What are you reading at the moment?

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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:10 am

gloatingswine wrote:I suspect the season finale of the TV show's second season will be the end of Caliban's War. The end of Leviathan Wakes will be one or two episodes in.

I've given it some thought since my post (and I'm now about a quarter of the way through Caliban's War) and I suspect this is probably true. There is a lot more meat in Caliban's War plus I already know from a trailer that Bobbie is introduced in season 2 so...

I like Bobbie even though I've only read 3 or 4 of her chapters. I think Prax is interesting but also a little boring. Avasarala is obviously awesome - bringing her into season 1 of The Expanse was an excellent idea although casting Babu (from Seinfeld) as her husband is a little off putting. :P

I have read at a few different forums that some people don't like the shift in focus from Levithan's Wake to Caliban's War - something to do with the more political nature of Caliban's War being too boring. I disagree. Leviathan's Wake was great for setting the scene and introducing the main protagonist of the series (Holden) but realistically it couldn't have gone on like that with Miller's half basically being a noir style detective story. The series had to go somewhere otherwise it'd end up like all the various NCIS's we have on TV. In addition, Caliban's Wake is not boring (to me). The political chatter is the most interesting part of both novels that I have read so far and I wish there was more of it in Leviathan's Wake.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby dudecon » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:21 pm

Finished reading Bleak House to the kids. By the end I felt that I had a sense for the Dickens style. Not a bad one, but old fashioned, where you can spend a whole chapter on developing a side character that doesn't really tie into the main arc in any meaningful way. Where things happen, and sometimes that's just the way things are, and no they don't have a poetic implication. And then he'll surprise you, and tie three storylines together in a scene that must have felt much more natural for people who actually talked like that. Still, despite the ever-widening chronological gulf, the characters seem to have much in common with the modern era, where feeling and perception weigh more heavily on their minds than the sun and the seasons.

After that we fuddled around for a while, and somewhere in there I got a new job which requires a 1 hour commute, which I share with an old friend of mine. He drives, and I read. So far we've burned through the entire C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy, along with a few of his other works (Screwtape Letters among them). Currently working on Hymnody by Benson, which is about as far from science fiction as you can get. I can't honestly recommend it, but there's a kind of stalwart doggedness in the author's unflagging devotion to the topic that is endearing.

Steve C wrote:I just finished reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leakey and loved it...
Oh neat! My own thoughts on the novel in the other books thread: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=17&p=27244#p27244
gloatingswine

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby gloatingswine » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:28 pm

dudecon wrote:Finished reading Bleak House to the kids. By the end I felt that I had a sense for the Dickens style. Not a bad one, but old fashioned, where you can spend a whole chapter on developing a side character that doesn't really tie into the main arc in any meaningful way.


Also known as "paid by the word".
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Thomas

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Thomas » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:42 pm

dudecon wrote:After that we fuddled around for a while, and somewhere in there I got a new job which requires a 1 hour commute, which I share with an old friend of mine. He drives, and I read. So far we've burned through the entire C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy,

What's your impression of them? I've read the first one and really enjoyed it, but somehow never got round to the rest.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby dudecon » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:04 am

Thomas wrote:
dudecon wrote:After that we fuddled around for a while, and somewhere in there I got a new job which requires a 1 hour commute, which I share with an old friend of mine. He drives, and I read. So far we've burned through the entire C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy,
What's your impression of them? I've read the first one and really enjoyed it, but somehow never got round to the rest.
They are all quite good.
If anything, I'd say Out of the Silent Planet is the weakest. The second, Perelandra, moves me to tears at the end; Every time. That Hideous Strength is good too, though perhaps more English-literaturey than the others? If you've read Men Without Chests, lewis explores a lot of the same themes. It's certainly more down-to-earth. I read all of them to my kids as well, and they liked That Hideous Strength the best, though it's unclear if that's only because we read them in order and that was the last and therefore most vivid in their memory at the time.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:10 pm

Yeah, I should really read That Hideous Strength; (well, and reread the first two, at this point). I read them like a decade ago, and just couldn't get going on THS, since it was just so different from the first two.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:42 pm

I have read Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor's Boundary. In general I can tolerate Flint as long as he doesn't do too much of his amerocentrism and I really liked Spoor's Grand Central Arena. But this thing has been a bit of a disappointment.

First off the audio book version is terrible with the narrator pausing EVERY THREE WORDS no matter if the pause is warranted or not which really tends to ruin the pacing. Curiosly he also uses the same length of pause between the sentences and paragraphs too and to make matters worse whenever there is a section change in a chapter (change of PoV or time skip) he does NOT pause. So often times I am left confused what just happened when situation suddenly changes and I am left scrambling to figure out is this a section break or not.

Story wise it's okay but hardish sci-fi that it was supposed to be it's not. It was supposed to describe a manned mission to Mars in near future after an unmanned probe discovers an abandoned alien installation in Mars's moon Phobos. So again it's near future setting, the computers are better, people often wear argumented reality glasses and such, but humans are yet to step out of the Earth-Moon system or establish bases outside of LEO orbits. And yet to reach Phobos they do not do the sensible thing and design something comfortable and simple to insure the safety, NOOOO they decide to build a multiple engined monstrosity that will carry a crew of 50 or something. Sure they will need a big efficient engine to get there in time and a spinning section to survive that long but that crew is ridiculous. Also one of the major characters is an sensor/computes specialist AJ, and he might as well be a techno mage with how quickly he is able to write software at demand from scratch and what he can do with his sensors. There is also security specialist/agent that is also a bit of a Mary Sue. So in my opinion the characters don't excatly fit the supposed spirit of the work. This is in contrast to pretty good work that is done when talking and discussing how and why the alien society and physiology worked based on clues they find on the base.
Also for some reason this is a NASA only mission. For some reason the EU, Chinese, Russians (Rosskosmos isn't even mentioned when discussing potential competitors?!?!?!) and others are completely blind to what a treasure trove of tech such an alien station might be and aren't shown trying to get their people to participate too. Which is fucking ridiculous. One would expect them to pull every dirty trick in the book and pull every single connection they have to get their scientist on the mission. Or if the Americans are not budging one would expect them to try to build their own Mars missions, smaller yes, or band together or something and not sit on Earth twiddling their thumbs. It's not like the writers are not aware of the advantages of exploring the alien base, they even have a person on the mission specifically in charge of filtering what gets sent back to Earth to prevent unrestricted access to the discovered information. But it's not so that I don't know, Chinese, don't get their hands on let's say advanced building materials and methods before Uncle Sam gets his chance to exploit it first, it's so that the terrorists don't use them. Because really the terrorists have so much resources to dedicate towards researching bleeding edge technology to apply to their IEDs.

So it's an disappointment, and I won't be picking up the next book of this series.
Vulture

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Vulture » Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:40 pm

Retsam wrote:Yeah, I should really read That Hideous Strength; (well, and reread the first two, at this point). I read them like a decade ago, and just couldn't get going on THS, since it was just so different from the first two.


Yes it is very different. It felt to me like a completely different genre that just happened to keep one of the characters and some of the concepts from the first two books, and makes a few references to them.

The first book is a very HG Wells scifi adventure story with religious themes. The second is much more of a theological concept turned into a story in the same story world. The last is more of an English crime novel with hints of horror and the supernatural, and only a slight connection to the earlier books. I still enjoyed it but if you were mostly interested in the exploration adventure aspect of the first two, it would be very disappointing.

It's like a Star Trek episode completely set inside the holodeck doing a sherlock holmes story. It can be good but it isn't exactly core Star Trek.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:09 am

Finished Caliban's War a while ago. It was good, but I felt that the ending (the last 100 pages or so) was extremely rushed. Could have benefited from another 50 pages or so I feel.

I also would have liked more closure on the Nicola stuff. Yes, it was mentioned that she was most likely coerced and I suppose that's all you really have to know, but a short conversation between her and Prax would have been nice.

My copy of Abaddon's Gate arrived last night so I'm going to get straight into that in the next few days. I had a quick flick through and I notice that all of the POV chapters have changed (except for Holden). I sure hope this isn't the last we'll see of Avasarala and Bobbie!
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:00 am

I have been listening to the first book of the Expanse, and I do like how since it's a book it can actually explain things and not rely on showing things and hinting at. Like it explained why the Belters were so gung ho, they thought the ships that destroyed Donnager were theirs. Also the war was brewing to be a Mars vs OPA/Belt thing rather than Mars vs Earth, in fact Earth withdrew from the entire conflict and abandoned Ceres. In the TV show came under defacto rule of the OPA, but in the books it's under OPA both defacto and dejure.

Also Miler's section is considerably more muted in the books and is mostly used to show what is happening on Ceres, and he isn't really shown as much of a detective. He gets fired not because "he got too close to the truth" but because his boss can't really trust him since he is unreliable. In fact his entire firing part is kind of a going out with a whimper and not bang. In fact he never figures where Julie likely is but comes to Eros following a ship he suspects is Holden's.

So it is interesting what parts were changed. Earth is much more a part of Leviathan Wakes in the show since they wanted to introduce Aversala early. Miller is more of a detective since they wanted to build him up as more of an protagonist. Rosie docks on the ring and not on the Tychoo center so they don't have to deal with zero-G scenes each time the crew disembarks. Rossie is much more open and comfortable (Holden says the only place on Rossie where he could stretch and not touch the walls was in the galley) so they can fit the cameras into the set.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:26 pm

As I've said a few times here (and others have as well) The Expanse is one of the best novel-to-TV adaptations currently going around. And not because it religiously sticks to the source material or dramatically improves upon it. It is both faithful to the source material while also making little changes here and there that improves the story telling (like bringing in Avasarala from the start) while still telling the same story (mostly).

The novels are great, though, for fleshing out the meaning and motivations behind the characters and for an even greater insight into the political setting behind it.

There are only a few things that I don't like about the TV series, such as the needless drama between Holden and his crew (you don't get that at all in the novels that I can recall) and... well... Dresden.

It strikes me that this should probably be in the TV shows thread so yeah..

.. keep reading! Caliban's War is a lot better than Leviathan's Wake (opinion: me) and introduces 2 of the best characters in the whole series.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:41 pm

Well I was talking about the book here and the differences from the point of me reading the book so I thought to put it here.

They haven't left Eros yet, but I think that scene where MCRN intercepts them also doesn't happen in the books, at least it hasn't happened so far.

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