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  1. #2001
    Network Hub Stense's Avatar
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    Big Dune fan here. I found the two follow up books to be pretty dissatisfying. The writing team of Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson did a pretty poor job of continuing the story. They did six prequel books before doing "Dune 7 parts 1 and 2", not to spoil anything, but they do seem to assume that you read them too. For so many books they wrote together, the plot is thin, about half of each book is just recapping stuff that happened to the bland one dimensional characters in the previous chapter. I think it's very telling that they did in 2 books (I'm being generous in not including the prequels) what Frank Herbert planned to do in 1. Unless you really really really need to know how the series ends, I'd stay clear of the follow ups.
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  2. #2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stense View Post
    Big Dune fan here. I found the two follow up books to be pretty dissatisfying. The writing team of Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson did a pretty poor job of continuing the story. They did six prequel books before doing "Dune 7 parts 1 and 2", not to spoil anything, but they do seem to assume that you read them too. For so many books they wrote together, the plot is thin, about half of each book is just recapping stuff that happened to the bland one dimensional characters in the previous chapter. I think it's very telling that they did in 2 books (I'm being generous in not including the prequels) what Frank Herbert planned to do in 1. Unless you really really really need to know how the series ends, I'd stay clear of the follow ups.
    yeh. I've only read one short novel by them, but it was so unimpressive that I've stayed away from the rest; don't want the feel of the Dune universe ruined for me.

  3. #2003
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    God damn, Den Patrick's The Boy With The Porcelain Blade is unexpectedly awesome. Wonderful Italianate medieval fantasy with court intrigue, backstabbing, dark magic and genuinely disturbing genetic mutations. The writing wavers a little, here and there - the guy's not quite a poet - but he can come up with a nice turn of phrase, and it's been a pleasure to read so far. Fantastic character development, some real thought over how his gimmicks would affect the world his characters live in (particularly the way people with mutations are treated, and how, despite the fact they're people, they're still living with horrific handicaps) and a cracking adventure cutting back and forth between past and present timelines (to show how things ended up going so horribly wrong in the here and now). The fact it's the first in a planned trilogy is about the biggest black mark I can give it. (Though it is a little frustrating he's gone to all this trouble with his world-building and then called his hub city "Demesne". THAT IS A FANCY WORD FOR "KINGDOM" AND IT MAKES YOU SOUND A BIT STUPID, SIR. Other than that, though, it's gold.)
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  4. #2004
    Finished up Lord of Light, aka Hinduism IN SPACE. Awesome stuff, and apparently a huge influence on Gaiman and GRRM. Will definitely be picking up the rest of Zelazny's work.

    Edit: I think the first lines sell it better than I ever could:

    "His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit."
    Last edited by wrestledwithgod; 25-03-2014 at 04:58 PM.

  5. #2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrestledwithgod View Post
    Finished up Lord of Light, aka Hinduism IN SPACE. Awesome stuff, and apparently a huge influence on Gaiman and GRRM. Will definitely be picking up the rest of Zelazny's work.
    Cannot recommend this one enough - I still have a battered old 70s paperback of it that I'm not getting rid of (yet) because AFAIK it's not available on Kindle. Works brilliantly as a kickass space adventure with weird shizz on every other page, and as a beautiful, thought-provoking, often very funny piece of philosophical musing. An unsung classic that would absolutely kill if you filmed it in the right way - never mind Jodorowsky's Dune, give the right director enough money and accept the movie would flop and you'd have the greatest cult film of all time.
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  6. #2006
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    Reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I only read the introduction, but it seems interesting enough. Reading it in the original Spanish, so I have to check a dictionary every few pages, but I think it will go along well.

    I've heard of Lord of Light, maybe I'll put it in the queue for reading next if I can find a copy around.
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  7. #2007
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Finished The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron. I liked it, but not as much as the first book. The first book was VERY focused (it was all set over the course of a few months during a siege) whereas this one is spread out across four or five different plots, each in a different and largely unconnected areas. The Queen, Thorn, The Black Knight, and Bill (yeah...) are all clearly setting up the third book and the overall plot of the series, but it would have been nice for more to have happened with them. All of those arcs kind of just fizzle out and have a "To Be Continued" pasted on top.

    That being said, the Red Knight himself aka The Captain aka Ser Gabriel Murien aka The Duke, is still a very interesting story. Essentially, he finds himself in charge of the capital of the Empire during yet another siege (sort of) and he once more applies his tactical mind and his magic abilities to save the day. And it is fun. Plus, Cameron is making him more "human", so there is a lot of fun interaction between him and his close friends in The Company (the ongoing jokes about what they are supposed to call him are particularly fun). And I love the fact that, even though he is the protagonist and a viewpoint character, many of the big revelations and character development aspects come from OTHER characters. Things like finding out his true motivations and just what is going on inside. It is an interesting approach that I would usually not like, but it works in this case.
    A new character, a warrior priest (Father Armaund?) is a particular joy. He starts off being a bit too stodgy, but he fits in perfectly with The Company and works well as providing the perspective of "a good man confronted with necessary evils". Similarly, his unique position of being outside of the command structure allows for him to actually call out The Red Knight on his bullshit in a fairly public fashion, which is nice. In the first book, Sister Amicia (and sort of Mag and Hermodius) would do the same, but generally in private. Whereas Father Armaund comes dangerously close to outright undermining his authority, but in all the right ways.

    That being said, I also feel that Cameron dropped the ball a bit on some aspects. A good example is the Princess whose actions and motivations seem drastically at odds with her POV chapters. She is constantly depicted as an evil and conniving shrew, but her actual POV chapters just make her seem like an incompetent. With The Red Knight, the reveals actually fit how the character was depicted (and makes a lot of off-hand remarks make sense). With The Princess, it just doesn't mesh. But that may be setting things up for book three.

    Unfortunately though, the book kind of just ends. There is not much closure and a lot of plot threads are still left hanging. One can sort of argue that The Red Knight arc is brought to a decent close, but even that just feels like a case of Cameron saying "Yeah, we are done here" rather than actually tying off the threads that would get him ready for the next book.

    And I still love how Cameron handles the darker aspects of war and the era. Yes, there is rape, but it is handled carefully. It is mostly used "offscreen" to show how evil certain factions are, and the one "onscreen" occurrence focuses on the evil and doesn't feel exploitative. And it isn't purely reserved for the "evil" characters as The Red Knight has a wonderful line of (paraphrasing) "And our most excellent friend, Wilful Murder, just wants a bit of rape". Admittedly, that is said in the context of The Red Knight and Ser Michael protecting the women but it also does a good job of establishing that there is a reason it is called "raping and pillaging" and Wilful Murder doesn't really come across as "evil" so much (even though his name is "Wilful Muder"...) as just a product of his time and profession. It is less that The Company are all virtuous and heroic beings so much as the main characters hold themselves to a higher standard.


    Speaking of books that handle darker themes of war in a more respectful and careful manner, a question for anyone who is still reading: I read The Prince of Thorns a year or so ago and loved the universe but hated the protagonist and most of the characters and I wasn't huge on how it handled dark themes (it gets a bad rap for being called "The Rape Book", but it definitely felt like the author was just hitting checkboxes to call it "dark and gritty"). How are the later books in the series? Are they still unnecessarily "dark and gritty" or does the focus shift more toward the universe and plot rather than cashing in on Martin's success?
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  8. #2008
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burningpet View Post
    Just finished wasp by Eric F. Russel
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasp_(novel)

    Named for a situation where a wasp find itself inside a car causing the driver to lose control and crash the car, wasps are lone wolves in enemy planets who's sole purpose is to cause the local government lots of headache and wasted resources.

    The book is pretty humoristic, even when dealing with terrorists and totalitarian regimes. even though it set in the future, you wont find any brilliant technological ideas in the book, but its humor and good flow made it a book ill recommend any time.
    I read that recently. It's really good, very satirical. It also seems oddly prescient of the early 21st century, in terms of where the line of good/evil lies rather than the actions the wasp performs.

  9. #2009
    Network Hub DeekyFun's Avatar
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    Years late to the party, but I just started reading the first wheel of time book. I'm about twenty chapters or so in, and finding it interesting so far. Very similar notes to the lord of the rings so far, but I'm hoping that it branches away from that soon.
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  10. #2010
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Ah yes Wheel Of Time one of those books that had interesting ideas but frustrated a lot by focusing on different things other then those ideas. I should probably try and get back to it and read it since its finished now.

  11. #2011
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  12. #2012
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    I'm not reading it, but am instead listening to the audio book of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie that was part of a Humble Bundle a ways back. I've only just begun, but am liking it so far and am quite eager to see what all the hubbub caused by this book back in the late '80s was about.
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  13. #2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Finished The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron.
    Still making my way through it, though I think I'm roughly on the same page - figuratively speaking - as you. He's still a much better writer than G.R.R.M. for my money, but I prefer the first book at this point. The biggest black mark against it for me is the amount of time Cameron spends with the not-French court and their pet psychopath on the loose in not-England - I really have a hard time with characters who practically have a neon sign up announcing the only logical response to their behaviour is to kill them on sight. Cameron handles it better than some - these sections are still pretty well written - but when a fictional entity is this far beyond the pale I think you need a "good" character/a reader surrogate to balance things out and/or some absolutely stunning literary skill, and I don't believe Cameron quite manages either as well as I was hoping for.

    A much better example would be, say, the misogynist, patriarchal warrior dudes from Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song For Arbonne, where the whole raping and pillaging and burning at the stake approach is clearly designed to push the modern liberal reader's buttons, but at the same time there's enough attention given to how these people think, how their society functions and how it can still spawn "good" (if flawed) characters that I never felt entirely alienated. It wasn't first and foremost a narrative convenience, which is what not-France in Cameron's world kinda feels like every now and again (like, how in God's name can you have pitched battles between armies of magical monsters, sorcerors flinging magical energy around etc., etc. and yet have a country practically right next door where no-one in a position of power is prepared to even credit these things actually happened?).
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  14. #2014
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Was reading when the stars fade​. Got annoyed last night by the obnoxiously "fun" pilots last night and the completely moronic position that nobody understands the ftl drive that humanity fucking developed. But the premise is interesting and I got a freespace vibe to the space dogfighting. Then the author introduced the antagonist :Jonah blightman... So I am done with that book and annoyed enough to write this rant with my tablet. Time to browse goodreads for a new book.

    Bah, not even worth the two bucks
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  15. #2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fumarole View Post
    I'm not reading it, but am instead listening to the audio book of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie that was part of a Humble Bundle a ways back. I've only just begun, but am liking it so far and am quite eager to see what all the hubbub caused by this book back in the late '80s was about.
    I liked it a lot, though it does drag on a bit in the middle and second half. My mother bounced hard on it, she thought the language was too dense, but that was exactly what I liked about it. Maybe listening to it will amend some of the readability problems. Or exacerbate them.

  16. #2016
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    Finally finished reading The Hobbit last week. It's... ok. Certainly nothing I need to read again anytime soon, though.
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  17. #2017
    Does anyone know of any non-fiction books about mining at the turn of the century? Specifically diaries of Cornish miners and their myths, such as Knockers (or Tommyknockers)? I'm interested in reading about what miners had to endure down there in the darkness.

    My interest in this subject began after reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett two years ago, a story of the first world war which begins down in t'pits of a small town in Wales. My interest has recently peaked again after playing Ether One.

    On current reading material I'm reading two books, which is unusual for me - I normally stick with one book at once, Jackdaws by Ken Follett (I do enjoy Follett's books, I now have all of them), this one is about a group of English resistance fighters in France during the second world war...all of them women. I'm also reading Andy McDermott's latest The Valhalla Prophecy.

    If you've not had the pleasure of Andy yet you should start with The Hunt for Atlantis. He's written nine books in the Eddie Chase/Nina Wilde series and they're all fantastic...well, apart from Empire of Gold which was pants. Take Indianan Jones, transplant him to modern day, change his sex but don't turn her into Lara. Give her a bodyguard in the guise of an ex-SAS tough guy with receding hair and stir in treasure hunting, conspiracies, death, murder and booby-traps...oh and plenty of bloody violence and strong language (Eddie's favourite line is "buggeration and fuckery"!) and that's an Andy McDermott novel.

    Anyway if all that sounds tempting give 'em a whirl - they're pedal to the metal and easy reading (probably too easy TBH, very simple like a Dan Brown).
    Last edited by soopytwist; 06-04-2014 at 11:25 PM.

  18. #2018
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by postinternetsyndrome View Post
    I liked it a lot, though it does drag on a bit in the middle and second half. My mother bounced hard on it, she thought the language was too dense, but that was exactly what I liked about it. Maybe listening to it will amend some of the readability problems. Or exacerbate them.
    I find listening to it pretty enjoyable. The narrator has an Indian accent, which is neat. The only part I find a bit hard to follow sometimes is the Indian names, which are pronounced as an Indian would pronounce them, and quite quickly too.
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  19. #2019
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    So i just finished reading Metro 2033 and what a powerful experience! Pulling you in, fast and slow, burning in your mind a horrible vision that wisely reflects all the main philosophies of the mankind... and when you think that you know how it ends it turns everything upside down with a powerful beautifully crafted twist.

    Now i'm off to videogame :3

  20. #2020
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    Still reading The World Turned Upside Down - Christopher Hill it's a fascinating read regarding the various trends of intellectual and radical thought throughout the English Revolution of the 17th Century. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in history. People like the Levellers were espousing things remarkably similar to communism and universal democracy back in the 1640s.

    EDIT: Also Complete Case Files of Judge Dredd Volume 5 APOCALYPSE WAR!

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