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  1. #1801
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    I do think the void trilogy gets better as it goes, but as is the way with Peter F Hamilton, it does take its time getting there. If you don't mind that, and aren't turned off by the book already, you should like it.

  2. #1802
    Lesser Hivemind Node postinternetsyndrome's Avatar
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    I liked Pandora's Star, and Judas Unchained was entertaining too, but especially the end was quite a drag. It felt a lot like an extended end sequence of a video game, comically enough, in that all the mysteries had been unveiled and what was left was just a lot of fighting to finish off the Big Bad.

    Like a lot of these kinds of books, they are at their best around halfway through, when they are busy dishing out exposition filled with interesting social and technological scenarios. Finishing up is clearly a weak spot. A problem Clarke's old Rama books suffered heavily from as well.

    I'm liking the dream chapters of The Dreaming Void the most for now, they put me in mind of Trudi Canavan's Dark Magician books. And Eragon, heh. (A book hardly worthy of praise for its characters and drama, but I found the magic system quite interesting.)
    Last edited by postinternetsyndrome; 14-11-2013 at 08:56 PM.

  3. #1803
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    Yeah, the dream chapters are quite reminiscent of Canavan's Dark Magician stuff. And I suppose with hamilton it depends what you define as 'the end' I mean, I find it tends to get better as it goes but then once it hits that 'this is the end' scene (as opposed to say the end as like the last quarter) then he does go off the rails a bit.

  4. #1804
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    Finished Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett, which continues the trend of his Tiffany Aching books being the best Discworld arc. I've only got Wintersmith left to read (having read I shall wear midnight first, by accident) but I'm looking forward to it. I almost want to put it off a bit, just so I don't run out of Tiffany Aching to read. There is nothing about those books I don't love right the way down to my core. They're just everything I want to read in a story. When they're done I feel more complete as a person, as well as a little sad and empty that something so good has come and gone. I adore them.

  5. #1805
    Just finished Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Petty good ... I thought being saddled with 'sequel to The Shining' might have been a problem, but no. Characterisation is terrific, though it's less a horror than a kind of modern urban fantasy/thriller. Definitely head and shoulders above most mainstream fiction I've read recently.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  6. #1806
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    Quote Originally Posted by glimpse fade yelp View Post
    Just finished Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Petty good ... I thought being saddled with 'sequel to The Shining' might have been a problem, but no. Characterisation is terrific, though it's less a horror than a kind of modern urban fantasy/thriller. Definitely head and shoulders above most mainstream fiction I've read recently.
    The only king I've read is one of the dark tower books (I was very young and barely remember it) - he has a bit of a characterisation of being quantity over quality, but would you this is an unfair conception/not your experience? I'm looking at the wiki entry of the gunslinger series presently and strongly considering adding it to my backlog.

  7. #1807
    Lesser Hivemind Node postinternetsyndrome's Avatar
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    I started on the dark tower books and dropped out after the second one I think. They are fascinating but sloooow and most importantly, I never felt as if the story was going anywhere. I mean, lord of the rings is pretty slow, but it's always clear what the characters' goals are. I don't mind not having the world fully explained to me straight off the bat, but those books' "initial mystery" part way outstayed its welcome.

    Might give them another chance at some point, but I already have plenty of books that actually make me want to read them.

  8. #1808
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    The only king I've read is one of the dark tower books (I was very young and barely remember it) - he has a bit of a characterisation of being quantity over quality, but would you this is an unfair conception/not your experience? I'm looking at the wiki entry of the gunslinger series presently and strongly considering adding it to my backlog.
    For what my opinion's worth: I loved the Dark Tower books, and think they're easily the best thing King's ever done. The series is definitely too long, wildly self-indulgent and meta enough in places to put Hideo Kojima to shame, and is extremely King - that strange blend of cutesy Americana and grimdark fairy-tale he might as well have trademarked. But I love the scope of it, the sense of myth-making it conveys - lots of books which are technically far better written don't manage to feel anything like as epic - and the awful cold implacable nature of the story, the whole focus on destiny being this inexorable force tugging you along whether you like it or not, and how King deals with that. I'm a sucker for his "muscular Christianity" stories: I'm pretty much an atheist, but I still identify pretty strongly with how awful and terrible he makes the concept of an omnipotent deity seem (like Desperation, say) and the Dark Tower books are pretty much the logical culmination of this approach for me. Wouldn't blame anyone for not really getting on with them. They're definitely very, very flawed in many respects and I think the first book is by far the weakest. But once the series clicked with me some way into the second book I was so won over I was ready to forgive him pretty much anything if the over-riding story arc kept delivering. Which it, well, did, IMO.

  9. #1809
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    That's a pretty detailed summation. It definitely sounds like it has a lot of things that I look for in fiction, so I might see about picking some up and seeing if I have a similar experience, since I'm shifting away more of my backlog of books.

    Relatedly, I'm about 60 pages off the end of The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi, and I can safely say that even though it is not an easy book to read, it's a great exercise of the reader's imagination, and greatly rewards the effort put in with a really satisfying sci-fi experience. It plants some excellent visual seeds and phenomenal worldbuilding (which deftly balances confusion with the unfamiliar with the satisfaction of piecing it together as you go) and though I don't feel the characters are the strongest, they're sturdy enough to explore all the machinations of ascended humans, far flung colonists, and strange societies scattered across the solar system.

  10. #1810
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    dark tower was awesome till i believe fourth book... when it was all flashback of the main guy. fucking boring like hell. never finished it just lost interest in that series. still although it had been 10 years i do remember it fairly well. maybe i should pick it up again...


    time for some dune. read it primary. remember sortof the core premise of the book and various scenes but i should read it again and in original.

  11. #1811
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    time for some dune. read it primary. remember sortof the core premise of the book and various scenes but i should read it again and in original.
    I'm currently considering a reread of Dune, mainly spurred on by it being available on Kindle for 1.50 from Amazon, up until December 2nd. Having read it 4 or 5 times in the last 17 years, I've bought it 3 times, but lost every physical copy. Although, that Kindle version has some editing issues with quotation marks, apparently. Still... 1.50... If you haven't read it and have a Kindle, I highly recommend it.

    Also in that sale, there's Patrick Rothfuss' "The Name of the Wind". I know a lot of people have issues with it, I like it and I have a lot of issues with it, but for 1.50... well worth it.

    I also notice that I haven't posted an update on my own reading here, for 11 months or so. That post is going to be rather large, I fear.

    Edit: I think those prices might be UK only.
    Last edited by Unaco; 20-11-2013 at 09:04 PM.
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  12. #1812
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drayk's Avatar
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    Reading the Second tome of the Gentleman Bastard which was just released in French.

    I loved the first one but I am not as thrilled with the second one. But it's not the fault of the book per say. The writing is still fun and the universe intriguing. I am only 100 pages in so i can't really make a good review of it yet.

    I guess I am not in the mood right now. I think I am gonna put it on hold till I can figure out some work problems...

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  13. #1813
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    haruki murakami.. after dark!
    and I really like marion zimmer bradley's books .. the darkover series

  14. #1814
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    For what my opinion's worth: I loved the Dark Tower books, and think they're easily the best thing King's ever done. The series is definitely too long, wildly self-indulgent and meta enough in places to put Hideo Kojima to shame, and is extremely King - that strange blend of cutesy Americana and grimdark fairy-tale he might as well have trademarked. But I love the scope of it, the sense of myth-making it conveys - lots of books which are technically far better written don't manage to feel anything like as epic - and the awful cold implacable nature of the story, the whole focus on destiny being this inexorable force tugging you along whether you like it or not, and how King deals with that. I'm a sucker for his "muscular Christianity" stories: I'm pretty much an atheist, but I still identify pretty strongly with how awful and terrible he makes the concept of an omnipotent deity seem (like Desperation, say) and the Dark Tower books are pretty much the logical culmination of this approach for me. Wouldn't blame anyone for not really getting on with them. They're definitely very, very flawed in many respects and I think the first book is by far the weakest. But once the series clicked with me some way into the second book I was so won over I was ready to forgive him pretty much anything if the over-riding story arc kept delivering. Which it, well, did, IMO.
    Thanks for taking the trouble to put your opinion about the Dark Tower series into words. I've read a lot of books by Stephen King but somehow never got around to reading those. Looks like I might have to give it a try someday.
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  15. #1815
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    The only king I've read is one of the dark tower books (I was very young and barely remember it) - he has a bit of a characterisation of being quantity over quality, but would you this is an unfair conception/not your experience? I'm looking at the wiki entry of the gunslinger series presently and strongly considering adding it to my backlog.
    I haven't read the Dark Tower books, but Eight Rooks makes them sound tempting.

    As for quantity v quality, I see a lot of similarities between King and Dickens. If Doctor Sleep and Great Expectations were new novels by unknown writers, a modern editor would probably cut both by at least a third. The same modern editor would tear her/his hair out if dealing with one of Henry James's rambling periodic sentences. I blame Hemmingway for starting a trend for terse prose, which has had an unhealthy influence on creative writing for decades. These days, would-be writers are instructed to torture their prose into the word equivalent of bonsai trees--stunted and regulated. Writing tutors yell tedious non-rules like Show don't tell! Cut all adverbs and adjectives! etc.

    For me, King is an old-fashioned writer, and that's one of the things that makes him unique.

    That isn't to say he couldn't do with cutting the odd word.

    Or two.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  16. #1816
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    As it happens I am currently reading "The Wind through the Keyhole", which is set in the Dark Tower universe and can be seen as an intermission between the fourth and the fifth book of the series. I immensely enjoy reading the DT books, although it usually takes me ages to finish one. Not because I get bored of them or because they are sometimes tiresome to read (they sometimes are) but because I've made it a habit to read them on vacations and other longer trips, they're a kind of holiday books to me.

    Personally I had some issues with the long flashback-like episode in "Wizard and Glass" but boy did the tension rise towards the end of it. Looking forward to read the fifth book but apparently the edition I "collect" has gone out of print and "The Wolves of the Callah" is pretty difficult to come by. Might have to settle for another edition and be on the lookout for an opportunity to get my hands on it some other time.

  17. #1817
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    I'm currently considering a reread of Dune, mainly spurred on by it being available on Kindle for 1.50 from Amazon, up until December 2nd. Having read it 4 or 5 times in the last 17 years, I've bought it 3 times, but lost every physical copy. Although, that Kindle version has some editing issues with quotation marks, apparently. Still... 1.50... If you haven't read it and have a Kindle, I highly recommend it.
    i have Dune trilogy... three books in one. so big i could fucking kill someone with it :) and i read it only once in sixth/seventh grade.

  18. #1818
    Obscure Node Jigowatt's Avatar
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    I've been on a Stephen King binge for well over a year now. Started with 'The Stand', which was phenomenal - one of my all-time favourite books. After that I read through the Dark Tower books, which I LOVED ('Wizard and Glass' was probably my favourite - I thought the flashback story was excellent). I then read 'It', which is also one of the best books I've ever read - the cast of characters felt like family by the end of it (and I haven't seen the mini series with Tim Curry, so the story was a completely fresh experience). Recently finished 'Needful Things', which I enjoyed. Currently I'm halfway through 'Dreamcatcher', and it's so tense I'm having a hard time putting it down!

    Not sure what to read next. I have 'The Wind Through The Keyhole' and 'Salem's Lot' sitting on my shelf, so possibly either of those. Also intrigued by 'Desperation', so may pick that up soon...

  19. #1819
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    Also in that sale, there's Patrick Rothfuss' "The Name of the Wind". I know a lot of people have issues with it, I like it and I have a lot of issues with it, but for 1.50... well worth it.

    Edit: I think those prices might be UK only.
    Amazon's Kindle sales are one reason I have 1) switched entirely to ebooks and 2) suddenly begun reading a lot again. Yes, they're a heartless (-ish) multinational, yes, they lock me in to one ecosystem (though I don't care), yes, they do push particular books over and over, but my ebook library has ballooned up to about 270 books in less than two years, and there's been some absolutely amazing stuff in there I would never have come across otherwise. Current monthly UK sale is not as good as some recent ones have been, but there's still some winners. Picked up The Name of the Wind, Heart-Shaped Box and Slated (surprisingly good, thoughtful storytelling for a YA series, despite some very poor writing technically speaking), and The Cutting Season and Drive are well worth it (for the love of God, if you still labour under the delusion Drive was a good movie, go start reading James Sallis and see how wrong you are - the two Driver novels are far from his best but they're still far better than Winding Refn could ever hope to film).
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 21-11-2013 at 03:47 PM.

  20. #1820
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I blame Hemmingway for starting a trend for terse prose, which has had an unhealthy influence on creative writing for decades. These days, would-be writers are instructed to torture their prose into the word equivalent of bonsai trees--stunted and regulated. Writing tutors yell tedious non-rules like Show don't tell! Cut all adverbs and adjectives! etc.


    God this is basically Wolf Hall in a nutshell the book I'm currently reading. It is super terse prose I guess it has to be covering the amount of years it does. But it is one of the most confusing books I have had to read I don't really know what is happening and it kind of shows glimpses of interesting things and then doesn't...Its a not very good book but I'm forced to read it since I bought it from a recommendation and I have nothing else to read and no more money...

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