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  1. #2261
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Okay, time to end this chapter of my life, Timothy Zahn - Judas Solution. First two novels are bad. This one is shit. I rarely say things like that, honest. I rarely judge a product with words worse than "garbage". Judas Solution is utter puke and I'm not even half way into the novel. Now I think I know why it wasn't offered on Google Books or elsewhre. It seems first two novels were rewritten at some point into something coherent but then the author just gave up.

    Two things go wrong from the beginning. First thing first, there are like five POV stories with terrible pacing, on different planets even, loosely tied into something that becomes jigsaw puzzle plot at some point I guess. To that end the story is shoehorned to the authors goal by considerably downgrading all characters, especially their competence. In other words, everyone behave like idiots to progress the plot, blind luck progresses the plot, fucking grizzly bear moves the plot once, ridiculous plans work for no reason other than to move the plot, and I remind you that we are talking about uber-human space ninja commandos here, all of them tactician geniouses, lead by the most genious genious tactician.

    So what do super-ninjas do after daringly winning against overwhelming odds twice? Suddenly they lose their superhuman abilities and intelligence. They utterly fail at stealth. Announce their presence to the whole world instead of taking a subtle approach. A fucking bear almost mauls one of them and gets away, thats more than any other enemy character in the novels achieved so far. They completely fail to spot a mole among them. One of the oldest and most experienced men in the group suddenly talks about their trump card among enemies for no reason at all. And the genious leader is almost shot to death while running in a straight line at a cluster of marksmen, only saved by outside help. What went wrong? I though you guys were supposed to be competent and not total muppets?

    But the worst thing is as usual - repetitiveness and inefficiency of opposition. Third novel in a row Security forces are as dumb and pathetic as ever. Author never even tried to make them menacing. They are armed with weapons, completely useless against the protagonists, 100% useless. Their commanding officers are frowning at mouth retards as usual, purposefully so to make a contrast to Perfect Galaway who is supposed to be an "interesting character" but Christ, not third novel in a row, ffs.

    Make it stop.
    Last edited by coldvvvave; 27-08-2014 at 09:16 PM.
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  2. #2262
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeekyFun View Post
    I'm still trying to get through the Wheel of Time. I've nearly finished book 5, and I think I need a break.

    The pacing from the first few books has slowed down over the last few, and it feels there's quite a lot of chapters where very little happens, until everything comes together at the end, and I find myself enjoying it again. I'm really not sure how I feel about the series so far, and am interested in how it concludes, but there's so much to get through.
    I liked Jordan's books a lot more than most people on the internet seem to (other than, uh, committed fans, I guess) but I only made it up to #7 before I started losing my will to live. He was actually a fairly decent writer when he wanted to be, IMO, and the series - what I read of it - definitely had its high points, but Jesus, did he ever need to quit while he was ahead. #8 and #9 felt like they were barely doing anything besides going round in circles. I couldn't face any more.
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  3. #2263
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Dodger by Pterry; for some reason I thought this was a Discworld book. Go figure. It reads rather like one of course, given that Pratchett's style shows in everything he is involved with. I'm only a short ways in and am rather liking it.

    One question for you Brits: does tosher rhyme with squasher or kosher? I immediately read it as the former, but in the book Solomon made me think it was the latter, unless it was a quirk of his character in trying to force a rhyme that I didn't get.
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  4. #2264
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    As in Squasher, what does it even mean?

  5. #2265
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    Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A Handbook for Graphic Artists, Typographers, and Exhibition Designers.

  6. #2266
    Network Hub DeekyFun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    I liked Jordan's books a lot more than most people on the internet seem to (other than, uh, committed fans, I guess) but I only made it up to #7 before I started losing my will to live. He was actually a fairly decent writer when he wanted to be, IMO, and the series - what I read of it - definitely had its high points, but Jesus, did he ever need to quit while he was ahead. #8 and #9 felt like they were barely doing anything besides going round in circles. I couldn't face any more.
    I honestly am not sure, I flit between liking them and feeling exhausted at the thought of reading more. I enjoyed the first book, though I was a bit concerned by just how analogous some elements were to LoTR. I actually preferred reading it to LoTR though, as it was much quicker. The writing does it's job as well, and you get a good picture of the world, built up well as the books move along.

    But sometime around the end of book 3 or start of book 4 - the pace just dropped through the floor. I want to finish the series, but there's a lot more to get through, and if things don't change (your post made it sounds like it doesn't) that doesn't bode well. I guess I'll see!
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  7. #2267
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Oh I had that problem with Wheel of Time it got to the point where he was spending many many chapters of the magic women doing nothing and wondering what to do and then they would do one! chapter on the key invasion of a city and I was like no I'm sorry this really isn't fun anymore. And I also had the same reaction of the first few books where was like well it is very LOTR rip off heavy but it does it in quite a nice quick style that I can get into. Thats one book series I would have no qualms with someone making it into a tv show and editing the shit out of it.

  8. #2268
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    As in Squasher, what does it even mean?
    The "profession" of the protagonist; he mucks about in sewers looking for coins or lost items to sell. It would seem there's a Wiki entry:

    Quote Originally Posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosher
    A tosher is someone who scavenges in the sewers, especially in London during the Victorian era. The word tosher was also used to describe the thieves who stripped valuable copper from the hulls of ships moored along the Thames. The related slang term 'Tosh' referred to valuables thus collected, both are of unknown origin.
    The Medallion of the Imperial Psychopath, a Napoleon: Total War AAR
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  9. #2269
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    I'm sad to say that I didn't really like Echopraxia. It is poorly motivated and wanting for better scenarios, characterization, and plot. Too much of it is an addendum/rejoinder of B-side elements parallel to the main events of Blindsight, and the conclusion essentially undermines the triumph of the Theseus mission (it's not a retcon, but basically the outcome sucks). Whereas Siri's passive observation is a critical element of that story and how it's told, sequel "protagonist" Dan is virtually superfluous and his story lacks meaning. Major elements like thinking tumors and resurrected vampires and rewired religious impulses and alien intelligence have all been presented previously and better by Watts. Fundamentally it's just not the same kind of story, or told in a similar way, or with anything like the original's degree of insight and impact. The info-dumps and thought experiments and discussions of Blindsight are just so much more compelling and better argued and assembled that I found the sequel very disappointing.

    The Rifters trilogy had a similar pattern: strong original book, weak sequel that continues the worldbuilding but concludes interestingly, and a sprawling but satisfying third volume. Maybe, with luck, a 3rd book can win me over again.

  10. #2270
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fumarole View Post
    The "profession" of the protagonist; he mucks about in sewers looking for coins or lost items to sell. It would seem there's a Wiki entry:
    Oh, well it's not really a word anymore. But it would generally be pronounced like tosser or squasher I guess. Sort of like a mudlark then?

    Yeah I don't think that o can vary much across British accents at all. Lots of vowels soften and harden dependent on region/class, but not o so much. It would probably shorten and elongate though. So squasher may be a slightly overly long o, I'd imagine it more like tosser.

    Like this:
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/de...english/tosser
    Last edited by Zephro; 28-08-2014 at 05:40 PM.

  11. #2271
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    Currently reading The Phantom of the Opera. Quite an entertaining tale (and vastly different from the musical), though I find that the protagonists are irritatingly prone to making terrible decisions. This seems to be a theme in a lot of Gothic horror, though, so I don't necessarily hold it against this book in particular.

  12. #2272
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeekyFun View Post
    I honestly am not sure, I flit between liking them and feeling exhausted at the thought of reading more. I enjoyed the first book, though I was a bit concerned by just how analogous some elements were to LoTR. I actually preferred reading it to LoTR though, as it was much quicker. The writing does it's job as well, and you get a good picture of the world, built up well as the books move along.
    He also touched on a lot of more modern-day and/or mundane, human concerns which Tolkien didn't include, and which high fantasy often suffers for glossing over. I don't think I could really say I ever fully believed in any of Tolkien's characters as actual people. Maybe in places in The Two Towers, he gets closest? But they're too obviously and too often metaphors for things first and foremost, not people. They don't have half the flaws, the needs, the wants, the banality of living, breathing human beings.

    Jordan would seize on that sort of thing and bang on about it for entire volumes longer than he needed to - GEE, MEN AND WOMEN SURE ARE FROM, LIKE, DIFFERENT PLANETS OR SOMETHING - but his writing was definitely better for it at times. I loved, loved, loved the Tinkers, and what that plot thread turns into - it was clumsy and too obviously informed by a guy who lived through (served in?) Vietnam - but it felt far more raw, more honest, than Tolkien's oh-the-humanity allegories.

    I loved the Whitecloaks (was that their name?) - even when I was much younger I could still tell they were a little too close to moustache-twirling villains but even pantomime blind religious fundamentalism felt like something Middle Earth sorely needed to acknowledge (Denethor would probably be the closest Tolkien gets, or Saruman, maybe, and even those are far too highfalutin' to be completely effective, IMO).

    Jordan deserves a hell of a lot of the mockery he gets, and I wouldn't blame anyone for calling it quits before the end - I did, after all. I barely read #8 and #9, just skimmed huge chunks of them. But that's not to say there's nothing worth praising in what he did. More so, arguably, than a lot of people seem at all willing to concede.
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  13. #2273
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    Jordan deserves a hell of a lot of the mockery he gets, and I wouldn't blame anyone for calling it quits before the end - I did, after all. I barely read #8 and #9, just skimmed huge chunks of them. But that's not to say there's nothing worth praising in what he did. More so, arguably, than a lot of people seem at all willing to concede.
    When I was in high school, I read books 1-3, then when book 4 came out read 1-4, then when 5 came out read 1-5, then just gave up. It led me to formulate my golden rule of spec-fic reading: never read a series unless it's finished. When AMoL was published, I did go back through them all, but in audiobook format instead of print. It took about a year, but I listened to every volume, and maybe it was because they were audio: I found that I liked the series more and more with each volume. I liked 8, 9, and even the hated #10. And I was very pleasantly surprised by Sanderson's work; it works really well and he completed the series on a high note. I mean, the whole thing is really a trifle, but it's an enjoyable read nonetheless.

    Lately I've read Nick Harkaway's Tigerman, which wasn't as good as Angelmaker (one of my favorite novels of the past few years), but was delightfully madcap and compassionate and British. And I'm near done with Lev Grossman's final Magicians book, which is the best of the three.

    Has anyone read Vandermeer's Southern Reach books? I read Annihilation in one sitting last week and was deliciously creeped out. Best use of an unreliable narrator ever: I felt like not only could I not trust her, but that she couldn't trust her own perceptions.

  14. #2274
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_W View Post
    Lately I've read Nick Harkaway's Tigerman, which wasn't as good as Angelmaker (one of my favorite novels of the past few years), but was delightfully madcap and compassionate and British. And I'm near done with Lev Grossman's final Magicians book, which is the best of the three.
    I will read this at some point, but I'm in very little hurry to. I can't think of many series that I'm similarly both in awe of and absolutely despise at the same time. The ending of #2 comes perilously close to - even strays into - misery-porn and victim blaming, and it's one of the few books I've ever read that made me feel physically sick. At the same time, I could get rid of it from my Kindle library in a couple of clicks, yet I'd never choose to do so.
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  15. #2275
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    I will read this at some point, but I'm in very little hurry to. I can't think of many series that I'm similarly both in awe of and absolutely despise at the same time. The ending of #2 comes perilously close to - even strays into - misery-porn and victim blaming, and it's one of the few books I've ever read that made me feel physically sick. At the same time, I could get rid of it from my Kindle library in a couple of clicks, yet I'd never choose to do so.
    Interesting. Upthread someone was writing about Peter Watts's Rifter trilogy and I was thinking about how the final volume of that one is one of only a couple novels that have ever made me physically sick. It's hard for me to say whether I think Julia's story in The Magician King is actually victim blaming. I felt like what was done well there is that Julia is well characterized and has agency and utilizes her agency to her own ends. She's not at all defined by what was done to her. And yeah, the whole series is sort of misery porn, though the 3rd book is decidedly less so. But I feel also like Grossman, through the narration, is always subtle-ly poking at the ennui of these privileged white middle-class kids. He seems to have a sort of mildy exasperated fondness for his characters. And even though it seems sometimes like all they do is mope around, a lot of stuff happens in his books; they're like sneaky page-turners. I'll admit that I'm hugely enjoying Magician's Land.

  16. #2276
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    I know why he's doing it, yes, I just disagree with how effective it is, I suppose.

    Victim blaming isn't quite the right term. It's very hard for me to articulate how I feel about it. I suppose put very crudely he doesn't make me feel like what happens to her should have happened. Had to happen, perhaps. He seems like he thinks he's gunning for some deeper commentary about how young people so blithely tangle with complex issues in the search for identity without ever really appreciating what they're doing (he's just using eeevil/pagan magick as a metaphor, natch). And 1) I don't think that kind of commentary is anything like as clever and incisive as he seems to believe, and 2) he doesn't fully sell me on the idea that it was always going to go disastrously wrong, or that Julia was genuinely too stupid and self-absorbed to realise it. And I could argue she is defined by what happens, I think. I never really got a coherent sense of her as anything but "Why me and not you?".

    (For some context on 1), I cannot stand hipster romances or slice-of-life movies etc. that present everything anyone ever did between the ages of, say, 17 and 35, as laughably stupid and inconsequential.)

    At the same time I can't deny that it's tremendously well written. I'm jobless and hard up, so I seriously can't just drop the cash on a relatively new book just like that, but I'd certainly like to finish the trilogy. We'll see.

    Never read Peter Watts (or heard of him, really). The brain-eating in Hannibal made me physically ill: I haven't read it in a long time, mind you, so I don't know if it'd still have that effect.
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 29-08-2014 at 08:56 PM.
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  17. #2277
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    I tried to finish Misspent Youth by Peter Hamilton but I just gave up. I've read few times books which did not manage to grab my attention, or were just badly written but this one takes the cake. It is pretty much the worst book I had ever read. I didn't finish it but got halfway and then just read the last chapter and an entry on Wikipedia.

    Even Baldur's Gate was written better and I consider that book to be an abomination.

    Nonsensical plot,awful dialogs, boring characters.... I think that's the worst part. Who is interested in teenagers just being teenagers? Not saving the world, solving crimes or fighting evil wizard. Just teens being fucking teens. Going to party talking about who dates who and just trying to fit in.
    Main character, Jeff is in a way worse. Zero personality no motivations no real back story. Yet the plot supposed to evolve around him.
    And Hamilton is highly critical of EU but that's not an issue with a book but something which just pissed me off.


    Sorry for the rant but I just had to vent my disappointment and anger. After great night's dawn he wrote something so bad it's frankly sad. I understand the reason. Wanting to write something down to earth, more personal and lesser in scope. Unfortunately he touched a subject which is definitely not his forte and brings out weaknesses of his writing style without having his strengths present.

    Yet I am still hyped for his new book which should be coming this year.

  18. #2278
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    Finished Metro 2033. Wow, it was really nice. I've excepted some crap (bestsellers are mostly either very good or very bad), got book with decent plot and very rich, detailed world. I liked the Roadside Picnic esque moments with some strange anomalies.

  19. #2279
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Drew Karpyshyns new book comes out in Europe today so I'm going to pick that up. The first one wasn't bad, despite some of the characters being a bit trope-y (one in particular couldn't be more of a trope) and set up for what could be a good fantasy story. It also covered a good chunk of time so from here on out it looks like it's going to be much more about the current events as opposed to giving a quick telling of how the characters came to be.

    Seriously though, one of the characters is a good looking girl who has scars, grew up on the streets and became a masterful pickpocket who uses daggers as her weapons, is great with them and her name is Scythe. Fucking. Scythe.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  20. #2280
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus somini's Avatar
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    I read Catcher in the Rye and I absolutely loathed everything. Boy, was I sore from all the whining. It just killed me. Boring crap about being a rich teenager, and first-person perspective is grating.
    Boy, was it grating. What about all the repetition? He kept repeating stuff, for no reason. Boy, that made me sore.

    I can't see how this wasn't adapted into a film. The hipster crowd would love it, and it would make a lot of dough. Millions of dollars. I really don't like the pictures a lot.
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