy FOR?")  The screenplay eviscerated everything I loved about the book, and sucked all of the meaning out of the few events that survived.

Has anyone seen the movie adaptation of "Mother Night" with Nick Nolte?  I thought that was pretty good.  The screenplay was written by Robert Weide, the guy who wrote a bunch of the Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes.  If I remember right, Weide was pretty close to Vonnegut and Kurt gave the movie a positive review.

I couldn't remember how I felt about that one, so didn't mention it.  I think it was a favorable impression, but I wasn't overwhelmed (obviously).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: swdragoon on January 21, 2008, 10:20:02 PM
Am I the only person on this board who reads cooking maules?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Chodon on January 22, 2008, 08:28:45 AM
I'm currently reading The World Without Us by Alan Weissman.  It's a pretty good book so far.  It's the story of what would happen if all humans suddenly disappeared.  I'm only through the first few chapters, but his description of how houses collapse over 50 years was pretty interesting.  Essentially everything will go back to nature over time.  I'm looking forward to the chapter about nuclear power plants.

I'm also re-reading On Combat by Dave Grossman.  It's about what happens to the human body and mind during combat (what Grossman calls the "Universal Human Phobia").  There is a pretty long rant about how video games are "murder simulators", with which I couldn't disagree more, but overall it's a good book.  The section on distortions during combat (auditory exclusion, tunnel vision, compressed time, etc) was fascinating.  If you want to better understand what a soldier, police officer, or anyone who has been in combat was thinking/feeling this book is a must read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 22, 2008, 09:12:16 AM
Just finished a reread of Gaiman's "American Gods".  There's a hell of a lot of peeing in that book.

Now reading the quasisequel, "Anansi Boys" (same author).  I realize that by Anansi saying something, it becomes true, at least in the minds of humans, but Gaiman saying "Fat Charlie" every time he refers to Charles Nancy gets a little annoying.  Still, an enjoyable book so far.  About halfway through.  This is my second reading.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on January 22, 2008, 03:23:36 PM
I'm currently reading The World Without Us by Alan Weissman.  It's a pretty good book so far.  It's the story of what would happen if all humans suddenly disappeared.  I'm only through the first few chapters, but his description of how houses collapse over 50 years was pretty interesting.  Essentially everything will go back to nature over time.  I'm looking forward to the chapter about nuclear power plants.


Did you see the 2 hour show "Life After People" on the History Channel last night?  Not sure if it was based on this book or not.  The show was basically a chronological history of the world after people disappeared.   The power plant stuff was pretty cool.   They figured that Hoover Dam would be one of the last ones running.   It was a pretty good show.  They covered a lot of stuff I never thought of and there were some pretty good graphics.   For the "20 years after people" part they toured the city near Chernobyl, which has been sitting empty for 20 years now.   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Chodon on January 22, 2008, 06:10:30 PM
Did you see the 2 hour show "Life After People" on the History Channel last night?  Not sure if it was based on this book or not.  The show was basically a chronological history of the world after people disappeared.   The power plant stuff was pretty cool.   They figured that Hoover Dam would be one of the last ones running.   It was a pretty good show.  They covered a lot of stuff I never thought of and there were some pretty good graphics.   For the "20 years after people" part they toured the city near Chernobyl, which has been sitting empty for 20 years now.   

It sounds a lot like Weissman's book.  I didn't catch it though.  I'll have to check for a torrent of it or something.  It sounds really interesting.
As for land around Chernobyl, everyone who has played S.T.A.L.K.E.R. knows that it's full of radioactive artifacts worth a fortune.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: shwankie on January 22, 2008, 09:51:06 PM
Chodon, we live without TV (intentionally...I know, we're freaks), so i haven't yet caught the "Life After People" show.  I did hear about it, though, and hope to catch it on one of our TV nights with friends (Sunday night was a documentary on Giant Squid!). It sounds heavily based on the book, and Weissman is not shy about letting folks use his material: Scientific American published about 15 pages of the book several months ago in an issue pretty much dedicated to his work.

The "20 years after" tour of Chernobyl is something I definitely want to catch! So far, I am really loving the book. Weissman's a font of weird and (usually) interesting facts, some of which take a while to make their relevance to the topic at hand known; and, that is the kind of thing I like. Sounds like the show has some of that, too. Can't wait to see it!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 22, 2008, 09:55:23 PM
Chodon, we live without TV (intentionally...I know, we're freaks)....

W00t!  We aren't alone!

Well, we don't have cable, anyway... soon that will amount to the same thing.

But, hey... all four of the kids have been early readers, so we must be doing something right, right?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Chodon on January 22, 2008, 10:05:08 PM
Chodon, we live without TV (intentionally...I know, we're freaks), so i haven't yet caught the "Life After People" show.  I did hear about it, though, and hope to catch it on one of our TV nights with friends (Sunday night was a documentary on Giant Squid!). It sounds heavily based on the book, and Weissman is not shy about letting folks use his material: Scientific American published about 15 pages of the book several months ago in an issue pretty much dedicated to his work.

The "20 years after" tour of Chernobyl is something I definitely want to catch! So far, I am really loving the book. Weissman's a font of weird and (usually) interesting facts, some of which take a while to make their relevance to the topic at hand known; and, that is the kind of thing I like. Sounds like the show has some of that, too. Can't wait to see it!
I found a torrent file for the show.  I'm not clear on the legality of such things, but if one were so inclined one could download it...if one were so inclined.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on January 23, 2008, 10:03:43 AM
Chodon, we live without TV (intentionally...I know, we're freaks), so i haven't yet caught the "Life After People" show.  I did hear about it, though, and hope to catch it on one of our TV nights with friends (Sunday night was a documentary on Giant Squid!). It sounds heavily based on the book, and Weissman is not shy about letting folks use his material: Scientific American published about 15 pages of the book several months ago in an issue pretty much dedicated to his work.

The "20 years after" tour of Chernobyl is something I definitely want to catch! So far, I am really loving the book. Weissman's a font of weird and (usually) interesting facts, some of which take a while to make their relevance to the topic at hand known; and, that is the kind of thing I like. Sounds like the show has some of that, too. Can't wait to see it!

During the History Channel show they were advertising DVD's of the show......so I would guess they might turn up for rental at video stores or someday on NetFlix if in the US (I don't see them on NetFlix yet).   My wife missed it also (and I didn't burn it-oops), she said that the History Channel often repeats their specials. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Chodon on January 23, 2008, 10:47:59 AM
TAD and Shwankie you are not alone when it comes to the no-TV thing.  My brother (The Outlaw Kyle) also lives without television.  I think it's a good thing for him, his wife, and daughter.   It increases family time and decreases arguments about what to watch.  However, whenever he comes to my house the TV calls to him in a dark language.  One that I dare not speak here.  It's a lot like the one ring drawing the Nazgul.  It's a terrifying sight to behold.

I am not strong enough to live without TV.  Sometimes I wish I were.  It would mean more time doing productive things, but it would also mean less time being entertained.  :-\


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 24, 2008, 07:32:59 AM
TAD and Shwankie you are not alone when it comes to the no-TV thing.  My brother (The Outlaw Kyle) also lives without television.  I think it's a good thing for him, his wife, and daughter.   It increases family time and decreases arguments about what to watch.  However, whenever he comes to my house the TV calls to him in a dark language.  One that I dare not speak here.  It's a lot like the one ring drawing the Nazgul.  It's a terrifying sight to behold.

I am not strong enough to live without TV.  Sometimes I wish I were.  It would mean more time doing productive things, but it would also mean less time being entertained.  :-\

When I met my lovely bride, I was a recovering TV-junkie; having just gone through 8 weeks of USAF basic training, most of the withdrawal symptoms had cleared up, and living in the dorms while attending the language school kept me away from the "drug".  But when we got married, and got a house, we discovered that she had an allergy to the boob tube.  Since her violent allergy to smoke had led to my kicking one bad habit already, I went along with kicking another... and we've never looked back.

Now, left to my own devices, I'll obsess about shows (I watched the entire first season of Heroes online in three days while she was in training for her current job) but being limited to DVD rentals helps a lot.  But I do hear the call of the Nazgul...so I stay away from it as much as possible.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 24, 2008, 09:01:23 AM
Reading Terry Pratchett's "Making Money" for the second time.  I tried to find my copy of "Stardust" last night, but I think it's been sold to a used bookstore.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 24, 2008, 01:16:34 PM
I usually am reading two things at once -- one at home, and one on my phone, like while stuck in traffic or in a waiting room or similar.  So, my phone thing right now is "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge.

Found it online for free reading:
http://vrinimi.org/rainbowsend.html (http://vrinimi.org/rainbowsend.html)

I love smartphones.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on January 24, 2008, 04:06:57 PM
I started reading Brian K. Vaughan's comic The Escapists, which is based loosely on Michael Chabon's Kavalier and Clay.  It's really good, but what's most surprising about it (thus far) is how Vaughan was able to take some of the basic ideas, tone, and style, from Chabon's book, and translate it so well visually.  It's primarily about some kids who try to resurrect the comic book character the Escapist, not so much about Kavalier and Clay, but there's a fun short story by Chabon at the beginning where Sammy Clay meets a 10-year-old BKV. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: shwankie on January 24, 2008, 09:43:38 PM

I found a torrent file for the show.  I'm not clear on the legality of such things, but if one were so inclined one could download it...if one were so inclined.

Dubious legality given due consideration, one might be so inclined, and one appreciates the info  ;D Thanks! The DVD thing is also a good option, but I am not sure if I am that patient...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 24, 2008, 09:46:00 PM
I usually am reading two things at once -- one at home, and one on my phone, like while stuck in traffic or in a waiting room or similar.  So, my phone thing right now is "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge.

Found it online for free reading:
http://vrinimi.org/rainbowsend.html (http://vrinimi.org/rainbowsend.html)

I love smartphones.

Thanks for that link... Vinge is great, and I have actually not read that one, yet


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Kurt Faler on January 24, 2008, 10:35:49 PM
So in the last week or so i finished up a couple more dresden files books (they are sorta like rice, they cleanse between spicier fair) as well as:

Coyote Frontier and Spindrift by Allen Steel. Not bad but not as strong as the first book of Coyote. Read them if you like Steel and have the time.

Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder. I really didnt care for the first book and only read about 20 pages at first. But I ran out of things
to read and went back to it and I'm happy I did. Once you get more details about the science involved its a lot easier to buy into it. Think postsingularity meets steampunk.

and speaking of singularity, Postsingular by Rudolf von Bitter Rucker (damnit with a name that cool why go by Rudy Rucker?). I loved Mathematicians in Love, but I think
this one just missed the mark. I didnt think it possible to go so far through science fiction that you come out the other side into fantasy. now, i know Clarkes third law, and I like fantasy,
but sometimes I dont want your chocolate in my peanut butter.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Simon on January 25, 2008, 04:02:19 AM
So I do seem to be continuing this crime fiction kick I've been on lately...

I just cracked my way through Guys And Dolls by Damon Runyon (an old favourite I dig out and re-read every 3 years or so...  The language is just among the most beautiful in American writing).

After that I've just opened The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon which I've barely started but is absolutely superb.

At the same time I've just finished re-reading the second half of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.  That book shocked me so much it annoyed me and I gave up the first time, but like everyone else I've spoken to, you think about it 2 weeks later and think "wow".  So I had to go and finish it off (despite it being utterly, utterly repulsive).

There's a lot to be said for this crime fiction genre when it's done well (although I don't know what genre you call Blood Meridian).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 25, 2008, 09:29:11 PM
Just finished a reread of Gaiman's "American Gods".  There's a hell of a lot of peeing in that book.

Now reading the quasisequel, "Anansi Boys" (same author).  I realize that by Anansi saying something, it becomes true, at least in the minds of humans, but Gaiman saying "Fat Charlie" every time he refers to Charles Nancy gets a little annoying.  Still, an enjoyable book so far.  About halfway through.  This is my second reading.
I haven't actually read that book, but thanks to the public library I've heard the (excellently read by Lenny Henry) audio version.  I recommend it (the Henry audio) highly.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 25, 2008, 10:30:02 PM
Just finished a reread of Gaiman's "American Gods".  There's a hell of a lot of peeing in that book.

Now reading the quasisequel, "Anansi Boys" (same author).  I realize that by Anansi saying something, it becomes true, at least in the minds of humans, but Gaiman saying "Fat Charlie" every time he refers to Charles Nancy gets a little annoying.  Still, an enjoyable book so far.  About halfway through.  This is my second reading.

This might be a stretch, but... Paul Simon's Graceland album contains a song called "Crazy Love, Volume II", which starts with the verse:

Fat Charlie the Archangel
Sloped into the room
He said I have no opinion about this
And I have no opinion about that
Sad as a lonely little wrinkled balloon
He said well I don't claim to be happy about this, boys
And I don't seem to be happy about that
(chorus)
I don't want no part of this crazy love
I don't want no part of your love ...

Every time I read the name Fat Charlie, that song would start spinning up anew in my head, and I couldn't decide if Gaiman did it on purpose or not.  There was certainly a similarity between the Charlie Nancy we see at the beginning of the book and the one in the song, as I recall...

[Edit: fixed song title]


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: eytanz on January 26, 2008, 06:25:14 AM
Hmmm... Never heard this song, but I can see the similarity. Still, I would guess it's a coincidence. Anyone feel like writing Gaiman and asking? That's the sort of question he always seems to answer on his blog.

I think the best medium for Anansi Boys is the audiobook. Lenny Henry does an awesome job reading it out, really fleshing out all the characters. And the writing style is really well suited for the story being told, as well as read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 26, 2008, 08:44:41 AM
Hmmm... Never heard this song, but I can see the similarity. Still, I would guess it's a coincidence. Anyone feel like writing Gaiman and asking? That's the sort of question he always seems to answer on his blog.


Good thinking... I went to his site and submitted an "Ask Neil" email.  I'll post an answer, if I get one.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 26, 2008, 01:36:15 PM
I think the best medium for Anansi Boys is the audiobook. Lenny Henry does an awesome job reading it out, really fleshing out all the characters. And the writing style is really well suited for the story being told, as well as read.

Is it worth my time and effort to read a paper copy then? ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: FNH on January 26, 2008, 03:59:47 PM
I just finished reading "Return from the River Kwai" by Joan and Clay Blair.

This true story had me in tears many times.  I think they made a film, I'll have to have a look for it.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 28, 2008, 02:47:30 PM
I think the best medium for Anansi Boys is the audiobook. Lenny Henry does an awesome job reading it out, really fleshing out all the characters. And the writing style is really well suited for the story being told, as well as read.

Is it worth my time and effort to read a paper copy then? ;)
I haven't heard the audio, but yes, I would definately recommend the book.  Loved it.

I just finished "Dune" again.  Brought back some memories, but it wasn't quite as good as I remembered.  Still, a masterpiece of the genre, to be sure.
Still re-reading "'Salem's Lot".  Great vintage King.  The guy has realy got a gift for language.
Just started "The Great Book of Amber," the Zelazny collection, all 10 novels in one book.
About a million years ago, someone lent me a copy of one of them, I think it was "The Hand of Oberon."  I hadn't read any of the others, and I hated it.  I only got about 30 pages in a took it back, but I keep hearing about how great his stuff is.  I guess I'll give it another try.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 28, 2008, 03:12:19 PM
i just finished reading Breakfast of Champions - amazing
and The Reader for school... it was MEH... kinda pissed me off.

i WAS going to read Vurt next but i have a lot of philosophical reading for school to do. for a report thingy.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 28, 2008, 08:27:40 PM
Just started "The Great Book of Amber," the Zelazny collection, all 10 novels in one book.
About a million years ago, someone lent me a copy of one of them, I think it was "The Hand of Oberon."  I hadn't read any of the others, and I hated it.  I only got about 30 pages in a took it back, but I keep hearing about how great his stuff is.  I guess I'll give it another try.
If it was The Hand of Oberon, then the problem was most likely that you were starting with the fourth of a five-volume series.

Of course, there's also the matter of Corwin being, like most Zelazny protagonists, a self-serving SOB.

For myself, I'm still between books ... haven't found time to start The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair yet.  I've been listening to Hutchins' Seventh Son: Descent during downtime at work  (Yes, I'm coming in late to this party; I waited until the third book was complete before starting, so that I wouldn't get to a point where I had to wait for the next installment.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 29, 2008, 10:57:30 AM
i just finished reading Breakfast of Champions - amazing
and The Reader for school... it was MEH... kinda pissed me off.

i WAS going to read Vurt next but i have a lot of philosophical reading for school to do. for a report thingy.

FWIW I did not enjoy Vurt.  It just didn't resonate with me.  None of the Jeff Noon books I read have done so.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on January 29, 2008, 11:49:25 AM
i just finished reading Breakfast of Champions - amazing
and The Reader for school... it was MEH... kinda pissed me off.

i WAS going to read Vurt next but i have a lot of philosophical reading for school to do. for a report thingy.

Yeah BOC - great stuff.  Have you read Sirens of Titan? Another good one.   

What training did you have to go through to become and acolyte of TCoRN?   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Simon on January 29, 2008, 11:57:25 AM
i just finished reading Breakfast of Champions - amazing
and The Reader for school... it was MEH... kinda pissed me off.

i WAS going to read Vurt next but i have a lot of philosophical reading for school to do. for a report thingy.

FWIW I did not enjoy Vurt.  It just didn't resonate with me.  None of the Jeff Noon books I read have done so.

Seconded... Vurt is terrible, but then I have repeatedly said Noon is the worst science fiction writer Britain has ever produced, and there are a lot of shit SF writers in Britain.

I don't understand what is literary about throwing a handful of dust in the readers face, pulling three sleight of hands and then saying Taadaaaaa when you pull out some incest/murder/child abuse based denoument.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 29, 2008, 06:42:26 PM
i just finished reading Breakfast of Champions - amazing
and The Reader for school... it was MEH... kinda pissed me off.

i WAS going to read Vurt next but i have a lot of philosophical reading for school to do. for a report thingy.

FWIW I did not enjoy Vurt.  It just didn't resonate with me.  None of the Jeff Noon books I read have done so.

Seconded... Vurt is terrible, but then I have repeatedly said Noon is the worst science fiction writer Britain has ever produced, and there are a lot of shit SF writers in Britain.

I don't understand what is literary about throwing a handful of dust in the readers face, pulling three sleight of hands and then saying Taadaaaaa when you pull out some incest/murder/child abuse based denoument.

ha well my friend read it and thoroughly enjoyed it, and i trust his judgement.

i have read Sirens of Titan, i LOVED that book to death.

What training did you have to go through to become and acolyte of TCoRN?   
Years of intensive meditation, new and undiscovered trains of thought, and a little bit of heavy brainwashing.  I eventually spoke with the Lord our N_sh himself in a vision after coming back from the bathroom at this club and drinking my soda.  It had a mediciney taste to it... *shrugs*

training is different for each person though, it is highly personal.  You have to find yourself to find N_sh.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DDog on January 29, 2008, 08:29:29 PM
Besides school reading now that classes have started up, I'm finally tackling The Ethical Slut and I'm listening to Neverwhere read by the author.

Re: Slut...I know it's like one of the polyamory bibles, but the tone of the book really annoys me.

And Neverwhere is of course excellent, and there's a lot of nuance brought out by hearing it in Neil Gaiman's voice. He's a great storyteller out loud and on paper. (And although I have steadfastly refused to settle on a single favorite author since I started reading, Gaiman is vying for the top spot recently.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 29, 2008, 09:38:33 PM
i just finished reading Breakfast of Champions - amazing
and The Reader for school... it was MEH... kinda pissed me off.

i WAS going to read Vurt next but i have a lot of philosophical reading for school to do. for a report thingy.

Yeah BOC - great stuff.  Have you read Sirens of Titan? Another good one.   

What training did you have to go through to become and acolyte of TCoRN?   

Sirens of Titan -- I would elaborate, but the only Vonnegut I never managed to get into was his first: Player Piano.  Anyone know off-hand which of his books mentioned the Kilgore Trout novel about the race of aliens that communicated solely through farts and tap-dancing?  It wasn't SoT, was it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on January 29, 2008, 10:45:07 PM
i just finished reading Breakfast of Champions - amazing
and The Reader for school... it was MEH... kinda pissed me off.

i WAS going to read Vurt next but i have a lot of philosophical reading for school to do. for a report thingy.

Yeah BOC - great stuff.  Have you read Sirens of Titan? Another good one.   

What training did you have to go through to become and acolyte of TCoRN?   

Sirens of Titan -- I would elaborate, but the only Vonnegut I never managed to get into was his first: Player Piano.  Anyone know off-hand which of his books mentioned the Kilgore Trout novel about the race of aliens that communicated solely through farts and tap-dancing?  It wasn't SoT, was it?

That story was from Breakfast of Champions.   Zog the alien came down to earth to tell people how to stop wars and cure cancer.  Zog was from Margo, a planet where people communicated by farting and tap dancing.  When he landed he saw a house on fire so he ran in to warn the occupants by farting and tap dancing.  The head of the household smashed him in the head with a golf club.   Great stuff. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on January 29, 2008, 11:25:57 PM
Now reading:  "Antarctica" by Kim Stanley Robinson, and (thanks again to Listener) "Rainbow's End (http://vrinimi.org/rainbowsend.html)" by Vernor Vinge.


Finally finished "Use of Weapons" the other day (funny how slowly I finished once jury duty was over); I was struck by the beauty and depth of it this time around.  I first read it a few years ago, while still in England, where I had discovered "Consider Phlebas" during a long mid-watch.  At the time, I was really into the universe of the Culture, and mostly enjoyed the atmospherics, big ships, and humor.  Alright, the humour.  But this time, because I was taking it a little slower, for the most part, I invested a little more thought in it.

The structure was very odd, which I had noticed but not fully appreciated on first reading.  The chapters are numbered One, XIII, Two, XII, Three, XI, etc....  with the chronology of the roman numeraled chapters working their way back into the past as the Ordinal numbered chapters move forward in the "present".  It bears up, but the point where the strands of story line meet is quite startling; and it changes... everything.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 30, 2008, 11:44:43 AM
Finished Gaiman's "Stardust" for the second time and am reminded of why I didn't like it the first time.  It's very much a fable told to a reader.  There's action, but you don't really feel like you're there, and once you get toward the end (after Tristan returns to Wall to confront Victoria), it's a very blah feeling. 

The film, I have to say, was much better.  I mean, sure, the book had a lot of great stuff in it (Tori Amos as a tree, for one), but the film was just... well... I already said it.  Better.  And Gaiman worked closely with the filmmakers through most of it, so I'm pretty sure most of the good stuff was his.  Also, in the film, the disposition of the witch (Michelle Pfieffer's character) was MUCH better-handled, as were the brothers.

Anyway, now reading "The Golden Compass" by Phillip Pullman again.  The prose is vivid, much more so than the film (IMO), though it does get away from him from time to time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: eytanz on January 30, 2008, 12:25:50 PM
Also, in the film, the disposition of the witch (Michelle Pfieffer's character) was MUCH better-handled

I strongly disagree with this. I think the end of the witch arc was one of the best things about the book. I understand why it was changed - but I think that, while far more exciting, the movie resolution to the arc is also a lot less interesting and tragic.

Quote

as were the brothers.

I agree here. In general, I think the movie's interpretation of the brothers was excellent and added to their representation in the novel.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on January 30, 2008, 01:03:03 PM

In general, I think the movie's interpretation of the brothers was excellent and added to their representation in the novel.

I have to say, that zombie sword fight at the end was one of the most amusing scenes I've seen in a long time.  I liked Stardust much better the second time I read it, probably because I knew what kind of story it was going to be -- a light-hearted fairytale.  I think the movie was an excellent movie, and the book was a pretty good (and fast) read.

I'm now reading Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road and about halfway through.  It's starting to get pretty good, but it took a while.  I feel kind of funny criticizing a Pulitzer Prize winning author and a guy whose work I completely respect, but it feels like he was trying to hard to be literary or something the first half of the novel, instead of just having a rollicking good adventure.  I read somewhere that he'd considered titling the book Jews With Swords instead, and I almost wishe he had.  But like I said, it is getting better and it is a relatively fast read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 30, 2008, 04:47:47 PM
Also, in the film, the disposition of the witch (Michelle Pfieffer's character) was MUCH better-handled

I strongly disagree with this. I think the end of the witch arc was one of the best things about the book. I understand why it was changed - but I think that, while far more exciting, the movie resolution to the arc is also a lot less interesting and tragic.


I just felt robbed.  Like, okay, so she spends all book trying to get the star's heart, manages to kill Septimus, and then just gives up at the end?

Each their own.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Kurt Faler on February 10, 2008, 10:41:51 PM
I just finished up Humpty Dumpty in Oakland by Philip K. Dick. Its one of his non-sci-fi (or non-spec-fic) works. It was a good read. Not his best work by far, but worth it if your a fan. It has a feel to it that makes me think of John Kennedy Toole and Charles Bukowski collaborating to write Death of a Salesman  ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on February 16, 2008, 03:08:36 PM
The Discworld quest continues.  Since my last post, I have finished Small Gods (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061092177/escapepod-20), Lords and Ladies (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061056928/escapepod-20), Men at Arms (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061092193/escapepod-20), Soul Music (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061054895/escapepod-20), and Interesting Times (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061056901/escapepod-20).

I'm half way through Maskerade (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006105691X/escapepod-20).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Czhorat on February 16, 2008, 03:26:31 PM
Finished Gaiman's "Stardust" for the second time and am reminded of why I didn't like it the first time.  It's very much a fable told to a reader.  There's action, but you don't really feel like you're there, and once you get toward the end (after Tristan returns to Wall to confront Victoria), it's a very blah feeling. 

Curious -- did you read the prose only version or the one with the Charles Vess watercolor illustrations? I think the illustrations lent a certain charm to the story that made it worth reading on the page.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on February 16, 2008, 05:04:52 PM
Finished Gaiman's "Stardust" for the second time and am reminded of why I didn't like it the first time.  It's very much a fable told to a reader.  There's action, but you don't really feel like you're there, and once you get toward the end (after Tristan returns to Wall to confront Victoria), it's a very blah feeling. 

Curious -- did you read the prose only version or the one with the Charles Vess watercolor illustrations? I think the illustrations lent a certain charm to the story that made it worth reading on the page.

I'll definitely second that; I had enjoyed the novel, but found the Vess version after seeing that the movie was in production.  Vess absolutely multiplies the joy of the experience.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 16, 2008, 08:37:00 PM
Finished Gaiman's "Stardust" for the second time and am reminded of why I didn't like it the first time.  It's very much a fable told to a reader.  There's action, but you don't really feel like you're there, and once you get toward the end (after Tristan returns to Wall to confront Victoria), it's a very blah feeling. 

Curious -- did you read the prose only version or the one with the Charles Vess watercolor illustrations? I think the illustrations lent a certain charm to the story that made it worth reading on the page.

I'll definitely second that; I had enjoyed the novel, but found the Vess version after seeing that the movie was in production.  Vess absolutely multiplies the joy of the experience.

Thirded.  After getting the Gaiman/Vess trade edition, I lent out my mass market copy and really don't care if it ever gets returned.  But then, I loved it even before reading the illustrated edition.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Czhorat on February 17, 2008, 11:41:28 PM
Finished Gaiman's "Stardust" for the second time and am reminded of why I didn't like it the first time.  It's very much a fable told to a reader.  There's action, but you don't really feel like you're there, and once you get toward the end (after Tristan returns to Wall to confront Victoria), it's a very blah feeling. 

Curious -- did you read the prose only version or the one with the Charles Vess watercolor illustrations? I think the illustrations lent a certain charm to the story that made it worth reading on the page.

I'll definitely second that; I had enjoyed the novel, but found the Vess version after seeing that the movie was in production.  Vess absolutely multiplies the joy of the experience.

Thirded.  After getting the Gaiman/Vess trade edition, I lent out my mass market copy and really don't care if it ever gets returned.  But then, I loved it even before reading the illustrated edition.

It's the first version I read. In fact, I was so taken by it that I bought a copy to give as the very first gift I gave to a young woman I met through an online personal ad and started dating. We recently celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary and the first birthday of our lovely daughter.

Oh, and now that I've finished Duncan's Vellum I've started on Parker's Devices and Desires. It got a glowing review in Locus, and so far it does not disappoint.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on February 18, 2008, 07:46:36 PM
Finished Gaiman's "Stardust" for the second time and am reminded of why I didn't like it the first time.  It's very much a fable told to a reader.  There's action, but you don't really feel like you're there, and once you get toward the end (after Tristan returns to Wall to confront Victoria), it's a very blah feeling. 

Curious -- did you read the prose only version or the one with the Charles Vess watercolor illustrations? I think the illustrations lent a certain charm to the story that made it worth reading on the page.

I'll definitely second that; I had enjoyed the novel, but found the Vess version after seeing that the movie was in production.  Vess absolutely multiplies the joy of the experience.

Thirded.  After getting the Gaiman/Vess trade edition, I lent out my mass market copy and really don't care if it ever gets returned.  But then, I loved it even before reading the illustrated edition.

It's the first version I read. In fact, I was so taken by it that I bought a copy to give as the very first gift I gave to a young woman I met through an online personal ad and started dating. We recently celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary and the first birthday of our lovely daughter.

Oh, and now that I've finished Duncan's Vellum I've started on Parker's Devices and Desires. It got a glowing review in Locus, and so far it does not disappoint.

Congratulations!  (On the familial stuff, that is... I figure this crowd doesn't need to be congratulated for reading.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on February 19, 2008, 02:56:57 AM
Forgot to mention a political satire I read.

A Planet for the President by Alistair Beanton.  Pretty damn funny.  It's written by a writer for the BBC and pretty much says what the consequences of the Bush administration believing in global warming might be.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on February 19, 2008, 11:30:16 AM
Finished Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road.  It was okay, but I'd really only recommend it to Chabon fans.

I'm exactly 100 pages into William Gibson's Spook Country.  I tend to pretty like it more when Gibson focuses on one or two characters (Neuromancer, Virtual Light, Idoru, Pattern Recognition) more than when he splits the narration between a group of three (Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, and now Spook Country).  There's inevitably one story line that just doesn't excite or intreest me as much as the others.  Hopefully, it will get better as the story continues.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: qwints on February 21, 2008, 01:04:08 AM
Richard Dawkins
The Devil's Chaplain


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 22, 2008, 02:19:02 PM
Finished Gaiman's "Stardust" for the second time and am reminded of why I didn't like it the first time.  It's very much a fable told to a reader.  There's action, but you don't really feel like you're there, and once you get toward the end (after Tristan returns to Wall to confront Victoria), it's a very blah feeling. 

Curious -- did you read the prose only version or the one with the Charles Vess watercolor illustrations? I think the illustrations lent a certain charm to the story that made it worth reading on the page.

No illustrations.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 22, 2008, 02:20:37 PM
Now reading "The Miocene Arrow" by Sean McMullen.  It's the 2nd of the three Greatwinter novels.

"Souls in the Great Machine" is one of my all-time favorite books (it's McMullen's first Greatwinter novel).  It has literally EVERYTHING without being boring or trite.  The post-Greatwinter world, IMO, would make a great graphic novel or Sci-Fi-Channel miniseries.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 25, 2008, 09:07:03 AM
Now reading "The Miocene Arrow" by Sean McMullen.  It's the 2nd of the three Greatwinter novels.

"Souls in the Great Machine" is one of my all-time favorite books (it's McMullen's first Greatwinter novel).  It has literally EVERYTHING without being boring or trite.  The post-Greatwinter world, IMO, would make a great graphic novel or Sci-Fi-Channel miniseries.

... assuming they don't "adapt" it like they "adapted" Earthsea  ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 25, 2008, 09:18:44 AM
Now reading "The Miocene Arrow" by Sean McMullen.  It's the 2nd of the three Greatwinter novels.

"Souls in the Great Machine" is one of my all-time favorite books (it's McMullen's first Greatwinter novel).  It has literally EVERYTHING without being boring or trite.  The post-Greatwinter world, IMO, would make a great graphic novel or Sci-Fi-Channel miniseries.

... assuming they don't "adapt" it like they "adapted" Earthsea  ;)

I remember seeing previews for that and wondering what all the fuss was about.  I haven't read Earthsea, but it had a hobbit in the film.  That's all I know.  (Didn't watch the movie, either.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on February 25, 2008, 03:44:19 PM
Now reading "The Miocene Arrow" by Sean McMullen.  It's the 2nd of the three Greatwinter novels.

"Souls in the Great Machine" is one of my all-time favorite books (it's McMullen's first Greatwinter novel).  It has literally EVERYTHING without being boring or trite.  The post-Greatwinter world, IMO, would make a great graphic novel or Sci-Fi-Channel miniseries.

... assuming they don't "adapt" it like they "adapted" Earthsea  ;)

I remember seeing previews for that and wondering what all the fuss was about.  I haven't read Earthsea, but it had a hobbit in the film.  That's all I know.  (Didn't watch the movie, either.)

I saw the movie.  My reaction was, "this is just hollow.  I'm sure the book is a lot better."  I then put the series on my Amazon wishlist.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 11, 2008, 08:18:39 AM
Finished "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" (Michael Chabon).  I definitely think it's more a noir-crime novel than sci-fi, but as we've discussed in various other threads, the fact that it's alternate history puts it into some SF categories.

I enjoyed most of it, though toward the end I felt like "oh, so there's 70 pages left and NOW they're going to figure this out?"  Felt a little cheated by the rich -- often lurid -- descriptions of the world and the events before, and then he wraps it up in a nice little package.

Small spoiler:
I wasn't surprised that Meyer ended up back with Bina, just at how long it took.  It was something to look forward to from the moment she showed up.

Now rereading "Voyage of the Shadowmoon" (Sean McMullen) for like the 10th time.

Also trying to read "Learning PERL" (the Llama Book) when I have a minute.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on March 11, 2008, 12:53:02 PM
I finished William Gibson's Spook Country.  Not my favorite Gibson by a longshot, actually it might possibly be my least favorite.  I really wanted to like it, but it just felt way too fragmented, especially with three different characters competing for the protagonist role in the narrative.  (This might not have bothered me so much if the chapters had been a little longer, because whenever the chapter ended, I was just getting into hearing what was happening with that character, and 2/3 times didn't really want to hear what was happening with the next character.  Also, the character I liked the most seemed to have the least to do with the ideas behind what Gibson was talking about.)

I'm gonna read some James Lee Burke next, I think...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 11, 2008, 09:16:13 PM
I petered out on "Antarctica" (it's still waiting patiently on the back of the loo, but I've had other crap to do... pun intended); took a quick side-trip through "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".  Not sure how I felt about the Loonies' faux-Russian dialect; all they really did was treat pronouns inconsistently.  It didn't make the English feel all that Russian to me, but I am a little biased by knowing what Russian sounds like.  Meh.

Went to the library, and actually came home with only graphic novels.  And comic strip collections; "Boondocks", "Pearls Before Swine"; Linda K. Hamilton's Vampire Hunter; and Persepolis (and Persepolis 2) by Marjane Satrapi.


I don't want to jinx it, but I feel a story brewing in my head, so I'm not forcing myself to read anything heavy... just look away casually, and see if it will come out on its own....


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on March 12, 2008, 07:49:30 AM
Went to the library, and actually came home with only graphic novels.  And comic strip collections; "Boondocks", "Pearls Before Swine"; Linda K. Hamilton's Vampire Hunter; and Persepolis (and Persepolis 2) by Marjane Satrapi.

Oh I loved Persepolis!  It's a wonderful book.  Hope you enjoy it.  Persepolis 2 wasn't quite as good (imo), but worth reading also. 



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 12, 2008, 08:12:46 AM
Finished "Shadowmoon".

Now on "Glass Dragons", the second Moonworlds book by Sean McMullen.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on March 12, 2008, 08:46:43 AM
"Pearls Before Swine"

Good stuff.  I love the Watchduck and Rat's Danny Donkey.  I'll have to check that out.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bolddeceiver on March 14, 2008, 01:32:35 PM
Just finished Midnight's Children, which might be the best book I've ever read.  Seriously, read it NOW.

Picking up The Giver, by Lois Lowry.  I read it back in 4th grade, shortly after it first came out.  I was already an avid reader, but I think it was the first book I ever read that got me thinking about ideas and issues bigger than the specific events of the stories; it was also my introduction to the idea of dystopia.

I decided to pick it back up for two reasons.  First, I'm working with kids right now, and I constantly recommend this book.  I realized that I remember how the book affected me a lot better than I remember the book itself.  Second, I just found out that it has two sequels, and I want to check them out.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Chodon on March 14, 2008, 01:43:14 PM
I finished The World Without Us and was not too impressed by the time I finished.  The author was advocating eliminating humanity because of the damage we cause to the earth.  I was more interested in learning about how entropy was going to slowly eat away at everything we had built, but it turned into a preach session about humans=bad, nature=good.

I'm not sure if we want to start doing this on this forum, but I would be willing to sell or trade this book for the going rate on half.com.  Russell, if this is against the rules let me know.  I'd like to get my hands on a book I would enjoy reading, and I don't plan on re-reading this one.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on March 14, 2008, 01:49:57 PM
I finished The World Without Us and was not too impressed by the time I finished.  The author was advocating eliminating humanity because of the damage we cause to the earth.  I was more interested in learning about how entropy was going to slowly eat away at everything we had built, but it turned into a preach session about humans=bad, nature=good.

Interesting.  I have not read the book.  I did see the History Channels's "Life After People" (discussed elsewhere in the forums a couple months ago) and thought it was really good.  It didn't come cross preachy at all, it was more of a history of the stuff we left behind with pretty good animations.   More like what you were looking for. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 14, 2008, 08:52:46 PM
I finished The World Without Us and was not too impressed by the time I finished.  The author was advocating eliminating humanity because of the damage we cause to the earth.  I was more interested in learning about how entropy was going to slowly eat away at everything we had built, but it turned into a preach session about humans=bad, nature=good.

I'm not sure if we want to start doing this on this forum, but I would be willing to sell or trade this book for the going rate on half.com.  Russell, if this is against the rules let me know.  I'd like to get my hands on a book I would enjoy reading, and I don't plan on re-reading this one.

There are a few sites that let you trade; all it costs you is the postage.  I haven't been brave enough to sign up for one, though.  If anyone uses one a lot and can recommend it, let me know.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stinkymike on March 14, 2008, 09:04:04 PM
Buying books in Japan, the English language ones, is damn expensive.  Thankfully I've got a community of friends here that also read SF and we've a "leave one - take one" box in the staffroom.  Right now I'm reading Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky".  A great book for reading and reflecting upon during long train rides.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Chodon on March 14, 2008, 10:33:39 PM
I finished The World Without Us and was not too impressed by the time I finished.  The author was advocating eliminating humanity because of the damage we cause to the earth.  I was more interested in learning about how entropy was going to slowly eat away at everything we had built, but it turned into a preach session about humans=bad, nature=good.

I'm not sure if we want to start doing this on this forum, but I would be willing to sell or trade this book for the going rate on half.com.  Russell, if this is against the rules let me know.  I'd like to get my hands on a book I would enjoy reading, and I don't plan on re-reading this one.

There are a few sites that let you trade; all it costs you is the postage.  I haven't been brave enough to sign up for one, though.  If anyone uses one a lot and can recommend it, let me know.
I wonder if we could start something like that on here.  Sci-fi books for trade or maybe even selling.  We all have similar tastes in fiction.  Why not try to trade some books while we're at it?  It would be like Oprah's book club, but with spaceships and lasers.  Thoughts?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 15, 2008, 11:30:04 AM
Buying books in Japan, the English language ones, is damn expensive.  Thankfully I've got a community of friends here that also read SF and we've a "leave one - take one" box in the staffroom.  Right now I'm reading Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky".  A great book for reading and reflecting upon during long train rides.


Fantastic book; so is Fire Upon the Deep (same universe, one character "in common", but otherwise totally different).  And his Rainbow's End (http://vrinimi.org/rainbowsend.html) is available through his site for free.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on March 17, 2008, 03:49:35 PM
I wonder if we could start something like that on here.  Sci-fi books for trade or maybe even selling.  We all have similar tastes in fiction.  Why not try to trade some books while we're at it?  It would be like Oprah's book club, but with spaceships and lasers.  Thoughts?

I started the thread here (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=1420.0).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on March 23, 2008, 02:56:29 PM
Hi guys, I'm back!

Just Finish:  Gridlinked by Neal Asher

Starting:  Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (it pays to help with a newspaper)

Next:  99 Coffins by David Wellington


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on March 23, 2008, 04:44:23 PM
Hi guys, I'm back!

Just Finish:  Gridlinked by Neal Asher

Starting:  Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (it pays to help with a newspaper)

Next:  99 Coffins by David Wellington

Leon,  Nice to see you back. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Nt 2 B TKN INTRNLY on March 23, 2008, 05:47:52 PM
Just finished reading Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, whose works I started re-reading and further digesting because of a thread here on the Escape Artists forum.

Honestly, I've read a few of Vonnegut's books, and maybe that's not enough to properly judge, but I'd say this was one of his harder books to read. The story was... Balancing on the edge of realism, and fiction. During the beginning, the book dipped into what could have been real. In the middle, it balanced quite well on the edges of both, realism and fiction, and finally, the conclusion fell into the latter.

All in all, I'd have to, with great sadness, say that I was disappointed.  :'(

Now reading "Cat's Cradle". I love it so far.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on March 23, 2008, 07:03:35 PM
Just finished reading Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, whose works I started re-reading and further digesting because of a thread here on the Escape Artists forum.

Honestly, I've read a few of Vonnegut's books, and maybe that's not enough to properly judge, but I'd say this was one of his harder books to read. The story was... Balancing on the edge of realism, and fiction. During the beginning, the book dipped into what could have been real. In the middle, it balanced quite well on the edges of both, realism and fiction, and finally, the conclusion fell into the latter.

All in all, I'd have to, with great sadness, say that I was disappointed.  :'(

Now reading "Cat's Cradle". I love it so far.

Rule of thumb: pre-Breakfast, more fictional; post-Breakfast, increasingly about the author.  Not that Vonnegut's "thing" hasn't always been a coy blurring of himself with his narrator.

Personally, I enjoyed Sirens of Titan, Galapagos, and Cat's Cradle most; I've re-read Deadeye Dick and Mother Night most frequently; and after I had read everything else, he did Timequake, which was all about how hard it was for Kurt Vonnegut to write a book when all he really wanted to do was fart around. 

(So, you probably will only enjoy that one if you're looking for a protracted one-on-one session with Kurt.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on March 23, 2008, 08:42:05 PM
Just finished Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky, which I also totally recommend.  I read it in two weeks, at a time when I had a lot going on in my life.  If I'd had nothing on my schedule, I probably would have demolished its 700+ pages in a few days.

Just to drink up every available genre, I've started Richard Mason's The World of Suzie Wong.  Living in East Asia myself, it's fascinating to read European accounts of ye olde Far East.  In parts it's incredibly dated, in parts it's incredibly... not so.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 24, 2008, 09:45:59 AM
"Perdido Street Station", by China Mieville.  For about the 6th time.

I'm in kind of a "read stuff I know I like" rut, rather than a "read new stuff" rut.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on March 24, 2008, 05:18:14 PM
I don't think Breakfast of Champions should be attempted until after you already love Vonnegut.  Didn't he call it "his present to himself"?  It's indulgent and very much about the author.  It's also good, but better if you've already read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and a bunch of his other works.  Cat's Cradle is by far my favorite of his stuff. 

I also adore Venus on the Half Shell, by Killgore Trout.  Well, okay, it was actually written by Philip Jose Farmer, around a one page excerpt of one of Killgore's fictional novels that appeared in one of Vonnegut's books.  It's a pastiche of Vonnegut's style, but ends up being a lot like Hitchhiker's Guide, though published long beforehand...

As to what I'm reading - Just finished Obama's The Audacity of Hope - not exactly SF.  Just starting Neil Gaimain's Neverwhere.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on March 24, 2008, 11:14:26 PM
I'm reading a self-published book by a friend of mine called A Bridge in Time. He wants me to illustrate it, which is a pretty intimidating task in my eyes. It's being looked at by some big Christian publishers. It's sort of a Narnia type book, but it's not allegorical, per se. But I'm about to get back on the "read stuff I know I like" wagon myself, beginning with Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. But I really need to branch out. :-\


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Nt 2 B TKN INTRNLY on April 03, 2008, 08:20:31 PM
I'm just switching temporaraly to "Robot Visions" (which I aquired from the book trade thread  ;D ).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on April 03, 2008, 08:38:37 PM
I'm currently reading Niven's Scatterbrain (in dead-tree) and Sigler's Infected (on my phone).

My to-be-read pile:
Death By Black Hole And Other Cosmic Quandaries - Neil DeGrasse Tyson
America (The Book) - Jon Stewart
1759: The Year Britain became Master of the World - Frank McLynn
What Do You Care What Other People Think? - Richard Feynman
Empire: The Rise and Fall of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power - Niall Ferguson
The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code - Robert Rankin

Oh, and I have Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald Prothero on order. I am almost certain it will arrive before I run out of reading matter.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on April 04, 2008, 05:02:02 PM
I love Tad Williams's and Robert Herbert's styles and characterizations. Is anyone with familiar enough with their work to recommend some similar authors?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: G. Foyle on April 11, 2008, 09:35:51 AM
Just finished:
Heat by George Monbiott

Now:
Black Man by Richard Morgan


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 11, 2008, 11:42:08 AM
"Time Enough For Love" by Robert Heinlein

2nd reading


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on April 11, 2008, 03:24:36 PM
"Time Enough For Love" by Robert Heinlein

2nd reading

I just gave that another read a few months ago.  I thought it held up very well.  You enjoying it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on April 11, 2008, 03:28:58 PM
The 10 Cent Plague (The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America) by David Hadju.
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster.
Japanese War Crimes of WW2 by Tanaka.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on April 11, 2008, 04:02:32 PM
Just finished Duma Key ... now ready for a trip to the library.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on April 12, 2008, 08:41:26 AM
Just finished Duma Key ... now ready for a trip to the library.

Is that the one the movie Duma was based on?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 12, 2008, 10:17:30 AM
Just finished: Tim Krabbe's The Rider

Currently Reading: A History of Warfare by John Keegan

Next Up: The Working Life by Joanne B. Ciulla


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on April 12, 2008, 10:42:41 AM
Just finished Duma Key ... now ready for a trip to the library.

Is that the one the movie Duma was based on?

Whoops... Duma Key is the new Stephen King; nothing to do with cheetahs or Russian legislators.

(I meant to say that originally...)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jodymonster on April 12, 2008, 07:23:38 PM
Whoa, it's been way too long since I looked at this thread. My 'to read' pile just got bigger. 

I finished PEEPS (and the sequel, The Last Days), by Scott Westerfeild, and followed it up with Infected, by- does anyone here not know buy now? Scott Sigler.  I wouldn't suggest reading both of those in the same week, especially if it happens to be the week Norm runs a story like "Eggs" on the Drabblecast.  Waaaay too many parasites.  I thought nothing could be more horrifying than the real life parasites we have on this planet, many of which are described in PEEPS.  Then I read Infected.  My nightmares have years worth of new material. 
That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy both books (and the drabblecast).  I just kinda OD'ed on the subject, to the point where I don't even want to think about the books enough to give a decent critique.  I'll say this much:  PEEPS is quick and fun and has an interesting spin on vampires.
 The Last Days I was disappointed with.  It felt like a rushed, not as well thought out sequel.  Infected is also fun, but in a much more disturbed and psychotic way.  Kinda reminded me of Chuck Palahniuk, but with aliens. 

I don't know if I posted about this one before, but even if so it's worth bringing up again.  A while ago I finished Kindred, by Octavia Butler.  It's an absolutely beautiful book I can't believe no one ever recommended to me.  It's kinda historical fiction with time-travel.  An African-American woman living in California in the 1970's is repeatedly pulled back in time to save an ancestor of hers living in the Southern USA in the early 1800's.  This is the kind of book where the second you finish it you want to read it again, to soak up any little bits you might have missed.  I can't wait to read it again.

Lastly, I just finished Second Variety and I'm halfway through Paycheck, both Philip K. Dick short story collections.  They are both everything you would expect of him.  I'm enjoying them greatly. 

Next time I'll check in more often and try not to post huge paragraphs.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on April 13, 2008, 12:14:12 PM
A while ago I finished Kindred, by Octavia Butler.

If you liked Kindred, I recommend Lion's Blood (http://www.amazon.com/Lions-Blood-Steven-Barnes/dp/0446612219) by Steven Barnes.  It's an alt-history where African's colonized the Americas.  They use Celtic (white) slaves.  It's never quite explained how the African/Islamic nations are more advanced, and Europeans less so, but once you accept the premise it's a wonderful book.  It goes much further than reversing the skin colors, and has a lot to say about the cultures involved.  And fantastic characters and good storylines.  Highly Recommended.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on April 13, 2008, 02:14:04 PM
A while ago I finished Kindred, by Octavia Butler.

If you liked Kindred, I recommend Lion's Blood (http://www.amazon.com/Lions-Blood-Steven-Barnes/dp/0446612219) by Steven Barnes.  It's an alt-history where African's colonized the Americas.  They use Celtic (white) slaves.  It's never quite explained how the African/Islamic nations are more advanced, and Europeans less so, but once you accept the premise it's a wonderful book.  It goes much further than reversing the skin colors, and has a lot to say about the cultures involved.  And fantastic characters and good storylines.  Highly Recommended.

I don't think it's that much of a stretch to suppose that the Caliphate could have taken an edge over the Europeans at some point during their struggles against each other.  Islam could have dominated the "Age of Enlightenment" just as easily as the Christian world did - if it was only a question of technology.  The Arabs are fond of reminding us that they invented the "zero", among other things. 

My impression is that the Europeans were better able to form "nations" than the Muslim cultures of the time, and were able to channel their energies into conquering/consolidating power instead of internecine conflicts that ultimately weakened them.


(If you care to do a search for "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson, it explores similar turf.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on April 13, 2008, 04:49:03 PM
The Arabs are fond of reminding us that they invented the "zero", among other things.

Alas, the Arabs did not invent the zero. Four cultures developed the idea of using a placeholder symbol to denote "no value" (the Greeks did; the Romans did not, for example). However, the realisation that zero was a number in its own right, and you could perform mathematical operations on it came about only once: In India in the 5th Century AD. Their decimal notation system, complete with zero made it to Persia, where they remain named "Hindu numerals". The association between Arabic numberals and Arabia is purely because they came to Europe most directly from Arabia.

On the other hand, Arabs did invent such things as algebra.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 14, 2008, 10:38:01 AM
"Time Enough For Love" by Robert Heinlein

2nd reading

I just gave that another read a few months ago.  I thought it held up very well.  You enjoying it?

Even more so than the first time, perhaps because now I'm more mentally-equipped to deal with Heinleinism.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 14, 2008, 05:45:45 PM
"Time Enough For Love" by Robert Heinlein

2nd reading

I just gave that another read a few months ago.  I thought it held up very well.  You enjoying it?

Even more so than the first time, perhaps because now I'm more mentally-equipped to deal with Heinleinism.

Heinleinism?  I'm curious about what you mean by that...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on April 14, 2008, 10:40:28 PM
Just Finished:  99 Coffins by David Wellington

Currently Reading:  1984 by George Orwell

Next Book:  Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher or
                Protector's War by SM Stirling


Hey, does anyone know of some good steampunk?  I just finished Mur Lafferty's Wasteland and now find I have a slight addiction to steampunk.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 15, 2008, 12:47:28 PM
Hey, does anyone know of some good steampunk?  I just finished Mur Lafferty's Wasteland and now find I have a slight addiction to steampunk.

Some people would argue that it's not exactly steampunk, but I'd highly recommend China Mieville's Perdido Street Station or The Scar.  (And FWIW, I know that Mur's a fan of Mieville.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 15, 2008, 12:48:09 PM
John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades and Jen Pelland's Unwelcome Bodies.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 15, 2008, 03:01:19 PM
"Time Enough For Love" by Robert Heinlein

2nd reading

I just gave that another read a few months ago.  I thought it held up very well.  You enjoying it?

Even more so than the first time, perhaps because now I'm more mentally-equipped to deal with Heinleinism.

Heinleinism?  I'm curious about what you mean by that...

Heinlein's outlook on politics, governments, family structures, and sex.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on April 15, 2008, 04:46:02 PM
Some people would argue that it's not exactly steampunk, but I'd highly recommend China Mieville's Perdido Street Station or The Scar.  (And FWIW, I know that Mur's a fan of Mieville.)

I'm looking for something to read, and Miéville has been a hot topic here in recent weeks, so I'm looking online at our library here at the university where I work and they only have one Miéville book: King Rat. Is it any good? There's also a large GRRM collection, including Song of Ice and Fire. Which one should I go for?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Roney on April 16, 2008, 04:29:47 PM
I'm looking for something to read, and Miéville has been a hot topic here in recent weeks, so I'm looking online at our library here at the university where I work and they only have one Miéville book: King Rat. Is it any good?

Yes.  It's quite different from his three later adult novels (leaving aside Un Lun Dun) which are set in a full-on fantasy world where everything is invented: King Rat is set in a very recognizable '90s London, and the fantasy element comes from... well, fairy tale characters given a Miéville urban fantasy twist.

The tone and the themes are familiarly Miéville, though, by which I mean gritty, relentless and downbeat.  It's not quite as grim as I've managed to make it sound, because there's usually some possibility of hope or small personal victories for some of the characters, but it tends not to be the outcome they were looking for.

I'd give King Rat a shot, but if you end up not liking it because it's insufficiently fantastic or too obsessed with drum 'n' bass, I wouldn't let it put you off trying Perdido Street Station or The Scar.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 16, 2008, 04:57:53 PM
What Roney said.  That one's in my TBR pile, but I know that it's a bit different from the other stuff (even Un Lun Dun).  And I'm pretty sure it's not steampunk. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 16, 2008, 10:16:05 PM

Heinleinism?  I'm curious about what you mean by that...


Heinlein's outlook on politics, governments, family structures, and sex.


IC. I always found the family structure stuff the most interesting.  Politics and governments, not so much.  He took a rather absolutist Libertarian view in later years (or at least, that's what comes across in the last few novels) and I've found that a bit of a turnoff as my own thinking on the subject evolved.  Though I often think about the family structures described in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on April 16, 2008, 11:35:19 PM
I'm looking for something to read, and Miéville has been a hot topic here in recent weeks, so I'm looking online at our library here at the university where I work and they only have one Miéville book: King Rat. Is it any good?

Yes.  It's quite different from his three later adult novels (leaving aside Un Lun Dun) which are set in a full-on fantasy world where everything is invented: King Rat is set in a very recognizable '90s London, and the fantasy element comes from... well, fairy tale characters given a Miéville urban fantasy twist.

The tone and the themes are familiarly Miéville, though, by which I mean gritty, relentless and downbeat.  It's not quite as grim as I've managed to make it sound, because there's usually some possibility of hope or small personal victories for some of the characters, but it tends not to be the outcome they were looking for.

I'd give King Rat a shot, but if you end up not liking it because it's insufficiently fantastic or too obsessed with drum 'n' bass, I wouldn't let it put you off trying Perdido Street Station or The Scar.

Cool, thanks! I'm gonna check it out, along with Song of Ice and Fire. I wished they had Perdido Street Station. It gets mentioned favorably a lot around here. Maybe my local library has it... The cool thing about the university library though, is that since I'm staff, I can check it out for up to a year.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on April 17, 2008, 06:55:27 AM

Heinleinism?  I'm curious about what you mean by that...


Heinlein's outlook on politics, governments, family structures, and sex.


IC. I always found the family structure stuff the most interesting.  Politics and governments, not so much.  He took a rather absolutist Libertarian view in later years (or at least, that's what comes across in the last few novels)
Very much so. He's often quoted as saying that "you can only truly own what you can carry in both arms at a dead run".

If you can make it through The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, that's an excellent primer on his social and sexual politics. I wrote about it here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/324307.html) and here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/325236.html), if you want more details.

I have honestly never hated a book so much.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 17, 2008, 07:16:17 AM

Heinleinism?  I'm curious about what you mean by that...


Heinlein's outlook on politics, governments, family structures, and sex.


IC. I always found the family structure stuff the most interesting.  Politics and governments, not so much.  He took a rather absolutist Libertarian view in later years (or at least, that's what comes across in the last few novels)
Very much so. He's often quoted as saying that "you can only truly own what you can carry in both arms at a dead run".

If you can make it through The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, that's an excellent primer on his social and sexual politics. I wrote about it here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/324307.html) and here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/325236.html), if you want more details.

I have honestly never hated a book so much.

Amusingly, not only did I just start my 3rd or 4th trip through "TCWWTW" last night, but I actually like it.  The ending is a little frustrating if you haven't read other Heinlein books (at my first reading I had not read "TMIAHM"), but I like Blert the cat.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on April 17, 2008, 08:00:52 AM
[Heinlein is] often quoted as saying that "you can only truly own what you can carry in both arms at a dead run".

I like (and have used as a signature) "You cannot enslave a free man; you can only kill him."


If you can make it through The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, that's an excellent primer on his social and sexual politics. I wrote about it here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/324307.html) and here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/325236.html), if you want more details.

I have honestly never hated a book so much.

My issue with Cat is that it's pointless, and then there's the rush of an "ending".  The really bad one is To Sail Beyond the Sunset.  Somebody in another forum said she was starting it, and I told her "Put it down now.  Your time is too valuable." 

She pressed on to the end, but at least I did what I could.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on April 17, 2008, 08:03:29 AM
\
Amusingly, not only did I just start my 3rd or 4th trip through "TCWWTW" last night, but I actually like it.  The ending is a little frustrating if you haven't read other Heinlein books (at my first reading I had not read "TMIAHM"), but I like Blert the cat.

It's Pixel.  Not Blert.  "Blert" is just what the cat says.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 17, 2008, 08:10:55 AM

Heinleinism?  I'm curious about what you mean by that...


Heinlein's outlook on politics, governments, family structures, and sex.


IC. I always found the family structure stuff the most interesting.  Politics and governments, not so much.  He took a rather absolutist Libertarian view in later years (or at least, that's what comes across in the last few novels)
Very much so. He's often quoted as saying that "you can only truly own what you can carry in both arms at a dead run".

If you can make it through The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, that's an excellent primer on his social and sexual politics. I wrote about it here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/324307.html) and here (http://wmute.livejournal.com/325236.html), if you want more details.

I have honestly never hated a book so much.

I don't know that I'd go that far -- there is The Number of the Beast to consider, even among Heinlein novels, though I have to admit to not finishing it.  And I'm not sure I'd say The Cat Who Walks Through Walls represents his best thinking on the subject, though maybe where he ended up.  I think you're maybe being a little hard on him in the female characters department, though I agree that Cat's female lead was definitely not one of his better characters.  

Do you know anything about To Sail Beyond Sunset?  The blurb has always made it sound like a pseudo-sequel to Cat, so I've stayed away.  I'm starting to think maybe he really should have just called it a career after Time Enough for Love, which was frequently described as "Heinlein's last major work" when it was released.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on April 17, 2008, 08:21:47 AM
I like Blert the cat.
The cat is the only character I didn't want to eccoriate with a rusty spoon. Much as I liked Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein did him a great disservice by allowing him to be associated with this pile of crap.

I'm a great believer in the old saw that even bad books are book and therefore sacred, but I strongly believe an exception should be made in this case.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on April 17, 2008, 08:30:11 AM
Do you know anything about To Sail Beyond Sunset?  The blurb has always made it sound like a pseudo-sequel to Cat, so I've stayed away.  I'm starting to think maybe he really should have just called it a career after Time Enough for Love, which was frequently described as "Heinlein's last major work" when it was released.

I have not read Sunset. I have no desire to, either. In fact, these days, I tend to be very wary about picking up a new Heinlein.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on April 17, 2008, 09:32:21 AM
I just started Greg Bear's Eon today.  I'm hoping it lives up to its reputation.  I know Greg Bear's well-regarded and all, but the two novels of his I've read (Moving Mars and Slant) both left me feeling "eh". That said, Eon's first fifty pages have been promising.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on April 17, 2008, 01:22:26 PM
I just started Greg Bear's Eon today.  I'm hoping it lives up to its reputation.  I know Greg Bear's well-regarded and all, but the two novels of his I've read (Moving Mars and Slant) both left me feeling "eh". That said, Eon's first fifty pages have been promising.

Good luck.  I'd like to hear what you think.  I thought Eon was just OK.  Eternity lost me, I didn't like it at all. Never even tried Legacy.  I did like Moving Mars, though, and I have Slant and Forge of God sitting on the bookshelf waiting for my attention.  So I will eventually give Bear another try.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on April 17, 2008, 01:47:11 PM
I'm a huge Heinlein fan.  But I very much agree that he should have stopped after Time Enough for Love (although Friday was halfway decent).  Number of the Beast was little more than literary masturbation.  It was annoying to read.  And Cat Who Walked Through Walls... well, I usually finish a book when I've started it.  In this case though, I ended up throwing as far as I could when I was halfway through.  And since I was reading it while lounging in a pool, and "as far as I could" didn't manage to be as far as dry land... well, I never finished it.

I have no desire to read To Sail Beyond the Sunset.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 17, 2008, 06:35:40 PM

I'm a huge Heinlein fan.  But I very much agree that he should have stopped after Time Enough for Love (although Friday was halfway decent).  Number of the Beast was little more than literary masturbation.  It was annoying to read.  And Cat Who Walked Through Walls... well, I usually finish a book when I've started it.  In this case though, I ended up throwing as far as I could when I was halfway through.  And since I was reading it while lounging in a pool, and "as far as I could" didn't manage to be as far as dry land... well, I never finished it.

I have no desire to read To Sail Beyond the Sunset.


Yeah, as I've said elsewhere, I'm a pretty big RAH fan myself, but those three do seem to be a mistake.  If Time Enough for Love really had been "The capstone of a great career" (a cover-review pullout I happen to remember) we'd have missed Friday and Job: A Comedy of Justice (I'm surprised at how often it gets ignored), but would have been spared The Number of the Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond Sunset (I include that last based on the opinions in this thread; I haven't read it myself).  A tough call, really...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on April 22, 2008, 06:58:21 AM
I just started Greg Bear's Eon today.  I'm hoping it lives up to its reputation.  I know Greg Bear's well-regarded and all, but the two novels of his I've read (Moving Mars and Slant) both left me feeling "eh". That said, Eon's first fifty pages have been promising.

Good luck.  I'd like to hear what you think.  I thought Eon was just OK.  Eternity lost me, I didn't like it at all. Never even tried Legacy.  I did like Moving Mars, though, and I have Slant and Forge of God sitting on the bookshelf waiting for my attention.  So I will eventually give Bear another try.

Finished Eon.  Thought it was decent but it didn't fill me with a sense of awe and wonder.  Posted additional thoughts over here (http://balancingfrogs.blogspot.com/2008/04/eon.html).  Maybe I just don't get Greg Bear.  Something about his writing seemed to defuse the story's inherent "gee-whiz" aspect.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 22, 2008, 11:45:30 AM

I'm a huge Heinlein fan.  But I very much agree that he should have stopped after Time Enough for Love (although Friday was halfway decent).  Number of the Beast was little more than literary masturbation.  It was annoying to read.  And Cat Who Walked Through Walls... well, I usually finish a book when I've started it.  In this case though, I ended up throwing as far as I could when I was halfway through.  And since I was reading it while lounging in a pool, and "as far as I could" didn't manage to be as far as dry land... well, I never finished it.

I have no desire to read To Sail Beyond the Sunset.


Yeah, as I've said elsewhere, I'm a pretty big RAH fan myself, but those three do seem to be a mistake.  If Time Enough for Love really had been "The capstone of a great career" (a cover-review pullout I happen to remember) we'd have missed Friday and Job: A Comedy of Justice (I'm surprised at how often it gets ignored), but would have been spared The Number of the Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond Sunset (I include that last based on the opinions in this thread; I haven't read it myself).  A tough call, really...


I really like Friday.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 24, 2008, 12:14:28 PM
Read Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants.  Fun, simple, little breezy read.  There wasn't a lot to it, but I enjoyed it.  (I'm not sure I've read one of Gaiman's books that I didn't like.)

So many books to choose from next...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on April 24, 2008, 02:18:21 PM
Read Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants.  Fun, simple, little breezy read.  There wasn't a lot to it, but I enjoyed it.  (I'm not sure I've read one of Gaiman's books that I didn't like.)

I really wish that were being released in the States...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 24, 2008, 03:22:07 PM
Read Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants.  Fun, simple, little breezy read.  There wasn't a lot to it, but I enjoyed it.  (I'm not sure I've read one of Gaiman's books that I didn't like.)

I really wish that were being released in the States...

I think it's coming out early next year in HC.  I live in the States and ordered it from amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Odd-Frost-Giants-World-Book/dp/0747595380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209068195&sr=8-1). It cost a little extra, but it was only a pound ($2) to start with, so it still wasn't too bad.  I think with shipping and everything it was under $15 (not really sure how much the HB will cost, but I imagine it'll be close to that).  Kind of expensive for a flimsy 100 page paperback, I guess, but I wanted to read it :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 24, 2008, 04:48:43 PM

I'm a huge Heinlein fan.  But I very much agree that he should have stopped after Time Enough for Love (although Friday was halfway decent).  Number of the Beast was little more than literary masturbation.  It was annoying to read.  And Cat Who Walked Through Walls... well, I usually finish a book when I've started it.  In this case though, I ended up throwing as far as I could when I was halfway through.  And since I was reading it while lounging in a pool, and "as far as I could" didn't manage to be as far as dry land... well, I never finished it.

I have no desire to read To Sail Beyond the Sunset.


Yeah, as I've said elsewhere, I'm a pretty big RAH fan myself, but those three do seem to be a mistake.  If Time Enough for Love really had been "The capstone of a great career" (a cover-review pullout I happen to remember) we'd have missed Friday and Job: A Comedy of Justice (I'm surprised at how often it gets ignored), but would have been spared The Number of the Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond Sunset (I include that last based on the opinions in this thread; I haven't read it myself).  A tough call, really...


I really like Friday.


Yeah, I like that one a great deal myself. As I've mentioned elsewhere, he seems to overcome at least some of the perceived problems with his female characters with her.   

Have you read Job? I'm curious what you thought of it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on April 24, 2008, 05:16:49 PM
It's been a while since I had a chance to post, mostly because I've been reading for school and it makes more sense to do an omnibus. In no particular order, what I've read the last few months, and far too short judgements on them.

Oedipus Rex — Creepy
King Lear — It's good to be the fool
Orestia — Interesting, Creepy.
Dream of the Rood — Boring.
Wife of Bath's tale & prologue, general prologue — Canterbury Tales — Lascivious.
Beloved — Scary. Very, Very, Scary. Good though. 
Huck Finn — Good.
The Great Gastby — Good.
The Awakening — Bleak, troubling.
The Namesake — Good, different.
The Epic of Gilgamesh — Interesting.
The Odyssey — I'm sorry, it's a good story but nothing puts me to sleep quicker than the Fagles translation, I don't know why.
The Laramie Project — Good, interesting, telling, sad.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — Good, different from the movie. Liked the movie a bit more, but I like character growth.
I Am America And So Can You — Relaxing, especially considering the above.
Laputa portion of Gulliver's Travels — No.


Short Fiction:
Cat 'n' Mouse — I didn't realize the New Yorker would actually run a sunday morning cartoon — Good.
Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge — Tricksy.
Half a Day — Decent, didn't love.
Roman Fever — Funny.
The Cask of Amontillado — Creepy.
Say Yes — Sad.
Various Tales from Ovid (Ted Hughes) — Good.
The Death of Ivan Illich — I liked it, but too long.
That Evening Sun — Good.

And I know I'm leaving some off this list, a lot from short fiction. I'll come back tomorrow to add everything else.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on April 24, 2008, 09:54:56 PM
I'm slowly finishing up Inversions (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/074341196X/escapepod-20) (Iain M. Banks), and it's more involving than I recall.  No big Culture spaceships, but high court intrigue and parallel story structure galore.  To say much more would give too much away. 

It's been a while since I had a chance to post, mostly because I've been reading for school and it makes more sense to do an omnibus. In no particular order, what I've read the last few months, and far too short judgements on them.

<snip>
And I know I'm leaving some off this list, a lot from short fiction. I'll come back tomorrow to add everything else.


"Beloved — Scary. Very, Very, Scary. Good though."
   -I saw the movie before I knew it was a book; it took so many hard turns, I don't remember anything except:
[spoilers]the "dashing the brains out" scene and the creepy dead girl seducing Danny Glover.[/spoilers]

"The Awakening — Bleak, troubling."
   -Concur; you certainly don't read that one to cheer up.

"I Am America And So Can You — Relaxing, especially considering the above."
   -Every inch of that book is a joke that some people just won't ever get.

Short Fiction:
"Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge — Tricksy."
   -NOW maybe you'll understand my story!  :)  Presence of Mind (http://happyphuntime.blogspot.com/2007/02/presence-of-mind.html)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 25, 2008, 10:37:11 AM
Read Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants.  Fun, simple, little breezy read.  There wasn't a lot to it, but I enjoyed it.  (I'm not sure I've read one of Gaiman's books that I didn't like.)

I really wish that were being released in the States...

I think it's coming out early next year in HC.  I live in the States and ordered it from amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Odd-Frost-Giants-World-Book/dp/0747595380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209068195&sr=8-1). It cost a little extra, but it was only a pound ($2) to start with, so it still wasn't too bad.  I think with shipping and everything it was under $15 (not really sure how much the HB will cost, but I imagine it'll be close to that).  Kind of expensive for a flimsy 100 page paperback, I guess, but I wanted to read it :)

Ah.  I am going to preorder the fourth Mil Millington book from there; I guess I'll round out my Super Saver Shipping with OatFG.  Thank you for the notification that it's now out.  I must have missed that on the blog.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 25, 2008, 10:40:00 AM

Quote from: Listener
I really like Friday.


Yeah, I like that one a great deal myself. As I've mentioned elsewhere, he seems to overcome at least some of the perceived problems with his female characters with her.   

Have you read Job? I'm curious what you thought of it.

I didn't get it at first, but I liked the idea of slipping from world to world a la the Many-Worlds idea explored in Cat.  I laughed a few times, and I enjoyed the idea of the book, but it wasn't one of his more memorable ones to me.

I liked the post-Rapture scenes in Heaven.  A dystopian view of the afterlife is always interesting to me; two of my favorite books are Waiting for the Galactic Bus and The Snake Oil Wars, both by Parke Godwin.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 25, 2008, 10:40:16 AM
Now reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked for the second time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Holden on April 25, 2008, 02:24:09 PM
The Iliad by Homer


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: somacow on April 25, 2008, 02:56:30 PM
Twilight
Duma Key

and some horrific yet necessary Financial Stuffs for Dummies book

I have always thought that my eyes (20/400, 20/300, astigmatic and deteriorating) were worsened by my constant reading as a kid. I wonder if it would have been better to experience just a fraction of those stories in audio, rather than using up my eyeballs.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/34/Time_Enough_at_Last.jpg)



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on April 25, 2008, 03:01:45 PM
Twilight
Duma Key

and some horrific yet necessary Financial Stuffs for Dummies book

I have always thought that my eyes (20/400, 20/300, astigmatic and deteriorating) were worsened by my constant reading as a kid. I wonder if it would have been better to experience just a fraction of those stories in audio, rather than using up my eyeballs.
Unless you're one of those guys from Friction (http://escapepod.org/2008/02/08/ep144-friction/), you're fine. Human vision does not work like that.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 25, 2008, 06:43:06 PM
Twilight
Duma Key

and some horrific yet necessary Financial Stuffs for Dummies book

I have always thought that my eyes (20/400, 20/300, astigmatic and deteriorating) were worsened by my constant reading as a kid. I wonder if it would have been better to experience just a fraction of those stories in audio, rather than using up my eyeballs.


I think Wintermute is right about that; eyes do not "wear out" from use...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on April 26, 2008, 05:14:40 PM
I'm reading, on recommendation by my English teacher, Nietzsche's The Antichrist...
so far ive disagreed with pretty much everything he has said, with a few small exceptions... :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 28, 2008, 07:46:31 AM
I "read" Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" yesterday while on the road to rural south Georgia (don't ask).  It was very good.  Gaiman really is great at reading his stories, which makes sense, because they're... you know... HIS.

The ending threw me a little in that... okay... is the narrator Watson or is the evil doctor that person?

Otherwise, great stuff.  The premise -- that Cthulhu-like god-creatures came out of a rift 700 years ago, turned the moon red, and have been ruling benevolently ever since -- was addressed beautifully.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on April 28, 2008, 07:53:45 AM
I "read" Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" yesterday while on the road to rural south Georgia (don't ask).  It was very good.  Gaiman really is great at reading his stories, which makes sense, because they're... you know... HIS.

The ending threw me a little in that... okay... is the narrator Watson or is the evil doctor that person?

I wondered the same thing.  Since no names are used, there are two candidates each who could be H and W.  (Is this really a spoiler though?  It's pretty obvious from the first page who we're supposed to think the character is even if one hasn't read Gaiman's introduction in Fragile Things.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: eytanz on April 28, 2008, 08:10:42 AM
The ending threw me a little in that... okay... is the narrator Watson or is the evil doctor that person?

Spoiler warning:

 The narrator is Colonel Sebastian Moran (from "The Adventure of the Empty House", where he was working for Moriarty). The (very subtle) twist in the end is that in this world, where evil is in charge, prof. Moriarty and his henchman are occupying the role of detectives, while Holmes and Watson are the criminal masterminds. This is indicated by the initials at the end of the story.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: CGFxColONeill on April 28, 2008, 06:31:06 PM
not sure if this is where it goes but I picked up a book by Larry Niven today called A world out of time and I was just wondering if anyone had heard of it?
thanks


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 28, 2008, 07:55:53 PM
not sure if this is where it goes but I picked up a book by Larry Niven today called A world out of time and I was just wondering if anyone had heard of it?
thanks

Yes, I read it, but it was a loonnnnggg time ago.  Why do you ask?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: CGFxColONeill on April 28, 2008, 08:43:16 PM
not sure if this is where it goes but I picked up a book by Larry Niven today called A world out of time and I was just wondering if anyone had heard of it?
thanks

Yes, I read it, but it was a loonnnnggg time ago.  Why do you ask?
I was in a used bookstore today and I asked the guy if he had any recommendations and he said that one was good so I decided to give it a try for $3.50 so I went ahead and picked it up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on April 29, 2008, 01:57:03 AM
not sure if this is where it goes but I picked up a book by Larry Niven today called A world out of time and I was just wondering if anyone had heard of it?
thanks

That was the first Niven I read as a kid.  I adored it, and still have fond memories of it.  I fear re-reading it though, since it might not live up to my time-tinted view of it.  I'll be curious to hear your impression.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on April 29, 2008, 07:26:21 AM
not sure if this is where it goes but I picked up a book by Larry Niven today called A world out of time and I was just wondering if anyone had heard of it?
thanks
I'm a fan of Niven in general, and this is a good one. As I understand it, there are two sequels (Smoke Ring and Integral Trees), but I never seem to be able to track them down. Anyway, it stands well on its own, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Ocicat: It lives up to re-reading, IMHO.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on April 29, 2008, 08:26:10 AM
not sure if this is where it goes but I picked up a book by Larry Niven today called A world out of time and I was just wondering if anyone had heard of it?
thanks

I don't know that I'd say it was Niven's best work -- nothing else really matches up to Ringworld in my mind -- but I remember it as being a good read, and a universe with a lot of quirky and interesting things to explore.

As I remember it, The Integral Trees isn't so much a sequel as another story with some common elements.   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on May 01, 2008, 08:32:24 PM
Currently reading a book I picked up in Ocean City last year (for $1.79); it's Women of Wonder (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0156000318/escapepod-20), a 1974 anthology of "science fiction stories by women about women" edited by Pamela Sargent.  (Amazon didn't seem to have any in stock, so that link is there just for the sake of showing you the cover art; this larger, later collection (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/039471041X/escapepod-20) has many of the same stories in it, as far as I can tell.)

Judith Merril: That Only a Mother
Katherine MacLean: Contagion
Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Wind People
Anne McCaffrey: The Ship Who Sang
Sonya Dorman: When I Was Miss Dow
Kit Reed: The Food Farm
Kate Wilhelm: Baby, You Were Great
Carol Emshwiller: Sex and/or Mr. Morrison
Ursula K. Le Guin: Vaster Than Empires and More Slow
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: False Dawn
Joanna Russ: Noboby's Home
Vonda N. McIntyre: Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand

You might recognize a few of these names; the first story was the only story by a female to appear in Robert Silverberg's Science Fiction Hall of Fame (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0380512017/escapepod-20) (with the half-way exception of C.L. Moore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._L._Moore), whose stories Vintage Season and Mimsy Were the Borogoves were co-written with her husband, Henry Kuttner - the first as "Lawrence O'Donnell", and the second as "Lewis Padgett").

After the discussion over in Podcastle about fantasy women (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=1519.0), I feel a bit of pressure to really dig these stories, but they are very dated, and tend to feel "overly feminist" (as in, the theme feels forced, and the situations contrived to make a point at the expense of logic and science), while simultaneously perpetuating the kinds of stereotypes that my modern tastes reject as misogynistic.  So far the only one I've really enjoyed is the Anne McCaffrey... but I've still got a ways to go.

Mod:Linkification completed


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on May 01, 2008, 08:45:56 PM

Vonda N. McIntyre: Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand

That one is freely available (http://www.vondanmcintyre.com/Fiction/index.html) on her website.  If it makes you feel better, I couldn't get through it.  After being 100 percent blown away by her story "Little Faces", I may have had unreasonable expectations.  I don't know.  I'd be interested in knowing what you thought of it when you're done and whether I should give "Of Mist, Grass, and Sand" a second try.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: qwints on May 02, 2008, 03:01:46 AM
I liked Ringworld, but I'm kinda pissed at Niven for his comments on illegal immigration. (He basically said the government should spread a rumor in Spanish that ER's killed people.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on May 02, 2008, 06:42:12 AM
I liked Ringworld, but I'm kinda pissed at Niven for his comments on illegal immigration. (He basically said the government should spread a rumor in Spanish that ER's killed people.)

Seriously? Link?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on May 02, 2008, 11:14:11 AM
I liked Ringworld, but I'm kinda pissed at Niven for his comments on illegal immigration. (He basically said the government should spread a rumor in Spanish that ER's killed people.)

Hadn't heard that.  Really sucks if it's true. 

However, if he was talking about the King-Drew hospital in LA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr.-Harbor_Hospital#The_Fall_of_King.2FDrew), it's not so much of a rumor.  (Not that any of it was really intentional, but still it was horrible.)

I started reading Holly Black's Valiant a couple days ago.  It's pretty good.  Very, very dark YA fantasy.  Actually, it's kind of making me redefine in my own mind what a YA fantasy could potentially contain, it's so dark.  But good. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: qwints on May 02, 2008, 01:23:26 PM
 I think I originally saw it on Boing Boing.

Quote
Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.

“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2008/March/SecurityBeat.htm#Science (http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2008/March/SecurityBeat.htm#Science)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on May 02, 2008, 01:37:49 PM
Well, that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on May 02, 2008, 10:32:48 PM
Well, here's a thought.... take the money we WERE going to spend on a stupid fence (honestly, the only thing a 12' fence will accomplish is to drive up sales of 13' ladders) and sink it into a chain of free clinics along the border, if that's the case.

Do the people who spout this kind of claptrap ever consider the number of illegal immigrants who speak Chinese, Serbo-Croatian, or Bog znaet bolshe?  Not to demonize those people, but just to point out that the problem is a lot broader than just pointing to our nearest convenient non-white neighbor and blaming them.  (You should hear the stuff the Mexicans say about the Guatemalans who sneak across their border, btw.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on May 03, 2008, 09:48:17 PM
I just finished Greg Egan's Quarantine.  I liked it.

Short review: At 248 pages, it's the longest SF short story I've ever read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on May 04, 2008, 09:42:58 AM
I read Egan's Diaspora. It didn't make me want to read more of his stuff. Too much... weird science is about the only way I can put it.

Is Quarantine better?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on May 04, 2008, 10:27:44 AM
Never read Diaspora, but Quarantine is full of what you might call "weird science".

It's incredibly plot driven and basically boils down to "Let's assume technology based on X and Y is possible, and see where that takes us!"  That's why I described it as a 248-page SF short story.  I still enjoyed it quite a bit.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 05, 2008, 10:41:06 AM
Rereading Laurell Hamilton's "The Harlequin" again in advance of "Blood Noir" coming out soon.

I worry that I only read her stuff out of habit now, but I really care about most of the characters (especially Jason) and I want to know what happens.  I can handle Hamilton's style for a few days out of every year or two for that alone.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on May 06, 2008, 11:32:47 PM
Just checked out Song of Ice and Fire trilogy from the library (it is only a trilogy, right? they only had three books; this is my first GRRM read) and Miéville's KingRat (that's the only Miéville book they had, and it'll be my first Miéville read). Hm... you know, I just remembered that I had bought Gaiman's Neverwhere like three weeks ago (I stuck it in my messenger bag and forgot about it!!)! Got it for half price from the local comic book store that just went out of business. Tragic. :(

<edit: had put in the wrong Gaiman title>


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: qwints on May 07, 2008, 02:07:47 AM
Kingrat like the WW2 p.o.w. camp movie?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: sirana on May 07, 2008, 02:56:58 AM
Just checked out Song of Ice and Fire trilogy from the library (it is only a trilogy, right? they only had three books; this is my first GRRM read)

Nah, it's not a trilogy. There are at the moment 7 books planned in the series, of which four (A Game of Throunes, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows) are already out. Afaik it was originally planned as a trilogy, but with every book GRRM wrote he added two to the planned final count ;-)



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Troo on May 07, 2008, 04:37:06 AM
I'm reading ICanHasCheezburger mostly. Witty, poignant, and deeply moving at times.

Seriously, apart from that... Mostly I'm reading the third Phantoms at the Phil (http://www.chazbrenchley.co.uk/short/phantoms.html) which Chaz Brenchley unscrupulously pushed into my hands at Alt.Fiction the other day. Damn him.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on May 07, 2008, 05:18:23 AM
I'm reading ICanHasCheezburger mostly. Witty, poignant, and deeply moving at times.

Seriously, apart from that... Mostly I'm reading the third Phantoms at the Phil (http://www.chazbrenchley.co.uk/short/phantoms.html) which Chaz Brenchley unscrupulously pushed into my hands at Alt.Fiction the other day. Damn him.

Whereas right now, I've got The Time Traveller's Wife, which is so good I think I hate it a little and Jumper on the go.  Both excellent, both very unusual.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on May 07, 2008, 10:21:14 AM
Kingrat like the WW2 p.o.w. camp movie?
Don't think so.... Not unless China Miéville wrote that one....not sure... haven't started it yet.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on May 07, 2008, 11:00:11 AM
Kingrat like the WW2 p.o.w. camp movie?
Don't think so.... Not unless China Miéville wrote that one....not sure... haven't started it yet.

I think it's more like Neverwhere than the Great Escape.

I put off reading that one for a while because I really love Neverwhere, but I do have it.  I really need to read it soon, because I love Mieville.  Anyway, let us know what you think!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on May 07, 2008, 11:02:04 AM
Kingrat like the WW2 p.o.w. camp movie?
Don't think so.... Not unless China Miéville wrote that one....not sure... haven't started it yet.

The WW2 book was James Clavall of Shogun fame.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on May 07, 2008, 12:01:34 PM
So, I'm currently consuming:
1759 by Frank McLynn (not science fiction) - dead tree
Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty - audiobook
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - eBook.

There are various circumstances where each of those are more convenient than the others, so it works out nicely.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on May 07, 2008, 03:20:24 PM
1759 by Frank McLynn (not science fiction) - dead tree

:chuckle: "dead tree" :D

My first mental image was of you standing in the middle of a field reading something inscribed on the bare-limbed, upright trunk of a dead tree.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on May 12, 2008, 01:24:24 AM
Now about 1/3 through At All Costs, David Weber's eleventh "Honor Harrington" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_Harrington) novel.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 12, 2008, 06:49:10 AM
"The Secret Books of Paradys I & II" by Tanith Lee

Just finished the first third of the first book (something about "crimson")... a very confusing vampire story with a twist that, when it was written in 1988, might have been shocking, but when I read it I was like... "did I miss some context clues?"

So I went back and skimmed.

I didn't.

Part 1.2, "something something Saffron", to begin tonight.  Maybe.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: cuddlebug on May 12, 2008, 07:13:26 AM
*prepares herself for being shouted at / shunned / refused the right to call herself a SF-Fantasy-Geek any longer*

... Terry Pratchett's The Color of Money ...

I know, I know, Pratchett is a MUST for any SF/Fantasy Fan, but I never got around to reading any of his stuff. I have a collector's nature and I was always/am still afraid I will feel the urge to buy and read ALL of  them. TCoM was sitting on my night stand for ages and I always put off reading it, fearing the Pratchett-hype would get to me or, even worse, I might not actually like it in the end...

...and I was right, maybe I am just too old, but it really isn't all that great. Don't get me wrong, it is funny and the world-building is AMAAAZING (I actually have the 'Almanak' and other Discworld-related stuff and always liked it, the art, etc..) but I am halfway through and the plot kind of escaped me, or maybe (there isn't really one to begin with, ... please don't hit me!!!)

Anyway, will finish it and then decide whether I will read more of his books or maybe I will start reading the Inkheart trilogy (by Cornelia Funke, in the German original, BTW, Tintenherz for the Germanophiles - not -phobes, mind you). I think the first film is coming out soon and I want to have read it before that. I completely fell in love with the language as I browsed through it (not sure if that comes across very well in the English translation.)

So, will keep you posted on my experiences with Mr. Pratchett and I do have all the best wishes for his mental health and otherwise.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 12, 2008, 10:10:56 AM
*prepares herself for being shouted at / shunned / refused the right to call herself a SF-Fantasy-Geek any longer*

... Terry Pratchett's The Color of Money ...


Well, I won't shout at you for not having read it, but perhaps you mean "The Color of Magic"?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: cuddlebug on May 12, 2008, 10:36:23 AM
*prepares herself for being shouted at / shunned / refused the right to call herself a SF-Fantasy-Geek any longer*

... Terry Pratchett's The Color of Money ...


Well, I won't shout at you for not having read it, but perhaps you mean "The Color of Magic"?

Oh no, maybe that's why it's crap, I picked up the wrong book, that would explain it ...  ::)

Thanks Listener, you just gave my ab-muscles a good workout, I haven't laughed this hard in quite some time. (Guess that means I can no longer call myself a geek then, damn...)



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on May 12, 2008, 12:11:06 PM
*prepares herself for being shouted at / shunned / refused the right to call herself a SF-Fantasy-Geek any longer*

... Terry Pratchett's The Color of Money ...

I know, I know, Pratchett is a MUST for any SF/Fantasy Fan, but I never got around to reading any of his stuff. I have a collector's nature and I was always/am still afraid I will feel the urge to buy and read ALL of  them. TCoM was sitting on my night stand for ages and I always put off reading it, fearing the Pratchett-hype would get to me or, even worse, I might not actually like it in the end...

...and I was right, maybe I am just too old, but it really isn't all that great. Don't get me wrong, it is funny and the world-building is AMAAAZING (I actually have the 'Almanak' and other Discworld-related stuff and always liked it, the art, etc..) but I am halfway through and the plot kind of escaped me, or maybe (there isn't really one to begin with, ... please don't hit me!!!)

Anyway, will finish it and then decide whether I will read more of his books or maybe I will start reading the Inkheart trilogy (by Cornelia Funke, in the German original, BTW, Tintenherz for the Germanophiles - not -phobes, mind you). I think the first film is coming out soon and I want to have read it before that. I completely fell in love with the language as I browsed through it (not sure if that comes across very well in the English translation.)

So, will keep you posted on my experiences with Mr. Pratchett and I do have all the best wishes for his mental health and otherwise.
Don't worry—you're not alone: I've never read any Pratchett, either. I think I picked up a Discworld book a looong time ago while browsing in a bookstore somewhere. I remember loving the look of it, but, for some unknown reason, I felt like the writing itself was going to feel like Brian Jacques and his Redwall series (I read the first one, Redwall, with high hopes... <sigh> While the elements were there... well, good concept poorly executed, imobymmv). I may have to actually give Pratchett a shot one of these days.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on May 12, 2008, 12:15:48 PM
*prepares herself for being shouted at / shunned / refused the right to call herself a SF-Fantasy-Geek any longer*

... Terry Pratchett's The Color of Money ...


Well, I won't shout at you for not having read it, but perhaps you mean "The Color of Magic"?

Oh no, maybe that's why it's crap, I picked up the wrong book, that would explain it ...  ::)

Thanks Listener, you just gave my ab-muscles a good workout, I haven't laughed this hard in quite some time. (Guess that means I can no longer call myself a geek then, damn...)

IIRC, it was his first novel, and he's stated in recent years he doesn't like reading it/owning up to it in recent years due to embarrassment at having written it.

Which is fairly common with any creator looking at their early work.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on May 12, 2008, 12:16:53 PM
So we shouldn't judge the rest of the series by the first book?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: eytanz on May 12, 2008, 12:31:20 PM
Well, in the case of Pratchett, it's probably a good idea not to judge the series by the first few books. His writing style shifted a lot through the years. If you read the books in order then it's pretty seamless - it's a gradual change, not a sharp one - but if you pick up one of the older ones and compare it directly to a recent one, there's a big gap in style, subject matter, and the nature of the humor. It's just a result of how many of them there are.

If you don't like The Color of Magic it's a good bet you won't like The Light Fantastic (book 2), but I don't think it's a good predictor of whether you'll like Reaper Man, or The Last Continent, or Making Money.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on May 12, 2008, 12:43:16 PM
First time I came across Pratchett was a last minute 10-hour-trip-no-book-airport-B&N-60-seconds-of-free-time kind of decision (incidentally, same way I came across the Belgariad), so my first book was Guards! Guards!, and I progressed in terms of the plot lines (all the Guards, all the Wizards, all the Death) rather than the order of writing. I still haven't gotten to the Witches, but hopefully I'll get into those over the summer.

It's probably better to start at the beginning of a plotline rather than jumping in half-way(I got lucky grabbing Guards! instead of Jingo or Feet of Clay), but I don't think it would be that much of a difference.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: cuddlebug on May 12, 2008, 02:59:23 PM
First time I came across Pratchett was a last minute 10-hour-trip-no-book-airport-B&N-60-seconds-of-free-time kind of decision (incidentally, same way I came across the Belgariad), so my first book was Guards! Guards!, and I progressed in terms of the plot lines (all the Guards, all the Wizards, all the Death) rather than the order of writing. I still haven't gotten to the Witches, but hopefully I'll get into those over the summer.

It's probably better to start at the beginning of a plotline rather than jumping in half-way(I got lucky grabbing Guards! instead of Jingo or Feet of Clay), but I don't think it would be that much of a difference.

Wow, Mr Pratchett's work seems to hit a nerve with quite a few people. Thanks for the comments/advice, I promise I will work hard on my geek-ness and not give up on Discworld just yet. I see it as a right of passage that earns me a place in the community, so to speak.

BTW, eytanz kindly pointed me towards the Discworld reading order guide  (http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-1-5.jpg) by Krzysztof K. Kietzman on www.lspace.org, Birdless if you are interested, or anyone else for that matter.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on May 12, 2008, 03:03:21 PM
"The Secret Books of Paradys I & II" by Tanith Lee

Any good?  I have those from a library sale but haven't started them yet.  The only Lee I've read was Electric Forest which I did like.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on May 12, 2008, 07:44:15 PM
Ha.  As I mentioned on another thread (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=1224.msg26446#msg26446) I just recently finished my first Pratchett - Jingo.  From what I've been able to gather Jingo's an utterly unremarkable book from the very middle of the Discworld series, so in that respect I guess it was a decent introduction to the Discworld universe.  And I had Wikipedia to fill me in on gaps in my knowledge.

If I'd had access to a large and well-stocked lending library, I would happily have started with The Color of Magic and read my way through the books chronologically...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on May 12, 2008, 11:52:19 PM

OK, I'll take this opportunity to own up to not even having heard of Terry Pratchett until I started frequenting these forums. 

There's a long gap in my exposure to the genre between my high school, college and young adult years -- which were very SF/Fantasy intensive -- until just a few years ago, when I started adding more SF and fantasy to my reading mix again. (There's a period of several years in there when my daughter was very young and I read almost nothing that didn't rhyme or have pictures.)  My guess is that Mr. Pratchett became part of the scene during that period. 

The reading queue is rather deep at the moment, but I'll give the Discworld series a look when it thins out a bit. How can this many forumites be wrong???


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on May 13, 2008, 12:00:37 AM
Actually, my recollection was incomplete. The reason I choose Terry Pratchett in the airport bookstore was because I'd been given Maurice and his Educated Rodents in middle school to read from the library, so the name seemed familiar though it took me like a month to place it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on May 13, 2008, 12:12:10 AM

The Iliad by Homer


Out of curiousity, what do you think of it? 

One of serveral things that jumped out at me was the raw ferocity of a warrior culture. Like when Agamemnon is rallying the boys for one more run at the walls of Troy and shouts, "Let us vow not to leave the field until each of us has lain with the wife of some Trojan!"  I thought: "Yowza. And these are the Good Guys..."


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on May 13, 2008, 08:34:43 AM
I'm reading ICanHasCheezburger mostly. Witty, poignant, and deeply moving at times.

Seriously, apart from that... Mostly I'm reading the third Phantoms at the Phil (http://www.chazbrenchley.co.uk/short/phantoms.html) which Chaz Brenchley unscrupulously pushed into my hands at Alt.Fiction the other day. Damn him.

Whereas right now, I've got The Time Traveller's Wife, which is so good I think I hate it a little and Jumper on the go.  Both excellent, both very unusual.

Same here with Time Traveller's Wife.  I'm about 50 pages in and enjoying it.  Question: can Henry control the jumps?   I can't figure out how he can go back to precise times to meet himself as a child.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: qwints on May 13, 2008, 12:40:33 PM
From what I remember, he has absolutely no control over the jumps.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on May 16, 2008, 11:16:43 PM
Currently reading a book I picked up in Ocean City last year (for $1.79); it's Women of Wonder (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0156000318/escapepod-20), a 1974 anthology of "science fiction stories by women about women" edited by Pamela Sargent....

Okay... if you notice things like timestamps, you'll see how long it took me to slog through this collection.  I will say it was worth every penny I paid for it, but that's because a) it was purchased with $9-worth of other books and a $10.00 off coupon, and b) my dad actually paid (Maryland taxes - tell me again why it's called the 'Free State'?).  But, I persevered because you all deserve fair warning, and ... I really didn't have time for much reading.  Plenty of time for the iPod and super-quiet no-gas push mower, though.

Anyway... my grouchy, grumpy, partially inebriated review:

Judith Merril: That Only a Mother - 1948:  This is a classic, and I understand that (and why)... but holy cow, what a morass of dated attitudes and mannerisms.  It has an underlying creepiness and horror that stems from the atomic bombing of Japan being so fresh in everyone's mind, and the correspondence format of most of the story reads like my grandfather's wartime documents.  Good for authenticity, but in a way it is like reading alternate history... or rather like a history that just didn't happen that way.

Katherine MacLean: Contagion - 1950: As far as dated gender roles are concerned, this one really takes the cake.  Humans colonize the galaxy, and every ship and colony is populated with straight, W.A.S.P. married couples.  The story itself wasn't that bad... and I guess they did let the women save the day... but it took an obvious twist ending, tried to wring extra drama out of the crew's reaction to their fate, and sort of neutered itself by implying that all of the work and worry the crew went through solving their mystery was moot from the start.    Meh.

Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Wind People - 1958:  I figured the eight year jump and the big name author would equal a good story.  I figured wrong.  The prose was overwrought and melodramatic; the scenario was a stretch even by the standards of internal logic, giving us a weird combination of self-inflicted misogyny and uncomfortable assumptions (by the time they get explained, it's hard to care any more); and the ending left me wondering what all the fuss and bother had been about.  You don't get to see the aliens, and all of the conflict is basically internal to one character (though it projects on everyone and everything else), and I *think* everyone dies at the end - well, the humans, anyway - so there's no net "there" there.  It's not that she doesn't tell the story, it's just that by the time you wrestle it out of all of the angsty poetry of the text, it feels like something of a betrayal that you had to work so hard.

Anne McCaffrey: The Ship Who Sang - 1961:  This was easily my favorite story of the bunch; not saying much, I know, but it's a really cool idea, and I love the description of Helva and of the world she lives in.  It felt a bit crushed into the short story format, and I'd rather not go into the uncomfortable comparisons with the set-up "brawny guy" being utterly taken care of in every way by the "brainy woman who can do everything"... mostly because in real life, I'm not that brawny, but my wife actually seems able to do everything Helva does except achieve spaceflight.  ;)

Sonya Dorman: When I Was Miss Dow - 1966: This one was interesting, but felt under-developed.  The sexual politics were a little more interesting, if only because we were provided with the POV of a shape-shifter, whose species was necessarily genderless.  It would have been a better exploration if it hadn't spent so much time luxuriating in the fact that the main character was in the form of a hot babe, and banging her nerdy old boss.  Hooray for him; hooray for the over-stimulated shape-shifting alien; poor us.

Kit Reed: The Food Farm - 1966: I consider myself to be a somewhat bright individual, but this one left me scratching my head.  Obviously, the theme is body image, and ... well, a guy who REALLY digs fat chicks.  Sorry.  There was no way to look at this one that didn't boil down to that.  The whole tale revolves around an obese woman whose family forces her into a weight loss center.  She resists their choice of body style in vain, only to learn that her heart's desire, a crooner (I pictured Tom Jones) with an obsession for Big Women, thinks she's too thin.  So she and another inmate take over and turn the "fat farm" into a weight GAIN center in order to provide Tommy with fat women.  It was pretty gross.

Kate Wilhelm: Baby, You Were Great - 1967:  Alright, this was a little better; it explored the predatory nature of exploitive entertainment and emotional telepathy.  The theme is certainly still relevant today, even if the caricature of the evil producer is a bit simplistic and the idea of empathy has been done to death since the Year of Flower Power.  And as you might guess from the title, the attempts to capture hip, rat-pack slang will have you checking your wardrobe for polyester.

Carol Emshwiller: Sex and/or Mr. Morrison - 1967:  Gah!  More fat fetish squick fic.  Blech! 

Ursula K. Le Guin: Vaster Than Empires and More Slow - 1971:  A story from her Hainish universe; I think I had actually seen this one before.  I'm not terribly familiar with all of her work, but I have read much more interesting stories by her in other collections, and this wasn't nearly as elegant or well-constructed as her other stuff.  I won't blame the characters for being unlikeable, since that was clearly explained in the beginning (the crew was selected for mental instability); I just wish the denouement hadn't felt so tacked on in a burst of time-dilated exposition.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: False Dawn - 1972: As post-apocalyptic dystopian adventures go, this one felt extremely thin and fragmentary to me.  You don't get to see the beginning... you never really do, do you? ... and it ends in an unlikely place after an unnecessary event.  I suppose the intervening 36 years have explored this thematic territory more completely, so I'll have to imagine that the setting and the near-rape would have been somewhat revolutionary when originally published.

Joanna Russ: Noboby's Home - 1972: This one was a set piece about non-traditional family units and instantaneous teleportation.  I guess it fits with the time-frame... the free love era and all.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much story to tell, and it was still hard to keep track of what was supposed to be going on.

Vonda N. McIntyre: Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand - 1973:  Except for the ending, which I either didn't get or didn't connect with, I thought this was pretty good.  It was an interesting world, and I would have like to find out more about it.  The magic was nothing new, but I liked the way it unfolded.

At the beginning of the collection, there is a lxiv page dissertation by the editor on Women in Science Fiction.  If you want to read it, I'll gladly swap this book for one that you didn't enjoy.  See, I bought it out of a sense of that man-guilt; I have that Robert Silverburg collection on our shelves, and I wanted to make some kind of amends for enjoying those stories so thoroughly, even though they severely lack any pretense to include female authors.   But if you want to prove something about the quality of feminine or feminist fiction, "Women of Wonder" is NOT the case you want to build.

Meanwhile, I have just checked out Elizabeth Bear's Whiskey and Water on the strength of my affection for Tideline.  And, hey, I think she might be a woman!  ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on May 17, 2008, 09:09:20 AM
Meanwhile, I have just checked out Elizabeth Bear's Whiskey and Water on the strength of my affection for Tideline.  And, hey, I think she might be a woman!  ;)

Why'd you pick Whiskey and Water?  At a guess, you'd have liked the Jenny chronicles or Carnival better.  Don't you prefer SF to fantasy?  I like almost everything Bear writes and the faerie stuff is my least favorite.  Too much talking about what people are wearing.  It's like a damn fashion show.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on May 17, 2008, 11:52:27 PM
Meanwhile, I have just checked out Elizabeth Bear's Whiskey and Water on the strength of my affection for Tideline.  And, hey, I think she might be a woman!  ;)

Why'd you pick Whiskey and Water?  At a guess, you'd have liked the Jenny chronicles or Carnival better.  Don't you prefer SF to fantasy?  I like almost everything Bear writes and the faerie stuff is my least favorite.  Too much talking about what people are wearing.  It's like a damn fashion show.

Short answer: it was what the library had that day.  They have all the Warhammer/Trek/Sith crap you could ever possible belch out of your Novel-o-Bot 2000 automated novel writer, but slim pickin's on actual books.  :P   (Apologies to any who enjoy wallowing in that stuff...)

I like the set up with the different Devil's battling in the first chapter... and there seems to be a lot of backstory I'm missing; either she forshadows a great deal, or I'm in the middle of a series...?  Ah... thanks, Amazon - it is.  (I need to research my impulsive library shopping a little better.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on May 18, 2008, 10:07:35 AM
Meanwhile, I have just checked out Elizabeth Bear's Whiskey and Water on the strength of my affection for Tideline.  And, hey, I think she might be a woman!  ;)

Why'd you pick Whiskey and Water?  At a guess, you'd have liked the Jenny chronicles or Carnival better.  Don't you prefer SF to fantasy?  I like almost everything Bear writes and the faerie stuff is my least favorite.  Too much talking about what people are wearing.  It's like a damn fashion show.

Short answer: it was what the library had that day.  They have all the Warhammer/Trek/Sith crap you could ever possible belch out of your Novel-o-Bot 2000 automated novel writer, but slim pickin's on actual books.  :P   (Apologies to any who enjoy wallowing in that stuff...)

I like the set up with the different Devil's battling in the first chapter... and there seems to be a lot of backstory I'm missing; either she forshadows a great deal, or I'm in the middle of a series...?  Ah... thanks, Amazon - it is.  (I need to research my impulsive library shopping a little better.)

Yah, Blood & Iron is first of that series, but I liked Whiskey & Water better than Blood & Iron for the most part, minus the addition of angsty teenagers which I thought was mostly a loss.   And yes, agreed, the different hells is one of the best things about the series, and one of the most interesting to me.  Still, if you come out of there unconvinced, I promise Bear doesn't always write about what everyone's wearing, and do give Carnival or the Jenny books (Hammered is the first one) a try.  My personal favorite is the New Amsterdam stories, but I cannot unconditionally recommend that because it hits my squids so so hard, and that often skews my objectivity.   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: zZzacha on May 20, 2008, 04:26:30 AM
I'm not reading anything at the moment. I am listening though! Ever since I discovered audiobooks last year, I'm hooked. Downloaded as many books and stories as I can find and now I'm just listening. I love to listen when a writer tells me his/her story in his/her own voice, because you get the story exactly the way the writer meant them to be. Better than a movie, because I still get to make my own mental pictures when I 'read' the story and it's way longer than a movie.

The stories I'm listening to right now:
Singularity by Bill De Smedt
A Man and his Unicorn by Anthony Matthews
EscapePod all episodes!

I have just ordered a copy of The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem, after I heard Steve talking about it on EscapePod, so I may be reading again soon!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on May 20, 2008, 12:50:05 PM
I'm about 150 pages into Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (http://www.amazon.com/Little-Brother-Cory-Doctorow/dp/0765319853/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211233330&sr=1-1), which I'm really enjoying.  I'm also reading short story collections by Jennifer Pelland (http://www.amazon.com/Unwelcome-Bodies-Jennifer-Pelland/dp/0978867688/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211305535&sr=1-1) and Matt Wallace (http://www.amazon.com/Next-Fix-Matt-Wallace/dp/0981639011/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211305599&sr=1-1). 

Finally, I just listened to Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald on the way to work yesterday.  Holy CRAP, that was amazing.  The really bizarre thing is I'd read that story before when it came out in Fragile Things (http://www.amazon.com/Fragile-Things-Short-Fictions-Wonders/dp/0061252026/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211305685&sr=1-1), but I just don't remember a lot of the cool stuff I got out of listening to it.  Before I thought it was a good little story.  Now, it's really blowing my mind.  The Sherlock Holmes tie-in, the old ones and the world-building Gaiman used, flipping the characters in the story the way he did.  That was really something special. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on May 21, 2008, 03:30:47 AM
Haen't been reading as much lately.  In my continuing Discworld quest I have finished Maskerade, Feet of Clay, Hogfather, and Jingo.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on May 21, 2008, 10:34:39 PM
Has anyone read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee? I've got it, and it currently resides on my TBR list (though at a very low priority). It's quite a chunk o' book, so it's difficult to find the motivation to move it up the chain. I'm curious if anyone else here has read it and what their thoughts on it are.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on May 21, 2008, 10:45:29 PM
Has anyone read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee? I've got it, and it currently resides on my TBR list (though at a very low priority). It's quite a chunk o' book, so it's difficult to find the motivation to move it up the chain. I'm curious if anyone else here has read it and what their thoughts on it are.

I read it and loved it, but it's been a while.  It's pretty harsh in places, as I recall, and it's definitely not what I would qualify as light summer reading.  I wouldn't naturally assume there was a lot of overlap between the SF crowd and the non-dominant culture history crowd, but everyone here has interests outside of SF, so failed revolutions might be yours. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on May 21, 2008, 11:03:35 PM
I read it and loved it, but it's been a while.  It's pretty harsh in places, as I recall, and it's definitely not what I would qualify as light summer reading.
Ah cool, Ana! Thanks for the recommendation. I'm gonna have to move it up a few slots since I've reshuffled it to the bottom so many times.

Quote
I wouldn't naturally assume there was a lot of overlap between the SF crowd and the non-dominant culture history crowd, but everyone here has interests outside of SF, so failed revolutions might be yours. 
Lol! Yeah, I almost started a separate thread, but wasn't sure it was really threadworthy, so I posted it here. This seems to be an extremely well-read group as a whole, but I wasn't expecting a direct response so soon! Thanks again!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on May 22, 2008, 09:50:18 PM
I read it and loved it, but it's been a while.  It's pretty harsh in places, as I recall, and it's definitely not what I would qualify as light summer reading.
Ah cool, Ana! Thanks for the recommendation. I'm gonna have to move it up a few slots since I've reshuffled it to the bottom so many times.

Quote
I wouldn't naturally assume there was a lot of overlap between the SF crowd and the non-dominant culture history crowd, but everyone here has interests outside of SF, so failed revolutions might be yours. 
Lol! Yeah, I almost started a separate thread, but wasn't sure it was really threadworthy, so I posted it here. This seems to be an extremely well-read group as a whole, but I wasn't expecting a direct response so soon! Thanks again!

I don't know if this makes me well-read, but I know it's a pretty kick-ass Indigo Girls cover of a Buffy Saint-Marie song: live (on their 1200 Curfews double-album) (http://www.last.fm/music/Indigo+Girls/_/Bury+My+Heart+Wounded+Knee) and the studio version (http://www.last.fm/music/Indigo+Girls/_/Bury+My+Heart+at+Wounded+Knee+%28Studio+version%29).  :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on May 31, 2008, 11:02:17 AM
Just finished Wrinkle in Time. Fun read, rather anti-industrialization, and a bit preachy. I know it's one of the great classics, and was written in the '60s but it really didn't move me. I suppose that's because it's from the grand-father of SF generation and I've had the benefit of seeing some of the newer, flashier stuff. ('Damn whipper-snapper!')

Before that were:
Omnivore's Dilemma. A very enlightening book with some interesting ideas, but I don't totally agree with some of the conclusions he draws and I think his presentation of a (very) few facts are skewed. Nothing that would overrule the value of the book, and a good read for anyone who eats food, but it is a book with political intentions.

Childhood's End. Great book. Really enjoyed the premise and style, and I was moved by just how oppressively 'alone' the character was at the end of the book. I felt some strongly paralleled concepts between Wrinkle in Time (which came 10 years later) and this.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on May 31, 2008, 11:18:40 AM
Omnivore's Dilemma. A very enlightening book with some interesting ideas, but I don't totally agree with some of the conclusions he draws and I think his presentation of a (very) few facts are skewed. Nothing that would overrule the value of the book, and a good read for anyone who eats food, but it is a book with political intentions.

I'm not going to comment on the book's factual accuracy, largely due to my complete ignorance of all things agricultural.  But I'd like to say that Michael Pollan's writing is about as fine as contemporary nonfiction writing gets.  He was able to keep me reading in bed before turning out the light, and usually only novels are capable of doing that.

It did me feel a bit uncultured for thinking that all mushrooms basically tasted the same, though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: CGFxColONeill on May 31, 2008, 07:49:44 PM
not sure if this is where it goes but I picked up a book by Larry Niven today called A world out of time and I was just wondering if anyone had heard of it?
thanks

That was the first Niven I read as a kid.  I adored it, and still have fond memories of it.  I fear re-reading it though, since it might not live up to my time-tinted view of it.  I'll be curious to hear your impression.

I was kind meh about the story it was not terrible but just was not amazing either IMO


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 12, 2008, 04:22:06 PM
"The Secret Books of Paradys I & II" by Tanith Lee

Any good?  I have those from a library sale but haven't started them yet.  The only Lee I've read was Electric Forest which I did like.

Meh.  Vivid world but I've moved on from that style.  I'm mature enough now to understand the themes... but the endings of each story didn't really captivate me.  But if you like turn-of-the-century Parisian-style fantasy, you'll like it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 12, 2008, 04:23:15 PM
"The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  1300 pages.

Was less impressed with the Reichenbach Falls story ("The Final Solution") than I thought I would be.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on June 12, 2008, 07:07:26 PM
Co-worker yesterday foisted a couple of "Christian SF" novels on me: The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension and its sequel (dont' remember the title as I left it at the office), by Terry James.

I'm not optimistic since the cover blurb indicates that Tim LaHaye (author of the "Left Behind" series) has a high opinion of it. And the last "Christian SF" I read was the duo This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti.  It sucked.


[edit]
Just went to Amazon to look it up; the other book is The Nephilim Imperatives: Dark Sentences (The Second Coming Chronicles).  Even though the first book doesn't say "The Second Coming Chronicles" anywhere on the front or back covers.  Whatever.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Chodon on June 12, 2008, 07:21:44 PM
Co-worker yesterday foisted a couple of "Christian SF" novels on me: The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension and its sequel (dont' remember the title as I left it at the office), by Terry James.

I'm not optimistic since the cover blurb indicates that Tim LaHaye (author of the "Left Behind" series) has a high opinion of it. And the last "Christian SF" I read was the duo This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti.  It sucked.


[edit]
Just went to Amazon to look it up; the other book is The Nephilim Imperatives: Dark Sentences (The Second Coming Chronicles).  Even though the first book doesn't say "The Second Coming Chronicles" anywhere on the front or back covers.  Whatever.
"It sucked" is painting a story with a pretty broad stroke.  What sucked about it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on June 12, 2008, 08:01:54 PM
... the last "Christian SF" I read was the duo This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti.  It sucked.
"It sucked" is painting a story with a pretty broad stroke.  What sucked about it?

Too long ago to remember.  It must have been twenty years ago that I read Peretti's books.   Most of what I remember is battle between angels and demons, and the demons were invading and possessing humans under the guise of "New Age" "spirit guides", and of course there was the one Christian character who saw through it all and was trying desperately to get everybody else to understand that the "New Age" movement was a Satanic plot to damn all of humanity.  Overall, a pretty uninspired plot.

[edit]
To clarify, as I remember it the angels and demons walked among us here on Earth, invisible to all but each other.  The demons were working on corrupting the humans, and the angels were hunting out the demons.
[/edit]

This newest book (by Terry James) has Roswell-style alien silhouettes on the cover, and from the back cover copy appears to deal with UFO sightings and such.  I suppose the "aliens" are really demons in disguise.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on June 13, 2008, 10:40:24 AM
Co-worker yesterday foisted a couple of "Christian SF" novels on me: The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension and its sequel (dont' remember the title as I left it at the office), by Terry James.

I'm not optimistic since the cover blurb indicates that Tim LaHaye (author of the "Left Behind" series) has a high opinion of it. And the last "Christian SF" I read was the duo This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti.  It sucked.


[edit]
Just went to Amazon to look it up; the other book is The Nephilim Imperatives: Dark Sentences (The Second Coming Chronicles).  Even though the first book doesn't say "The Second Coming Chronicles" anywhere on the front or back covers.  Whatever.
"It sucked" is painting a story with a pretty broad stroke.  What sucked about it?

It's also been a long time since I read it (probably around the same time stePH did), but I remember the characters were not very compelling and the writing style was...dull.  The angel vs. demon battle at the end (what I remember of it) was kind of cool but it took a loooooooooooong time to get there.  Looking back at it now, as a Christian, I'm also annoyed by some of the "spiritual warfare" concepts.  Like when the police chief doesn't agree with you, it's not because he's trying to uphold the law, or because he's misguidedly trying to do the right thing, it's because there's a demon on his shoulder whispering to him what he should be saying. 

Almost 10 years ago, I read another Peretti book called "The Oath," which was his attempt at horror (I think).  The concept was that people who lived in this particular area, who were sinful, were marked with black splotches on their chest, then attacked by some kind of demonic dragon.  There were two main characters in the story, a man looking for the thing that had killed his brother and a police woman.  SPOILERS, if you want to keep reading.  After the man lusted after the woman, and she made it clear she was willing, the woman soon was marked and destroyed by evil.  The man, after defeating the demon dragon, realizes he should really get back together with his ex-wife, and goes home.  That seriously annoyed me.  Another, more annoying point that perhaps annoyed me more was the introduction of a character named "Jules Cryor."  I thought, oh, we're going to get a Christ figure (or an anti-Christ figure).  That should be interesting.  Nope, he died a couple pages later, and he acted like a whiny bastard.  You'd think a guy like Peretti writing "Christian" fiction would know that introducing a character with the initials JC should be significant.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on June 13, 2008, 11:02:14 AM
After the man lusted after the woman, and she made it clear she was willing, the woman soon was marked and destroyed by evil.  The man, after defeating the demon dragon, realizes he should really get back together with his ex-wife, and goes home.
Do I smell a double standard?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on June 13, 2008, 11:35:00 AM
After the man lusted after the woman, and she made it clear she was willing, the woman soon was marked and destroyed by evil.  The man, after defeating the demon dragon, realizes he should really get back together with his ex-wife, and goes home.
Do I smell a double standard?

I can't remember if the dude got marked, too.  He may have and then repented (or something).  But he certainly survived and realized he never should've divorced his wife.  Too bad the sinful woman didn't get a chance to repent. 

Peretti kind of set the stage for the Left, Behind books IMO, although until The Oath I never found his quite as offensive (that could be the years, though).  But I remember my dad being a bit annoyed when people at church would talk about the books from the pulpit, as if the words inside were written in red.  I also remember people jokingly refer to them as I Peretti and II Peretti.  (I don't blame any of that latter bit on Peretti.  I've heard he's a nice guy -- I just don't like his fiction.  It's not his fault people thought his fiction was so...inspired.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Swamp on June 13, 2008, 11:55:28 AM
Co-worker yesterday foisted a couple of "Christian SF" novels on me: The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension and its sequel (dont' remember the title as I left it at the office), by Terry James.

I'm not optimistic since the cover blurb indicates that Tim LaHaye (author of the "Left Behind" series) has a high opinion of it. And the last "Christian SF" I read was the duo This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti.  It sucked.


[edit]
Just went to Amazon to look it up; the other book is The Nephilim Imperatives: Dark Sentences (The Second Coming Chronicles).  Even though the first book doesn't say "The Second Coming Chronicles" anywhere on the front or back covers.  Whatever.
"It sucked" is painting a story with a pretty broad stroke.  What sucked about it?

It's also been a long time since I read it (probably around the same time stePH did), but I remember the characters were not very compelling and the writing style was...dull.  The angel vs. demon battle at the end (what I remember of it) was kind of cool but it took a loooooooooooong time to get there.  Looking back at it now, as a Christian, I'm also annoyed by some of the "spiritual warfare" concepts.  Like when the police chief doesn't agree with you, it's not because he's trying to uphold the law, or because he's misguidedly trying to do the right thing, it's because there's a demon on his shoulder whispering to him what he should be saying. 

Almost 10 years ago, I read another Peretti book called "The Oath," which was his attempt at horror (I think).  The concept was that people who lived in this particular area, who were sinful, were marked with black splotches on their chest, then attacked by some kind of demonic dragon.  There were two main characters in the story, a man looking for the thing that had killed his brother and a police woman.  SPOILERS, if you want to keep reading.  After the man lusted after the woman, and she made it clear she was willing, the woman soon was marked and destroyed by evil.  The man, after defeating the demon dragon, realizes he should really get back together with his ex-wife, and goes home.  That seriously annoyed me.  Another, more annoying point that perhaps annoyed me more was the introduction of a character named "Jules Cryor."  I thought, oh, we're going to get a Christ figure (or an anti-Christ figure).  That should be interesting.  Nope, he died a couple pages later, and he acted like a whiny bastard.  You'd think a guy like Peretti writing "Christian" fiction would know that introducing a character with the initials JC should be significant.

I take all this as further verification that I have been right not to read "Christian scifi" books, unless you count C.S. Lewis.  (I know...we've had this conversation (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=1363.0;all) before.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on June 13, 2008, 12:23:27 PM
Swamp, if you haven't also read Madeleine L'Engle, I'd highly recommend checking out some of her stuff.  Wrinkle in Time and Many Waters are two I can personally vouch for that are SF/F.  I also read her "mainstream" novel Certain Women (http://www.amazon.com/Certain-Women-Novel-Madeleine-Lengle/dp/0060652071/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213377737&sr=8-2), which was kind of about David and all his wives and was also excellent.  I can't recommend that one enough, actually. 

Alright, sorry.  I'm getting way off topic here.  I'll move to the link Swamp posted if anyone wants to continue the discussion :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on June 22, 2008, 06:35:12 PM
Finished Terry James' The Rapture Dialogues.  Crap.  Won't bother with the sequel; I'm returning both to my co-worker tomorrow.  Poorly written, and the characters and story are not at all compelling.  I think the only way you can actually think this toss is any good, is if you believe in the "spiritual warfare" concept espoused within it (and Peretti's books).

I'd really like to clear my palate by reading some Richard Dawkins ;D but instead I've picked up and resumed reading The Most of P.G. Wodehouse.  Today I've finished the last "Mr. Mulliner" story and am into the third "Ukridge" story.  Looking forward of course to the "Jeeves" stories deeper into the book (I'm just reading the collection front-to-back) as I've listened to some in audio form, but none of the five stories in this volume are ones I've heard before.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 22, 2008, 07:29:52 PM
Still working on "The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes".  Currently up to "The Valley of Fear", the third Holmes novel (after "Study in Scarlet" and "Hound of the Baskervilles").  I don't know if it's because I'm not of the same group that read these in the 1800s and 1900s, but a lot of the time I find that I miss that one tiny clue.  I did catch it in "The Valley of Fear", however -- it didn't go quite the way I thought it would, but it was obvious where Conan Doyle put it in to be found, and I felt rather proud of myself for finding it.

If anyone's into Holmesian stories and would like one with a more fantastical bent, I highly recommend the Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett.  Especially the third collection, the one that ends with the train mystery (I forget its name).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on June 22, 2008, 09:50:54 PM
I might add that fans of Terry Pratchett's and/or Douglas Adams' styles could do worse than to check out Wodehouse, as long as they don't mind a complete lack of SFnality.  I wouldn't be surprised if either or both were influenced in part by Wodehouse.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on June 23, 2008, 07:58:21 AM
Currently reading The Da-da-de-da-da Code by Robert Rankin. I got hooked on his stupid modern fantasy (like Terry Pratchett, but set in London, and with more sex) at university, back when he only had four or five books out, and pricked up pretty much everything he wrote as soon as it hit hardback. But, life got busy, and he's got about a half-dozen books out that I've not gotten around to yet.

I can't say I'm as impressed as I used to be. I think he's just coasting these days.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on June 23, 2008, 10:35:49 PM
I might add that fans of Terry Pratchett's and/or Douglas Adams' styles could do worse than to check out Wodehouse, as long as they don't mind a complete lack of SFnality.  I wouldn't be surprised if either or both were influenced in part by Wodehouse.

I know for sure that Adams was.  There's an essay reprinted in "Salmon of Doubt" where he lavishes praise on Wodehouse's writing.

Never read Wodehouse.  He's near the top of my own personal "should read" list.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on June 23, 2008, 11:37:55 PM
I might add that fans of Terry Pratchett's and/or Douglas Adams' styles could do worse than to check out Wodehouse, as long as they don't mind a complete lack of SFnality.  I wouldn't be surprised if either or both were influenced in part by Wodehouse.

I know for sure that Adams was.  There's an essay reprinted in "Salmon of Doubt" where he lavishes praise on Wodehouse's writing.

Never read Wodehouse.  He's near the top of my own personal "should read" list.

Well, one caveat (apart from the aforementioned complete lack of SFnality): where Pratchett uses the Discworld as a vehicle to poke satire at just about everything under the sun and stars, Wodehouse's satire seems to be aimed entirely at upperclass British society of his time.  Despite being all-American myself, though (and thusly unable to really identify with it,) I still find it great fun to read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: tpi on June 24, 2008, 04:19:01 AM
Co-worker yesterday foisted a couple of "Christian SF" novels on me: The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension and its sequel (dont' remember the title as I left it at the office), by Terry James.

Talking about "Second coming" books (and films): here is a Second Coming movie that I Strongly Recommend (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00013D526/escapepod-20):


The overtly religious people might not like this one too much, though...
Has oneone else seen this?

Link EPized


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on June 24, 2008, 08:51:57 AM
That's about three quarters brilliant and to my mind, collapses in the back twenty minutes.  Definitely worth a watch though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on June 24, 2008, 09:08:19 AM
That came out just as I was getting ready to move across the Pond, and I never got around to it. Heard lots of good things about it, though.

Wishlisted.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on June 26, 2008, 07:11:55 PM

Just finished The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work by Joanne B. Ciulla.   

The book is both a historical survey of attitudes toward work in the West and an analysis of the modern workplace.  As might be expected from an author with a background in philosophy, the book is long on pointed questions and short on answers.  However, since I'm in the midst of what might be considered a "mid-life recalibration" of my career, the questions were useful in helping me think through my attitude toward paid employment.   

Next up: Thumbs, Toes and Tears: And Other Traits that Make Us Human by Chip Walter.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 29, 2008, 12:21:08 PM
I posted this on Facebook, but I liked the book so much I'm crossposting here:

I just finished reading this book (The Raw Shark Texts (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1847671748/escapepod-20) by Steven Hall) last night. It's really good. The prose is sharp and punchy, the ideas are big but manageable, and the story keeps you interested the entire way through. Plus, there's cool lexical and typographical art -- imagine drawing a shark using only words completely unrelated to sharks -- and, for once, I don't feel as though the main character's amnesia is cliche.

If I had problems with the book, they would be these:

* The ending was a little hard for me to grasp.
* The reveal of Scout was a little too choreographed -- I think every reader will see it coming.

But overall I really, really enjoyed it, and I think you will too.  If you ask nicely and can pick it up, I might lend you my copy.

Now reading City of Tiny Lights by Patrick Neate. It's a detective/thriller. Only a few chapters in now.

* Mods, please feel free to modify the Amazon link as needed.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on June 29, 2008, 01:10:09 PM
Last week, I read "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow.  I was blown away.  I read a lot of challenging books.  I majored in English Literature.  I think I have a pretty good sense about what's good and what's bad, regardless of whether or not I liked it.  In my opinion, "Little Brother" falls under the category of "Great Book".  I read it with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  My heart was pounding for hours after I finished it.  It was one of the most powerful books I've ever read.  I put it right up there with "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Hiding Place."

My son, a young adolescent who hates reading, loved the book too. 

Currently, I'm re-reading "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson.  I read it when it first came out in paperback back in the mid-nineties.  Back then, I found it to be a very difficult read.  I really got bogged down in it.  But, as the years have passed, I keep making connections between our modern world and the world of "Snow Crash."  I'm understanding and appreciating this book much more this time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on June 29, 2008, 05:08:28 PM

Currently, I'm re-reading "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson.  I read it when it first came out in paperback back in the mid-nineties.  Back then, I found it to be a very difficult read.  I really got bogged down in it.  But, as the years have passed, I keep making connections between our modern world and the world of "Snow Crash."  I'm understanding and appreciating this book much more this time.

I had just started learning about bit about how computers actually work when I read that, and it really blew my mind (and made it hard for me to be patient with technology) when I read it.


Currently, I'm not really reading anything (though I've had a nice backlog of podcasts to keep me happy while catching up on chores).  I had an old copy of this "Points of View" anthology (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0451628721/escapepod-20) I picked up somewhere. 

I was kind of skipping around at random, and seemed to pick all of the stories about young people who have some kind of formative experience; a kid who quits his job at the A&P after the manager is mean to some cute girls, a slum-dwelling Irish kid who watches a guy try to hang himself (and fail), a dustbowl era suburban princess who has a brush with a shoplifting Okie girl, and then I finished off with a re-read of "Flowers for Algernon" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowers_for_Algernon).

Long flight.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on June 29, 2008, 07:54:05 PM
The first and last scenes in Snowcrash blow me away. Everything in between, however, is a waste of ink.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on June 29, 2008, 07:59:46 PM
The first and last scenes in Snowcrash blow me away. Everything in between, however, is a waste of ink.

If that's the case, then at least it's shorter than his later stuff, right?  :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on June 29, 2008, 08:29:24 PM
I will admit that it's better than The Cryptonomicon, but I quite like Diamond Age and Zodiac. I mean, they weren't as bad as some other books I've read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on June 29, 2008, 09:00:30 PM
So, I'm between books, and I don't have any real tendency to go for anything in particular, so (as I sometimes do) I've opened it up for other people to decide (http://wmute.livejournal.com/344442.html).

If you don't have an LJ account and so can't vote in the poll itself, feel free to vote in a comment.

And don't worry. I have some stuff to tide me over until I decide that it's over and ignore the voting to choose something I feel like at the time ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Tango Alpha Delta on June 29, 2008, 09:05:21 PM
So, I'm between books, and I don't have any real tendency to go for anything in particular, so (as I sometimes do) I've opened it up for other people to decide (http://wmute.livejournal.com/344442.html).

If you don't have an LJ account and so can't vote in the poll itself, feel free to vote in a comment.

And don't worry. I have some stuff to tide me over until I decide that it's over and ignore the voting to choose something I feel like at the time ;)

You mean we don't already have an EP book club thread here somewhere? :-\


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 30, 2008, 05:24:09 AM
So, I'm between books, and I don't have any real tendency to go for anything in particular, so (as I sometimes do) I've opened it up for other people to decide (http://wmute.livejournal.com/344442.html).

If you don't have an LJ account and so can't vote in the poll itself, feel free to vote in a comment.

And don't worry. I have some stuff to tide me over until I decide that it's over and ignore the voting to choose something I feel like at the time ;)

You mean we don't already have an EP book club thread here somewhere? :-\

More or less, you're reading it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on June 30, 2008, 11:06:11 AM
The first and last scenes in Snowcrash blow me away. Everything in between, however, is a waste of ink.

Snowcrash is one of those books I keep thinking I really should read again, because I felt exactly like Wintermute felt after reading it.  But people keep telling me how great it is. 

I do this a lot with books.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on June 30, 2008, 10:36:16 PM
I think what I like best about Neal Stephenson is his writing style.  Just the way he puts ideas on paper.  It's what got me through every one of his books, even Cryptonomicon, which I really enjoyed.

The only Stephenson I have significant complaints about is The Diamond Age, largely because I don't much like the ending and some of the best characters vanish halfway through, never to be heard from again.  But I really enjoyed the book as I was reading it, and I'd happily recommend it based just on the setting/world-building and writing style.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on June 30, 2008, 11:09:22 PM
The first and last scenes in Snowcrash blow me away. Everything in between, however, is a waste of ink.

Snowcrash is one of those books I keep thinking I really should read again, because I felt exactly like Wintermute felt after reading it.  But people keep telling me how great it is. 

I do this a lot with books.

Now that I'm halfway through the second reading of "Snowcrash," I'm realizing that I missed a lot the first time I read it.  It's one of those books that bombards you with so much information and detail that I think it really takes a second reading to "get" it.  I've really only had to read two other books twice to "get" them:  "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman and "Declare" by Tim Powers.  I couldn't even make it through the latter one the first time I tried to read it. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: birdless on July 01, 2008, 12:00:13 AM
Last week, I read "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow.  I was blown away.  I read a lot of challenging books.  I majored in English Literature.  I think I have a pretty good sense about what's good and what's bad, regardless of whether or not I liked it.  In my opinion, "Little Brother" falls under the category of "Great Book".  I read it with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  My heart was pounding for hours after I finished it.  It was one of the most powerful books I've ever read.  I put it right up there with "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Hiding Place."

My son, a young adolescent who hates reading, loved the book too. 

Currently, I'm re-reading "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson.  I read it when it first came out in paperback back in the mid-nineties.  Back then, I found it to be a very difficult read.  I really got bogged down in it.  But, as the years have passed, I keep making connections between our modern world and the world of "Snow Crash."  I'm understanding and appreciating this book much more this time.
To Kill a Mockingbird is my single favorite book of all time, so putting Little Brother up there with that is exceptionally high praise. Doctorow has it for free on his Web site (http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/), so i'm gonna check it out.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 28, 2008, 11:24:26 PM
Having finished rereading the Ghost in the Shell manga the other day, I began rereading The Incal (the Epic/Marvel graphic novel edition) yesterday.  Today before dinner I finished book 1, and I go now to begin rereading book 2.  Then, I will finally be able to read book 3 for the first time ever, as I have just received it in today's post.

 :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) stePH is teh happy  :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 29, 2008, 11:55:33 AM
"The Time Engine" and "Blood Noir" -- reviews posted elsewhere.

"Greater than the Sum" -- Christopher L. Bennett's new Star Trek tale in the post-Nemesis world.  Pretty good, brings back some characters you might remember, and if you ignore Bennett's pontificating and a little MarySueness in Lt. Chen, it's about as good as Ex Machina.  (His Titan book was still the best of them, IMO.)

Next up: the Olivia Woods ST:DS9 "flip-book", whatever it's called.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on July 29, 2008, 12:30:06 PM
Just finished reading Jack McDevitt's Polaris (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0441012531/escapepod-20). Years ago, I read his A Talent for War (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0441012175/escapepod-20), which is amongst my favourite novels. But nothing else he did ever seemed to satisfy in the same way.

And then I discovered that there were other Alex Benedict novels out, so I started buying them. And, like it's predecessor, it's an excellent science fiction detective novel, which is a genre I'm always a sucker for.

I've got an essay bubbling around in my head on the subject that I'm probably going to set down in words soon enough.

I've started on Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Death by Black Hole (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393330168/escapepod-20), which is a nice little primer n astrophysics and cosmology, but doesn't iclude anything terribly exciting, yet. Certainly, the man's enthusiasm carries the book nicely, and I do understand more than I did when I started, but it's clearly aimed at people who've not read much on the subject before.


Link Bandit was here!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on July 29, 2008, 01:31:11 PM
Just finished reading Jack McDevitt's Polaris (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0441012531/escapepod-20). Years ago, I read his A Talent for War (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0441012175/escapepod-20), which is amongst my favourite novels. But nothing else he did ever seemed to satisfy in the same way.

And then I discovered that there were other Alex Benedict novels out, so I started buying them. And, like it's predecessor, it's an excellent science fiction detective novel, which is a genre I'm always a sucker for.


I've started on Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Death by Black Hole (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393330168/escapepod-20), which is a nice little primer n astrophysics and cosmology, but doesn't iclude anything terribly exciting, yet. Certainly, the man's enthusiasm carries the book nicely, and I do understand more than I did when I started, but it's clearly aimed at people who've not read much on the subject before.


I really liked A Talent for War and bought Polaris but haven't read it yet.  Like my NetFlix list, my "to-read" list is full of great stuff that I never have enough time for.  Glad to hear that you thought it was good and a worthy Benedict novel.  I'm looking forward to it.

I've heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson interviewed from TAM on some skeptic podcasts over the last couple of weeks.  Sounds like an interesting guy.   We need more scientists like him to carry the torch for science now that Sagan is gone.   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on July 30, 2008, 11:00:39 PM
Just finished Thumbs, Toes, and Tears: And Other Traits That Make Us Human (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0802715273/escapepod-20) by Chip Walter.  It was an interesting look at current thinking of human evolutionary biology.  I was especially fascinated with the idea that walking upright -- enabled by the mutation of the big toe -- came first, and set off the chain of events that led to toolmaking, language, and self-aware intelligence. 

I'm currently reading Momentum Is Your Friend (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1891369652/escapepod-20)by Joe Kurmaskie.  It's about the summer journalist, cyclist and lunatic-about-the-continent Joe Kurmaskie spent pedaling across the country while towing 250 lbs of gear and children behind him.  I got the book over a year ago (signed!!!!) when Joe gave a speech at the Iowa Bicycle Coalition fund-raiser banquet, and so far it's met all expectations -- a series of vignettes about a terrific adventure. 

Mods: Please EP-ize those Amazon links....

Link Bandit strikes again.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 31, 2008, 06:06:30 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book.  It picks up after Kira and Ro are nearly killed by Taran'atar.  The writing is good, and less expository than most Star Trek I've read lately, but the first few chapters of Side Two have some annoying "hey, isn't this Cardassia/Bajor situation NOT AT ALL LIKE IRAQ AT ALL NO REALLY I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THAT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM I'M JUST MAKING THIS UP OUT OF WHOLE CLOTH" conversations.  But it's interesting to see the Bajoran occupation from the POV of a single Cardassian officer who isn't Dukat.

I think I'll go back to "The Three Musketeers" (Dumas) tonight.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 31, 2008, 08:19:55 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book. 

"Flip-book"?  ???


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 31, 2008, 09:36:41 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book. 

"Flip-book"?  ???

Amazon listing. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/141656781X/escapepod-20)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 31, 2008, 09:56:00 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book. 

"Flip-book"?  ???

Amazon listing. (http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Space-Fearful-Symmetry/dp/141656781X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217514962&sr=8-1)

So it's similar in concept to Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow if they were bound back-to-back?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 31, 2008, 10:34:47 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book. 

"Flip-book"?  ???

Amazon listing. (http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Space-Fearful-Symmetry/dp/141656781X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217514962&sr=8-1)

So it's similar in concept to Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow if they were bound back-to-back?

Couldn't tell you.  Never read them.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 31, 2008, 11:02:24 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book. 

"Flip-book"?  ???

Amazon listing. (http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Space-Fearful-Symmetry/dp/141656781X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217514962&sr=8-1)

So it's similar in concept to Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow if they were bound back-to-back?

Couldn't tell you.  Never read them.

Ender's Shadow is a novel "parallel" to Ender's Game, as most of it covers the events of Ender's Game from the viewpoint of Bean, a secondary character from that novel.

The Amazon listing doesn't really describe what a "flip book" is, but the first review (currently) describes it as two books back-to-back with the same story told from two different points of view.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 31, 2008, 11:19:27 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book. 

"Flip-book"?  ???

Amazon listing. (http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Space-Fearful-Symmetry/dp/141656781X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217514962&sr=8-1)

So it's similar in concept to Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow if they were bound back-to-back?

Couldn't tell you.  Never read them.

Ender's Shadow is a novel "parallel" to Ender's Game, as most of it covers the events of Ender's Game from the viewpoint of Bean, a secondary character from that novel.

The Amazon listing doesn't really describe what a "flip book" is, but the first review (currently) describes it as two books back-to-back with the same story told from two different points of view.

That sounds accurate.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on July 31, 2008, 11:37:15 AM
Just finished "Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods.  If you don't know, that's the Star Trek DS9 flip-book. 

"Flip-book"?  ???

Amazon listing. (http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Space-Fearful-Symmetry/dp/141656781X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217514962&sr=8-1)

So it's similar in concept to Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow if they were bound back-to-back?

Couldn't tell you.  Never read them.

Ender's Shadow is a novel "parallel" to Ender's Game, as most of it covers the events of Ender's Game from the viewpoint of Bean, a secondary character from that novel.

The Amazon listing doesn't really describe what a "flip book" is, but the first review (currently) describes it as two books back-to-back with the same story told from two different points of view.
And there was me hoping it was something like a pop-up book...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 31, 2008, 11:45:11 AM
[Flip-book]

And there was me hoping it was something like a pop-up book...

I was thinking, each page has a "frame" of animation that you can make move by flipping rapidly through the pages.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on July 31, 2008, 01:35:16 PM
[Flip-book]

And there was me hoping it was something like a pop-up book...

I was thinking, each page has a "frame" of animation that you can make move by flipping rapidly through the pages.

I was right there with you.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on July 31, 2008, 03:10:12 PM
I'm almost done reading the Ursula LeGuinn's The Left Hand of Darkness and Carl Hiassen's Hoot.  Normally, I don't read two novels at the same time, but for some reason, I thought this pairing was a good idea.  I know I'll probably get kicked out of the club for saying this, but I'm only now really getting into Left Hand of Darkness.  I know it's an amazing, treasured gem of SF literature, but somehow, I'm still struggling through it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 31, 2008, 06:23:14 PM
I know I'll probably get kicked out of the club for saying this, but I'm only now really getting into Left Hand of Darkness.  I know it's an amazing, treasured gem of SF literature, but somehow, I'm still struggling through it.
We can get kicked out together, then.  That book utterly failed to interest me.  Finishing it was a chore.  Give me The Lathe of Heaven over it any day.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on July 31, 2008, 08:03:52 PM
I'm a LeGuinn fan... started with Earthsea as a kid.  I think Left Hand of Darkness is great, but probably needs to be taken in it's historic context.

The Lathe of Heaven though - that's just fantastic.  By far my favorite of her works.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on July 31, 2008, 11:21:21 PM
I'm a LeGuinn fan... started with Earthsea as a kid.  I think Left Hand of Darkness is great, but probably needs to be taken in it's historic context.

The Lathe of Heaven though - that's just fantastic.  By far my favorite of her works.


"The Lathe of Heaven" is excellent.  I read it about 25-30 years ago and loved it.  I read it again last year and still liked it, but found it dated.

I read "The Left Hand of Darkness" around the same time last year and was astounded by it.  It's so much more than a science fiction classic; it's a classic piece of literature, period.  I thought it was truly timeless.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on August 01, 2008, 12:37:50 AM
I'm a LeGuinn fan... started with Earthsea as a kid.  I think Left Hand of Darkness is great, but probably needs to be taken in it's historic context.

The Lathe of Heaven though - that's just fantastic.  By far my favorite of her works.


Yeah, I need to give both of those others a try.  I can certainly appreciate Left Hand of Darkness in a historical context, I think. 


I read "The Left Hand of Darkness" around the same time last year and was astounded by it.  It's so much more than a science fiction classic; it's a classic piece of literature, period.  I thought it was truly timeless.

I was under that impression from what I'd heard about it and suggested it to my wife and friends who we do a very small book club thing with.  It was my first pick and I wanted to do some SF, and one of our friends was keen on reading it, too.  My wife read a couple of pages the other day though and groaned.  (Which, after reading the first couple of chapters, I could've predicted.  She doesn't have anything against SF/Fantasy in general, but I think a good bit of the worldbuilding will kill it for her.)  I'm curious to hear what our friends think about it, if they finish it in time.  (To be fair, I've never finished one of the other books in time.) 

I kind of dig the historical bits of it, the smaller aside chapters.  And I think the monosexual stuff is interesting especially in comparison to the roles of males/females and women's equality and all that.  But other than that, I'm not really feeling the story. 

What do you both like so much about it?



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on August 13, 2008, 08:18:11 PM
I'm almost done with Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass.  I'm really enjoying it.  I never saw the movie so I started the book not knowing exactly what to expect. 

Pullman throws a huge amount of world-building info at you in a relatively short amount of space, and every single bit of it is thoroughly integrated into the narrative.  He never breaks away from the story for even a little bit of exposition.  I like that.  And somehow the fact that it's clearly a parallel-universe Earth (instead of a totally alien world like most high fantasy) makes me even more interested in finding out exactly how this world works.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on August 13, 2008, 08:58:36 PM
I'm almost done with Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass.  I'm really enjoying it.  I never saw the movie so I started the book not knowing exactly what to expect. 

Pullman throws a huge amount of world-building info at you in a relatively short amount of space, and every single bit of it is thoroughly integrated into the narrative.  He never breaks away from the story for even a little bit of exposition.  I like that.  And somehow the fact that it's clearly a parallel-universe Earth (instead of a totally alien world like most high fantasy) makes me even more interested in finding out exactly how this world works.

I loved the first book (I listened to the trilogy in audio, which was read by Pullman with a full cast for all the characters) but found the second volume somewhat less enjoyable, and the third even less so.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on August 13, 2008, 11:37:59 PM
I'm a LeGuinn fan... started with Earthsea as a kid.  I think Left Hand of Darkness is great, but probably needs to be taken in it's historic context.

The Lathe of Heaven though - that's just fantastic.  By far my favorite of her works.


Yeah, I need to give both of those others a try.  I can certainly appreciate Left Hand of Darkness in a historical context, I think. 


I read "The Left Hand of Darkness" around the same time last year and was astounded by it.  It's so much more than a science fiction classic; it's a classic piece of literature, period.  I thought it was truly timeless.

I was under that impression from what I'd heard about it and suggested it to my wife and friends who we do a very small book club thing with.  It was my first pick and I wanted to do some SF, and one of our friends was keen on reading it, too.  My wife read a couple of pages the other day though and groaned.  (Which, after reading the first couple of chapters, I could've predicted.  She doesn't have anything against SF/Fantasy in general, but I think a good bit of the worldbuilding will kill it for her.)  I'm curious to hear what our friends think about it, if they finish it in time.  (To be fair, I've never finished one of the other books in time.) 

I kind of dig the historical bits of it, the smaller aside chapters.  And I think the monosexual stuff is interesting especially in comparison to the roles of males/females and women's equality and all that.  But other than that, I'm not really feeling the story. 

What do you both like so much about it?



I thought LeGuin did a fabulous job of creating an androgynous world in "The Left Hand of Darkness."  I was especially impressed with her use of an outsider's misunderstanding of the sexual mores of Winter's inhabitants to show us what the humans on Winter were really like.  I liked how she built on impressions along the way.  She never relied on awkward exposition.  When explanations were made, the were in a sensible context.  Most importantly, LeGuin's prose was absolutely beautiful.  I majored in English Literature and I'd say that her prose style was quite masterful.

"The Lathe of Heaven" is quite good, but it just doesn't have the literary quality that "The Left Hand of Darkness" does.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 14, 2008, 11:48:54 AM
Just finished an Oxford translation of Dumas's "The Three Musketeers".  Pretty good for old French literature.  And I don't like literature, so that's saying something.

Knocking down some short-stories now, including Doctorow's "The Things That Make Me Weak And Strange Get Engineered Away" and Rudy Rucker's "The Men In The Back Room At The Country Club".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on August 14, 2008, 12:33:24 PM
Knocking down some short-stories now, including Doctorow's "The Things That Make Me Weak And Strange Get Engineered Away" and Rudy Rucker's "The Men In The Back Room At The Country Club".

How was the Doctorow one?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on August 14, 2008, 12:34:37 PM
I'm a LeGuinn fan... started with Earthsea as a kid.  I think Left Hand of Darkness is great, but probably needs to be taken in it's historic context.

The Lathe of Heaven though - that's just fantastic.  By far my favorite of her works.


Yeah, I need to give both of those others a try.  I can certainly appreciate Left Hand of Darkness in a historical context, I think. 


I read "The Left Hand of Darkness" around the same time last year and was astounded by it.  It's so much more than a science fiction classic; it's a classic piece of literature, period.  I thought it was truly timeless.

I was under that impression from what I'd heard about it and suggested it to my wife and friends who we do a very small book club thing with.  It was my first pick and I wanted to do some SF, and one of our friends was keen on reading it, too.  My wife read a couple of pages the other day though and groaned.  (Which, after reading the first couple of chapters, I could've predicted.  She doesn't have anything against SF/Fantasy in general, but I think a good bit of the worldbuilding will kill it for her.)  I'm curious to hear what our friends think about it, if they finish it in time.  (To be fair, I've never finished one of the other books in time.) 

I kind of dig the historical bits of it, the smaller aside chapters.  And I think the monosexual stuff is interesting especially in comparison to the roles of males/females and women's equality and all that.  But other than that, I'm not really feeling the story. 

What do you both like so much about it?



I thought LeGuin did a fabulous job of creating an androgynous world in "The Left Hand of Darkness."  I was especially impressed with her use of an outsider's misunderstanding of the sexual mores of Winter's inhabitants to show us what the humans on Winter were really like.  I liked how she built on impressions along the way.  She never relied on awkward exposition.  When explanations were made, the were in a sensible context.  Most importantly, LeGuin's prose was absolutely beautiful.  I majored in English Literature and I'd say that her prose style was quite masterful.

"The Lathe of Heaven" is quite good, but it just doesn't have the literary quality that "The Left Hand of Darkness" does.

Heh.  I majored in English Literature, too.  I guess that shows you how objective a degree is  ;)  Thanks for replying, though.  Interesting points.  FWIW, I wish I'd been able to read it the way you obviously did.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 14, 2008, 01:56:08 PM
Knocking down some short-stories now, including Doctorow's "The Things That Make Me Weak And Strange Get Engineered Away" and Rudy Rucker's "The Men In The Back Room At The Country Club".

How was the Doctorow one?

Interesting world, classic Doctorow in terms of "our future is a sovereign security state", but the characters to me seemed like he picked them out of his memory bank -- like I've seen them before.  And the ending was a little flat, the twist TOO far out there.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on August 16, 2008, 02:53:42 AM
I'm almost done with Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass.  I'm really enjoying it.  I never saw the movie so I started the book not knowing exactly what to expect. 

Pullman throws a huge amount of world-building info at you in a relatively short amount of space, and every single bit of it is thoroughly integrated into the narrative.  He never breaks away from the story for even a little bit of exposition.  I like that.  And somehow the fact that it's clearly a parallel-universe Earth (instead of a totally alien world like most high fantasy) makes me even more interested in finding out exactly how this world works.

I loved the first book (I listened to the trilogy in audio, which was read by Pullman with a full cast for all the characters) but found the second volume somewhat less enjoyable, and the third even less so.

Sigh.  I've heard exactly the same thing from several other people.  Now I've just got to hope this is one more area where my opinion turns out to be different from everyone else's...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 16, 2008, 08:35:02 AM
Walter Jon Williams, "The Green Leopard Plague" -- pretty good, though the "twist" at the end (involving Michelle) sort of felt like Williams had written himself into a corner and had no idea how to make the Michelle plotline resolve itself.

Cory Doctorow, "Little Brother" -- devoured this book in about 2.5 hours last night.  It is, I kid you not, the scariest book I have read this decade.  It's really, really good, if slightly repetitive.  Now I feel bad for saying my new story, "Bittersweet Symphony", is Doctorow-esque, because this book blows away my story.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on August 16, 2008, 09:34:09 AM

Cory Doctorow, "Little Brother" -- devoured this book in about 2.5 hours last night.  It is, I kid you not, the scariest book I have read this decade.  It's really, really good, if slightly repetitive.  Now I feel bad for saying my new story, "Bittersweet Symphony", is Doctorow-esque, because this book blows away my story.

Don't be ashamed.  I read "Little Brother" a couple of months ago and was absolutely blown away.  My middle-school son, the anti-reader, loved it too.  I just read "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" and a few of Doctorow's short stories and I wouldn't guess in a million years that they were written by the same author.  "Little Brother" is so different from anything else I've read by Doctorow.  My copy has now been read by three people and is in the hands of a fourth.  It reminded me so much of when I was an idealistic kid in the post-McCarthy era and my friends and I were worried about the FBI/CIA collecting information on us for subscribing to certain publications or belonging to certain groups.  I'm recommending "Little Brother" to everyone.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 16, 2008, 08:29:23 PM

Cory Doctorow, "Little Brother" -- devoured this book in about 2.5 hours last night.  It is, I kid you not, the scariest book I have read this decade.  It's really, really good, if slightly repetitive.  Now I feel bad for saying my new story, "Bittersweet Symphony", is Doctorow-esque, because this book blows away my story.

Don't be ashamed.  I read "Little Brother" a couple of months ago and was absolutely blown away.  My middle-school son, the anti-reader, loved it too.  I just read "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" and a few of Doctorow's short stories and I wouldn't guess in a million years that they were written by the same author.  "Little Brother" is so different from anything else I've read by Doctorow.  My copy has now been read by three people and is in the hands of a fourth.  It reminded me so much of when I was an idealistic kid in the post-McCarthy era and my friends and I were worried about the FBI/CIA collecting information on us for subscribing to certain publications or belonging to certain groups.  I'm recommending "Little Brother" to everyone.

The really scary part is that he finished writing it in late 2006, and it's amazing how many predictions came true...

I did catch a couple of errors here and there -- most notably, the mom's name changes from Lillian to Louisa and back -- but eh... nothing's perfect.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 18, 2008, 08:48:56 AM
"The Reckoning" by Jeff Long.  So far interesting; may get into the supernatural soon.  So far, very cliched main character, somewhat cliched "expert who knows everything about everything" other main character, and stuff appearing in digital photos.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on August 21, 2008, 01:37:52 PM
I started reading Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas, the first Banks novel I've read.  I'm about halfway through now (unfortunately, I read a lot slower than Listener).  But it's cool, the book is blowing my mind.  It's rollicking space opera, terrifying, funny, and completely compelling.  Looking forward to reading more of Banks' stuff after I'm done with this one.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 21, 2008, 02:03:40 PM
I started reading Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas, the first Banks novel I've read.  I'm about halfway through now (unfortunately, I read a lot slower than Listener).  But it's cool, the book is blowing my mind.  It's rollicking space opera, terrifying, funny, and completely compelling.  Looking forward to reading more of Banks' stuff after I'm done with this one.

In all fairness, most people read more slowly than me.  I finished the last three HP books in 5, 4, and 6 hours respectively.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 23, 2008, 02:13:38 PM
Finished "The Reckoning" -- the supernatural element didn't quite do it for me, though it was sufficiently creepy.  Also, there was a rather unnecessary girl-on-tree almost-sex-scene that I could've lived without.

Now reading "The Magician" by Michael Scott.  I found it at work on the "take this stuff" pile... it's a pre-release reviewer's copy.  It's decent, but not awesome yet.  Stars Machiavelli... of all people.  Yes, THAT Machiavelli.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on August 23, 2008, 03:21:28 PM
Just finished Momentum is Your Friend (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1891369652/escapepod-20), Joe Kurmaskie's story of the summer he spent bicycling across the continental US with his two sons, ages 5 and 7.  It's vintage Kurmaskie -- a series of vignettes about the adventure, the people he meets along the way, and his life.  If you like that sort of thing, it will probably work for you.  If you don't, then you probably won't.  I'm a long-time fan -- the copy I read is an autographed edition I picked up at one of his speaking engagements -- so I enjoyed it throughly. 

I'm currently reading two books:

Into the Wild (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0307387178/escapepod-20), Jon Krakauer's story of Chris McCandless, a young man from a well-to-do family who graduates from college and becomes drifter, living by his wits and wandering across the Western US before heading into the Alaskan wilderness with minimal gear for his final, fatal adventure.  Krakauer blends his story with those of others from earlier times and other places who followed a similar path, attempting to use the wilderness to quell their inner demons.  So far, it comes across as extremely well-researched, and it's an excellent read.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Last Days (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1592575617/escapepod-20) by Richard H. Perry is not a joke, but rather a serious attempt by a competitor to the better-known for Dummies guides to tackle the subject of the Second Coming of Jesus in a very accessible format.  While it's a bit jarring to see scriptural references about the Apocolypse set off with the same graphical conventions used to highlight shortcuts to MS Word functions, the project seems to do a decent job of conveying a very complex topic.  Part of the price of such simplification, of course, is not covering competing viewpoints.  The author states up-front his belief in Biblical inerrancy and literal interpretation of Scripture, so omission of viewpoints I'm personally much more comfortable with (i.e. The Revelation to St. John concerns not the end of the world, but rather the end of the Roman Empire) seem reasonable in light of the book's self-described mission.  However, I note that the negative reviews on Amazon beat the author up for giving short shrift to "pre-tribulation Rapture" which is apparently a big deal among fundamentalist-minded interpreters.

Perhaps unfortunately, it's confirming one of my long-standing prejudices against fundamentalism -- much like "strict constructionist interpretation" of the Constitution, "literal interpretation" of Scripture seems to be nothing more than a way for conservatives to say: "line of reasoning that reaches conclusions I agree with."  Essentially, clothing a very partisan method with a veneer of objectivity it doesn't really deserve.  For all his self-stated belief in the Bible's "literal correctness," it doesn't seem to bother Perry to launch off into some highly allegorical interpretation of various passages when it suits him to do so.  And having looked up and read the surrounding text for many of his references, it seems to me that he plays really fast and loose with the original context much of the time.

Still, it seems to be a good and easily-digestible approach to a viewpoint I'm not all that familiar with.

Mods: Please EP-ize those links... (Just the idea of Steve Eley and Escape Pod collecting a comission on The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Last Days completely cracks me up.)

Link Bandit strikes again


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 26, 2008, 11:03:09 AM
Finished "The Magician" (Michael Scott) -- interesting story and spin on mythology.  The writing is a little annoying sometimes (While x was y and z was a and b was c, Josh thought about d) and I'm not enthused that the first two books take place over the same two weeks or so, but it was a good adventure and it kept my attention.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on August 26, 2008, 06:04:36 PM
Finished Into the Wild during a late-night/early-morning reading binge.  Krakauer's quality and compassion held up through the end of the book.  My questions about how much cooperation he got from the family got answered, and it was a satisfying read overall.

I just started The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312378602/escapepod-20) by Gardner Dozois.  The heft of the thing took me by surprise; I should have read the description on Amazon more carefully.  Back in the day, I was fan of Donald A. Wolleheim's yearly All the World's Best Science Fiction anthology collections and for no particularly good reason I had The Year's Best Science Fiction figured as their modern successor.  Dozois is apparenty far more comprehensive than Wolleheim -- the book weighs in at over 700 pages and 1.8 lbs.  NOT that I'm complaining about a large sampler of promising stories for a very fair price, mind you.  It's just a bit more than I was expecting right at the moment.

So far, I've enjoyed the intro, which is an overview of the genre in 2007, and as someone returning to the SF community after a protracted absence, it was welcome, if a bit overlong.  And unless I missed something (possible; I was pretty tired when I read it) Dozois goes on at great length about magazines, books and movies, but gives graphic novels no more than a nod, and makes absolutely no mention of webcomics or podcasts. 

I'll post a fuller review when I finish, but that may take a while...

Mods: Please perform the Customary Operation on that Amazon link... 

Mod: You don't need to ask.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on August 26, 2008, 09:04:02 PM
Finished Into the Wild during a late-night/early-morning reading binge.  Krakauer's quality and compassion held up through the end of the book.  My questions about how much cooperation he got from the family got answered, and it was a satisfying read overall.

I really liked Into The Wild also.  I'm half way through Krakauer's Into Thin Air and am really in to it as well.  It's the story of his experience climbing Mount Everest, pretty intense stuff. 

BTW, did anyone see Penn's movie version of Into The Wild?  I thought he did a nice job with it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on August 26, 2008, 09:38:55 PM
Finished Into the Wild during a late-night/early-morning reading binge.  Krakauer's quality and compassion held up through the end of the book.  My questions about how much cooperation he got from the family got answered, and it was a satisfying read overall.

I really liked Into The Wild also.  I'm half way through Krakauer's Into Thin Air and am really in to it as well.  It's the story of his experience climbing Mount Everest, pretty intense stuff. 

BTW, did anyone see Penn's movie version of Into The Wild?  I thought he did a nice job with it.


I read Into Thin Air  (http://www.amazon.com/Into-Thin-Air-Personal-Disaster/dp/0385494785/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219804537&sr=8-2) several years ago.  I got interested in it during a brevet -- a 300-kilometer timed bicycling event -- when another participant quoted Krakauer's assertion that climbing was "an inherently irrational act." We agreed that brevets were cut from the same cloth, though not nearly as hazardous.

I saw the movie version of Into the Wild before I read the book, and after reading the book, I think it was a remarkably good adaptation.  Though I'm not sure why they didn't go with Krakauer's theory on mold as the most likely source of the illness that did him in. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on August 27, 2008, 08:29:49 AM
Finished Into the Wild during a late-night/early-morning reading binge.  Krakauer's quality and compassion held up through the end of the book.  My questions about how much cooperation he got from the family got answered, and it was a satisfying read overall.

I really liked Into The Wild also.  I'm half way through Krakauer's Into Thin Air and am really in to it as well.  It's the story of his experience climbing Mount Everest, pretty intense stuff. 

BTW, did anyone see Penn's movie version of Into The Wild?  I thought he did a nice job with it.


I read Into Thin Air  (http://www.amazon.com/Into-Thin-Air-Personal-Disaster/dp/0385494785/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219804537&sr=8-2) several years ago.  I got interested in it during a brevet -- a 300-kilometer timed bicycling event -- when another participant quoted Krakauer's assertion that climbing was "an inherently irrational act." We agreed that brevets were cut from the same cloth, though not nearly as hazardous.

I saw the movie version of Into the Wild before I read the book, and after reading the book, I think it was a remarkably good adaptation.  Though I'm not sure why they didn't go with Krakauer's theory on mold as the most likely source of the illness that did him in. 

Yeah, I wondered about that also.  There were a couple other very minor things that Penn changed in the movie also, which I wondered about.  There really was no reason to tweak little things that didn't have any impact on the story.   I agree, it was a really good adaptation. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on September 02, 2008, 07:12:47 PM
Just finished The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Last Days.  Much like it's subject, the book kept getting worse as it went on, only with the book, there's no redemption at the end.  Scriptural references got vaguer and more obviously-abused until they all but vanished in the last few sections.  The table of contents at the end indicates there's supposed to be a final chapter about the 1,000-year reign of Christ that was apparently left out of my copy.  I'm not planning to complain because I don't care. 

To have engaged as much attention as it has for as long as it has, there's got to be a better-researched, better-better reasoned explanation of "Last Days" theology out there someplace.  Eventually, I may even feel compelled to look for it.

Anyway, I'm cleansing the mental palate with The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0886778328/escapepod-20), Diana Wynne Jones' send-up of High Fantasy cliches.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ieDaddy on September 04, 2008, 04:15:28 PM
Just finished "Wrath of a mad god" by Raymond Feist.

It was a good ending to his latest trilogy, and like always leaves itself open to a whole new trilogy and sub-story plots to be explored in future books.  Unfortunately Ray's writing seems to be getting worse as he piles through and his habit of going back and re-characterizing what really happened in the previous books starts to get a bit tiresome.  And maybe it is because he is planning to give the sub-plots further treatment as a separate book that he trivializes the rolls of Jommy, Tad and friends.... I just felt this was not as strong as his original writing and he's not utilizing his characters and giving them the depth the original series had, but maybe that's because he makes the assumption that we're already familiar with his characters.

If I had read this trilogy first instead of his original Magician series I don't know that I would have gone much further


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on September 05, 2008, 06:28:58 AM
I finished Yiddish Policemen's Union not long ago. I actually kind of had to force myself to sit down and read it.. I didn't immidiately find it super engaging.. but it really grew on me and was very rewarding in the end. So while it may have taken some effort to finish it was well worth it.

Trying Charlie Stross' Halting State right now. Its ok, but written in a weird point of view that I'm not sure I'm liking. I'll keep at it though.

oh, and I just finished Jim Butcher's 'Small Favors'. Absolutely wonderful and buckets of fun, as per the norm. I am just sad the next one isn't due till april 09.

:(


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on September 07, 2008, 04:52:56 PM
Talia, you had almost the same reaction to "Yiddish Policemen's Union" that I did.  I'm really stunned that it won the Hugo though.  Yes it's an alternate history, but it seemed to be more of a socio-political alternate history than a science/technology one.  I thought "Brasyl" was much better and was better science fiction. 

 I, too, will be reading "Halting State" sometime this month.  I hope it's better "Accelerando" by the same author.  I hated that book.  I'm trying to read the books that were Hugo Nominees this year.  Most of them are available in paperback now, so it's time to read them.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 07, 2008, 08:55:56 PM
Finished Runaways volume 1 and Batman: The Long Halloween recently.  Both excellent.

Now into the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, about halfway through book 3.  I'm hoping it diverges from the anime at the end; I'll let you know (if anybody's interested).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on September 07, 2008, 10:16:36 PM
Finished Runaways volume 1 and Batman: The Long Halloween recently.  Both excellent.

Now into the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, about halfway through book 3.  I'm hoping it diverges from the anime at the end; I'll let you know (if anybody's interested).


What happend with I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist?  I'm curious how the author got to evidence for the inspiration of The Bible from creation.  I can see where you can get from certain aspects of the natural world to the idea that there is a creator -- Aristotle's "first, unmoving mover" but I can't see any way to get more specific than that.

Did he make a credible effort?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 08, 2008, 10:50:52 AM
What happend with I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist?  I'm curious how the author got to evidence for the inspiration of The Bible from creation.  I can see where you can get from certain aspects of the natural world to the idea that there is a creator -- Aristotle's "first, unmoving mover" but I can't see any way to get more specific than that.

Did he make a credible effort?

I'm thinking I might just send this one back unfinished.  I kind of got the "Cliffs Notes" version when I found a site that rips the book apart point-by-point.  Google "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be a Christian"; that's how I found it (from a reviewer at Amazon).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 08, 2008, 11:06:34 AM
Besides my poker books, btw Read 'em and Reap by Joe Navarro is outstanding, he has another book about reading people that is non-poker, What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People, that covers most of the same material.

Anywho, my fiction book right now is Fulgrim, part of the Warhammer 40k Horus Heresy series.  I generally consider my WH40k books to be "trash" fiction, in that they are exciting but not too terribly thought provoking.  However, I've found that the Horus Heresy really delves into religion. 

For those that don't read WH40k, the Emperor is the equivalent of God.  In the Horus Heresy, the Emperor himself basically outlaws religion.  It is a society of atheists.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 08, 2008, 12:10:02 PM
Anywho, my fiction book right now is Fulgrim, part of the Warhammer 40k Horus Heresy series.  I generally consider my WH40k books to be "trash" fiction, in that they are exciting but not too terribly thought provoking.  However, I've found that the Horus Heresy really delves into religion. 

I'm only aware of Warhammer as a tabletop wargame, typically played with miniatures..


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 08, 2008, 12:19:08 PM
Yup, it's the same thing, but there is a whole line of fiction.  You can check them out at www.blacklibrary.com

There are a few of the series I'm partial to, and I've missed A LOT. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on September 08, 2008, 12:43:48 PM
This silly little thread is officially the number one thread on the EA Forums (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?action=stats).  It is the longest running consistent thread.  It also has the most posts and views. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 08, 2008, 01:04:38 PM
This silly little thread is officially the number one thread on the EA Forums (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?action=stats).  It is the longest running consistent thread.  It also has the most posts and views. 

Hardly surprising.  I'm sure we all read, and we like to share our reading tastes with others.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on September 08, 2008, 02:25:29 PM
This silly little thread is officially the number one thread on the EA Forums (http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?action=stats).  It is the longest running consistent thread.  It also has the most posts and views. 

I'm surprised the 'Name the Fantasy Podcast' got so many views. I always viewed that as a lesser thread in the history of the forums.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on September 08, 2008, 02:46:30 PM
Just finished Vol 2 of Harry Turtledove's WorldWar series, with the other two on the pile waiting their turn. Even if you don't count the aliens, it's possibly the best history of WWII I've ever read.

In the meantime, I've gone back to Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict novels with Seeker! Yay for far-future archeology detective stories!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 09, 2008, 09:53:37 AM
I finished Yiddish Policemen's Union not long ago. I actually kind of had to force myself to sit down and read it.. I didn't immidiately find it super engaging.. but it really grew on me and was very rewarding in the end. So while it may have taken some effort to finish it was well worth it.

I did not terribly LIKE YPU, nor did I feel the ending was very rewarding. I think too much was crammed into it and the ending didn't tie things together adequately for me. And a lot of the Jewish/Yiddish references felt forced.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 09, 2008, 09:53:54 AM
Just finished Vol 2 of Harry Turtledove's WorldWar series, with the other two on the pile waiting their turn. Even if you don't count the aliens, it's possibly the best history of WWII I've ever read.


I've read all eight books. Some of my favorites.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 09, 2008, 09:55:39 AM
Recently, I ripped through the last six New Frontier books by Peter David. Now reading HG Wells's "The Invisible Man" -- the original version.

Also, speaking of old-school sci-fi/fiction, I'm also playing "Around the World in 80 Days" (which I've never actually READ, but probably should) -- got it free from game.giveawayoftheday.com a few weeks ago. It's like Bejeweled plus Literature... fun and mindless pattern recognition.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 10, 2008, 12:16:34 AM
Just Finished:  Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Starting:  White Night (Dresden #9) by Jim Butcher

Next up:  Either The Inferno by Dante or Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (that is if I don't pick up Anathem before I finish White Night)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 10, 2008, 07:47:19 AM
Just Finished:  Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Excellent book.  I prefer the book over the movie, especially the ending.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 10, 2008, 08:27:21 AM
The end of the Fight Club book is sooo much better than the movie!  I'm really not surprised they changed it though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 10, 2008, 09:17:12 AM
The hole in the cheek and the source of the soap ingredient were much better, too.

I heard Choke is being filmed.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on September 10, 2008, 10:03:37 AM
I finished Yiddish Policemen's Union not long ago. I actually kind of had to force myself to sit down and read it.. I didn't immidiately find it super engaging.. but it really grew on me and was very rewarding in the end. So while it may have taken some effort to finish it was well worth it.

I did not terribly LIKE YPU, nor did I feel the ending was very rewarding. I think too much was crammed into it and the ending didn't tie things together adequately for me. And a lot of the Jewish/Yiddish references felt forced.

Felt pretty well wrapped up for me, personally. The cultural references didn't come off as forced to me in the sense that I kept in mind I was actually dealing with a whole nother culture here. Not Jews living in American culture but those who've been living on their own, steeped in their own unique culture, so the things that may seem forced were really just a reflection of the kind of mindset that developed in this unique little enclave.

I tend to disagree about too much crammed into it. Chabon did a great deal of charachter development with a focus on backgrounds, but it came off as necesary to me, and in the case of Landsman and his partner whatshisface, very enlightening and enriching.

I particularly enjoyed Landsman. Perhaps because he has more problems than I do. :p

Ooh look, I've graduated to FOUR stars. Huzzah! :p


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on September 10, 2008, 11:05:58 AM
Finished reading Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/031600538X/escapepod-20).  Quite the epic space opera -- one of the best in that sub genre I can remember reading.  I'm going to have to read some more of his stuff.

Also read the latest Hellboy TPB: Darkness Calls (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/159307896X/escapepod-20). Pretty good and definitely brings the weird (Baba Yaga slipping tongue to a goat = pretty freaking weird) although I felt it was missing some of the classic Hellboy feel.  Maybe it's the absence of the BPRD?

Next up: Probably Samantha Henderson's Heaven's Bones (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0786951117/escapepod-20).  "Cinderella Suicide" was one of my favorite EP episodes, and the other fiction I've read so far by her has yet to let me down, so I have high hopes for it.  The prologue seems to promise steampunky, horror goodness, what with recording angels and gods living in the London subway.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 15, 2008, 08:35:39 AM
Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality was brought up in another thread, thought I'd mention them over here.

I read the first five and was pleasantly shocked a couple of years later to find that there were 2 more.  Evidently, this had something to do with switching publishers, I forget.

I recently found out on Amazon that there was an 8th book, and, from both the positive and negative reviews, feel that I'll be better off not reading it.

I find Anthony's "outros" to be rather entertaining, as well.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on September 15, 2008, 08:46:17 AM
The hole in the cheek and the source of the soap ingredient were much better, too.

I heard Choke is being filmed.
totally is! im psyched!

and yes, ending in the book is better than the movie, and i think they could have used the same ending in the movie, duno why they didnt

i need to read Survivor, Rant, and Snuff next, but I've finally started reading Dune again and it is gooooooooood!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on September 15, 2008, 09:00:25 AM
Finished Seeker (http://www.amazon.com/Seeker-Alex-Benedict-Jack-McDevitt/dp/0441013759/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221487176&sr=8-2/escapepod-20); not the best of Alex Benedict series, but not at all bad. It does make me want to go back and re-read A Talent For War (http://www.amazon.com/Talent-War-Jack-McDevitt/dp/0441012175/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221486230&sr=8-1/escapepod-20) again, though.

I picked up Marvel Zombies 2 (http://www.amazon.com/Marvel-Zombies-2-Robert-Kirkman/dp/0785125450/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221486271&sr=8-1/escapepod-20) (a series for which I have altogether too much love), and was frankly disappointed. Roll on Marvel Apes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Apes), I say.

Oh, and the first volume of Y: The Last Man (http://www.amazon.com/Unmanned-Y-Last-Man-Vol/dp/1563899809/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221486564&sr=8-1/escapepod-20), which I'd heard people talk about. It's pretty decent so far, and I'm definitely going to keep reading. Especially having beed reading the take-downs of Left Behind on Slactivist (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/left_behind/), it's nice to see an author actually think about what would happen if a big chunk of the population were just wiped off the face of the Earth.

And now I'm onto The Ashes of Worlds (http://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Worlds-Saga-Seven-Suns/dp/0316007579/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221486881&sr=8-1/escapepod-20), the seventh and final volume of Kevin J Anderson's sprawling space opera The Saga of Seven Suns. I have to say, I love this kind of big-idea space opera, and this is a wonderful example of the species. It's been a favourite of mine since it started, and this latest instalment is starting well, so far.


[mods: Do your linkmagic, if you please]
[linkmagic-ed]


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on September 15, 2008, 11:09:07 AM
Oh, and the first volume of Y: The Last Man (http://www.amazon.com/Unmanned-Y-Last-Man-Vol/dp/1563899809/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221486564&sr=8-1), which I'd heard people talk about. It's pretty decent so far, and I'm definitely going to keep reading. Especially having beed reading the take-downs of Left Behind on Slactivist (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/left_behind/), it's nice to see an author actually think about what would happen if a big chunk of the population were just wiped off the face of the Earth.


I FINALLY got the last volume of this a few weeks ago.  I've put off reading it because it's the last one and when I'm done, there will be no more, and I'm going to be a very sad Dave.  I love that series.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on September 15, 2008, 04:04:22 PM
The hole in the cheek and the source of the soap ingredient were much better, too.

I heard Choke is being filmed.
totally is! im psyched!


It's coming out this week or next.  I've already seen ads for it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 15, 2008, 04:22:17 PM
Finished Fight Club yesterday.  I found it interesting that one of my favorite scenes from the film, in which the bar owners find a fight club happening in their basement and try to put a stop to it, was not in the novel.

Also noted that the filmmakers tried to make the ending more upbeat.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 15, 2008, 05:03:19 PM
Finished Fight Club yesterday.  I found it interesting that one of my favorite scenes from the film, in which the bar owners find a fight club happening in their basement and try to put a stop to it, was not in the novel.

Also noted that the filmmakers tried to make the ending more upbeat.

It's surprising how short the book is.  You would expect a story like that to be around 400 pages.

The book also didn't seem to try to hide the twist as much. 

The descriptions of the fights, and how the narrator signed up to fight everyone?  Creepy


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 15, 2008, 05:15:27 PM
It's surprising how short the book [Fight Club] is.  You would expect a story like that to be around 400 pages.

Truly.  I read the first chapter the night before last, and then reading the rest took me about two or three hours of yesterday.

I like that the author is local to me.  That's kind of an added plus.  :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on September 15, 2008, 10:38:11 PM
I'm now reading "Little, Big" by John Crowley.  It's a very unusual fantasy novel that's really convoluted, but pleasurable. 

I just finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.  My reaction was "meh".  I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction (starting with "Daybreak 2250 A.D." by Andre Norton when I was in third or fourth grade) and "The Road" was a fair example of the genre, but not great.  It read a lot like "The Old Man and the Sea" and I could picture it as a black & white "Twilight Zone" episode.  I know a lot of people have just gone crazy over it, but I didn't find it particularly original and I thought the ending was a cheat.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 16, 2008, 12:22:57 AM
Just Finished:  White Night (Dresden #9) by Jim Butcher

Starting:  Neuromancer by William Gibson

Next Up:  A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Marten


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 17, 2008, 06:04:18 PM
Just picked up the "Terok Nor" trilogy on Saturday. Now reading "Day of the Vipers" by James Swallow.

Yes, they're Star Trek books. But if it helps, I re-read Watchmen (Alan Moore) on Friday and Saturday. I wish Moore would either authorize a novelization or write an actual novelization... I think I'd like to read it as a book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on September 17, 2008, 10:16:38 PM
Listener, you crazy :P

Watchmen can only work best as a visual medium.  And not some watered down two hour movie either.  I can't see how they would tie in the Pirate comic with the rest of the story as well as he did if they had just words.  Besides some of the costumes just have to be seen! And let's not forget the ink blot tests!

Thinking of the Pirate comic and Star Trek books tweak the old memory of reading "Spock's World" by Diane Duane, and how it switched between "present day" and Vulcan history.  It worked fairly well, if memory servers.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Leon Kensington on September 18, 2008, 12:11:38 AM
Watchmen can only work best as a visual medium.  And not some watered down two hour movie either.  I can't see how they would tie in the Pirate comic with the rest of the story as well as he did if they had just words.  Besides some of the costumes just have to be seen! And let's not forget the ink blot tests!

Didn't you hear?  Snyder wants it to be four hours!  The question is, will WB let him do it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on September 18, 2008, 07:05:02 AM
Didn't you hear?  Snyder wants it to be four hours!  The question is, will WB let him do it?
No. The best he can hope for is what Jackson got with the Lord of the Rings movies - make a four-hour movie for the DVD, and cut it down to two-and-a-half hours for the cinema.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on September 18, 2008, 07:08:07 AM
I did and it won't. I have to also say even 4 hours wouldn't be enough - I think a mini-series could do it justice, but I'm not sure who would pick that up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 18, 2008, 08:14:52 AM
Watchmen can only work best as a visual medium.  And not some watered down two hour movie either.  I can't see how they would tie in the Pirate comic with the rest of the story as well as he did if they had just words.  Besides some of the costumes just have to be seen! And let's not forget the ink blot tests!

Didn't you hear?  Snyder wants it to be four hours!  The question is, will WB let him do it?

My question is, will it be released on schedule, or are they still quibbling over who had the rights to the script?

Wait ... is that one question, or two?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 18, 2008, 04:54:31 PM
Listener, you crazy :P

Watchmen can only work best as a visual medium.  And not some watered down two hour movie either.  I can't see how they would tie in the Pirate comic with the rest of the story as well as he did if they had just words.  Besides some of the costumes just have to be seen! And let's not forget the ink blot tests!

Thinking of the Pirate comic and Star Trek books tweak the old memory of reading "Spock's World" by Diane Duane, and how it switched between "present day" and Vulcan history.  It worked fairly well, if memory servers.

Well, the novelizations of "The Life and Death of Superman" and "Batman: No Man's Land" work really well for me. I really enjoy reading more when it's just words, and while I appreciated the artwork in Watchmen, I really read it for the story. I think a good author could really turn it into something worth reading.

I see your point about the Black Freighter. Honestly, that part never enthused me any of the times I read the story.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 18, 2008, 04:54:50 PM
I did and it won't. I have to also say even 4 hours wouldn't be enough - I think a mini-series could do it justice, but I'm not sure who would pick that up.

HBO. Showtime. Sci-Fi. *shrug*


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on September 19, 2008, 12:42:30 PM
I'd hope so, but Sci-Fi doesn't have the budget, and I don't think HBO or Showtime would consider a comic book series.  Having said that though, I suspect that with Batman and the others movies doing so well it might take less convincing now.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on September 19, 2008, 12:45:42 PM
I'd hope so, but Sci-Fi doesn't have the budget, and I don't think HBO or Showtime would consider a comic book series.  Having said that though, I suspect that with Batman and the others movies doing so well it might take less convincing now.

Everyone knows about Batman and Spiderman.  A lesser known comic would be a much harder sell.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on September 21, 2008, 01:07:16 PM
In my continuing Discworld quest I have finished The Last Continent, Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Thief of Time.

I noticed an error in The Truth.  I have a third or fourth edition paperback, so they had plenty of time to catch it.  Gaspode was an informant and used the name Deep Bone.  This is obviously a play on Deep Throat from the Watergate movie All the President's Men (read the book, it's not in there).  Once in The Truth they refer to Gaspode as Deep Throat.  I was a sentence and a half further on and then said, "wait a minute." and went back to check it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on September 22, 2008, 06:22:14 PM
Finished the first Terok Nor book, "Day of the Vipers" by James Swallow. Pretty good read, though nothing was really surprising except for how long it took everyone else to figure out what was up with Vedek Gar.

Now reading the second, "Night of the Wolves" by SD Perry and Britta Dennison. Not as good, and definitely not as fast-moving as the first. I have faith, though; Perry's other books have had good endings.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 22, 2008, 09:33:49 PM
Just finished Cybermancy by Kelly McCullough, it is a sequel to WebMage.

Rather interesting look at magic, computers and the offspring of the Titans.

I liked both books.  The main character really gets whacked with the consequences stick!



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 28, 2008, 04:15:44 PM
I picked up a copy of The Black Hole for $.75, and just started it.  Yes, the movie from around 1980.  I haven't seen the movie since I was in grade school, and had actually mentioned it to my wife.  So, when I saw it on clearance at my local used bookstore, I snagged it up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 28, 2008, 07:42:38 PM
I picked up a copy of The Black Hole for $.75, and just started it.  Yes, the movie from around 1980.  I haven't seen the movie since I was in grade school, and had actually mentioned it to my wife.  So, when I saw it on clearance at my local used bookstore, I snagged it up.

That was one of many film novelizations by Alan Dean Foster, wasn't it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 28, 2008, 09:55:58 PM
I picked up a copy of The Black Hole for $.75, and just started it.  Yes, the movie from around 1980.  I haven't seen the movie since I was in grade school, and had actually mentioned it to my wife.  So, when I saw it on clearance at my local used bookstore, I snagged it up.

That was one of many film novelizations by Alan Dean Foster, wasn't it?

I don't have the book at home, it's in the truck.  I will check this week.  That sounds right, though


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 28, 2008, 11:52:27 PM

[The Black Hole]
That was one of many film novelizations by Alan Dean Foster, wasn't it?

I don't have the book at home, it's in the truck.  I will check this week.  That sounds right, though

Over a decade ago when a friend was suggesting Alan Dean Foster to me, I sneered and said "the guy who writes all the movie books?  No thanks."  How wrong I was.  After overcoming my prejudice, I loved the Flinx/Commonwealth stories, and other novels such as Midworld and Into the Out Of

But I think the first one of his books I read was either Star Wars or Alien (depending on whether or not he wrote Star Wars -- I remember the author credit on the cover as being "George Lucas".)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on September 29, 2008, 07:31:42 PM
I'm now re-reading "Stranger in a Strange Land" for a discussion group.  I read it in the early Eighties and absolutely hated it.  This time out, I'm really looking at it to see why I had that reaction.  I'm about 1/2 way through and have a fair idea about what I hated and I'm able to see the good parts also this time. 

The copy I have was printed in 1968 and has that hideous cover with the two naked women in the hot tub.  Number one reason to hate it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 29, 2008, 07:50:14 PM
But I think the first one of [Alan Dean Foster's] books I read was either Star Wars or Alien (depending on whether or not he wrote Star Wars -- I remember the author credit on the cover as being "George Lucas".)

It was Star Wars.

http://www.nndb.com/people/513/000022447/

Quote
Under the pen name "George Lucas" (http://www.nndb.com/people/539/000022473/), Alan Dean Foster wrote Star Wars.

 ;D

Quote
Under his own byline, he wrote Alien, Outland, Starman, and Dark Star, but in all these novels there's an additional line on the cover: "based on the screenplay by" someone else. As a writer, "novelizations" of movies provide a good paycheck for relatively easy work -- the story is already written, you just have to expand it to the length of a book, and Foster is good at it. He's also written dozens of books that weren't based on movies.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on September 29, 2008, 09:05:30 PM
I'm 99% sure he wrote "Splinter in the Mind's Eye" which was the first sequel to Star Wars.  It's pretty good.  Most notable is how it doesn't follow or setup any of the mythos of the Star Wars universe as we now know it. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 29, 2008, 09:38:19 PM
I'm 99% sure he wrote "Splinter in the Mind's Eye" which was the first sequel to Star Wars.
I'm 100% sure of it; I have a copy (though I've yet to read more than a chapter, and that ten years ago.)  It's Splinter of the Mind's Eye BTW. 

It's pretty good.  Most notable is how it doesn't follow or setup any of the mythos of the Star Wars universe as we now know it. 
Yeah, that was written back in the days before Empire, when there were also two or three "Han Solo" novels by Brian Daley (which I also never got around to reading.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on September 30, 2008, 07:23:36 PM
I'm now re-reading "Stranger in a Strange Land" for a discussion group.  I read it in the early Eighties and absolutely hated it.  This time out, I'm really looking at it to see why I had that reaction.  I'm about 1/2 way through and have a fair idea about what I hated and I'm able to see the good parts also this time. 

The copy I have was printed in 1968 and has that hideous cover with the two naked women in the hot tub.  Number one reason to hate it.

I listened to the unabridged audio book of this, and enjoyed it.  Guess it was about a year ago.  I am not saying I grok it, though...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on October 01, 2008, 07:12:30 PM
just finished Dune last night.  greaaaaaat friggin read.
i had seen the old david lynch movie interpretation before reading the book, about 3 or 4 times, and i still like it just the same.  i find it interesting that he invented the weirding modules... completely out of the blue.  they were not in the book at all.  it serves the movie well, but its... kinda weird that they werent in the book.  i kept expecting to have them show up.  anyway, still enjoy both the movie and the book.
are the other books in the series worth reading?

either way, i am moving on to Rant by Chuck Palahniuk, gotta expand my Palahniuk experience! :)
i wanted to read Survivor but the bookstore here at UF was out and i was gonna either read that or Rant and... here i am :P


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 01, 2008, 09:44:43 PM
just finished Dune last night.  greaaaaaat friggin read.
i had seen the old david lynch movie interpretation before reading the book, about 3 or 4 times, and i still like it just the same.  i find it interesting that he invented the weirding modules... completely out of the blue.  they were not in the book at all.  it serves the movie well, but its... kinda weird that they werent in the book.  i kept expecting to have them show up.  anyway, still enjoy both the movie and the book.

Those "weirding modules" are what I hate most about Lynch's film.  >:(  They completely destroyed the concept of what badasses the Fremen are -- they didn't need special weapons to kick the asses of the Emperor's elite guard -- just surviving harsh desert life gives them all they need.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on October 02, 2008, 05:49:45 AM
just finished Dune last night.  greaaaaaat friggin read.

are the other books in the series worth reading?

One of the first threads in the forums (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=6.0) was about that very question.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 02, 2008, 11:46:42 AM
Currently reading the 1602 graphic novel by Gaiman et al.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 02, 2008, 12:26:18 PM
Currently reading the 1602 graphic novel by Gaiman et al.

I need to reread that again sometime. 

The Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/Graveyard-Book-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0060530928/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222968324&sr=8-2) came in the mail last night.  Very cool looking (although, watch out stePH...it's got McKean illustrations).  I can't wait to dig into it...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 02, 2008, 01:23:38 PM
The Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/Graveyard-Book-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0060530928/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222968324&sr=8-2) came in the mail last night.  Very cool looking (although, watch out stePH...it's got McKean illustrations).  I can't wait to dig into it...

McKean illustrations are tolerable if they're not integral to the story, like in Coraline or Stephen King's Wizard and Glass (book 4 of "The Dark Tower").  But he makes comic books unreadable.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 02, 2008, 01:37:52 PM
It's definitely closer to the stuff he did for Coraline, except it seems to be entwined or border the text for a few pages at the beginnng of each chapter, instead of just the first page.  I didn't look too closely, because I wanted to wait 'til I read it to get the full impact, but what I did see looked cool.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on October 02, 2008, 02:05:41 PM
I picked up a copy of The Black Hole for $.75, and just started it.  Yes, the movie from around 1980.  I haven't seen the movie since I was in grade school, and had actually mentioned it to my wife.  So, when I saw it on clearance at my local used bookstore, I snagged it up.

That was one of many film novelizations by Alan Dean Foster, wasn't it?

Yup.  I haven't had time to read it yet, but it sits there taunting me.  It waits to suck me into it's gravitational pull.

Ugg, that was cheesy!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on October 03, 2008, 12:23:55 AM
hmmm miiiight
just finished Dune last night.  greaaaaaat friggin read.

are the other books in the series worth reading?

One of the first threads in the forums (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=6.0) was about that very question.
wow thanks for finding that, might pick em up if i get the chance (next time i'm in a bookstore that carries 'em)
i think i'll stick with at least the 6 ones written by Frank if at all


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 03, 2008, 08:15:59 AM
I haven't had time to read [The Black Hole] yet, but it sits there taunting me.  It waits to suck me into it's gravitational pull.

Ugg, that was cheesy!

Kind of like the movie, you mean?   ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on October 03, 2008, 09:20:51 AM
It's definitely closer to the stuff he did for Coraline, except it seems to be entwined or border the text for a few pages at the beginnng of each chapter, instead of just the first page.  I didn't look too closely, because I wanted to wait 'til I read it to get the full impact, but what I did see looked cool.

That sounds fantastic. I like McKean's art myself. I must lay hands on this tome, stat.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on October 03, 2008, 10:00:16 PM
I finally gave in today and picked up The Black Hole.

I was surprised at how short it was, 212 pages.

The only minor gripe I had with it was the poor job of editing.  Nothing major, but there were a few instances where the editing brought the story to a complete halt.

I don't remember the movie.  I was 5 when I saw it.  I remember some of the robots, especially B.O.B. and Maximillan.  I guess I'll have to find a copy and watch it.

All in all, if it was shorter, I think it would fit right in on Escapepod. 

If you are looking for a short book, go ahead and pick it up. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on October 04, 2008, 12:31:21 PM
I just finished "Stranger in a Strange Land" yesterday and didn't hate it quite as much as I did 25+ years ago.  I do have a better idea now of why I hated it so much the first time.  I don't think it stands up to the test of time very well.

I am now reading "The Last Colony" by John Scalzi.  It's part of my project to read all the 2008 Hugo nominated novels now that they're all out in paperback.  All I have left after this is "Halting State" by Charles Stross.  "The Last Colony" is going pretty fast and I'll probably finish reading it this weekend.  It's a fun book, but isn't really Hugo worthy.  So far, I still think "Brasyl" by Ian McDonald should have won. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 06, 2008, 04:26:44 PM
I just finished "Stranger in a Strange Land" yesterday and didn't hate it quite as much as I did 25+ years ago.  I do have a better idea now of why I hated it so much the first time.  I don't think it stands up to the test of time very well.


What I love about Heinlein's myriad of universes is that every one of them is at least a little different than the last, and as such, you get a little different view with each book. Though his books were all written before I was really into SF, I still enjoy almost all of them EVEN THOUGH they're dated. I like to see where Heinlein said "okay, x years in the future, y happens, so now history will be this way." SiSL was my first Heinlein book, and I found it pretty hard to follow at first because they have all this futuristic stuff, but hey, wait, Mike works at a circus? WTF? Still liked it though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 06, 2008, 04:27:21 PM
HG Wells, "The Island of Dr. Moreau"

I need to pick up some of Verne's works. I've never read Around the World in 80 Days.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 06, 2008, 04:53:09 PM
Finished Heaven's Bones, which I really liked.  Now, I'm moving onto The Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060530928/escapepod-20) and Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061649457/escapepod-20).  I read the first two stories from 20th Century Ghosts -- holy crap, they're good!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarkey on October 06, 2008, 08:32:32 PM
Finished Heaven's Bones, which I really liked.  Now, I'm moving onto The Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/Graveyard-Book-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0060530928/ref=pd_cp_b_1?pf_rd_p=413864201&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0061551899&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=090KCWY0E64V5SV8TDQ9) and Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts (http://www.amazon.com/20th-Century-Ghosts-Joe-Hill/dp/0061649457/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223329930&sr=1-4).  I read the first two stories from 20th Century Ghosts -- holy crap, they're good!

Oh I loved, loved, loved 20th Century Ghosts.  I do believe, heritage notwithstanding, Joe Hill is my favorite horror writer atm.  Caitlin Kiernan is a close second, but she has some tics that work my nerves from time to time.  It's amazing how versatile the stories in 20th Century Ghosts are, too.  He's all over the map and nailing it on the head everywhere.  Wait 'till you get to the Bradbury homage!  It's totally lovely.

Did you read Heart-Shaped Box?  Because it's really riveting, too. 

I need to buy The Graveyard Book.  Maybe this week.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on October 06, 2008, 10:15:37 PM
Finished Heaven's Bones, which I really liked.  Now, I'm moving onto The Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/Graveyard-Book-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0060530928/ref=pd_cp_b_1?pf_rd_p=413864201&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0061551899&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=090KCWY0E64V5SV8TDQ9) and Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts (http://www.amazon.com/20th-Century-Ghosts-Joe-Hill/dp/0061649457/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223329930&sr=1-4).  I read the first two stories from 20th Century Ghosts -- holy crap, they're good!

Have you read "Heart-Shaped Box"?  I never venture to the horror section, but that book kept popping up on my Amazon recommendations.  When I saw it at the bookstore, I picked it up because it sounded interesting.  It turned out to be a phenomenal novel.  I used to love ghost stories when I was a kid, but have shied away from horror novels because I don't like too much blood & gore.  I prefer psychological horror and that's what Joe Hill delivers. 

"20th Century Ghosts" reminds me of "The Twilight Zone" in the variety of it's stories.  Some are straight-up horror, some are bittersweet, and all are terrific.

I think Joe Hill is my new must-read author.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on October 06, 2008, 10:17:14 PM
LOL!  I posted before I read Anarkey's post.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 07, 2008, 10:36:06 AM
No, I haven't picked up Heart-Shaped Box yet but I'm pretty sure it will be one of the next novels I pick up.  Nice to hear you both like it, though :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 07, 2008, 10:55:35 AM
I was about to post, "didn't he write "Heart-Shaped Box"? 

Then I read over the recent posts more carefully.   :P


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: eytanz on October 09, 2008, 07:03:07 PM
Huh, it looks like I haven't posted in this thread in ages...

I'm currently reading Guy Gavriel Kay's Ysabel, which - well, if you like Kay already, you'll like this, if you don't, it won't change your mind. It's a different setting than his normal stuff (being set in modern times), but still very recognizable.

Before that I read Patricia A. McKillip's The Bell At Sealey Head - McKillip is a somewhat uneven writer, with some of her novels being wonderful and others being too convoluted and obscure. This one was firmly in the "wonderful" camp. It's also a good introduction to McKillip's work and writing style if you're not familiar with her already, so I strongly recommend it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: ryos on October 10, 2008, 02:26:36 AM
What am I reading, at the moment? Textbooks. :(

I also read far too many RSS feeds.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on October 11, 2008, 06:12:16 PM
Halfway through the Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061551899/escapepod-20) audiobook version.  I always listen to Gaiman's books in audio rather than text, because it's actually his preferred format - and he always reads them himself unless he pictures someone else in particular being the voice of the character, then he gets them to do it.

Anyway, the Graveyard Book is indeed a gothy retake on The Jungle Book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0954510399/escapepod-20).  Just replace "Jungle" with "Graveyard", "Wolves" with "Ghosts", "Black Panther" with "Vampire", and Shere Khan with a kind of mystic serial killer. 

Don't get me wrong - I think that's a good thing.  I adore the Jungle Book, and the parallels aren't close enough that I can predict the plot or anything (though on the chapter with the monkeysghouls it came close.  Mostly it's just really well written and engaging, in a children's story sort of way.  And I do think it's actually appropriate for children, though I'm sure many would disagree.  Granted, it's going to appeal to kids who already like darker or morbid subject matter - not so much for kids who prefer rainbows and dancing ponies. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 12, 2008, 10:32:34 AM
Halfway through the Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/Graveyard-Book-CD-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0061551899/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223765731&sr=1-2) audiobook version.  I always listen to Gaiman's books in audio rather than text, because it's actually his preferred format - and he always reads them himself unless he pictures someone else in particular being the voice of the character, then he gets them to do it.

What did you think of George Guidall's reading of American Gods?

For my part, it was the first Guidall reading I'd ever heard, and I thought he did a great job.  (I've since listened to his readings of Dune, Frankenstein, and the last 3 books of King's "Dark Tower" epic plus the rewrite of the first.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on October 13, 2008, 12:11:09 AM
I just finished Diana Wynee Jone's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.[/i] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0142407224/escapepod-20[i)  It's a skewering of the conventions of "high fantasy" in the format of a dictionary, which for some reason is called the "Tough Picks" section of the guide. Entries range from "Adept" to "Zombies." Some are hysterical, many are funny, and few are duds.  Best read in short bursts, I think, rather than long sittings.

Now starting: Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1894953479/escapepod-20).  I don't know much about it, because I won it in a drawing at Strange Horizons rather than picking it out myself.  Looks like some seriously geeky humor, though...

Mods, please EP-ize those links...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on October 13, 2008, 08:51:57 AM
Finished Rant (sooo good my GOD i love Palahniuk!)
Starting another one of his, Snuff


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on October 13, 2008, 10:01:09 AM
Finished three more in my Discworld quest: The Last Hero,   The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, and Night Watch.

I started reading The Science of Discworld and found it rather dull.  Do I need to give it more than a few chapters to get going or is it just lame?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on October 13, 2008, 06:38:23 PM
I just finished Diana Wynee Jone's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0142407224/escapepod-20)  It's a skewering of the conventions of "high fantasy" in the format of a dictionary, which for some reason is called the "Tough Picks" section of the guide. Entries range from "Adept" to "Zombies." Some are hysterical, many are funny, and few are duds.  Best read in short bursts, I think, rather than long sittings.



I got a copy of "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland" a couple of months ago.  I'm not sure if I've read it all or not.  I'd read an entry and it would lead me to looking up other entries.  Those entries would lead me to looking up yet other entries.  I'm not sure if that method led to reading all the entries.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on October 13, 2008, 08:24:09 PM
I just finished Caleb Carr's The Alienist.  I found it fascinating and gripping, despite a writing style that occasionally sounded like a parody of historical fiction writing.  It's one of those books outside the SF genre that a lot of SF fans would probably enjoy.

Right now I have two used paperbacks by William Gibson (Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive) on my bookshelf that I've been kind of willing myself to pick up and try.  I've never warmed to Gibson's writing style - I tried and failed to finish Neuromancer years ago - but I really really want to give him a chance before I pass final judgment. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on October 13, 2008, 08:34:38 PM

Right now I have two used paperbacks by William Gibson (Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive) on my bookshelf that I've been kind of willing myself to pick up and try.  I've never warmed to Gibson's writing style - I tried and failed to finish Neuromancer years ago - but I really really want to give him a chance before I pass final judgment. 


Not to pre-judge the thing, but I suspect that if you didn't like Neuromancer, the other two legs of the trilogy aren't going to work for you, either.   I was totally blown away by Neuromancer, and Gibson is one of my reigning favorites, but the books have more similarities than differences. 

If you want to give Gibson a fair shot, go for some of the short story collections. They styles and worlds are more varied. To see if you've warmed to the Neuromancer style and themes with the passage of time, I strongly recommend Burning Chrome (http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Chrome-William-Gibson/dp/0060539828/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223947794&sr=8-1/escapepod-20) The title story is almost a sketch of the Neuromancer world.  If it strikes you better this time around, you can dive back into the novels.  If not, you haven't invested as much time and effort...

Mods, please EP-ize the link...
done


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on October 13, 2008, 09:49:14 PM
I have a love/hate thing will William Gibson.  I've only read three of his books.  I loved, "The Difference Engine".  I loved "Pattern Recognition".  I absolutely hated "Neuromancer".  I just can't figure him out. 



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on October 13, 2008, 10:09:32 PM
Not to pre-judge the thing, but I suspect that if you didn't like Neuromancer, the other two legs of the trilogy aren't going to work for you, either.   I was totally blown away by Neuromancer, and Gibson is one of my reigning favorites, but the books have more similarities than differences. 

Well, I read Neuromancer over a decade ago, when I was in my early teens, and I think my tastes have widened considerably since then.  I've also really enjoyed similarly-themed books by Bruce Sterling and Charles Stross, so I think I'll give Gibson another go.

When an SF author is very well-regarded, I give them several chances to win me over.  I think I finished three Greg Bear novels before deciding he just wasn't to my taste.  I'm always afraid I'll get turned off to an otherwise good author just because I picked up the wrong book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on October 13, 2008, 11:07:33 PM

I got a copy of "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland" a couple of months ago.  I'm not sure if I've read it all or not.  I'd read an entry and it would lead me to looking up other entries.  Those entries would lead me to looking up yet other entries.  I'm not sure if that method led to reading all the entries.


I'm reasonably sure it doesn't, if only because not every entry contains a cross-reference, which would make for at least a few dead-ends. Though I realize that the real question is: "Is every entry in a cross-reference" but that's much harder to figure out.

It took me so long to read little bits at a time that I used a lot of the cross-references to refresh my memory.  And there is the gag involving the "endless quest" entry. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on October 14, 2008, 06:52:31 PM

I got a copy of "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland" a couple of months ago.  I'm not sure if I've read it all or not.  I'd read an entry and it would lead me to looking up other entries.  Those entries would lead me to looking up yet other entries.  I'm not sure if that method led to reading all the entries.


I'm reasonably sure it doesn't, if only because not every entry contains a cross-reference, which would make for at least a few dead-ends. Though I realize that the real question is: "Is every entry in a cross-reference" but that's much harder to figure out.

It took me so long to read little bits at a time that I used a lot of the cross-references to refresh my memory.  And there is the gag involving the "endless quest" entry. 

The endless quest gag was probably the funniest thing in there. 

I'm one of those people who goes to look up something in a dictionary or encyclopedia and ends up reading all all the entries on the page and forgetting what I was looking up.  As I was reading "Tough Guide...", I was doing the same thing.  I didn't just read the reference I looked up, but 4-5 before and after it too.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on October 15, 2008, 06:29:57 PM
Nostrum House Expedition (http://www.jorvikgames.co.uk/index.php?main_page=page&id=19&chapter=33) by our very own Alasdair5000.
It's a 31 part series, one a day, that started on October 1. The segments are short, but well written, and I'm really enjoying the plot. Creepy, and very SF. Wonder if Steve would run it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 15, 2008, 07:19:17 PM
Nostrum House Expedition (http://www.jorvikgames.co.uk/index.php?main_page=page&id=19&chapter=33) by our very own Alasdair5000.
It's a 31 part series, one a day, that started on October 1. The segments are short, but well written, and I'm really enjoying the plot. Creepy, and very SF. Wonder if Steve would run it?

ooooo.  Good call.  Special Halloween episode?  Please?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Thaurismunths on October 16, 2008, 05:36:36 AM
Nostrum House Expedition (http://www.jorvikgames.co.uk/index.php?main_page=page&id=19&chapter=33) by our very own Alasdair5000.
It's a 31 part series, one a day, that started on October 1. The segments are short, but well written, and I'm really enjoying the plot. Creepy, and very SF. Wonder if Steve would run it?

ooooo.  Good call.  Special Halloween episode?  Please?
Wow... how awesome would that be?
I wonder if the Jorvik Games people would be cool with that?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on October 16, 2008, 08:01:34 AM
I'm now about half-way through Juggler of Worlds (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0765318261/escapepod-20) by Niven and Lerner. It's sort of a stand-alone Known Space novel, and sort of a different look at events covered in other stories, and sort of a sequel to Fleet of Worlds. That last is a little confusing, because the events of the two books are basically interspersed, and (so far, at least) there's been no mention of the humans of NP4, though they do appear in the list of characters.

Anyway, the core of the story involves Sigmund Ausfaller, Beowulf Schaffer and Nessus. Interesting, but a lot of it has been dealt with before, so unless you're a completest, I don't think I'd recommend it too highly.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Swamp on October 16, 2008, 10:35:53 AM
I have listened to the first 7 or so chapters of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  So far it is very entertaining and well written.  So far NASA's Mars Rovers have found evidence of the civilizations described on Mars, but they haven't looked everywhere yet.
I think the novel was written around 1910.  This is the first time I have actually read/listened to anything from Burroughs, and he tells a compelling story.

So far NASA's Mars Rovers have found evidence of the civilizations described on Mars, but they haven't looked everywhere yet.
I think the novel was written around 1910.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on October 16, 2008, 11:12:58 AM
I have listened to the first 7 or so chapters of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  So far it is very entertaining and well written. 
That series was one of the first set of "grownup" books I ever read.  I loved all of them (except #11 which even I knew then that Mr. Burroughs never wrote it).  It was first published in 1912 as a serial, and 1917 as a book.

ERB's use of descriptive language is fantastic.  I enjoy re-reading them, though some of the language is dated (I giggled occasionally as a teenager when one of his characters expressed something forcefully - "I won't allow it," John Carter ejaculated!)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on October 19, 2008, 01:39:52 PM
well I am not reading them, yet... but i went to a big book sale yesterday where everything was between $0.50 and $2.00
sooooo
i got
2001: A Space Oddyssey
2010
2061
3001
Jurassic Park
The Andromeda Strain
Halo: First Strike (hey why not, and i LOVE Halo)
Planet of the Apes
The Darwin Awards II (for a friend but i'll probably read it before i give it up ha)
and finally, 6 Gary Larson: Far Side comics (my GOD i love these)
and the day before i bought Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

sooo i think next up after Snuff is Lullaby then... i duno.

oh and all these books put together (not Lullaby) was $13.25 :D
Lullaby was $14 at the UF bookstore haha

edit: forgot to mention, also included in the $13.25 is a book on electricity for my roommate, thought he might like it.  Tis called Electricity: Principles and Applications


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on October 19, 2008, 10:17:53 PM
well I am not reading them, yet... but i went to a big book sale yesterday where everything was between $0.50 and $2.00
sooooo
i got
2001: A Space Oddyssey
2010
2061
3001

It's been a while since I read these.  I seem to recall enjoying them, especially some of the minor details in 3001.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 19, 2008, 11:58:15 PM
and the day before i bought Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk


Palahniuk's my homeboy.  Portland, represent!  :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on October 20, 2008, 07:36:35 AM
Finished Juggler of Worlds. There is some new plot at the end, but not enough to be worth buying a hardback for. If you read Crashlander and came out of it with a burning desire to know more about Sigmund Ausfaller, this is the book for you. Otherwise, not so much.

Now I'm on to Greg Egan's Incandescence (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1597801283/escapepod-20). I previously read his Disaspora, and, while I like my science-fiction hard, I felt like I needed a degree in n-dimensional geometry to get the best out of it. So I wasn't looking to pick up anything else by him, but I read this (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2008/07/22/the-big-idea-greg-egan/), and it made it sound pretty interesting. I'm a handful of chapters in, and so far it makes (some) sense.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on October 20, 2008, 09:37:46 AM
Yeah, so not of much interest to most of you, but...

I just finished Harrington on Hold'em Vol 1, and am moving on to Vol 2.  Also, I've got The Psychology of Poker on deck.  These books are from 2 + 2 Publishing, who do a good job on poker books.  As a book nut, I really appreciate the high quality paper used in these books.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 20, 2008, 03:53:07 PM
well I am not reading them, yet... but i went to a big book sale yesterday where everything was between $0.50 and $2.00
sooooo
i got
2001: A Space Oddyssey
2010
2061
3001

It's been a while since I read these.  I seem to recall enjoying them, especially some of the minor details in 3001.

2061 was very disappointing to me, and 3001 I didn't follow at all.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on October 20, 2008, 03:57:18 PM
Finally finished HG Wells's "The Island of Dr. Moreau". Very blah. The narrator was just too blase about everything. Also, I don't think he CHANGED in any way except to become more fearful throughout the story.

Also re-read the graphic novel version of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" by Alan Moore et al. The second chapter is much bawdier than I remember.

Re-read Sergei Lukyanenko's "Night Watch" while on vacation. As good as ever, though the third story seems a little schizophrenic, like the author wanted to tell two separate stories -- Anton's story, and the story of Tiger Cub's dacha.

Now reading the second in that series, "Day Watch", by the same author. Because he's established the characters in other stories, the second one (the Rogoza story) has some odd-seeming interludes with Anton and the Night Watch, and the whole concept of Rogoza is poorly-conceived, but the first story, with Alisa, is worth it, and I seem to remember liking the third as well.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on October 23, 2008, 05:11:56 AM
Currently most of the way through Darkly Dreaming Dexter having got into the TV show on the second year.  Really good, horrific in a detached, almost calm way.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 23, 2008, 08:20:09 AM
Tuesday (two nights ago) I read the first book of Runaways: Vol. 2 which collects the first six issues.  Sadly, my library does not have any more.  :(

Also started Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace the other night after finishing the comic.  The man sure loved his footnotes!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on October 23, 2008, 09:06:58 AM
Just finished a couple of Lee Child's Reacher novels (yeah, yeah, not lofty intellectual stuff, but fun, so. :p). Very addictive. Currently working on an urban fantasy anthology called "Paper Cities," and have a Chuck Klosterman book, "Killing yourself to live" up next. I also recently finished a very very short but entertaining Warren Ellis graphic novel, 'Orbiter.' (Seriously, I think I read the whole thing in about 15 minutes).

Not long ago I finished a rather excellent anthology, 'Year's Best Fantasy 8.' The first three stories are from Holly Black, Michael Moorcock and Neil Gaiman, if that gives you some idea of it's awesomeness. :) One of the best anthologies I've read in quite a while. I really must recommend it.

 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on October 23, 2008, 02:26:56 PM
Currently most of the way through Darkly Dreaming Dexter having got into the TV show on the second year.  Really good, horrific in a detached, almost calm way.

Were you waiting for that number, or did you just luck into it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on October 23, 2008, 04:47:00 PM
Just Finied "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It had it's strong points, but I was not impressed.  I should have researched it a bit more before buying.  Stories that largley revolve around child protagonists don't normally do much for me.  I really didn't care for the depiction of the villian.  He was absurdly one-dimensional, would have twisted his moustache if he'd had one.  I liked the ending, but the most fascinating character in the novel was just under-developed.  He apparently got his own treatment in "A Deepness In The Sky," a prequal.  I liked him enough that I might pick it up, despite the weeknesses of the first novel.
Now working on "Anathem," buy Neal Stephenson, and listening to "Altered Carbon," by Richard K. Morgan via my subscription to www.audible.com (http://www.audible.com) .  I also scored a free copy of "Reality Dysfunction" by Peter F. Hamilton.  I'd be reading it now, but I'd already started on Anathem when I found out I had it, courtesy of Orbit Books --> www.orbitbooks.net (http://www.orbitbooks.net).
Anathem looks to be very interesting so far.  Neat ideas, but I'm only about 100 pages in.
Altered Carbon is amazing.  Very noir.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Alasdair5000 on October 23, 2008, 05:22:54 PM
Currently most of the way through Darkly Dreaming Dexter having got into the TV show on the second year.  Really good, horrific in a detached, almost calm way.

Were you waiting for that number, or did you just luck into it?

Pure...blind...luck:)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on October 23, 2008, 05:53:54 PM
Pure...blind...luck:)

Or maybe it was supernatural...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on October 23, 2008, 06:31:30 PM
Just finished Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1894953479/escapepod-20).  If you can imagine a tour through the lands of Faerie covered by the staff of Wired magazine, reporting on a zombie invasion by the protaganist of The Devil Wears Prada, and the output of a hapless technical writer assigned the job of getting parts of the technicall parts of The Serpent and the Rainbow in a more consumer-friendly format, you can visualize Installing Linux on a Dead Badger

The diminutive book is a collection of short stories, most of them previously published in Strange Horizons.  Most --  but not all -- deal with the interaction between technology, magic and office work.  If you thought the economic implications of competing with people who have a much lower standard of living were difficult, try getting your head around the implications of competing with labor that has no standard of living because it isn't even alive. My favorite stories were the ones that used absolutely deadpan, serious-journalist delivery to describe an increasingly incongrous situation, like the FBI agent commenting on what may or may not be a Troll Porn distribution ring: "The Bureau will take decisive action, as soon as we figure out what the hell we're looking at." 

There's one semiserious horror piece and a slightly whacked-out SF romance, neither of which really seem to fit with the rest of the stories, but are at least OK on their own.  All in all, good techno-geek fun in a small package.

After the break for Installing Linux, it's back to some serious stuff with A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345384563/escapepod-20)  by Karen Armstrong


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on October 23, 2008, 10:01:41 PM
Just Finied "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It had it's strong points, but I was not impressed.  I should have researched it a bit more before buying.  Stories that largley revolve around child protagonists don't normally do much for me.  I really didn't care for the depiction of the villian.  He was absurdly one-dimensional, would have twisted his moustache if he'd had one.  I liked the ending, but the most fascinating character in the novel was just under-developed.  He apparently got his own treatment in "A Deepness In The Sky," a prequal.  I liked him enough that I might pick it up, despite the weeknesses of the first novel.
Now working on "Anathem," buy Neal Stephenson, and listening to "Altered Carbon," by Richard K. Morgan via my subscription to www.audible.com (http://www.audible.com) .  I also scored a free copy of "Reality Dysfunction" by Peter F. Hamilton.  I'd be reading it now, but I'd already started on Anathem when I found out I had it, courtesy of Orbit Books --> www.orbitbooks.net (http://www.orbitbooks.net).
Anathem looks to be very interesting so far.  Neat ideas, but I'm only about 100 pages in.
Altered Carbon is amazing.  Very noir.

Excellent choice in Altered carbon! The sequels are amazing also, as is his other recent sci fi novel 'Thirteen'.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on October 23, 2008, 11:20:53 PM
Just Finied "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It had it's strong points, but I was not impressed.  I should have researched it a bit more before buying.  Stories that largley revolve around child protagonists don't normally do much for me.  I really didn't care for the depiction of the villian.  He was absurdly one-dimensional, would have twisted his moustache if he'd had one.  I liked the ending, but the most fascinating character in the novel was just under-developed.  He apparently got his own treatment in "A Deepness In The Sky," a prequal.  I liked him enough that I might pick it up, despite the weeknesses of the first novel.
Now working on "Anathem," buy Neal Stephenson, and listening to "Altered Carbon," by Richard K. Morgan via my subscription to www.audible.com (http://www.audible.com) .  I also scored a free copy of "Reality Dysfunction" by Peter F. Hamilton.  I'd be reading it now, but I'd already started on Anathem when I found out I had it, courtesy of Orbit Books --> www.orbitbooks.net (http://www.orbitbooks.net).
Anathem looks to be very interesting so far.  Neat ideas, but I'm only about 100 pages in.
Altered Carbon is amazing.  Very noir.

Excellent choice in Altered carbon! The sequels are amazing also, as is his other recent sci fi novel 'Thirteen'.

I haven't read Thirteen yet, but I loved his Kovacs books.  That said, stay away from Market Forces. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on October 24, 2008, 03:37:07 AM
After the break for Installing Linux, it's back to some serious stuff with A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345384563/escapepod-20)  by Karen Armstrong

If you go up thread to my first or second post, you will find that book.  I still haven't finished it.  I run into the problem that I want to remember everything she writes.  If I read to much, I forget too much.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on October 24, 2008, 06:56:04 AM
Just Finied "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It had it's strong points, but I was not impressed.  I should have researched it a bit more before buying.  Stories that largley revolve around child protagonists don't normally do much for me.  I really didn't care for the depiction of the villian.  He was absurdly one-dimensional, would have twisted his moustache if he'd had one.  I liked the ending, but the most fascinating character in the novel was just under-developed.  He apparently got his own treatment in "A Deepness In The Sky," a prequal.  I liked him enough that I might pick it up, despite the weeknesses of the first novel.
Now working on "Anathem," buy Neal Stephenson, and listening to "Altered Carbon," by Richard K. Morgan via my subscription to www.audible.com (http://www.audible.com) .  I also scored a free copy of "Reality Dysfunction" by Peter F. Hamilton.  I'd be reading it now, but I'd already started on Anathem when I found out I had it, courtesy of Orbit Books --> www.orbitbooks.net (http://www.orbitbooks.net).
Anathem looks to be very interesting so far.  Neat ideas, but I'm only about 100 pages in.
Altered Carbon is amazing.  Very noir.

Excellent choice in Altered carbon! The sequels are amazing also, as is his other recent sci fi novel 'Thirteen'.
Oh yes.  I'm totally hooked.  I'll probably buy this in print as well.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on October 24, 2008, 07:05:19 AM
Just Finied "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It had it's strong points, but I was not impressed.  I should have researched it a bit more before buying.  Stories that largley revolve around child protagonists don't normally do much for me.  I really didn't care for the depiction of the villian.  He was absurdly one-dimensional, would have twisted his moustache if he'd had one.  I liked the ending, but the most fascinating character in the novel was just under-developed.  He apparently got his own treatment in "A Deepness In The Sky," a prequal.  I liked him enough that I might pick it up, despite the weeknesses of the first novel.

I really enjoyed "A Deepness in the Sky".  Pham Nuwen is quite the omni-competent ass-kicking interstellar hero.  But be forewarned that the two chief villains are just as one-dimensionally evil as Lord Steel was in "A Fire upon the Deep".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on October 24, 2008, 07:56:03 AM
After the break for Installing Linux, it's back to some serious stuff with A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345384563/escapepod-20)  by Karen Armstrong

If you go up thread to my first or second post, you will find that book.  I still haven't finished it.  I run into the problem that I want to remember everything she writes.  If I read to much, I forget too much.


I just read the introduction last night.  I'll let you know how it goes...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on October 24, 2008, 04:57:45 PM
Just Finied "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It had it's strong points, but I was not impressed.  I should have researched it a bit more before buying.  Stories that largley revolve around child protagonists don't normally do much for me.  I really didn't care for the depiction of the villian.  He was absurdly one-dimensional, would have twisted his moustache if he'd had one.  I liked the ending, but the most fascinating character in the novel was just under-developed.  He apparently got his own treatment in "A Deepness In The Sky," a prequal.  I liked him enough that I might pick it up, despite the weeknesses of the first novel.

I really enjoyed "A Deepness in the Sky".  Pham Nuwen is quite the omni-competent ass-kicking interstellar hero.  But be forewarned that the two chief villains are just as one-dimensionally evil as Lord Steel was in "A Fire upon the Deep".
I see you had no trouble figuring out which villain I was talking about :)
That's a shame about the villains, though.  At times, Vinge's prose is just beutiful, and some of his characters have amazing depth and roundness.  Others just seem to fall flat.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on October 24, 2008, 07:41:36 PM
Just Finied "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It had it's strong points, but I was not impressed.  I should have researched it a bit more before buying.  Stories that largley revolve around child protagonists don't normally do much for me.  I really didn't care for the depiction of the villian.  He was absurdly one-dimensional, would have twisted his moustache if he'd had one.  I liked the ending, but the most fascinating character in the novel was just under-developed.  He apparently got his own treatment in "A Deepness In The Sky," a prequal.  I liked him enough that I might pick it up, despite the weeknesses of the first novel.
I really enjoyed "A Deepness in the Sky".  Pham Nuwen is quite the omni-competent ass-kicking interstellar hero.  But be forewarned that the two chief villains are just as one-dimensionally evil as Lord Steel was in "A Fire upon the Deep".
I see you had no trouble figuring out which villain I was talking about :)
That's a shame about the villains, though.  At times, Vinge's prose is just beutiful, and some of his characters have amazing depth and roundness.  Others just seem to fall flat.

I'll go so far as to say that, reading "A Fire upon the Deep", I had some trouble at first figuring out the motivation and background of the different Tine groups simply because I expected there to be a lot more moral ambiguity than there actually was.  I really didn't think Vinge would make it as simple as "These aliens = Good.  Those aliens = Evil".  But he did.  I still enjoyed the book, though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 24, 2008, 09:45:35 PM
Got the last four volumes of Battle Angel Alita from the library today, and started "Angel of Death".

Also still reading DFW's Consider the Lobster -- got as far as the Kafka essay last night.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on October 24, 2008, 11:37:03 PM
After the break for Installing Linux, it's back to some serious stuff with A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345384563/escapepod-20)  by Karen Armstrong

If you go up thread to my first or second post, you will find that book.  I still haven't finished it.  I run into the problem that I want to remember everything she writes.  If I read to much, I forget too much.


Wow, that was last January.  I'm hoping to move a bit faster than that. I have some rather urgent thinking to do on the subject.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wolvesdread on October 25, 2008, 05:02:17 PM
My todo list of books is sixty three books deep and consists entirely of hwa.org bramstoker award winners and nominees that I haven't managed to read yet..
http://allthingshorrible.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-todo-book-list.html (http://allthingshorrible.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-todo-book-list.html) 
The complete list:
http://www.horror.org/stokerwinnom.htm (http://www.horror.org/stokerwinnom.htm)
Not on the list, but currently on my nightstand is:
Kill Whitey, by Brian Keene
http://www.cemeterydance.com/sh/keene01.html (http://www.cemeterydance.com/sh/keene01.html)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Nt 2 B TKN INTRNLY on October 25, 2008, 08:43:47 PM
I'm reading Asimov's "The Naked Sun" and "The Gods Themselves", somehow at the same time...

I just finished a compilation of 007 stories and "Space", by James A Michener. The 007 stories were great; I found them much better than the movies. Connory was definitely the best Bond. On the other hand, I found "Space" a little boring and lacking... Something.

I got that feeling that there was something missing from the book, but I'm not quite sure what it was.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 26, 2008, 12:58:05 AM
I'm reading Asimov's "The Naked Sun" and "The Gods Themselves", somehow at the same time...
... "Space", by James A Michener. ..., I found "Space" a little boring and lacking... Something.

I got that feeling that there was something missing from the book, but I'm not quite sure what it was.

Compelling characters?  An interesting plot?  Something to make the book even marginally worth reading?  All of the above?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: thomasowenm on October 26, 2008, 08:59:10 AM
I found "Space" a little boring and lacking... Something.

I got that feeling that there was something missing from the book, but I'm not quite sure what it was.

It's been about ten years since I read it but if I remember the politics bogged down the narrative, and 200 pages of a heretic preacher didn't add to it.  Maybe it wasn't what was lacking but what was not edited out.

Generally I like Mitchner's books though they are usually long for no reason except that people  demanded long form books from him.  The Eagle and the Raven and Journey were two that books that were edits from larger works.  Texas and Alaska respectively.    Each of those books were nice alone, but 200 to 300 pages of added length would have made it more unwieldly.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 26, 2008, 10:21:23 AM
Generally I like Mitchner's books though they are usually long for no reason except that people  demanded long form books from him.  The Eagle and the Raven and Journey were two that books that were edits from larger works.  Texas and Alaska respectively.    Each of those books were nice alone, but 200 to 300 pages of added length would have made it more unwieldly.

So his works would actually be improved in Readers Digest Condensed Versions?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Nt 2 B TKN INTRNLY on October 26, 2008, 01:40:07 PM

It's been about ten years since I read it but if I remember the politics bogged down the narrative, and 200 pages of a heretic preacher didn't add to it.  Maybe it wasn't what was lacking but what was not edited out.

I'd have to say that that was probably it. I suppose that I've been spoiled by short stories, into wanting something that's quick and strait to the point. Also, it wasn't really my generation, so yah. Most of the politics involved are lost on me. Maybe I'll re-read it in a few years.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: thomasowenm on October 26, 2008, 02:03:11 PM

So his works would actually be improved in Readers Digest Condensed Versions?

Some of my best book reports in high school came from Readers Digest condensed books. ;D 
I do think they could be easily sliced down from 800 to 350 page novels without any loss of content, but then it would not be a michner novel.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on October 27, 2008, 09:48:16 AM

So his works would actually be improved in Readers Digest Condensed Versions?

Some of my best book reports in high school came from Readers Digest condensed books. ;D 
I do think they could be easily sliced down from 800 to 350 page novels without any loss of content, but then it would not be a michner novel.

More to the point ... could a Readers Digest Condensed book be reconstituted by adding a can of milk or water?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on October 31, 2008, 01:49:38 PM
Finished reading Incandescence (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1597801283/escapepod-20). It was better than Diaspora (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061057983/escapepod-20), but it still didn't make me want to rush out and buy more of Egan's work. Early on, it suffers from using too many made-up words in too short a space of time, but I'm not sure you could describe a non-euclidian coordinate system in normal words. The science was a little dense, but I found it entirely grokable, which is quite an achievement.

There are two parallel plotlines, one of post-humans investigating the only true mystery to have cropped up in millions of years, and one of aliens trying to figure out the basic rules of physics (and incidentally save their world from being destroyed). The obvious expectation is that the two groups will meet at the end, and the two plots will merge into one, but this never happens. Instead, we're given a strong hint about how the two are related, but I'm not convinced that it makes sense unless the Splinter managed to move from a neutron star to a supermassive black hole without requiring any major physical (or biological) changes...

Anyway, decent book. It'll keep all the relativity-nerds out there happy. And now I'm back to the fourth of Turtledove's Worldwar series.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Hobart Floyt on October 31, 2008, 10:55:44 PM
Just finished Mindscan by Robert J Sawyer. I am reading The Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman now and I intend to read An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe next.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on November 13, 2008, 01:36:11 PM
Reading "He, She, and It" by Marge Piercy. SF set in the mid-21st century but written in 1990, so it's a very different view than I remembered from the last time I read it. Jewish SF, no less.

Also reading Sandman I: Preludes and Nocturnes.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on November 14, 2008, 02:07:03 PM
I'm *still* reading Anathem, by Neal Stephenson.  I'd better get course credit for this damn thing.

I now know how to read orbital coordinates.  DO NOT WANT.  I was almost 300 pages in before Mr. Stephenson decided to let us in on the whole bloody point of the book.  It's a credit to the quality of his prose that I'm still reading it.  If he didn't write so well, I would have given up already.

Also, just started Peter F. Hamilton's "Reality Dysfunction."  I'm 15 pages in and there has already been epic ship to ship space combat and a planet bombarded into extinction from orbit.  Utterly loving it.  I could just squee with delight.  Seriously.  Not surprising.  I could gush about Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained for days.
You see, Hamilton writes really well AND tells a good story.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wintermute on November 14, 2008, 02:23:31 PM
Also, just started Peter F. Hamilton's "Reality Dysfunction."

I love the Night's Dawn Trilogy. My only issue with it is that the last 90 pages or so of the final volume covers about as much territory as any of the 1000 page volumes. I suspect that his agent / publisher point-blank refused to let him stretch it out into a fourth volume, so an amout of plot about equal to The Lord of the Rings got squeezed into a couple of chapters.

Check out his Mindstar trilogy, for post-apocalyptic psychic detective goodness.
Mindstar Rising (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0812590562/escapepod-20)
A Quantum Murder (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0812555244/escapepod-20)
The Nano Flower (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0812577698/escapepod-20)

I'm a huge fan of Hamilton, even after Misspent Youth ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: eytanz on November 14, 2008, 02:25:52 PM
Also, just started Peter F. Hamilton's "Reality Dysfunction."

I love the Night's Dawn Trilogy. My only issue with it is that the last 90 pages or so of the final volume covers about as much territory as any of the 1000 page volumes. I suspect that his agent / publisher point-blank refused to let him stretch it out into a fourth volume, so an amout of plot about equal to The Lord of the Rings got squeezed into a couple of chapters.

Yes, I agree - it's a great series, but the ending is really, really rushed. And kinda Deus-Ex-Machina-ish, which is especially noticable given how fast it goes - after 1000 pages of set up, something happens that just solves everything at once in a few pages.

Hamilton's Pandora Star doublet is also excellent. Better than Night's Dawn trilogy, in my opinion, in many respects. He also has a new trilogy set up in the same universe as Pandora's Star, but I haven't picked it up yet (the second book just came out, I forget it's name).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on November 14, 2008, 02:36:03 PM
Hamilton's Pandora Star doublet is also excellent. Better than Night's Dawn trilogy, in my opinion, in many respects. He also has a new trilogy set up in the same universe as Pandora's Star, but I haven't picked it up yet (the second book just came out, I forget it's name).
Yeah, about that new trilogy:  I read the "sample" chapter, and it just totaly left me flat.  Apparently, it moves a century or three into the future of the PS/JU setting.  I read the timeline he has posted on his site, and it helped me understand what I was reading, but I just couldn't get interested, and his fiction usually grabs me a lot faster.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of "Nights Dawn."

Has anybody else read "Anathem"?  Am I beating my head against a wall, or should I stick with it?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on November 14, 2008, 02:56:56 PM
Has anybody else read "Anathem"?  Am I beating my head against a wall, or should I stick with it?

Do you feel like you're beating your head against a wall?  If so, then you probably are :)

I'm not nuts about Stephenson like some people, but I've heard even die-hard fans struggle with that one.  (Though I heard the same thing about the Baroque Cycle.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on November 15, 2008, 10:46:26 AM
I'm reading "The Anubis Gates" by Tim Powers.  I'm on page 100 and I still don't know what to think.  It's a much easier read than "Declare" though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on November 15, 2008, 11:10:57 AM
I'm *still* reading Anathem, by Neal Stephenson.  I'd better get course credit for this damn thing.

I now know how to read orbital coordinates.  DO NOT WANT.  I was almost 300 pages in before Mr. Stephenson decided to let us in on the whole bloody point of the book.

Your first time reading Stephenson, eh?  :D


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on November 15, 2008, 04:24:00 PM
I'm *still* reading Anathem, by Neal Stephenson.  I'd better get course credit for this damn thing.

I now know how to read orbital coordinates.  DO NOT WANT.  I was almost 300 pages in before Mr. Stephenson decided to let us in on the whole bloody point of the book.

Your first time reading Stephenson, eh?  :D
Yes, actually.  I guess this is what I get for not reading the reviews first.  ;)
I suppose it's not terrible.  I'm just not sold on the pacing.  Nice premise, interesting characters.  They just...never...do...anything.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on November 15, 2008, 06:06:42 PM
I'm *still* reading Anathem, by Neal Stephenson.  I'd better get course credit for this damn thing.

I now know how to read orbital coordinates.  DO NOT WANT.  I was almost 300 pages in before Mr. Stephenson decided to let us in on the whole bloody point of the book.

Your first time reading Stephenson, eh?  :D
Yes, actually.  I guess this is what I get for not reading the reviews first.  ;)
I suppose it's not terrible.  I'm just not sold on the pacing.  Nice premise, interesting characters.  They just...never...do...anything.

I made it through the Baroque Cycle, which is a good deal longer and possibly more dense in parts (the court intrigue book of the first part), but I've always found the journey leads to a worthy destination.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on November 15, 2008, 06:28:50 PM
I really want to read "Anathem", but I'm going to wait for the paperback.  I read "Snow Crash" 10+ years ago and again this year.  It was really tough going the first time, but it really stuck with me.  I was kind of lukewarm about "Zodiac".  I need to read "Quicksilver" sometime before December starts for a book group discussion.  I think "Quicksilver" will determine whether or not I continue reading Stephenson. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on November 15, 2008, 07:45:42 PM
I really want to read "Anathem", but I'm going to wait for the paperback.  I read "Snow Crash" 10+ years ago and again this year.  It was really tough going the first time, but it really stuck with me.  I was kind of lukewarm about "Zodiac".  I need to read "Quicksilver" sometime before December starts for a book group discussion.  I think "Quicksilver" will determine whether or not I continue reading Stephenson. 

Quicksilver has a dead chunk of a little over a hundred pages a little over half-way through, so be forewarned on that.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on November 15, 2008, 11:00:36 PM
I really want to read "Anathem", but I'm going to wait for the paperback.  I read "Snow Crash" 10+ years ago and again this year.  It was really tough going the first time, but it really stuck with me.  I was kind of lukewarm about "Zodiac".  I need to read "Quicksilver" sometime before December starts for a book group discussion.  I think "Quicksilver" will determine whether or not I continue reading Stephenson. 

Quicksilver has a dead chunk of a little over a hundred pages a little over half-way through, so be forewarned on that.


Is it a 100 page infodump or is there just nothing happening?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on November 15, 2008, 11:19:07 PM
I finished Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace last week, and started in on the Trigun manga.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on November 16, 2008, 06:23:26 AM
I really want to read "Anathem", but I'm going to wait for the paperback.  I read "Snow Crash" 10+ years ago and again this year.  It was really tough going the first time, but it really stuck with me.  I was kind of lukewarm about "Zodiac".  I need to read "Quicksilver" sometime before December starts for a book group discussion.  I think "Quicksilver" will determine whether or not I continue reading Stephenson. 

Quicksilver has a dead chunk of a little over a hundred pages a little over half-way through, so be forewarned on that.


Is it a 100 page infodump or is there just nothing happening?

It's been a while, but I recall thinking that I'd never waited quite so long for a plot to coalesce as when I read Baroque Cycle.  There's a huge chunk in the first third of "Quicksilver" which takes its sweet time telling us about Daniel Waterhouse's education and early career in 17th-century England. 

And I'm going to admit I just lapped it up.  I like Neal Stephenson's writing style.  I can see someone really disliking him, though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on November 16, 2008, 10:22:22 AM
It's been a while, but I recall thinking that I'd never waited quite so long for a plot to coalesce as when I read Baroque Cycle.  There's a huge chunk in the first third of "Quicksilver" which takes its sweet time telling us about Daniel Waterhouse's education and early career in 17th-century England. 

And I'm going to admit I just lapped it up.  I like Neal Stephenson's writing style.  I can see someone really disliking him, though.

I recall years ago somebody in a newsgroup I read complained about Cryptonomicon.  Specifically the part about the bicycle chain, though he also complained about the book in general.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on November 16, 2008, 03:38:11 PM
I recall years ago somebody in a newsgroup I read complained about Cryptonomicon.  Specifically the part about the bicycle chain, though he also complained about the book in general.

Er, what exactly was his problem? I feel like I'm reading half a post here.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on November 16, 2008, 04:05:52 PM
I'm re-reading The Stars my Destination, for what must be the 5th time by now.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on November 16, 2008, 07:47:19 PM
I recall years ago somebody in a newsgroup I read complained about Cryptonomicon.  Specifically the part about the bicycle chain, though he also complained about the book in general.

Er, what exactly was his problem? I feel like I'm reading half a post here.

Link to the post (http://groups.google.com/group/alt.support.childfree/browse_frm/thread/4c6d7f6c9dac6388/9851b9aeb026272d?#9851b9aeb026272d)

Quote
Okay, so I'm giving this tome a go this week.  So far I am very not hooked.  Besides the rather abrupt and annoying flipping back and forth between time periods and characters (with similar names), I spent three full pages slogging through an explanation of a mathematical formula that went into tedious detail about bicycle chains and sprocket teeth.

Please tell me this gets better.  I understand that Stephenson is trying to explain mathematical concepts to the reader.  But if understanding various mathematical formulae are going to get integral to the plot, I'm throwing this thing in the garbage right now, because I've spent weeks trying to do that at work, and I'm frigging sick of thinking with that area of my brain when I sit down for an hour's reading of an evening.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on November 17, 2008, 01:43:29 AM
Aw.  So he never even got to the 5 page passage where the hero of Cryptonomicon eats a bowl of Cap'n Crunch.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on November 17, 2008, 08:54:48 AM
I haven't been reading much fiction lately.  I've been studying my poker books.  However, the "Best SF Book" thread made me pick up Citizen of the Galaxy and read it again.  I've also been listening to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

I picked up some B5 books that I haven't read yet at a used bookstore.  They're next on the fiction list.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on November 17, 2008, 09:42:26 AM
A bit of this is for class, a bit for me.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Unknown)
Beowulf (Unknown)
Guards! Guards! (Pratchett)
The Wordy Shipmates (Sarah Vowell) (in progress)
The Canterbury Tales (Chaucer; General Prologue, Miller, Reeve, Wife of Bath, Merchant, Franklin)
The Editorial Page (The Washington Post)
On Writing (Stephen King)

And also on the general subject of reading and writing, I'll list some of the more recent additions to my blogs folder: Romenesko (http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45), Common Sense Journalism (http://commonsensej.blogspot.com/), You Don't Say (http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/), and Language Log (http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/) which at times is far above my skill level in linguistics, but most of it is at least comprehensible.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on November 17, 2008, 09:26:45 PM
I've also been listening to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

Great show.  I finally checked into it two or three months ago after over a year of listening to Common Sense, when I wasn't getting my DC fix often enough.

Unfortunately, Hardcore History comes out even less frequently than Common Sense.  :(


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on November 17, 2008, 11:43:12 PM
A bit of this is for class, a bit for me.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Unknown)
Beowulf (Unknown)
Guards! Guards! (Pratchett)
The Wordy Shipmates (Sarah Vowell) (in progress)
The Canterbury Tales (Chaucer; General Prologue, Miller, Reeve, Wife of Bath, Merchant, Franklin)
The Editorial Page (The Washington Post)
On Writing (Stephen King)

And also on the general subject of reading and writing, I'll list some of the more recent additions to my blogs folder: Romenesko (http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45), Common Sense Journalism (http://commonsensej.blogspot.com/), You Don't Say (http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/), and Language Log (http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/) which at times is far above my skill level in linguistics, but most of it is at least comprehensible.

I hope you're reading the Seamus Heaney translation of "Beowulf".  It's fantastic.

Do you have a good translation of "The Canterbury Tales"?  I took a whole semester class on Chaucer in college and had to read his work in Middle English.  I'd really like to re-read "The Canterbury Tales" in a language I can understand.  ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: bluerequiem on November 18, 2008, 12:48:33 AM
Just finished Watchmen for the first time and am still letting it sink in.  My new bus book is The Pleasure of Finding Things Out by Richard Feynman


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on December 03, 2008, 04:18:58 PM
Finally finished reading Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061147982/escapepod-20), which pretty much blew my mind. There are some incredibly unsettling stories in there with characters who do some really disturbing things.  But it's filled with heart, too, and is really full of humanity.  Definitely worth picking up if anyone's considering it.  I really need to pick up Heart-Shaped Box  (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006114794X/escapepod-20) now.

Currently, I'm reading Charlie Huston's Already Dead (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/034547824X/escapepod-20) and I'm surprised by how much I like it.  For some reason, a part of me wanted not to like it but I just can't.  It's got zombies and vampires in a gang war with each other in a noir setting at a Raymond Chandler pace.  What's not to like?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on December 03, 2008, 06:52:36 PM
finished reading Snuff today
started reading Italo Calvino's "Difficult Loves" (series of short stories)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Hobart Floyt on December 03, 2008, 07:01:05 PM
Finally finished reading Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061147982/escapepod-20), which pretty much blew my mind. There are some incredibly unsettling stories in there with characters who do some really disturbing things.  But it's filled with heart, too, and is really full of humanity.  Definitely worth picking up if anyone's considering it.  I really need to pick up Heart-Shaped Box  (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006114794X/escapepod-20) now.



I completely agree with you about 20th Century Ghosts. I liked Heart Shaped Box as well.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on December 04, 2008, 12:57:01 AM
Finished the Trigun manga a few days ago.  From what I've seen, I prefer the anime.  The manga is drawn in a way that makes the action difficult to follow (a problem I also had when reading Ghost in the Shell.)

Now in the middle of a reread of Watchmen.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on December 11, 2008, 03:18:25 PM
"He, She, and It" by Marge Piercy. Jewish/golem SF.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on December 11, 2008, 08:01:28 PM
Finished Watchmen a few days ago and started into Dayworld by Philip José Farmer.  Also before I started into the novel proper, the introduction mentioned its predecessor short story "The Sliced-Crosswise-Only-On-Tuesday-World" which I was able to find posted online.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on December 12, 2008, 02:14:31 PM
I just finished 'Jimmy the Hand' by Raymond Feist (yes, I read popular fantasy. I'm not ashamed!). It had a few irritating quirks but overall was pretty enjoyable. Brain candy, basically. I'd forgotten how compulsively readable his stuff is.

I recently finished Jack McDevitt's 'The Devil's Eye.'  I don't read a lot of sci fi (I'm a fantasy nerd), but I just love his stuff. I think maybe because he doesnt overdo the technology aspect (which always makes my eyes glaze over). Anyway, the book was, as usual, excellent.  I had the privilege to see him on a panel at I-Con a few years back, he was very funny, engaging and smart. Definitely one of my favorite authors.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on December 12, 2008, 05:56:24 PM
it has come to my attention that this thread is reeeeeally long.
continue.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on December 12, 2008, 08:30:41 PM
it has come to my attention that this thread is reeeeeally long.
continue.

Okie-doke.  Been reading some non-SF Indian lit, in anticipation of a trip around southern India next month.  Akhil Sharma's An Obedient Father is the first full-length novel I've read with a truly repulsive, unlikable, evil protagonist.  I didn't know it was possible to have a readable novel about a character the reader is supposed to deeply loathe.  Sharma manages it by making you feel pity for him, the way you might feel pity for a rabid animal in pain who just mauled your dog to death and is now getting ready to attack a human.  Neat trick.

Also, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Heat and Dust, which won the Booker and got made into a movie and everything.  Jhabvala married into Indian culture, rather than being a native of it, so she can look at India from a newbie Westerner's perspective.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on December 13, 2008, 11:05:28 AM
With trepidation, I started reading "Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson for a science fiction reading group.  I picked up the mass-market paperback and was a bit ticked to find out that it was only 1/3 of the original hardback/trade paperback.  I was enjoying it, so I went ahead and got the trade paperback.  It's only the third Stephenson book I've read.  I thought "Zodiac" was okay, but not great.  "Snow Crash" stuck with me for 15 years and I had to re-read it recently.  It was a difficult read.  So far, "Quicksilver" is a fun read that flows very smoothly.  Stephenson really makes 17th century England come alive.  There doesn't really seem to be a plot, but that's okay.  The book appeals to the English lit major in me and it makes me laugh out loud.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on December 14, 2008, 12:40:58 AM
As of approximately sixty seconds ago, I finished Dayworld, replaced it on my bookshelf, and took its neighboring volume Dayworld Rebel down for reading to begin tomorrow.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on December 15, 2008, 10:05:55 AM
Finished a great, if overlong, HP fanfic called "Worth the Risk" recently.

In real life, I'm reading "Holmes on the Range" by Steve Hockensmith -- two ranchers in Montana, one of whom is a major Holmes fan, try to solve a murder. It's okay.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on January 02, 2009, 05:39:30 PM
Just started Just another Judgement Day- the new Nightside novel by Simon Green. This series is such fun I highly reccomend it for odd minded folk.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on January 02, 2009, 05:51:02 PM
My bathroom reader is Why We Suck by Dennis Leary.

Studying How to Win at Omaha High-Low by Mike Cappelletti and some of my other poker books.

I also read Listener's The Next Time Around, it's the only fiction I've read in some time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 02, 2009, 07:30:35 PM
"Anathem" by Neal Stephenson


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on January 02, 2009, 08:34:18 PM
"Anathem" by Neal Stephenson

Oooh, I want to know what you think when you're done.  I've considered picking this one up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on January 02, 2009, 08:42:44 PM
I just finished reading "Mistborn" by Brandon Sanderson.  I always approach fantasy with caution because so much of it is so derivative and I'm really leary of multi-volume epic quests complete with dungeons and dragons.  "Mistborn" was so refreshing.  Yes, it is the first volume of a series, but the story in "Mistborn" has a well-defined beginning, middle, and end.  No cliffhanger!!!!  I loved that the magic didn't go overboard and the Sanderson didn't spend a lot of time explaining everything about the world.  The extremely detailed information about the world's magic system fit because it was about a young girl learning how to use it.  Her teacher has to explain it to her and she figures some of it out on her own.  I am really looking forward to the next volume and I hope that it's a complete story too.

I kind of set "Quicksilver" aside when I picked up "Mistborn".  I'll be picking that one back up next week.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 02, 2009, 10:16:07 PM
I'm about to reread Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, in preparation for the long-awaited sequel Regenesis that is scheduled for release this month.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on January 02, 2009, 11:06:44 PM

I just finished reading "Mistborn" by Brandon Sanderson. 


FYI, Brandon is one of a trio of writers responsible for the podcast Writing Excuses (http://www.writingexcuses.com/).  (Motto: "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.") It's fun if you have interest in the craft of writing genre fiction. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on January 02, 2009, 11:25:25 PM
I just finished Playing for Keeps (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1934861162/escapepod-20) by Mur Lafferty.  I admit that I bought it mainly because when Mur starts talking, I am so mesmerized by her voice I would probably do almost anything she asks, and when she was gearing up for the book's Amazon launch date, she was asking in lots of places in the podsphere. Despite the fact I'm generally not a huge fan of super-hero fiction, I bought on The Day as requested.  (Yes, I have to hope that Mur and I never meet in person, and that she's made some sort of ethical commitment to Use Her Powers Only For Good. :D)

I can't say too much without entering spoiler territory, but I was pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the situation and the characters. I had expected something much simpler than it turned out to be. While I can't say the setting seems very real to me -- in a relatively short book, something had to get shortchanged, and it was clearly "place" -- it worked well enough to contain the action.  While I'm not nearly as effusive as some of the Amazon reviews, and I certainly wouldn't say it was profound or anything, it was a solid and entertaining piece of work, the plot kept me guessing and the characters got me involved. 

Still working on Karen Armstrong's A History of God and for light snacks in-between: Steampunk (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1892391759/escapepod-20)

Mods please EP-ize those links...

Mod: It is done.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on January 03, 2009, 12:47:20 AM
Slightly off-topic for this topic, but since a lot of the books in here end up getting linked to Amazon I figured it's as good a place as any to reveal the alchemy behind the EP-izing of links. Not to say I'm not happy to do it myself when asked, or if I notice a naked amazon link (...Which, upon my please-no-glaring-typos check reads really dirty), but it's pretty easy to do and it's really easy to figure out if you look at the links themselves, so there's no point keeping it under wraps.

There's really not much. Basically, take the ASIN, plug it into a generator like this one (http://code.llbbl.com/amazon/), and input escapepod-20 as the associate ID.

So, for example, I'm going to be getting a camera bag soon as a late Christmas present to myself to house my small collection of zooms, primes and my flash. I've decided on the Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home, which comes up in my address bar like this: http://www.amazon.com/Crumpler-MILLION-DOLLAR-Shoulder-Oatmeal/dp/B000W8U4GK/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1230960985&sr=8-1

So now I take the string of letters and numbers after /dp/ (B000W8U4GK) and insert them into the generator (http://code.llbbl.com/amazon/), which spits out http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000W8U4GK/escapepod-20 . Now, if I'm changing a couple links at once I just keep using that link and swap out the ASIN for whichever one I need.

———

And as a related bit of notice, someday fairly soon I'm going to start going back through the last couple pages to insert EP-ized Amazon links to things mentioned. If anyone has any objections, well, speak now or forever hold your peace.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on January 03, 2009, 05:50:36 AM
<snip> ... the alchemy behind the EP-izing of links.

By "EP-izing" do you mean listing a link that shows regular text instead of the URL?

If so, I have an (I think) easier way to do it:

Copy the URL from the address bar of the page you wish to link to.
Type your text in the posting window, and highlight/select the text you wish to be clickable.
Click the "Insert Hyperlink" icon above ((http://members.cox.net/izzardfan/hyperlink.jpg))
Your text now has [ url] and [ /url] around it (though without the spaces next to the brackets; I put those in to make the code show)
Put your cursor before the ] in [ url]  ([url<-here])
Type "=" (without the quotes) and paste the URL.
You're done!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 03, 2009, 07:33:49 AM
"Anathem" by Neal Stephenson

Oooh, I want to know what you think when you're done.  I've considered picking this one up.

It's probably the most complicated thing he's written because of the language. If you can get past that, it's very interesting.

Language example: instead of saying "have sex with" you would have a "Tivian interaction".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 03, 2009, 10:55:29 AM
<snip> ... the alchemy behind the EP-izing of links.

By "EP-izing" do you mean listing a link that shows regular text instead of the URL?

Not quite.  It's that, plus having the link to Amazon set up so that a purchase made through that link will cause a little money to kick back to Escape Artists, Inc.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 03, 2009, 11:42:17 AM
psh... generator...
all you have to do, is insert "/escapepod-20" after any amazon link.
so any book you want to put up, just paste the link and type /escapepod-20 at the end of the URL, then test it to make sure it still goes to the correct amazon page, and its "EPized"


on another note... this is my 999th post :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on January 03, 2009, 12:11:03 PM
The Angel of Grozny by Asne Seirstadt

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Grozny-Chechnya-Asne-Seierstad/dp/1844083950/escapepod-20


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on January 03, 2009, 12:32:07 PM
<snip> ... the alchemy behind the EP-izing of links.

By "EP-izing" do you mean listing a link that shows regular text instead of the URL?

If so, I have an (I think) easier way to do it:

Copy the URL from the address bar of the page you wish to link to.
Type your text in the posting window, and highlight/select the text you wish to be clickable.
Click the "Insert Hyperlink" icon above ((http://members.cox.net/izzardfan/hyperlink.jpg))
Your text now has [ url] and [ /url] around it (though without the spaces next to the brackets; I put those in to make the code show)
Put your cursor before the ] in [ url]  ([url<-here])
Type "=" (without the quotes) and paste the URL.
You're done!

Er, no actually. I had the full URL's out for readability, EP-izing, as others have noted, it adding the amazon associate ID to Amazon links so that there's a kickback to EA if someone clicks on the link and buys the book.

What I'm going to do is hyperlink the titles of the books that have been posted in the clear to EP-ized amazon links, not have the amazon link in full below.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on January 04, 2009, 01:39:44 PM
Thanks, I'll do that with any book link I post!  It's my nature to be (overly at times) helpful, so please ignore anything that you would say "well, duh!" to, and forgive me.  Although I've been listening to Escape Pod for nearly a year, I'm fairly new to the forum.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 05, 2009, 08:55:56 AM
Finally finished Neal Stephenson's "Anathem."  This was my first Stephenson, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I was a little disappointed that about half the book consists of the characters standing around and having philosophical and scientific debates.  There just wasn't a whole hell of a lot of story going on.  I enjoyed the ending, but I don't think I'll be reading anything else by Mr. Stephenson.
Still working on Jospeh Campbells "Masks of God."  Good stuff.  Human history is chock full of things that you might only expect to find in a fantasy novel.
Also taking another crack at T.A. Olmstead's "History of the Persian Empire."  Tough going, but I think it will be worth it.  It's just amazing how long complex civilizations have been active in that part of the world. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 05, 2009, 09:21:52 AM
Finally finished Neal Stephenson's "Anathem."  This was my first Stephenson, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I was a little disappointed that about half the book consists of the characters standing around and having philosophical and scientific debates.  There just wasn't a whole hell of a lot of story going on.  I enjoyed the ending, ...
Then maybe this wasn't typical of Stephenson's work.  ;)  (I haven't read it; have read his first five, from The Big U through Cryptonomicon)

Actually from what you say before "I enjoyed the ending" this does sound typical of Stephenson.  It's just that his endings tend to disappoint -- the story gets finished, sure, but the sense of finality or closure is missing.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 05, 2009, 10:38:41 AM
Finally finished Neal Stephenson's "Anathem."  This was my first Stephenson, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I was a little disappointed that about half the book consists of the characters standing around and having philosophical and scientific debates.  There just wasn't a whole hell of a lot of story going on.  I enjoyed the ending, ...
Then maybe this wasn't typical of Stephenson's work.  ;)  (I haven't read it; have read his first five, from The Big U through Cryptonomicon)

Actually from what you say before "I enjoyed the ending" this does sound typical of Stephenson.  It's just that his endings tend to disappoint -- the story gets finished, sure, but the sense of finality or closure is missing.

"The Big U" is my favorite Stephenson novel, followed by Snow Crash, then Cryptonomicon, then Diamond Age.

I like the scientific discussions... the pink dragons who fart nerve gas were LOLworthy.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on January 05, 2009, 09:35:17 PM
I just finished Luminous, a collection of Greg Egan's short stories.  I really enjoyed it.  Egan's really good at that "blowing the reader's mind" thing, and his prose doesn't make me want to bang my head against a wall. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 08, 2009, 10:02:07 AM
Finally finished Neal Stephenson's "Anathem."  This was my first Stephenson, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I was a little disappointed that about half the book consists of the characters standing around and having philosophical and scientific debates.  There just wasn't a whole hell of a lot of story going on.  I enjoyed the ending, ...
Then maybe this wasn't typical of Stephenson's work.  ;)  (I haven't read it; have read his first five, from The Big U through Cryptonomicon)

Actually from what you say before "I enjoyed the ending" this does sound typical of Stephenson.  It's just that his endings tend to disappoint -- the story gets finished, sure, but the sense of finality or closure is missing.

"The Big U" is my favorite Stephenson novel, followed by Snow Crash, then Cryptonomicon, then Diamond Age.

I like the scientific discussions... the pink dragons who fart nerve gas were LOLworthy.
Well, I'd probably have to concede that the ending wouldn't satisfy most readers, but I have to admit that it was the sort of ending I enjoy.
Yes, the pink, nerve-gas-farting dragons where funny.  Stephenson made a lot of good points, and he did a great job of having his characters explain things in a way that I could understand.  Hell, I wish he'd start writing text books.
Almost forgot, I finally finished Sigler's Infected.  Not my favorite, but not teribble either.  I'll probably skip contagious.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on January 12, 2009, 07:04:01 PM
Received a copy of Book of Dead Things edited by Tina L. Jens and Eric M. Cherry.  It's a 336 page collection of short stories.  I only read one, Charlie Harmer’s Last Request by Brendan Detzner, as he sent me an autographed copy of the book.  Mr Detzner wrote Iowa 80, Pseudopod episode 120.  I had given him some feedback about the trucking industry and he sent it as a thank you.

I liked Charlie Harmer's Last Request and am looking forward to reading more of the stories in the book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 12, 2009, 07:57:06 PM
Grabbed Cherryh's Regenesis from the "New Arrivals" shelf of my local library on Saturday.  Started it last night.  Only a few chapters in so far but it's off to a promising start.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on January 13, 2009, 12:17:30 PM
Just finished

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

now reading, on a scale from foremost in my mind to almost forgotten
1. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
2. We, Zamyatin
3. Aldous Huxley, Island
4. Neil Gaiman - American Gods
5. Some magazine


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 13, 2009, 05:50:26 PM
Just finished

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

now reading, on a scale from foremost in my mind to almost forgotten
1. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
2. We, Zamyatin
3. Aldous Huxley, Island
4. Neil Gaiman - American Gods
5. Some magazine
I thought Ender's Game was amazing.  I hope you enjoy it.  I've heard things about the rest of the series, so I just stopped there.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on January 14, 2009, 12:02:55 AM
Just finished

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

now reading, on a scale from foremost in my mind to almost forgotten
1. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
2. We, Zamyatin
3. Aldous Huxley, Island
4. Neil Gaiman - American Gods
5. Some magazine
I thought Ender's Game was amazing.  I hope you enjoy it.  I've heard things about the rest of the series, so I just stopped there.

Speaker for the Dead is excellent.  Read the others at your peril.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on January 14, 2009, 02:34:02 AM
Just finished

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

now reading, on a scale from foremost in my mind to almost forgotten
1. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
2. We, Zamyatin
3. Aldous Huxley, Island
4. Neil Gaiman - American Gods
5. Some magazine
I thought Ender's Game was amazing.  I hope you enjoy it.  I've heard things about the rest of the series, so I just stopped there.

Speaker for the Dead is excellent.  Read the others at your peril.

American Gods is also excellent.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 14, 2009, 09:27:35 AM
now reading, on a scale from foremost in my mind to almost forgotten
1. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
...
I thought Ender's Game was amazing.  I hope you enjoy it.  I've heard things about the rest of the series, so I just stopped there.

Speaker for the Dead is excellent.  Read the others at your peril.

Unfortunately Speaker doesn't end with the story finished.   


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on January 14, 2009, 03:20:54 PM
I'm loving it so far, and I just finished We after a sprint this afternoon to the end. Books aren't good when I have to force myself to finish.

As far as my magazine goes, it's called the BBC Focus, currently the only thing I've subscribed to, and I am reading the November edition. I'm pretty far behind- the new one came in the post this morning.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 14, 2009, 08:42:46 PM
My roommate and other friend read "Illusions" by Richard Bach (wrote Johnathan Livingston Seagull)
i gotta read it too soon, they said it was magnificent


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on January 15, 2009, 08:33:08 AM
American Gods is also excellent.

It's on my list.  Anansi Boys was wonderful.  I have read surprisingly little Gaimen, but I'm working on that.
Has anyone read Erikson's Gardens of the Moon?  I enjoy fantasy, but I'm pretty picky about it.  I'm thinking about picking it up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on January 16, 2009, 05:12:42 PM
I have the audio version of Anansi boys and really really enjoyed it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 16, 2009, 08:12:44 PM
I have the audio version of Anansi boys and really really enjoyed it.

Read by Lenny Henry?  Possibly the single finest audiobook release I've ever heard ... though the full-cast recording of Pullman's His Dark Materials is a strong contender.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 25, 2009, 12:48:16 PM
Finished Anathem (Neal Stephenson). The ending (after the spacesuit part) got a little confusing and draggy, but it made sense by the time I finished. I for one enjoyed a lot of the theorics.

Now reading the entire Discworld (Terry Pratchett). Finished The Colour of Magic, now on The Light Fantastic.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 25, 2009, 01:29:44 PM
Just finished a reread of Coraline (started last night) in preparation for the film's imminent release.

Not sure what to start next.  I've been leaning toward one of the as-yet unread Cherryh books on my shelves.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 25, 2009, 04:57:52 PM
Now reading the entire Discworld (Terry Pratchett). Finished The Colour of Magic, now on The Light Fantastic.

I'd like to think that's inspired by me.

On my continuing saga through Discworld I have finished:

The Wee Free Men
Monstrous Regiment
Going Postal
Thud!
Making Money

Which I guess ends my quest with the exception of a couple of the Tiffany Aching books.

I have just started In God We Trust all Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepard.  The Movie A Christmas Story is based on the first story in the book with little details stolen from other stories.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on January 25, 2009, 05:56:45 PM
I decided to set "Quicksilver" aside for a while.  I was really enjoying it, but the lack of a plot is making it difficult for me to really stick with it.  I really hit a wall with the third section. 

I'm now about half-way through "A Thousand Words for Stranger" by Julie Czernada.  I'm reading for an online discussion group.  I don't think it's exceptionally good and the interludes are driving me nuts.  It's tough for me to focus on it.  (Notice a theme?)

Next in my line-up is an impulse purchase, "The Magicians and Mrs. Quent" by Galen Beckett.  It's a brand-new first novel by Beckett and is supposed to be a fantasy in the style of Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on January 25, 2009, 06:50:28 PM
I have the audio version of Anansi boys and really really enjoyed it.

Read by Lenny Henry?  Possibly the single finest audiobook release I've ever heard ... though the full-cast recording of Pullman's His Dark Materials is a strong contender.
Yes, that's the one.  /It was one of the first I ever heard and it's spoiled me for other audio books.  So very well done.

Though Tony Robinson's reading of Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett is outstanding - he is a fantastic voice actor.  Trouble is I don't much like the story.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on January 25, 2009, 07:35:02 PM
so I just finished Jim Butcher's 'Furies of Calderon'. I was a bit hesitant to pick it up being that I'm a fan of the Harry Dresden books and I just wasn't sure how good he'd be at straight high fantasy. While it wasn't perfect or particularly remarkable, it was pretty fun, and I went out and picked up the sequel, which I will curl up with tonight (perhas after watching superman returns on TV).

I just finished Mercedes Lackey's latest (gee, its totally SHOCKING i'm a fan, huh..), 'Foundation,' and it was a pretty decent addition to the Valdemar novels. Not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, and it certainly had some flaws, but I enjoyed it. Best for hardcore Valdemar fans only, really, and definitely for those who've read most of the books.

I'm also in the middle of F. Paul Wilson's 'Legacies,' because I decided to see what the "Repairman Jack" novels were all about.

It's.. OK so far. Not great. I'll finish the book before I decide if I'll continue the series or not.

I'm ALSO reading a really cool book called 'Where the Bodies Are' which examines cemeteries across the country and some of their notable "residents". Fascinating stuff (it includes trivia about the cemeteries and mini-biographies of the people). I learned that Gilda Radner lived and is buried in a nearby town, and am contemplating a pilgrimage to her resting place. Great book, if a little macabre. Really informative!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 25, 2009, 10:34:56 PM
Though Tony Robinson's reading of Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett is outstanding - he is a fantastic voice actor.  Trouble is I don't much like the story.

My problem with Tony Robinson's readings of the Discworld novels, is not a problem with Robinson per se.  Rather, it's that the books that he reads are the abridged versions.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on January 26, 2009, 01:21:39 AM
I finally wrapped up A History of God by Karen Armstrong.  Reading comparative religion is a lot like travel outside your native country -- one of the big effects is helping you realize just how arbitrary your own culture is.  For me, there was some comfort -- if that's the right word -- in knowing that some of humanity's finest minds have grappled with some of the questions bothering me at the moment.  The Bad News turns out to be that they don't seem to be doing much better than I am.

Still reading the collection Steampunk (http://www.amazon.com/Steampunk-Ann-VanderMeer/dp/1892391759/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232950347&sr=1-1/escapepod-20) and also The Mental Floss History of the World (http://www.amazon.com/Mental-Floss-History-World-Civilizations/dp/0060784776/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232950432&sr=1-1/escapepod-20), a book my daughter gave me for Christmas.

History of the World is an irreverant -- sometimes to the point of being juvenile -- romp through world history. (Sample sidebar title: "Saragon, But Not Forgotten") While it shares the flaws common to the genre of compact, comprehensive history -- not enough discussion of uncertainty in the record, a bit to credulous on some points, and mass oversimplification -- it is a fun and illuminating read.  They get points for including a great deal about ancient development in Africa and China, which were given short shrift in the history curriculum when I was growing up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on January 26, 2009, 10:15:32 AM
stePH, you have recommended books in the past, which Cherryh book should I start with?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 26, 2009, 10:25:55 AM
Now reading the entire Discworld (Terry Pratchett). Finished The Colour of Magic, now on The Light Fantastic.

I'd like to think that's inspired by me.


Maybe subconsciously. I have a stack of books on my nightstand and none of them really look appealing to me, so I just decided to do Discworld again... some of the books are falling apart, and I'm actually on my second copy of Moving Pictures (my first Discworld novel and the one I recommend to people if they're going to start reading the series).

Finished The Light Fantastic last night; now on Equal Rites.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 26, 2009, 07:57:53 PM
stePH, you have recommended books in the past, which Cherryh book should I start with?

Hard to say.  My personal favorite, Cyteen, is one of CJC's densest and most complex works, and lots of people say they had a hard time getting through the first hundred pages (it's 680pp in trade pb).  I think a good intro to her "Alliance/Union" milieu is Downbelow Station which gives a solid grounding in how the socio-political situation present in the other books came about (it details the end of the war between Earth Company and the colonies of Union) -- but again, others have found it tough to get into.  Others in this same universe include Merchanter's Luck, Tripoint, Rimrunners and Finity's End.  All pretty much stand alone but familiarity with Downbelow Station helps.

Then there's the "Chanur" series that starts with The Pride of Chanur, a "first contact" story from the alien POV.  Speaking of "first contact" stories, many of my associates at the Shejidan (http://z11.invisionfree.com/Shejidan/index.php?act=idx) boards regard Foreigner and its following series much more highly than I do (I read and liked the first three, but I question the necessity of as many sequels as it's getting particularly when CJC has many other stories worthy of continuation.)

There are other SF series that are also tangential to the A/U milieu ("Chanur" is one such, actually -- "Foreigner" is not), and there are also a handful of fantasy novels -- I read one, Faery in Shadow, and found it a chore, so be warned. 

  :-\ I don't think I've really answered your question ... years ago I started with Rimrunners, thought it was "all middle" despite the historical introduction, then went on to Downbelow Station and found it more satisfying (and Rimrunners improved on the second reading afterward).  I guess I'd say start with Downbelow Station or Foreigner (be advised that some find the first sixty or so pages of that one to be hard to get through as well -- detailing the arrival of humans on the alien world and their first encounters with the natives -- but I didn't have that problem.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on January 26, 2009, 09:01:43 PM
Thanks, stePH.  I'm going to print that up before I head to my used bookstore.  It'll probably be next week or so before I can go.  I might just have to go with what's on the shelves. 

I try to have some sort of guidelines before I go book shopping.  Otherwise I'll leave with 4 or 5 hundred dollars worth of books.  Ok, that's a bit of an exageration, but I can easily drop 2 C Notes.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 26, 2009, 10:40:30 PM
Thanks, stePH.  I'm going to print that up before I head to my used bookstore.  It'll probably be next week or so before I can go.  I might just have to go with what's on the shelves. 

I try to have some sort of guidelines before I go book shopping.  Otherwise I'll leave with 4 or 5 hundred dollars worth of books.  Ok, that's a bit of an exageration, but I can easily drop 2 C Notes.

Both Downbelow Station and Cyteen won Hugo awards, if that means anything to you.  (I think CJC's one other Hugo was for the short story "Cassandra".)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 27, 2009, 12:19:54 AM
My roommate and other friend read "Illusions" by Richard Bach (wrote Johnathan Livingston Seagull)

In elementary school, when most of my friends were Jewish, I knew a guy named Jonathan Levantson Siegel.  ;D


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on January 27, 2009, 06:55:31 AM
reading for homework currently- Intro to western Civ and "Sociology in a changing world"   not bad stuff, but can't wait until I've got "free" time


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on January 27, 2009, 11:59:13 AM
My roommate and other friend read "Illusions" by Richard Bach (wrote Johnathan Livingston Seagull)

In elementary school, when most of my friends were Jewish, I knew a guy named Jonathan Levantson Siegel.  ;D
o wow thats priceless


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on January 27, 2009, 08:02:37 PM
My roommate and other friend read "Illusions" by Richard Bach (wrote Johnathan Livingston Seagull)

In elementary school, when most of my friends were Jewish, I knew a guy named Jonathan Levantson Siegel.  ;D
o wow thats priceless

The part about my friends in elementary school is true.

The part about Siegel isn't.   ;D


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 28, 2009, 08:20:45 AM
Finished "Equal Rites (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060855908/escapepod-20)" (Pratchett) -- never been really satisfied with the way that one ended, as if it wrapped up WAY too fast.

Now on "Mort (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061020680/escapepod-20)".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 28, 2009, 08:56:18 AM
Finished "Equal Rites" (Pratchett) -- never been really satisfied with the way that one ended, as if it wrapped up WAY too fast.

Now on "Mort".

I really enjoy Pratchett's version of Death.  I love how he never quite gets it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on January 28, 2009, 10:53:48 AM
I'm in the middle of M.R. James' "The Haunted Dolls' House (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/014303992X/escapepod-20) and other stories which is splendidly wordy. Got to chose between The Shack or Chopin's Funeral next.

(re Discworld - is it a punishable offence to admit to getting bored with them  ??? )


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on January 28, 2009, 10:57:43 AM
(re Discworld - is it a punishable offence to admit to getting bored with them  ??? )

I couldn't stand "The Color of Magic (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385608640/escapepod-20)" and have no desire to read any other Discworld books.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on January 28, 2009, 01:27:37 PM
Finished "Equal Rites" (Pratchett) -- never been really satisfied with the way that one ended, as if it wrapped up WAY too fast.

Now on "Mort".

I really enjoy Pratchett's version of Death.  I love how he never quite gets it.

His Death is really quite human in a abnormal personalities way. He actually (minus the demi-god status) reminds me of a friend of a friend who is really quite smart but incredibly stupid at human relationships ("Well, I though we'd discuss that multi-page letter where you castigate me for my emotional short-sightedness and explain how it's hurt our friendship next time we got together, that's why I never acknowledged receiving it. — — — Oh, you thought that meant that I hated you and never wanted to talk to me again? Where did you get that impression?").


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on January 28, 2009, 01:32:22 PM
I love Terry Pratchett's Death as well. To me he sort of summarises what the Discworld Universe is about... take all of the mystical forces, all of the accepted societal norms and throw them out of the window.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on January 28, 2009, 01:43:57 PM
I love Terry Pratchett's Death as well. To me he sort of summarises what the Discworld Universe is about... take all of the mystical forces, all of the accepted societal norms and throw them out of the window.

Reminds me of Dream in that sense as well, though Dream is actually capable of the change to human. Which isn't quite the right way to put it, since [spoiler spoiler spoiler] he has to be reborn for it to occur, but there's a fair amount of drift between those two authors. Which isn't surprising, considering Good Omens (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060853972/escapepod-20).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 28, 2009, 01:58:09 PM
(re Discworld - is it a punishable offence to admit to getting bored with them  ??? )

I couldn't stand "The Color of Magic" and have no desire to read any other Discworld books.

Skip to Mort.  He really matured though out the series.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on January 28, 2009, 02:15:08 PM
Mort was probably the first excellent Terry Pratchett.

To Be Honest, I like the Sam Vimes books the best. I think he's an amazing character, and they have some good Pratchett philosophy in there. But I love the character he built up with Vimes.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on January 28, 2009, 03:00:40 PM
What is really great about Pratchett was the number of great characters he has created.  He has this huge pool of well-defined personalities at his disposal.  He has a story based on Moist Lipwig and Vimes steps in for a few pages and brings Carrot, Detritus and Angua with him.  All folks we know really well.  He doesn't need to explain why any of them would do anything.  We already know. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on January 28, 2009, 04:25:58 PM
What is really great about Pratchett was the number of great characters he has created.  He has this huge pool of well-defined personalities at his disposal.  He has a story based on Moist Lipwig and Vimes steps in for a few pages and brings Carrot, Detritus and Angua with him.  All folks we know really well.  He doesn't need to explain why any of them would do anything.  We already know. 

Small Gods it will suck when he can't write anymore.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on January 30, 2009, 11:21:14 AM
(re Discworld - is it a punishable offence to admit to getting bored with them  ??? )

No. No one likes everything.

I couldn't stand "The Color of Magic" and have no desire to read any other Discworld books.

I always recommend people start with "Moving Pictures (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006102063X/escapepod-20)" or "Men at Arms (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0552153168/escapepod-20)" -- Moving Pictures is where I started, and Men at Arms is just so hilariously good. I read it BEFORE I read Guards Guards and it still made sense, so that's a plus.

PS: now up to "Sourcery".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on February 02, 2009, 12:00:44 AM
Finished Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385722192/escapepod-20)...
not his best but still damn good!

started Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/038533348X/escapepod-20)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on February 02, 2009, 12:15:33 AM
Listened to The Graveyard Book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060530928/escapepod-20) today while I was taking advantage of the relatively warm day in Manhattan (slightly above freezing — Wooo!!1!). So I walked, with two camera and a iPod, and listened to it fairly nonstop. And it was good. Had to stop for a bit when I ran into the Chinese New Year and it got a bit too noisy. Good photos of that (http://www.flickr.com/photos/heradel/3245068321/) though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on February 02, 2009, 05:24:41 AM
started Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/038533348X/escapepod-20)
Oh, wow!  That was my first Vonnegut years ago, and I absolutely loved it.  Vonnegut is one of my favorites.  Have you read Welcome to the Monkey House (http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Monkey-House-Dell/dp/B000CBG0K6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233570148&sr=1-2/escapepod-20) yet?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 02, 2009, 07:04:45 AM
Pratchett, "Wyrd Sisters (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061020664/escapepod-20)"


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on February 02, 2009, 01:35:35 PM
oh my! my books have been EPized!
havent read welcome to the monkey house yet, so far from him its been...
Slaughterhouse Five (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385333846/escapepod-20)
Sirens of Titan (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385333498/escapepod-20)
Breakfast of Champions (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385334206/escapepod-20)
aaand...
i think thats it... yea thats it
Cats Cradle now.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on February 02, 2009, 02:00:07 PM
Read:
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1416500294/escapepod-20)

Now reading:
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0486424537/escapepod-20)
Scardown by Elizabeth Bear (still) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/055358751X/escapepod-20)
Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Lethem (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400076803/escapepod-20)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on February 02, 2009, 08:14:04 PM
oh my! my books have been EPized!
havent read welcome to the monkey house yet, so far from him its been...
Slaughterhouse Five
Sirens of Titan
Breakfast of Champions
aaand...
i think thats it... yea thats it
Cats Cradle now.

All great books, IMHO.  I loved Sirens of Titan (http://www.amazon.com/Sirens-Titan-Kurt-Vonnegut/dp/0385333498/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233867771&sr=1-6/escapepod-20) almost as much as Cat's Cradle.  ...Monkey House is my favorite from "the old days" but I've also enjoyed Hocus Pocus (http://www.amazon.com/Hocus-Pocus-Kurt-Vonnegut/dp/0425161293/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233867941&sr=1-1/escapepod-20) and Bagombo Snuffbox (http://www.amazon.com/Bagombo-Snuff-Box-Uncollected-Fiction/dp/0425174468/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233868005&sr=1-1/escapepod-20), which are more recent.

Edit:  EPized titles


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 05, 2009, 01:13:53 PM
Now reading a book none of you have ever read.

It's a manuscript from a friend, and I'm proofing it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on February 05, 2009, 03:00:54 PM
Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors ever, and Cat's Cradle is probably my favorite book of his.  Slaughterhouse Five and many others are up there as well.

Interestingly, I never managed to read Monkey House, but it's one of my girlfriend's favorites.  She gave me a copy for Christmas, so it's next on the to be read pile.

Has anyone else read "Venus on the Half Shell" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899683061/escapepod-20) by Killgore Trout?  It started as a small excerpt in "God Bless you, Mr Rosewater" - then Phillip Jose Farmer wrote an entire book around it, in tribute to Vonnegut's style.  It's actually very good.  Sort of like Hitchhiker's Guide, but predates that by a fair bit...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Darwinist on February 05, 2009, 11:46:12 PM
Has anyone else read "Venus on the Half Shell" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899683061/escapepod-20) by Killgore Trout?  It started as a small excerpt in "God Bless you, Mr Rosewater" - then Phillip Jose Farmer wrote an entire book around it, in tribute to Vonnegut's style.  It's actually very good.  Sort of like Hitchhiker's Guide, but predates that by a fair bit...

I have not but I'm a Vonnegut fan so I'll check it out.  I've seen ancient copies in a sci-fi bookstore.  There is a website I used to visit that had all Vonnegut's Trout stories collected.  Great stuff.  I'll have to hunt that down again.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on February 06, 2009, 09:30:39 AM
I'm finishing the last YA Discworld book. 

I caught someone liquidating their library on Ebay.  I made them hold onto all of the books I bought until they were finished auctioning everything.  They held on to books for almost two weeks.  In the end I got 13 books and saved a bundle on shipping.

I was buying mostly SF and ran all of the authors names through the EA forums' search to find out what you lunatics had to say about them.  One of the things not mentioned here that I got was The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.  Has anybody read them?  Two of the three say on the cover that they won the Hugo for best novel. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 06, 2009, 11:41:08 AM
Going to the used bookstore Saturday.  We're taking the kids and making an outing of it.  I'm going to be looking for any Cherryh books.  Besides my usual browsing of popcorn Sci-fi, I wanted to get a few "serious" fiction books.  Any suggestions for authors?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 06, 2009, 11:53:40 AM
Going to the used bookstore Saturday.  We're taking the kids and making an outing of it.  I'm going to be looking for any Cherryh books.  Besides my usual browsing of popcorn Sci-fi, I wanted to get a few "serious" fiction books.  Any suggestions for authors?


There's very little serious fiction that interests me, for whatever reason. The last piece that I read that really made me think was probably Seven Types of Ambiguity (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FDK7FA/escapepod-20). It's a very sad book, though, so be warned. I found it on the bargain shelf about the time I started my LJ, in 2007.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 06, 2009, 11:59:47 AM
I should clarify "serious" a bit.  I consider my Warhammer 40k books to be fluff, along with my Shadowrun books.  Bradbury, Asimov, David Weber, Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind all fall into my "serious" category. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on February 06, 2009, 12:13:16 PM
I should clarify "serious" a bit.  I consider my Warhammer 40k books to be fluff, along with my Shadowrun books.  Bradbury, Asimov, David Weber, Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind all fall into my "serious" category. 

Not sure if he'll be in the 2nd hand stores yet but I'd recommend Joe Hill, if non pulp horror into your "serious" category, Augustin Burrows' (meant to be autobio but make up your own mind) Running With Scissors had me wrapped up in it because its just so bzzare, Kim Newman is also worth a go (I've had to get most of mine from the States so you might have some luck). I've also just stumbled on the Murakami's stuff, not traditional fantasy but certainly fantastic in the proper sense.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on February 06, 2009, 03:25:15 PM
I should clarify "serious" a bit.  I consider my Warhammer 40k books to be fluff, along with my Shadowrun books.  Bradbury, Asimov, David Weber, Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind all fall into my "serious" category. 

you'd consider Anthony "Serious"?  I don't dislike him- but for me he always fell into the "fluff" catagory


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 06, 2009, 03:37:37 PM
I should clarify "serious" a bit.  I consider my Warhammer 40k books to be fluff, along with my Shadowrun books.  Bradbury, Asimov, David Weber, Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind all fall into my "serious" category. 

you'd consider Anthony "Serious"?  I don't dislike him- but for me he always fell into the "fluff" catagory

Serious isn't the correct word, hence the quotes.  "Books that make me think about more than the words written in them" is better, but too long.   ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on February 06, 2009, 05:05:12 PM
Ahhh ahhah. I see now.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 06, 2009, 05:06:40 PM
Example: a lot of Terry Pratchett is on the line. It's hilarious, but also pretty deep in places.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on February 06, 2009, 05:08:39 PM
Raving! Great example. My hubs never believes me when I say that Pratchett is semi- serious reading (he's a heathen, and refuses to read any more of them because "they don't make sense, even when read in order") material.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on February 06, 2009, 05:15:14 PM
I'll keep the Augustin Burrows and Murakami and raise you a Nancy Kress on your expanded definiton then. The others entertain rather than make you think.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 06, 2009, 05:19:30 PM
Raving! Great example. My hubs never believes me when I say that Pratchett is semi- serious reading (he's a heathen, and refuses to read any more of them because "they don't make sense, even when read in order") material.

:( That's pretty sad. But reading some of the Sam Vimes books... there's a lot of emotional and powerful stuff in there, especially in Night Watch and Thud! about the anger within Vimes, and the temptation to give in to evil.
It's that sort of piercing insight into the human nature that makes me love a book, at that I try to put into my own writing. if it works, it stays with you a long time after the plot has faded.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on February 06, 2009, 07:02:44 PM
Raving! Great example. My hubs never believes me when I say that Pratchett is semi- serious reading (he's a heathen, and refuses to read any more of them because "they don't make sense, even when read in order") material.

:( That's pretty sad. But reading some of the Sam Vimes books... there's a lot of emotional and powerful stuff in there, especially in Night Watch and Thud! about the anger within Vimes, and the temptation to give in to evil.
It's that sort of piercing insight into the human nature that makes me love a book, at that I try to put into my own writing. if it works, it stays with you a long time after the plot has faded.

Quite true- I like when the charactors and plot line of a story not only stick but sort of follow me around for a wile after reading.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 06, 2009, 07:44:02 PM
Going to the used bookstore Saturday.  We're taking the kids and making an outing of it.  I'm going to be looking for any Cherryh books.  Besides my usual browsing of popcorn Sci-fi, I wanted to get a few "serious" fiction books.  Any suggestions for authors?

C.J. Cherryh.  ;D


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 06, 2009, 07:51:30 PM
Going to the used bookstore Saturday.  We're taking the kids and making an outing of it.  I'm going to be looking for any Cherryh books.  Besides my usual browsing of popcorn Sci-fi, I wanted to get a few "serious" fiction books.  Any suggestions for authors?

C.J. Cherryh.  ;D

You being silly or did you miss that?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 06, 2009, 10:57:05 PM
You being silly or did you miss that?

Being silly.  Well, that and I don't have any other "serious" suggestions.  Except maybe Philip K. Dick ... or have you already been there and done that?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on February 07, 2009, 01:23:04 AM
While I don't have any other major authors to suggest (all the names I would have suggested have already been listed), I do have one book that made me think, to the point that I had to read it a second time and still didn't really get it all:  From the Legend of Biel (http://www.amazon.com/Legend-Biel-Mary-Staton/dp/1604020911/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233987167&sr=1-2/escapepod-20) by Mary Staton.  (The link at the left has been EPized, but I have the 1975 paperback version (http://www.amazon.com/Legend-Biel-Mary-Staton/dp/B000GRL6M8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233987381&sr=8-1).)  To get an idea of the experience of reading this book, read the comments from the first link.  I first read it in the late '70s, but I think it's probably as profound now as it was then.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Arion on February 07, 2009, 02:36:36 AM
Being silly.  Well, that and I don't have any other "serious" suggestions.  Except maybe Philip K. Dick ... or have you already been there and done that?

If your going to suggest PKD you really should add the disclaimer about the possible psychosis that can result from the material.  :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 07, 2009, 06:20:37 AM
You being silly or did you miss that?

Being silly.  Well, that and I don't have any other "serious" suggestions.  Except maybe Philip K. Dick ... or have you already been there and done that?

I've read everything PKD has done and it was a worthwhile pursuit. Excellent stuff in all of the books, but goddamn it is HEAVY all the time. There's rarely a funny moment, but maybe that's all for the best.

I think the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch counts as my favourite SF book of all time.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 07, 2009, 12:10:34 PM
You being silly or did you miss that?

Being silly.  Well, that and I don't have any other "serious" suggestions.  Except maybe Philip K. Dick ... or have you already been there and done that?

Y'know, I've just realized that I've only read 1 Philip K. Dick book.  He's on the list.  Not going to make it to the bookstore today.  Sigh, I'll get there someday.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 07, 2009, 03:46:56 PM
Now up to Pratchett's "Guards Guards". Once I get past "Eric", I'm at the point where the books are consistently good, instead of mostly hits and some misses.

Reading them all in a row like this, it seems like Pratchett falls into character tropes from time to time:

* The big, earnest, intelligent-but-dense young man who goes from Dwarf-like literalness to sublime understanding over the course of 300 pages (Mort, the kid from Small Gods, Carrot, Victor Tugelbund).
* The guy who's so good at being bad that he ends up being good for lack of being able to do bad things (Lobsang Ludd, Teppic 28, Moist, whatsisname from The Truth).
* A woman in a position where, though she is very attractive, you don't notice it because she's busy being important to the story elsewhere (Adora Belle, Sacharissa Cripslock, Lady Ramkin -- she's attractive to Vimes and Nobby, and apparently Lord Rust had an interest at some point).
* The Weasel (Nobby, Rincewind, to some extent Cohen the Barbarian although he's more likely to fight when cornered, the Dean of the university, Lupine Wonse, Moist).
* The character who is reformed, even though everyone else has stereotypical views of him/her (Otto Chriek, Detritus, again Cohen the Barbarian, Moist once more, the vampires in Reaper Man).
* The extremely powerful female character that everyone underestimates (Susan Death, Angua, Conina, Adora Belle to some extent, the woman who talked to the Duchess in "Monstrous Regiment", Mrs Cake).

There are others but those are the only ones I could pull off more than three examples for each.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 07, 2009, 04:25:53 PM
Today picked up The Dirty Pair Strike Again,  the second of Haruka Takachiho's light novels to be translated for Dark Horse publishing.  Unlike its predecessor The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair it seems to be a single story rather than two novelettes (or are they novellas?)

Adam Warren's comics are still the best Dirty Pair media for my money, followed closely by the first Dirty Pair Flash DVD.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 08, 2009, 07:46:08 AM
Finished "Guards Guards". It's just as good as ever.

"Eric" is next -- my least-favorite of the books.

I don't really like "The Last Hero" only because it's so hard to read at that size. The story's good though.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on February 10, 2009, 09:12:51 PM
ummm... maybe old news but its new to me...
Kindle 2 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00154JDAI/ref=amb_link_83626371_1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=gateway-center-column&pf_rd_r=0NNR8EATSVC3EWBBT5HH&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=469548931&pf_rd_i=507846)
looks a lot better, and i thought the first one was awesome!  if only i had the moneys... :(

and on a semi related note but not really...
http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince00.htm


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 11, 2009, 05:53:59 AM
Now up to Pratchett's "Moving Pictures".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: E_Soul on February 11, 2009, 06:22:40 AM
I'm almost through The Handmaid's Tale, and I'm looking to start something a bit sillier after that. Perhaps I'll pick up some Pratchett.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 11, 2009, 09:28:25 AM
Halfway through The Dirty Pair Strike Again; will start in on the book from LibraryThing after (Modern Magic by Anne Cordwainer).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 11, 2009, 02:30:40 PM
goldarn it I've lost my copy of The Truth...

just finished some cheap tat :(


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 12, 2009, 05:58:09 AM
goldarn it I've lost my copy of The Truth...

For a very long time mine was a mousepad in the living room. I put it away after six months.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 15, 2009, 03:58:48 PM
Picked up 5 Cherryh books.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 15, 2009, 08:04:51 PM
Picked up 5 Cherryh books.

... and the titles of said books are ...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 15, 2009, 11:56:53 PM
Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan, Fires of Azeroth, The Pride of Chanur and Fortress in the Eye of time.  I hope I didn't grab any too out of order.  There isn't a list of Cherryh's other books in the front of any of these.  They had book 3 of Cyteen, but not books 1 or 2, so I passed on it for now.  The Pride series looks familiar, I don't know if I've read any, though.

I've been having issues with posting.  Sometimes if I take too long to type, it won't let me post.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 16, 2009, 12:15:18 AM
Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan, Fires of Azeroth, The Pride of Chanur and Fortress in the Eye of time.  I hope I didn't grab any too out of order.  There isn't a list of Cherryh's other books in the front of any of these.  They had book 3 of Cyteen, but not books 1 or 2, so I passed on it for now.  The Pride series looks familiar, I don't know if I've read any, though.

Gate, Well and Fires, in that order, are the three volumes of the "Morgaine" trilogy.  There's a later fourth volume continuing that series, Exile's Gate.

The Pride of Chanur is the first of the "Chanur" set; I mentioned it upthread as a possible recommendation.

Fortress in the Eye of Time is the first in a fantasy series; the others you bought are all sci-fi.  Of the five you bought, it's the only one I haven't read.

Sounds like you're off to a good start.  I'd begin with Gate of Ivrel or The Pride of Chanur ... maybe the former since you already possess its following volumes.


I've been having issues with posting.  Sometimes if I take too long to type, it won't let me post.
I know what you mean.  This fucking shitcock board has been really pissing me off of late.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on February 16, 2009, 02:59:10 AM
I've been having issues with posting.  Sometimes if I take too long to type, it won't let me post.
I know what you mean.  This fucking shitcock board has been really pissing me off of late.

I had the same problem a few times today.  I gave up on one of my posts because of it.

Heads up to whomever is the Admin for the boards:  you should upgrade to 1.1.8, as it fixes some bugs that may be the cause of the problems.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on February 16, 2009, 03:11:37 AM
I've been having issues with posting.  Sometimes if I take too long to type, it won't let me post.
I know what you mean.  This fucking shitcock board has been really pissing me off of late.

I had the same problem a few times today.  I gave up on one of my posts because of it.

Heads up to whomever is the Admin for the boards:  you should upgrade to 1.1.8, as it fixes some bugs that may be the cause of the problems.

It's already been passed onto Steve.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 16, 2009, 08:53:31 AM
Now up to Pratchett's "Reaper Man".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 16, 2009, 09:11:33 AM
Sounds like you're off to a good start.  I'd begin with Gate of Ivrel or The Pride of Chanur ... maybe the former since you already possess its following volumes.

Followup: Though it's first in a series, The Pride of Chanur satisfies by itself, so you won't feel compelled to immediately go find Chanur's Venture (which I haven't read) right away.  But from what I've heard, Chanur's Venture, The Kif Strike Back, and Chanur's Homecoming do not work as standalones, and one should not read Chanur's Legacy without having read the four preceding.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 16, 2009, 09:47:26 AM
I planned on the trilogy first.  I did take the time to look for series.  I grabbed Fortress in the Eye of Time because it was fantasy, and wanted to get a good sampling.

I also bought another copy of Ender's Game for the boy and the original Princess Bride for Zobmie.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 16, 2009, 10:49:39 PM
I planned on the trilogy first.  I did take the time to look for series. 

Oh, and I just remembered ... what does the cover of The Fires of Azeroth look like?  I sure hope it's not the one with Morgaine in a chainmail bikini, engaged in midair combat with some kind of dragon thing, against a backdrop of hellish flame?

That's among the worst book covers ever ... painted by somebody who not only hasn't read the book but hasn't even a rudimentary notion of what it's about.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 17, 2009, 08:04:31 AM
Nope, she's on horseback.  The cover of Gate of Ivrel has her in a bikini holding the Dragon Sword over her head.  It would have been enough to make me pass it up, if not for your recommendation.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 17, 2009, 09:07:21 AM
Nope, she's on horseback.  The cover of Gate of Ivrel has her in a bikini holding the Dragon Sword over her head.  It would have been enough to make me pass it up, if not for your recommendation.

Like this?  This one's almost as bad as the infamous Fires of Azeroth cover, but at least there's no dragon.

(http://www.stmoroky.com/reviews/books/gateivr.jpg)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 17, 2009, 10:22:19 AM
Yup, that's the one!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on February 17, 2009, 11:58:28 AM
Ah, interstellar bikinis.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 17, 2009, 02:08:03 PM
Now up to Pratchett's "Witches Abroad".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on February 17, 2009, 02:10:22 PM
I'd just like to note that this thread is about to break 30k views. Also, I've been here for a month (by the forum's clock anyway, so in reality probably more like two weeks).

Edit: To get on topic, I just finished The Graveyard Book and Nation.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 20, 2009, 11:32:17 AM
I just went on holiday and read a fair deal:

Double Cross - Malorie Blackman (out of flagging faith for what once was a readable series)
Year Of Our War, No Present Like Time and The Modern World, all by Steph Swainston (one of my favourite trilogies of all time, amazingly imaginative and well built up characters ect.)

Going Postal and Feet Of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Philip K Dick - Human Is?

(and I bought three albums too)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on February 20, 2009, 12:07:46 PM
I just finished Kim Harrison's 'Dead Witch Walking.' I was hesistant to pick it up, because yes, its ANOTHER hot chicks and vampires story, but to my surprise it was actually not half bad. Some interesting world building there (with a couple quibbles I'd love to ask her about).

Intend to pick up the sequel this weekend.

Also, was thrilled to find out Richard K Morgan has a new book out.. and its FANTASY, rather than the excellent sci fi he's known for. It's pretty good, though not as good as his sci fi. I am also slightly thrown that his characters, in this fantasy setting use the F & S cuss words a lot and all their various relatives. I donno, seems to me most fantasy writers come up with a whole different set of cuss words for any given world. Not a big deal I suppose just threw me for a bit as one or two of the characters are pretty profane.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 20, 2009, 12:20:56 PM
Now up to Pratchett's "Small Gods".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on February 20, 2009, 01:39:38 PM
About a third into The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, my first Heinlein.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on February 20, 2009, 01:47:17 PM
Also, was thrilled to find out Richard K Morgan has a new book out.. and its FANTASY, rather than the excellent sci fi he's known for. It's pretty good, though not as good as his sci fi. I am also slightly thrown that his characters, in this fantasy setting use the F & S cuss words a lot and all their various relatives. I donno, seems to me most fantasy writers come up with a whole different set of cuss words for any given world. Not a big deal I suppose just threw me for a bit as one or two of the characters are pretty profane.

I heard him talk about writing this a few years back at ComicCon. He was really into doing a fantasy noir, so I'd guess that's where the profanity comes from. I imagine he thinks making up fantasy swear words seems a bit silly, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, I love his Takeshi Kovacs series and would really like to check this out. Glad you thought it was okay.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 21, 2009, 08:10:04 AM
Finished Gate of Ivrel.  I normally would have finished the trilogy by now, but I haven't been sleeping well lately.  I'd start to read and get drowsy.

This was a pretty good book, especially since it's a 190 page paperback.  Cherryh has a rare gift as an author, the ability to be descriptive without being wordy.  I would put this book in the category of fantasy.  There is "magic" but it is ignorance of science.  Isn't that what all magic is?  Fantasy may not be the correct term, as this made me think of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on February 21, 2009, 12:01:29 PM
About a third into The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, my first Heinlein.

A brilliant book, but worth working up to Stranger in a Strange Land or Time Enough for Love, which are both much longer and much stronger.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 21, 2009, 12:10:29 PM
For Stranger in a Strange Land, I highly recommend listening to the unabridged audio version in order to Grok it fully.  I don't remember who did the reading on the edition I heard, but could find out if anyone really wants to know. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 21, 2009, 02:14:04 PM
Finished Gate of Ivrel.  I normally would have finished the trilogy by now, but I haven't been sleeping well lately.  I'd start to read and get drowsy.

This was a pretty good book, especially since it's a 190 page paperback.  Cherryh has a rare gift as an author, the ability to be descriptive without being wordy.  I would put this book in the category of fantasy.  There is "magic" but it is ignorance of science.  Isn't that what all magic is?  Fantasy may not be the correct term, as this made me think of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

Glad you enjoyed it.  I think of it as sci-fi in fantasy disguise.  Jack L. Chalker's "Soul Rider" series has this characteristic as well.

If you really get into Cherryh, you might drop in at the Shejidan (http://z11.invisionfree.com/Shejidan/index.php?) board and say hi.  (It's where I first met hautdesert/Ann Leckie, who I was pleased to encounter here as well.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on February 21, 2009, 05:45:45 PM
For Stranger in a Strange Land, I highly recommend listening to the unabridged audio version in order to Grok it fully.  I don't remember who did the reading on the edition I heard, but could find out if anyone really wants to know. 

Please Zathras, not come across the audio version so would love to grok it. Cheers.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 21, 2009, 05:59:55 PM
I believe this is the version I heard.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786144068?tag=3009872512-20


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on February 22, 2009, 04:22:42 AM
I believe this is the version I heard.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786144068?tag=3009872512-20
Many thanks, I shall be  ordering it very soon  :D (apologies for sticky keyboard)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on February 22, 2009, 04:29:49 AM
I believe this is the version I heard.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786144068?tag=3009872512-20
Many thanks, I shall be  dering i very son  :D
English please?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on February 22, 2009, 04:47:35 AM
I believe this is the version I heard.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786144068?tag=3009872512-20
Many thanks, I shall be  dering i very son  :D
English please?

 :-[ I've edited it now, my wireless keyboard is playing up  :-[ (That'll teach me to post without previewing)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on February 22, 2009, 05:04:20 AM
:D


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 22, 2009, 06:48:23 AM
The Year of Our War- Steph Swainston

i'm on page 12


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 23, 2009, 12:10:28 PM
now up to "Lords and Ladies" (Terry Pratchett)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 23, 2009, 07:31:37 PM
Finished The Dirty Pair Strike Again, and next on deck is The Road to Mars by Eric Idle.  Was browsing in the SF section of my local library last Saturday and it caught my eye.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on February 23, 2009, 08:59:48 PM
Finished Gate of Ivrel.  I normally would have finished the trilogy by now, but I haven't been sleeping well lately.  I'd start to read and get drowsy.

This was a pretty good book, especially since it's a 190 page paperback.  Cherryh has a rare gift as an author, the ability to be descriptive without being wordy.  I would put this book in the category of fantasy.  There is "magic" but it is ignorance of science.  Isn't that what all magic is?  Fantasy may not be the correct term, as this made me think of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

Glad you enjoyed it.  I think of it as sci-fi in fantasy disguise.  Jack L. Chalker's "Soul Rider" series has this characteristic as well.

If you really get into Cherryh, you might drop in at the Shejidan (http://z11.invisionfree.com/Shejidan/index.php?) board and say hi.  (It's where I first met hautdesert/Ann Leckie, who I was pleased to encounter here as well.)

Planning on finishing the trilogy before moving on to anything else.  I picked up a P.K. Dick collection (used) at Hastings the other day, so it's moved into the rotation.

I hate to term Gate as fantasy, maybe historical fiction?  I don't think the first book was really about Morgaine.  My opinion may change after reading the later books, but to me, the story was Vanye's.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 23, 2009, 10:02:17 PM
I hate to term Gate as fantasy, maybe historical fiction?  I don't think the first book was really about Morgaine.  My opinion may change after reading the later books, but to me, the story was Vanye's.
I think you're right, but I haven't read Gate in ages. 

On a related note, the [dominant female/subservient male] dynamic is a common feature of Cherryh's fiction.  It's in Downbelow Station, Merchanter's Luck, Rimrunners, Cyteen, the Chanur series ....


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Windup on February 24, 2009, 12:22:55 AM
About a third into The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, my first Heinlein.
I'll be curious to hear what you think of it when you're done; I think it may be Heinlein's best book.  I was particularly fascinated by the alternate family arrangements.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 24, 2009, 10:05:45 AM
About a third into The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, my first Heinlein.
I'll be curious to hear what you think of it when you're done; I think it may be Heinlein's best book.  I was particularly fascinated by the alternate family arrangements.

Heinlein does a lot of alternate family in his books. I won't spoil TMIAHM for Heraldel, but here's some others:

FRIDAY: dysfunctional group family; married couple plus another guy and another girl
TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE: I believe the family numbers nine post-pubescent members at one point
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND: it's been a while, but I believe the father-figure starts with three women that are pretty much his wives


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 24, 2009, 10:06:59 AM
Now up to Pratchett's "Lords and Ladies"


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on February 24, 2009, 12:29:53 PM
Heinlein does a lot of alternate family in his books. I won't spoil TMIAHM for Heraldel, but here's some others:

FRIDAY: dysfunctional group family; married couple plus another guy and another girl
TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE: I believe the family numbers nine post-pubescent members at one point
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND: it's been a while, but I believe the father-figure starts with three women that are pretty much his wives

One thing to note, however, is the order in which the stories (IMHO) should be read, at least with his Future History and Lazarus Long stories.  Don't start with Friday, as it builds on other books.  A good reference guide is here:  http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahfaq.html#0303 (http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahfaq.html#0303)  The link takes you part way down the page, below the biographical information.

Edit:  The Lazarus Long series should definitely be read in the order listed.  To Sail Beyond the Sunset also includes a list at the back of the book, Associated Stories, showing other books which include the same characters.  This book "ties it all together" in a lot of ways.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 24, 2009, 12:37:10 PM
Heinlein does a lot of alternate family in his books. I won't spoil TMIAHM for Heraldel, but here's some others:

FRIDAY: dysfunctional group family; married couple plus another guy and another girl
TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE: I believe the family numbers nine post-pubescent members at one point
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND: it's been a while, but I believe the father-figure starts with three women that are pretty much his wives

One thing to note, however, is the order in which the stories (IMHO) should be read, at least with his Future History and Lazarus Long stories.  Don't start with Friday, as it builds on other books.  A good reference guide is here:  http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahfaq.html#0303 (http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahfaq.html#0303)  The link takes you part way down the page, below the biographical information.

I didn't know Friday built on other books. I tend to treat the books as stand-alone except for if they explicitly mention characters in other Heinlein I've read -- ie: Time Enough/Moon/Cat Who Walks.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on February 24, 2009, 12:54:13 PM
I didn't know Friday built on other books. I tend to treat the books as stand-alone except for if they explicitly mention characters in other Heinlein I've read -- ie: Time Enough/Moon/Cat Who Walks.

I was editing my earlier post while you posted this.  It's been a long time since I've read Friday and To Sail Beyond the Sunset, and I may have confused the characters Friday and Maureen Johnson, as I thought I remembered Pixel the cat in Friday as well.  I went back to my bookshelf and pulled out my copy of Friday, and I could be wrong.  I just know that I started reading Heinlein before he published The Number of the Beast, and continued to read his books in the order they were published, and Friday came out between The Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on February 24, 2009, 01:00:45 PM
I didn't know Friday built on other books. I tend to treat the books as stand-alone except for if they explicitly mention characters in other Heinlein I've read -- ie: Time Enough/Moon/Cat Who Walks.

I was editing my earlier post while you posted this.  It's been a long time since I've read Friday and To Sail Beyond the Sunset, and I may have confused the characters Friday and Maureen Johnson, as I thought I remembered Pixel the cat in Friday as well.  I went back to my bookshelf and pulled out my copy of Friday, and I could be wrong.  I just know that I started reading Heinlein before he published The Number of the Beast, and continued to read his books in the order they were published, and Friday came out between The Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

I don't recall Pixel in Friday, but I might have missed him. I just love that he meows with the word "blert".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on February 25, 2009, 02:44:10 AM
I just stayed up  into the wee hours to finish a novel, and I wanted to recommend it here.. its called 'daemon' by Daniel Suarez, and its something of a techno-thriller-scifi-end of civilization type dealy. Its totally engrossing. A debut novel, apparently.. a solid effort.

Here's a review:

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/18/dale-dougherty-shark.html


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on February 25, 2009, 09:16:02 AM
I didn't know Friday built on other books. I tend to treat the books as stand-alone except for if they explicitly mention characters in other Heinlein I've read -- ie: Time Enough/Moon/Cat Who Walks.

I was editing my earlier post while you posted this.  It's been a long time since I've read Friday and To Sail Beyond the Sunset, and I may have confused the characters Friday and Maureen Johnson, as I thought I remembered Pixel the cat in Friday as well.  I went back to my bookshelf and pulled out my copy of Friday, and I could be wrong.  I just know that I started reading Heinlein before he published The Number of the Beast, and continued to read his books in the order they were published, and Friday came out between The Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

I don't recall Pixel in Friday, but I might have missed him. I just love that he meows with the word "blert".

I believe Friday was one of Heinlein's rare later-day standalones.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on February 25, 2009, 12:22:43 PM
AHhh!

Is there ANYTHING worse than losing a book you were reading?

OK, so reading of The Year of Our War abruptly halted after about 100 pages. Now reading American Gods, again.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on March 04, 2009, 05:44:44 PM
Kay... so i finished Cat's Cradle (http://www.amazon.com/Cats-Cradle-Novel-Kurt-Vonnegut/dp/038533348X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236206791&sr=1-1/escapepod-20) (so good!)
after that, started and finished Illusions (http://www.amazon.com/Illusions-Adventures-Reluctant-Richard-Bach/dp/0099427869/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236206701&sr=8-1/escapepod-20) in an hour (SO GOOD!)
and then after THAT, re-started The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "Trilogy" of 5 books (http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Hitchhikers-Guide-Galaxy/dp/0345453743/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236206748&sr=1-1/escapepod-20).
so that's what I'm reading now... its my faaaavorite book(s)!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on March 04, 2009, 06:49:38 PM
... and then after THAT, re-started The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "Trilogy" of 5 books (http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Hitchhikers-Guide-Galaxy/dp/0345453743/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236206748&sr=1-1/escapepod-20).
so that's what I'm reading now... its my faaaavorite book(s)!

Why would you read past the second book more than once?  Okay, maybe the third has a few bits that redeem it, but four is bad, and five is execrable.

* * *
... still slowly going through The Road to Mars by Eric Idle (I'm enjoying it) and I still have the Librarything Early Reviewer's copy of Modern Magic by Anne Cordwainer standing by.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on March 04, 2009, 07:01:42 PM
WHAAAA?!!!
i love ALL of them! the reverse engineering is awesome!
5th one is quite confusing, but im hoping itll make more sense this time (and by more sense i mean less sense)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on March 04, 2009, 11:16:33 PM
I'm reading "Agent to the Stars" by John Scalzi right now.  It's kind of like a first-contact version of HBO's "Entourage".  It's extremely funny, but has so many pop culture references that it'll be dated very, very fast.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on March 04, 2009, 11:34:19 PM
SOON! Soon my 8 week classes will end and I'll have time to read again! I plan on heavily refrencing this thread for material. Some of this stuff sounds absolutly up my ally- until then I'm still reading soch and western civ.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 05, 2009, 09:35:50 AM
Taking a Discworld Break to read "Last Watch" (Night Watch series) by Sergei Lukyanenko. It's as good as the rest of them, which is to say, interesting but not world-changing. Next up is the third Wicked book, "A Lion Among Men" by Gregory Maguire.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on March 05, 2009, 11:26:12 AM
I'm trying to decide if I'm mad at myself for cheating and reading spoilers for 'Breaking Dawn.'

Whoa, hold off on the lynch mobs there! I finished twilight and new moon and thought they were at least OK, not the horrible pieces of trash some bookish types like to say they are. Hehe.

For some reason I went ahead and looked up how the series ended, and now I'm not sure if I am going to finish reading it or not. I wish I hadn't, that was kind of dumb. Oh well... hehe.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on March 05, 2009, 12:05:29 PM
I'm trying to decide if I'm mad at myself for cheating and reading spoilers for 'Breaking Dawn.'

Whoa, hold off on the lynch mobs there! I finished twilight and new moon and thought they were at least OK, not the horrible pieces of trash some bookish types like to say they are. Hehe.

For some reason I went ahead and looked up how the series ended, and now I'm not sure if I am going to finish reading it or not. I wish I hadn't, that was kind of dumb. Oh well... hehe.

I had advance knowledge that Fancr xvyyrq Qhzoyrqber, Ibyqrzbeg xvyyrq Fancr, naq Arivyyr Ybatobggbz xvyyrq Ibyqrzbeg, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the Harry Potter series. (spoilage in ROT13 cipher)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on March 05, 2009, 01:03:02 PM
Fancr xvyyrq Qhzoyrqber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU RUINED IT!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on March 05, 2009, 01:38:19 PM
I'm trying to decide if I'm mad at myself for cheating and reading spoilers for 'Breaking Dawn.'

Whoa, hold off on the lynch mobs there! I finished twilight and new moon and thought they were at least OK, not the horrible pieces of trash some bookish types like to say they are. Hehe.

For some reason I went ahead and looked up how the series ended, and now I'm not sure if I am going to finish reading it or not. I wish I hadn't, that was kind of dumb. Oh well... hehe.

I had advance knowledge that Fancr xvyyrq Qhzoyrqber, Ibyqrzbeg xvyyrq Fancr, naq Arivyyr Ybatobggbz xvyyrq Ibyqrzbeg, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the Harry Potter series. (spoilage in ROT13 cipher)

No need to cypher it, at this point i'm sure everyone knows that Hagrid kills Ron and Hermione ends up married to Draco.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on March 05, 2009, 03:42:31 PM
Thanks a lot, Talia!  Why don't you just go ahead and tell me about The 6th Sense and Fight Club while you're at it.

Oh, and you're it again.  I don't think anyone will believe you if you say you're a wookie, so I wouldn't use that for your lie...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on March 05, 2009, 04:02:19 PM
I'm not a wookie, I just don't shave.

sixth sense: the protagonist realizes at the end he's actually a sentient sled named rosebud.

Fight Club: Edward Norton falls into a volcano, thus ending the conflict and allowing peace to spread across the land.

You're welcome!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on March 05, 2009, 06:52:34 PM
I had advance knowledge that Fancr xvyyrq Qhzoyrqber, Ibyqrzbeg xvyyrq Fancr, naq Arivyyr Ybatobggbz xvyyrq Ibyqrzbeg, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the Harry Potter series. (spoilage in ROT13 cipher)

No need to cypher it, at this point i'm sure everyone knows that Hagrid kills Ron and Hermione ends up married to Draco.

Oh, please ... that's an obvious red-herring to anyone who's read The Deathly Hallows ... Hermione's a dude.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on March 05, 2009, 11:10:17 PM
Taking a Discworld Break to read "Last Watch" (Night Watch series) by Sergei Lukyanenko. It's as good as the rest of them, which is to say, interesting but not world-changing. Next up is the third Wicked book, "A Lion Among Men" by Gregory Maguire.

Just skip to the end and read the last 60 pages or so of the Maguire.  Thank goodness it was a short book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on March 06, 2009, 06:36:29 AM
Wait,  Arivyyr Ybatobggbz xvyyrq Ibyqrzbeg, I don't remember that.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on March 06, 2009, 12:00:11 PM
NOT IN ROT13:

I've finished The Truth and I'm now reading American Gods. Again.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 06, 2009, 12:16:45 PM
Taking a Discworld Break to read "Last Watch" (Night Watch series) by Sergei Lukyanenko. It's as good as the rest of them, which is to say, interesting but not world-changing. Next up is the third Wicked book, "A Lion Among Men" by Gregory Maguire.

Just skip to the end and read the last 60 pages or so of the Maguire.  Thank goodness it was a short book.

Yeah, Wicked was much better than Son Of A Witch, which was somewhat confusing at times, and the whole thing after Liir woke up bothered me for how much of a dick he was. But for $6, it's not such a bad deal.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on March 06, 2009, 01:32:42 PM
I actually ended up really enjoying son of a witch.. after my third attempt to read it. I kinda had to force myself to stick with it but was glad I did.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 11, 2009, 06:25:56 AM
Taking a Discworld Break to read "Last Watch" (Night Watch series) by Sergei Lukyanenko. It's as good as the rest of them, which is to say, interesting but not world-changing. Next up is the third Wicked book, "A Lion Among Men" by Gregory Maguire.

Just skip to the end and read the last 60 pages or so of the Maguire.  Thank goodness it was a short book.

Yeah, this one felt more like a bridge to get us to whatever the fourth book will be. I liked the Lion's description of the gifts the Wizard gave, but otherwise, meh. And the Clock of the Time Dragon seemed more like a deus ex machina than anything else. I did like the return of Nor, though.

Now reading Pratchett's "Soul Music" to clear my palate before the Star Trek Destiny series.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on March 11, 2009, 07:06:38 AM
The House of Mirth: Edith Wharton.

On Deck -

They Were Kindly: Johnathan Littell (or)
Levittown two families, one tycoon, and the fight for civil rights in America's legendary suburb: David Kushner

Depending which one my librarian can get first.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on March 17, 2009, 08:54:01 AM
The House of Mirth: Edith Wharton.

Let us know how that goes.  I've been thinking about it for a while, waffling.

Just finished Snow Crash by Stephenson.  Much better than Anathem, but just so-so for the most part.
Re-Reading Asimov's Foundation series.  They're holding up quite well.

Picking my way through:
Beasts and Super Beasts, by Saki:  Fun.  You'd never know it was written 100 years ago.  Very slick.
Reality Dysfunction, by Hamilton:  Characters just aren't doing anything for me.  I'm 500 pages in, not even half way through the first of three parts, and really wondering if I want to keep going with this.
Gardens of the Moon, by Eriskon:  About half way through.  Characters just aren't there.  This seems to be the fantasy counterpart to the most stereotypical military SF.
Secret Atlas, by Stackpole:  Great setting, but the dialogue is just so stiff, it's tough to get interested in the characters.  Just too formal.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 17, 2009, 08:56:43 AM
This weekend, I read David Mack's entire Star Trek: Destiny trilogy in three nights. It was GREAT. Now reading Pratchett's "Interesting Times".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on March 17, 2009, 09:39:45 AM
The House of Mirth: Edith Wharton.

Let us know how that goes.  I've been thinking about it for a while, waffling.


It's a fun read, dense, but reading about a character careening towards disaster is always fun. I didn't like House of Mirth when I had to read it in college, but since then I've grown to appreciate a load of the classics that I could barely bother with back then.

I read Snowcrash way back in college to. Was okay as I remember it, loved the opening scene with the pizza delivery, could have done without the additional 15000 pages of unreadable pointless crap that followed it. I always preferred W.T. Quick to Stephenson anyway.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on March 17, 2009, 10:46:12 AM
I read Snowcrash way back in college to. Was okay as I remember it, loved the opening scene with the pizza delivery, could have done without the additional 15000 pages of unreadable pointless crap that followed it.
You must have the "uncut" version.  My copy is only about 460 pages (mass market paperback edition).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on March 17, 2009, 11:52:49 AM
Kind of on a little Jonathan Lethem kick right now. Read his Men and Cartoons (http://www.amazon.com/Men-Cartoons-Jonathan-Lethem/dp/1400076803/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237308682&sr=8-1) collection which was...interesting. But am now reading post-apocalytpic road-trip novel Amnesia Moon (http://www.amazon.com/Amnesia-Moon-Jonathan-Lethem/dp/015603154X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237308724&sr=1-1) and it's bending my brain in very good ways. Very weird thus far, and also very funny.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on March 17, 2009, 01:32:36 PM
just finished reading pratchett's discworld series and Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Neverwhere in succession. My local bookshop is selling SF masterworks 3 for 2, and I had quite a bit of fun in there the other day. Now reading

Flowers For Algernon Daniel Keyes (read many times, but new copy)
The Demolished Man Alfred Bester
Stand On Zanzibar John Brunner


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: wherethewild on March 19, 2009, 07:27:11 AM
Feuchtgebiete (English title: Wetlands) by Charlotte Roche.

Do not pick up this book if you are even slightly prudish. Even I found myself blushing reading it, and on the train I felt like I'd just been caught looking at porn by the old woman across from me. It's REALLY in-your-face bodily functions, WITHOUT being erotica.

here's an English review  (http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/afterword/archive/2009/03/14/book-review-wetlands-by-charlotte-roche.aspx)

Despite, or actually probably because, it's completely full of taboo subjects I'm enjoying it. I really like that it's not written as erotica (I'm a fan of erotica, but it's cool to see someone cover the same subject matter without resorting to just trying to make you horny).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 19, 2009, 07:59:19 AM
Feuchtgebiete (English title: Wetlands) by Charlotte Roche.

Do not pick up this book if you are even slightly prudish. Even I found myself blushing reading it, and on the train I felt like I'd just been caught looking at porn by the old woman across from me. It's REALLY in-your-face bodily functions, WITHOUT being erotica.

Yeah, most of my stories involve going to the bathroom, but not the mechanics of "I sat down and grunted..." et al. There's only so far you need to go when making a poop reference.

And the same goes for the mechanics of orgasm.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on March 21, 2009, 09:58:53 AM
finished: Deathwish by Rob Thurman
re-reading: entire Callahans series- I need the comfort they bring me
finished: the last of the Sandman "comic" books. Magnificent, can't believe I hadn't found these before- Have now devoured almost everything (that's still in print, or easily found) by Mr. Gaiman
reading: Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand  by Carrie Vaughn(so far much slower then her other books)


So glad to have time again to read anything other then text books!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Planish on March 23, 2009, 01:47:19 AM
Now about 1/3 through At All Costs, David Weber's eleventh "Honor Harrington" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_Harrington) novel.
:oThat was May 12, 2008, and I haven't read anything on dead tree substrate since. Haven't even resumed At All Costs yet.
I think I'm being corrupted by podcasts and audiobooks. :-[

One of the things not mentioned here that I got was The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.  Has anybody read them?  Two of the three say on the cover that they won the Hugo for best novel. 
I own all three, but they've been collecting dust shortly after I started the second one, I think. It just could not hold my interest.
As near as I can recall, the world-building was okay, but I could not connect with the characters.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: OliverM on March 24, 2009, 11:21:59 AM
Feuchtgebiete (English title: Wetlands) by Charlotte Roche.

Do not pick up this book if you are even slightly prudish. Even I found myself blushing reading it, and on the train I felt like I'd just been caught looking at porn by the old woman across from me. It's REALLY in-your-face bodily functions, WITHOUT being erotica.

here's an English review  (http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/afterword/archive/2009/03/14/book-review-wetlands-by-charlotte-roche.aspx)

Despite, or actually probably because, it's completely full of taboo subjects I'm enjoying it. I really like that it's not written as erotica (I'm a fan of erotica, but it's cool to see someone cover the same subject matter without resorting to just trying to make you horny).

Me too.
Its definatly a challenging read. The challenge is part of the intended effect and yet despite this it also makes an enjoyable read.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on March 24, 2009, 12:47:32 PM
The Kindly Ones: Jonathan Littell


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on March 24, 2009, 12:52:06 PM
Sweet Like Maple Sugar by some dude named DeRego


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on March 24, 2009, 01:03:40 PM
Sweet Like Maple Sugar by some dude named DeRego

I heard he sucks.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on March 24, 2009, 02:46:08 PM
I finished Modern Magic by Anne Cordwainer about an hour ago.  I'll be posting a review in the fantasy forum soon, as it was a LibraryThing Early Reviewer copy and I owe the publisher quid pro quo.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on March 25, 2009, 09:55:15 AM
Terry Pratchett, "Feet of Clay", arguably the 2nd-best Watch novel after "Men at Arms". They're all quite good, and often my favorites of the Discworld series, but MAA and FOC are my favorites.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on March 27, 2009, 11:22:03 PM
Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! Trilogy.  I'm maybe a quarter of the way through.

What a load of brazen horseshit in novel form.

Yes, I'm thoroughly enjoying it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on March 27, 2009, 11:32:09 PM
Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! Trilogy.  I'm maybe a quarter of the way through.

What a load of brazen horseshit in novel form.

Yes, I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I love that book, though I bounced off of it on my first attempt to read it.  The sudden, without-warning change of scene/narrator/POV threw me and it took me some time to get over it.  But I love how just about every eetee conspiracy theory is worked in there, including the Cthulhu mythos.  I particularly liked how the JFK assassination is revisited several times, from the viewpoint of each of the half-dozen-or-so assassins stationed in various places about the scene. 

And I want to sign on aboard the Leif Erickson.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on April 10, 2009, 12:26:25 PM
2001: Reading it for my Strange Creations (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/5927/198syl2.html) class, first time I've read it since I read the series in middle school. A bit aggravating to talk about in class, because I keep almost referencing what happens in '10/'61/3001. Also it's provoking flashbacks to reading in a corner of the middle school library during lunch and recess, which is interesting. And reminding me of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, which I read right after that series and which altered the course of my life.

Anathem: I lost slightly over a day reading it and it was good.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Almost done with this one. I like Pride and Prejudice sans the walking dead (and ninjas), so the addition of Zombies is interesting, if not necessarily an improvement.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 10, 2009, 01:02:46 PM
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Almost done with this one. I like Pride and Prejudice sans the walking dead (and ninjas), so the addition of Zombies is interesting, if not necessarily an improvement.

So, it's fun?

How close does it follow Pride and Prejudice? (Which I also enjoy.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on April 10, 2009, 01:15:03 PM
Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

I already know it's true, of course, but the way the author shreds the case for "intelligent design" is a thing of beauty. ;D  And he does it without coming off as an arrogant jackass, like Richard Dawkins is said to (I haven't read any Dawkins).

Of course, the people who really should read this book, never will.  :(


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on April 10, 2009, 01:19:10 PM
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Almost done with this one. I like Pride and Prejudice sans the walking dead (and ninjas), so the addition of Zombies is interesting, if not necessarily an improvement.

So, it's fun?

How close does it follow Pride and Prejudice? (Which I also enjoy.)

It is fun, and there's very little deviation from plot of Pride and Prejudice. There are some changes to the details of the plot, but it’s still a girl meets boy, dislikes boy, finds out boy is in love with her, is greatly offended by boy on many levels, boy does damage control, and girl is eventually won over by boy kind of story. It's the kind of story that provokes a review out of me, which I'll probably post here at some point like I did with OSC's Empire.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 10, 2009, 01:31:38 PM
Now up to "Thief of Time" in my quest to do the entire Discworld in order.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on April 10, 2009, 08:31:38 PM
I just started reading "The Terror" by Dan Simmons.  I think I'm getting frostbite.  He captures the sense of being in the Arctic so well.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on April 10, 2009, 08:51:22 PM
Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

I already know it's true, of course, but the way the author shreds the case for "intelligent design" is a thing of beauty. ;D  And he does it without coming off as an arrogant jackass, like Richard Dawkins is said to (I haven't read any Dawkins).

In Dawkins' defense, when he's good he's really good.  I haven't read his latest religion-bashing tome, but The Selfish Gene is extraordinary.  And I have a special place in my heart for The Ancestor's Tale, which is approximately 700 pages of letting Dawkins run wild.  I had a blast reading it, although admittedly I find the evolutionary history of the animal kingdom to be geekily fascinating.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on April 10, 2009, 09:42:04 PM

In Dawkins' defense, when he's good he's really good.  I haven't read his latest religion-bashing tome, but The Selfish Gene is extraordinary.  And I have a special place in my heart for The Ancestor's Tale, which is approximately 700 pages of letting Dawkins run wild.  I had a blast reading it, although admittedly I find the evolutionary history of the animal kingdom to be geekily fascinating.

Then do yourself a favor and check out the book I'm reading.  It's really really good.  And I'll check out The Selfish Gene soon.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Poppydragon on April 11, 2009, 02:44:20 AM
For a little light relief, Mark Barrowcliffe's "The Elfish Gene", sadly I recognised far too much of myself in there  :-[

Just as a taster (from the back cover)

Quote
In the summer 1976, twelve-year-old Mark Barrowcliffe had a chance to be normal. He blew it. While other teenagers were being coolly rebellious, Mark—and 20 million other boys in the 1970s and 80s—chose to spend his entire adolescence pretending to be a wizard or a warrior, an evil priest or a dwarf.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on April 15, 2009, 05:11:44 AM
I have located the second and third books of His Dark Materials and am making my way through them.  So I'll be able to decide for myself if the series turns into a colossal disappointment or not.  So far I'm halfway through The Subtle Knife and I'm liking it.  So far.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on April 15, 2009, 08:54:47 AM
I just finished 'The Manual of Detection' by Jedediah Berry and thought it was absolutely excellent! It's odd, a bit surreal and utterly captivating. Highly recommended.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 15, 2009, 10:47:18 AM
I'm listening to Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (http://www.amazon.com/Anansi-Boys-Neil-Gaiman/dp/B000S6MFEK/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239810330&sr=8-10). Holy crap, is that book funny. I remember enjoying it when I first read it, but between this and Graveyard Book (http://www.audible.com/adbl/site/products/ProductDetail.jsp?productID=BK_HARP_001709&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes), there's part of me that wonders if I should stop reading Gaiman's books and just listen to them instead.

Also, I took Tim (T.A.) Pratt's Poison Sleep (http://www.amazon.com/Poison-Sleep-Marla-Mason-Book/dp/0553589997/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239810219&sr=8-3) with me to Jury Duty yesterday and read 150 pages. It was a lot more fun than I was expecting it to be, especially since I found Blood Engines (http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Engines-Marla-Mason-Book/dp/0553589989/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b) to be a bit of a letdown.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on April 15, 2009, 10:53:17 AM
Private Eye right now.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on April 15, 2009, 11:21:53 AM
Robert Asprin- Phules Company and it's following books- I'm on book three 'A Phule and his Money'
recently purchased the newest Dresdin book and must wait until my darling dearest either finishes it or leaves it where I can find/reach it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on April 15, 2009, 01:01:19 PM
I'm listening to Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (http://www.amazon.com/Anansi-Boys-Neil-Gaiman/dp/B000S6MFEK/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239810330&sr=8-10). Holy crap, is that book funny. I remember enjoying it when I first read it, but between this and Graveyard Book (http://www.audible.com/adbl/site/products/ProductDetail.jsp?productID=BK_HARP_001709&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes), there's part of me that wonders if I should stop reading Gaiman's books and just listen to them instead.

I think Lenny Henry's reading of Anansi Boys has ruined me for the print version.  Ditto Lynne Truss' Going Loco as read by Linda Lang.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on April 15, 2009, 01:50:32 PM
I'm listening to Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (http://www.amazon.com/Anansi-Boys-Neil-Gaiman/dp/B000S6MFEK/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239810330&sr=8-10). Holy crap, is that book funny. I remember enjoying it when I first read it, but between this and Graveyard Book (http://www.audible.com/adbl/site/products/ProductDetail.jsp?productID=BK_HARP_001709&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes), there's part of me that wonders if I should stop reading Gaiman's books and just listen to them instead.

I think Lenny Henry's reading of Anansi Boys has ruined me for the print version.  Ditto Lynne Truss' Going Loco as read by Linda Lang.

Yes, I find myself laughing pretty good at the most random little details (and his deliveries) whenever I'm listening to it. And his voices are amazing.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on April 15, 2009, 02:00:58 PM
Finished 2001. Probably going to reread 2010/61/3001 in a few months, but next is a bunch of short Blues stories and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 16, 2009, 02:31:57 PM
Terry Pratchett, "Monstrous Regiment"

Pratchett's "Night Watch", which I just finished, was a lot funnier this time around.

I had meant to take a Pratchett break and read some short fiction, but I forgot.

Also, amusingly, when Reid started delivering the Pratchett quote during last week's "Criminal Minds" (the one about the spring break serial killer), I said to my wife, "they really should do a Terry Pratchett quote." And there it was. Go figure. (They also did Cory Doctorow once.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on April 16, 2009, 07:14:50 PM
Finished 2001. Probably going to reread 2010/61/3001 in a few months
those are the next few on my list of stuff to read.  after HHGtG, gonna read Watchmen really quick then hop into 2001


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on April 16, 2009, 08:48:02 PM
nothing   :'(  When I can find books in English, they cost about the same as a kidney.  Keep in mind that working as a ESL teacher here in China i only make about 10,000 US per year.  While i can live comfortably here in China I can't find many books, and I refuse to pay 3 times what it would cost me in America for a book that quite often I have already read.  Thank god for podcast fiction is all I can say or I would be losing my mind.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on April 16, 2009, 09:25:05 PM
nothing   :'(  When I can find books in English, they cost about the same as a kidney.  Keep in mind that working as a ESL teacher here in China i only make about 10,000 US per year.  While i can live comfortably here in China I can't find many books, and I refuse to pay 3 times what it would cost me in America for a book that quite often I have already read.  Thank god for podcast fiction is all I can say or I would be losing my mind.

You might want to try Project Gutenberg. Or Little Brother's available as a free download: http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on April 16, 2009, 11:03:52 PM
nothing   :'(  When I can find books in English, they cost about the same as a kidney.  Keep in mind that working as a ESL teacher here in China i only make about 10,000 US per year.  While i can live comfortably here in China I can't find many books, and I refuse to pay 3 times what it would cost me in America for a book that quite often I have already read.  Thank god for podcast fiction is all I can say or I would be losing my mind.

PM me your snail mail address and a wish list of books.  I'll hit up the used bookstore and ship you some.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on April 17, 2009, 07:42:21 AM
nothing   :'(  When I can find books in English, they cost about the same as a kidney.  Keep in mind that working as a ESL teacher here in China i only make about 10,000 US per year.  While i can live comfortably here in China I can't find many books, and I refuse to pay 3 times what it would cost me in America for a book that quite often I have already read.  Thank god for podcast fiction is all I can say or I would be losing my mind.

Ouch.  Out of curiosity, where are you in China?  My girlfriend used to live in Zunyi (not the most cosmopolitan city on the planet, I hear) and knows your pain.

I've lived in Seoul and Taipei, and both have fairly good used bookstores aimed at the English-speaking crowd.  Seems like it's a lot harder to find affordable English books in the PRC, at least outside of a few big cities.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on April 17, 2009, 07:52:34 AM
nothing   :'(  When I can find books in English, they cost about the same as a kidney.  Keep in mind that working as a ESL teacher here in China i only make about 10,000 US per year.  While i can live comfortably here in China I can't find many books, and I refuse to pay 3 times what it would cost me in America for a book that quite often I have already read.  Thank god for podcast fiction is all I can say or I would be losing my mind.

PM me your snail mail address and a wish list of books.  I'll hit up the used bookstore and ship you some.

Zathras,  the shipping expense will eat up any savings you might get.  This is one of the reasons that trips to the states are shopping sprees for me.  We're going to a paperback exchange today. 

Lowky needs to find someone just outside of the "great wall" who can find him some second hand stuff.  Anyone here from the region who'd like to help?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on April 17, 2009, 08:28:13 AM

Ouch.  Out of curiosity, where are you in China?  My girlfriend used to live in Zunyi (not the most cosmopolitan city on the planet, I hear) and knows your pain.

I've lived in Seoul and Taipei, and both have fairly good used bookstores aimed at the English-speaking crowd.  Seems like it's a lot harder to find affordable English books in the PRC, at least outside of a few big cities.

I was in Wuhan and could find a few mostly lit classics like pride and prejudice sadly without the zombies.  I am now in Xiangfan and have found no english books yet.  I would say most books I have found are 75-100 RMB so about 10-15 US for a paperback.  For a book I am not that interested in or I have already read that's a bit steep.  I made it to Hong Kong once for some visa issues, found two bookstores one selling at about the same price range, the other selling at US sticker price so I bought a couple of them while i was there.  I keep checking on bookcrossing but it's all beijing or Shanghai mostly.  Xiangfan is second largest city in Hubei province.  I am about smack dab in the middle of China both N-S and E-W.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on April 17, 2009, 08:37:24 AM
nothing   :'(  When I can find books in English, they cost about the same as a kidney.  Keep in mind that working as a ESL teacher here in China i only make about 10,000 US per year.  While i can live comfortably here in China I can't find many books, and I refuse to pay 3 times what it would cost me in America for a book that quite often I have already read.  Thank god for podcast fiction is all I can say or I would be losing my mind.

PM me your snail mail address and a wish list of books.  I'll hit up the used bookstore and ship you some.

Zathras,  the shipping expense will eat up any savings you might get.  This is one of the reasons that trips to the states are shopping sprees for me.  We're going to a paperback exchange today. 

Lowky needs to find someone just outside of the "great wall" who can find him some second hand stuff.  Anyone here from the region who'd like to help?

I'm in Greater-China-But-Not-The-People's-Republic but I'm not sure if I'm the person to help Lowky.  Taipei's English used bookstores are great if you don't have any particular book in mind but just want to browse and see what grabs your interest.  They're frustrating if you're looking for something specific.  

That said, I do have some genre paperbacks sitting on my shelves at home that I've read already.  Not sure what it would cost to ship them into the PRC.  If Lowky's interested, I can send him/her a list of what I've got.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on April 17, 2009, 09:33:56 AM
If there is anything else I can do to help, let me know.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on April 17, 2009, 01:26:06 PM
Turn coat: Jim Butcher. Man it's fast paced, if I'm not careful I'll be done before I want to be.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on April 17, 2009, 01:36:42 PM
ummm... have you tried audible?  seems like the best option to me... or Amazon? does amazon not ship to china? i duno....


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: slic on April 17, 2009, 05:44:39 PM
Turn coat: Jim Butcher. Man it's fast paced, if I'm not careful I'll be done before I want to be.
I've really enjoyed all of the Dresden File books.  Haven't got to Turn Coat yet, but I hear good things.  This is one of those backwards events where I saw the show (short lived on Sci-Fi) and liked it enough to check out the books - books way way better, even more than usual.  Though I think it would be more fun if they had taken the TV show version of Bob and put him in the books.

I read a couple of the books out of order and they still read, but I find the progression adds a lovely layer of being interested in the characters.  It really has left it's roots as a detective novel though. 


Have you read Mean Streets (http://www.amazon.ca/Mean-Streets-Jim-Butcher/dp/0451462491/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240007733&sr=1-1)?  The contribution by Jim Butcher is has a novella that takes place btwn A Small Favour and Turn Coat.  The other stories are decent too.  There are a couple of other anthologies he has been a part of.  Don't recall their names off hand.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on April 18, 2009, 07:37:19 AM
thanks to all for the offers of help finding me reading material.  I think amazon ships to china but i think you have to go through amazon.cn, which i am unable to read due to not being literate in Chinese.  I will play it by ear for now.  I should have some money soon due to a VERY nice tax return this year, and will be exploring just what it takes to get some shipments from Amazon.cn.  Much different from last year when a w-2 got stolen (along with a laptop bag) while moving from MI to AZ.  The employer said it's not our problem.  Bitter because they lied about why they let me go to try to get out of paying unemployment benefits.  Had to estimate taxes and since i had no idea on withholding amounts my taxes were horrible last year.  I got nothing from the federal government and had to pay the state almost 200.  May that employer choke on the huge amounts of that item that will remain nameless due to minors on the forums that they suck. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on April 22, 2009, 10:58:19 AM
Turn coat: Jim Butcher. Man it's fast paced, if I'm not careful I'll be done before I want to be.
I've really enjoyed all of the Dresden File books.  Haven't got to Turn Coat yet, but I hear good things.  This is one of those backwards events where I saw the show (short lived on Sci-Fi) and liked it enough to check out the books - books way way better, even more than usual.  Though I think it would be more fun if they had taken the TV show version of Bob and put him in the books.

I read a couple of the books out of order and they still read, but I find the progression adds a lovely layer of being interested in the characters.  It really has left it's roots as a detective novel though. 


Have you read Mean Streets (http://www.amazon.ca/Mean-Streets-Jim-Butcher/dp/0451462491/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240007733&sr=1-1)?  The contribution by Jim Butcher is has a novella that takes place btwn A Small Favour and Turn Coat.  The other stories are decent too.  There are a couple of other anthologies he has been a part of.  Don't recall their names off hand.



Ooh no I havn't read that one! I'll give it a go. Turn coat was GREAT!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 22, 2009, 01:47:31 PM
Terry Pratchett, "Thud"


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on April 22, 2009, 04:44:21 PM
"Man Plus" by frederick Pohl


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on April 22, 2009, 07:15:17 PM
Finished Why Evolution is True today.  Next on deck, a reread of The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones, as I reread Charmed Life the other day while temping as a receptionist.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on April 22, 2009, 08:29:43 PM
"Man Plus" by frederick Pohl

I enjoyed that one and the sequel Mars Plus :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on April 25, 2009, 03:19:35 PM
i had no idea there was a sequel, so i better get hold of that  ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: CGFxColONeill on April 27, 2009, 10:55:05 AM
I have read about 3 or 4 of Webers books recently and I am currently working my way through Snow Crash... it is a bit confusing so far but I am not through it yet so ya


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on April 27, 2009, 03:45:02 PM
Finished the Discworld Cycle -- I'm passing on the YA books until a new one comes out, and then I'll reread them -- and moved on to KRAD's "Star Trek: A Singular Destiny". Not thrilled so far; the main character is a bit of a Gary Stu.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on May 03, 2009, 09:14:16 AM
I'm just starting "Grave Peril", the third book in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series.  I so did not want to get caught up in an endless series, but at least the books are short. 

I'm also re-reading "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis for one of my GoodReads book groups.  It's been at least 10 years since I read it, but I love Connie Willis.  I got to meet her last weekend at the LA Times Festival of Books and bought a copy of this and "Doomsday Book" and had them signed by her. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on May 03, 2009, 12:43:30 PM
I just finished The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.  I started it over twentyfive years ago, in middle school, but it didn't grab me back then.

Good story, but I agree with my friend who read it back then: the triffids are only peripheral to the story; a better title for the book would be The Day the Earth Went Blind.

Now reading Wyndham's Trouble with Lichen, the only other of his books in my collection.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 05, 2009, 03:53:39 PM
"A Singular Destiny" basically set up the next two years worth of bad guys in the Star Trek universe -- you'd think they could have a little more peace first? A break? Just sayin'... it's not all about war all the time in the future, or at least it shouldn't be. There's a nice dig against Star Trek novels though.

Now reading Michael Crichton's "The Great Train Robbery". I really hope it speeds up soon.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on May 05, 2009, 04:03:35 PM
I'm just starting "Grave Peril", the third book in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series.  I so did not want to get caught up in an endless series, but at least the books are short. 

I'm also re-reading "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis for one of my GoodReads book groups.  It's been at least 10 years since I read it, but I love Connie Willis.  I got to meet her last weekend at the LA Times Festival of Books and bought a copy of this and "Doomsday Book" and had them signed by her. 

As an aside, its my understanding the series will end with book 20.. so its not endless ;)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on May 05, 2009, 11:53:54 PM
I'm just starting "Grave Peril", the third book in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series.  I so did not want to get caught up in an endless series, but at least the books are short. 

I'm also re-reading "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis for one of my GoodReads book groups.  It's been at least 10 years since I read it, but I love Connie Willis.  I got to meet her last weekend at the LA Times Festival of Books and bought a copy of this and "Doomsday Book" and had them signed by her. 

As an aside, its my understanding the series will end with book 20.. so its not endless ;)

Actually, I heard an interview with Jim Butcher saying that he's planning 21 books PLUS a grande finale trilogy.  Considering the series is only at 11 books, I highly doubt I'll ever make it through 24.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on May 06, 2009, 12:15:10 AM
if it doesnt work for you it doesn't work for you, I guess.

I'm personally addicted, although aware of weaknesses.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on May 06, 2009, 02:19:40 PM
ditto to Talia. I have a friend who refuses to start something there's no "logical" end to. And though I spend my time between books freely cursing the mans name (write FASTER!) I too am weak.. plus.. gooood intros


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on May 06, 2009, 02:56:38 PM
I've actually managed to work my way up to "Summer Knight".  Thing is, it's not REALY a series.  Sure, some plot elements carry from one novel to the next, but most of the action is tied up inside each book.  At least, so far.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on May 06, 2009, 11:39:47 PM
I picked up a copy of "Summer Night" today.  I have to make myself finish my other currently-reading books thought before I read it.  So far, each main plot is contained withing the book, but by the end of the third one, you realize that there's a bigger underlying storyline that just has to be finished.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 28, 2009, 12:18:40 PM
Recent books:

"Star Trek: Titan -- Over a Torrent Sea" by Christopher L. Bennett
Bennett tries to mix action with worldbuilding and cool alien cultures and usually succeeds at doing both, but they rarely mix well together. Still, he really is good at characterizations of the Titan crew. However, this book has way too much forced sex (that is, the sex scenes feel forced, not that the characters are having non-consensual sex, because that doesn't happen in the book). The whole minor arc where Lavena tries to figure out if Riker could handle living alone on the planet with her is really uncomfortable and weird. Good but not great.

"Star Trek: New Frontier -- Treason" by Peter David
Another strong entry in the NF series, though not a good book for a newcomer. You really have to know about the characters to appreciate the nuances. Plus, David has been given free reign by Pocket to do his own thing, and so while the Typhon Pact is going on in the rest of the universe, he's created his own super-bad-guys. Lots of action, some funny stuff, story arcs building to keep you interested in the next book, a MAJOR character death (done very well), and a great pace -- David is excellent at pacing. But the book was not one of the best in the series. Still, it's better than a lot of other Trek fiction.

"Medicus and the Disappearing Dancing Girls" by R.S. Downie
This is an almost-doorstop that I'm still reading. I'm not sure exactly when it takes place -- Hadrian is mentioned, but so are the Crusades. It's about Romans occupying a city in London, and one of the doctors who works at the army fort. Funny, good descriptions, but the first couple hundred pages don't move very quickly. I like the character of Ruso, the protagonist, but it seems like TOO much bad stuff has happened to him -- sitcom-esque, almost. I've got another 250-300 pages to go, and I'm hoping we finally get some payoff with all these plot threads the author's leaving laying around on the floor. If you can make it through the first 75 pages you'll keep reading.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on May 28, 2009, 12:54:11 PM
Last week, finished The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge (recommended by Wilson Fowlie here (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=2492.msg43826#msg43826)).

Also reread the Revolutionary Girl Utena manga during downtime while working at the Portland Rose Festival last weekend (appropriate but unplanned  ;D).

And just picked up from the library last night, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed by Jesse Ventura.  Heard him interviewed on Dan Carlin's podcast a while ago and liked what he had to say about politics.  (Not wild about his 9/11 conspiracy theories, though.)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on May 29, 2009, 10:50:40 PM
I've actually managed to work my way up to "Summer Knight".  Thing is, it's not REALY a series.  Sure, some plot elements carry from one novel to the next, but most of the action is tied up inside each book.  At least, so far.

I just finished Book 6 of the Dresden Files--"Blood Rites"--and I'm finding it is more series-like as it goes along.  I like that the main storyline of each book is completed in one book, but the underlying story keeps building.  "Blood Rites" has such a huge surprise in the middle and it ended so happily, I'm going to take a little break before I move to the seventh installment.  If I wait, maybe Harry can have some peace for a while.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on May 30, 2009, 07:42:52 PM
Finished "Medicus and the Disappearing Dancing Girls" (R.S. Downie). I think I kind of figured out who the killer was pretty early on, though I had hoped it wouldn't be him so Ruso would have a good foil for future books. Also, the end is very sappy.

Now on "Star Trek: Voyager -- Full Circle" by Kirsten Beyer. It's... okay... but there's a TON of infodumps I could live without.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on May 31, 2009, 02:47:29 AM
Acquired the audio version of Storm Front (Dresden #1) and bought it at B&N too, by accident.  Returned it today and picked up Fool Moon (#2) and Grave Peril (#3), as well as donating Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett to a teen foster child through B&N.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: MacArthurBug on May 31, 2009, 10:36:35 AM
Reading The Nibelungenlied at hubbys request,  dry- sexist but overall not bad at all


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on May 31, 2009, 10:42:59 AM
Just started the newest Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake novel. To her credit, this one starts off with way more badassery and less "Anita sleeps with everything that moves" than her past bunch have been (though there's still plenty of innuendo and such). I'm sure this will go downhill as the novel progresses, we'll see.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on May 31, 2009, 10:51:47 AM
Just started the newest Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake novel. To her credit, this one starts off with way more badassery and less "Anita sleeps with everything that moves" than her past bunch have been (though there's still plenty of innuendo and such).

That's what I always say ... love goes out the door when money comes innuendo.  ;D

Started Kinky Friedman's first novel Greenwich Killing Time yesterday, during downtime at work.  Have Jesse Ventura's second book on the way from the library.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 01, 2009, 01:44:53 PM
Finished "Star Trek Voyager -- Full Circle". It gets better, but it's basically just another relaunch that wraps up all the character storylines. It did keep me reading through to the end though.

I think some Jules Verne is next.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: jrderego on June 01, 2009, 02:41:46 PM
rereading The Outline of History (collected into 2 volumes) by HG Wells. I'm midway through my annual Starship Troopers read (I started it on Memorial Day but my son was sick the flu all last week and I had to put my reading aside and keep him comfy). The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littel, possibly the most infuriating book I've ever tried to slog through, and this is my second try on loan from the library and I am sure it'll go back tomorrow, unfinished.

I started a reread of the opening half of Moby Dick.

I'm also  trying to finish the next Union Dues story (Our Regularly Scheduled Programming), the next Pleasant Hollow story (Bees Do It), and get a couple of space opera short stories (The Ballad of Old 666 and Currently Untitled) off the ground, and find a job, and get the garden together...


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on June 01, 2009, 03:50:28 PM
Read Escape Artist Greg van Eekhout's Norse Code (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553592130/escapepod-20) on vacation. Much fun. One thing I dug about is how Ragnarok seems to be happening all over the world, but people continue going about their lives, or reacting to it, kind of like it's no big deal. That angle isn't really a major one, but it's one of the details that I dug. All in all, it was an extremely good read. Funny and wicked and epic. I hope Greg sells another book like yesterday.

Started reading Toby Buckell's Crystal Rain (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0765350904/escapepod-20). I've only read about 30 pages but it seems like fun.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on June 01, 2009, 06:14:39 PM
Bought Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things . . .: That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, ... So Maybe You Could Help Us Out (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932416358/escapepod-20) recently due to a recommendation on Neil Gaiman's blog (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/04/sir-clement-freud.html), expressly for an otherwise out-of-print story in it called Grimble, by Clement Freud.  It's a good story so far, and I'd love to see it done on PC, though since I haven't finished it yet, that opinion might not last.  It would be amazing to have Neil Gaiman read it, but that's highly unlikely.  Wilson Fowlie as a reader would also fit this nicely.

I was going to try to re-read "Angels and Demons" before seeing the movie, but I don't think I'll have time to read the print version.  When I purchased the DVD of The Davinci Code, it came with a CD of the mp3 files of the audio version of A&D, and I loaded it on my iPod, but (1) the narrator reads... so... slowly... that... I... can... hardly... stand... it, and (2) his voice is incredibly irritating and flat, so I gave up.

And it's been so long since I was reading Sue Grafton's "N is for Noose" (I was almost halfway through it) that I'll have to start over from the beginning...  again.  Maybe I'll try to find it on Booksfree (http://www.booksfree.com/).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 02, 2009, 07:16:55 AM
Jules Verne, "Five Weeks in a Balloon"


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on June 04, 2009, 06:54:38 PM
Just finished the Liveship Traders (http://www.amazon.com/Ship-Magic-Liveship-Traders-Book/dp/0553575635/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244144678&sr=1-1) trilogy by Robin Hobb.  Pretty good fantasy stuff, reads a bit like George RR Martin light - it follows one family switching POV between the members, and gradually increasing the cast as the trilogy goes on.  All sorts of bad things happen, but not to the extreme extent that Martin's series does.  There is very limited magic, almost all tied into the strange Wizardwood they make living ships out of (as well as some minor charms), and the mystery of the dragons - which have all vanished long ago.  No wizards shooting fireballs here, and no elves. 

Mostly I enjoyed it because it's nautically based and that's a fun genre, especially when crossed with fantasy.  And the story is very gripping, it defiantly kept me captive all the way to the end.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on June 07, 2009, 05:10:18 PM
I've put down Friedman's Greenwich Killing Time and Jesse Ventura's Do I Stand Alone?, temporarily, for a timely re-read of Cornelius Ryan's D-Day chronicle The Longest Day which I began yesterday, on the anniversary of the event in question.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on June 08, 2009, 08:45:32 AM
I'm about three-quarters of the way through John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar.  It's trying to do an awful lot and isn't 100% successful at everything, but I'm stunned and gobsmacked at the sheer scope of the book and how much it manages to pull off well.  And even though it hasn't been prophetic (fortunately), it's aged remarkably well since 1968.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on June 10, 2009, 10:17:34 AM
I didn't want to drag the entire Jules Verne omnibus on the plane to Florida, so I paused in "Five Weeks in a Balloon" to read "The Feather Men" by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. It's apparently a true story. Kind of scary in a way. (Spy novel.)

I find that the heroes of Verne and Wells, to some extent, are irrepressible in their environments -- there is danger, but nothing truly bad ever really happens. Perhaps that's because all the recent Verne and Wells I've read was first done as serial fiction. I have read other works by them, but that was almost 20 years ago.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on June 10, 2009, 07:12:01 PM
I'm juggling three books right now.  I'm reading "Diamond Star" by Catherine Asaro, "The Steel Remains" by Richard K. Morgan, and "The Accidental Time Machine" by Joe Haldeman.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Russell Nash on June 11, 2009, 03:48:15 AM
I haven't been spending much time reading recently.  I'm just getting to bed too late to read before I go to sleep.

Since my last post, I've read In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. by Jean Shepard.  It's a collection of shorts that was pillaged to make the movie A Christmas Story.  If you liked the movie, read the book.

I'm in the middle of David Eddings' Belgarath The Sorcerer.  It's a funny prequel to the Belgariad series.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on July 10, 2009, 08:05:11 PM
Is anybody reading anything at all?????

I'm working on 4 books right now:

"Eve of Darkness" by S.J. Day
"Curse of the Mistwraith" by Janny Wurtz
"Dying Inside" by Robert Silverberg
"Cordelia's Honor" by Lois McMaster Bujold


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on July 10, 2009, 10:57:17 PM
About to finish up Brandon Sanderson's 'Mistborn.'

Inspired purely by everyone's commentary when it was announced he'd be completing WOT.

Now I get it. he clearly has an apt voice for epic fantasy. this book is sooo addictive.



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on July 11, 2009, 10:41:39 AM
"Mistborn" is an excellent book.  I've read the first two in the series and have the final one in my nightstand drawer.  I really like that he's done a real trilogy, not a gazillon-volume neverending series. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sgarre1 on July 11, 2009, 11:53:08 AM
"The Castle of Otranto" by Walpole (to be followed by VATHEK and THE EPISODES OF VATHEK by Beckford, as I always felt deficient in the classic gothic novel area)

story submissions

then probably some Shirley Jackson short fiction


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on July 11, 2009, 09:11:41 PM
Outside the SF genre, I just finished White Teeth by Zadie Smith.  She was 25 when it was published, and it will probably take me 25 years of writing every day before I can write as well as her.  That said, there were some bits that started to get on my nerves, such as the running gag where liberal-minded, tolerant Anglo-Saxons blurt out offensive things without quite realizing it.

Back in the SF genre, Nancy Kress's Maximum Light is sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me.  I've read a whole bunch of Kress's short stories but this is my first novel. 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Anarquistador on July 11, 2009, 10:33:13 PM
I just started reading Harry Turtledove's How Few Remain.

I've been going through a depression lately, so maybe this was not the right book to pick up. It's sobering to ponder alternate histories, and realize just how fragile the continuum of history can be. One random event, and everything changes. And not for the better.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on July 11, 2009, 10:43:42 PM
I devoured How Few Remain in a short time when I read it.  The only problem with it is that it made me want to read the nine or so further novels Turtledove set in the same timeline, and I'm not sure when I'll find the time.  Plus I hear rumors of a steep drop in quality after the first book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on July 12, 2009, 12:36:32 AM
I'm reading the label on a 40oz Budweiser


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Bdoomed on July 12, 2009, 01:14:47 AM
I'm reading the label on a 40oz Budweiser
zing!


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on July 12, 2009, 01:17:30 AM
Reading 'Causing a Scene' by the 'Improv Everywhere' people.

Brilliant. A must read for any with prankster impulses, or who just enjoys reading on friendly chaos.

I would marry any of these geniuses.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on July 12, 2009, 03:38:58 AM
Acquired the audio version of Storm Front (Dresden #1) and bought it at B&N too, by accident.  Returned it today and picked up Fool Moon (#2) and Grave Peril (#3), as well as donating Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett to a teen foster child through B&N.

Almost through with Storm Front audio.  Loved the reader's voice so much, and how it matched the material and reminded me so much of the (now cancelled) TV series that even though I have the print version of Fool Moon, I bought the audio of it on Audible.com.  I got a monthly subscription, and I'll probably buy one a month of the Dresden series as long as they have them.  That said, I have (as quoted above) two pristeen, brand new paperback copies of Fool Moon and Grave Peril.  I can't return them, even with the receipt  I'm willing to trade with someone who wants them and has something I want to read.  Before I list what I'm looking for, is anyone interested in either of these two books?


Mod: We have a Book Trade Thread (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=1420.0).  It has been dormant for a long time, but maybe we should revive it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on July 14, 2009, 11:52:40 PM
Finished Cherryh's Well of Shiuan.  It was not as good as the first book, Gate of Ivrel.

I had an issue with the plot early on, but it turned out to be heavy handed foreshadowing. 

I'm not sure what I'll move on to next.


PoppyDragon, did you pick up an audio copy of Stranger in a Strange Land?


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 15, 2009, 10:48:31 AM
Finished:

Jules Verne: "From the Earth to the Moon", "Around the Moon"
Michael Chabon: "Wonder Boys"
Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald: "The Price of the Stars"

Now reading:

Jules Verne: "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" -- surprisingly boring
Doyle/Macdonald: "Starpilot's Grave"


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on July 18, 2009, 10:25:14 PM
I just finished China Mieville's 'The City and the City,' the first of his I've read. Wow, excellent! I loved it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 19, 2009, 12:43:12 AM
I'm reading the label on a 40oz Budweiser

Better than drinking the contents, I'm sure.

And my current book is The World According to Garp by John Irving, which I'm finding is almost -- but not quite -- entirely unlike the Robin Williams movie of the same name.  It's also much much better, and if I'd had any inkling that this was so, I'd have read it a long time ago.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: izzardfan on July 20, 2009, 12:38:05 AM
And my current book is The World According to Garp by John Irving, which I'm finding is almost -- but not quite -- entirely unlike the Robin Williams movie of the same name.  It's also much much better, and if I'd had any inkling that this was so, I'd have read it a long time ago.

Oh, hell, yes!  It's so much better than that crap movie, and I adore Robin Williams.  I read it in the early '80s, and it's one of only a few books I am willing to read more than once.  It's quirky, but that's the magic of it.  To me, it's the non-sci-fi equivalent of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, if that makes sense.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 20, 2009, 11:53:19 AM
I just finished China Mieville's 'The City and the City,' the first of his I've read. Wow, excellent! I loved it.

This is on my "next time I have a few dollars" list. Did you read the story of how he wrote it? IIRC, he had a book due with his publisher, and he delivered on time, and the VERY NEXT DAY he hands them this -- apparently wrote the two books at the same time. I love his stuff, though Iron Council wasn't one of my favorites.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 20, 2009, 11:53:48 AM
"The Gathering Flame" by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald. If ever there was a series ripe for SyFy-ing, this is it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Zathras on July 20, 2009, 12:15:16 PM
"The Gathering Flame" by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald. If ever there was a series ripe for SyFy-ing, this is it.

Post number 1000!  Strange that Alasdair got post #666...

Oh, and I'm reading Clark's Law, a B5 book.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on July 20, 2009, 12:34:01 PM
I just finished China Mieville's 'The City and the City,' the first of his I've read. Wow, excellent! I loved it.

This is on my "next time I have a few dollars" list. Did you read the story of how he wrote it? IIRC, he had a book due with his publisher, and he delivered on time, and the VERY NEXT DAY he hands them this -- apparently wrote the two books at the same time. I love his stuff, though Iron Council wasn't one of my favorites.

haha no I hadn't heard that.  That musta taken some stamina to pull off.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on July 20, 2009, 12:38:18 PM
"The Gathering Flame" by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald. If ever there was a series ripe for SyFy-ing, this is it.

Strange that Alasdair got post #666...


Its like some dark force were at work..


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 20, 2009, 04:10:48 PM
To me, [The World According to Garp is] the non-sci-fi equivalent of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, if that makes sense.

It doesn't, but I'd guess that's only because I haven't read Cat's Cradle.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Heradel on July 23, 2009, 01:27:48 PM
H.R. 2454 and S.R. 1462. Really gripping reads.

Also recently reread Waiting for Guido, which remains among my favorite plays.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on July 24, 2009, 02:35:05 AM
The Boys Who Saved The World - Sam Mills

it's a break from all the SF/F i guess. plus most of my books are packed up in boxes right now :glum:

from the title, you'd think it was a fantastic five clone but instead it's about a group of misfit/deluded teenagers who start their own religion. they're led by this very intelligent and very manipulative "prophet" and they've kidnapped what they believe to be a terrorist who's blatantly innocent and are issuing demands. i'm not sure whether the "prophet" actually truly believes this stuff or whether he has ulterior motives for manipulating the others. but it's a good book. gripping.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 24, 2009, 07:44:16 AM
"The Long Hunt" -- Debra Doyle and James Macdonald.

After that: HP7 again.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on July 24, 2009, 09:00:19 AM
Just finished Nancy Kress's Maximum Light

This is exactly the kind of SF I like the most - near-future extrapolation that deals with society and culture.  Main protagonists were compelling too, particularly the act-now-think-much-later army girl Shana.  That said, I had a few minor quibbles with the coincidence-driven plot - and I'm not sure I buy the idea that the way to deal with a government cover-up is to get in front of the TV cameras and then spill all the details so that everything the government's trying to cover up is now out in the open.  Seems like it makes things too easy.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sgarre1 on July 24, 2009, 11:07:39 AM
regarding whited out text (so SPOILERS!)

It does make things too easy.  She must be an optimist.

Funny, my friends and I were discussing this very topic recently, spun out of a conversation about the 70's song of my youth "Harper Valley PTA" in which the town moral majority hyprocrites are exposed at the end on "the day my mother socked it to the Harper Valley PTA", and touching on the conclusion of obscure film RIDERS OF THE STORM in which Reagen-era moral majority hypocrites are exposed by having their sex tapes broadcast over the media.  And we realized that this was a conceit (that evil can be thwarted by exposing its hypocrisy) that probably died with our generation for a number of reasons, but including:

1.  The concept derives from a time when the media still did its job (generally) in service of the public's best interests and not its corporate owners (chalk up a win for Ronnie).

2.  The concept derives from a time when there was still the (albeit sickly and failing, by my generation) belief that "the general public" were educated enough to realize what hypocrisy implied, and not so apathetic and unmotivated enough not to be outraged about it.  (If you've never understood some of the extreme concepts of the 60's, realize that they were based on the general assumption that your neighbor would do the greatest good with the most freedom and best information - a concept, right or wrong (and there's probably too much to be said about that to go into here) our culture has generally abandoned.

3.  The treatment of everything as media spectacle benefits abuse of power because then anything done is equatable to a sex scandal or drunk driving arrest.  In fact, people want to hear about those much more than some boring old political conspiracy because the latter are "entertaining".  The spectacle makes stars of all its participants, pedophile or president, and thus tacitly signifies the public's approval ("you're good enough to generate ratings for us/keep our eyes on ads, we approve").  Ollie North is now a "newscaster", while nuns raped and tortured by Contras are dead and forgotten.

4.  The spectacle thrives on the moment.  The perfect modern man (able to be sold anything - even the same thing over and over, caring not where it comes from or how his leaders act) is the man without memory.  So exposing the evil conspiracy to the people only means the clock is ticking on how soon until they get bored with it as a spectacle, and then it gets forgotten.

So, yes, it does make things too easy.  I do have to say, I don't read much sci-fi but your reduction of "what you like" is pretty much my taste as well, although perhaps with less focus on cultural changes (or at least, the surface cultural changes that cyberpunk, at its weakest, wallowed in) and more on the human level (Bradbury was my exemplar for sci-fi, not hard sf like Asimov) so if there's any books that you liked that sound like that, I'd be interested in getting some titles. 





Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on July 24, 2009, 03:53:50 PM
Currently reading "Brave New World" - a classic that I'd never gotten around to before.  Slow start, but it starts getting very interesting in the middle.  Certainly the world building kicks ass, even if too much of it was done via heavy exposition early on.  But it's a scary future with some very attractive qualities, not just the black and white evil government of 1984.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on July 24, 2009, 04:09:34 PM
well exactly, that's the reason i've always found brave new world better

and it's so much closer to what we've actually got - i mean, just replace "soma" with consumerism and that's people's attitudes, you know? if you have an emotion you can't control, repress it by watching tv, forgetting about it

it's far, far scarier. in 1984 we're forced to walk the plank at gunpoint. in brave new world, we all willingly jump with smiles


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Ocicat on July 24, 2009, 04:47:50 PM
I'm also surprised at how well it's aged, dispite being written in 1931.  Sure, there is tech they really should have that they lack, but mostly I can picture things being very "modern". 


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on July 25, 2009, 05:55:05 AM
That's true, as well. In that sense 1984 dates well as well... I think the one thing no-one really predicted was how much the internet would rise to prominence.

I'm now reading The Diary of Anne Frank, again.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on July 25, 2009, 11:48:22 AM
I agree that Brave New World has aged very well.  I think that's because Huxley focused on the ideas, the story, and the characters rather than the technology.  Science fiction that focuses on science and technology is the stuff that tends to seem the most dated sooner.

I'm currently reading The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts for an on-line group.  I don't know if it's really my thing.  It's one of those 800 page epic journey fantasies with a lot of characters and every person and place has some unpronounceable name.  It's moving pretty fast, but there's so much detail, I know I'm missing stuff.  I've had a few times when I've said, "How did I end up here?"

I'm also reading The House on the Strand by Daphne DuMaurier.  It's general fiction novel that is really science fiction.  It's about a drug that allows people to travel back in time and witness events.  I'm not really sure if I like it out not yet.  It's got potential.

I just finished a new book that's due to be released in August called The Rapture by Liz Jensen.  I won an advanced readers copy in the GoodReads giveaways.  It was one of those books that I couldn't put down after a certain point.  It's going to be classified as general fiction, but it's really one of the best science fiction novels I've read in a while.  It's about a paralyzed therapist who is working in a home for criminally insane teens.  On of her patients, who is in for murdering her mother, is predicting natural disasters and her predictions are accurate.  The therapist and a physicist she meets try to figure out how accurate the girl's predictions are and how she might be making them.  There's a lot of science in it for a general fiction novel.  If I had just seen it in a bookstore, I would have never read it.  However, I thought it was very good and I highly recommend it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Praxis on July 25, 2009, 06:59:06 PM
"endangered species" by Gene Wolfe (as in 'Gene-Wolfe-wot-has-a-lot-to-do-with-us-being-called-peltasts-or-hipparchs-or-autarchs-or-palmers-via-Steve')

It's a collection of short stories (not surprisingly, they are sci-fi.)
In ways I can't quite put my finger on, they are unlike anything else I've read.

Very recommended.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on July 27, 2009, 11:13:23 AM
"endangered species" by Gene Wolfe (as in 'Gene-Wolfe-wot-has-a-lot-to-do-with-us-being-called-peltasts-or-hipparchs-or-autarchs-or-palmers-via-Steve')

It's a collection of short stories (not surprisingly, they are sci-fi.)
In ways I can't quite put my finger on, they are unlike anything else I've read.

Very recommended.

Once you finish that, I highly recommend picking up Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series. (Split into two volumes: Shadow and Claw (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312890176/escapepod-20), and Sword and Citadel (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312890184/escapepod-20).) I keep meaning to go back and reread them. Easily some of the best SF/F books I've ever read and as you said, unlike anything else I've ever read.

I just finished reading China Mieville's The City and The City (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345497511/escapepod-20). It was interesting, definitely very different from anything else he's done. Part of me thinks I wasn't able to read it fast enough because of life and vacations and everything and that took away from the book. I think it's a good book, there's some fascinating stuff in it (BREACH), and I'm eager to reread it. But I've read a lot of people talking about how it's his best book yet and at this point, I'd have to disagree.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on July 27, 2009, 02:39:59 PM
I just read Tim Pratt's first Marla Mason novel, 'Blood Engines.' Being that I love his short fiction I figured I should check it out. I thought it was pretty darn good - a good sight better than most of the other urban fantasy out there.

Although Mason is kind of a jerk. :)


Also, I just stayed up all night to finish Sanderson's 'hero of ages.'

And I have to say: [spoilers!]


*CRIES* what a lousy way to start my tuesday. Depresssssssinnnng. Bleh... over the course of the trilogy Sanderson kills off virtually all his major characters.. what a downer.

Still fabulous, but man.. I'm still bummed


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on July 28, 2009, 10:58:24 AM
Debra Doyle & James Macdonald: "A Working of Stars"

I'm always sad when I finish this book because they still haven't written the third in this cycle.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sgarre1 on July 28, 2009, 11:08:59 PM
Started a Shirley Jackson compilation paperback from the 1960's for lunchtime reading.

As a treat to myself, started a beautiful little volume in a series called "The Art of The Novella" from Melville House Publishing.  In this particular case, it's a volume they did of Guy De Maupassant's "The Horla", which is one of my all-time favorite horror stories  (I think it has one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, last lines of a horror story ever, terrifying, poignant and painful).  What's cool about this series is that the book has the final text, and two earlier drafts (the earliest is called "Letter From A Madman" and the second draft tells the story from the pov of a different character).  I intend to relish this as my nighttime reading and make it last as long as I can make 74 pages last.....

And there's always other stuff to read, as well.

“Broad daylight does not encourage the apprehension of horror.”
Guy De Maupassant, “The Case Of Louise Roque”



Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on July 29, 2009, 10:18:20 PM

I just finished reading China Mieville's The City and The City (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345497511/escapepod-20). It was interesting, definitely very different from anything else he's done. Part of me thinks I wasn't able to read it fast enough because of life and vacations and everything and that took away from the book. I think it's a good book, there's some fascinating stuff in it (BREACH), and I'm eager to reread it. But I've read a lot of people talking about how it's his best book yet and at this point, I'd have to disagree.

I'm up to part two of The City and the City.  It's very different from the other Mieville books I've read.  I'm enjoying it quite  a bit.  It's reminding me of City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer, but I think it's better than that one because it's not self-involved.  It's the urban weirdness factor and the idea that there are things about cities that we are unaware of that made that connection for me.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on July 30, 2009, 09:10:49 AM
Finished Irving's Garp yesterday.  Great book, but unfortunately I'd already seen the film, so I kept seeing Robin Williams as Garp and John Lithgow as Roberta.  And the book makes me wish I had never seen the film.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on July 30, 2009, 12:55:01 PM

I just finished reading China Mieville's The City and The City (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345497511/escapepod-20). It was interesting, definitely very different from anything else he's done. Part of me thinks I wasn't able to read it fast enough because of life and vacations and everything and that took away from the book. I think it's a good book, there's some fascinating stuff in it (BREACH), and I'm eager to reread it. But I've read a lot of people talking about how it's his best book yet and at this point, I'd have to disagree.

I'm up to part two of The City and the City.  It's very different from the other Mieville books I've read.  I'm enjoying it quite  a bit.  It's reminding me of City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer, but I think it's better than that one because it's not self-involved.  It's the urban weirdness factor and the idea that there are things about cities that we are unaware of that made that connection for me.

Wait till you get to the last section. It's all action, and its nailbiting. :)


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sandikal on July 31, 2009, 07:13:20 PM

I just finished reading China Mieville's The City and The City (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345497511/escapepod-20). It was interesting, definitely very different from anything else he's done. Part of me thinks I wasn't able to read it fast enough because of life and vacations and everything and that took away from the book. I think it's a good book, there's some fascinating stuff in it (BREACH), and I'm eager to reread it. But I've read a lot of people talking about how it's his best book yet and at this point, I'd have to disagree.

I'm up to part two of The City and the City.  It's very different from the other Mieville books I've read.  I'm enjoying it quite  a bit.  It's reminding me of City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer, but I think it's better than that one because it's not self-involved.  It's the urban weirdness factor and the idea that there are things about cities that we are unaware of that made that connection for me.

Wait till you get to the last section. It's all action, and its nailbiting. :)

The last section was amazing.  The murder mystery was handled very well and it was very satisfying on that level.  On the other hand, I am very, very frustrated the Mieville never explored how the two cities got to be the way they were.  The murder mystery that the story centers on in is solved very tidily, but the REAL mystery remains unexplained.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on August 10, 2009, 10:32:58 AM

I just finished reading China Mieville's The City and The City (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345497511/escapepod-20). It was interesting, definitely very different from anything else he's done. Part of me thinks I wasn't able to read it fast enough because of life and vacations and everything and that took away from the book. I think it's a good book, there's some fascinating stuff in it (BREACH), and I'm eager to reread it. But I've read a lot of people talking about how it's his best book yet and at this point, I'd have to disagree.

I'm up to part two of The City and the City.  It's very different from the other Mieville books I've read.  I'm enjoying it quite  a bit.  It's reminding me of City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer, but I think it's better than that one because it's not self-involved.  It's the urban weirdness factor and the idea that there are things about cities that we are unaware of that made that connection for me.

Wait till you get to the last section. It's all action, and its nailbiting. :)

The last section was amazing.  The murder mystery was handled very well and it was very satisfying on that level.  On the other hand, I am very, very frustrated the Mieville never explored how the two cities got to be the way they were.  The murder mystery that the story centers on in is solved very tidily, but the REAL mystery remains unexplained.

I agree the last section was awesome.

I think my frustration was that I had a hard time tracking the murder mystery at all until the final section or so, and even though it made sense, I had a hard time looking back and thinking "I should have figured that out!"

That said, I'll probably reread the book in the not-too distant future.

Currently almost finished with John Scalzi's The Last Colony (http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000YJ85BI/escapepod-20).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: lowky on August 10, 2009, 08:09:44 PM
Currently about half way through rereading Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on August 11, 2009, 08:22:49 AM
Finished If God Were Real (received as a LibraryThing Early Reviewers book) and letting review jell in my head right now.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sgarre1 on August 18, 2009, 10:43:16 PM
Currently reading:

Dusky Ruth and other stories by AE Coppard (comp.)
Brooklyn Noir (anthology)
Dedalus Book of Surrealism Volume One: The Identity of Things (anthology)

Not much horror in there currently, although Coppard is author of a famous ghost story or two ("Adam & Eve & Pinch Me") and also had a penchant for local folklore, so something might turn up.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on August 19, 2009, 10:00:32 AM
Currently reading: Caleb Carr's Killing Time.  It's the sort of sci-fi thriller (somebody has killed the President! but who?) that can draw you in very easily.  But I'm a couple of pages in and I'm not too impressed so far.  I really enjoyed The Alienist, and I was hoping for better.

I'll probably read it relatively quickly and be done with it soon.  Maybe it gets better.  I hope so.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on August 23, 2009, 04:34:10 PM
Finished If God Were Real (received as a LibraryThing Early Reviewers book) and letting review jell in my head right now.

If God Were Real is a stark challenge to Christians to consider whether they actually believe in God. The "new atheists" are writing bestselling books challening the existence of God, and many of their arguments revolve around the failures of Christianity. The author actually agrees with atheists that many Christians are not living up to their claims and asserts that there is not much Christ left in Christianity. He argues that the institutional system called Christianity should be abandoned in favor of the pursuit of a new Jesus Movement that actually resembles the movement of Christ followers that Jesus began. He challenges the reader to consider what life would be like if we actually lived as if we believed in God. Each chapter examines how a particular part of life might be different if God were real to us. The evidence shows that most Christians live as "practical atheists." Atheists and seekers are also challenged in this book to consider God in a new way and to embark on an adventure of discovery of the real God.

So read the description that prompted me to put in my request for this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.  I must not have read it closely enough because I still wasn't sure whether to expect an atheist book or a Christian one.  The title suggests that it was written by an atheist, but John Avant is a pastor who believes that Christians aren't living as if they really believed in what they profess.  A more fitting title would be If We Christians Believed God Is Real.

Avant begins with the assertion that most Christians are living as "practical atheists", as if God doesn't really matter in their lives.  He goes on to illustrate how people following the teachings of Jesus Christ probably would behave if they really believed -- reaching out to "the least of these" (see Matthew 25:40), bringing others into the fold, loving others as themselves -- rather than seeing their churches as members-only clubs, pouring excessive resources into influencing legislation, and working themselves into a froth over trivia like Harry Potter and Teletubbies.

I'd be surprised if Avant manages to convert a single atheist -- his "proof that God is Real" is mainly conveyed through stories of people who have sunk to the ultimate depths and managed to turn their lives around for the better -- but his book should serve as a mirror and a wake-up call for a large number of professed "Christians".

A further note: For resources, Avant uses a considerable number of books by authors both religious and atheist, and I added over half a dozen books to my reading list by the end of the first two chapters, evenly spread between believers and nonbelievers.  Now that I've finished the book, there are thirteen new titles on my list.  If nothing else, I have this to thank Avant for.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Listener on August 25, 2009, 12:40:44 PM
Going through the "Planet Builders" YA sci-fi series by Robyn Tallis, which is a pseudonym for several authors including Sherwood Smith, Debra Doyle, and James D. Macdonald, all of whom wrote installments.

http://www.locusmag.com/index/f62.htm#A2164

Right now on #3, "Rebel from Alphorion".


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Boggled Coriander on August 27, 2009, 10:48:23 AM
Currently reading: Caleb Carr's Killing Time.  It's the sort of sci-fi thriller (somebody has killed the President! but who?) that can draw you in very easily.  But I'm a couple of pages in and I'm not too impressed so far.  I really enjoyed The Alienist, and I was hoping for better.

I'll probably read it relatively quickly and be done with it soon.  Maybe it gets better.  I hope so.

I'm done.  My post-mortem: it's got some interesting ideas, and I was amused by all the historical hoaxes. St. Paul admitted fabricating everything Jesus said!  Modern humans existed millions of years ago!  The George Washington assassination!

But I was never sure if Caleb Carr was trying to parody bad sci-fi techno-thriller writing, or if he was being sincere.  It's never a good sign when I don't know if something is meant to be a joke or not.

And what's with the one female character being this totally beautiful be-catsuited chick who falls deeply and madly in love with the viewpoint character at first sight for no particular reason, despite the fact that she already works and lives with a bunch of intelligent, non-creepy unattached men with no apparent sexual tension?  I don't appreciate being told that there's a sexy woman in the story that I, the reader, am supposed to be attracted to.  And I'm a heterosexual man.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 01, 2009, 07:14:21 PM
Just picked up from library: Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson.  Reading "Come On Wagon" (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=2787.0) from The Anything Box reminded me that I've still never read of "The People" which is apparently what she is best known and admired for.  So I figured I'm long overdue to check it out. 

I've also got her other anthology Holding Wonder on order from the library.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on September 01, 2009, 08:49:36 PM
I recently finished 'Elantris' and as a result moved Brandon Sanderson onto my relatively short list of authors I'll pick up anything by without even reading the book jacket. Excellent!

Also, 'Green' by Jay Lake. Very good. Must check out more of his stuff.

Trying to get through Ken McLeod's learningthe world. It's a little slow reading for somre reason, but is full of interesting ideas, so I will soldier on and assume i'll get more into it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: gelee on September 02, 2009, 11:37:45 AM
I recently finished 'Elantris' and as a result moved Brandon Sanderson onto my relatively short list of authors I'll pick up anything by without even reading the book jacket. Excellent!

Also, 'Green' by Jay Lake. Very good. Must check out more of his stuff.

Trying to get through Ken McLeod's learningthe world. It's a little slow reading for somre reason, but is full of interesting ideas, so I will soldier on and assume i'll get more into it.
Care to characterize Sanderson's writing?  I've been tempted to give him a try, but I've heard a lot of very far-flung reviews on his stuff, but I don't whose word to take, as I think a lot of people's opinions are very strongly influenced, in one direction or another, by his involvement with the Jordan estate.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Sgarre1 on September 02, 2009, 11:50:11 AM
Quote
And what's with the one female character being this totally beautiful be-catsuited chick who falls deeply and madly in love with the viewpoint character at first sight for no particular reason, despite the fact that she already works and lives with a bunch of intelligent, non-creepy unattached men with no apparent sexual tension?  I don't appreciate being told that there's a sexy woman in the story that I, the reader, am supposed to be attracted to.  And I'm a heterosexual man.

Without having read any Carr, the above sounds like the book must be intended as a parody.  Yes, I could expect all kinds of goofiness (ideas from book noted in previous post not quoted) from a techno thriller (which is why I don't read them), but this last bit seems so spot-on it HAS to be parody (which either says something about me, my expectations of techno thrillers or my expectations about writers).


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Raving_Lunatic on September 02, 2009, 02:26:00 PM
(hi, i'm back on the net after a month's absence. it's good to be home.)

Most recent book was frankenstein, for school unfortunately. Been very busy lately :O


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: DKT on September 02, 2009, 03:12:11 PM
(hi, i'm back on the net after a month's absence. it's good to be home.)

Most recent book was frankenstein, for school unfortunately. Been very busy lately :O

What'd you think of it? I read it back in HS, but have been listening BJ Harrison narrating it over at the Classic Tales Podcast. I'm liking it much more this time around.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: kibitzer on September 02, 2009, 06:24:08 PM
I have George R R Martin's 2-volume Dreamsongs lined up for my holidays. Looking forward to it.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: Talia on September 02, 2009, 09:50:37 PM
I recently finished 'Elantris' and as a result moved Brandon Sanderson onto my relatively short list of authors I'll pick up anything by without even reading the book jacket. Excellent!

Also, 'Green' by Jay Lake. Very good. Must check out more of his stuff.

Trying to get through Ken McLeod's learningthe world. It's a little slow reading for somre reason, but is full of interesting ideas, so I will soldier on and assume i'll get more into it.
Care to characterize Sanderson's writing?  I've been tempted to give him a try, but I've heard a lot of very far-flung reviews on his stuff, but I don't whose word to take, as I think a lot of people's opinions are very strongly influenced, in one direction or another, by his involvement with the Jordan estate.

Epic fantasy. Character driven without going EXTENSIVELY in depth about them. Easy reads - lots of action, banter between characters, etc. Some REALLY great world building, which I suppose you could argue is the only "outstanding" thing about his books. Really imaginative magic system in the Mistborn trilogy, very interesting world setup in 'Elantris.'

If you're looking to be challenged,  I'm not sure its what you're looking for, but if you're looking for really really fun, engaging reads with plenty of imaginative touches, then yeah.


Title: Re: What are you reading?
Post by: stePH on September 03, 2009, 08:48:38 AM