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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 4543
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:01 pm 
 

I'm reading Annihilation and it's pretty good. Definitely a page-turner, nice writing/imagery, pretty decent first-person characterizing. Can't speak to the quality of the plot yet, I've heard it's kinda Lost-y in how it strings you along without much payoff, but I'm enjoying the ride so far.
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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
Posts: 6680
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:05 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
The Road was very well done but I doubt I'd read it again - too bleak really. Blood Meridian is, if anything, even darker and more hopeless in a different way, but it's also got enough bizarre stuff and utter carnage wreaked that it becomes entertaining in a savage way - that one I do plan to read again. I'm gonna try some of his other ones sometime soon.


Regarding the Road, I read it before I had my son and after I had my son. I highly, highly recommend rereading the book as a parent. It becomes far more.. I dunno, visceral, heartstrings tugging, etc. Much more powerful and stuff. I think it's fair to say that Cormac basically wrote the thing as a love letter to his kid.
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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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Location: eccaira nare epë Anar
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:04 pm 
 

I know nothing of his family history other than he was divorced once, but when I was reading The Road I couldn't decide if it was intended to be read that way or as something written for his father.
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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:13 am 
 

McCarthy did actually have a son late in life, like in his mid sixties or something, so it's safe to assume The Road was inspired by that. Hey, I just walked over to my bookshelf, cracked the book and, lo and behold, it's dedicated to his son, John.

And in line with what caspian said, I remember reading the book and thinking how it must be even more powerful to read as a parent, when you can actually put yourself in the protagonist's shoes. Yes, it's very bleak, but it's also incredibly heartfelt and life-affirming. I've scarcely been so moved by the end of a book.

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RedMisanthrope
Poet Laureate of the Old Ones

Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 1:53 pm
Posts: 2009
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:31 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
I'm reading Annihilation and it's pretty good. Definitely a page-turner, nice writing/imagery, pretty decent first-person characterizing. Can't speak to the quality of the plot yet, I've heard it's kinda Lost-y in how it strings you along without much payoff, but I'm enjoying the ride so far.


Page turner indeed. I was around page 90 when I sat back down with it yesterday and before I knew it it was a few hours later and I was wrapping the book. Solid, quick read.

Next up for me is Something Wicked this Way Comes by Bradbury, or maybe something else entirely. I actually used Annihilation as a step back into serious reading (something I've slacked on for far too long) because of its length.
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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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Location: eccaira nare epë Anar
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:53 pm 
 

I'm halfway through Star Maker right now---extremely good, can't decide if I like it more or less than his first book. Not his fault but unfortunately my copy has quite a lot of typos.

There's an omnibus edition of the Southern Reach trilogy, and I'm considering getting that, but it seems like people really only praise the first book. On top of that, part of my interest in getting the book was to read it before the film, which did so poorly in test screenings that it's going straight to Netflix in a bunch of countries. Initial impetus almost gone, mixed reviews of 2nd/3rd books...I'm conflicted. :/
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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:21 pm 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
There's an omnibus edition of the Southern Reach trilogy, and I'm considering getting that, but it seems like people really only praise the first book. On top of that, part of my interest in getting the book was to read it before the film, which did so poorly in test screenings that it's going straight to Netflix in a bunch of countries. Initial impetus almost gone, mixed reviews of 2nd/3rd books...I'm conflicted. :/


I loved the whole trilogy and would recommend it. Also the controversy over the movie isn't exactly what it seems. One of the producers wasn't happy with the ending and wanted it changed to something more conclusive and accessible, less complex and cerebral. Alex Garland (the director) refused so the producer backed out, which is why it isn't getting as wide of a theatrical release as it was supposed to and that's why Netflix scooped it up. But hell, if anything that makes me more excited to see it. It's gotten great reviews from pretty much everywhere I've looked, and Jeff Vandermeer (author of the book) says it's totally great.

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Trashy_Rambo
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:04 pm
Posts: 1271
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:04 am 
 

I'm finally getting my first taste of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series through The Eye of the World, and I have to say that I'm loving it. Every thing and place has so much history behind it that very little is really mundane.
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Banach
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:31 am
Posts: 17
Location: Sweden
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:48 pm 
 

Trashy_Rambo wrote:
I'm finally getting my first taste of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series through The Eye of the World, and I have to say that I'm loving it. Every thing and place has so much history behind it that very little is really mundane.


A series that gets too much crap imo. Up through book 4 it'll just get better and better, book 5 a bit sluggish if I recall correctly, while book 6 was ace. After that it's kind of all over the map, which I guess explains a lot of the complaints. I don't know how many times I've reread the first 7-8 books at this point. If you enjoy the first one I would absolutely continue. WoT comes into it's own from book 2 or 3 I'd say.

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Trashy_Rambo
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:04 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:08 pm 
 

Yeah, after finishing the first book, I immediately started reading the second one online and got about 1/4 of the way through it. :D
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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:39 pm 
 

Well, I both (a) finished Star Maker and (b) finished the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy in the last few days.

I wouldn't say Star Maker was better than Last and First Men, though there were certainly parts I found more engrossing, and in any case the prose was generally easier to read. My only issue (apart from way too many typos in my edition) is that the parts towards the end of the book (after the attainment of the cosmic mind) were just way too vague. I understand somewhat why this section was written that way but I still found it a bit difficult to concentrate on. The saving grace for this section was the descriptions of other types of universes---that is, universes with different physical laws and constants. All in all an extremely impressive work in both scope and imagination. It's hard for me to picture any other author coming close to conveying that sense of scale within the universe.

Now, part I of the Southern Reach trilogy---this is just pure candy. Sweet and easy to read, but with maybe more character development than expected for popular fiction. The sense of mystery is so good I almost don't want to finish the trilogy, just so I can maintain that sense of unaccounted for weirdness. But I've already bought parts II and III so I'm gonna finish it for sure. Also, I'm sure as shit seeing the movie now.
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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:57 pm 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
Now, part I of the Southern Reach trilogy---this is just pure candy. Sweet and easy to read, but with maybe more character development than expected for popular fiction. The sense of mystery is so good I almost don't want to finish the trilogy, just so I can maintain that sense of unaccounted for weirdness. But I've already bought parts II and III so I'm gonna finish it for sure. Also, I'm sure as shit seeing the movie now.


Books 2 and 3 are really different, but enjoy!

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TheConqueror1
With a 120 mm gun!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 569
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:54 am 
 

More than half into War and Peace. It's very well written and I'm enjoying the novel. However, I'm starting to think that Crime and Punishment is a better novel than War and Peace
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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:29 pm 
 

Yeah, in my (SUPER INFORMED OPINION) it definitely is. But I'm basically drawing that down to the fact that I found C&P really easy to read- devoured it, and I've read it again recently and still loved it- whereas I found war and peace to be the definition of a "literary novel", ie something that's beautiful written but fairly hard to get into and incredibly boring. Was kinda surprised because I absolutely loved Tolstoy's "The Cossacks" (I am aware that's one of his more accessible books) so I figured I'd still gel with his writing style. WRONG
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TheConqueror1
With a 120 mm gun!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 569
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:25 pm 
 

caspian wrote:
Yeah, in my (SUPER INFORMED OPINION) it definitely is. But I'm basically drawing that down to the fact that I found C&P really easy to read- devoured it, and I've read it again recently and still loved it- whereas I found war and peace to be the definition of a "literary novel", ie something that's beautiful written but fairly hard to get into and incredibly boring. Was kinda surprised because I absolutely loved Tolstoy's "The Cossacks" (I am aware that's one of his more accessible books) so I figured I'd still gel with his writing style. WRONG



Crime and Punishment is a lot more accessible than War and Peace. it certainly can get boring sometimes but I think the writing about Napoleonic Wars makes it more thrilling. As of lately, I've been struggling with the reading in War and Peace but it's still a great novel. Some parts can be slightly difficult to undertand but Wordsworth Classics is essential if you want to read the novel compared to the Oxford's Classics. I've also read Demons but I can't really remember it so well. The characters in War and Peace are so damn diverse, it's like there is a new character is mentioned on each page! I would also like to say that in Crime and Punishment, there is always something going on. Although, I can tell you this, there is a lot more "action" in Crime and Punishment.
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Thiestru
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:18 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:01 pm 
 

I've been reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. Anyone ever read them? I'm loving them. So far I've read A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, and am on Adventures of Sherlock Holmes now. Mystery is a new genre for me, actually. Good stuff.

I also devoured The Children of Hurin by Tolkien the other day. What a great - if sad - story.
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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:30 pm 
 

Thiestru wrote:
I've been reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. Anyone ever read them? I'm loving them. So far I've read A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, and am on Adventures of Sherlock Holmes now. Mystery is a new genre for me, actually. Good stuff.

I've only read A Study in Scarlet yet, but I love this kind of shit--mysteries where everything you need to know is outright presented to you, even if you don't realize it at the time, and if you can't figure it out, you only have yourself to blame.
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TheStormIRide
Jesuscop

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:45 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:34 pm 
 

Ugh, I'm still slogging through Seveneves. It's really, really good, but pretty technical and verbose, even by Stephenson standards. I said this when I finished the System of the World trilogy, but I'm swearing off Stephenson for quite some time after this. I dug out a few books to dive into, in preparation, but the last half of this book is crawling for me.
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kellyon
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:18 am
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:45 am 
 

I just finished The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I recommend to all. It's a beautiful book.
I'm debating on starting either: Dublineers or Notes from the Underground.

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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:27 pm 
 

Just finished The Name of the Wind after having it recommended to me quite a bit over the past while. And...I guess I'm on the fence? It was definitely a good entertaining read throughout, but honestly it was just a bit Young Adult fantasy for my taste. I can see it being a great "gateway" fantasy book, like I would recommend it to Harry Potter fans who want to read something closer to epic fantasy. That isn't a rag on Harry Potter or its fanbase, that's just who I think would get the most out of this book. I think I just like a bit more substance in my fantasy, a larger cast of characters, a bit more world-building, a sense that there's a lot at stake. I just got a bit tired after a while of reading about the same character waking up in the morning, going to school, spending time with the same two friends, and other daily mundanities. But if you're into a pretty contained, character-driven story, this is probably for you.

On the plus side, Rothfuss's prose is a notch above your typical fantasy writer, and I was definitely turning pages quickly, even when I was getting bored with what I was reading. I'm not going to rush out and get the second book, but I'll probably read it eventually, maybe when the third one has a release date.

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theposega
Mezla

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:01 pm 
 

honestly, don't even bother with the second one.
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Razakel
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:20 am 
 

Uh oh, does it get shittier?

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TheConqueror1
With a 120 mm gun!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:04 pm 
 

I just finished War and Peace. I know that I did state earlier in a previous post that I was reading the novel. It was quite an interesting read by the way.
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Morrigan
Crone of War

Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2002 7:27 am
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:37 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Just fyi, I utterly loathed House of Leaves. It's one of those huge postmodern novels (like Gravity's Rainbow or The Infinite Jest) that totally divides readers - either you're entranced by it as Amber was, or you fucking hate that pretentious, longwinded, "the author loves the smell of his own farts and hasn't even breathed normal air in ten years" gigantic waste of paper.

Ewwww. Sounds like my worst nightmare.
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Xlxlx
Argentinian Asado Supremacy

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:32 pm 
 

House of Leaves, on paper (ha!), sounded like something I should've been fascinated by. Then I tried to read it, "tried" being the key word here, because yeah, it was just this total borefest full of pretentious writing and gimmicky, "spooooooky" printing "mistakes". Utterly insufferable.

I'd love it if someone managed to pull off a similar idea though, only not terrible in every single way.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:00 pm 
 

After a few months' hiatus, I moved onto the fourth book of Vance's Demon Princes series. This is as weird, fun and cool as ever. I don't know where he comes up with this shit but I'll be damned if it isn't entertaining.
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theposega
Mezla

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:26 am 
 

Razakel wrote:
Uh oh, does it get shittier?


it pretty quickly devolves into transparent wish-fulfillment stuff. i made it maybe 200 before giving up, but there's an infamous bit later on with Kvothe and multiple women at once and yeah. I believe Rothfuss wrote a good bit of it while actually in college and it shows.
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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:54 pm 
 

I finished Barnes and Bible's The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1 the other day and loved it. Seriously, if you haven't read Holmes stories and you're even a little curious, check them out.

Then I read City of Illusions by Le Guin and really enjoyed it, right up to the disappointing end. Should have easily gone on another hundred pages. Next I turned to The Dispossessed, which I like a great deal so far.

But I'm taking a break from that today to read my first bit of Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express. I like it and will finish it today, but I definitely like Doyle's writing better. And I find Sherlock more entertaining than Poirot.

No, I haven't seen the movie(s) of said book, so you know.
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colin040
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:51 pm 
 

Decided to look up some gothic novels and started to read The Mysteries of Udolpho. So far it's alright.

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TheConqueror1
With a 120 mm gun!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:31 pm 
 

I'm currently reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I really love this novel so far.
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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:28 pm 
 

So, I finished the rest of the Southern Reach trilogy. While there wasn't anything wrong with the second and third books and they had some genuinely creepy moments, if you fell in love with the first book ultimately I think you're better off just stopping there.

After one of my habitual brief detours/flirtations/detoxes with some nonfiction, I started reading The Fifth Head of Cerberus. I'm about 40 pages in (the visiting meeting Dr. Veil) and it's great so far. Intriguing world-building and character development in that "show, not tell" style Wolfe excels so well in.
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On Friday I passed an important milestone in my teaching career: a student shat himself

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:06 am 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
So, I finished the rest of the Southern Reach trilogy. While there wasn't anything wrong with the second and third books and they had some genuinely creepy moments, if you fell in love with the first book ultimately I think you're better off just stopping there.

That's my impression of the "new weird" movement as a whole - based mostly on Mieville and Vandermeer. They're great at setups, flavor, worldbuilding, characters, and their prose is delicious, but every single book I've read fails to live up to its promise. The plots never wrap up in a satisfying way. They clearly took huge influence from older new wave impressionist/surrealist authors like J G Ballard and M John Harrison, who also rarely used typical A->B->C type plot structures and relied much more on character, prose, and feeling, but Harrison especially knew how to write emotional structure - so the events and actions wouldn't necessarily follow a typical structure, but the feelings of the characters (and more importantly, the reader) would.

Maybe someone else here has had better luck with new weird authors, but for me (to use a simplistic measuring stick) they never really get above the 3 to 4 out of 5 range. No classics yet.
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Razakel
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:14 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Maybe someone else here has had better luck with new weird authors, but for me (to use a simplistic measuring stick) they never really get above the 3 to 4 out of 5 range. No classics yet.


Other than liking the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation was the best one, but I liked all three books, and lately Vandermeer has said he's writing more), I've been sort of skeptical to try out other "new weird" writers, but I also haven't simply because I'm working my way through all the classic weird writers!

I think Vandermeer's great and I'd like to read more of his stuff. I've read a couple random Laird Barron stories and thought they were alright but I've heard his books get progressively worse and worse, so maybe I should try one of his earlier collections. I remember reading a single Caitlin A. Kiernan story a while ago called "A Redress for Andromeda" which I thought was fine for being a very blatant Lovecraft tribute. But yeah, I haven't really dug into some of the bigger new weird writers like China Mieville, but I imagine I will sometime relatively soon.

Currently I'm diving into my first Philip K. Dick experience (I know, how behind can I possibly be?) with A Scanner Darkly. Just started it yesterday but I'm loving it.

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:19 pm 
 

Laird Barron isn't considered new weird as far as I know, the typical definition is more along the lines of Vandermeer and Mieville who blend fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, horror, psychedelic surrealism, postmodernism, etc. together. Mieville is the prime example, but have you read any of M John Harrison's Viriconium stories or novels? Those works stand as a pretty solid template to what the new weird would later attempt, and in my opinion never equal.

If you haven't read any M John Harrison yet, grab the Viriconium omnibus and get going! These days he's better known for Light, which is fine, but not his best work. Read Viriconium. The first part of it is like The Dying Earth on strong psychedelics, and it only gets stranger from there.
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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:49 pm 
 

Ahh I've been vaguely aware of Viriconium for a while but now that you've recommended it to me it's jumped higher up on my list. I'll keep my eye out for some of the books (or the omnibus) but I'll probably end up ordering online. All I really need to know is that it's been compared to Gormenghast.

Speaking of stuff you've recommended me, I think I forgot to mention that I recently read another Robert Aickman book, Dark Entries. I liked Cold Hand in Mine a bit more, but this one had a story called "Bind Your Hair" which was one of the best of his I've read yet, right up there with "The Hospice". I'm definitely gonna keep going with Aickman.

A friend of mine also lent me a short little book called The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. I have no idea who that author is/was, but apparently he was close friends with Borges, and anyway, this book was fantastic. I can't really say anything about the story without diminishing it for a prospective reader, but it's basically a really original, mindbending little sci-fi tale. I loved it.

Also mindbending, I just blasted through The Third Policeman for the third time and I'm increasingly convinced that it's my #1 favourite novel of all spaces and times. It bored its way so deeply into my brain the first time I read it years ago, and it only gets better the more I revisit it. Please everyone read this book!

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Biggie
Metal newbie

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:01 am 
 

Razakel wrote:
I've read a couple random Laird Barron stories and thought they were alright but I've heard his books get progressively worse and worse, so maybe I should try one of his earlier collections.

Yeah, whoever told you this is on the money. While Barron's first two collections (Imago Sequence & Occultation) are both genuinely incredible, his whole "grizzly noir dude getting caught up in cosmic horror" shtick gets old really fast, to the point where most of his very good stories start to read the same. Fast forward & his newest collection (Swift to Chase) is a steaming puddle of wank that reads like the guy's just trying to show off how clever his writing can be now, so even don't bother.

I'm currently half-way through the 2-volume version of James Frazer's The Golden Bough. A charming read mostly, but you can definitely tell at times that the guy was talking out of his ass. These books sit in the same basket as Robert Graves' The White Goddess - beautiful literary pieces with limited scientific value in this day & age.

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BeholdtheNicktopus
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:12 pm 
 

I couldn't agree more with those disappointed by the second and third Southern Reach installments. And don't get me started on the film adaptation... I love the idea of new weird way more than any instances of it. Bizarro stuff didn't click like I wanted it to either. Eh.

The best literature I've been reading lately has been Plato. So there's that...
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:14 pm 
 

I read maybe a hundred pages of the second Southern Reach book. It wasn't bad or anything, I coulda kept reading, but agree it wasn't as enthralling as the first. I do wonder if I should finish it though, like maybe it gets better/explores/reveals some interesting things.
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CoconutBackwards
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Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:02 pm
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Location: Walled Lake, MI
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:13 pm 
 

BeholdtheNicktopus wrote:
I couldn't agree more with those disappointed by the second and third Southern Reach installments. And don't get me started on the film adaptation... I love the idea of new weird way more than any instances of it. Bizarro stuff didn't click like I wanted it to either. Eh.

The best literature I've been reading lately has been Plato. So there's that...


What should I read by Plato?
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BeholdtheNicktopus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:29 pm 
 

If you haven't read any Plato before, I would say most people start with some of the Socratic dialogues of the early period so that would be a good bet. That is, Euthyphro, Crito, Apology type thing. The early ones typically focus on disabusing the conversants of things they think they know or are obvious.

One of my favorites is the Symposium, it's dramatic (lots of action) and could serve as an alternative way to dip in to the slightly more technical side of Plato. If you want something more positive and theoretical, this might be good; you get a bit about the Forms here, instead of just a demolition of false suppositions.

I would recommend steering clear of the later dialogues at first, and if you want to read the more technical stuff I recommend the commentaries of Francis MacDonald Cornford. That is: "Plato and Parmenides" (trans and comm on the Parmenides, very tough dialogue on metaphysics, big for Neoplatonism and thus Christian thought), "Plato's Theory of Knowledge" (trans and comm on the Theaetetus and the Sophist, some important dialogues on knowledge) and "Plato's Cosmology" (trans and comm of the Timaeus, another weird and this time 'mythical' sort of work).

Other than that it depends on what you are looking for. Plato is the Big Man for a reason--it's all in there!
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