What are you reading at the moment?

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gloatingswine

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby gloatingswine » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:46 pm

Currently reading Seveneves. I've read through all the Hugo nominated novels this year*, and this is the one I've gotten to last. It's entertaining enough but it's very dry and extremely details first almost to the expense of character based drama at all. (Maybe this is a thing with recent Stephenson, the last one I read before this was Cryptonomicon). Similar to Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy (Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars) but with even fewer strong personalities driving the events.

Maybe the character stuff will shine through in the second half which is set after a considerable timeskip, I'm only about a quarter of the way in so far, but right now you need to have your propeller beanie on for this one. Right now, I think this is the least engaging of the nominees for the year.




* If you only read one fantasy novel for the rest of this year, read the Hugo winner The Fifth Season, it's really really good.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:56 pm

Personally, I really liked Steelheart (though, yeah, the Mistborn parallels are obvious), but Firefight and Calamity (books 2 and 3) were both just okay. They're decent action stories, funny occasionally, and have some entertaining (if somewhat one-dimensional) characters. But I felt they really lost some of their drive once (Book 1 spoiler) David successfully kills Steelheart; a lot of the first books tension is driven by his revenge motivation.

I also loved Sanderson's other YA novel, The Rithmatist, (plot summary: murder mystery about a muggle who attends the Hogwarts School of Magic Chalk Starcraft) even more than Steelheart; and I'm sad that it hasn't gotten any sequels yet, (and still won't for a few years, it seems).
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dudecon
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby dudecon » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:57 pm

Bedtime Bleak House by Charles Dickens is still going strong. On chapter 35, so over half-way through. There's currently an interlude where they asked for a story about "God fighting the witch" so I'm reading them Revelation, but hopefully we'll be back to finish Bleak House soon. Still impressed with Dickens' sweet style. Revelation is great too.
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grahams_xwing
Location: Corby, UK

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby grahams_xwing » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:34 am

Just finished The Girl On The Train. Good read - twist is fairly obvious (very few characters to choose from) and is 'spoilt'/revealed by one single passage about 3 chapters before even the narrator reveals it.

Good characterisation. Much like the fall of Walter in Breaking Bad, you start off feeling for the main character, before she slowly reveals her inner demons and terrible habits (with a partial redemption at the end).
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McNutcase
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby McNutcase » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:37 pm

Thanks to the local library, I'm catching up on David Weber's Safehold series (basic premise: we met aliens, they attempted to wipe us out, we lost; Safehold is a stealth colony with enforced medieval stasis, in hopes the aliens won't find it). I'm also getting a reminder of how much I love The Hobbit, because I'm reading it to the kid as bedtime story. I'm pretty sure the cat is also enjoying it, he shows up at the door every time I start reading...
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:20 pm

How far are you up in Safehold? I recently read the last published novel (the lack of maps when listening killed me), and while Weber is usually good at justifying the way military industrial complex works and creates new weapons, the rate at which the Charisians are modernizing is kind of ridiculous at this point. Sure despite the stasis the Safeholders did know a lot more about practical engineering than your late renessanse engineer but going from manufactory to steam powered industry in less than a decade is kind getting of ridiculous.

Finished the Calamity. Since I knew the secret that the main character was trying to uncover the later chapters became a bit of a chore as main character kept missing the point. Which made sense in the world but still got annoying. Also considering that I have just enjoyed some high octane superpowered fighting anime, fights kind of felt bland which is not fair to the book. It's a good book but not my favorite by far.
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McNutcase
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby McNutcase » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:00 pm

4th Dimension wrote:How far are you up in Safehold? I recently read the last published novel (the lack of maps when listening killed me), and while Weber is usually good at justifying the way military industrial complex works and creates new weapons, the rate at which the Charisians are modernizing is kind of ridiculous at this point. Sure despite the stasis the Safeholders did know a lot more about practical engineering than your late renessanse engineer but going from manufactory to steam powered industry in less than a decade is kind getting of ridiculous.

Finished the Calamity. Since I knew the secret that the main character was trying to uncover the later chapters became a bit of a chore as main character kept missing the point. Which made sense in the world but still got annoying. Also considering that I have just enjoyed some high octane superpowered fighting anime, fights kind of felt bland which is not fair to the book. It's a good book but not my favorite by far.

Slogging through the latest right now, wishing there was some site using the Google Maps API to let me explore, and seriously wishing these damn names were under translation convention. Yes, ok, linguistic drift is a thing that happens, but readability, man, readability. Oh, and demand a competent CE, please.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:13 pm

There is no way to explore, and they haven't been updated for the new locations in the new books but there are two maps that can help:

This one is of all of the Safehold, a bit old though: http://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/en ... hold/338/1
and this one is newer (as of the PREVIOUS book) but and focuses on the Republic where the front line is: http://www.nfgarland.ca/Safehold_MTnT2.jpg
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McNutcase
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby McNutcase » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:12 am

I don't know why I was remotely surprised at that ending. Oh look, an awkward conversation with Merlin starting as the final sentence of the book. What a completely unexpected turn of events. I am shocked, shocked I tell you.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:37 am

I'm currently reading/listening Barbarians at the Gates: The Decline and Fall of the Galactic Federation and I'm quite liking it so far. The setting is a faux Roman Human Galactic Federation/Empire that is at the height of it's power but the rot has set in and is about to be besieged by rogue generals, outsiders and outside aliens. It's military SF for the most part. I like the most the fact that the writer is aware of the military realities that are often overlooked by other writers. Things like that a too clever plan is often more dangerous than a stupid one and that blind luck plays a much bigger role in deciding the outcome of the battles than you might realize. It basically had me hooked by the first chapter that showed a class of the cadets being questioned by their teacher about things. The theory stated in there was thought out enough that I liked it even though I do not agree with it. This also made me lower my levels of suspension of disbelief and so far apart from one thing it has not disappointing. That one thing is the fact that the setting uses star fighters in the same role as modern carrier aviation, which makes no sense.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:31 am

Retsam wrote:Personally, I really liked Steelheart (though, yeah, the Mistborn parallels are obvious), but Firefight and Calamity (books 2 and 3) were both just okay. They're decent action stories, funny occasionally, and have some entertaining (if somewhat one-dimensional) characters. But I felt they really lost some of their drive once (Book 1 spoiler) David successfully kills Steelheart; a lot of the first books tension is driven by his revenge motivation.


Are the Reckoners novels YA novels?

When Steelheart first came out I remember being intrigued enough to say to myself that I would just buy the whole series once he's done writing it but I never really got around to it.

They're not very long books from the looks of it so is it worth the money? For reference, in Australia, they are $20AUD each.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:42 am

They are not YA novels, or at least I don't think so considering that all of the cast are adults (even though the main character is 18-20). As for are they worth it, the first one is good and while the later are a bit weaker it's still Sanderson and if you read his works you should know what to expect.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:19 am

4th Dimension wrote:They are not YA novels, or at least I don't think so considering that all of the cast are adults (even though the main character is 18-20). As for are they worth it, the first one is good and while the later are a bit weaker it's still Sanderson and if you read his works you should know what to expect.


Thanks, I'll give it a go.

It's far too long before Stormlight 3 will be out!
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:45 am

Ohhh, forum skin change.

Anyway there should be that Stormlight novela coming out next month in the Cosmere anthology I think?
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:50 am

Yeah I've already got it on pre-order.

Has a Lift story, I believe. So that will be fun but it won't be enough! From what little we've seen of Lift, I'm pretty sure she's basically just Vin.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:09 pm

Andrew wrote:Yeah I've already got it on pre-order.

Has a Lift story, I believe. So that will be fun but it won't be enough! From what little we've seen of Lift, I'm pretty sure she's basically just Vin.

Ehhh, I don't think so. Sure they are both ActionGirl protagonists (in a way) but Lift seems to lack some of the darker shades that Vin has and is more bright, optimistic and compassionate, which seemingly fits her chosen order.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:55 am

4th Dimension wrote:
Andrew wrote:Yeah I've already got it on pre-order.

Has a Lift story, I believe. So that will be fun but it won't be enough! From what little we've seen of Lift, I'm pretty sure she's basically just Vin.

Ehhh, I don't think so. Sure they are both ActionGirl protagonists (in a way) but Lift seems to lack some of the darker shades that Vin has and is more bright, optimistic and compassionate, which seemingly fits her chosen order.


Granted, we've only seen Lift for 1 chapter so far? And it's been a while since I've read Words of Radiance.

But there is something about that Lift chapter that reminded me of Vin. I'll have to go back and read it in conjunction with the novella coming out later this year to see if I can place it.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:03 pm

4th Dimension wrote:They are not YA novels, or at least I don't think so considering that all of the cast are adults (even though the main character is 18-20). As for are they worth it, the first one is good and while the later are a bit weaker it's still Sanderson and if you read his works you should know what to expect.


If we're still talking about Steelheart, they're definitely YA novels; Sanderson has always referred to them (and Rithmatist) as Young Adult, and Wikipedia lists them as YA, too.

Young Adult is such a weird nebulous category though; Mistborn was rereleased with Young Adult branding a few years ago, in the US at least.
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AileTheAlien
Location: SK, SK

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby AileTheAlien » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:01 pm

I'm currently reading Raft, from The Xeelee Sequence.
It's not the most fun sci-fi I've read in my life, but it plays around with the physical laws of the universe.
(What if gravity were a stronger force?)
It doesn't do it in a super hand-wavy way either; The author is pretty committed to sticking with the new rules they've set up, and not retconning anything when they've written themselves into a corner.
(I'm looking at you, Robert Reed!)
So far, good book!
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The Rocketeer

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby The Rocketeer » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:31 am

In the thread about TV shows, Ninety-Three wrote:
The Rocketeer wrote:Incidentally, I'm coming right up on finishing the first 1,000 articles on SCP Wiki..


How has that been? I've taken a trip or two there, and I came away with the impression that you have to filter through a lot of not-terribly-interesting ones, and the genuinely interesting ones don't jump out in the first paragraph, making it a lengthy endeavour. Is the experience as a whole worthwhile?
I think enjoyment of SCP Foundation comes down heavily to what you get out of them. Most people's first thought of SCP's is "horror," but I think people with an interest in writing and the writing process actually get the most consistent enjoyment out of it, tied with people who enjoy a very particular sort of science fiction.

I admire the Containment Procedures format— that is, the format in which the articles that form the main SCP series are written, with the classification, containment procedures, and general description, plus whatever else the article entails. Far more than just that general outline, there are innumerable little stylistic, tonal touches that make a distinct SCP article. Containment Procedures represent creativity as a response to limitation, the challenge of adapting an idea into a format. A good author doesn't just translate an idea for a monster or haunted house into an SCP article, they can leverage the format itself to elevate the material. This is something that a reader won't actually appreciate until they've gotten a solid feel for the wiki, but I think it accounts for the most consistent pleasure of reading SCP Wiki, although a very dry pleasure: how the author works within the structure of a containment procedure and the dozens of little idiosyncrasies of the Foundation and their general structure, culture, and manual of style to create drama, mystery, suspense, or even to spring an unexpected joke. And this is something that any article can offer the reader; it doesn't matter what the particular SCP itself may be, or the tone that its particular nature lends itself to; as long as the article itself is done well, it can be interesting to see how the author treated the subject matter within the confines of wiki traditions.

Second to that is the very particular niche of science fiction fundamental to the entire SCP concept. The Foundation is the apotheosis of everyone that ever watched a horror or science fiction movie and muttered, "Why don't they just [solution]?" to the annoyance of the people around them. The Foundation exists to react exactly that way to an infinite variety of anomalous entities, items, and places, treating their existence as a problem to be solved and teasing out the answers to the question, "Why don't we just [solution]?" Sometimes, those solutions are found, and that can make for clever writing. Sometimes, they find out why you can't just [solution], and that can make for clever writing, too. The whole concept of containment exists to tickle that pedantic sector in your brain, and like appreciating the writing process itself, this is something that's endemic to the concept, and not necessarily limited to any particular variety or tone of SCP. Well, I guess there are a lot of Safe-classified SCP that are just kept in a storage locker, but I guess not everything needs to be kept in a lead vault in a mineshaft and fed D-Class every week.

Beyond that, I've found just starting from the first entry and working my way down is a rewarding process in itself. It's not necessarily the best idea of you're looking for a particular tone, and I recommend skipping the SCP-001 articles, because they won't be very meaningful to new readers. As mentioned, the wiki has a reputation for horror, but realistically, that's not the majority of the articles. It's certainly my favorite, dyed-in-the-wool horror junkie that I am. But I do think the wiki gains something by having a much broader variety on display. Working your way systematically through the list, the SCP foundation is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get. And that's fun in itself, I think. There's a sense of mild suspense every time you open a new Containment Procedure, not knowing whether you're going to get something bizarre but silly, like Josie the Half-Cat; or an article like the vending machine, that (as you'll pick up on, as you become familiar with the wiki) is an SCP that exists more to serve as a Pandora's box for contributors to invent new material for; or something that's more to provide a mystery by the nature of its recovery or nature, of which there are too many to list; or something like the infamous SCP-231, which is more to examine the nature of the Foundation itself; or items like those from the Factory or Marshall, Carer & Dark, which gain a greater significance by alluding to some mysterious, malicious force or organization; or, my personal favorite, a good old fashioned haunted house, or SCP's that exist to provide great exploration logs, like that God-damned cargo ship.

Working through the list helps maintain the variety of what you get, the way you wouldn't if you just browsed through a particular tag, or went through the highest-ranking articles (I find the greater SCP community's taste... questionable, and not particulary eclectic). You can't beat Sturgeon's law: fantastic SCP's will be the statistical minority, always. But I have a pretty high tolerance for churning through the material as it comes to me, trying to suss out the article's angle or get lost in the fiction it's trying to create, doing my best to ignore the score and form my own thoughts on it, and when you find something really remarkable, something that sticks with you, it feels that much more special. It's like the difference between queuing up your favorite song on your computer or iPod, and hearing it come on the radio by chance. Or finding a new favorite song on the radio, as it were.

As of this post, I've read the first 1,003 SCP articles, because 1,001 ain't enough and 1,002 is too few. I've been using the milestone as an excuse to read through the non-main-series SCP's, like Joke SCP's, Explained SCP's, etc. (Frankly, having read all the Series 1 SCP's, I find that the line between a main-series SCP and a joke SCP can be... fuzzy, on occasion. De gustibus non est disputandum.) It's been a very slow process, a passing distraction I'll indulge for a while and then forget for a month or two. I've read the last big chunk fairly regularly, out of enthusiasm for hitting this latest milestone. But I don't expect to hit 2,000 for quite a while. I have an article idea of my own that I've been toying with, but time will tell if I ever take the plunge and try to get it onto the site.
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McNutcase
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby McNutcase » Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:21 am

I got onto a classics kick, put a bunch of stuff from Project Gutenberg onto my nook, and so have been finally getting round to parts 1 and 2 of Verne's Mysterious Island (having read part 3 twenty-mumble years ago...), trying to get on with Edgar Rice Burroughs's Mars books (which, so far, being a few chapters into the first, feels like a doomed enterprise) and finally getting round to Dracula (which I actually have in heavily annotated form as a freebie from when I bought the device; it's been so damned long since I scrolled all the way to the bottom of the humungous pile of texts it contains that I'd quite forgotten this, and had in fact sideloaded the Project Gutenberg epub some time ago).

Also, a troubleshooting FAQ for the model of car I drive, as it currently has a bum sensor which is causing driveability issues; I'm not looking forward to attempting to worm the little bastard out from under the intake manifold, where it's been attempting to unite with the cylinder head for the last twenty-mumble years, and in which area there is very little space to work (and I have notably huge hands, their sole saving grace in this endeavour being long fingers with abnormally mobile knuckles...)
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:09 pm

For those of you who care (and I know there are a few of you) - Oathbringer update (Stormlight 3).

https://www.reddit.com/r/Stormlight_Archive/comments/5dpic4/oathbringer_spoilers_stormlight_three_update_5/
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:17 pm

So he is allmost done with the first draft of Book 3 of stormlight? Because I'm not excatly clear on his naming of the actual book sections.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:34 pm

Yeah from his website he's 93% done with the 1st draft.

I can't remember anymore but I think he broke the book up into 5 sections. I'm not sure if that was for our benefit as he updated us or if it's based on the actual book's structure.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:05 am

Yeah, Sanderson's explanation for how the Stormlight Archive books are structured is the interesting part of those Reddit updates for me. While the book themselves are divided into five parts, (with interludes, a prologue and an epilogue), this apparently isn't how Sanderson thinks about the books as he's writing them, as he explained it in an earlier update:

I split each book into five parts, which group together to form three chunks plotted like individual volumes of a trilogy--with a large, over-arching plot that ties into the five-book arc of the initial sequence, which in turn is half of the complete ten book arc. Each volume, then, has a complete trilogy’s worth of arcs and climaxes for the primary characters (Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar) while also having a self-contained flashback sequence, at least one secondary novelette about a character that hasn’t had viewpoints so far, and a related short story collection. The “main character” for the book gets, beyond their flashback sequence, a role in each part of the story.


So, when you see "Book One", "Book Two" and "Book Three" in the visual outline, those are referring to the "three chunks plotted like individual volumes of a trilogy", but it's all part of Oathbreaker. So Way of Kings and Words of Radiance would have had their own "Books One, Two, and Three".

It's interesting to me how Sanderson seems to practically take an "engineering" mindset here; he's doing the classic "take a large problem and break it down into smaller problems and solve those" strategy. (It sometimes reminds me of the fact that Sanderson lived with the Jeopardy champion, Ken Jennings, for a time in college. I wonder if it rubbed off)

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