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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:59 am 
 

Babel-17
Samuel R. Delany

Babel-17 is about words and worlds of intimate perceptions set in Delany's flexible fiction one often wishes was not just imaginary.

This book is quite direct. It starts off quickly and gets to work, but when things veer, we're riding the wave of Delany's well-crafted stream of consciousness. He never rambles, even when people do strange things or get distracted, and even when things are dire, he retains his curious humor which at times threatens to make one feel like one is being trolled. But his story-telling is so sensitive, engaging, and just plain right-on that it's clear that this is just the way things are. Some people make bad decisions with their cosmetisurgery and can't talk right -- is that the author's fault!?

In the end, Delany's a poet. He just happens to write SF prose with good dialogue. His way with words is one of a kind.


4* - loved it

Spoiler: show
.. except for literally the last two pages, which were a total wtf .. but that's why this is in a SPOILER.

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:31 am 
 

Grave_Wyrm wrote:
It has all the traditions of a story of courage and knighthood, with all the mortality, fallibility, and fluidity of a deceptively simple story fit for outer and inner youngsters who can still learn from their legends.

Yeah, I liked the Wizard Knight duet a hell of a lot. It's awesome how Gene Wolfe incorporates just about every epic fantasy cliche there is (damsels in distress, giants, dragons, ogres, wizards, elves, knights, dark lords, etc.) yet manages to reinvent them such that they're both very original yet still recognizeable. Also, it's great how seriously he took knights and their code of chivalry - all too often fantasy authors just write about knights as if they're regular soldiers in armor and on horses, when in reality they were noblemen who had to follow rigid and complex codes of honor, etiquette, etc. He basically shows how silly the whole "farmboy grows up to be a heroic knight" thing is, because medieval society was very rigid, social mobility was essentially zero, and having noble blood was a big part of being a real knight. Sir Able is nearly killed on a few occasions when he claims to be a knight while obviously being poor and uneducated, and it's only because he has supernatural backers that he's able to make good on his claims at all.

The second book is better than the first in my opinion, very exciting, and a lot more happens.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:36 am 
 

I need help deciding what fiction to read next.

I've got:

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
Focault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Contact by Carl Sagan
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

but I'm not restricted to those, can use the library. You guys have got me intrigued by Gene Wolfe, should I start with Book of the New Sun?

as far as non-fiction is concerned I'm about to finish this clinical psych book on self-esteem. Might read Science and Sanity by Alfred Korzybski next, big influence on Frank Herbert, not sure. Also a big influence on various very important psychologists, so I guess it couldn't hurt!
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:24 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
You guys have got me intrigued by Gene Wolfe, should I start with Book of the New Sun?


Yes.

....sorry, just to be clear: YES. NOW.

His Latro in the Mist is also absolutely excellent, though very different. Can't go wrong!
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:54 pm 
 

Alright, library has the first two books in a single volume, I'll go get it.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:22 pm 
 

Yeah, the compilation edition is the one you want. It's excellently designed. The design work on the original (single) editions is painful.

I actually discovered that book while working at a library. Was just shelving stuff one day and the design was so nice I had to take a closer look. Read the synopsis and was sold! Talk about luck...
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RedMisanthrope
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:31 pm 
 

To somewhat re-add to the Faulkner discussion

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketc ... color.html

Because of the multiple points of view and Benjy's section, Faulkner originally wanted colored text to distinguish time, dialogue, and whatnot for "The Sound and the Fury". Not doable in his time, but a company has realized this dream for Faulkner, as the link shows. About 1500 copies being made with 1000+ already sold out....330 bucks. I love Faulkner, but not that much I'm afraid.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:40 pm 
 

Under_Starmere wrote:
His Latro in the Mist is also absolutely excellent, though very different. Can't go wrong!

Unfortunately it's also unfinished.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:50 pm 
 

Ohhh this compilation has all four books. Neat.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:03 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Under_Starmere wrote:
His Latro in the Mist is also absolutely excellent, though very different. Can't go wrong!

Unfortunately it's also unfinished.


Tru dat. Well you've got the third book, Soldier of Sidon, as well, but the series seems to still be ongoing beyond even that. Definitely didn't decrease my enjoyment in the reading, though.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:15 pm 
 

Yes, my enjoyment wasn't so much decreased by the reading as by the stopping.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:22 pm 
 

They haven't found the rest of the scrolls yet. Be patient.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:15 am 
 

Book of the New Sun hasn't grabbed me by the balls yet, but I am intrigued by the story, like how it's slowly unraveling without revealing too much about the characters or world.

edit: eh, the more I read the more I get into it. It reminds me of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books a tad, though obviously more in-depth, mature and probably written better.
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MazeofTorment
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:11 am 
 

RedMisanthrope wrote:
To somewhat re-add to the Faulkner discussion

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketc ... color.html

Because of the multiple points of view and Benjy's section, Faulkner originally wanted colored text to distinguish time, dialogue, and whatnot for "The Sound and the Fury". Not doable in his time, but a company has realized this dream for Faulkner, as the link shows. About 1500 copies being made with 1000+ already sold out....330 bucks. I love Faulkner, but not that much I'm afraid.

Wow, that's really cool. I'd love to even just get to flip through that edition sometime. Sounds like its really nice, but yeah, not dropping that much money on a book, haha, not even one that close to my heart. Its great someone finally decided to realize Faulkner's original idea for the book, though.
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sortalikeadream
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:52 am 
 

Kind of a rip off though. House of Leaves doesn't cost $300+ a copy. And I love me some Faulkner.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:00 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
It reminds me of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books a tad, though obviously more in-depth, mature and probably written better.

:lol: You obviously haven't read a lot of speculative fiction, dude.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:22 pm 
 

I've read a lot of science fiction.

Not that crazy. Parallels between the coming-of-age protagonists, their time spent apprenticing/being mentored in a guild sort of setting, their adventurous striking-out-on-their-owns, dealings with the opposite sex etc. Don't overlook "a tad;" obviously they're very, very different as well, this is just the closest reference point I have (which does probably mean I haven't read much of this style of fiction).

The last fiction I tried to read was GoT and this is definitely more interesting.
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sortalikeadream
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:23 pm 
 

I got a beautiful copy of Jacques Derrida - Of Grammatology (translated by Guiatari Spivak (sp)) in the mail. Reading it slowly, writing down pertinent quotes. A lot of people unjustly prosecute Derrida for the sins of those who came after him. His critique of structuralism is the project of an extremely agile mind, and his resurrection on phenomenological skepticism changed the face of philosophy, especially as it related to literature and criticism, for good.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:32 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
I've read a lot of science fiction.

Not that crazy. Parallels between the coming-of-age protagonists, their time spent apprenticing/being mentored in a guild sort of setting, their adventurous striking-out-on-their-owns, dealings with the opposite sex etc. Don't overlook "a tad;" obviously they're very, very different as well, this is just the closest reference point I have (which does probably mean I haven't read much of this style of fiction).

The last fiction I tried to read was GoT and this is definitely more interesting.

Haha dude, coming-of-age protagonists who spend time learning stuff and then strike out at their own are probably the most common sort of protagonist there is in fantasy.
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RedMisanthrope
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:06 pm 
 

Made it through the infamous "The Part About the Crimes" section in "2666". It was pretty brutal; I don't think I've read the phrase "vaginally and anally raped" so many times in such a short span, and the torture/shower scene when Haas is in prison will probably stay with me for a bit. On the last part of the book now, which I probably should have finished weeks ago, but I say that about every book I read. I feel like Bolano has crafted something epic and nuanced here that will probably take another read through to obtain a better grasp of. "2666" is a fantastic example of modern literature.
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:17 am 
 

sortalikeadream wrote:
I got a beautiful copy of Jacques Derrida - Of Grammatology (translated by Guiatari Spivak (sp)) in the mail. Reading it slowly, writing down pertinent quotes. A lot of people unjustly prosecute Derrida for the sins of those who came after him. His critique of structuralism is the project of an extremely agile mind, and his resurrection on phenomenological skepticism changed the face of philosophy, especially as it related to literature and criticism, for good.


:beer: Agreed on all points; I'm a big fan of Derrida, and find that his books bear nigh infinite re-reading - there's always something new to discover, especially if you go back and forth between them and the writers with whom he engages. It's a pity that the sheer force of his insights and of his profound way of interacting with texts, are so often occluded in superficial summaries of 'deconstruction' (which is still possibly one of the most abused and misread terms in 'continental' philosophy).

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HumanWaste5150
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:11 am 
 

I find it funny that Spivak, of all writers, took up the task of making derrida accessible and understandable to a language of readers. No slight to her actual thoughts (can the subaltern speak? is a great provoking piece of work) but she takes a lot of liberties with her use of the language.

Derrida is hit or miss. In some sense, I feel that Derridans are, like Foucauldians, a bad rep for the actual thinker. Not to mention that Derrida was unfairly attacked by much of his peers in both Anglo and European circles. At the same time, he fits quite perfectly the caricature of the european left after the 70s or so.
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:21 am 
 

HumanWaste5150 wrote:
In some sense, I feel that Derridans are, like Foucauldians, a bad rep for the actual thinker.


Yep, definitely. Though I think that's starting to improve; with some rarer works and new translations released, there's been a flurry of studies by academics who take care not to wade into the mire of the old deconstruction-lite worship and even devote some space to critically considering past misinterpretations (Rorty, here's lookin' at you... in a non-speaking-ill-of-the-dead sorta way).

HumanWaste5150 wrote:
At the same time, he fits quite perfectly the caricature of the european left after the 70s or so.

In what way do you mean?

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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:15 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Nahsil wrote:
I've read a lot of science fiction.

Not that crazy. Parallels between the coming-of-age protagonists, their time spent apprenticing/being mentored in a guild sort of setting, their adventurous striking-out-on-their-owns, dealings with the opposite sex etc. Don't overlook "a tad;" obviously they're very, very different as well, this is just the closest reference point I have (which does probably mean I haven't read much of this style of fiction).

The last fiction I tried to read was GoT and this is definitely more interesting.

Haha dude, coming-of-age protagonists who spend time learning stuff and then strike out at their own are probably the most common sort of protagonist there is in fantasy.


Makes sense in light of the current social paradigm of education followed by introduction to the "real world."

I haven't read much fantasy, never liked it. This Gene Wolfe is pretty sweet, but that's probably because it breaks so many conventions.
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Last edited by Nahsil on Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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sortalikeadream
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:33 pm 
 

Calusari wrote:
with some rarer works and new translations released,


Like what?
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:43 am 
 

Within the last five or so years, some of Derrida's later essays and lecture series (from the late 90s till just before his death) have been published in English for the first time (most were available in French for a while before; not sure about their availability in other languages). This includes the multi-volume series, 'Psyche: Inventions of the Other', published around about '07, that collates some of Derrida's last essay collections together with important (and significantly revised) re-translations of some of his older, influential essays. Then there is another collection, 'Beast and the Sovereign', which features lectures that Derrida gave only about a year before he died; the second volume (with more to come, apparently) was published only last year. And there's 'Literature in Secret' (an incredibly powerful essay, in my view), which was first included in the new ('07) edition of 'The Gift of Death'. The exciting thing right now (for us philosophy nerds, anyway) is that those left to deal with Derrida's estate are supposedly still constantly discovering new mountains of manuscripts, essays, lecture notes and so forth, in addition to the many that are already being sorted, edited and translated.

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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:01 am 
 

Anyone here read 50 Shades of Grey? I'm to understand it's the latest literature fad (everybody's doing it so I probably should too!), but I've yet to see even one mention of it anywhere here.

This may be due to the extreme minority of female users on the board. That or the fact that the book is complete shit, which it likely is.
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:01 am 
 

Under_Starmere wrote:
Anyone here read 50 Shades of Grey? I'm to understand it's the latest literature fad (everybody's doing it so I probably should too!), but I've yet to see even one mention of it anywhere here.

This may be due to the extreme minority of female users on the board. That or the fact that the book is complete shit, which it likely is.


While that last part is statistically accurate (both re this board's demography and the readership of that book), I doubt the lack of mention has anything to do with gender; it's more likely that the novel is, as you say, utter excrement. As one of the said few female contributors, I must say that you couldn't pay me to read that drivel. (And, yes, I am fully aware of the irony in that, by responding to this, I am unfortunately perpetuating the notion that females are somehow more interested in 50 Shades. Bah, humbug.)

It's not the genre that bothers me - I'm not averse to erotica in principle (if it's well-written, which I assume that book isn't); there are just far too many other genres that I prefer - so much as the reaction to the whole phenomenon. Honestly, I don't know what pisses me off more - the notion that a bored housewife is being treated like she invented sex (pfffft), or that every second commentator (including myself - hell, yeah, I'm a self-hating meta-snob) resorts to patronising, sexist and utterly outdated descriptions like 'bored housewife' when talking about the whole thing. Grrr.

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:35 pm 
 

I've actually read a fair amount about it, as literary phenomenons interest me on an academic level. Luckily, other people have read it for me and written about the funniest bits on the internet. Suffice to say, even among people who enjoy erotic romance novels and BDSM, they're fucking terrible. They're basically popular because it was originally conceived as a Twilight fanfic and they still basically hit the same buttons but with a lot of sex thrown in, despite having the Twilight serial numbers filed off. It throws around BDSM stuff to be "edgy" without really knowing anything about it, the writing is bad, and the characters are hilarious. There's one scene that gets referenced fairly often: the male lead, Gray, has just finished having sex with the protagonist. He takes his used condom, knots the top...and sticks it in his pocket. This is never explained or referenced again.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:37 pm 
 

"I'll just, uh...save that for later."

Calusari wrote:
I am unfortunately perpetuating the notion that females are somehow more interested in 50 Shades.


Well aren't they...? I thought that was fairly determined at this point. All I ever hear about it is that it's heavily popular with girls and women. It's chick lit! :D

I'm going to have to assume that the only reason this is popular, as FSM mentioned, is that is was originally tied (like a knotted condom) to the Twilight fan community and thus had a built-in fan base, since it sounds to be so inept in the qualities that usually might make erotica interesting or just generally any good as an art form. Because...why else would this be popular, as opposed to any other erotica out there that's surely far more skillfully or knowledgeably written? Twilight fans wanking = $$$
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:49 am 
 

Eek, that last image is something I'll be trying to repress. Agreed, though, the Twilight angle is probably the main explanation - especially when you consider the whole 'Twi-mom' phenomenon... This is made-to-order for them, basically.

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circleofdestruction
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:12 am 
 

Under_Starmere wrote:
Anyone here read 50 Shades of Grey? I'm to understand it's the latest literature fad (everybody's doing it so I probably should too!), but I've yet to see even one mention of it anywhere here.

This may be due to the extreme minority of female users on the board. That or the fact that the book is complete shit, which it likely is.

I refuse to read this shit, due only in part to perpetuating the idea that female users might be interested in this shit. From what I've heard, it's not even real bondage, just some lame assholes tying each other to the bedposts with scarves. [*yawn*]

As for Twilight, I pirated the ebooks just to see how bad they were, and boy were they bad. I couldn't get through more than a few pages of any of them.

But on the subject of GOOD books on freaky sex (I only wank to erotica about fucking the dead), got my signed copy of supervert's Necrophilia Variations in the mail, which is awesome. I still like his other books better, but I am finally finishing this one now that I have a hard copy of it.
http://amy-balot.com/wp-content/uploads ... /necro.jpg

Other than that, I just read the English translation (cheaper here than the French) of Gabrielle Wittkop's The Necrophiliac. I liked it more than I thought I would, but probably won't read it again.

I'm actually doing research on necrophilia so that's why I'm reading some of this (but I liked Supervert before). I actually paid $3 to download a Kindle version of a "hardcore fetish" story called Fuck Me When I'm Dead, which was such a huge disappointment and not even about actual necrophilia. It was just some lame shit where dude gets off on a fantasy of completely dominating his wife, and the author doesn't seem to know many adjectives.
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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:34 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
Book of the New Sun hasn't grabbed me by the balls yet

That's strange to me, since that book had me literally on the first sentence. Man .. those books are really outstanding. And Latro is .. i dunno .. kind of holy.

In other news, I'm reading the Foundation series for the first time, and bought some Heinlein and Pohl. I'm really enjoying science fiction. It reminds me a lot of comic books in that the author can basically make the story go in whatever way they damn well feel like, virtually anything can happen, and as long as it is at least reasonably plausible, it's a really effective medium. Asimov is a pretty damn good writer. At first his relative lack of description was a bit thin for my taste, but I think that's because I'm used to authors who rely more heavily on it. As I got used to it, my imagination didn't get to have its hand held, and it started THINKING OF STUFF ON ITS OWN!! "Best series ever", though, I'm pretty hesitant to agree with. Was that just because of the context? Anyone want to offer thoughts on that? I was surprised to see it had come out in '51.

I'm half way through Foundation and Empire, so .. more thoughts forthcoming. (and some quick recs from the sci-fi well-read would be greatly appreciated because high quality SF is really appealing. I go into the bookstore by work every couple days now. Yesterday I found a collection of Asimov short stories with the first 72 pages ripped out! *rage*)

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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:58 pm 
 

Left Hand of Darkness, Dune, Ender's Game/Speaker for the Dead (maybe others from the series too, haven't read the rest), Rendezvous with Rama, Starship Troopers/Stranger in a Strange Land/other Heinlein, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Neuromancer, Hyperion...

some of my favorite SF novels. I still need to read Ringworld, more Heinlein, Foundation, Lord of Light, more Philip K. Dick etc.
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sortalikeadream
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:34 am
Posts: 1555
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:10 pm 
 

At the mall the other day, I just had to pick up The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
It's a survey of "weird" fiction which has been defined as a transplanting of certain Gothic sensibilities onto traditional tales of supernatural horror, although in the late 20th century things began to shift towards dark science fiction / urban fantasy. I've only gotten to read a few of the short stories so far, but they are of surprisingly high calibur. Dreadful atmospheres are abound, of course, but I almost find myself my attracted to the Poeian melancholy, the general bleakness of the worlds described--at the same time offset by the somewhat sardonic disposition of many of the narrator. The supernatural seems to be as much of a symbol as it is a driving force in the plot of the work. I recommend this anthology to people who have maybe only dabbled in this niche where horror, noir, fantasy, science fiction and folklore meet, but would like to further explore it.

I also got one of those periodicals that publishes contemporary short stories. Can;t remember the title right now but I'm pretty sure it had "xeno" in it.
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Grave_Wyrm
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 2127
Location: At the bottom of the lake
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:54 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
Left Hand of Darkness, Dune, Ender's Game/Speaker for the Dead (maybe others from the series too, haven't read the rest), Rendezvous with Rama, Starship Troopers/Stranger in a Strange Land/other Heinlein, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Neuromancer, Hyperion...

some of my favorite SF novels. I still need to read Ringworld, more Heinlein, Foundation, Lord of Light, more Philip K. Dick etc.

Dune, check. Ender, check. Starship Troopers I think I'll skip, but thanks. :)

Forgot about Hyperion. I'll be looking back over this thread, too. Good sci fi must be around here SOMEWHERE!! :lol:

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Scorntyrant
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:55 am
Posts: 1098
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:48 am 
 

sortalikeadream wrote:
At the mall the other day, I just had to pick up The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
It's a survey of "weird" fiction which has been defined as a transplanting of certain Gothic sensibilities onto traditional tales of supernatural horror, although in the late 20th century things began to shift towards dark science fiction / urban fantasy. I've only gotten to read a few of the short stories so far, but they are of surprisingly high calibur. Dreadful atmospheres are abound, of course, but I almost find myself my attracted to the Poeian melancholy, the general bleakness of the worlds described--at the same time offset by the somewhat sardonic disposition of many of the narrator. The supernatural seems to be as much of a symbol as it is a driving force in the plot of the work. I recommend this anthology to people who have maybe only dabbled in this niche where horror, noir, fantasy, science fiction and folklore meet, but would like to further explore it.

I also got one of those periodicals that publishes contemporary short stories. Can;t remember the title right now but I'm pretty sure it had "xeno" in it.



thanks for the reminder. I got that book for my brother at christmas. Will have to borrow it to have a read.
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Morrigan
Crone of War

Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2002 7:27 am
Posts: 9633
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:08 am 
 

Nahsil wrote:
Left Hand of Darkness, Dune, Ender's Game/Speaker for the Dead (maybe others from the series too, haven't read the rest), Rendezvous with Rama, Starship Troopers/Stranger in a Strange Land/other Heinlein, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Neuromancer, Hyperion...

Obligatory FTFY :P

Also, Heinlein is OK, but not mandatory IMO. I wouldn't tell anyone to avoid his stuff but I wouldn't recommend it either. A lot of self-indulgent preachy crap in there.

Orson Scott Card, however, can die in a fire. Slowly.
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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: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:14 am 
 

Wha? Neuromancer is great. Been wanting to read more William Gibson actually.

Should get around to Hyperion at some point, too, since all I've ever heard about it has been positive.
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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 3843
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:28 pm 
 

Speaker for the Dead was more emotionally affecting and "human" to me than Ender's Game, though obviously (maybe not obviously for Morrigan) the ending hits a lot of folks.
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