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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:26 am 
 

I've read the Gollancz-published book merely titled Elric, containing The Dreaming City, The Stealer of Souls, Kings in Darkness, The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams and Stormbringer.

Initially I found it enjoyable, but the further it got, the more and more Elric's circumstances seemed unrealistic and contrived. His anti-heroic stance from earlier was suddenly lost somewhere, without much character development having taken place as such, and he ended up as just the kind of heroic stereotype that the Elric from the beginning seemed to attempt to debunk. Ride the dragon, save the princess, save the world even. Overall it seemed like an extremely rushed story; initially inspired but ultimately very flat.

I also did not like the Von Bek series. The first book is fairly enjoyable, if somewhat plain. The second part, where Moorcock seems to have adopted a more nuanced and intricate style of both description, plotting and character psychology, the story falls on its face when the main character is
Spoiler: show
seemingly rendered into an annoying brainless slave to Libussa despite her being utterly unlikable
and Moorcock won't stop going on about it. It seems like something he facilitated out of lack of inspiration, rather than something genuinely planned-out. I enjoyed many of the milieus, but especially towards the end it became extremely hard to not stop reading it. I really can't figure out what the hell happened in the end of that book.

My favourite, that being the first of the three Moorcock books I have, is The History of the Runestaff. It starts off well, but again, after the middle, it becomes relatively poor.

His criticism of Tolkien comes across, to me, as similar as if The Beatles had vehemently criticised Richard Wagner.
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Azmodes
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:45 am 
 

talvikki77 wrote:
Azmodes wrote:
Currently reading: James S. A. Corey - Leviathan Wakes
Well damn, what a vicious page turner. Awesome space opera so far. This has some very cool descriptions of a solar-system-spanning humanity divided. Only 150 pages in and already ordered the next novel in this trilogy.

This is the "first book" I mentioned (I'm reading the sequel). I was really impressed with the (interplanetary) "world" that they built - so intricate, with so many different societies, which were a very believable blend of societies/cultures from Earth. And like you said a pageturner. Let me know what you think at the end, I would be interested in comparing views on the novel :)

Finished it today and the remaining 400 pages lived up to what the first 150 had promised, a damn fine book. Hopefully the trilogy as a whole holds up to this standard. Anything in particular you wanted to compare? I'm not the best comprehensive analyst when it comes to these things, apart from some very broad assessments... excellent pacing, likeable, well-crafted characters, very compelling setting (though Earth and Mars still need fleshing-out, I hope that gets dealt with a bit in the next two novels), awesome action and a good story.

Up next: Michael Moorcock - The Ice Schooner; finishing the third book in Hamilton's Void trilogy; and of course the next Expanse novel once it arrives (probably tomorrow)
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Calusari
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Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:30 am 
 

UnholyAnalDeathWorship wrote:
Anyone here ever enjoy the novel Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami?

Damn good book. Read it in about a week and I usually don't read books that fast, especially 400+ pages. Everything in it just kept me on my guard and I always wanted to find out what was coming next. Really knows how to set a climax and builds anticipation better than most authors I know of.
Also puts many different perspectives in your head so I like that about it, too. Definitely recommend it to anyone.

Yes! I absolutely adore that book, and would second the recommendation. Reading it made me seek out Murakami's other books, and he became one of my favourite writers; I'd say that "Kafka..." is one of his better works, but they've all got that certain wonderful, dark weirdness and the great characterisation.

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UnholyAnalDeathWorship
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:24 am
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:06 pm 
 

I've read Norwegian Wood prior to Kafka, and I'm reading the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (which I will admit to not liking it nearly as much as the others but still worth reading), and I have Sputnik Sweetheart. I've read about half of Sputnik Sweetheart but it seemed a little too typical. I like it all, though. Kafka, however, has definitely been the best I've read, next to Norwegian Wood.

I just love how well in depth he goes with the characters and their ties to the main plot. Brilliant.

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:44 pm 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
My favourite, that being the first of the three Moorcock books I have, is The History of the Runestaff. It starts off well, but again, after the middle, it becomes relatively poor.

His criticism of Tolkien comes across, to me, as similar as if The Beatles had vehemently criticised Richard Wagner.

In fairness you basically ended up doing what I warned about in my post earlier; both the Von Bek series and the Runestaff series are "misses", and it's really really chancy to pick an Elric collection, because they're so inconsistent in what they include and what they don't. If you want to read a good Moorcock book, pick up The Ice Schooner, like Azmodes did up there. If you're feeling especially adventurous you could also give The Final Programme a shot.

Morcock's criticism of Tolkien actually makes quite a lot of sense when applied to his imitators and the genre he spawned, but Moorcock clearly missed some of Tolkien's main points in the narrative. Namely, the complexity of the relationship he establishes between Utopia (the Shire) and the guardians of that Utopia (Gondor and the Rangers). I mean in his famous critical essay Epic Pooh, Moorcock actually claims that Tolkien is anti-urban, which is clearly nonsense given all the time he devotes to describing how awesome Gondor is. What he is against is more subtle, and that's rampant industrialization at the expense of beauty in general and the environment in particular.
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Conservationism
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Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:48 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:22 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
What he is against is more subtle, and that's rampant industrialization at the expense of beauty in general and the environment in particular.


Reminds me of Bill Faulkner and Mary Shelley.
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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:44 am 
 

Moorcock has analysed Tolkien's genre's faults fairly well, although I agree with you that his supposed anti-urbanism is more intellectual than Moorcock seems to perceive. Tolkien's writing is far from faultless, but in many respects, its so far ahead of almost every other fantasy author that it doesn't honestly deserve anything but awe from Moorcock's kind.

I picked up Von Bek after reading and being let down by the others, because greatsfandf.com recommended it as one of Moorcock's better works. I don't think I'll be reading anything by him for a while, but when I will, I'll keep your suggestion in mind.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:12 pm 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
I picked up Von Bek after reading and being let down by the others, because greatsfandf.com recommended it as one of Moorcock's better works. I don't think I'll be reading anything by him for a while, but when I will, I'll keep your suggestion in mind.

I've been using that site for years, and the guy who runs greatsfandf.com has very idiosyncratic taste - honestly he makes me think of someone who would normally prefer regular old literary fiction, except somehow he became fixated on speculative fiction, without actually liking all the stuff most people like about it.

For example, look at his list of "Five Star Masters"; of the twelve, only Eddison, Tolkien, and Vance really bear much resemblance to what we now call speculative fiction. I've read at least one book by each of those twelve, and they're all genuinely great, but his overall standards are just way out of step with even the most erudite section of speculative fiction readers. He tends to value style extremely highly for example, including some books that are essentially nothing but style (Bramah's Kai Lung series for example), but omits books with mediocre style but especially good plot, characterization, etc. He also has a serious sentimental streak and LOVES silly, absurdist humor, which leads to his inclusion of children's books like the Oz series and the Alice books - they're definitely good, I love Lewis Carroll especially, but they just look a little out of place when listed side-by-side with the others.

In addition, he doesn't seem that interested in action or adventure in the modern sense; this becomes especially apparent when you look over his list of "Four Star Greats", the vast majority of whom never wrote anything about actual physical combat and rip-roaring adventure. Considering the bulk of Moorcock's output revolves around just that, greatsfandf.com isn't really the place to go for a good Moorcock recommendation (or any sort of action-centric speculative fiction writer, really).
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Scorntyrant
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:55 am
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:10 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Ilwhyan wrote:
I picked up Von Bek after reading and being let down by the others, because greatsfandf.com recommended it as one of Moorcock's better works. I don't think I'll be reading anything by him for a while, but when I will, I'll keep your suggestion in mind.

I've been using that site for years, and the guy who runs greatsfandf.com has very idiosyncratic taste - honestly he makes me think of someone who would normally prefer regular old literary fiction, except somehow he became fixated on speculative fiction, without actually liking all the stuff most people like about it.

For example, look at his list of "Five Star Masters"; of the twelve, only Eddison, Tolkien, and Vance really bear much resemblance to what we now call speculative fiction. I've read at least one book by each of those twelve, and they're all genuinely great, but his overall standards are just way out of step with even the most erudite section of speculative fiction readers. He tends to value style extremely highly for example, including some books that are essentially nothing but style (Bramah's Kai Lung series for example), but omits books with mediocre style but especially good plot, characterization, etc. He also has a serious sentimental streak and LOVES silly, absurdist humor, which leads to his inclusion of children's books like the Oz series and the Alice books - they're definitely good, I love Lewis Carroll especially, but they just look a little out of place when listed side-by-side with the others.

In addition, he doesn't seem that interested in action or adventure in the modern sense; this becomes especially apparent when you look over his list of "Four Star Greats", the vast majority of whom never wrote anything about actual physical combat and rip-roaring adventure. Considering the bulk of Moorcock's output revolves around just that, greatsfandf.com isn't really the place to go for a good Moorcock recommendation (or any sort of action-centric speculative fiction writer, really).


haha, sounds like my tastes. I like stuff along the lines of Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Iain M. Banks, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami etc - stuff that could happily stand alone as literary fiction. With the exception of my occasional fix of 40k "Bolter porn" I'm really not that interested in "rip-roaring adventure and tales of derring do", nor am I interested in having to read tedious detail about how a rocket ship works. I'm big on style and crafting My interest has definitely changed from pure SF to speculative fiction and "the weird tale".
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Nahsil
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:38 am 
 

Got Urth of the New Sun in the mail. Yessssss!

I'm afraid I need to refresh my memory regarding the ending of BotNS though.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:41 am 
 

Scorntyrant wrote:
haha, sounds like my tastes. I like stuff along the lines of Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Iain M. Banks, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami etc - stuff that could happily stand alone as literary fiction. With the exception of my occasional fix of 40k "Bolter porn" I'm really not that interested in "rip-roaring adventure and tales of derring do", nor am I interested in having to read tedious detail about how a rocket ship works. I'm big on style and crafting My interest has definitely changed from pure SF to speculative fiction and "the weird tale".

If you like Iain M Banks, China Mieville, Ursula K Le Guin, you're way more mainstream than this guy is. All of those authors are very well-known and popular.

Nahsil wrote:
I'm afraid I need to refresh my memory regarding the ending of BotNS though.

Spoiler: show
Severian becomes the Autarch.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:02 am 
 

Gee failsafe, thanks. :P
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:17 am 
 

Any time! :D
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Scorntyrant
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:55 am
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:52 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
If you like Iain M Banks, China Mieville, Ian M Banks, you're way more mainstream than this guy is. All of those authors are very well-known and popular.



I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a condescending comment or not.
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:56 am 
 

I finished Abercrombie The First Law trilogy this week and after almost 6 months of reading only stuff for school, it felt good to read some fiction again. The style and universe can definitely be compared to A Song of Ice And Fire as it's gritty, there's lots of politics and monarchy related feuds. The pacing of the book is awesome and it's a real page turner, I read Before They Are Hanged in like 2 days! Highly recommended for well written fantasy with memorable characters! Me and Morrigan were talking about a speculative casting and the show is even more adaptable than Game of Thrones imo since there's like 5 or 6 really important characters and a lot of action.

Talking of China Miéville, I got Embassytown recently because it was cheap at my local library, it's good so far. I rarely read sci fi but the story is great and the world is inventive. Still, the language is a bit too hard for me but I'll get used to it. What should I read next? I'm probably gonna get his Bas Lag cycle, heard good things about that. And HB is highly recommending Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora, might grab that as well.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:33 am 
 

Scorntyrant wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
If you like Iain M Banks, China Mieville, Ian M Banks, you're way more mainstream than this guy is. All of those authors are very well-known and popular.

I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a condescending comment or not.

Whoops, that second "Iain M Banks" was supposed to be Ursula K Le Guin. No, it wasn't a condescending comment, I like all those authors too. They're just very well-known and critically acclaimed, and this guy's taste runs way more toward the atypical fringe. Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges are rarely called speculative fiction by anyone, even though some of the stuff they wrote clearly isn't realistic.
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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6415
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:01 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
I've been using that site for years, and the guy who runs greatsfandf.com has very idiosyncratic taste - honestly he makes me think of someone who would normally prefer regular old literary fiction, except somehow he became fixated on speculative fiction, without actually liking all the stuff most people like about it.

For example, look at his list of "Five Star Masters"; of the twelve, only Eddison, Tolkien, and Vance really bear much resemblance to what we now call speculative fiction. I've read at least one book by each of those twelve, and they're all genuinely great, but his overall standards are just way out of step with even the most erudite section of speculative fiction readers. He tends to value style extremely highly for example, including some books that are essentially nothing but style (Bramah's Kai Lung series for example), but omits books with mediocre style but especially good plot, characterization, etc. He also has a serious sentimental streak and LOVES silly, absurdist humor, which leads to his inclusion of children's books like the Oz series and the Alice books - they're definitely good, I love Lewis Carroll especially, but they just look a little out of place when listed side-by-side with the others.

In addition, he doesn't seem that interested in action or adventure in the modern sense; this becomes especially apparent when you look over his list of "Four Star Greats", the vast majority of whom never wrote anything about actual physical combat and rip-roaring adventure. Considering the bulk of Moorcock's output revolves around just that, greatsfandf.com isn't really the place to go for a good Moorcock recommendation (or any sort of action-centric speculative fiction writer, really).

Yeah, I've become somewhat familiar with his taste, especially regarding his appreciation of unique and highly descriptive prose, particularly where the description is poetic, implicit to a degree, and highly atmospheric - intrisically valuable, as opposed to being mostly a vehicle of storytelling. He seemingly enjoys books much like he would enjoy an album of paintings, for example.

He gave Moorcock three stars, which I consider to be quite an honour in his list (he described him as a talented writer who nevertheless placed quantity over quality), and mentioned Von Bek and Dancers at the End of Time as examples of Moorcock's works that are "respectable literature". Yeah, in retrospect, it's not hard to deduce that he most likely just appreciates Moorcock's skill, but doesn't enjoy most of his books for their style.
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Calusari
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Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:00 am 
 

UnholyAnalDeathWorship wrote:
I've read Norwegian Wood prior to Kafka, and I'm reading the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (which I will admit to not liking it nearly as much as the others but still worth reading), and I have Sputnik Sweetheart. I've read about half of Sputnik Sweetheart but it seemed a little too typical. I like it all, though. Kafka, however, has definitely been the best I've read, next to Norwegian Wood.

I just love how well in depth he goes with the characters and their ties to the main plot. Brilliant.


I agree - it's incredible how he manages to do this, in a way that doesn't seem in any way artificial or annoying; even when you can see what he's doing, it's utterly moving and involving. Norwegian Wood was, in turn, one of the books I enjoyed less than the others - the characters, especially the protagonist, seemed a little less fleshed-out and even insipid occasionally. Still, a great book. If you enjoy his weirder tales, I'd recommend Wild Sheep Chase, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (one of my absolute favourites - just magnificent, in my view) or even his latest, 1Q84 (which I really enjoyed, much to my relief; as with bands, I always fear not liking a favourite artist's latest release).

Metantoine wrote:
Talking of China Miéville, I got Embassytown recently because it was cheap at my local library, it's good so far. I rarely read sci fi but the story is great and the world is inventive. Still, the language is a bit too hard for me but I'll get used to it. What should I read next? I'm probably gonna get his Bas Lag cycle, heard good things about that.

I love Miéville! :thumbsup:
Embassytown is a pretty great read; I was very intrigued by the way he managed to weave philosophy of language theories into the narrative. It's an odd, fantastical, complex work; it is his only sci-fi of this sort, though. The Bas Lag cycle is brilliant. You don't have to read the books in order; actually, I find the second work, The Scar, easier to get into than the first book, Perdido Street Station. Both are highly recommended, though. The world he creates is one that I'd love to see more of; it'd work well as an RPG, actually. It's immensely detailed, yet you don't notice him building it up. New Crobuzon, the city in which much of the cycle is set, and indeed the whole universe is the ideal kind of fantasy setting for me - it'd be a dream come true and a truly horrifying nightmare to live there. If you like urban fantasy at all, do also check out King Rat and Kraken, both of which are set in contemporary London (well, the former is in the 90s, but recent enough); they're a bit like Gaiman's novels, and Kraken is utterly hilarious (if you enjoy comic fantasy). If you're into straight-out literary fiction (with a bit of the speculative here and there), The City & The City is definitely worth reading; it's an eerie, stylish, contemplative novel that deserved the praise it received.

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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:24 am 
 

Got too much nonfiction for literature lately, except for Urth which I swear is coming up soon.

Currently reading "The Art of Loving" by Erich Fromm after finishing his pretty good "Escape from Freedom." Also reading "Quiet" by Susain Cain about introversion. "Focusing" by Eugene Gendlin is also on the agenda soon, curious to see how it differentiates itself from mindfulness as it seems to have some parallels.

I also want to read Heidegger's "Being and Time" because I'm applying to graduate psychology programs in existential-phenomenology and I'm familiar with the existential side but not the phenomenological side as much. Everyone in this sub-section of psychology seems to consider B&T the Bible of phenomenology. It's incredibly dense and requires way too much concentration from me right now though. I might wait til grad school when I have a professor guiding me through it.
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Scorntyrant
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:26 am 
 

Nahsil wrote:

I also want to read Heidegger's "Being and Time" because I'm applying to graduate psychology programs in existential-phenomenology and I'm familiar with the existential side but not the phenomenological side as much. Everyone in this sub-section of psychology seems to consider B&T the Bible of phenomenology. It's incredibly dense and requires way too much concentration from me right now though. I might wait til grad school when I have a professor guiding me through it.


Good luck with that. From what I recall of my undergrad days, B&T is almost impenetrably dense and riddled with strange neologisms ("being-in-the-worldedness").
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Conservationism
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:13 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Well, I don't entirely mean to sound like a pompous artistic snob here, but it kind of disheartens me to note the proliferation of the video games thread, the SImpsons quote thread, etc, and yet find that whenever someone starts a thread like this one it quickly gets pushed off the first page.


Most contemporary literature is no more advanced than TV or video games.
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:09 am 
 

Nahsil wrote:
I also want to read Heidegger's "Being and Time" because I'm applying to graduate psychology programs in existential-phenomenology and I'm familiar with the existential side but not the phenomenological side as much. Everyone in this sub-section of psychology seems to consider B&T the Bible of phenomenology. It's incredibly dense and requires way too much concentration from me right now though. I might wait til grad school when I have a professor guiding me through it.


Now there's a project. I'm currently working on a PhD thesis on Being and Time, so I've had to read it a few times; I'd say that it's a hell of a lot easier to read in German, so if you can read in that language, go for it. If you're looking for good and not-too-controversial introductory texts that can guide you through a first reading (the problem is that every little bit of interpretation is so disputed that even the most careful, basic guide to the book can give you a skewed picture of the whole), try Paul Gorner's stuff; one of his essays, in a book about 20th century German philosophy generally, got me into Heidegger in the first place, and my students in turn seemed to like his intro books.

It's difficult to say whether Being and Time is 'the Bible' of phenomenology, given that a) phenomenology (in the sense of the school of thought, Husserl/Heidegger/Merleau-Ponty, etc, not in the sense of using phenomenological evidence or data to support, e.g., arguments in the philosophy of mind) is so ridiculously diverse that there are almost no overarching themes and b) Heidegger's version of it is perhaps the most idiosyncratic. It's almost impossible to define 'phenomenology'; the themes that connect the different writers (and it is quite controversial to say who is and who is not a phenomenologist) tend to be more in the way of a network of 'family resemblances' (in Wittegenstein's sense) than a clear set of shared characteristics. That being said, Being and Time is very, very influential in some areas of cognitive science, the philosophy of cognition and psychology right now, as you point out (my thesis is about this, actually) - his account of human experience resonates very profoundly with current views about the nature of mind, cognition and experience, and is being referenced/taken up by many writers in those fields right now. So, it's worth a look if that discourse interests you. However, the debates can get very involved, so it's hard to do as a thing on the side. If you're interested in this, there are lots of really cool essay collections and symposia being published at the moment; if you're at all into cog sci, I'd recommend Kiverstein's recent 'Heidegger and Cognitive Science' (they go for imaginative names, don't they?).

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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:37 pm 
 

Thanks for the information Calusari, I'll check Gorner out as well as Kiverstein. I can't read German unfortunately, but I was recommended Stambaugh's translation. Some people have recommended that I stick to secondary sources, but the people I've been talking to and the programs I'm applying to in the field of existential-phenomenology are so gung-ho about the original text that I feel like I really should. Although like I mentioned, I'll probably wait to really tackle it until I get to grad school. I may do some cursory secondary source stuff until then.

Cognitive science is definitely an interest, although I can't say I'm well-read in the field yet. A lot of my knowledge re: psychology, neuroscience, philosophy of mind etc is a work in progress. Right now I'm focused on existential psychologists like R.D. Laing, Rollo May, Erich Fromm, Irvin Yalom etc.
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KolmeNoitaa
Metal newbie

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:43 am 
 

Ever since I was a little kid, my mother always complained to me that I need to stick with one book, but being my stubborn self, I couldn't break the habit of reading more than one book at once. At the moment, I'm reading:

"1984" by George Orwell
"Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen" by JK Rowling (first HP book, auf Deutsch)
"The Origin of our Species" by Chris Stringer (not the version by Darwin)

And occasionally I'll flip through "Essential Ásatrú: Walking the Path of Norse Paganism" which I bought a while ago, just for fun reading.

I recently finished both "Looking for Alaska" by John Green and "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami. I must say that the juxtaposition of reading those two stories back-to-back is fascinating! They both dwell on the same ideas (coming of age, love, loss, death, sadness, etc...) and yet, the endings of both books are vastly different. Reading "Looking for Alaska" made me feel quite optimistic, however, upon finishing "Norwegian Wood," I felt like killing myself. Both were fantastic.

Also, I finished Metro 2033 last summer, but if anyone is interested in science fiction/apocalyptic/futurist types of books, I recommend it. It turned out to be one of my favourite books I've ever read. And it's not much like the video game either, so read the book.
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caspian
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:01 am 
 

Hey bros, I'm wondering if anyone could recommend some cool post apocalyptic stuff. Long form type things- doesn't have to be wholly believable, comedy & grit are both fine and good. I'm thinking something with the mood and scope of the first two fallout games. A world to lose myself in but one that's dusty, slightly radioactive, and a bit more than "family struggling to survive, nothing much happens".

Currently reading Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. Fantastic and very idiosyncratic writing but do I enjoy the plot? I'm honestly not too sure. But imma keep reading away in the hope that something interesting happens, it certainly feels that Peake is still setting the scene with it. He's certainly in no hurry to finish setting the scene though, so it drags a little. Oh well.

Also FSM, if you're giving this post a browse what was that catho-fantasy writer you were talking about earlier. Cheers!
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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:29 pm 
 

A Canticle for Leibowitz is my favorite post-apocalyptic novel. It's about the rise and fall of human civilizations, so you shouldn't have to worry about too small a scale :D

Riddley Walker is good too.
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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:42 pm 
 

caspian wrote:
Currently reading Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. Fantastic and very idiosyncratic writing but do I enjoy the plot? I'm honestly not too sure. But imma keep reading away in the hope that something interesting happens, it certainly feels that Peake is still setting the scene with it. He's certainly in no hurry to finish setting the scene though, so it drags a little. Oh well.

Yeah, it takes a bit to get used to, but that's sort of the point. Gormenghast is steeped in tradition and routine, and it is not at all a place where interesting things happen - honestly the entire first book is mostly about setting the scene, with little side bits about the steward's feud with the chef and the burning down of the library. The second book is where stuff starts to pick up, relatively speaking, of course. A lot more happens in the third book, but Peake died while in the process of editing it, and the series was meant to be something like 5-6 books long, so the third one kind of leaves things hanging. Some people rail against it but I think it's still very good.

caspian wrote:
Also FSM, if you're giving this post a browse what was that catho-fantasy writer you were talking about earlier. Cheers!

Probably Gene Wolfe. Definitely one of my favorite authors, he's written tons of rad stuff, you basically can't miss.
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Calusari
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:19 am 
 

I'm a big fan of the Gormenghast trilogy; I must say that I actually enjoyed the first book the most, but all are worth pursuing to the end. It takes some weird turns in the third work, but I am glad that I finished it; the series as a whole has so many incredible characters and images that linger in the mind and have stayed with me. It's been years, yet I still think with fond horror of Fuchsia and Prunesquallor especially - and of the castle itself. It does drag on a bit, but it helped me to think that it is less about plot than place and rhythm; yet, as Azmodes says, things do speed up considerably.

Nahsil wrote:
A Canticle for Leibowitz is my favorite post-apocalyptic novel. It's about the rise and fall of human civilizations, so you shouldn't have to worry about too small a scale

I'd second this recommendation, especially if you appreciate a bit of humour; a wonderful book.

Nahsil wrote:
Thanks for the information Calusari, I'll check Gorner out as well as Kiverstein. I can't read German unfortunately, but I was recommended Stambaugh's translation. Some people have recommended that I stick to secondary sources, but the people I've been talking to and the programs I'm applying to in the field of existential-phenomenology are so gung-ho about the original text that I feel like I really should. Although like I mentioned, I'll probably wait to really tackle it until I get to grad school. I may do some cursory secondary source stuff until then.

No problem, sorry for the ramble. Sounds good; diving in unaccompanied is not something to be recommended, really. But, yes, if you ever get the time - the text is something worth encountering eventually.

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:58 pm 
 

Calusari wrote:
It does drag on a bit, but it helped me to think that it is less about plot than place and rhythm; yet, as Azmodes says, things do speed up considerably.

:scratch:
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Calusari
Metalhead

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:11 pm 
 

Oops. My mistake.

Eh, you're all the same person anyway, right? :-P

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Metal_Detector
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:52 pm 
 

Just read The Road all in one sitting. I'm a bit exhausted now, but I can say with no reluctance that it was great and very moving. I'm glad I ordered several of McCarthy's novels on a whim. I have The Orchard Keeper, Outer Dark, Child of God, and No Country For Old Men on the way. Time for some college preparatory reading.

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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:59 pm 
 

Are you guys interested in reading my sappy lack-of-motivation poetry? I've got like ten poems or something. I started this thing where I'd basically try to write a poem every morning about a specific topic to get my creative juices flowing, and it turned into me writing like, six poems a day.
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caspian
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:12 am 
 

Can we establish some sort of pay-to-read scheme? Otherwise, :gay: x100000
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Calusari
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Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:16 am 
 

Metal_Detector wrote:
Just read The Road all in one sitting. I'm a bit exhausted now, but I can say with no reluctance that it was great and very moving. I'm glad I ordered several of McCarthy's novels on a whim. I have The Orchard Keeper, Outer Dark, Child of God, and No Country For Old Men on the way. Time for some college preparatory reading.

Have you read Blood Meridian? My favourite McCarthy novel, and one that I would always recommend to anyone who likes his other works; his style and use of imagery reach an incredible apotheosis, a blood-worship that will stay with you for a very long time.

Damn, must re-read that.

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Morrigan
Crone of War

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:32 pm 
 

Interesting news for Abercrombie fans:
http://www.joeabercrombie.com/2013/07/19/half-a-king/

Quote:
What does an obsessive workaholic writer do with six months off?

Writes a book, of course.

The one I finished a few weeks ago is called Half a King.
[...]
The current plan, subject to change, of course, is to publish the book simultaneously across the English-speaking world in July 2014, with two sequels following at six monthly intervals in January and July 2015.
[...]
In some ways this is a very different sort of book from what I’ve written so far. It’s aimed partly at younger readers (maybe the 12-16 range). It’s much shorter – 80,000 words compared to 175,000 for my shortest, Red Country, and 230,000 for my longest, Last Argument of Kings (though still over twice the length of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, believe it or not). It’s set in a very different world with what you might call a viking or anglo-saxon feel. It’s much more focused, with a single point of view. It’s not so overtly ‘gritty’ although it’s a long way from smooth. It is punchy. It has drive. I aimed to deliver a slap in the face with every page.

Before some of you groan in horror at this wounding betrayal of all you believe in, I also wrote this with established readers, and indeed with a wider adult readership, very much in mind. In some ways it’s a very similar sort of book to what I’ve written so far. It’s fantasy, but light on the fantasy, and heavy on the vivid characters, the visceral action, the mixture of wit and cynicism, the twists and surprises. I hope that it will have a wide appeal. But I don’t feel that I’ve compromised on the way I’ve written. I think it’s as tough, surprising, challenging, and morally ‘grey’ as the rest of my output.


In the comments he explains that it'll be toned down a bit for a YA readership but it won't be fluffy rainbows either:
Quote:
‘Aimed at younger readers’ possibly summons up flowers, unicorns and rainbows. It ain’t that. It’s at the top of the YA age range, if not closer to adult – crossover, as publishers like to say – which is why it’s being published in the UK as a joint venture between a YA list and an adult fantasy list (GRRM’s UK publisher). Compared to my fully adult work, the swearing is toned down, the violence is maybe a little less explicit, and there’s a young adult central character, and a tighter, more focused pace. But it’s still a Joe Abercrombie book. There’s nothing soft, simple or easy about it. I think most of my adult readers will thoroughly enjoy it. I certainly hope so.


He goes on to say that he basically needed a break from the First Law world, but that he would revisit it after this trilogy was done:
Quote:
My plan now is that the two sequels, cautiously titled Half the World and Half a War, will be my main focus for the next year or so. I’m already a few chapters into the first draft of the second book. I hope to have those two books finished not long after the publication of Half a King in July 2014. Then I’ll start work on the adult trilogy in the First Law world. So that’s me kept pretty busy ’til … at least winter 2017, I’d say. Which is both rather nice and rather horrifying.

Oh. Maybe you want to know more about the actual content of this new book?

Guess you’ll have to wait just a little while for that.



Though about the last bit, someone in the comments found a blurb on the publisher's blog xD

Quote:
HALF A KING – the first of three standalone but interconnected novels aimed at younger readers – will be published in summer 2014. A classic coming-of-age tale, set in a brilliantly imagined alternative historical world reminiscent of the Dark Ages with Viking overtones, the book tells the story of Yarvi, youngest son of a warlike king. Born with a crippled hand, he can never live up to his father’s expectations of what a real man should be and his destiny is not the throne but the Ministry, not the sword and shield but the book and the soft word spoken.

But when his father and brother are killed, Yarvi is propelled to kingship and must sit in the Black Chair, between gods and men, and half a man must find a way to rule as half a king. Thus begins a gripping switchback ride of a tale that will carry Yarvi far beyond his kingdom, from the heights of royalty to the depths of slavery, during the course of which he must find better ways to fight than with a sword, and learn the lessons that will make him a man.


Aaaand it features a cripple protagonist. So yeah, no worries, it'll still be pure Abercrombie fun. :D


Tl;dr: Joe Abercrombie is working on a new trilogy set in a different world, it's going to be less "grimdark" than First Law but still on the edgy, older side of YA, and it looks pretty cool, and after that's done he'll revisit First Law again. All around exciting news. I wish GRRM wrote as fast as he does, haha...
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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:55 pm 
 

I'm sure you're all heard of this one. I just recently finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It's a novelistic, quasi-narrative, meticulously researched history of the World's Fair ("Columbian Exposition") in Chicago in the 1890's, with a very particular dynamic focus. He focuses primarily on two people: the chief architect who oversaw the construction of the city, and this psychopath, America's "first modern serial killer."

Despite being from Illinois I confess I didn't know much about the fair. It's amazing how important it was and how it affected the next century. Walt Disney's father helped build the fair and told his son stories about a magical white city; we have Disneyworld and the Magical Kingdom because of those bedtime stories. The first Ferris Wheel was at the fair. We use Tesla's current today because his technology was chosen to power the fair over Thomas Edison's; nobody in the U.S. (maybe even the world) had seen a city powered entirely by electricity until then. We have an eight-hour work day because of the influential deal the architects struck with the unionized portion of the work force who built the "White City." (After the fair closed and people couldn't find work, there were also famous labor riots).

The stuff about the architects who organized and built it is pretty fascinating in its own right. It was a pretty monumental undertaking, both physically and organizationally. Everything about the serial killer was equal parts fascinating and creepy. He used the fair's grounds to lure visitors to his hotel, which he constructed purely so he could efficiently murder people without getting caught. I'm amazed this guy isn't more famous than Bundy and Gacey and all the rest of them. He confessed to killing 27 people; the Chicago police estimate that he killed 50 people in Chicago alone; combined with other cities, he is estimated to have killed between 60 and 200 people. Yes, you read that right. And it took them about five years to find him, because they never found any bodies. They never even suspected the people who went missing at the fair had a common fate.

I read the last 80 or so pages in one night, definitely a page turner. Highly recommended regardless of whether you are a fan of non-fiction. Honestly, sometimes it reads so smoothly it reads like fiction rather than history. And of course, the stuff that happened there has that "can't believe it's not fiction" quality to it.
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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:42 pm 
 

FasterDisaster wrote:
Are you guys interested in reading my sappy lack-of-motivation poetry? I've got like ten poems or something. I started this thing where I'd basically try to write a poem every morning about a specific topic to get my creative juices flowing, and it turned into me writing like, six poems a day.


I imagine you'd open the floodgate. I've got some shitty poetry that needs posting too!
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RedMisanthrope
Poet Laureate of the Old Ones

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:56 pm 
 

Morrigan wrote:
Abercrombie stuff


Good to see he's attempting to challenge himself a bit by writing just a little outside the box. I still have yet to read "The Heroes" or "Red Country", but "Best Served Cold" was a nice little ride and I absolutely loved the original First Law trilogy. It's just so jaded and cynical that you can't help but feel that this is how a journey would transpire if it had realistic people in it (though that's probably not saying much for my world view :lol:). I hope this "adult" trilogy he's talking about picks up with the original characters; I'm overly curious about the ultimate fate of certain characters.
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Metal_Detector
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:03 pm 
 

Calusari wrote:
Metal_Detector wrote:
Just read The Road all in one sitting. I'm a bit exhausted now, but I can say with no reluctance that it was great and very moving. I'm glad I ordered several of McCarthy's novels on a whim. I have The Orchard Keeper, Outer Dark, Child of God, and No Country For Old Men on the way. Time for some college preparatory reading.

Have you read Blood Meridian? My favourite McCarthy novel, and one that I would always recommend to anyone who likes his other works; his style and use of imagery reach an incredible apotheosis, a blood-worship that will stay with you for a very long time.

Damn, must re-read that.


I have not, but it's certainly been on my list. Going to the book store tomorrow so I'll see if I can snag it for a decent price (otherwise it'll be an online purchase for me).

I'm also looking for some more writers like McCarthy, some more dark, direct literature with little focus on superfluous details. Any recommendations?

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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:04 pm 
 

giving the fantasy break and giving Grossman's Life and Fate a crack. It's pretty readable, I think mostly because I find that era of Russia to be so incredibly fascinating. The general impression is one of a super punishing read, but thus far I'm enjoying it and I think I'll regret this a fair bit less then that one time I attempted War and Peace.
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