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  1. #1881
    Quote Originally Posted by Anthile View Post
    Thomas Pynchon can be pretty funny if he wants to. He's essentially a smarter Neal Stephenson.
    Yes, I struggled with Gravity's Rainbow, but there were moments of real brilliance in there. I think I'll try one of his shorter ones next. Thanks.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  2. #1882
    Network Hub Koobazaur's Avatar
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    About 100 pages into Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, a Steampunk Historical Fiction taking place at the start of WW1. While I'm enjoying the alternate history and steampunk angle, it feels a bit too much like a teen novel. Finding it in the Young Adults section in my library should have been a giveaway :p
    Postmortem: one must die- Political narrative-adventure game playing an Agent of Death who must take ONE life that could change the fate of a conflict-torn Nation!

    Check out my DevBlog for news on the next title!

  3. #1883
    Lesser Hivemind Node fiddlesticks's Avatar
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    If you're looking for something a bit more mature, you could always give the other Leviathan a try.

    Don't actually do this, it's a very dry read.

  4. #1884
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
    About 100 pages into Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, a Steampunk Historical Fiction taking place at the start of WW1. While I'm enjoying the alternate history and steampunk angle, it feels a bit too much like a teen novel. Finding it in the Young Adults section in my library should have been a giveaway :p
    Westerfeld's stuff is good but it very much skews towards typical YA language and narrative tropes. There are particular turns of phrase he uses and descriptive language and whatnot that just feel, to me, as if he's spent way too much time worrying about whether or not young adults will get what he's driving at. I read a lot of YA fiction, and the best authors - Philip Reeve, Patrick Ness, Garth Nix et al - never talk down to their audience and quite often deal in themes and subtexts mature enough an adult audience can get something out of them too. These guys write for a younger audience, but they don't write explicitly to them. Garth Nix's books are obviously for kids, but they're still eloquent and artful enough to please a discerning adult reader. Westerfeld frequently does pitch his books to kids, in my estimation (I mean, the Leviathan series have a painfully earnest Did You Know...? section at the back about the real history of the period), and it puts them firmly on the second tier of the field for me. They're good, IMO, but I wouldn't rush to recommend them to anyone.

  5. #1885
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, which was later adapted as The 13th Warrior. It's about Antonio Banderas and a bunch of Vikings fighting Neanderthals. Awesome! It's a clever what-if scenario: a real traveller is inserted in a fictional adventure which would presumably later give birth to the legend of Beowulf.

    I never understood why the movie was poorly received. Now I saw in Crichton's afterword that reviewers also disliked the novel. Strange world.

  6. #1886
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, which was later adapted as The 13th Warrior. It's about Antonio Banderas and a bunch of Vikings fighting Neanderthals. Awesome! It's a clever what-if scenario: a real traveller is inserted in a fictional adventure which would presumably later give birth to the legend of Beowulf.

    I never understood why the movie was poorly received. Now I saw in Crichton's afterword that reviewers also disliked the novel. Strange world.
    Well, it is kinda daft in many respects. The film even more so. The whole "Watch me become completely fluent in a foreign language by lip-reading in about five minutes flat" scene is especially ridiculous if you stop and think about it at all. It's a silly popcorn adventure with a thin veneer of historical authenticity and an amusing gimmick driving the plot.

    On the other hand, I did really like both of them. Still do, despite Crichton apparently turning into a vindictive kook in the years before his death. The film is arguably nonsense but it's beautifully shot, pretty well acted, hugely entertaining nonsense with an intriguing hook, silly or not, and I was disappointed it didn't find more of an audience too.

  7. #1887
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Which Jack Ryan novels are worth reading?
    I finished The Hunt for Red October earlier today (then rewatched the movie). It's great! But I heard Clancy went full retard later on. Does anyone know how the rest compares to Red October?
    Also, are there any other must-reads from Clancy? Looks like he wrote about a million books...

  8. #1888
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mrpier's Avatar
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    I'd say they are all pretty decent up til Debt of honor, avoid any books that he co-wrote or netforce/op-center series.

  9. #1889
    Lesser Hivemind Node NecroKnight's Avatar
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    I've just read Investigations by Stuart Kauffman. It's a interesting book which deals with various topics ranging from the creation of life, autonomous agents, power law distribution, the difference between ordered and chaotic regimes, evolution and the construction of the biosphere. It even dabbles into economics and quantum physics. Basically it's about complexity and what potential candidate laws rule this persistently growing complexity of the cosmos as a whole.

    It's really good, but hard to read. It can sometimes be confusing but the author often repeats his point and constantly builds upon it as you progress through the pages. I think I understood roughly 3/4 of the book. The part at the end about quantum physics was rather perplexing.
    But where did he come from, this fleck of spite in an abandoned paradise?

  10. #1890
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbick View Post
    Just finished Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy (I'm somewhat bingeing on his novels at the moment, having read The Road and Blood Meridian in recent months). McCarthy has a knack of pulling me into each place he writes about, even when nothing much is happening. Outer Dark is not as bleak and startling as The Road, nor as grim and visceral as Blood Meridian, but I was still caught up in the lives of the central characters in ways that not many other writers manage.
    He is the best. I read The Road when everybody else did, but got caught up in Blood Meridian two years ago when my daughter was newborn and I had to read a lot with her sleeping in my arms. I have never read anyone else who can bring a scene to life so well with so few words. He is magical, and he is responsible for my growing realisation of how not very good writers most genre fiction authors are when compared to people like him.

    Have you read The Sunset Limited yet? Very different, but veeery McCarthy.

  11. #1891
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    The past few nights I've been unable to put down Unbroken. It's the story of Louis Zamperini, whose plane crashed in the Pacific during WWII. He spent 47 days at sea, punching sharks and catching birds with his bare hands, only to be "rescued" by the Japanese, tortured and experimented on in various prisoner camps. It's written very well, and there are lots of interesting pictures of the period.
    "What were we talking about? Pegasuses, pegasii, that's horses with wings. This motherf*cker got a sword that talks to him. Motherf*cker live in places that don't exist, it comes with a map. My God."

  12. #1892
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I know this isnt totally book related but does anyone know a good resource to read film scripts? Im trying to become a better screenwriter and I really want to read some of my favourite movies but all im finding is books written in general about scriptwriting or the movie.

  13. #1893
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    I know this isnt totally book related but does anyone know a good resource to read film scripts? Im trying to become a better screenwriter and I really want to read some of my favourite movies but all im finding is books written in general about scriptwriting or the movie.
    I got a copy of the script for Die Hard when I bought the trilogy on DVD several years ago...
    "What were we talking about? Pegasuses, pegasii, that's horses with wings. This motherf*cker got a sword that talks to him. Motherf*cker live in places that don't exist, it comes with a map. My God."

  14. #1894
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    imdsb.com and scriptologist.com are good. You will inevitably find some fakes, for example imdsb hosts a bizzare fake Matrix Reloaded script.

  15. #1895
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Thank you that seems like a great resource.

  16. #1896
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    Thank you that seems like a great resource.
    The screenplay for El Angel Exterminador was adapted into a book, I highly recommend both it and the movie. I'm sure there's others, but I wouldn't know them.

    Tangent to this, I picked up Andrey Tarkovsky's Sculpting in Time to get some better translations of his father's poetry in The Mirror and urge anyone with an interest in filmmaking to read it.

  17. #1897
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    Stephen King - Wolves of the Calla (5th book from Dark Tower series) and Jack Kerouac - Big Sur.

    Tangent to this, I picked up Andrey Tarkovsky's Sculpting in Time to get some better translations of his father's poetry in The Mirror and urge anyone with an interest in filmmaking to read it.
    It's kinda funny when you know that one character in The Mirror say that poetry shouldn't be translated.

  18. #1898
    The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley

    The quality of the writing is very poor and the prejudices must have been questionable even in its day, I would imagine. But it's a great yarn nonetheless.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  19. #1899
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    My stomach-churning slave narrative of choice at the moment is Marlon James' The Book of Night Women. British sugar plantations in the Caribbean around the 18th century. Brilliant novel so far - no idea precisely how historically accurate it is but I'm guessing depressingly so? It's the second book an Assassin's Creed game got me reading (bought The Men Who Lost America after playing ACIII) and since I haven't played Black Flag's Freedom Cry DLC yet I'm interested to see how it compares to what I'm reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    It's kinda funny when you know that one character in The Mirror say that poetry shouldn't be translated.
    Eh, I know why someone would say that but overall I could never agree. There was a great introduction to this book of Chinese classical poetry I've got where the translators set out their rationale: a translation is never going to be the same thing, it's important to understand that, but you can always convey enough of the spirit of the original that the new form is worth reading too. Admittedly I'm taking their word for it to some extent, English is my only language... but they made their arguments well enough they pretty much won me over.

  20. #1900
    Lesser Hivemind Node eRa's Avatar
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    Just started rereading all the Dune books by Frank Herbert. Bi-lal kaifa!

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