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UnserHeiligeTod
Lagompräst

Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:45 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: Colombia
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:47 pm 
 

Lokar wrote:
Hermann Hesse - Siddartha
Hermann Hesse - Demian
Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf

Good selection. Hermann Hesse is an incredible author. I remember reading Steppenwolf and Demian for the first time a few years back; I was completely taken by both stories. Too bad the current Spanish translations aren't completely accurate compared to the German originals.

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Airflla
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:55 pm
Posts: 102
Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:58 pm 
 

Currently unfinished/in-progress are these:
Arthur Schnitzler's Liebelei, it's a slow moving tale of mundane shenanigans and death from C19th, manages to suck more balls than the film... Eilandgasten by Vonne Van Der Meer and Andy McNab's Crossfire for a bit of boredom and adrenalin, respectively. I've been meaning to get stuck into a Dutch interpretation of some of Poe's short stories, but his style (and especially the meandering 'if perhaps I could and should and would be considered mad, hear' intros) and my current state of health has left it on the wayside.
I overdosed on Micheal Connolly books recently, they're cheap and go down easy but it's probably best to stop reading when your memory mushes five books into one muddle of indifferentiable stories.
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10213
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:37 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Yes, that was a brutal ending! And then, the girl asks Gersen, "what happens now?" and he says, "Nothing. It's finished." And that's it .. the quest, the mammoth undertaking, si done and there's this overwhelming sense of bleakness ... as though with a huge burden being lifted from Gersen there's no purpose and little hope of any meaningful future. Of course Vance never wastes time on drawing out endings and it's something I appreciate him for .. it's quite possible that Gersen gave all his money to the IPCC (hahahaha) and went off to start a farmer's life with Alice and Navarth the mad poet! :P


Any ending would either involve Gersen totally changing himself, or not being able to, and working for the IPCC going after more villains or something. That or perhaps going nuts and becoming obsessed with dispensing vigilante justice everywhere. Certainly an interesting question: what could he do, after having devoted his entire adult life to bringing the Demon Princes to justice? Could he go back to a normal life? Of course Gersen himself asked this question a number of times during the series. In my opinion, he'd probably try to, but fail; after a life of such excitement (and meaning), simple pleasures would pale quickly.

I think of Vance endings the way I often think of the endings to Italian horror movies. Abrupt and open-ended and kind of frustrating, but in a way that life usually tends to be. I'm curious to read the other Lyonesse books and I think you're right that they're more centred round the plot than Vance's usually are. Maybe it's just because I have a hard time with large casts of characters, but I found all the names and family associations in "Suldrun's Garden" to be a bit overwhelming and I have a feeling I'm going to be hard-pressed to remember a lot of these names when I start the second book.

..and I agree about Pratchett .. I mean he obviously loved the book in his way, but it irritated me how he just dismissed the romantic element of the plot and thought of the journey in the second half as a sort of mystical equivalent to Well's "THe Time machine", when really it is quite far from that, and the romance element is precisely what keeps the protagonist in such an obviously dangerous house to begin with! I find the religious implications to be really awesome and am glad that Hodgson didn't at all overstate them. Hell, this book is way ahead of its time if you ask me and is far more than just a haunted house tale.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10213
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:19 pm 
 

Last night I had a craving to open a new book and, after vacilating quite a bit, decided to crack into the first volume of Michael Moorcock's "Dancers at the End of Time", called "An Alien Heat". The book iss dedicated to Nik Turner, Bob Calvert, Dave Brock, Lemmy Killmeister and the other guys in Hawkwind, which I thought was pretty neat! However, upon beginning the book I noticed the same irritating elements that prevent me from fully enjoying all but a couple of the Moorcock books I've read .. namely, there's a big helping of grandiose cheese that I simply don't notice in other authors of this genre of sword-and-sorcery-decadent-dying-earth-culture fantasyy, like Jack Vance or Fritz Leiber, both of whom are titans as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, this also seems to be a romance of sorts and I'm kind of skeptical. We'll see how it goes.

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oneyoudontknow
Cum insantientibus furere necesse est.

Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 6:25 pm
Posts: 5316
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:26 pm 
 

UnserHeiligeTod wrote:
Lokar wrote:
Hermann Hesse - Siddartha
Hermann Hesse - Demian
Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf

Good selection. Hermann Hesse is an incredible author. I remember reading Steppenwolf and Demian for the first time a few years back; I was completely taken by both stories. Too bad the current Spanish translations aren't completely accurate compared to the German originals.

I am looking forward to read it soon... His book "Unter dem Rad" is also quite interesting and good written...
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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9634
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:14 am 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
It's been so long since I read an Asimov novel. I think nowadays I would rather go for some of his short stories, which really are exemplary most of the time.


Same here; I read the Foundation series years and years ago, but though I thought it was good, it frankly didn't dazzle me enough to go after the rest of his stuff. He's always struck me as a good-but-not-great SF author, and at this point I'd rather stick to the greats (of which there are still plenty I've yet to check out).

Abominatrix wrote:
I'm curious to read the other Lyonesse books and I think you're right that they're more centred round the plot than Vance's usually are. Maybe it's just because I have a hard time with large casts of characters, but I found all the names and family associations in "Suldrun's Garden" to be a bit overwhelming and I have a feeling I'm going to be hard-pressed to remember a lot of these names when I start the second book.


Lots of characters is certainly unusual for Vance; I don't think there were more than ten in any one of the Demon Princes books. Well, more on this subject when I finish the Viriconium short stories and finally get started on the first Lyonesse book.
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oneyoudontknow
Cum insantientibus furere necesse est.

Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 6:25 pm
Posts: 5316
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:04 am 
 

I have just completed Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square) written by Thomas Bernhard; an Austrian author. This book is a rant on the austrian society, it is a pamphlete against the whole Austrian nation, their culture, their politics, against everything in their country.

Bernhard stated that Austria is entirely nationalsocialistic and that thinsg have become for the worst since 1945.

Some quotes:

Wer Visionen hat, der benötigt einen Arzt
He who has visions needs a doctor.


In Österreich musst du entweder katholisch
oder nationalsozialistisch sein
alles andere wird nicht geduldet
alles andere wird vernichtet
und zwar hunderprozentig katholisch
und hundertprozentig nationalsozialistisch

In Austria you have to be either catholic
or nationasocialistic
everything beside this will not be tolerated
everything beside this will be extinct
in fact 100% catholic
and 100% nationalsocialistic

sechseinhalb Millionen Debite und Tobsüchtige
six-and-a-half million morons and raving madmen

He goes on and on in this book in insulting the whole country in this manner. The book is really amusing to read and I can imagine that a lot of people in this country were outraged by what Bernhard is writing. A lot of aspects that he is emphazising can also be transfered to Germany and to Switzerland; yet the latter not in full extent.

The text is written for a stage play and therefore it is not like a story, but merely of dialogues, whereas most of them are rather written in monologues. I like the way Bernhard writes his texts and how he is able to get the message across. It is also the first time that I have ever read a book without any punctuation. Like I have written before the book was written for the stage and perhaps therefore it was not important to add any of them; even exclamation marks to emphasize certain aspects of the line of thoughts are missing.

The story is about the death of a professor, the preparation of the funeral feast and the meeting of the relatives.

A nice book.. indeed... especially as its style is something out of the common.
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AurvandiL
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:22 am
Posts: 1000
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:37 am 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Last night I had a craving to open a new book and, after vacilating quite a bit, decided to crack into the first volume of Michael Moorcock's "Dancers at the End of Time", called "An Alien Heat". The book iss dedicated to Nik Turner, Bob Calvert, Dave Brock, Lemmy Killmeister and the other guys in Hawkwind, which I thought was pretty neat! However, upon beginning the book I noticed the same irritating elements that prevent me from fully enjoying all but a couple of the Moorcock books I've read .. namely, there's a big helping of grandiose cheese that I simply don't notice in other authors of this genre of sword-and-sorcery-decadent-dying-earth-culture fantasyy, like Jack Vance or Fritz Leiber, both of whom are titans as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, this also seems to be a romance of sorts and I'm kind of skeptical. We'll see how it goes.


Ach, I wanted to get it, I probably will, but I'd interessed in someone's opinion.
Speaking of Moorcock, I have the 6 Corum Books (in special aquarelle cover, Atalantes edition from 1989) waiting for me in my favourite second hand bookstore.

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Deucalion
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:29 pm
Posts: 1235
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:19 pm 
 

I'm supposed to be reading 'The Adventures of Huckaberry Finn' for a book report, but I don't really care for it that much.

The last book I actually read all the way through was probably 'All Quiet on the Western Front'.

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Lord_Hate
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:09 am
Posts: 66
Location: Iraq
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:26 pm 
 

Recently begun reading Emma by Jane Austen. Did anyone catch the new adaption of Mansfield Park on masterpiece theatre a couple weeks ago, btw? I knew it was going to suck, but god damn, it was surreally bad. That Austen Regrets thing was ok, but they really hyped up the role of the doctor
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Thulsa_Doom
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:19 pm
Posts: 70
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:51 pm 
 

A mate of mine lended me Neil Gaiman's American Gods and I'm enjoying it so far. I've heard a lot about Gaiman but this is my first time reading anything by him. Anyone have any opinions on him?

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Lord_Hate
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:09 am
Posts: 66
Location: Iraq
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:37 pm 
 

Thulsa_Doom wrote:
A mate of mine lended me Neil Gaiman's American Gods and I'm enjoying it so far. I've heard a lot about Gaiman but this is my first time reading anything by him. Anyone have any opinions on him?


Give his book "Neverwhere" a try as well.
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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9634
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:55 pm 
 

Neil Gaiman is good, but in my opinion overhyped. I can't fault his taste, though; he wrote introductions for both of the last two fantasy books I read (Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter and M. John Harrison's Viriconium). Needless to say, I was a bit surprised at the coincidence. He apparently even knows Harrison personally.
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Veddartha
Apocalyptic Destroyer of Angels

Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:12 pm
Posts: 922
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:36 pm 
 

UnserHeiligeTod wrote:
Lokar wrote:
Hermann Hesse - Siddartha
Hermann Hesse - Demian
Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf

Good selection. Hermann Hesse is an incredible author. I remember reading Steppenwolf and Demian for the first time a few years back; I was completely taken by both stories. Too bad the current Spanish translations aren't completely accurate compared to the German originals.


The definitive Hesse book is The Glass Bed Game. It fucking owns the rest of his work, which is quite an accomplishment considering how good his other books are.

This thread has a serious lack of Marcel Proust. I'm currently at the half of the third book of In Search For The Lost Time. One of the best fictions, if not the best, of the XX century.
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Count_Venereal wrote:
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WASP on the Supreme Court right now!


I will vote for whoever makes this happen.

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Veddartha
Apocalyptic Destroyer of Angels

Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:12 pm
Posts: 922
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:41 pm 
 

Lokar wrote:
William Faulkner - Light in August


I haven't checked that one yet but the last book I read was The sound and the fury and it was unbelivable good. One of the best novels written using the Stream of Conciousness; the chapters concerning Benji and the guy who was in love with his sister were the highlights of the book.
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Under_Starmere wrote:
I pity the man who drinks anything that tastes like cleaning product.

Count_Venereal wrote:
Nolan_B wrote:
WASP on the Supreme Court right now!


I will vote for whoever makes this happen.

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Lokar
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:12 pm
Posts: 129
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:09 am 
 

Veddartha wrote:
The definitive Hesse book is The Glass Bed Game. It fucking owns the rest of his work, which is quite an accomplishment considering how good his other books are.

This thread has a serious lack of Marcel Proust. I'm currently at the half of the third book of In Search For The Lost Time. One of the best fictions, if not the best, of the XX century.


Yeah, my parents have been telling me to read The Glass Bead Game for ages, but I can't seem to find an affordable copy anywhere. If it's as awesome as I've heard, I'll surely want a copy for my own.

You really deserve some credit for ploughing through that Proust. Someday, I'll embark upon an epic quest to read the major works of all those incomprehensible modernist authors. I've got Joyce's Ulysses sitting in my shelf, but I'm afraid to open it.

Veddartha wrote:
Lokar wrote:
William Faulkner - Light in August


I haven't checked that one yet but the last book I read was The sound and the fury and it was unbelivable good. One of the best novels written using the Stream of Conciousness; the chapters concerning Benji and the guy who was in love with his sister were the highlights of the book.


I just read The Sound and the Fury a few months ago myself, which was the reason behind my recent Faulkner obsession. Light in August isn't really a typical Faulkner novel, which is why I'd recommend reading stuff like As I Lay Dying and The Wild Palms first.
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BeforeGod wrote:
Osmium wrote:
josephus wrote:
Os, so do you fancy some butsecks with Swiney, eh? :D
Platonic butsecks, yes.
I thought you could only do that with little boys.

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AnimalBones
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:03 am
Posts: 80
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:34 am 
 

Just started reading Martin Gilbert's 'World War II', eminently readable with (thus far) an interesting mix of geopolitics, military strategy, and personal anecdotes all mixed up to keep it interesting. An improvement on Steven Ambrose who weighed in far too heavily on the personal anecdotes. When I'm done with this I want to do either Winston Churchill's 'History of the Second World War' or 'History of the English Speaking People'-either of those will see me through the rest of the year. Anyone read either of these Churchill masterpieces?

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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 3832
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:43 am 
 

"Conan shivered; he was in a temple of some Stygian god, if not Set himself, then someone only less grim. And the shrine did not lack an occupant. In the midst of the great hall stood a black stone altar, massive, somber, without carvings or ornament, and upon it coiled one of the great sacred serpents, its iridescent scales shimmering in the lamplight."

REH + Keen of the Crow infiltrating my ears is most \m/
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Morrigan
Crone of War

Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2002 7:27 am
Posts: 9617
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:15 am 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Anyone here familiar with David Lindsay's book "A Voyage to Arcturus"? It's possibly my favourite book of all time, although Lindsay isn't really my favourite writer. It is a mystical journey like no other before it and it left me with emotions and conflicts that no other book has. I will say that it's both beautiful and painful, wonderous and incredibly grim because etc.


I bought that book based on recommendations by VileRancour and other folks whose judgment I trust, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I just have way too many things to read and not enough time. :(

failsafeman wrote:
The last two especially suffer from a lack of interesting characters; with no Paul or Leto to carry them, they falter.


I completely disagree. Heretics and Chapterhouse are the two best Dune books since the first one, IMO, though I know I'm nearly alone in that. Lack of interesting characters? I for one was very fond of Odrade, and Duncan's always cool. And it's just so damn epic and intriguing... I feel the worse Dune book is God-Emperor. Horribly tedious, that one. Sadly necessary for the last two, to understand what the whole Golden Path is about, but reading a novel-length rambling philosophical essay with no plot is just... :ugh: Thankfully I greatly enjoyed the last two.

Funny anecdote: HellBlazer more or less recently read the first Dune book. We idly talked about it, and I mentioned Duncan Idaho. He said something to the effect of, "oh yeah, him... he sure didn't last very long.". He couldn't understand why I found that statement so funny. :D


Thulsa_Doom wrote:
A mate of mine lended me Neil Gaiman's American Gods and I'm enjoying it so far. I've heard a lot about Gaiman but this is my first time reading anything by him. Anyone have any opinions on him?


American Gods is one of my most hated book of all-time. In fact, I really cannot stand Neil Gaiman at all. Neverwhere was all right, but not that great (the concept was good but it could have been SO much better), and the rest of his work... argh. I'll spare everyone a rant, unless they're interested, but I cannot fathom how anyone could like American Gods.
Even more annoying is that my boyfriend is a big fan of the guy. :annoyed: Nobody's perfect...


I'm not currently reading any fiction, actually, other than the Canterbury Tales on and off, and some occult-horror thing from the 50's that I barely started (haven't progressed due to lack of time) that a friend lent me, I forgot the title. Last fiction I read was probably Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion, and it's easily some of the best science-fiction I've ever read. I haven't read the Endymion novels, but the first two are very ambitious: mixing things such as galactic world-building, philosophy and religion, singularity (super-advanced AI infrastructure), rebellion for the love of the homeland, true parental love, odes to John Keats and poetry in general, badass action... AND time travel? You'd think you'd get a big pretentious mess, but in truth, it works, and really well at all.

Right now I'm actively reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, and Story by Robert McKee. Both are really interesting and enlightening.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9634
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:37 am 
 

Morrigan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
The last two especially suffer from a lack of interesting characters; with no Paul or Leto to carry them, they falter.


I completely disagree. Heretics and Chapterhouse are the two best Dune books since the first one, IMO, though I know I'm nearly alone in that. Lack of interesting characters? I for one was very fond of Odrade, and Duncan's always cool. And it's just so damn epic and intriguing...


I've never liked any of the Bene Gesserit characters, except for Jessica way back in the older books. Something about them, maybe it's their fanatacism, maybe it's the incredibly annoying way they seem completely infallible (hell, Paul and Leto fucked up more than the Bene Gesserit did in the later books). Like how they almost magically overcome all their foes, such as the bit where they infer the whole Bene Tleilax philosophy and culture, which has remained hidden for centuries, based on a little bit their leader says (yea, he was stupid to trust them, but again, you never see the Bene Gesserit making any mistakes like that). That old general guy was pretty boring and one-sided, too; "I AM SUPER LOYAL, RAWR!" And that was basically the extent of his character. Duncan Idaho was definitely cool, I do agree with that, but he was already established long before the last two. Also, the epic-ness and intrigue was certainly good; but again that's hardly new for the last two books, and personally I feel they're weaker than the previous because of their comparative lack of good characters. Don't get me wrong, I definitely still think they're good, I just don't think they're as good as the previous ones. Maybe it's just because deep down I don't like the idea of powerful women. :lol: Again, though, I did quite like Jessica, but that was because she wasn't just a fanatic Bene Gesserit robot; the conflict of her loyalty to the sisterhood and the love of her family is what made her compelling.

Morrigan wrote:
I feel the worse Dune book is God-Emperor. Horribly tedious, that one. Sadly necessary for the last two, to understand what the whole Golden Path is about, but reading a novel-length rambling philosophical essay with no plot is just... :ugh: Thankfully I greatly enjoyed the last two.


Rambling philosophical essay with no plot? There was tons of plot, and the intrigue was at least as complex as with the later ones. The only difference is, instead of the looming threat of the Honored Matres, you had the crushing oppression of the God-Emperor, and the rebels fighting directly back against him. I always greatly enjoy that book.

Morrigan wrote:
Funny anecdote: HellBlazer more or less recently read the first Dune book. We idly talked about it, and I mentioned Duncan Idaho. He said something to the effect of, "oh yeah, him... he sure didn't last very long.". He couldn't understand why I found that statement so funny. :D


Hahahahahaha! Little does he know, Idaho will only become the SINGLE CHARACTER TO APPEAR IN ALL THE BOOKS! :lol:


Morrigan wrote:
I'll spare everyone a rant, unless they're interested, but I cannot fathom how anyone could like American Gods.


Well, I haven't read any of his novels, but I did enjoy Sandman (though yes, it's pretentious, and goes off on tangents far too much). Is your dislike of him limited just to his novels, or do you include his comics?
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Seriously, why ban me??????? That topic had nothing wrong with it! Theres something wrong with you i can tell you! You're immoral banning of my account! Anyways, i'm creating my own metal arcives.

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UnserHeiligeTod
Lagompräst

Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:45 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: Colombia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:56 pm 
 

Lokar wrote:
Veddartha wrote:
The definitive Hesse book is The Glass Bed Game. It fucking owns the rest of his work, which is quite an accomplishment considering how good his other books are.

This thread has a serious lack of Marcel Proust. I'm currently at the half of the third book of In Search For The Lost Time. One of the best fictions, if not the best, of the XX century.


Yeah, my parents have been telling me to read The Glass Bead Game for ages, but I can't seem to find an affordable copy anywhere. If it's as awesome as I've heard, I'll surely want a copy for my own.

You really deserve some credit for ploughing through that Proust. Someday, I'll embark upon an epic quest to read the major works of all those incomprehensible modernist authors. I've got Joyce's Ulysses sitting in my shelf, but I'm afraid to open it.

Indeed, I've heard a lot of praise towards The Glass Bead Game, although I've never come across a copy of it. For me though, Steppenwolf remains his masterpiece.

I thoroughly second Joyce's Ulysses as well. It is very difficult to completely understand and follow the plot, as it is so open-ended, but it is an incredible work nonetheless.

Right now I'm reading Stefan Zweig's 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman. So far, the book proceeds very slowly. The narration style is a bit boring, although the main characters are interesting. We'll see how it develops.

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Morrigan
Crone of War

Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2002 7:27 am
Posts: 9617
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:08 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Maybe it's just because deep down I don't like the idea of powerful women. :lol: Again, though, I did quite like Jessica, but that was because she wasn't just a fanatic Bene Gesserit robot; the conflict of her loyalty to the sisterhood and the love of her family is what made her compelling.

In truth, I didn't think Jessica was nearly developed enough in that aspect, he could have done so much more with that conflict of interest... but maybe it's because I've been spoiled by GRRM's perfection of characterisation. Neither were all the other characters, in truth - character development was not Frank Herbert's strong point. Odrade was cool because it seemed that you got into her thoughts more than you did you with the rest.

failsafeman wrote:
Rambling philosophical essay with no plot? There was tons of plot,

Oh come on, at least 80% of the book was about Leto's monologues and speeches. There were pages upon pages of that. Its plot was mininal at best, there certainly wasn't "tons" of it. I know some enjoyed it, but I found it horribly tedious and meandering.



failsafeman wrote:
Well, I haven't read any of his novels, but I did enjoy Sandman (though yes, it's pretentious, and goes off on tangents far too much). Is your dislike of him limited just to his novels, or do you include his comics?


I haven't read a lot of Sandman - just the first TPB. I didn't like it one bit - it bored me to tears and I found it a bit pretentious. Maybe it gets better, but I have no reason to give that overrated fucker another chance. :D

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ReigningChaos
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 7:36 pm
Posts: 339
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:23 pm 
 

I finished Chuck Palahniuk's Rant. Here is a short review I wrote for Amazon (my first ever).

Three words: What a disappointment! Choke is one of my favorite books, and Fight Club wasn't bad either. But Rant is bad. It's written as an "oral biography," and boy, does the gimmick get old in a hurry. The characters are cardboard as can be, so two-dimensional that if you turn them ninety degrees, I suspect they'd disappear. Even Rant is a wimpy character. Why would you want to write a book about the guy? His life story may have been salvageable in a traditional format and (as much as it pains me to say it) in the hands of a better writer. If you're in 6 - 10th grade, and haven't read any other Palahniuk stories, give Rant a shot. You might enjoy it, and even have a thought or two provoked. Then run to the library and read Choke. However, for everybody else: This is strictly a "been there, done that" affair. You will find nothing in here to challenge you, except for some weak appeals to ignorance involving the possibility of time travel, and some equally unconvincing "well, people used to think the earth was flat!" reasoning. I thought I was going to enjoy this book, but I didn't. For anyone who was less than enamored with Palahniuk's other work, stay away. This one isn't going to change your mind. For rabid Palahniuk fans...you've probably already read the book. If not, you may enjoy Rant...just expect the same Palahniuk angst, but with less conviction.

Despite my disappointment, I will probably read his next book anyway. I'm going to start Toni Morrison's Beloved tonight, for english class. I'm looking forward to it though. Still plowing my way through The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong, and I'm almost done with volume II of the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:24 pm 
 

Morrigan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
Maybe it's just because deep down I don't like the idea of powerful women. :lol: Again, though, I did quite like Jessica, but that was because she wasn't just a fanatic Bene Gesserit robot; the conflict of her loyalty to the sisterhood and the love of her family is what made her compelling.

In truth, I didn't think Jessica was nearly developed enough in that aspect, he could have done so much more with that conflict of interest... but maybe it's because I've been spoiled by GRRM's perfection of characterisation. Neither were all the other characters, in truth - character development was not Frank Herbert's strong point. Odrade was cool because it seemed that you got into her thoughts more than you did you with the rest.

Well, it's true she could've been developed more, but in my opinion that conflict was much more interesting than any thoughts we got from Odrade. And after all, Jessica was only a secondary character. And yes, characterization, with perhaps certain exceptions (Paul, Leto, and Duncan, maybe some others) was not Herbert's strong suit, but of course that wasn't the focus of the books; rather the focus was the political intrigue and the society. While GRRM obviously focuses on the political intrigue, he gets the freedom to explore his characters more fully from relying on a largely historically-accurate medieval society, rather than a completely sci-fi one. Yea, you probably knew all that, but how often to I get do discuss this stuff? :p

Morrigan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
Rambling philosophical essay with no plot? There was tons of plot,

Oh come on, at least 80% of the book was about Leto's monologues and speeches. There were pages upon pages of that. Its plot was mininal at best, there certainly wasn't "tons" of it. I know some enjoyed it, but I found it horribly tedious and meandering.


Ha, well, it has been 4 or so years since I last re-read the series, so I can't comment on the exact percentage; but I always really enjoyed the God-Emperor of Dune, and I guess it just comes down to that. To really give you a better argument, I'd have to re-read the series, and that's not something I'm about to do in the near future (I don't even have my copies with me).


Morrigan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
Well, I haven't read any of his novels, but I did enjoy Sandman (though yes, it's pretentious, and goes off on tangents far too much). Is your dislike of him limited just to his novels, or do you include his comics?

I haven't read a lot of Sandman - just the first TPB. I didn't like it one bit - it bored me to tears and I found it a bit pretentious. Maybe it gets better, but I have no reason to give that overrated fucker another chance. :D

It definitely gets better as it goes on...the pretentiousness doesn't disappear, but in my opinion it does get more exciting. For someone who's read all these other Vertigo titles (Transmetropolitan, Preacher, many more I'm sure) I'm rather surprised you haven't even read the most famous one. Hell, just download it on bittorrent or something. Also, reading it sets up Lucifer, which is one of Vertigo's best series ever, in my humble opinion. :)
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BM_DM
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:08 pm 
 

Just to stop this thread falling off the first page...

I bought Paul Johnson's Creators on a whim on Friday, and am thoroughly enjoying it, although not always for the reasons the author intended.

To say that Johnson is immodest would be a gross understatement; he liberally seasons the text with self-aggrandizing references to his own erudition and well-connected social circle. Read in a certain way, I found his pomposity to be roll-around-on-the-floor hilarious, but it could just as easily irritate the crap out of you.

I just had to get over the preface wherein the author posits that creative genius mirrors the perfection of the xian god, which I'd managed to miss in the shop, but I'm glad I bought it anyway. His seventeen mini-biographies of such creative luminaries as Chaucer, Dürer, Shakespeare, Bach, Austen, Tiffany, Eliot, Picasso and Disney(!) are highly entertaining miniatures of the biographic form. The introduction in particular is really entertaining; I will never again be able to read Ibsen without imagining him out on his constitutionals with all his literary prize medals (mostly self-solicited) pinned to his chest, Dickens without seeing him at his desk gurning into a mirror whilst he matched expressions and voices to his characters, nor listen to Wagner without envisioning him writing yet another begging letter whilst bedecked in a pink satin waistcoat.
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Sir_General_Flashman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:15 pm 
 

I am enjoying George Macdonald Fraser right now, his books are remarkably insightful and fair to the populations of the British and the Indigenous cultures.
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BM_DM
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:22 pm 
 

Sir_General_Flashman wrote:
I am enjoying George Macdonald Fraser right now, his books are remarkably insightful and fair to the populations of the British and the Indigenous cultures.

I shouldn't think that the latter of the two groups you mention turned out in any great number to mourn his recent passing.
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Sir_General_Flashman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:28 pm 
 

BM_DM wrote:
Sir_General_Flashman wrote:
I am enjoying George Macdonald Fraser right now, his books are remarkably insightful and fair to the populations of the British and the Indigenous cultures.

I shouldn't think that the latter of the two groups you mention turned out in any great number to mourn his recent passing.


Probably not, but, especially in the Great Game, he is fair to Sepoys and the British.
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ryan_the_snake
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:37 pm 
 

Lokar wrote:
Veddartha wrote:
The definitive Hesse book is The Glass Bed Game. It fucking owns the rest of his work, which is quite an accomplishment considering how good his other books are.

This thread has a serious lack of Marcel Proust. I'm currently at the half of the third book of In Search For The Lost Time. One of the best fictions, if not the best, of the XX century.


Yeah, my parents have been telling me to read The Glass Bead Game for ages, but I can't seem to find an affordable copy anywhere. If it's as awesome as I've heard, I'll surely want a copy for my own.

You really deserve some credit for ploughing through that Proust. Someday, I'll embark upon an epic quest to read the major works of all those incomprehensible modernist authors. I've got Joyce's Ulysses sitting in my shelf, but I'm afraid to open it.

Veddartha wrote:
Lokar wrote:
William Faulkner - Light in August


I haven't checked that one yet but the last book I read was The sound and the fury and it was unbelivable good. One of the best novels written using the Stream of Conciousness; the chapters concerning Benji and the guy who was in love with his sister were the highlights of the book.


I just read The Sound and the Fury a few months ago myself, which was the reason behind my recent Faulkner obsession. Light in August isn't really a typical Faulkner novel, which is why I'd recommend reading stuff like As I Lay Dying and The Wild Palms first.


How do you rate "Absalom, Absalom" compared to other Faulkner books? It's the only one I own, and I haven't read it yet. Should I pick up a different book first to help get a feel for Faulkner or just go for "Absalom"?

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Lokar
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:10 am 
 

ryan_the_snake wrote:
How do you rate "Absalom, Absalom" compared to other Faulkner books? It's the only one I own, and I haven't read it yet. Should I pick up a different book first to help get a feel for Faulkner or just go for "Absalom"?


That one I haven't read yet, but I've understood that it revolves around the same themes as his other major works, uses the same sort of writing techniques, and is even narrated by a character who plays a pivotal part in The Sound and the Fury, which I consider Faulkner's magnum opus of sorts.

It's really up to you, but I don't see reading Absalom first as a bad idea at all.
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:12 pm 
 

Morrigan wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Anyone here familiar with David Lindsay's book "A Voyage to Arcturus"? It's possibly my favourite book of all time, although Lindsay isn't really my favourite writer. It is a mystical journey like no other before it and it left me with emotions and conflicts that no other book has. I will say that it's both beautiful and painful, wonderous and incredibly grim because etc.


I bought that book based on recommendations by VileRancour and other folks whose judgment I trust, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I just have way too many things to read and not enough time. :(

That's fantastic. Really, I'll be happy if a lot more people simply read this book, to say nothing of actually liking it, which I realise may be a small percentage thereof. A guy I know started reading it and he said it was just "too weird" for him, which is baffling to me because he often gets into some pretty bizarre stuff. Anyway, read the book sometime and post your thoughts??

Quote:

failsafeman wrote:
The last two especially suffer from a lack of interesting characters; with no Paul or Leto to carry them, they falter.


I completely disagree. Heretics and Chapterhouse are the two best Dune books since the first one, IMO, though I know I'm nearly alone in that. Lack of interesting characters? I for one was very fond of Odrade, and Duncan's always cool. And it's just so damn epic and intriguing... I feel the worse Dune book is God-Emperor. Horribly tedious, that one. Sadly necessary for the last two, to understand what the whole Golden Path is about, but reading a novel-length rambling philosophical essay with no plot is just... :ugh: Thankfully I greatly enjoyed the last two.

Funny anecdote: HellBlazer more or less recently read the first Dune book. We idly talked about it, and I mentioned Duncan Idaho. He said something to the effect of, "oh yeah, him... he sure didn't last very long.". He couldn't understand why I found that statement so funny. :D

:Lol: that is indeed just too good. Mind you, I curtailed by Dune reading part-way through "Heretics" .. I was really young and I actually don't know how I managed to get through "God EMperor" at the time and even more or less enjoy it, as you're right, upon re-reading it later it definitely felt like the weakest of the series thus far. I have heard others speak very positively about "Chapterhouse" in particular and I do intend to read it sometime.

Quote:
Thulsa_Doom wrote:
A mate of mine lended me Neil Gaiman's American Gods and I'm enjoying it so far. I've heard a lot about Gaiman but this is my first time reading anything by him. Anyone have any opinions on him?


American Gods is one of my most hated book of all-time. In fact, I really cannot stand Neil Gaiman at all. Neverwhere was all right, but not that great (the concept was good but it could have been SO much better), and the rest of his work... argh. I'll spare everyone a rant, unless they're interested, but I cannot fathom how anyone could like American Gods.
Even more annoying is that my boyfriend is a big fan of the guy. :annoyed: Nobody's perfect...


Damn, I too think Neil's overhyped, but "American Gods" was a reasonably enjoyable read for me and I definitely preferred it to "neverwhere", which had about it this overly familiar, Douglas Adams-like flavour that I just did not warm to. I do feell that "American Gods" was a bit of a cop-out, though, and your description of "good concept, poor execution" is I would argue more fitting for this novel.

Oh man, I really loved the "Canterbury Tales" for the most part. I appreciate how different and contrasting the moods of the stories are and how they each reflect something of the character of the teller, or so it seems ... and there's some pretty funny/bawdy stuff in there if I recall. Damn, it's been so long. Btw, I think Dan Simmons clearly likes it too .. going by the structure of "Hyperion", anyway.

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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:17 pm 
 

BM_DM wrote:
Just to stop this thread falling off the first page...

I bought Paul Johnson's Creators on a whim on Friday, and am thoroughly enjoying it, although not always for the reasons the author intended.

To say that Johnson is immodest would be a gross understatement; he liberally seasons the text with self-aggrandizing references to his own erudition and well-connected social circle. Read in a certain way, I found his pomposity to be roll-around-on-the-floor hilarious, but it could just as easily irritate the crap out of you.

I just had to get over the preface wherein the author posits that creative genius mirrors the perfection of the xian god, which I'd managed to miss in the shop, but I'm glad I bought it anyway. His seventeen mini-biographies of such creative luminaries as Chaucer, Dürer, Shakespeare, Bach, Austen, Tiffany, Eliot, Picasso and Disney(!) are highly entertaining miniatures of the biographic form. The introduction in particular is really entertaining; I will never again be able to read Ibsen without imagining him out on his constitutionals with all his literary prize medals (mostly self-solicited) pinned to his chest, Dickens without seeing him at his desk gurning into a mirror whilst he matched expressions and voices to his characters, nor listen to Wagner without envisioning him writing yet another begging letter whilst bedecked in a pink satin waistcoat.


hahahah...that's sure got some chuckles from me. :D

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alexanderthegreat
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:34 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:22 pm 
 

Morrigan wrote:
American Gods is one of my most hated book of all-time. In fact, I really cannot stand Neil Gaiman at all. Neverwhere was all right, but not that great (the concept was good but it could have been SO much better), and the rest of his work... argh. I'll spare everyone a rant, unless they're interested, but I cannot fathom how anyone could like American Gods.


I don't know why, but I somehow knew that you hated American Gods. I really tried to like it (it had freaking Odin in it dammit!) but for some reason I just couldn't get into it.

Quote:
I am re-reading my Conan books and I have to come to a conclusion that Howard was a much better writer than it is generally conceived. His character constructions are fairly obvious (Leiber was much better than him in this) but the construction of the stories and their pacing is spectacular.


Damn right he was. Some people have this view of Howard being just a superficial pulp writer who wrote airheaded adventures, but a closer look reveals a whole lot of subtext about civilization, barbarism, the uncaring nature of the universe, tragic heroism and the like. In addition to the brilliant pacing and action, of course.

Lieber rules. Oddly enough I never liked Fafhrd and the Mouser, I always preferred his horrors and one-offs.

Quote:
Really good stuff - but I admit that his absolute top in atmospheric, grim and dark writing was Solomon Kane. That character just has the design and aura that screams "Cool!".


Solomon Kane is indeed a fantastic character, full of contradictions and mystery but still rounded and convincing. Keeping the tradition of Howard adaptations, the movie will probably be shite. :annoyed:

For more grim Howard, read his Cormac Fitzgeoffrey tales Hawks of Outremer and Blood of Belchazzar. Any myths that Howard "glorified" violence are immediately dispelled by these tales saturated in the brutality, callousness and barbarity of war. Heck, just about all his historical tales are full of this sober, grim view of war.

Quote:
"Conan shivered; he was in a temple of some Stygian god, if not Set himself, then someone only less grim. And the shrine did not lack an occupant. In the midst of the great hall stood a black stone altar, massive, somber, without carvings or ornament, and upon it coiled one of the great sacred serpents, its iridescent scales shimmering in the lamplight."


Hour of the Dragon is in my top 5. :headbang:

I really wish I could get more A. Merritt stuff. I finally tracked down "The Ship of Ishtar" and Crom's Fecking Teeth it's good. I'm barely a quarter through and it ranks along the best fantasy novels I've read.
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Morrigan
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:13 am 
 

Whoa damn, I forgot all about this thread. Some quick replies:

failsafeman wrote:
While GRRM obviously focuses on the political intrigue, he gets the freedom to explore his characters more fully from relying on a largely historically-accurate medieval society, rather than a completely sci-fi one. Yea, you probably knew all that, but how often to I get do discuss this stuff? :p

I'm not sure what the setting has to do with it? You speak as if writing in one setting gives an author an advantage in certain aspects (such as characterisation)? I'm not sure I follow.

Quote:
It definitely gets better as it goes on...the pretentiousness doesn't disappear, but in my opinion it does get more exciting. For someone who's read all these other Vertigo titles (Transmetropolitan, Preacher, many more I'm sure) I'm rather surprised you haven't even read the most famous one. Hell, just download it on bittorrent or something. Also, reading it sets up Lucifer, which is one of Vertigo's best series ever, in my humble opinion. :)

HellBlazer is unfortunately a big Gaiman fan, and so he has all of the main series. I could just read his books. But frankly, I can't say that the prospect interests me much...

Abominatrix wrote:
That's fantastic. Really, I'll be happy if a lot more people simply read this book, to say nothing of actually liking it, which I realise may be a small percentage thereof. A guy I know started reading it and he said it was just "too weird" for him, which is baffling to me because he often gets into some pretty bizarre stuff. Anyway, read the book sometime and post your thoughts??

I will, someday! :puppy:

Quote:
Damn, I too think Neil's overhyped, but "American Gods" was a reasonably enjoyable read for me and I definitely preferred it to "neverwhere", which had about it this overly familiar, Douglas Adams-like flavour that I just did not warm to. I do feell that "American Gods" was a bit of a cop-out, though, and your description of "good concept, poor execution" is I would argue more fitting for this novel.

Actually, yes, that applies to American Gods too, but I felt that Neverwhere was at least a decent pulpy little read, while American Gods made me want to shoot someone and then fall into a coma soon after. I like Douglas Adams, though, maybe that's where we differ.

Quote:
Oh man, I really loved the "Canterbury Tales" for the most part. I appreciate how different and contrasting the moods of the stories are and how they each reflect something of the character of the teller, or so it seems ... and there's some pretty funny/bawdy stuff in there if I recall. Damn, it's been so long. Btw, I think Dan Simmons clearly likes it too .. going by the structure of "Hyperion", anyway.

Oh yes, the first thing that came to mind when the priest started telling his tale was the Canterbury Tales. And yes, those tales have some surprisingly bawdy moments, that showed medieval folks weren't really the ones uptight about sexuality - that was in the Renaissance and Victorian era. :D

alexanderthegreat wrote:
I don't know why, but I somehow knew that you hated American Gods. I really tried to like it (it had freaking Odin in it dammit!) but for some reason I just couldn't get into it.

Haha, I know! I feel that it makes it even worse somehow. How can a book with Odin as one of the main characters be so bad? Massive amount of FAIL right there.


On another note, I just finished reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. There has been somewhat of a buzz on teh internets about it, which might have otherwise triggered alarm bells in my head, but reliable folks recommended it to me so I bought it and... wow. Very very cool stuff. You know, most fantasy sucks shit, and other than George RR Martin and Robin Hobb I feel that there's no truly great author in the genre, so I am very glad I gave this new young writer a chance. He sure knows how to weave a convincing and engrossing tale, and I just love the black humour in it. When I first read that it was about a "band of thieves", I thought, "oh great, here comes the romanticized Dungeons & Dragons campaign of "noble" thieves and their wacky adventures", but thankfully it's absolutely nothing of the sort - he skillfully reverses many clichés. I shall definitely pick up the following tome.

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BM_DM
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Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:47 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:48 am 
 

Morrigan wrote:
...other than George RR Martin and Robin Hobb I feel that there's no truly great author in the genre

I'd suggest that there are one or two more. Some of them are even alive. :hyper:

Of the entries I've read, Gene Wolfe, Hope Mirrlees, John Crowley, Lord Dunsany, Jonathan Carroll and Ken Grimwood were great. In fact, that's just about a 100% strike rate from what I've read so far. The rest are on the slush pile. More of a slush mountain, really.

The only title I didn't get on with was Dan Simmons' 'Song of Kali'.
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Abominatrix
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:54 pm 
 

alexanderthegreat wrote:
Morrigan wrote:
American Gods is one of my most hated book of all-time. In fact, I really cannot stand Neil Gaiman at all. Neverwhere was all right, but not that great (the concept was good but it could have been SO much better), and the rest of his work... argh. I'll spare everyone a rant, unless they're interested, but I cannot fathom how anyone could like American Gods.


I don't know why, but I somehow knew that you hated American Gods. I really tried to like it (it had freaking Odin in it dammit!) but for some reason I just couldn't get into it.

Quote:
I am re-reading my Conan books and I have to come to a conclusion that Howard was a much better writer than it is generally conceived. His character constructions are fairly obvious (Leiber was much better than him in this) but the construction of the stories and their pacing is spectacular.


Damn right he was. Some people have this view of Howard being just a superficial pulp writer who wrote airheaded adventures, but a closer look reveals a whole lot of subtext about civilization, barbarism, the uncaring nature of the universe, tragic heroism and the like. In addition to the brilliant pacing and action, of course.

Lieber rules. Oddly enough I never liked Fafhrd and the Mouser, I always preferred his horrors and one-offs.

Quote:
Really good stuff - but I admit that his absolute top in atmospheric, grim and dark writing was Solomon Kane. That character just has the design and aura that screams "Cool!".


Solomon Kane is indeed a fantastic character, full of contradictions and mystery but still rounded and convincing. Keeping the tradition of Howard adaptations, the movie will probably be shite. :annoyed:

For more grim Howard, read his Cormac Fitzgeoffrey tales Hawks of Outremer and Blood of Belchazzar. Any myths that Howard "glorified" violence are immediately dispelled by these tales saturated in the brutality, callousness and barbarity of war. Heck, just about all his historical tales are full of this sober, grim view of war.

Quote:
"Conan shivered; he was in a temple of some Stygian god, if not Set himself, then someone only less grim. And the shrine did not lack an occupant. In the midst of the great hall stood a black stone altar, massive, somber, without carvings or ornament, and upon it coiled one of the great sacred serpents, its iridescent scales shimmering in the lamplight."


Hour of the Dragon is in my top 5. :headbang:

I really wish I could get more A. Merritt stuff. I finally tracked down "The Ship of Ishtar" and Crom's Fecking Teeth it's good. I'm barely a quarter through and it ranks along the best fantasy novels I've read.


Damn, do you remember which Fafhrd and Mouser stories you read? I wasn't quite enamoured at first myself, as I recall .. but now the pair has a real place of affection in my heart that few other literary characters can share. Once a tale or two really struck me suddenly even the less significant ones seemed like a huge amount of fun. Leiber can be a little bit, well, cheeky and post-modern at times, but for some reason I can let him get away with it because he's just so good and everything he does seems to be there for a reason. Read "Lean Times in Lankhmar" if you haven't .. you will laugh for an hour, I promise you. :D .. but yes, the horror tales are wonderful, and I think we already talked about "Our Lady of Darkness". I need to track down a lot more of Leiber's horror stuff.

I'm so happy to have lots more howard to read, too. Really, the man was a pulp machine, cranking out all those tales in such a short time.

"The Ship of Ishtar" is on my must-read list. I've read two Merrit books, "Dwellers in the Mirage" and "The Face in the Abyss". They were both very good, especially the former I think .. his writing does get a bit over-the-top and excessive sometimes, and you can practically see the exclamation points leaping and jumping from the pages, but his sense of wonder and really ahead-of-his-time scientific speculations are marvelous. He really does the whole "lost civilisation" angle just about better than anyone else, I think. I've also read some of Merrit's early short stories and I must say they were clearly a massive inspiration on H. P. Lovecraft, especially "The Moon Pool" and "People of the Pit".

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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:59 pm 
 

BM_DM wrote:
Morrigan wrote:
...other than George RR Martin and Robin Hobb I feel that there's no truly great author in the genre

I'd suggest that there are one or two more. Some of them are even alive. :hyper:

Of the entries I've read, Gene Wolfe, Hope Mirrlees, John Crowley, Lord Dunsany, Jonathan Carroll and Ken Grimwood were great. In fact, that's just about a 100% strike rate from what I've read so far. The rest are on the slush pile. More of a slush mountain, really.

The only title I didn't get on with was Dan Simmons' 'Song of Kali'.


How about Jack Vance? Clearly W big inspiration for Wolfe, and if real stylists in fantasy are what people are missing in the genre, and I would argue that it's at least a big factor, Vance really is the man.

I liked "SOng of Kali", but the strange thing is that it took me a while to decide that I did in fact enjoy it. I think it requires a certain amount of trying to get inside the author's head and figure out what he meant, by, for example, making his main character so hopelessly irritating and naive .. I'm pretty sure it was deliberate, and the traits that I found annoying about the book at first eventually sort of became part of its strength, if that makes sense.

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L_H
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Location: Germany
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:35 pm 
 

Just got the "Big Fat Supernatural Wedding/Honeymoon" short story collections, purely to satisfy my steadily increasing Dresden Files cravings. They better help me bridge the time till Small Favor is released. Five more weeks to go till the most entertaining series of novels I've read in the past two years or so continues. Aaaaargh.

Oh, and I also picked up Dune.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9634
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:06 pm 
 

Morrigan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
While GRRM obviously focuses on the political intrigue, he gets the freedom to explore his characters more fully from relying on a largely historically-accurate medieval society, rather than a completely sci-fi one. Yea, you probably knew all that, but how often to I get do discuss this stuff? :p


I'm not sure what the setting has to do with it? You speak as if writing in one setting gives an author an advantage in certain aspects (such as characterisation)? I'm not sure I follow.


No, I mean since it's a largely accurate medieval society, he doesn't have to spend lots of time explaining complex magical or technological systems; we know what a sword is, we know how a castle works, we know what a joust entails, etc. This gives him a lot more room to focus on other things, like the characters. Compare that to Dune, where EVERYTHING about his society has to be explained in great detail.

Abominatrix wrote:
BM_DM wrote:
Morrigan wrote:
...other than George RR Martin and Robin Hobb I feel that there's no truly great author in the genre

I'd suggest that there are one or two more. Some of them are even alive. :hyper:

Of the entries I've read, Gene Wolfe, Hope Mirrlees, John Crowley, Lord Dunsany, Jonathan Carroll and Ken Grimwood were great. In fact, that's just about a 100% strike rate from what I've read so far. The rest are on the slush pile. More of a slush mountain, really.


How about Jack Vance? Clearly W big inspiration for Wolfe, and if real stylists in fantasy are what people are missing in the genre, and I would argue that it's at least a big factor, Vance really is the man.


Yea, as much as I like GRRM, he's simply not on the same level as Vance, Wolfe, and Lord Dunsany at all (or Tolkien, for that matter). Christ, I need to re-read The Book of the New Sun+The Urth of the New Sun sometime, that series is just so fantastic. Did you ever read that last one, Abominatrix? I can't imagine reading the first four and not reading the last one, it totally wraps up the series and explains a lot of the parts that don't make sense (like the bit in that ruined city with the witches).
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antonthereaper wrote:
Seriously, why ban me??????? That topic had nothing wrong with it! Theres something wrong with you i can tell you! You're immoral banning of my account! Anyways, i'm creating my own metal arcives.

http://extrememetalencyclopedia.webs.com/

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alexanderthegreat
Metal Barbarian Dinosaur

Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:34 pm
Posts: 1916
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:24 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Damn, do you remember which Fafhrd and Mouser stories you read? I wasn't quite enamoured at first myself, as I recall .. but now the pair has a real place of affection in my heart that few other literary characters can share. Once a tale or two really struck me suddenly even the less significant ones seemed like a huge amount of fun. Leiber can be a little bit, well, cheeky and post-modern at times, but for some reason I can let him get away with it because he's just so good and everything he does seems to be there for a reason.


I think it was "Snow Women" and "Ill-Met in Lankhmar" I read, and although they were ok they didn't really impress me enough to read further.

Quote:
Read "Lean Times in Lankhmar" if you haven't .. you will laugh for an hour, I promise you. :D .. but yes, the horror tales are wonderful, and I think we already talked about "Our Lady of Darkness". I need to track down a lot more of Leiber's horror stuff.


I have the two Lankhmar Fantasy Masterworks collections, so I'll give it another go.

Quote:
"The Ship of Ishtar" is on my must-read list. I've read two Merrit books, "Dwellers in the Mirage" and "The Face in the Abyss". They were both very good, especially the former I think .. his writing does get a bit over-the-top and excessive sometimes, and you can practically see the exclamation points leaping and jumping from the pages, but his sense of wonder and really ahead-of-his-time scientific speculations are marvelous. He really does the whole "lost civilisation" angle just about better than anyone else, I think. I've also read some of Merrit's early short stories and I must say they were clearly a massive inspiration on H. P. Lovecraft, especially "The Moon Pool" and "People of the Pit".


Probably foolish to ask, but have you read The Challenge from Beyond? It's a round robin story with contributions from Howard, Lovecraft and Merritt, as well as C.L. Moore and Frank Belknap Long. It's quite a remarkable thing, with all the writer's individual styles being both distinctive and complementary to each other.
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