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Which Book Are You Reading Now? Volume XII

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Flying Pig, May 13, 2017.

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  1. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Brian McClellan: Sins of Empire. Fantasy, with guns and magic. I'm 200 pages into book 1 (400 to go) and it is keeping me away from games!
     
  2. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns. A dark fantasy novel set in a neo-mediaeval, post-apocalyptic Europe, probably some time in the 32nd Century or so.

    (That's not really a spoiler, as less than 100 pages in, the main character references the Builders, who used poured stone to construct a castle that could scrape the sky. The hints then get even more explicit later on.)
     
  3. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Is it a good story?
     
  4. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Just seemed timely, y'know?
     
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  5. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    Currently, I'm finding the setting more compelling than the plot, but the book starts well and hasn't dragged so far, so it's certainly not a bad book.
     
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  6. Spidernova

    Spidernova Chieftain

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    Reading Gene Wolfe's Soldier of the Mist. I'm amazed that I've never read any of his works.
     
  7. Takhisis

    Takhisis rright

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    We are in a golden age of content, Spidernova. There is much more high-quality content, both for entertainment and for ‘serious’ (research, work) materials, in most fields than one could absorb in a lifetime.
     
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  8. tjs282

    tjs282 Un(a)bashed immigrant

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    No I haven't heard that interview, so I can't help wondering if your noddy-emoji is sarcasm?

    Spoiler Ranting... :
    The whole point about the brothers (in the book) was that they already had contrasting personalities: Boromir was all about (his own) glory, whereas Faramir was far more reflective/humble — brawn vs. brains, if you like. Which was why Denethor favoured Boromir, and why Faramir would have been a better envoy to the Council at Rivendell (except that Boromir insisted on going), and arguably also a much less corruptible Companion to Frodo. So what possible (dramatic) reason could there be to re-write Faramir as 'Boromir-lite'...? Why was it considered (dramatically) necessary for him to march Frodo and Sam as far as Osgiliath (in the movie), and only then have his sudden change of heart...?
    Anyway, having finished that old-timey epic, now (re-)reading an SF version: Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn doorstops. ~1100 pages down already (The Reality Dysfunction), ~2200 still to go (The Neutronium Alchemist, The Naked God). And I've said it before, but this really cries out to be a TV series...
     
  9. Robo-Star

    Robo-Star Chieftain

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  10. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Chieftain

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    It is good, but not his best. I suspect Alzheimer's was even then taking off his unique sharp edge.


    I have just finished:

    The Resurrection Casket

    by

    Justin Richards

    which is excellent Dr Who soap opera.
     
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  11. Takhisis

    Takhisis rright

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    Oh yes, I got the impression that the Alzheimer's was already in action when I read it. I can't quite put my finger on what it was, but it was there. Either one of the two books starring Moist von Lipwig was better than this one. Not by that much, but by just enough to make it noticeable.
     
  12. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Warlord

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    It's about the deep ties between the military industrial complex and space science.
     
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  13. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Temporary Pattern...reassembling...

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    In the mood for Fantasy. Just started reading The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin.
    Why do so many SF/Fantasy authors have at least one middle initial ?

    Ah, cool. Haven't bought it yet but it's on my reading list. I've watched a couple of interviews with Tyson where he brought it up and they were really intrigiung.
    I assume the book is mostly about about the post WW2 era ?
    The connections between SPACE! and military are quite obvious there.
    How much time does he spend on the historical importance of astrology ? The Columbus anecdote was amusing/infuriating, but what about pre-renaissance ?
     
  14. Morty

    Morty Chieftain

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    Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals - felt it was time to re-read some of his books.
     
  15. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Warlord

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    I actually just got to the chapter that he talks about astrology. I'll report back what he covers when I'm through it.

    He spent about a chapter talking about pre-renaissance astronomy. He talked about the Sumerians, Egyiptans, Greeks and Chinese a lot. Mostly because they left decent records and you can even use their references to calculate exact dates for certain events. I don't know how much longer he will spend on pre-modern astronomy though, I'm still reading the book.

    I also don't know if it is primarily set in the post war era.
     
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  16. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    I'm guessing that there will be at least some discussion of the longitude problem and its importance for navies in the early modern period and beyond.
     
  17. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Warlord

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    Safe bet
     
  18. Takhisis

    Takhisis rright

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    More on this, after reading Eric (also by Terry Pratchett): well, I think that in TP's last couple of books the strain was beginning to tell and the freshness wasn't there anymore. I think that Going Postal and Making Money were the last two actually hilarious (yet, at the same time) serious ones. I'm still missing 2 books (I think) but I'll get there.
     
  19. tjs282

    tjs282 Un(a)bashed immigrant

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    Point of order, young feline: Moist also starred in Raising Steam... (Or did you mean "... the two previous books starring Moist..."?)
    I wrote a wall of text yesterday explaining why I think this is, fiddled around with it for far too long trying to get my ducks into the right order, and then I saw this, so I've just Spoiler'd most of it.

    This was the most pertinent part, and it would appear we agree...

    TLDR:

    I don't think the Alzheimer's was really the root problem of RS, though. IIRC, the Alzheimer's variety that Pterry developed primarily affected his spatial/motor awareness, rather than his cognitive processing: so he had increasing difficulty with e.g. typing, but he could still think -- and by extension, write -- coherently (I believe his last 4 or 5 books were written by dictation, with his assistant doing the typing-up). The main problem with RS (and much of the preceding couple of years' output) was that it was all just starting to get a bit stale, like a 'Greatest Hits' album, carrying far too much accumulated historical baggage (Luggage?) from the preceding books -- not least those published most recently before it. It really felt like a last gasp, like he had written his way out of the richer fantasy elements of the DW, and firmly into a corner.

    Spoiler Just call me the Prince of Dorkness :
    Here's the last 10 DW novels published:
    Title Year Main character(s) Main DW location
    A Hat Full of Sky 2004 Tiffany Aching The Chalk
    Going Postal 2004 Moist von Lipwig Ankh-Morpork
    Thud! 2005 Sam Vimes/ City Watch Ankh-Morpork –> Khoom Valley
    Wintersmith* 2006 Tiffany Aching The Chalk
    Making Money 2007 Moist von Lipwig Ankh-Morpork
    Unseen Academicals 2009 Rincewind/ UU Faculty Ankh-Morpork
    I Shall Wear Midnight* 2010 Tiffany Aching Ankh-Morpork
    Snuff 2011 Sam Vimes Along the Ankh
    Raising Steam 2013 Moist von Lipwig Ankh-Morpork
    The Shepherd's Crown* 2015 Tiffany Aching The Chalk

    *Haven't read these ones yet.

    Of the 41 DW novels (not including the maps, tourist-guides, etc.), I count 17 that have been set mainly/entirely in Ankh-Morpork (all 3 Moist books, most Vimes/Watch books, several DEATH/Susan and Rincewind/UU books, plus Moving Pictures, The Truth, Maskerade, and ISWM). And 6 of those 17 A-M books were among the last 10 DW novels published, and 4 of those 6 were (IMO) weaker than most of what had gone before.

    Which isn't surprising really: weighed down by so much established canonical history (as much as the DW has a canon, anyway), and an increasingly 'fixed' geography for that one location, I would imagine that, even before his diagnosis, it must already have been getting increasingly difficult for Pterry to come up with something new/fresh each time. Unseen Academicals is my primary Evidence for the Prosecution here: football and fashion are already so patently ridiculous here on Roundworld, that they hardly merit parody/satire, and UA was a correspondingly less satisfying DW-book than MM — which itself was not as good as GP, although better than RS. And the 3 Moist books — all set wholly/mainly in A-M — are also generally weaker than the 2 Vimes books, which dare to venture (well) beyond the city-walls.

    Or to put it another way, both Thud! and Snuff — despite using a well-established character (-set) — are both arguably just as good/inventive as most of the preceding 31 books. Of the TA books, I can't speak for the quality of Wintersmith, ISWM or TSC, but I liked AHFoS and I've read good things about the other 3, too. So I don't think it's a coincidence that, being set in DW-locations where the local canon wasn't so thoroughly established, and thus allowing Pterry more freedom to explore new ideas/ vent his spleen on worthy(er) targets, those 3 (and possibly also the other 3 TA books I haven't read?) also felt a lot fresher than UA and the Moist books.
    They do seem to, don't they? I blame H. G. Wells.

    And H. P. Lovecraft.

    And J. R. R. Tolkien.

    And C. S. Lewis.

    And E. E. 'Doc' Smith.

    And Clifford D. Simak.

    And Philip K. Dick...
    Oh. Erm. Well... don't let me put you off... ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  20. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    In J K Rowling's case, it was because the publisher didn't want to reveal that she was female and thought that "J Rowling" was too plain an authorial credit.
     
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