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  1. #261
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColOfNature View Post
    If you like Holt, Pretchett et al you should also try Robert Rankin.
    Sound advice to anyone else who likes those authors and hasn't yet sampled the delights of Rankin's far fetched fiction.

    Only reason I didn't mention him in that sentence was that I (wrongly) assumed people wouldn't be aware of him.

    The Greatest Show Off Earth and Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse are probably my two particular favourites and he's one of the few authors of which I've bought almost all of their books. I really want to throw the phrase "transperambulation of pseudo cosmic antimatter" into a talk/paper/viva but I don't have the balls!

    Oh and Dance of the Vodoo Handbag as well. Got to love Laz and his four locations.
    Last edited by Lambchops; 17-09-2011 at 12:28 AM. Reason: Remembering how much I loved Dance of the Vodoo Handbag

  2. #262
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    I usually advise people to start with the Brentford trilogy. It's a tradition. Or an old charter.


  3. #263
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I always thought that Ian M Banks should have just chucked away the whole on Sursamen plot and focused on the holographic Oct ship thing, that could have been an interesting mystery but they kind of forget it like most of the plots.

  4. #264
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Just finished off Zero History by William Gibson. The third (and one presumes final) chapter in his 'Blue Ant' Novels. The story picks up some time after the events of Spook Country and revolves around the further adventures of Hollis Henry Ex-member of a defunct cult band 'The Curfew' and now freelance journalist & Milgrim, a reformed drug addict with a keen eye for detail, whom both find themselves working (with some degree of never really qualified reluctance) for the whimsical and enigmatic Hubertus Bigend the CEO of Blue Ant.

    Overall? Well it's an enjoyable enough romp (2.5/5). Though not quite as profoundly interesting as Spook Country was, given that there was some sense of menace to that story. My big criticism would be that everything is a little bit too easy breezy in a Oceans eleven kind of way. Hollis is tasked with discovering a big fashion secret, but barely seems to have to fall out of her fancy boutique hotel room and walk down the street before stumbling across clues that put her on a not particularly exciting (or taxing) Easter egg hunt to the truth of things. The central premise doesn't seem to justify the lavish wallet and trust thrown at the two protagonists by Hubertus Bigend, or why in Hollis' case she's so reluctant to work for him. 'work' consisting of being chauffeured around a lot, drinking endless coffees, using her iphone incessantly (everyone does) and talking to friends, and friends of friends. Albeit Bigend is painted like some larger than life Bond Villain style entrepreneur, his only seeming crime is that of having enough money to bankroll his own curiosity. Hardly white slave trading, or arms dealing at the end of the day. There's an antagonist thrown into the mix in the books latter half, but he's so non existent in many ways, that he seems little more than a device upon which Gibson is hanging a plot.

    TL:DR? - Disappointing.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 18-09-2011 at 11:24 PM.
    Why yes you're right I'm deliciously evil

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  5. #265
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Currency Wars by Hongbing Song, a book series currently consisting 3 books, written in Chinese.

    Mr. Song is a IT specialist who happened to work as senior IT consultant of a variety of some very powerful western financial institutes. Now he is back in China to work in a large China's financial institute.

    Last time I posted in the thread "The 'Things you will NEVER understand' Thread" about inflation and money problem and you mates provided some exciting and useful insights. After that, I found this series too great that I must share with you. Unfortunately I still cannot found English translation of this series. I do happen to locate the offer by Amazon.com for Book 2, but also the original Chinese version from Taiwan:
    http://www.amazon.com/Currency-Wars-...7533030&sr=8-3

    This series is a treatise on conspiracy theory of international bankers' control over currency systems of different Western powers, and how they extended their influence to the Third World and Eastern economies (Japan included), and the financial systems based on this currency system. I've read Book 1 and 3 and is to read Book 2.

    Book 1, without subtitle, is a brief introduction on how bankers gained control of European economies, then extended their influence over USA through the "unconstitutional" right to issue USD through private Federal Reserve System. This is the book that predicted the fall of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two US financial institutes Mr. Song used to work for as senior IT consultant, but had left by the time he wrote the book.

    Book 2, subtitle "World of Money Power", outlined the 18 influential banking powers, most originated from Western / Central (Germany to be exact) Europe, except 2 from the USA.

    Book 3, subtitle "High Boundary of Finance", focused on China (my country) and Japan in the 19-20th centuries. How they reacted differently while the western banking powers came to the East, and therefore had completely different fates over the 2 centuries. To sum up, Japan, with its own financial powers established long before the coming of the West, successfully resisted the western banking power and therefore built up its own economic power until its total defeat in WWII. China had no financial institutes strong enough against the west, and economic power started to decline since the Opium War in 1839-40, which Mr. Song argued was intended by the British at that time primarily to destroy the silver standard of China.

    I doubt those factual information presented in the series is anything new. You can easily find them in other publications without referring to Mr. Song's references. And not even the conspiracy theory is new. Bankers have been labeled "Banksters" for long, and usually took blame during economic downturns for the last few decades I've been living. But he's the one invented the term "Currency Wars".

    P.S. Last chapter of Book 3 contain Mr. Song's opinion on personal investment on silver. It doesn't reflect my opinion on investment. I am just here to recommend a reading, that's all. As usual, for any investment decision, do you own homework and decide accordingly.
    Last edited by squirrel; 02-10-2011 at 07:57 AM.

  6. #266
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    Just finished "I shall wear midnight" and enjoyed it quite a bit. Terminal World is next up.

  7. #267
    Lesser Hivemind Node Similar's Avatar
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    Rereading Agatha Christie novels. If you can have comfort food then Christie novels must be comfort books for me (Poirot and Marple, at least. The rest are generally too annoying to bother with).
    So I'm reading books one ex left behind in order to take my mind off a current ex which makes me think of the first ex... This is also not going to end well.

    Before that, I reread Wilfred G. Burchett's Vietnam - Inside Story of the Guerilla War. Burchett spent eight months with the Vietcong in 1963-64 as one of the very few Western people who did that. The book seems a little naive now. Everything is pretty much unicorns and rainbows between the Vietcong, the mountain tribes and the peasants, but then, maybe it was like that early on before the US officially entered the war. Certainly, psychological warfare would have had much greater effect on Vietnamese soldiers, most of whom had been forced to join an army that was mainly used against their own countrymen, than it would have later on US soldiers, so things could be done with less killing. The war was probably 'kinder' then than later. Still, it's a bit hard to believe how nice it all was when you've read other books about the Vietnam war and Burchett's book does seem a little like propaganda (though, it feels like he believed it).
    Worth reading if you have an interest in the war.
    Last edited by Similar; 02-10-2011 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Repetition gets repetitive.

  8. #268
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Just got into Reamde by Neal Stephenson.
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  9. #269
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    Juggling a few at the moment, but I gotta buckle down and finish them.. in this order hopefully: Ravenor Omnibus by Dan Abnett, Thank you for Arguing by Jay Heinricks, Already Dead by Dennis Johnson, and assorted chapters from the Configuring Windows Server 2008 AD (for work) Cert Program.

    Just finished A Dance with Dragons, and I always have collections of HP Lovecraft on hand

  10. #270
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mrpier's Avatar
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    I have 7 books in my queue, and I'm a bit unsure on what to start on next. The windup girl, dance of dragons, the name of the wind, a couple of norwegian books which you probably haven't heard of, the eisenhorn omnibus and before they are hanged. I just finished space marine so maybe some of 40k fluff would suit me.

  11. #271
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    I've been reading the '4 hour body' by Tim Ferris (I need to lose a few pounds and tighten up a bit). It's pretty interesting tbh as Ferris's philosophy is very much in maximizing gains whilst minimizing effort (thus freeing you up to do other things, our time is precious after all). Sure one way to get yourself into shape is to punish yourself for hours at the gym every other day (I used to do that before I tore all the tendons in my right shoulder a couple of years back), but a far better approach is to look at using your bodies natural burn rate, coupled with a carb free diet and some short but effective exercises to promote muscle gain. He's heavily into tracking as well as means to gauge improvement and incentivise personal commitment, but also honest enough to acknowledge that strict adherence is not necessary or probable (he encourages controlled binging 1 day a week).

    I've yet to get into it fully (I've ordered in some bathroom scales that read BMI etc, which have yet to turn up), but there's a lot of really interesting titbits in there. One thing he turned me onto was this site: - www.habitforge.com. Essentially the psychological rule is it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, so you set out a habit (in my case getting up at 7am every day) and then they email you every day to track your progress. If you don't follow through then the 21 day clock gets reset. It's gamification for sure, but a really interesting idea. Anyway I've been impressed with what I've read so far. The bigger challenge is going to be acting upon it, however I'd recommend it.
    Why yes you're right I'm deliciously evil

    Tradition is the tyranny of dead men

    Steam:Kadayi Origin: Kadayi GFWL: Kadayi

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    *blush* I'm flattered by the attention boys, but please let's not make the thread about liddle old me


    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    Kadayi will remain the worst poster on the interwebs.
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  12. #272
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Been reading Cities of the Red Night by William S. Burroughs. He's obviously not for everyone, but if you've been interested in his work, but have been put off by how hard Naked Lunch or the Cut-Up books are to get into then this is a great starting point because it's actually quite straightforward and has a fairly normal plot.
    That said, as a huge fan of his work, even I'm starting to get tired of all the drug references. It also lacks the dense wall of ideas that seem to prop up his aforementioned book - I guess that's the price you have to pay for a Burroughs book that's easy to follow.
    weekendwarrio.rs - We've got more games than time...

  13. #273
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Finish Scott Westerfeld's Goliath last night (Eh) and moving on to David Weber's A Beautiful Friendship when I get a chance.


  14. #274
    Just finished David Foster Wallace's (DFW) non-fiction collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, which was mostly brilliant. The most well know pieces in the collection are the title piece, DFW goes on a 7-day Caribbean cruise, and Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All, DFW goes to the Illinois State Fair, and both are spectacular. There's also a fantastic piece on David Lynch, written for Premiere around the time of the shooting of Lost Highway, and a surprisingly compelling (it probably ended up being my favourite despite my not caring one iota about tennis) account of fringe tennis pros i.e. the guys just outside the big names. What makes his essays brilliant is he uses the commissioned brief as a spring board for various insightful and resonant ruminations on the modern human condition, all delivered via his unqiue blend of intellect, humour (even laugh-out-loud funny at times), post-modern hijinks and naked humanity. I'd probably rate his other non-fiction collection Consider The Lobster ever so slightly higher, but both are great starting points if you're looking to get into perhaps the greatest writer of the last 15 years. I've only got The Broom of the System and Girl with Curious Hair left and then I'm all out of 'fresh' DFW :(

    Next up is the short story collection Lost in the Funhouse by John Barth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Just got into Reamde by Neal Stephenson.
    I've been looking to get into some Stephenson. Bearing in mind that great length doesn't bother me so much (I jumped right in with Infinite Jest for DFW), which of his novels woudl you recommend?

  15. #275
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel Dust View Post
    I've been looking to get into some Stephenson. Bearing in mind that great length doesn't bother me so much (I jumped right in with Infinite Jest for DFW), which of his novels woudl you recommend?
    Honestly? I've read them all and love them all. Don't be worried about the doorstopper qualities of some of them: Having read them, I only wish they were longer.

    But to start, I'd say Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle for their (ridiculously well-researched) stab at historical fiction and the fact that they tend to re-use the same characters.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  16. #276
    Lesser Hivemind Node Similar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    But to start, I'd say Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle for their (ridiculously well-researched) stab at historical fiction and the fact that they tend to re-use the same characters.
    The first I read was Cryptonomicon and it completely hooked me. Really an excellent novel.

  17. #277
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    I'd start with the Baroque cycle, then Cryptonomicon as it's practically the fourth volume in the trilogy. Or try Diamond Age for some creamy post-cyberpunk goodness.


  18. #278
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
    extremely depressing yet also very interesting. just got it today.

  19. #279
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    My Two Years in Russia by Emma Goldman: "An American Anarchist's Disillusionment, and the Betrayal of the Russian Revolution by Lenin's Soviet Union".

    Ark by Stephen Baxter, sequel to Flood.
    Last edited by Rii; 22-10-2011 at 10:19 PM.

  20. #280
    Lesser Hivemind Node westyfield's Avatar
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    I recently finished If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino. It's great. Strange, but great. It's been recommended in this thread before, and for a good reason. I doubt it's to everyone's taste, but give it a try anyway - it's a slim book so if you don't like it, it won't last long.

    Just started A Feast For Crows (ASoIaF book 4), by George R.R. Martin.
    Last edited by westyfield; 23-10-2011 at 03:36 AM. Reason: Fixed italics

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