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  1. #361
    Just finished The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow, which was excellent. That Mr. Bellow sure knows how to put a sentence together.

    Up next: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell and Cryptonomicon.

  2. #362
    The Stars My Destinations by Alfred Bester.

    It's so good, I'm appalled I took so much time before picking up this book. I expected it to be enjoyable and somewhat thought-provoking, but I'm so used to gushing blurbs and afraid of hype aversion I didn't realise how much the praise it got was actually warranted.

    It's absolutely fantastic so far. It's a complete punch to the gut, with a Cyberpunk-before-Cyberpunk setting, a wonderfully uncompromising depiction of its protagonist and his actions (and to think it was written in the fifties...), and more importantly, the feeling that anything can happen, with dozen of fascinating ideas introduced with economy and panache every damn chapters, without ever stopping the action with pages of turgid infodump. Packing so much plot, character development and ideas in such a slim novel is staggering. And it feels unfair to a lot of novels because it makes it look so easy.

    I'm seriously, utterly impressed. I don't think there's going to be a science fiction book I'm going to enjoy as much before a long time.

  3. #363
    Lesser Hivemind Node westyfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Anonymous Source View Post
    The Stars My Destinations by Alfred Bester.
    That one's been mentioned a few times in this thread, each time by people who loved it. I read it after it got the Rossignol Seal of Approval and was amazed - I read a lot of sci-fi and it's easily the best SF book I've ever read.

    If anyone's out there who hasn't read The Stars My Destination, read it!

  4. #364
    Vector Jams O'Donnell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westyfield View Post
    If anyone's out there who hasn't read The Stars My Destination, read it!
    I have often thought about reading it. You folks are making me want to finally get around to it.

  5. #365
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Tales of the Long Bow by G.K. Chesterton. A pun-fueled account of improbable political activism and very-lengthily-described characters with a talent for falling in love almost instantaneously. Also contains a philosophical and aesthetic consideration of cabbages, among other topics.

  6. #366
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ravelle's Avatar
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    Star Wars The Old Republic :Revan.

    Thought it was a prequel to the Knights of the old republic, found out later it takes place after KOTOR2, not sure if I should continue reading or play the first game first.

  7. #367
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R-F View Post
    Any advice on what fantasy books to read, gents?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avram_Davidson

    If you can't find any, try ABE. I've read and enjoyed "Adventures in Unhistory", which was published relatively recently. If you can get your hands on any of the Engelbert Eszterhazy stuff, I haven't read most of it but "The Odd Old Bird" is great.

    EDIT: Sorry, should attempt a brief description. Fantasy / sci-fi / pick your genre author from way back when magazines were the dominant publishing method. Nice alternate history stories, along with some stuff that turns my brain upside down. Great, wacky sense of humour.
    Last edited by Pertusaria; 29-11-2011 at 09:34 PM. Reason: more info

  8. #368
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krans View Post
    Of course! I recommend The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon.
    I'm still not sure how I feel about the original series - it's so close to the D&D model of character development, although I know it was done deliberately. I did enjoy The Legend of Gird, and I'm enjoying the follow-on series so far, although there were one or two gaps in the plot of the second book that I found jarring.

    Do you like her sci-fi? I like how she's willing to look at the repercussions possible from a "fountain of youth" drug.

  9. #369
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD! View Post
    Yeah, I enjoyed TTSS, but I'm a little confused by the praise it gets. It's a good book, but I don't think it has the depth to justify its pacing. Le Carre's other classic, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, is a lot snappier.
    I realised after watching the film that I barely remember the book, having replaced all my memories of it with scenes from the excellent BBC serial starring Alec Guinness. (I recommend this, certainly far quicker than I would the film.) Maybe a lot of people who praise the book have done the same?

    I found The Spy Who Came In From the Cold too bleak, but I was probably about 13 last time I tried to read it, so it may be time to try again.

  10. #370
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    I'm semi-half-not-quite reading Night Watch by Sir Pratchett. It's doing absolutely nothing for me.
    I'm sad for you - I liked Night Watch. Assuming you're not just starting on Discworld (in which case I'd suggest Guards! Guards! or Wyrd Sisters), maybe you should try skipping ahead to Thud? It doesn't spoil anything in Night Watch aside from who survives, which you've probably figured out already.

  11. #371
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexing Vision View Post
    I seriously need some recommendation for really good fantasy books.
    Not exactly fantasy (sorry!) but try Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, starting with Quicksilver. It's as complicated as Robin Hobb, although not as many books. I really enjoyed them.

    I'd cautiously recommend Naomi Novik, but I haven't read much of hers.

  12. #372
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexing Vision View Post
    I would love to read Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness again - my very first fantasy book as a kid -, but I can't find it anywhere near. I just remember really awesome characters and dialogues!
    I love that series! Still go back to it from time to time. I think her writing style got better later, but not her plots - the others aren't bad, but Alanna is the first and best. I like Protector of the Small, which is about another trainee female knight.

    Try http://www.abebooks.de (if you're in Germany as your location suggests). Some of the results of a "Tamora Pierce" search appear to be English-language copies.

  13. #373
    Lesser Hivemind Node westyfield's Avatar
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    Hint: the 'multiquote' button is your friend. Just click the one next to the 'reply with quote' button (it looks like a speech bubble next to a plus sign) on every post you want to quote, except the last, for which you hit 'reply with quote' as normal. Then you just add what you want to say in the gaps and hit go like a normal post.

    Hope this helps,
    Westy.

  14. #374
    Quote Originally Posted by An Anonymous Source View Post
    (and to think it was written in the fifties...)
    I'm a little puzzled by this statement. I hope you don't have the impression that the majority of literature in the 50's was all conservative, repressed, Happy Days shit or something when in actuality that is far from the case. I mean off the top of my head, you've got stuff like The Killer Inside Me, Lolita, The Recognitions, Wise Blood and even the last book I read, The Adventures of Augie March.

    That said, the book sounds very interesting. I don't read much sci-fi at all but I'm adding this to my to-read list which means I should get to it sometime in 2018.

    Actually it sounds so good I'm bumping it right up there.

  15. #375
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel Dust View Post
    I'm a little puzzled by this statement. I hope you don't have the impression that the majority of literature in the 50's was all conservative, repressed, Happy Days shit or something when in actuality that is far from the case.
    I don't know what he was referring to with the 50s comment, but old sci-fi can age badly with silly ideas about "the future" that are now in our past. The Stars My Destination largely avoids this, aside from a couple of obvious points like the archaic computers you can barely tell it was written in the 50s.

    It also heavily influenced cyberpunk, which didn't appear as a distinct genre until 30 years later, which perhaps makes the novel seem further ahead of its time when read today.

    The Demolished Man by the same author is also an excellent read.

    Right now I'm finishing up Robin Hobb's Soldier Son trilogy. I started rereading the first book while I was waiting for an Amazon order to arrive and couldn't put it down. I don't often feel like reading a big thick fantasy novel nowadays, but it's definitely my favourite trilogy from one of the best modern fantasy writers.

  16. #376
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pertusaria View Post
    I'm sad for you - I liked Night Watch. Assuming you're not just starting on Discworld (in which case I'd suggest Guards! Guards! or Wyrd Sisters), maybe you should try skipping ahead to Thud? It doesn't spoil anything in Night Watch aside from who survives, which you've probably figured out already.
    I finished both Night Watch and Thud! - I was disappointed with both. I think I only really liked the early City Watch novels.


  17. #377
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Similar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    I finished both Night Watch and Thud! - I was disappointed with both. I think I only really liked the early City Watch novels.
    That's a shame. Night Watch was the first Discworld novel I read and still my favourite (I think I've read it about fifteen times since I got it in 2007).

    I'm rereading Stephenson's "Anathem". Rather slowly because it's a bit too heavy to read in bed, but it is excellent.

  18. #378
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westyfield View Post
    Hope this helps,
    Westy.
    Thanks - apologies for all the posts, I was reading backwards through the recent history of the thread, and running across a greater number of interesting things than I'd probably expected.

  19. #379
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ian's Avatar
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    I'll persevere because I'm loathe to give up on any book, but Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is seriously slow going.
    A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling.

  20. #380
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    I should be reading John Courtenay Grimwood's 9Tail Fox and Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music, and re-reading Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon - I declared this year's holiday season, with no particular provocation, the season of the sci-fi noir - but UPS lost my order. Fucking holiday shipping season.

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