What are you reading at the moment?

Necromance old blog posts, talk about Shamus' books or videos, or discuss allied projects like Errant Signal
Forum rules
This forum is not for swiping blog threads. Avoid talking about blog posts less than a month old.
User avatar
McNutcase
Location: Nova Albion
Contact:

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby McNutcase » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:13 am

Been catching up with my Alastair Reynolds. Finally snagged a copy of Redemption Ark, so tore through that, and am now into Absolution Gap.

I love how well he works with his restrictions, and even works in reasons why those restrictions are in place.
User avatar
grahams_xwing
Location: Mansfield, UK

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby grahams_xwing » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:37 am

McNutcase wrote:Been catching up with my Alastair Reynolds. Finally snagged a copy of Redemption Ark, so tore through that, and am now into Absolution Gap.

I love how well he works with his restrictions, and even works in reasons why those restrictions are in place.


Yes on the Alastair Reynolds appreciation, Pretty hard scifi that dips into horror, both of a physical and an existential nature. The concept of a civilization collapse on a colony logistically separate from the rest of 'humanity' is as equally horrifying to me as a big bad hidden on a derelict space-station (for example)
User avatar
4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:02 pm

That is hardly surprising given his views on world building and arcane systems, that is he plans the whole lot and it needs to make sense. So him taking a systematic approach is appropriate.
Steve C

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Steve C » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:06 pm

I just finished reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leakey and loved it. It's about an AI in an evil galactic empire. What I like is all the world building. I always like world building. I love the author's writing style too. It's got a lot of hot button political issues in it but they aren't really explored. It's more like they are there for world building and the backdrop for the setting. I've generally got a high tolerance for uncomfortable topics in fiction. I don't get a visceral reaction. There this a short list of things that do get to me though. Stuff that creeps me the fuck out. It's got one of them - destroying someone's personality and uses it to good effect.

Apparently it was optioned by Fox to turn into a TV show. That seems... ill advised. Like giving Avatar to M Night Shyamalan kind of bad. I can imagine a good TV show based on this book. I just cannot imagine Fox doing it.
User avatar
Thomas

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Thomas » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:25 pm

Steve C wrote:Apparently it was optioned by Fox to turn into a TV show. That seems... ill advised. Like giving Avatar to M Night Shyamalan kind of bad. I can imagine a good TV show based on this book. I just cannot imagine Fox doing it.

That sentence raises my hopes and dashes them in the same moment some how. Suddenly I realise I'd love an Ancillary TV show but there really is no way Fox would do it right.
Steve C

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Steve C » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:50 pm

Yeah if it's a choice between Fox or nothing, I prefer nothing. Fox would destroy and/or misrepresent the themes, characters, setting, politics, and basically everything that is interesting about the book. It would also be dumbed down to the point it was unrecognizable.

It would make a good (non-Fox) anime. It felt very anime-ish. Specifically it reminded me a lot of of Seikai no Monshou (Crest of the Stars).
gloatingswine

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby gloatingswine » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:23 pm

I'm not sure how well the Imperial Radch series would even work in a TV format. It's very driven by concepts that are easy to demonstrate in words but impossible to convey in visual form (distributed personalities, lack of gender distinction in language despite it existing physically, etc)

It's also not very driven by action and events.

I hope Ann Leckie gets a decent wad of cash out of the deal, but I don't expect anyone to turn it into a decent show.
User avatar
Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:15 am

The fourth book of the Lightbringer series, by Brent Weeks came out recently. I originally planned to not reread the entire series like I did the last two times a new book has come out in this series, but I ended up doing it anyway. I just finished the reread and am moving into the fourth book now.

It probably goes without saying that I really like this series. It's got a color based (well, light-based, really) magic system is easily one of the best I've read, maybe only second to the Metallic Arts from Mistborn. It doesn't make for quite as flashy fight scenes, but it's got quite a bit of depth and nuance to it.

But it's the drama and the conflict is what really makes it work for me, both on the small and large scale. And the small-scale conflict drives the large-scale conflict, and vice versa.

On the small scale, a lot of it comes from the secrets everyone is holding: Kelsier's motto "there's always another secret" is far more true of this series than it was of Mistborn. Everyone is hiding something, the main characters are usually hiding several things, (but some minor characters have pitched some pretty good curveballs, too), and there's a lot of really good drama that comes from characters trying to keep secrets hidden or discovering secrets about other characters or from secrets being revealed.*

On the large scale, the overall conflict is interesting and there's nuance to both sides: I actually think a lot of people might legitimately root for the antagonist side, (at least at first) because they make some reasonable arguments and because the protagonist side's is portrayed as realistically flawed. While the small scale conflict is about secrets, the large scale conflict is about accepting ugly truths.

I could go on: one of the two primary characters is the most powerful man in the world (both politically and magically) yet the book still manages to give him interesting drama and conflict, he's also an atheist which is awkward since he's basically the Pope; the second book has Magic: The Gathering as a major plot point and has a really good "Ender's School of Magical Bodyguard Soldiers", and the second book as a whole is one of my favorite books ever. Even the author's acknowledgements are always entertaining to read.

---

Two warnings: it took me a bit to get used to the writing style it's a lot rougher than what I'm used to. (Deliberately so, I think) Secondly, the other primary main character is an awkward, highly insecure teenage boy, who often acts and thinks like an awkward, highly insecure teenage boy. This seems to bother a lot of people. He gets better after the first book or so.


* I'm tempted to try to draw a "circle of secrets" diagram like Shamus did for FFX, but it'd be pretty complex.
User avatar
Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:37 pm

Ohh Arcanum Unbounded is out!

Can I assume that all you Sanderson fans are going to buy it?
User avatar
4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:23 am

I allready have it. Apparently I bought it in audiobook form at some point soo it was a plesant surprise when suddenly it was there on the list waiting to be downloaded. ;)
User avatar
Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:23 am

Ha, nice!

They haven't arrived at any bookstores that I've visited in Melbourne just yet so I don't have my copy yet but they are due to arrive shortly.

I've got a couple of the collection on eBook but I much prefer reading a novel in my hand so I haven't finished any of them (though I did spoil myself on the ending of Secret History).
User avatar
Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:39 am

Got it. I'm obviously reading Edgedancer first.
User avatar
4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:10 am

I started from the beginning. I have already read The Emperor's Soul so I skipped that. I just finished listening to the Elantrian one and next is the 11th metal. It sounds like something I already read so if that is so it's getting skipped.
User avatar
Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:31 am

Yeah I'm actually not sure on The 11th Metal as well. I have a feeling I've read it somewhere before but we'll see.

How is the Elantrian one? I haven't read Elantris for nearly a decade (it was my 1st Sanderson novel) although I have been meaning to revisit it.

So far I've read about 4 pages of Edgedancer and I still maintain that she is very similar to Vin.
User avatar
4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:29 pm

The Elantrian one is okay. It's a relatively short piece covering the protection of the children during those final chaotic moments before the restoration of Elantris. Nothing new or groundbreaking, just a scene that was probably cut for pacing.
The 11th metal is Kelsser training under an insane (obviosly Ruin influenced) Mistborn. Will probably end with Kelsser having to kill him as a graduation ceremony. It's probably to show how Ruin had a hand in grooming K too.
User avatar
4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:02 am

I have read the 11th metal. It's short and only covers the Kelssers FIRST fight against a MIstborn. It's a bit amusing to see him flail about not really knowing what to do. FOrtunatelly for him the opponent is a scholar and so is also not good. More importantly this is where, after seeing the "lab" he gets the drive for rebellion and the fire to do the impossible. Also a parchment about 11th metal gets dropped before him by his teacher. Basically Ruin led him here to ignite his hatred against the current regime and drops into his lap a scroll that might help him figure out how to fight him, or make him think he has an edge. As a kind of a standout is the line of his teacher (that as I said clearly hears the voices and argues with them constantly) that he said as an answer to Kessler's flippant question on what is the purpose of life. "We live so we can die". Yup a totally Ruin thing.
Next was another Mistborn short story, this time set in the Alloy of Law section. It's basically a reprint of a volume containing three Allomancer Jack's stories/letters. You remember him as that pulpy adventurer from the broadsheets. So yes expect WILD TALL tales. What makes it even better, while apparently his letters to the broadsheets are "unedited" these were edited by his Terris friend who also annotated the stories and is there to point out the logical falsities and places where Jack is clearly blowing wind. Anyway the story is interesting because it gives us a look into the Kolos culture in the "present" albeit through a unreliable narrator, who is though fact corrected by the more learned Terrisman.
Next is the Secret Histories. I will be skipping that because I have already read it.

The things that amuse my anime rotted mind: At one point Jack gets into trouble where the Koloss intend to spike him and turn him into one of them. So a remark is made that if he is spiked an arcane transformation will occur. Me: So you mean it will be a MAGICAL transformation. Is he going to get a new costume? Will the name of the stories change into Magical Dude Jack: The Adventuring!!!! How much pink will there be?
I need to scrub my brain.
User avatar
4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:08 am

I have started reading Lift's part of the Arcanum Unbounded so I can comment on the rest of the stories.

White sand is not the entire grapihal novel in book form, but just the prologue dealing with the test. It kind of fills in some holes that the comic did not do well.
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell: It's a sort of frontier/western thing set basically in a forest on a hellworld. The forests are filled with shades, bsaically ghosts that will get agitated if they feel the presence of blood or somebody making fire or fast movement. Those rules are that dominant that there are no flesh and blood predators in the woods since any animal attacking another would draw the shades. And the main character, an middle aged woman innkeeper does bounty hunting. Given the setting you can gess that she is less than scrupulous when it comes to how she kills her marks. It has this opressive and dark atmosphere in a world where everyone is a rogue to one or another degree. Quite a departure from the usuall Sanderson's work I think.
Sixth of Dusk: I allready talked about it. The background setup is basically The First Contact with a spacefaring culture bound by the Prime Directive, but the actual plot concerns trying to survive in another helljungle. What is interesting Cosmerically, is that the system does NOT have a shard and it never had it, yet there is an investiture pool there that grants powers. I could have sworn that the pool had been linked previosly with Autonomy or something, but no, seems that a pool of power does not need to be a pool of shardic power.
Mistborn: Secret History: I have talked about this before, and it's good stuff if you had read the Mistborn books.
The Edgedancer: I have not yet read the entire book, and I wouldn't agree Lift is a Vin copy. Sure they are both actiongirls, yet Lift outwardly lacks most of the Vin's angsting, and works by doing basically madcap adventures that infuriate the authority figures trying to pin her down. This does not mean she is uncomplicated and brigh on the inside. She is probably even more broken than Vin was, but likes to hide from it by adopting her "awesome" persona.

Of interest is the fact that every novel/setting is prefaced by in-cosmere intro about the state of things in that particular system. We also get a tiny bit of info on cosmere politics, such as the fact that White Sands world has been isolated from teh rest of cosmere by it's shard.
User avatar
4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:50 pm

Finished the Edgedancer. It was great fun, but then again LIft pretty much stole the show in the main book where she was a secondari PoV character, so no surprise there.

The story does flesh her out a bit. We get glimpses that her cheerful persona does cover some great hurts she had in past. And while she acts completely random most of the time she has a pretty good idea what she is doing and what wrong she needs to right, and her "randomness" is in the service of that goal. So she is highly intelligent if not book learned.

My thoughts when she confronted THAT man:

Huh,
What...
Oh he must not be from Rosh..
WTF?
This got to be Lightweaving or something?!?
WHAT?
REALLY a collony creature?!? You drop something like that on us Sanderson in a side novella.

Another major thing is that it is not set during the last book but after it. We get to see the Everstorm hit the populated lands of the west.
User avatar
Thomas

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Thomas » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:57 pm

Read Alternate History Dirk Gently by way of Phillip K Dick (aka Man in the High Castle). It's probably my favourite Phillip K Dick book in that it's just lucid enough to prove to me that his writings insanity is deliberate rather than actual.

I'd have a hard time telling you what its about (art?) but I'm more confident it's actually about something than I was with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Potentially even involves an author insert character?

I wish I was more familiar with the time he was writing it so that I could figure out what's deliberately wrong and what's science fiction. The Japanese playing the good guys seems like it could have be enlightening for the period.
User avatar
Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:09 am

Following on from the TV shows thread - can anyone recommend the Expanse novels as worth reading?

FWIW I am a huge sci-fi fan in general but I have never really been into sci-fi novels that much. I prefer my sci-fi on TV/Movies and my fantasy in computer games/novels. This is the main reason why I am one of those annoying people who loves the GoT novels but hates the HBO series.
User avatar
McNutcase
Location: Nova Albion
Contact:

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby McNutcase » Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:29 am

Andrew wrote:Following on from the TV shows thread - can anyone recommend the Expanse novels as worth reading?

FWIW I am a huge sci-fi fan in general but I have never really been into sci-fi novels that much. I prefer my sci-fi on TV/Movies and my fantasy in computer games/novels. This is the main reason why I am one of those annoying people who loves the GoT novels but hates the HBO series.

Very much worth reading. I love me some written sci-fi, and the Expanse is really good in that arena.

For what it's worth, I really liked the ASoIaF books, less enamoured with the TV show. Although I'm kind of burned out on waiting for GRRM to write the next book.
User avatar
Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:36 am

McNutcase wrote:
Andrew wrote:Following on from the TV shows thread - can anyone recommend the Expanse novels as worth reading?

FWIW I am a huge sci-fi fan in general but I have never really been into sci-fi novels that much. I prefer my sci-fi on TV/Movies and my fantasy in computer games/novels. This is the main reason why I am one of those annoying people who loves the GoT novels but hates the HBO series.

Very much worth reading. I love me some written sci-fi, and the Expanse is really good in that arena.

For what it's worth, I really liked the ASoIaF books, less enamoured with the TV show. Although I'm kind of burned out on waiting for GRRM to write the next book.

Thanks I have a novel I'm currently reading but I think I will give Leviathan a go after that. From the synopsis it seems that season 1 of The Expanse is based off the entire events of Leviathan so it will be interesting to see how the story has changed (as it invariably does).

I hear you on the GRRM stuff! I keep telling myself that when Winds of Winter is finally released I will refuse to buy it and borrow it from a library instead as a form of silent protest. But then it occurs to me that my collection will be incomplete and I realise that I'm just full of hot air.

The wait has been ridiculous. For me, Dance of Dragons came out when I was on my honeymoon so from my perspective it's been my WHOLE marriage and Winds of Winter still isn't out. It's just, been such a long time....
User avatar
McNutcase
Location: Nova Albion
Contact:

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby McNutcase » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:04 am

Andrew wrote:
McNutcase wrote:
Andrew wrote:Following on from the TV shows thread - can anyone recommend the Expanse novels as worth reading?

FWIW I am a huge sci-fi fan in general but I have never really been into sci-fi novels that much. I prefer my sci-fi on TV/Movies and my fantasy in computer games/novels. This is the main reason why I am one of those annoying people who loves the GoT novels but hates the HBO series.

Very much worth reading. I love me some written sci-fi, and the Expanse is really good in that arena.

For what it's worth, I really liked the ASoIaF books, less enamoured with the TV show. Although I'm kind of burned out on waiting for GRRM to write the next book.

Thanks I have a novel I'm currently reading but I think I will give Leviathan a go after that. From the synopsis it seems that season 1 of The Expanse is based off the entire events of Leviathan so it will be interesting to see how the story has changed (as it invariably does).

I hear you on the GRRM stuff! I keep telling myself that when Winds of Winter is finally released I will refuse to buy it and borrow it from a library instead as a form of silent protest. But then it occurs to me that my collection will be incomplete and I realise that I'm just full of hot air.

The wait has been ridiculous. For me, Dance of Dragons came out when I was on my honeymoon so from my perspective it's been my WHOLE marriage and Winds of Winter still isn't out. It's just, been such a long time....

Eh, the series finished about... 2/3 to 3/4 through Leviathan Wakes. I mean, they did end the season at a good point, but there's still a significant amount of book left at the point the show finishes. It's a good adaptation, too. The changes don't suck.
Steve C

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Steve C » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:55 am

Andrew wrote:Following on from the TV shows thread - can anyone recommend the Expanse novels as worth reading?

Yes. I've read all of the Expanse series except the most recent one. (I have that one on order.) As I said in that post, it is one of the few times the changes in a TV show are an improvement over a book. Most of the changes are either subtle, affect pacing, from a later book, or are for the audience's benefit, etc.
User avatar
Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:34 pm

4th Dimension wrote:Finished the Edgedancer. It was great fun, but then again LIft pretty much stole the show in the main book where she was a secondari PoV character, so no surprise there.

The story does flesh her out a bit. We get glimpses that her cheerful persona does cover some great hurts she had in past. And while she acts completely random most of the time she has a pretty good idea what she is doing and what wrong she needs to right, and her "randomness" is in the service of that goal. So she is highly intelligent if not book learned.

My thoughts when she confronted THAT man:

Huh,
What...
Oh he must not be from Rosh..
WTF?
This got to be Lightweaving or something?!?
WHAT?
REALLY a collony creature?!? You drop something like that on us Sanderson in a side novella.

Another major thing is that it is not set during the last book but after it. We get to see the Everstorm hit the populated lands of the west.

Finally finished Edgedancer. Been busy and haven't had much of a chance.

It was fantastic, but you're right, Lift is one of the best characters in the Stormlight world, based on the little we've seen of her. And she's obviously one of Sanderson's favourites so she has that going for her as well.

I'm curious as to why Nightblood would like Lift. It's been many years since I've read Warbreakerso I might just need to go back and read it since Nightbloodpromises to feature heavily in Oathbreaker.

I admit I wasn't AS excited about a Szeth POV novel but the changes he has gone through (that we see in Edgedancer) should make it more interesting.

Also, lots of speculation on Lift's curse and boon. She says that she asked to never to change but laments the fact that she is clearly growing taller. Given her personality, I wouldn't be surprised if her boon (or possibly even her curse) is with respect to her mental growth, as opposed to physical growth.

Return to “Twenty Sided Stuff”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest