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Erosion of Humanity
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:12 pm
Posts: 2373
Location: Schaumburg, Il
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:04 pm 
 

Ohh really? Sweet, that indeed settles it as I will be downloading it when I get home today. House on the Borederland was also free on the kindle if you wana give it a whirl Azmodes.
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:26 pm 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Book of Dreams was also fantastic. Howard Alan Treesong is definitely my favorite of the five Demon Princes, and the Book of Dreams itself was a really awesome bit of characterization for him. While none of the worlds Gersen visits are quite as fleshed out as Dar Sai was, there's still some really neat variety and the finale on the insane Jurassic Park alien jungle planet was a hoot.

I'm pretty sold on Jack Vance after reading through those books. It's pretty incredible how he's able to turn every world in the galaxy into this vibrant microcosm, yet still manage to make everything feel like it's part of a well-developed lore. Part of that might be due to his utter inability (or his lack of desire) to really differentiate between the ways any of the characters speak; they've all got this ridiculously well-spoken, archaic, formal way of talking that basically doesn't change much no matter where Gersen goes or who he talks to. That's not really a complaint, mind; the differences in physical appearance, dress, mannerisms, social customs and all of that made the whole cast memorable and alive, with the dialog functioning as part of what made it all part of the same meta-culture.

Next up for me is Gene Wolfe's New Sun series.



Ah man, really glad you enjoyed those Princes; the series does get better as it goes on but I pretty much enjoy it from first to last. It's probably about time for me to at least read my favourite books in the series again. The ending of The Face is so good, and Vance is not exactly known for making great endings I guess; he always seems more interested in the journeys.

Tales of the Dying Earth is huge fun and contains some beautiful writing and brilliant humour in the Cugel books. it's not deeply spiritual and full of intrigue like WOlfe's New Sun perhaps but it should make for interesting reading after having been in Gene's own "dying earth" world.
Still need to get to the other books beyond the initial Book of the New SUn quadriology one of these days.

Erosion, sorry you didn't like House on the Borderland. It seems to be the best of Hodgson's books and I find it hugely powerful and even moving; not in the least bit boring. The Night Land on the other hand is barely even readable. It's probably a mistake to try for such an arcchaic style of writing when prose itself isn't one's strongest point. That said, I have no problem with it in House on the Borderland as it is appropriate to the time period and just a bit clunky now and again. Still some really evocative descriptions. What really stays with me about House is all the metaphysical implications beneath the surface, and the idea that he'll never leave this besieged house because of his grief and the fact that one of his astral journeys took him to the Sea of Sleep, where he saw his loved one and presumably some kind of remote, implacable deity.
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Erosion of Humanity
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:12 pm
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Location: Schaumburg, Il
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:36 pm 
 

@ abominatrix:
Spoiler: show
I did like the sea of sleep and the bit about his true love it was the journey there that killed it for me. Also yes I did enjoy the metaphysics bit and their implications but I found a lot of the reading tedious, also it felt, to me at least, that a lot of the build ups went nowhere and kind of meandered about. That and as I already said I found too manu wholes in the stroy for my liking but maybe that's just his writing style and very much international I don't know.


I will say this though, the book was decent enough to make me want to give the author another shot so there's that.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:16 pm 
 

I'm so pissed because I was given a copy of Foucault's Pendulum but I can't figure out where I put it. Been wanting to read that for a while. I've read part of Name of the Rose, he's a brilliant, magnificent writer.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:23 am 
 

Vance's Dying Earth series is definitely on my "to-read" list but the library doesn't have it and I'm trying to exhaust their interesting stuff before I start spending money on reading material, haha. Demon Princes was super fun though and sold me on Vance without a doubt.
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Windom Earle
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:21 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:35 am 
 

I'm reading the Shining

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MARSDUDE
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:17 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:09 pm 
 

Windom Earle wrote:
I'm reading the Shining


Nice job. Doctor Sleep was pretty awesome, so you've got something else to look forward to, too.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:28 pm 
 

Currently going through Man After Man, a pretty fascinating book involving themes such as speculative evolution and transhumanism. It's quite bleak, too.
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Windom Earle
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Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:21 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:40 am 
 

MARSDUDE wrote:
Windom Earle wrote:
I'm reading the Shining


Nice job. Doctor Sleep was pretty awesome, so you've got something else to look forward to, too.


Is it worth reading?

I find it hard not imagining Kubricks characters as I read the shining ... but at the same time the movie almost seems like a joke when you consider how many takes Kubrick would put his actors through - and judging by Nicholson in a lot of scenes he just seems like he's having a laugh about it all. I still adore that movie, but the more I watch it and read into it the more it seems kinda ridiculous.

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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:57 pm 
 

Windom Earle wrote:
MARSDUDE wrote:

Nice job. Doctor Sleep was pretty awesome, so you've got something else to look forward to, too.


Is it worth reading?

I find it hard not imagining Kubricks characters as I read the shining ... but at the same time the movie almost seems like a joke when you consider how many takes Kubrick would put his actors through - and judging by Nicholson in a lot of scenes he just seems like he's having a laugh about it all. I still adore that movie, but the more I watch it and read into it the more it seems kinda ridiculous.


Well, King hated the movie...

Yeah, Doctor Sleep is a worthy sequel. Feels very Shining without having to resort to using the Overlook Hotel again (though the location factors into the story once more).
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:27 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Currently going through Man After Man, a pretty fascinating book involving themes such as speculative evolution and transhumanism. It's quite bleak, too.

Hah, I've had that book since I was maybe 6 or so. Really cool, yeah - I love the twisted forms he projects man evolving into, or being engineered into, like the Engineered Food Creature. Also good are the same dude's The New Dinosaurs, and After Man, which are about the speculative evolution of dinosaurs and the small animals that survive man's extinction respectively. Not quite as good as Man After Man, lacking the little snippets of interesting fiction that tie it together, but still cool. Something else you might like is Wayne Douglas Barlowe's Expedition, which is about a fictional biological survey of an alien planet. The art is really cool:
Spoiler: show
Image
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:55 pm 
 

I am familiar with Barlowe's artwork, but I have never checked out Expedition itself. Should do it soon, from the looks of it. I've also seen snippets of After Man and The New Dinosaurs, and I must say that they do look quite interesting, though as you say, Man After Man's appeal relies not only on the whole speculative evolution deal (which is fascinating all by itself), but also draws a lot of its strength from the narrative that accompanies the science. Something stood out like a sore thumb to me, though; the "memory people", as Dixon called them. Honestly, that particular thing sounded a bit too far-fetched and implausible for my comfort, especially considering how hard the science is on the rest of the book. Oh, and the "telepathic link" between symbionts. That was also very unbelievable.

On a related topic, tell me, FSM; have you heard of All Yesterdays? It works on the logic that, as much as we have learned from the fossilized remains of extinct creatures, there are still lots of things which we can't infer from them. It has very interesting alternate takes regarding the ways we imagine lots of different prehistoric critters, and even some speculations regarding how, say, future paleontologists would picture modern animals (the latter with a fair dose of humour, all things considered).
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FlaPack
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:36 am
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:55 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Something else you might like is Wayne Douglas Barlowe's Expedition, which is about a fictional biological survey of an alien planet. The art is really cool:
Spoiler: show
Image


Reminded me of Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials that I had as a kid. I think I picked it up after reading the first few Well World books. Really sparked my imagination at the time, thinking about all the possible forms that life could take. Not a serious take but fun anyway and as you say his art is really cool. It's written like a field guide with little snippets about habitat, morphology and behavior of alien species from various sci-fi settings. Next time I visit my parents I'll have to check if she still has that boxed up somewhere.

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Scorntyrant
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:25 pm 
 

^ I remember that book from when I was a kid. Some of it really freaked me out for some reason.
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Azmodes
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:01 am 
 

So I checked out The Night Land (I'm currently a third or so in) and DAMN is the prose indeed fucking atrocious. failsy wasn't kidding. I had to skip some parts of that bullshit prologue before getting to the actual far future setting, it was just ridiculous. It's a real shame Hodgson decided to weave his tale around this contrived, cheesy romance of two lovers separated across time and space. I'm not really sure what that's all about. And the actual writing... some sort of attempt to produce a profound and ancient sounding epic style, but it just comes across as barely coherent olde timey fan fic. Dude starts almost every single paragraph with "And", there's just no structure to it at all.

And lo! verity doth blahblah yadayada but, not to digress from the tale I endeavour to tell, still I must also explain first this blahblah and so this utter strangeness which, truly, like thus, but scarce so blah and then blah and thus blah and now blaaah

Sometimes it's bearable and something approximating fluid reading approaches, but mostly it's a never-ending train wreck; or at least one constantly derailing, but never quite finishing the job. Almost fascinating to watch. Still, the setting/concepts are amazing and considering this was written almost twenty years before stuff like Last and First Men or The Call of Cthulhu the sheer groundbreaking creativity of it is even more impressive. Despite the painful writing my mind can't help but paint a vivid picture of this incredibly dark and despairing land. So I will struggle on.

Not surprisingly, the setting has attracted other authors and enthusiasts wishing to keep it alive. A number of new stories set in the Night Land can be found here and there is even a rewritten, "modern" version of the original available. With dialogue, some added scenes and -presumably- better writing.
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Erosion of Humanity
Metalhead

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Location: Schaumburg, Il
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:36 am 
 

Damn that really doesn't bode well for me as that's how I felt for almost the entirety of House on the Borderlands. The ironic part is I literally just finished re-reading Ender's Game and loaded up The Night Land and this is the first thing I read before I started with the new book. Oh well only time will tell if I can make it through or not.

Edit: I just got too chapter three (6% on the kindle) and the feelings of tediousness can not be overstated here. Also I find myself quite often wishing that I could just reach through my kindle and time itself and shake the life out of dear ole Willy and tell him to get to the fucking point already. Once you do make it through the tedious monotony that is his ramblings the book itself does prove to have a very dark and ominous feel. The world he portrays also comes to the imagination with ease and clarity and there is enough spark in the book to make me begrudgingly trudge on for what I can only imagine will be a long and oft annoyed reading experience and hopefully an overall good book.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:58 am 
 

I have a compilation of three Faulkner novellas I'd read forever ago that I thought I'd re-read, so this past weekend I read Spotted Horses. Wasn't really very good; it's basically got two acts, the first of which is like this long, drawn-out build up, then the second act just sorta crashes to a halt with a big change in direction. I got his point (i.e. outside forces only interested in making a quick buck, combined with a modern legal system that doesn't hold "the man" accountable for screwing over the little guy, combining to wreak havoc in rural America in the early 20th century) but it was just sort of clumsily handled in a not-very-interesting story. The second two in the volume are The Old Man and The Bear, the former of which I remember as being really enjoyable and the latter being a masterpiece. I'll get to those sometime.

I also just finished Book of the New Sun #3 (The Sword of the Lictor). It was my favorite so far in the series, with some phenomenal additions to Wolfe's world-building, crazy encounters with creatures/people, lots of action and most importantly, lots of answers (that of course lead to ten times as many new questions) about Urth's history and the beings that inhabit it. Can't wait for #4.
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Scorntyrant
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:55 am
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:06 am 
 

iamntbatman wrote:

I also just finished Book of the New Sun #3 (The Sword of the Lictor). It was my favorite so far in the series, with some phenomenal additions to Wolfe's world-building, crazy encounters with creatures/people, lots of action and most importantly, lots of answers (that of course lead to ten times as many new questions) about Urth's history and the beings that inhabit it. Can't wait for #4.



How fucking cool is the part with Typhon up in the mountains!
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:25 pm 
 

I know, right? I kind of want to go back and re-read that whole section just to look for clues regarding whether or not that whole thing even actually happened.

Spoiler: show
He did, after all, just watch Little Severian get burnt to a crisp by that electrified ring on Typhon's hand, so was probably in some sort of post-trauma shock. Not to mention that Typhon brings up that he's got food and water for Severian there but it's never actually offered. I also loved the whole ending bit with the castle on the shore of the lake, especially since you can figure out pretty readily that it's Dr. Talos'/Baldanders' castle long before it's revealed, but the actual nature of the encounter is miles and miles from being predictable at all.


I ordered some books from Abebooks that my library doesn't carry: Urth of the New Sun, the first books in Vance's Durdane series and his Lyonesse series, and The Worm Ouroboros.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:42 pm 
 

I don't understand why the omnibus edition of The Book of the Short Sun is so goddamn hard to find. I'm only seeing one copy on the web so far, at Alibris for $66. ???
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Scorntyrant
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:35 pm 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
I know, right? I kind of want to go back and re-read that whole section just to look for clues regarding whether or not that whole thing even actually happened.

Spoiler: show
He did, after all, just watch Little Severian get burnt to a crisp by that electrified ring on Typhon's hand, so was probably in some sort of post-trauma shock. Not to mention that Typhon brings up that he's got food and water for Severian there but it's never actually offered. I also loved the whole ending bit with the castle on the shore of the lake, especially since you can figure out pretty readily that it's Dr. Talos'/Baldanders' castle long before it's revealed, but the actual nature of the encounter is miles and miles from being predictable at all.


I ordered some books from Abebooks that my library doesn't carry: Urth of the New Sun, the first books in Vance's Durdane series and his Lyonesse series, and The Worm Ouroboros.



Potential spoiler:

Spoiler: show
Typhon becomes quite an important element of "urth of the new sun" and to a degree the Short sun books. He's a "shadow" so to speak - he's not directly involved, but more light is shed on the nature of his rule.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:02 am 
 

Anyone ever read any of this Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos? A friend just recommended the series to me but I've never heard of it before. I hate looking up books on Wikipedia since even the most basic of descriptions at the beginning of articles can often spoil major plot points.
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RedMisanthrope
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:51 am 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Anyone ever read any of this Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos? A friend just recommended the series to me but I've never heard of it before. I hate looking up books on Wikipedia since even the most basic of descriptions at the beginning of articles can often spoil major plot points.


Cue the obligatory failsafeman/Morrigan disagreement over the second book. I've only read the first book, and quite enjoyed it. The second seems to be a bit polarizing, so maybe you're just going to need to bite the bullet, read it, and make up your own mind.
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Azmodes
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:54 am 
 

Whatever one might think about the subsequent books, definitely check out the first, bats. It works perfectly well as a stand-alone too.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:43 am 
 

Hmm, ok, on the list it goes. Thanks guys.
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shouvince
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:34 pm 
 

I read 'Good Omens' by Pratchett & Gaiman over the past week and I finally finished it sometime back. It's about the impending apocalypse but a demon and an angel feel otherwise about it and work towards stopping it from happening. I enjoyed it quite a bit and the dry humor is fantastic. I haven't read books by either author before this (time to change that) but I had heard a lot of good things about the book. It certainly didn't disappoint, meandered a bit with the many characters, but all in all it was thoroughly enjoyable and chuckle-inducing from time to time.

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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:41 pm 
 

I still need to read some Pratchett. His stuff sounds right up my alley.

Currently going through The Name of the Wind. Can't really judge it, as I have barely gone over the first few chapters, but it seems decent so far, if not particularly outstanding.
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grauer_mausling
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:28 pm 
 

shouvince wrote:
I haven't read books by either author before this (time to change that)...


Not a big Pratchett fan but Neil Gaiman is one of my fave authors. Get your hands on either "American Gods" or "Neverwhere" to
see if his writing suits your taste…

Btw - any Kim Newman / Jack Yeovil enthusiasts here (like me)?
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:51 pm 
 

I'm pretty sure I own both American Gods and Good Omens but I haven't read either.

Just finished The Citadel of the Autarch. After some mulling over I gave it a 4/5, as I think the third book was still better overall. There's a lot of bizarre stuff as always, and again lots more questions get answered about Urth and, importantly, some of the central characters (albeit in a pretty cryptic way) that was great, but the sense of adventure and wonder wasn't as strong as it was with the third book. Now I'm debating whether to start the Titus Groan books that I already have, or to wait for my Abebooks shipment to show up so I can conclude Book of the New Sun....decisions, decisions.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:22 pm 
 

Any Gillian Flynn Gone Girl fans here? Amazing fucking novel. Reading her first one Sharp Objects now, which I expected to be less complex and well written, but goddamn I can't put it down. It's a very good suspense novel and I don't really know where it's going yet. But I am inclined to want to find out, which is a clear sign of a strong mystery. Really snappy, vivid writing and a good, solid main character to follow.
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shouvince
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:18 am 
 

grauer_mausling wrote:
shouvince wrote:
I haven't read books by either author before this (time to change that)...


Not a big Pratchett fan but Neil Gaiman is one of my fave authors. Get your hands on either "American Gods" or "Neverwhere" to
see if his writing suits your taste…


I've read the blurbs for those books earlier and I'll queue them up to the reading list right away.

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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:33 pm 
 

Pratchett is way better than Gaiman!

Gaiman's alright. Neverwhere is pretty good, wasn't big into American Gods. I'd like to read Stardust eventually.

Discworld is just classic and essential.
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grauer_mausling
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:59 pm 
 

Hm, not to me… I've read some Discworld books and though I found them enjoyable, they also were
a bit too goofy/silly for my taste (though thought-out very good - no doubt about that).
Gaiman just is top of the cream for me :wink: "Stardust" is a fine read btw - a bit apart from the
normal Gaiman style but a really great and smart fairytale.
I can also recommend highly "The Graveyard Book" (basically "The Jungle-Book" story but set on a cemetary
where the protagonist is an orphan whose parents have been murdered and he is raised by ghosts
instead of wolves). "Coraline" also slays (and is way better and more scary than the already good movie adaption)
as well as many of his short story anthologies.

*fanboy-post*end
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iamntbatman
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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Location: Innsmouth
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:16 pm 
 

So, I've found a new a bottomless pit of the internet: Goodreads comments. Due to the very nature of the subject, these read like the exact antithesis of YouTube comments; it's a never-ending cesspool of intellectual oneupsmanship with layer upon layer of people trying to have the most academic yet iconoclastic, edgy opinions on, well, everything.

Here's a wonderful sample: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1459299
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Pippin_Took
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:28 pm
Posts: 602
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:26 pm 
 

Pratchett is ace! The early Discworld books are pretty irreverrent (sp?) and heavily fantastical in most parts, but I think the series gets stronger generally as it goes forward. He's certainly writiten better novels in his later years than his early ones I think, though perhaps the jokes don't come quite so thick and fast. If people want specific rec's I'm happy to oblige. Love the guy!

Currently reading The Maltese Falcon, my first noir, and long overdue. It's pretty entertaining so-far, sparse and intriguing and atmospheric. Anyone recommend Hammett's other work?

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inhumanist
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:09 pm
Posts: 4506
Location: 50 Forts Along the Rhine
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:34 pm 
 

Oh, I've read only one of his later novels (Going Postal, though that's already some years ago) and I found it a bit lacking to be honest. It just wasn't as entertaining as I'm used to from his books. I really enjoyed the TV adaption though. Never heard of Richard Coyle before, but he was a fantastic Moist von Lipwig.

Edit: Actually I just found out that I did read & like some Discworld books that came out not long before and after Going Postal. Still didn't like that one much.

Anyways, I'm kind of a Pratchett fanboy. I read most of his catalogue as a teenager. That was quite an important part of my childhood. Good times.
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MARSDUDE
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:17 pm
Posts: 1705
Location: Canardia
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:28 pm 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
So, I've found a new a bottomless pit of the internet: Goodreads comments. Due to the very nature of the subject, these read like the exact antithesis of YouTube comments; it's a never-ending cesspool of intellectual oneupsmanship with layer upon layer of people trying to have the most academic yet iconoclastic, edgy opinions on, well, everything.

Here's a wonderful sample: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1459299


Totally. I read a one-star review for On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Basically, the reviewer (an ultra-feminist hipster type) didn't see eye-to-eye with Kerouac's morals, and so, picked apart the book in ways it wasn't meant to suffer.
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Under_Starmere
Abhorrent Fish-Man

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:00 pm
Posts: 4417
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:12 am 
 

Cool, I just won a first printing of the Urth of the New Sun in paperback! From 1988...it looks like this:

Image

Never seen this copy anywhere IRL before, so I figured it was worth $3 :P
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Grave_Wyrm
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 2211
Location: At the bottom of the lake
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:33 pm 
 

Yeah, I'd say that's worth it. Good score!
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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
Posts: 2676
Location: Orocarni
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:31 pm 
 

Is the Book of the New Sun series more sci-fi or fantasy? I've been thinking about trying it out. Been a while since I read fiction.
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