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  1. #2181
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    The Witcher book?
    I really liked that one. It's more about taking a generic fantasy setting and putting it upside down. It plays with the tropes and mixes it with it more serious setting. It does some excellent stuff.

  2. #2182
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    Yep, the witcher one.
    Ok, maybe I'll give it a go. It seemed generic, but not. But I couldn't work out if the non-generic bits were intentional, or just due to slightly weird phrasing.

  3. #2183
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    If The Last Wish doesn't grab you I wouldn't bother with any of the rest of the books. It's still my favourite thing Sapkowski's done with the character. Generic? Only insofar as it's medieval fantasy, I'd say, but then even the most clichéd tropes don't bother me if they're done well.

    Sapkowski has publicly said he's not fond of the English translation for the first two books, though, IIRC (The Last Wish and Blood of Elves) - I've only read those (books #0 and #1) in any kind of official version, so I don't know if they went with a new translator for Time of Contempt onwards. Just saying, if you thought it seemed off you're not alone.
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  4. #2184
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    Well, I only read the opening preview, which is like 15 pages. But:

    A gruff voiced stranger walks into a tavern, wanting to be left alone, but 3 local grumpy thugs decide to pick a fight with him, at which point he reveals his skill and defeats them all easily. Then the guards arrive.

    If that isn't the most generic opening to a fantasy novel/action/jean claude van damme movie then I don't know what is.. ;-)

    I'm gonna grab the book though, it's cheap enough to use it as a demo for the rest of the books.

  5. #2185
    Well I WANT to be reading the Stormlight Archives: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, but of course school gets in the way and I have to read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I can't stand it. It's like the whole book is that last page of a book you actually like where the whole true meaning and life lesson is revealed. It's like that. On every. Page. It's unbearable.

  6. #2186
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    the truth by Pterry.

    i read it once before but yesterday I made a mistake and opened the book again. Even worse it opened on the page where a barbarian tries to make a complaint. I remembered how much I enjoyed it and hence, I'm reading it again.

  7. #2187
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    I'm currently on The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, which I picked up when the bookshop near my office had a whole section of apocalyptic fiction set up. It seems pretty good so far, although some of the dialogue comes across as a little dated (it was written in 1957). I particularly like that Hoyle included the calculations his characters perform to work out whether the cloud is heading straight for earth, its mass, velocity etc.

    The book I just finished was Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. As with all Harkaway's novels, it comes highly recommended but my favourite of his remains The Gone-Away World, which was stunning.

  8. #2188
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Read Hell to Pay in The Nightside series. Definitely feels like post-Lucifer Supernatural in the sense of "So... the author has no idea what to do anymore?", but was a fun read. Was nice to go back to a proper detective story rather than a "save the multiverse" one.

    Also read Cibola Burn by James S A Corey, which starts the second (of at least three) trilogies of Expanse novels. All in all, this one also felt rather weak, but it seems it is very much about setting the stage for the next few books. The events in the book were fairly minor and shaggy-dog-esque (at least, compared to the previous books), but it involved characters I have grown to love so I am cool with it. Martin: Pay attention to your assistant, THIS is how you do stage-setting filler. That being said: I can't help but think Amos is getting to "Chuck Norris joke" levels of audacity, but he is still fun. Especially after his novella which gave his origin story.

    Currently readying Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan. Blood Song was one of my favorite novels of the past year, so very high hopes for this. So far, I don't think it is anywhere near as good, but I am still captivated. Gone is the very tight narrative with a single POV character (who is an unreliable narrator at that) and instead we have four (and a half). Vaelin is back, and so are two other fairly major characters. We get introduced to a new one very quickly (who serves the role of "coming of age" story with a ridiculously bloody and violent twist), and so far I like said character a lot. I also really enjoy one of the returning characters due to the VERY different kind of story. Not really a fan of the last (which is a shame, since that was one of my favorite characters in Blood Song) but that character is basically all about action and exposition this time. Which makes sense since one of the POV characters is a non-combatant, the other is a rookie (compared to a Sixth Order Brother), and Vaelin is currently attempting to not draw his sword (fat chance that continues...). So Ryan needs to put the action somewhere, and it serves to make the entire thing "gritty".

    Vaelin's arc continues to be the most interesting, but I also understand why Ryan needed to add the other characters. Based on the events of the previous book, it makes no sense for Vaelin to be at the center of all the events (well, he is, but he isn't as aware this time), and the other POV characters fill the gap.

    All in all, it very much feels like this is all about setting up book 3 (or even 4), but I also find myself wanting to keep reading to see what happens next. And even the POV character I don't particularly like (anymore) is quite interesting and I very much look forward to the inevitable conflict with Vaelin. It is still a great read, but it just doesn't have the same pinpoint focus of the previous book.
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  9. #2189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maritz View Post
    I'm currently on The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, which I picked up when the bookshop near my office had a whole section of apocalyptic fiction set up. It seems pretty good so far, although some of the dialogue comes across as a little dated (it was written in 1957). I particularly like that Hoyle included the calculations his characters perform to work out whether the cloud is heading straight for earth, its mass, velocity etc.
    I think my dad's still got his original copy of that one. Lovely bit of old-school, very British hard SF. Wonderful little "Oh, shit​, I get it now" ending, too.
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  10. #2190
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    Just finished it today. A good read. Spoilers: I do enjoy books that highlight how insignificant humankind is in the context of the whole universe. Presumably the other clouds were exploding for the same reason Weichart and Kingsley died - they just couldn't handle the information they had acquired - the answers to the "Deep Problems" - from the next level of intelligence up the hierarchy? I'm also sure more modern authors, or perhaps those with a less scientific background, would have rambled on for pages about the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, but Hoyle deals with it in one sentence, as if it was a side note!.

    Quite an interesting short afterword by Richard Dawkins in the edition I have where he explains that this book was the inspiration for much of his scientific work.

    Next book - The Crossing​ by Cormac McCarthy.
    Last edited by Maritz; 07-07-2014 at 04:09 PM.

  11. #2191
    The unbearable lightness of being. Kinda cliche one. But old Kundera recently had his new book--la fete d'insignifiance!But i havent found the english version yet. Can only wait for it://

  12. #2192
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith

    Concise is right; this book is more like a pamphlet at only 144 pages and it gets right to the point. I'm mostly done reading it, and find it lays out the case for why people are religious in a pretty good fashion. It mainly focuses on the evolutionary pressures on our ancestors, but with ample analogs to today's world and the insight we've gained into the working of the human brain. I'd recommend it if you're at all interested in the subject. It won't take very long to read - I'd say a day or two at most if you dedicate yourself to it (it really is quite small, the book is sized 4.5 x 6.7 inches).

    Apparently the author gave a lecture about this as well (available on YouTube), I'll be checking that out after I finish the book.
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  13. #2193
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    What are some good Warhammer 40k books?
    And if I want to know more about the lore and background of the universe, I have to grab the Codices, right?

  14. #2194
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    What are some good Warhammer 40k books?
    And if I want to know more about the lore and background of the universe, I have to grab the Codices, right?
    The Eisenhorn books are quite good. The codices are not required, the novels provide plenty of fluff.
    The Medallion of the Imperial Psychopath, a Napoleon: Total War AAR
    For the Emperor!, a Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai AAR

  15. #2195
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    What are some good Warhammer 40k books?
    And if I want to know more about the lore and background of the universe, I have to grab the Codices, right?
    In a nutshell, anything by Dan Abnett is worth reading.

    His Inquisitor books (Eisenhorn trilogy, Ravenor trilogy, and the ongoing Bequin/"Eisenhorn VS Ravenor" trilogy) are great reads that strike a good balance between "grimdark" and "really fun noir-esque detective story". All three seem to follow the same general arc: A mostly happy first book, a second book where the protagonist crosses the line, and then a third book that is ridiculously dark yet satisfying and awesome.

    His "Gaunt's Ghosts" series is also quite good and is probably my favorite 40k series period. It tells the story of The Tanith First and Only, a regiment of Imperial Guardsmen that were forced to abandon their homeworld on the night of their founding. Thus making the men and women of that unit the only survivors of a lost world. And Abnett does a great job of making you feel for them. The first trilogy is very much about setting the stage for who they are (very "Band of Brothers" esque in that you get to know a good many of them as individuals) before giving them the chance at the Last Stand they had taken away from them... and it is a wonderful and heartwrenching moment. The rest of the novels then explore different facets of The Ghosts, with each trilogy largely corresponding to the set up of a major battle.
    Also, it is the "anyone can die" series to end all "anyone can die" serieses. If you think Martin is a horrible monster, wait until Abnett gets his hooks in you. But it works a lot better in the context since the deaths aren't doled out like clockwork and a soldier "dying a senseless death" is much more believable. Of the original cast, I think there are only three or four major characters who are still around.

    Also, Double Eagle (which is technically a spinoff of the Ghost series) is basically The Battle of Britain with VTOLs, and is quite a fun standalone novel.

    Getting away from Abnett, Ben Counter tends to also write some fun novels. He is more generic, but he tends to explore interesting facets of the universe. His Soul Drinkers series basically follows a Space Marines Chapter that is rapidly falling to Chaos.

    And the Ciaphis Cain novels are just fun reads, period. Imagine a 40k series that doesn't mind poking fun at the ridiculously grimdark world (and making LOTS of jabs at Abnett's series) while still providing for some VERY fun adventures. That is Ciaphis Cain: He is an Imperial Guard Commissar who basically took the gig as a way to not serve on the front lines and does everything in his power to avoid combat (while saving his own skin). A good example of a traditional Cain story is: To avoid having to fight in a war against the Orkz, Cain decides to volunteer to ride along with some Space Marines as a good will ambassador. He then somehow manages to get forced to fight alongside the entire Company as they explore a space hulk, which inevitably leads to an encounter with Necron (who, at this point in the timeline, are still completely unknown and are just ridiculously terrifying).

    The last major 40k series worth considering is the ongoing Horus Heresy novels which serve to tell "the real story" of The Emperor and Horus. Honestly, they are VERY hit or miss, but I find I enjoy them more for the insight into the lore. But if you don't know what the C'Tan are or wonder why Horus rebelled, they probably aren't worth reading. Although, I am a few years behind (I think the last novel I read was the start of the Prospero mini-arc).
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  16. #2196
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    I've started Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, because I couldn't find a copy of The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross. So far it's quite good! It's very much the sort of sci-fi that isn't interested in explaining shit, even if it's not quite as otherworldly feeling as say, being written by Hannu Rajaniemi. I don't really know what the plot is yet (save that it involves someone trying to find out more about a group of aliens that died when their sun flared on their face) but it's carrying me along nicely.

  17. #2197
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    What are some good Warhammer 40k books?
    And if I want to know more about the lore and background of the universe, I have to grab the Codices, right?
    The Dan Abnett ones are obnoxious hack work, all the Gaunt novels are just Sharpe in space, but without any of Bernard Cornwell's style to relieve it from being hackneyed.

    The only good ones are the Ian Watson ones; though this is mostly frowned upon by modern 40K players as it is rooted in the older weirder stuff.

  18. #2198
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Almost been a month being stuck in Hong Kong, hope the job being finished sooner so that I can leave this stupid city. But the upside is, there are many great bookstores there. Last Friday I got this book, Borrowed Place, Borrowed Time: Hong Kong and its Many Faces, reprint of an antique 1972 book by Richard Hughes. It's very cheap, just HKD20 (USD3 to 4 I think). It told you sketch of the Hong Kong society at the time. That's the time when Hong Kong started to take off as one of the legendary "Four Little Dragons of Asia" (the other three are Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, all non-Japanese economies which came to take the lead in the world economy).

    Kongeses start to find the old colonial days memorable, maybe that's why they pick up this old title for reprint.

  19. #2199
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    So, I finished Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds. I enjoyed it a whole bunch! It set out the vast, cold emptiness of space and the intrinsically alien nature of some of its occupants really well. Even the humans were so far removed from us by centuries of technology and cultural drift that they seemed alien themselves. Everything felt on the verge of falling apart in a very pleasing way, with nano-plagues, alien intellects, and schemes within schemes all working around each other, but not in a way that I struggled to tell what was going on.

    Now I'm onto The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi.

    Which will have all of those things, but I absolutely will struggle to tell what was going on. Alastair Reynolds feels a lot like Hannu, but with the tutorial on. I don't mean that as a criticism of either author, simply as a difference. If your brain isn't on, the first 2 books of the Jean Le Flambeur trilogy will absolutely leave you behind in a way that Revelation Space was more gentle. It took me a few goes even to read the first chapter. But once it clicked for me, it was most satisfying.

  20. #2200
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Finished Tower Lord. Good news: the "third book it was setting up for" was the second half of the book. So still felt less focused than Blood Song, but I liked it a lot and am VERY much looking forward to the next book in the series.

    As with Blood Song, it is a fairly generic story with a lot of nifty twists. I do feel that the author changed his mind on how to handle Vaelin's "pseudo-pacifism", but it still worked out. We had "Wandering samurai who refuses to unsheathe his blade" for the first half and "William Munny" for the second. Similarly, the big theme of this book (and the first) is good-ish people being turned into monsters for causes that may or may not be good. A very big theme is "the monster who protects us from the other monsters"


    Started up Robbins's The Empty Quarter and stopped after probably ten pages. The premise is great: Para Jumpers (military special forces who drop into ridiculously dangerous situations to provide medical attention to wounded people) are basically forced to try to secure a Saudi princess from the forces of her evil husband and her evil father (yeah, it is one of those...). But the writing was just so ridiculously shitty. Three entire pages were JUST "X said A. Y said B. X said C" with nothing else. And this was while they were rescuing some british soldiers. Not even a bit of flavor text to describe the person they are giving medical attention.

    Fortunately, by this point my plane started to board and it was only a 20 minute ride, so I didn't have to find a different book to start.
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