What are you reading at the moment?

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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:32 pm

Daemian Lucifer wrote:
Steve C wrote:The version I'm reading 100% assumes you've watched the movie.


Wait,someone actually made and abridged version of a book that was initially written in the abridged form???


My version of the book has a "Introduction to the 30th Anniversary Edition" and a "Introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition" before the actual book begins, and yeah, they're like 50 pages of anecdotes about the making of the movie and such, and it's still keeping up the joke, making references to the "legal battles with the Morgenstern estate". So I'm fairly certain that's what Steve C is reading.

You can just skip all that stuff, the actual book starts after the title page, with "This is my favorite book in the world, though I've never read it". (I'm being explicit not to be patronizing, but because it's pretty confusing where this book starts with all the "special edition introductions", since they're written in the same style as the actual beginning of the book.)

(Though, as I said in my last comment, highly recommend the movie, meh recommendation for the book itself, though I'm aware that's somewhat heretical)
Steve C

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Steve C » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:23 pm

@Daemian Lucifer: No.
@Retsam. Yes.

I didn't want to skip those sections. It was interesting. I didn't like it, nor hate it. It's just strange. Strange can be interesting enough in a work of fiction. I'm just left with this nagging sense of "Why would you do that?"

It's a bit like the time my roommate went to a bridge tournament. He wore joke eyeglasses made out the bottoms of literal coke bottles. They could pass as bad glasses as long as you didn't look closely at them and notice stuff like "Coke" stamped into the glass. He did it to amuse himself. I never understood *why* that was amusing to him. It was an odd thing to do by a weird person. The whole fake running commentary in the book is an odd thing to do by a weird person.
Steve C

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Steve C » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:24 pm

So I "finished" The Princess Bride. I read up to the point where the movie ends. After that there is another 100 pages (exactly) of crazy weird author ramblings. Along with half written excerpts of things happening to the 4 heroes without proper context or setup. Like Fezzik dying two different ways. Just cause. I didn't have a big problem with it before (beyond general confusion of why). This however, it's really bad. I couldn't make it through. I got about 50 pages in and it felt like it was wrecking the story in a purposeful satirical way. I mean that literally. It would be these terribly written and unsatisfying story beats, then an equal amount of the author explaining how and why those story beats were bad.

With the ~50 pages at the start, the ~10 pages spread throughout, and the 100 pages at the end, this crazy weird ass stuff is literally half the book! Half! Complaining about badly written stuff by a person who doesn't exist. What. The. Hell. It makes no sense.

The parts in the movie are the good parts in the book. It was an extremely faithful adaptation in that sense. Even the stuff in the movie I thought had been inserted by the director was in the book.(For example, the grandfather reading to the sick child and the ridiculous accent by the priest in the marriage ceremony.) The stuff in the book that isn't in the movie though... it is such distilled filler that filler isn't even the right word.
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Charnel Mouse
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Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Charnel Mouse » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:07 pm

Steve C wrote:Like Fezzik dying two different ways. Just cause.

This is the sequel "teaser chapter", right? That was generally a pretty baffling addition.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:39 am

I've kind of been reading the Oathbringer chapters sporadically and out of order. It's partly because I haven't got a lot of time at the moment but also because I'm trying to save it all for the release of the novel. I haven't read any of the Shallan chapters yet (which is odd because she is my favourite character in the whole series) and I haven't read the past 2 present-day Dalinar chapters.

I HAVE read all of the Kaladin chapters and both of the Dalinar flashbacks too.

The latest Kaladin chapter was a little dull. No action and sparse conversation in general. It's only shining light was a few fun, light hearted, conversations with Syl about being a mother and spren babies!! Oh and the short bit we got with Adolin and Renarin - that was pretty interesting too.

The Dalinar flashback was a lot better. I guess the implication is that Dalinar slaughtered that guy's kid as well? I can believe that. Flashback Dalinar was brutal and I think we've only just begun to scratch the surface of some of his past deeds. Warming to the idea that he was the one who killed his wife, simply based on how he acted in this chapter.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:16 pm

I actuallz wouldn't have put it past him to have killed the kid. It's Alethkar, he is a kid but also had a blade on him. I don't think it would be a rare thinking to think that because of that he is a fair game. Especially if the blade is at stake. Although blades take time to bond right? And Dalinar did threaten to KILL the families of the enemy fighting them in the last flashback, so he really doesn't have too many scruples when fighting.

Also Dallinar is being turned down by most of the rulers. Only King Taravangian is coming to the Urithu.... FUCK FUCK FUCK, Dalinar likely does NOT need him and his shenanigans.
Also strategically the Parshmen seem to be gathering their forces and not just rampaging. Probably because by suprise they could take settlements, but still a LOT of them would have died in small packets if everyone started hunting them. So they seem to be gathering forces and are not attacking until then.
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Sudanna

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Sudanna » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:12 am

The Algebraist is good, until it becomes just another collection of Iain M. Banks memes. Mystery-hunting in a gas-giant with weird aliens, system preparing for siege, the hinting at the main character's actual beliefs and agenda, they're all good. And honestly, since it's not a Culture novel, I thought the Dwellers themselves were filling in for Banks' favorite AI memes. Flippant, omnipotent, canny, immortal, bored. Then some perfect and perfectly sympathetic AIs show up and defuse everything and make the rest of the book seem as irrelevant as organic life in any Banks book. This only happens near the end, so I still enjoyed all the good parts, but I was really quite disappointed.

Delany's Nova is short and sweet. Or if not sweet, then a satisfying tragedy. Really, I think the Tarot and Grail lore it's supposed to be all about is basically hot air - the connections are all either explicitly narrative or vague and disconnected enough to be easily substituted for any author's inspiration. But the actual book is good, even if its reputation is slightly pretentious.

Now reading Glen Cook's Darkwar.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:00 am

Finished listening through the Lightbringer series with my wife... which I had just finished rereading before the 4th book ("The Blood Mirror") came out last October. I've now read the first book 5-6 times, and I expect I'll be reading it again (hopefully) in a year before the (hopefully) last book ("The Burning White") comes out. I've mentioned it here a few times, and I really like this series. The last book in the series is my most anticipated book right now, above even Oathbringer.

I was a bit on the edge about a few bits of the fourth book when I first read it, but I feel a lot better about it, on reread. For one, there was a major twist that kinda bothered me, but rereading the series with that twist in mind felt pretty okay. It wasn't particularly hinted ahead of time, but it works on it's own merit dramatically. And secondly, the fourth book, being split from the fifth book at sort of the last minute, is a bit shorter (it's about 5% shorter than the first book and about a third shorter than the third book). On the first read, it felt short, but on the reread, it felt dense: covering a ton of ground, narratively, without feeling particularly rushed; while the third book felt a bit stretched out.

So, yeah, highly recommended. As I've said before, a particularly high recommendation to any Sanderson fans, specifically. The magic system from the Lightbringer series is very much a Sanderson-esque magic system, but I prefer it even over any of Sanderson's systems, it's that good. It's like a color-based version of Allomancy, but better. It's deceptively simple in concept (colored light allows magic user to create physical stuff, somewhat Lantern Corps style), but there's a ton of depth and nuance to it, and the way that it's integrated into the setting and the conflict and the religion of the world is really phenomenal.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:06 am

Oathbringer Ch 13 wrote:“What,” Pattern said with a hum, “is a chaperone?”

“That is someone who watches two young people when they are together, to make certain they don’t do anything inappropriate.”

“Inappropriate?” Pattern said. “Such as… dividing by zero?”

....

“Oh!” Pattern said suddenly, bursting up from the bowl to hover in the air. “You were talking about mating! I’m to make sure you don’t accidentally mate, as mating is forbidden by human society until you have first performed appropriate rituals! Yes, yes. Mmmm. Dictates of custom require following certain patterns before you copulate. I’ve been studying this!”

“Oh, Stormfather,” Shallan said, covering her eyes with her freehand. A few shamespren even peeked in for a glimpse before vanishing. Twice in one week.

“Very well, you two,” Pattern said. “No mating. NO MATING.” He hummed to himself, as if pleased, then sank down onto a plate.

Pattern the best at human customs :D

Also more on the recently woken parshmen. Seems they don't become full Voidbringers with a snap of the fingers just because Everstorm happened.
Bloodsquirrel

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Bloodsquirrel » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:00 pm

I just got finished with Gardens of the Moon.

I honestly couldn't tell you what the book was about. I could describe the plot, well enough, but not what any of it was supposed to mean or add up to. It was just a bunch of stuff that happened. There was very little to the characters, and the few moments of character development that occurred tended to feel out of nowhere and little lasting impact. I've heard that the second book is better, but then again, I hear that about everything.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:50 pm

Bloodsquirrel wrote:I just got finished with Gardens of the Moon.

I honestly couldn't tell you what the book was about. I could describe the plot, well enough, but not what any of it was supposed to mean or add up to. It was just a bunch of stuff that happened. There was very little to the characters, and the few moments of character development that occurred tended to feel out of nowhere and little lasting impact. I've heard that the second book is better, but then again, I hear that about everything.


Yeah, that's Malazan, for you. I've been working through the audiobooks for that series for... about the last five years or so. I'm stalled somewhere into Book 7 out of 10. Which is, coincidentally, probably about how I'd rate the series, though it'd really depend on when you ask; I've got a bit of a love-hate relationship with the series.

Malazan is the Dark Souls of fantasy novels. It's got an absurd difficulty curve: it doesn't hold your hand at all, it'll just throw you into the middle of a plot and cast and expect you to start putting the pieces together yourself. (And, then at the start of the next book, it'll do it again) But, for that difficulty, you get something of a unique experience: the scope of Malazan is unique, with a world that feels incredibly expansive and lived-in, and plots and characters that span books and millennia.

(And, just like in Dark Souls, if that happens not to be your particular cup of tea, and you try to explain this to a fan, then you're just a scrub who just needs to git gud.)

I'd definitely agree with the "Gardens of the Moon is weaker than the rest of the series" sentiment. But I do think Gardens of the Moon is a pretty fair representation of the series, overall: the rest of the series is different in quality, but not different in kind. The rest of the series is going to continue to throw you in the deep end, it's going to continue to have you spending a lot of time thinking "is this plotline going anywhere anytime soon?", it's going to continue changing the characters on you all the time. Like, you know how you hit Part 2 of Gardens of the Moon and the entire cast changed? That's going to keep happening. Book 2 has an almost entirely different cast than Book 1, and is set on a different continent.

The formula for a Malazan book is that about 80% of the book is fairly plodding with the narrative spread over about 4-6 largely independent plot-threads, and then in the last 20%, the plot threads will converge into some big climax. Gardens of the Moon has a pretty weak climax, and there's just not much of an overarching plot to it, otherwise. Later books generally do better in one, or both of those categories. For example, the second book has a great climax, and much more of an overarching plot as it's about (slight spoiler) a content-wide revolution against the control of the Malazan empire. But I'm seven books in, and I still only have vague ideas where, if anywhere, the series as a whole is going.

The author's background in archeology and anthropology doubtless contributes to their depth of world-building... but it doubtless also contributes to their tendency to go on ideological tangents, where random minor characters will suddenly start having a deep discussion about their their particular culture's deeply-rooted ideological assumptions about the value of the military force as a justification for expansion functions as a tool for the hegemony to exert control over the bourgeois and how this has contributed to the current state of affairs with regard to their current conflict with the Wu-Tang Clan and yadda, yadda, something, something dark side. It's like every random guard in this universe aspires to be a anthropologist, and it's especially jarring when their opinions sound overly modern.

So, yeah. Like, I said, it's a love-hate relationship for me. On the one hand, I really don't think there's anything else on the same scale; it makes Wheel of Time feel small and simple. But I had a hell of a lot more fun reading Wheel of Time than I ever did reading Malazan. Malazan often feels like a chore to read, it's incredibly epic at some points, but I generally lacked any sort of emotional connection to the characters to pull me through the story, the rest of the time.

So, yeah, I'm probably the wrong person to ask for a recommendation (not that you were asking anyway), but I would say if you really didn't care for Gardens of the Moon, don't keep reading, but if you think you'd like it if it were just a bit better executed, you might try the second book. If the second book (one of the best regarded of the series) doesn't hook you, definitely give up.

Or you can keep reading so that you can grow more conflicted about the series over time, to the point that you drop huge walls of text on the topic whenever someone as much as mentions the series. ...Sorry.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:10 am

Double-posting, because there's one anecdote in particular that I feel illustrates the Malazan series beautifully: it's the most Malazan bit of Malazan, in my subjective opinion.

It's not a plot spoiler of any sort, but the whole bit is sort of an extended joke, so if you don't want a joke spoiled from one of the later books in the series, just skip this post.

---

So this particular passage begins, apropos nothing, with a POV character recalling the history of a war between his tribal people and a neighboring expansionistic nation.

His tribe was losing the war at first, but then when three of the four tribes elders were poisoned, the fourth elder - who was, until then, considered cowardly, due to his quiet nature - took charge and turned out to be a tactical genius. Through tactical cleverness in a battle (the details of which are described over about 15 minutes of narration in the audiobook), he was able to turn the tides of the war and force the expansionistic nation to a truce.

However, the expansionistic nation, was later able to subjugate the tribal people, by slaughtering the tribal nation's not-bison herds (enabled, in part, due to interbreeding between the two nations). The once great and famously quiet elder ended up dying in an alley, as a drunkard. The story ends as follows: "In those last years, [the elder], tongue loosened by drink, had talked often, filling the air with slurred, meaningless words and fragmented remembrances. So many words, not one wise, to fill what had once been the wisest of silences."

Then, cutting back to the present, the book continues with: "Three paces behind him, Iskaral Pust, spoke without cessation." And then it moves on with the plot. The book related a character's entire life-story an entire war, an extensive battle description, and introduced an entire culture, just to say that a character was talking a lot.

---

This is an incredibly "Malazan" thing to do: the seeming depth of its world-building, the very anthropological view of history, (the maybe not so subtle soapboxing about American history), and the fact that these books really aren't particularly concerned about wasting the reader's time.

This isn't really a complaint, I found this pretty hilarious, and I think it was intended to be a joke, but a solid 20-30 minutes of audiobook narration was spent on a shaggy dog story, and I'd be really annoyed by that if I didn't find it so funny, and I do think it's fairly endemic of the series as a whole that it's not exactly concerned with tight pacing.
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Sudanna

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Sudanna » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:43 am

I've never read Malazan, but it sounds like you might like King of Sartar if you like Malazan. It's most of that (difficult to decipher, requires work to read, anthropological, epic, disconnected from individual characters) but more, and also way subtler and way more delibebrately crafted to be a unique puzzle of a book. It's a fully in-world/in-character fantasy historical work. Dust jacket compares it to Invisible Cities(my favorite book) and Dictionary of the Khazars.
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Supahewok

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Supahewok » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:55 pm

I tried to read the Malazan series at some point. At least the second book has some references and I think small appearances by characters at least mentioned in the first. I quit after reading a book that took place on yet another continent that didn't connect to the rest of the series at all. And so, so much of those books is pointless filler. There were only 2 scenes I ever had an emotional connection to in the whole damn thing: the first is part of the climax in the second book, namely when the El Cid like general is tortured and executed, cuz that dude was cool, and part of the climax of maybe the 3rd book, the one where the Bridgeburners mostly all die, although that's not the moment: it was when that quasi-elf dude showed up on his flying mountain by flying it underwater, which was a neat twist I didn't see coming. Otherwise the whole series is a big blank mess of endless machinations and unfulfilling plots in my memories.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:10 pm

Supahewok wrote:I tried to read the Malazan series at some point. At least the second book has some references and I think small appearances by characters at least mentioned in the first. I quit after reading a book that took place on yet another continent that didn't connect to the rest of the series at all.


I'm guessing you're referring to Midnight Tides, the fifth book. It lacks anything quite on the scale of either of the epic moments that you mention, (which tend to be peoples favorite moments), but I think that's actually my favorite book overall, because it felt the most focused out of any of the books: there's a pretty clear overarching plot to the story, and all the plot threads are close enough to feel connected, rather than the usual disjointed and seemingly unrelated plot threads that the other books tend to employ.

Midnight Tides is a bit of a prequel, the previous book ends with a character beginning to tell his story, and that book is his story (plus the stories for a bunch of other people, which he couldn't possibly have known, but whatever), and the events of that book do have quite a bit of connection with the rest of the series.

Though, I'm not really contradicting you. The ridiculous chronology of the story is definitely one of my frustrations series, the fact that it takes most of that book (and into the next book) to have any idea of how these events are supposed to relate to the rest of the series is definitely a bug, not a feature, in my book.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:20 pm

Yesterday, I read an Advanced Readers Copy of Artemis, by Andy Weir (author of The Martian), which comes out in a month. It's a fairly different story from The Martian (which I loved), but you can definitely see that it's got a lot of the same DNA - snarky main character, not too distant future setting, engineering-based problem solving, etc.

Overall, I enjoyed it (evidenced by reading it in a single day), but it doesn't quite have the same magic that The Martian did - it was a good book while the Martian was a great book, the science was there, the snark was there, but I think the biggest factor for me, personally, is that Artemis just lacks the "joy" that the Martian had.

Part of that "missing joy" is the story itself: part of the beauty of the Martian is that everyone is on the same side, there're no villains - the characters don't always see eye-to-eye, but ultimately they've got the same goal, while Artemis plot is a much more grey-on-grey affair, with the main character being a minor smuggler who gets pulled into a much larger plot.

And, more so, I found the main character of Artemis a ton less enjoyable than Mark Wattney. They're both sarcastic, but while Wattney is an eminently likable character, who uses sarcasm and humor to defuse a really difficult situation, the main character of Artemis, Jazz (short for Jasmine) is a fairly bitter and abrasive person, to the point that it was somewhat unpleasant to spend the entire book in her headspace, despite the humor.

Of course, this all just boils down to saying "Artemis is a different book than The Martian": I expect lots of people will find Jazz a more interesting character than Wattney, and the plot of Artemis more interesting than the plot of The Martian, but I think it loses out on some of the uniqueness of The Martian that made me love it, and while I'd still recommend Artemis, if you liked The Martian, I wouldn't go into it expecting it to just be more of the Martian.
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Sudanna

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Sudanna » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:50 am

Finished Glen Cook's Darkwar, which was okaaaay. I like the Black Company a lot, though the Books of the South are way messier than the ones in the North. I like the Dread Empire books well enough. Instrumentalities of the Night markedly less. Darkwar falls prey to a flaw that's always been lurking around the edges of Cook's writing, but I think he always managed to stave off through his various merits and tricks. It's dry. It's got a strong opening, but the middle and end become mere exercises in causality. One thing happens, and then another. Then the next thing. It's got most of the skeleton of a decent story in there, but it's missing the meat.

Reasons I think it fails where Cook has otherwise succeeded: It's got a small, repetitive cast, a very powerful(later explicitly the most powerful) main character who mostly just knows and gets what she wants, and the world is more familiar than strange. The small cast and powerful main character suck all the tension out of things, and the descriptions of the action don't really amount to much on their own. It's supposed to be how the main character is doomed and how her actions bring about tumultuous change she wasn't trying for, but I don't really buy it in the end. The small cast just makes it worse when several character types repeat, which is supposed to show how meth(alien race the novel concerns) are hidebound jerks, but is really just repetitive. A strong main character might've pulled things together, but the internal lives of characters is obviously not Cook's strong suit. The world starts out looking like it might be very very interesting, but all the focus ends up on how it comes to resemble something very familiar. Which sounds like maybe potential for a melancholy death-of-the-fey theme(which i am super sensitive to) but it just doesn't go there. It starts strong and had a lot of potential but it juuust ended up boring. I don't regret reading it, it wasn't awful, it's just kinda wasted potential. It does have a first contact in it, which is one of my favorite scenarios in SF.

Now reading The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino, who wrote my favorite book.
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Retsam

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Retsam » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:21 am

The sequel to Worm has officially been announced. Most of that blogpost is a retrospective on Twig, Wildbow's current project, but the relevant bit is:

Worm 2 (Technically it’s Parahumans 2) is rolling out soon. In the meantime, I’ll be dropping some very super minor tidbits on the Worm website. These interim pieces will serve as kind of unofficial/prelude/tone-setting bits and will go up on my usual schedule, just as things for people to see if they’re keeping to their usual routine of checking in. They will not be full-length chapters and may not even be 500 words long.

This will go on for a couple weeks (5-10 segments on the usual Tues/Possible Thurs/Sat schedule) and the final installment in the set will link to the site for the Worm sequel. Links will also appear on all of my sites. This will give me time to hopefully get some final preliminary work done, wrangle the mailing list, and (ideal world) fix my currently scattered sleep schedule.


Worm is one of my favorite things I've read in years, so I'm pretty psyched for a sequel, though I haven't entirely decided if I'm going to read it as it comes out, or read it in chunks, or just wait until its finished. Probably not that last one, since I don't want to wait years before I can read it, but I've also learned it's harder to keep up with things as they come out, particularly with reading.

---

Speaking of web serials, I could have sworn that I had mentioned Mother of Learning in this thread before, but searching the thread tells me I haven't. I picked it up shortly after finally giving up on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, and it's basically everything I wanted out of HPMoR, anyway. The premise is basically "Groundhog Day: Hogwarts Edition" - a second year student at a magic school ends up stuck in a time-loop, repeating the same month over and over.

It's a fun premise, and it has a lot of the "rational approach to magic" aspect that HPMoR pretty quickly abandoned. It's actually a lot like Worm, where the main character is on the weaker side of the power spectrum but compensates by cleverness and preparation.

It's still ongoing (hence some of my experience in keeping up with ongoing web serials), though it should be wrapping up fairly soon; the author's bio says it's a three act story, Act 3 started on Chapter 55, and it's currently on Chapter 75. With maybe 8-10 chapters left, at 3 weeks a chapter, it'll probably be done by mid-next year.
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Sudanna

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Sudanna » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:58 pm

not exactly what i've been reading, but i've now successfully gotten my entire family and all my partners, few of whom are the SF-reading type, to read China Mountain Zhang, and they all liked it a lot.
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Andrew

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Andrew » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:11 am

After a pretty long break I have re-commenced reading The Expanse novels. I am up to Nemesis Games and it's fair to say that both Abaddon's Gate and Cibola Burn burned me out of the series pretty severely.

Cibola's burn in particular I really enjoyed at the start but it got SLOOOOWWWW right around the time everyone started getting blind. It was just... boring.

Anyway, I'm 4 chapters into Nemesis Games and enjoying it a lot more. From a casual flick through of the novel (which I always do) it looks like the main POV characters are the 4 main protagonists of the novel - Holden, Alex, Amos and Naomi. That is an excellent idea as far as I am concerned and I am not sure why they didn't do it sooner. Also looks like we'll get a fair bit of Bobbie and Avasarala so again, yay!

Anyway I'll post my thoughts as I go. I've timed starting this novel badly with Oathbringer due out in 2 weeks but I'm confident that the novel will be good enough to let me power through it with time to spare!
Last edited by Andrew on Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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4th Dimension

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby 4th Dimension » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:01 am

Yeah, I pretty much dropped The Expanse after starting Cibola and well, I explained my reasons for feeling tired before.

What I have come here to talk about instead is that I read/listened to We Are Legion (We Are Bob), and it was VERY entertaining.

The premise is that a software engineer from now (the titular Bob) agrees to get frozen in case of death and subsequently dies, only to "wake" up and discover that his brain was used as a template for a replicant mind. And he gets put on an inter stellar probe with task of going out there, making more Bob's and exploring the universe. Well his setting off is not without issues and WW3? pretty much breaks out as he is leaving.

So he has to deal with multiple things.
  • How he feels and how he deals with being essentially a computer copy of old Bob with no body of his own, and eternity stretching before him.
  • How he deals with copies of himself which aren't exactly the same.
  • Exploration of nearby solar systems in search of potential colonization targets, and their ecosystems and potential local sentient population
  • Performing a diaspora from now irreversibly damaged Earth to save the last bits of Humanity
  • and many more.

And it's all packaged as a sort of first person, Mark Watneyish narrative, as Bobs try to problem solve their tasks.
Quite a nice read if you ask me.

On the other hand it MIIIGHT be going in a direction that I don't like, with remains of humanity being on the irrational side, and there being another species that is a threat and that has been stripping systems bare of materials.

Also the science can be wonky at times, although most of the time it's on the hard side, the only significant concession being the tech to interact with subspace that allows multiple G long burn acceleration engines. So no FTL.

In any case my warm recommendation.
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Sudanna

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Sudanna » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:27 pm

So, I finally got around to reading Le Guin. Knew I should, been on my shelf for a long time, but I can only go through so many books so fast, as with most of my reading. The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. And I am incredibly happy with both of them, beautiful articulations and explorations of things important to me. She definitely deserves her reputation in SF and more. I bought every other book of hers as soon as I finished these two.

Now reading Stories of Your Life(and others), a short story collection by Ted Chiang. The titular story is the one the movie Arrival is loosely based on. It's been very good too! Maybe 2/3 through, and it's excelled at both the technical and literary elements of SF.
Steve C

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Steve C » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:48 pm

I tried reading Left Hand of Darkness and bounced off it. That author's writing style is extremely weird.
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Sudanna

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Sudanna » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:54 pm

How do you mean?
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: What are you reading at the moment?

Postby Lachlan the Sane » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:17 am

Oh man, Le Guin. I really like some of Le Guin's books, and I really dislike some of the others. I think The Word for World is Forest is far and away her best book out of the ones that I've read, but I really dislike the Tales of Earthsea. What she's best at is building up weird and interesting alien cultures based on toying with human ideas. What she's terrible at is compelling plotting and multi-note characters. Either her settings have to be strong enough to hold up the story (which Word for World absolutely is, Left Hand of Darkness kind of is, and Earthsea absolutely is not), or the books don't work. This does make her fantastic at short-story writing, though.

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