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  1. #1281
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Space Indaver View Post
    Are, erm... ahem... are the Mass Effect books any good?
    They're alright. I haven't read the 4th because it was written by a different author and has so many errors in it that Bioware eventually stopped having it printed so it could be redone.

    The original three are enjoyable but I'll warn you that after the first one it goes into almost purely non-game appearing character territory and it barely comes back.

    First book is about Commander Anderson and his history with Saren and the Spectre mission he went on. In that book he meets someone who becomes the focus of the next two, a character who will only appear in the third game and only if you go to a certain place. She was a nice easter egg for those of us who had read the books beforehand. There's another character who only appears in Mass Effect 3 who ends up in the books too.

    So, if you're looking for stories about the team mates or any of the main supporting characters beyond Anderson, you won't get what you're after. If you like the Mass Effect universe there's some enjoyment to be had. I will say that at some point in one of the books the author really needed to find a replacement for the term "turned to hamburger" when referring to people getting shot.

  2. #1282
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    I finished Paradise Lost.
    Not what I expected at all. Which it's totally my fault. I thought it was an allegorical piece.
    I enjoyed it, despite having a somewhat archaic style but I don't think I can recommend it to someone unless they're very interested in the subject.

    Also I'm reading A feast for Crows, the fourth book in A song of Ice and Fire series. Not totally hooked on it, the previous book felt much stronger (or at least it seemed to have more stuff going on).

  3. #1283
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Similar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woundedbum View Post
    So for my birthday I got given a Kindle and its made me realise outside of Discworld and ASoIaF, I have nothing to read. Not in that there is nothing, just that I have no idea what's good and isn't really. So any books/series you guys recommend please let me know and I'd be grateful. I have a hankering for good sci fi but anything that's fiction usually interests me as long as it's well written. Thanks in advance.
    Some I've enjoyed:

    The Culture series (and related books) by Iain M. Banks.
    Dune series by Frank Herbert.
    Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell (pen name for John G. Hemry).
    Chronicles of the Black Company series by Glen Cook (probably more fantasy, but it felt like sci-fi to me, somehow).
    Gap series by Stephen R. Donaldson.
    The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
    Uplift series by David Brin.

    ... um, and then my senility kicked in.

  4. #1284
    Network Hub corbain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Similar View Post
    Some I've enjoyed:
    The Culture series (and related books) by Iain M. Banks.
    Gap series by Stephen R. Donaldson.
    Second these reccomendations.

    I've just finished The Box of Delights by John Masefield... one to get you in the Christmas mood

  5. #1285
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Currently on Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India by Stanley Wolpert.

    Also reading a treatise that likens Daniel Defoe to a hack whose success stems from touching a cultural nerve with Robinson Crusoe and then goes on to stipulate why that book was so consistently popular and to highlight its racial colonialist overtones.
    Last edited by Nalano; 19-12-2012 at 07:50 PM.
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  6. #1286
    Network Hub Dubbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    Night Watch by Sergey Lukyanenko. Perhaps you're familiar with the crazy Russian blockbusters based on it. !
    They made a game based on the books. Sadly it wasn't very good.
    Open-faced sandwiches are upon you whether you would risk it or not.

  7. #1287
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woundedbum View Post
    So for my birthday I got given a Kindle and its made me realise outside of Discworld and ASoIaF, I have nothing to read. Not in that there is nothing, just that I have no idea what's good and isn't really. So any books/series you guys recommend please let me know and I'd be grateful. I have a hankering for good sci fi but anything that's fiction usually interests me as long as it's well written. Thanks in advance.
    I like to flick back through this thread when I'm looking for books. Lots of nice brief descriptions or recommendations.

  8. #1288
    Network Hub Space Indaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    They're alright. I haven't read the 4th because it was written by a different author and has so many errors in it that Bioware eventually stopped having it printed so it could be redone.

    The original three are enjoyable but I'll warn you that after the first one it goes into almost purely non-game appearing character territory and it barely comes back.

    First book is about Commander Anderson and his history with Saren and the Spectre mission he went on. In that book he meets someone who becomes the focus of the next two, a character who will only appear in the third game and only if you go to a certain place. She was a nice easter egg for those of us who had read the books beforehand. There's another character who only appears in Mass Effect 3 who ends up in the books too.

    So, if you're looking for stories about the team mates or any of the main supporting characters beyond Anderson, you won't get what you're after. If you like the Mass Effect universe there's some enjoyment to be had. I will say that at some point in one of the books the author really needed to find a replacement for the term "turned to hamburger" when referring to people getting shot.
    Haha, that sounds super high brow! I was intrigued about the universe as a whole, and maybe some unrelated (to the games) personal stories. Cheers for the rec.

  9. #1289
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Space Indaver View Post
    Haha, that sounds super high brow! I was intrigued about the universe as a whole, and maybe some unrelated (to the games) personal stories. Cheers for the rec.
    Then you should enjoy the original three. If they clean up the mess they made of the forth I'll buy that too, but from all accounts the guy who wrote it didn't bother reading anything about the ones before it and made some drastic changes to some of the characters and generally just didn't seem to get the Mass Effect universe.

  10. #1290
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    I am (trying) to read the following book alongside the reading activity I have as a student:

    Knowles, Elizabeth, What They Didn't Say: A Book Of Misquotations, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006

    Elizabeth Knowles is Publishing Manager for Oxford Quotations Dictionaries.

    Also, as usual I'm in the middle of one of the Lord of The Rings trilogy for the hundrieth time. These Times, it's The Two Towers

  11. #1291
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    I'm nearly finished up the last of Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet. It's quite interesting, a decent enough read, but nothing too spectacular. The plot of it all, and the stories driving it are pretty great on the whole... it definitely avoids the typical Fantasy threads, and where ever it does happen to touch on them, it manages to subvert them pretty well (like with the first book's "Apprentice is asked to save the world" kinda gist). And it also avoids anything truly 'fantastic' or magical... yes, the Andat (abstract ideas made flesh and enslaved for economic purposes, like Stone-Made-Soft which can... make stone soft) are central, but they're more something to write the stories around, than what the stories are about. At its heart, it's really the story of two men over the course of 60 years, and it does succeed with those characterisations and their progression. The problem is that the paragraph to paragraph writing isn't that good. I find myself not really caring about the conversation I'm reading in the middle of the book... but rather what's going to happen at the end, the bigger picture, and what it's going to do to the main characters and their relationships. Saying that, it isn't poor/childish/amateur writing... it's perfectly functional and satisfactory. But it lacks some spirit, some warmth or emotion. And he does get better as the series goes on.

    Brief plot synopsis for those who might be interested... There is a nation, the remnants of a broken Empire, who possess Poets, and those Poets possess the Andat (these special use, but limited, magical things/people). The Andat give them spectacular economic superiority, and also a major deterrent against aggression or deceit by other nations (the Andat that can make the seeds drop from a stack of cotton can also make babes drop from their mother's wombs, or ruin a nation full of crops). Everything is good for this nation, but... other nations, not limited by this concept, are moving ahead with technology, and they're jealous/scared... it was runaway poets and Andats that broke the Empire, leaving vast swathes of the land f*cked up. And, the usefulness of the Andat is beginning to hit a wall, their binding is becoming more difficult, they're becoming rarer and harder to control. Into this comes 2 young men... one a runaway from the school of the poets, offered a position but, seeing the problems with the system, rejected the offer, and the other shown the problems but who embraced it anyway, and is now an apprentice poet. They're forced into the troubles of the world, the plots by other nations and the Andat themselves, and over 50-60 years, of love, war, turmoil, upheaval and major, major changes to their culture and the world, we see their lives and their relationship progress, strain, break apart, come back, break apart and so on. All of this on a back drop that looks at topics such as fertility (really surprisingly done and quite novel), economics, Power and what it means to wield it (more in the economic, how it affects others sense), semantics and the philosophy and language and concepts, and ultimately love and relationships between people.

    If you fancy a fantasy that's about people and peoples, economics, traditions, rather than fights and wars and magics and monsters, I'd say look into it.

    After that, I have the next 2 of Dan Abraham's books, the first two of the "Dagger and the Coin" trilogy (The Dragon's Path and The King's Blood). I'm hoping they continue the improvement in his prose, and will likely give them a shot this weekend.

    But... I did receive my Christmas reading order today, and I'm really looking forward to jumping into them, and one book in particular. I've got Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles, have heard a lot good about them, and they don't sound terrible. But the one I really want to start, as soon as I can, is The Red Knight by Miles Cameron. From the blurb...

    Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.
    Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men - or worse, a company of mercenaries - against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.
    The advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.
    The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he's determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery it's just another job. The abbey is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can't deal with.
    Only it's not just a job. It's going to be a war . . .
    Plenty of comparisons to GRR Martin and Joe Abercrombie, and I jumped to the very end of the book, not for spoilers, but to see how many pages (so I can try and plan my reading around when I finish books), and luckily caught the author's acknowledgements, which call out Glen Cook and Steven Erikson... those four probably being my top fantasy writers (in the case of Erikson and Abercrombie, probably 2 of my top writers in any genre). Apparently, the author is in fact Christian Cameron, a respected Historical author and Historian, noted for his accuracy and realism, and knowledge of the ancient Martial arts (as in, fighting)... he's a reenactor (military and non-military) and tournament dueller/participant. I found Erikson's and Esselmont's knowledge of archaeology and anthropology really added to their fantasy world and the Malazan books, so I'm hoping for something similar here. I might have to jump straight into it when I'm done with the Long Price books.
    Last edited by Unaco; 20-12-2012 at 09:29 PM.
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  12. #1292
    Obscure Node richtaur's Avatar
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    I just enjoyed Zombie Simpsons (a show I'm still mourning) and am now working my way through The Art of Game Design. I don't read much but I just got into our Kindle (very old model) and it's way awesome. Kindle FTW!

    (This is my first post in the books thread so I'll also say some of my favorites are the massive Dune and Dragonlance serieses'es's.)

  13. #1293
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    I need recommendations for a high fantasy series to get into. I really enjoy Tolkien-style world building which provide detailed history of the world and its inhabitants, and I also like seeing a variety of races and cultures. Bonus points for something other than the generic orcs/elves/dwarves. I prefer realistic characters over Tolkien's with white-black morality, though.

    I've read Mieville's Bas Lag novels and Gardens of the Moon too, I'm looking for something similar though I didn't quite like the latter.

    Swainston's The Year of Our War and Moorcock's Elric books are under my radar, are they any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Currently on Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India by Stanley Wolpert
    Let me know what your opinion of it. I've been thinking of getting a book on India and China's colonial history.

  14. #1294
    Lesser Hivemind Node Feldspar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
    Swainston's The Year of Our War and Moorcock's Elric books are under my radar, are they any good?
    The Year of Our War is one of my favourite books, I admit that it can be a bit of a confusing mess, skipping back and forwards in time, characters having several names, anachronisms all over the place and being written from the viewpoint of a drug-addled reprobate, but it is cleverly different, carrying intertwining threads of story and shows how just having the most brilliant people doesn't mean they are not going to act all human and fuck things up royally.

    Back on topic, I'm rereading Gibson's Pattern recognition, sort of internetpunk, very sharp in it's view of society and our obsessions.
    Last edited by Feldspar; 22-12-2012 at 02:37 PM.

  15. #1295
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    Mayhap I shall chance reading Lord of the Rings again. It always makes me really sleepy though and I never make it past Hobbiton. Then again the first damned movie always does that to me when I return home sloshed out of my pretty Scottish skull.

  16. #1296
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Assassins Quest by Robin Hobb. I have no idea why am I still reading this. First book was okay but second one I loathed, it dragged and dragged and nothing happened, short summary in third book is better than the whole second one. Anyway, I'm reading on autopilot. There are few problems with this trilogy.

    1. Main character pisses me off. It's not like I want to read a novel about a perfect ninja guy, no, feel free to make him a flawed hero sometimes bordering on antihero, whatever. But this idiot is totally incompetent and he never learns, it took him more than two books to relize he never knew what to do and only survived because other people did the thinking. Thats assassin trained since 6 years old? And then there is a lame attempt to make a reader feel sorry for him as he is always( always, 1000% of time) injured/tortured/heartbroken/having nighmares/angsty for no reason. Hey, Robin, I don't really care, I jsut want to know whats going on with the main plot.

    2. By the way, almost nothing happens. Scenes are endlessly repeating with very little variety. Second novel is the worst offender.

    3. It feels like the setting of the whole trilogy is tiny. Everyone knows everyone. One guy guards the king. Couple of people do things. Everyone else is just backdrop, and very schematic one.

    4. It's all so implausible and setting barely makes sense. People and nobility are literate but there is no bueraucracy at all. One guy guards the king. Bad guys never mass more than five people to kill good guys. MC has great knowledge of poisons but antidotes are an alien concept to him, he never has any even after being poisoned himself three or four times by now.

    5. Coincidences. Third one is the worst at theat. "Oh, I'm just randomly meeting people I wanted to kill". Stop, please, this is stupid. And there are no other bad people, it's always the bad people who did bad things to protagonist. He never meets other bad people.
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  17. #1297
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
    Let me know what your opinion of it. I've been thinking of getting a book on India and China's colonial history.
    It's a very good book, in my opinion. So far it's giving a rather detailed play-by-play of how the division of India and Pakistan is due in large part due to British machinations in Indian politics before and during WWII, and how Churchill juggled American liberalism with the old-guard conservatives in his own cabinet.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  18. #1298
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    It's a very good book, in my opinion. So far it's giving a rather detailed play-by-play of how the division of India and Pakistan is due in large part due to British machinations in Indian politics before and during WWII, and how Churchill juggled American liberalism with the old-guard conservatives in his own cabinet.
    IIRC, it was the Muslim League and Jinnah raising a demand for a Muslim state which of course wouldn't have been possible without Gandhi's and Britain's support. without

  19. #1299
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    The Hobbit. Just got it for Christmas.
    Last edited by TheXand; 25-12-2012 at 06:59 PM.

  20. #1300
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
    IIRC, it was the Muslim League and Jinnah raising a demand for a Muslim state which of course wouldn't have been possible without Gandhi's and Britain's support. without
    YDRC.

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