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Thread: What book are you reading?
05-12-2013, 11:34 PM #1841
Both of the main ones. (Kristabel and Kanseen.) My primary annoyance was Kanseen, who was wedded in an improvised fashion, with no close family present, so some semi-random guy had to "give" her away because that's the done thing, apparently.
However, I get the feeling that Hamilton is actually trying, and in the chapter I just read (returning from the circumnavigation), there was more open criticism of those kinds of structures, so I should probably reserve further judgement until I've finished the book.
Tangent: Today I watched an episode of spoiler warning where a joke was made in passing about the main character having died and retried a section several times and how the npc:s might react knowing that. Being in the process of reading these books, I immediately made some connections, especially to pop: the sands of time. I like the human approach to the time-rewind power in the void books; how using it to make big changes to the world really makes the user a bitter old cynic with twice or thrice the experienced lifetime of their contemporaries. I feel like there is some sort of opportunity here to continue what pop started with regards to folding the repeated attempts of a game into the actual canon. It also makes me think of anathem, which had similar themes. I guess majora's mask is something like this, but imagine an RPG where you had this power. Your character would still gain experience/skills/plot progression of some sort but the world itself is a butterfly effect sandbox that you try to shape to your will. A game version of butterfly effect?
I'll end that train of thought there becase I don't really know where I'm going with this, I just feel there is plenty of untapped potential in this concept.
EDIT: It would also be interesting to read/watch/play a story from the point of view of a friend of the time-rewinder, but not actually taking part of their specific experiences. We would experience this character's sudden jumps in mood and knowledge, but not know exactly what future they've just come back from or how long they just lived these past minutes.
Last edited by postinternetsyndrome; 05-12-2013 at 11:38 PM.
07-12-2013, 05:17 AM #1842
Isn't it common in our society too tough? a father walks the gal to the alter? A man asks the parent before asking the lady?
Tradition. That's why I didn't remember it. It was just part of their customs without any deeper meaning.
07-12-2013, 10:59 AM #1843
This is a book though, that takes place several thousand years into the future, that explores various alternate societies. To me it felt jarring just throw those things in without critical comment.
I know I'm probably overreacting, and mainly I guess the problem is that this sort of things is just all over the place in general - not just in this particular story - and I'm getting more and more sensitive to it.
07-12-2013, 01:16 PM #1844
- Join Date
- Mar 2013
- New Delhi
Finished The Lord of the rings. Currently reading "Why Me" Dortmunder#5. The Dortmunder books have some excellent characters and some of the most hilarious heists / crime attempts. And once in a while you get gems like "Is the ransom paid for a kidnapped child tax deductible ?".
07-12-2013, 01:28 PM #1845
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
Thankfully the man asking the parent before asking the person he intends to marry is dying out more and more. Heck, not that I could ever be in that position myself, but if my SO ever asked my parents before asking me I'd refuse on those grounds alone.
Post, I don't think it's an overreaction. That is to say, an overreaction might've been throwing the book out of the window. Having that odd moment where you notice something and it feels strange because you've become more and more aware of how archaic and common it is would be perfectly appropriate? If I recall, I think I felt exactly the same thing at the time.
As for what I'm reading, I recently finished The Trader's War and now I'm onto the last of the merchant Princes Omnibussers, The Revolution Trade. Trader's war was quite a saggy middle - I enjoyed it, but it was entirely buildup to this. That being said, this one seems to have kicked off at quite a pace, so we'll see if it can sustain that throughout.
07-12-2013, 06:57 PM #1846
I've been reading The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. Fascinating account of such cheery subjects as Marburg and Ebola viruses and how bad their outbreaks get. I really wish I hadn't started reading it whilst in bed with stomach cramps though.My books wot I wrote:
Read my other stories: http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/
14-12-2013, 12:09 AM #1847
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
Madame Bovary by Flaubert
Reading it because I thought I ought to."Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."
14-12-2013, 02:05 AM #1848
The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark. A detailed account of the run-up to WWI. Highly recommended if you like history (of course you do!).
14-12-2013, 02:11 AM #1849
As for me, partly it's been a Discworld binge - reading the series in order, now in the middle of Sourcery. While I've enjoyed them all, they really have been getting better as the series progresses. Mort was very entertaining, the previous two less so.
I do have a question about chronology, though, and perhaps one of you fans can help. I'm going to mark the question as spoiler:
In the end of Light Fantastic, Rincewind seems poised to occupy a better place in the wizardry hierarchy, or at least to learn magic properly. But when we see him in Sourcery, he's still inept and working as the librarian's assistant. Oh, I guess I have two questions: in Equal Rites Granny Weatherwax is invited to the University, and it was supposedly going to accept women from now on, but there's also no trace of this in Sourcery. Is this explained at all later in the series?
I'm also reading Italo Calvino's three "historical fables", for want of a better label (The Cloven Viscount, The Baron in the Trees and The Inexistent Knight). Such an amazing writer, Calvino. Clever, clever books.
Last edited by Faldrath; 14-12-2013 at 03:54 AM.
14-12-2013, 03:35 AM #1850
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
Rincewind can't learn magic properly. So even if it was his plan, it ain't gonna happen. As four sourcery and equal rites... discworld has a chronology insofar as it might make for more interesting stories. That is to say, it's author-optional and only comes up sometimes.
14-12-2013, 10:33 AM #1851
In addition to what Serenegoose said, the first couple of books in the series are quite different from the rest. It wasn't really meant to become a huge franchise-thing from the beginning and it shows. Later on, things become much more nailed down and connected, for good or bad. I'd go so far as to say the later books get bogged down in their own tropes, and Pratchett seems to feel the same way.
So I finallly finished up the void books and I guess the ending was ok? Or at least reasonable. It can't be easy to finish something like that when you've built it up and built it up and built it up over three books. Some spoilers:
They never bothered to explain why the galaxy didn't disperse into the intergalactic vacuum when the gravitational force in the middle just disappeared. I guess things like that is what makes this space opera rather than science fiction.
I rather appreciated that they had no big "boss fight" at the end. They simply informed the firstlife of the situation and the firstlife made a rational decision. And the villian sucked it up and just transcended on her own, I guess? Refreshing, in a way.
The vaguely sexist stuff I complained about above didn't really get adressed after the last dream chapters, which reinforces my notion that the author really wasn't going anywhere with it and it was just something that happened by chance. At least Kristabel commented on it at one point, saying something like traditions can change, so that's something. Overall it was a very small part of the story so in the end it didn't ruin anything, so well.
On a general note regarding the whole series (including the preceding commonwealth books), it really bugged me that the philosophical ramifications of the re-life technology was never properly discussed. The only foray into that territory is when Paula Myo (I think) at one point says that she isn't reassured by the fact that she will be cloned back to life if she dies, since it won't be her for real, and her current me will still die and stay dead. That's only a one-sentence thing though, mentioned in passing.
Also rarely touched on is the fact that there can now exist several equal copies of the same person. It is mentioned - again in passing - that this is a bit of a taboo, but that's really interesting! Why not go further? There is The Cat in the void books, and that is used to some effect at one point, but it's never explored fully.
To me, the whole conceit is deeply disturbing. Basically, every single human character in the story is living lives like Rupert's in The Prestige. Their personality might live on, but they still die. That particular continous consciousness will end, and another will start.
I guess hamilton just wanted epic thousand-year adventures and an excuse to bring back characters thought killed off, which is fine, but he uses a very blunt tool to do it, philosophically speaking.
Last edited by postinternetsyndrome; 14-12-2013 at 10:35 AM.
14-12-2013, 11:28 AM #1852
The tech is simply too old and too common for characters to be bothered discussing it. There has to be separate story set in 21st century (when the tech was developed) if you want to have a philosophical discussing regarding relife. Neither books were really fitted to do that.
14-12-2013, 11:52 AM #1853
You are probably right. I seem to remember there being some sort of prequel-ish book in the same setting, maybe it's worth checking out.
16-12-2013, 08:16 PM #1854
Nearly finished reading World War Z. The consistent level of detail across such a broad concept has impressed me a lot, but its been quite a harrowing read.
17-12-2013, 01:34 AM #1855
I'm currently making a point of reading a variety of classic fiction. As a child I largely dismissed anything in a real world setting in favour of sci-fi and fantasy adventures. Trying to catch up now.
In the last couple of weeks I've read The Picture of Dorian Gray (thought provoking but kind of dull reading) and The Great Gatsby (was dubious due to the subject matter but it fully deserves its reputation). I've just started The Sound and the Fury. I went into it with no idea what it was about, and it's certainly not easy reading, but I'm enjoying it.
Now I could just work my way down any of a number of lists of popular books, but asking for recommendations is more fun. So I'm doing that here.
17-12-2013, 02:39 AM #1856
^ The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. I read it recently and quite enjoyed it. It's also quite short.
17-12-2013, 04:00 AM #1857
So much stuff to recommend when it comes to classic fiction. I'd say try something Russian, German or French, if you haven't already. Can't go wrong with Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Mann, Kafka, Flaubert, Balzac... (well, you *can* go wrong, but in those cases even going wrong would probably turn out to be all right!)
17-12-2013, 10:14 AM #1858
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
So I've never managed it, because I just can't shake the feeling of it being a chore. Even the classics I have read usually have a vein of sci-fi or alt-history running through them, like 1984. No matter how I try I can't work up any enthusiasm for the idea. I do think I must be missing out on something though, and obviously expanding your horizons is a good thing, so congratulations for managing something I know I couldn't.
17-12-2013, 10:55 AM #1859
Currently struggling through Umberto Eco's The Prague Cemetery. I'm not seeing how this is as good as The Name of the Rose or Focault's Pendulum but I'm still only 150 pages in. At least the excessive arcane historical references are still there."Reason is the madness of the strongest"
17-12-2013, 10:57 AM #1860
Maybe also the Bloomsbury set, so Virginia Wolfe or EM Forester, though Wolfe can be incredibly trying at times Orlando is probably the more accessible one.
I've found I can't read much before the 20th Century except Dostoyevsky. Austen and Dickens are just painful to read.