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The "What Are You Reading" Thread

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Posts

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Reamde confuses me. I have now arrived at what could easily be mistaken for the climax of a bad Tom Clancy movie, and yet somehow I am not even half way through the book. Half the original cast has been shot, what the fuck is the rest of the book about?

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • GrudgeGrudge Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    i would agree that Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion is like Lost with a college degree

    completely fails to deliver in the second book

    and then the next two show you why he failed to deliver

    Not sure if you're saying Simmons is a bad writer here.

    I find it a bit too limiting in many cases to say that someone is a good or a bad writer. For Simmons, it's more like he has the capacity to write good books, but that doesn't mean that all his books are automatically good.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    I'd say he seems to continually stumble in the wrap-up.

    He's very ... inconsistent. He can writer some brilliant shit but it almost always seems to be mixed in with some bad writing too.

  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    I'm two-thirds of the way through C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, having finished Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra. They're okay; nothing special. That Hideous Strength is supposed to be the best of the three.

    What, really? Who supposed that? The first two at least have some cute ideas; the 3rd is basically just mean.

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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    So I've been sick, which makes me fall asleep like the second I sit down to read, but I'm finally wrapping up The Demon and the City. I'm really disappointed in it. Her first Detector Inspector Chen book (Snake Agent)was novel and interesting and fun. This one...I dunno, it feels like she wasn't even that interested in writing it. Most of the chapters are like 3 pages long, so I never get attached to what's going on before the perspective jumps again. The ending is just a bunch of stuff happening, with little feel for the potential consequences, and half the time things just up and get resolved without any apparent effort on the part of the protagonists.

    Going to jump into The Alloy of Law next.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • mere_immortalmere_immortal So tasty!Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Picked up Ready Player One today as an impulse purchase.

    Heard mixed things, some that it just tries a bit too hard to cram in every nerdy reference it can and others that it's a genuine love letter to the culture.

    Looking forward to getting into it though, after a couple of other things.

    mere_immortal on
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  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    Grudge wrote: »
    Bogart wrote: »
    i would agree that Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion is like Lost with a college degree

    completely fails to deliver in the second book

    and then the next two show you why he failed to deliver

    Not sure if you're saying Simmons is a bad writer here.

    I find it a bit too limiting in many cases to say that someone is a good or a bad writer. For Simmons, it's more like he has the capacity to write good books, but that doesn't mean that all his books are automatically good.

    Then he's a good writer. Simmons has written some bad books, some good books and some genuinely excellent ones. Bad writers don't write good books, but good writers sometimes write bad ones.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    simmons is not a bad writer. unlike most sci-fi writers he has a solid grasp of prose. he does have a problem with endings though, narratively and thematically. the closer he gets, the more the story ravels.

    this isn't uncommon with big books, especially genre fiction, which has to support the weight of an entire invented world as well as the people and events in it, i find.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • Mike DangerMike Danger "Diane..." a place both wonderful and strangeRegistered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Reamde confuses me. I have now arrived at what could easily be mistaken for the climax of a bad Tom Clancy movie, and yet somehow I am not even half way through the book. Half the original cast has been shot, what the fuck is the rest of the book about?

    I really, really like Stephenson, and I thought Reamde was a colossal shitshow.

  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    simmons is not a bad writer. unlike most sci-fi writers he has a solid grasp of prose. he does have a problem with endings though, narratively and thematically. the closer he gets, the more the story ravels.

    this isn't uncommon with big books, especially genre fiction, which has to support the weight of an entire invented world as well as the people and events in it, i find.

    I think it's that Simmons falls so in love with the references and thematic content of his books that sometimes he totally forgets that he needs to attach boring things like characters-who-aren't-just-thematic-devices and endings-to-the-plot. Which is probably why Hyperion is his best book - the format allows him to keep changing styles so he doesn't get bored with any particular plotline, and since the book's all about their journey, he doesn't have to worry about wrapping any of it up.

    Kana on
    History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    At long last, after meaning to read it for years, I have Algys Budris's Rogue Moon on its way to me from Amazon (entirely too fucking expensive, though, and it beggars belief that it's still out of print). Really looking forward to reading this.

  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    I always have trouble with this particular WoT discussion.

    I had no trouble finishing any of the books. At worst it took me a few weeks to finish book nine.

    I feel so out of place.

    You're really not out of place. I loved every single book. all of them. we can have hugs over our apparently self-flagellation!

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  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Uee Citizen Record #2051 Über Star CitizenRegistered User regular
    So I just remembered the Dragonriders of Pern books and the Darkover books. Not works of art, but pretty solid Fantasy/Sci-Fi works, ones that laid out a lot of groundword for later authors... Especially Pern.

    What do you guys think about those series?

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  • Target PracticeTarget Practice Registered User
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    At long last, after meaning to read it for years, I have Algys Budris's Rogue Moon on its way to me from Amazon (entirely too fucking expensive, though, and it beggars belief that it's still out of print). Really looking forward to reading this.

    I thought I was about to break your heart by telling you that I got a copy of that for a buck or two a few months back, but it was The Falling Torch that I picked up.

    (A used bookstore downtown had a going-out-of-business sale back in November, and I picked up about sixty books, mostly Hugo and Nebula nominees or winners.)

    sig.gif
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    So I just remembered the Dragonriders of Pern books and the Darkover books. Not works of art, but pretty solid Fantasy/Sci-Fi works, ones that laid out a lot of groundword for later authors... Especially Pern.

    What do you guys think about those series?

    the Pern books were good but got a bit samey and overly-romantic after a while. The earlier ones were much better, and I respect them for being one of the more influential 'this looks like fantasy but is actually SF' novels.

    Darkover I know nothing about, though Marion Zimmer Bradley is very important to me for The Mists of Avalon.

    They are two of the writers I think of as neglected. At the time they were first publishing, they were tremendously important, especially for pushing forward feminism in a genre which was extremely male-dominated and sexist. Nowadays few people ever talk about them. Mists of Avalon was unprecedented at the time - no-one had read anything like that. With internet hindsight, perhaps people can find something similar before it, but at the time, pre-internet genre-fans were gobsmacked.

    Actually, there are quite a few like that.

    poshniallo on
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  • CroakerBCCroakerBC YorkRegistered User regular
    So I just remembered the Dragonriders of Pern books and the Darkover books. Not works of art, but pretty solid Fantasy/Sci-Fi works, ones that laid out a lot of groundword for later authors... Especially Pern.

    What do you guys think about those series?

    Darkover is a bit of a hazy memory for me, as is Pern, but the latter is a bit more memorable. I have to say, it's one of those series that I powered through and loved in adolesence. The world was interesting, and unique (especially at the time). The characters held together well, and each new book was a page turner.

    Many years later, they, er, haven't held up so well. The world is still well drawn, but the characters inside it have managed less well. A lot of actions are telegraphed well before they happen, the good guys are...well, Good Guys, and the bad guys are Baddies. A lot of the time, they're good because the author says so, and the bad guys are one short step away from cackling madly about their plans for world domination. There's a distinct lack of grey-area morality, which I suspect is more common in the genre now than it was in the 80's. Or maybe McCaffrey knew her audience.

    On the other hand, the sci-fi aspects of the series are very well handled; while Dragonflight hasn't aged too well, and I very quickly got sick of Lessa and F'lar, Dragonsdawn, the origin story of Pern, remains a solid sci-fi/fantasy crossover novel, as do the short stories from that period. I think, at the time they were written, and for the audience they were pitched at, they did very well. I *suspect* that the same would be true if they were pitched at the same young-adult audience today - but if you grew up with them (as many of us did), you msy find they have not aged gracefully.

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  • LibrarianLibrarian Registered User regular
    simmons is not a bad writer. unlike most sci-fi writers he has a solid grasp of prose. he does have a problem with endings though, narratively and thematically. the closer he gets, the more the story ravels.

    this isn't uncommon with big books, especially genre fiction, which has to support the weight of an entire invented world as well as the people and events in it, i find.

    I think with Drood he pretty much nailed it. It's my favorite book of his and I think it had a great ending. Drood is one of his horror novels though.

    friedegg wrote: »
    Lord of the Flies. Frightening. Especially if you are a fat kid with glasses.
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Uee Citizen Record #2051 Über Star CitizenRegistered User regular
    CroakerBC wrote: »
    So I just remembered the Dragonriders of Pern books and the Darkover books. Not works of art, but pretty solid Fantasy/Sci-Fi works, ones that laid out a lot of groundword for later authors... Especially Pern.

    What do you guys think about those series?

    Darkover is a bit of a hazy memory for me, as is Pern, but the latter is a bit more memorable. I have to say, it's one of those series that I powered through and loved in adolesence. The world was interesting, and unique (especially at the time). The characters held together well, and each new book was a page turner.

    Many years later, they, er, haven't held up so well. The world is still well drawn, but the characters inside it have managed less well. A lot of actions are telegraphed well before they happen, the good guys are...well, Good Guys, and the bad guys are Baddies. A lot of the time, they're good because the author says so, and the bad guys are one short step away from cackling madly about their plans for world domination. There's a distinct lack of grey-area morality, which I suspect is more common in the genre now than it was in the 80's. Or maybe McCaffrey knew her audience.

    On the other hand, the sci-fi aspects of the series are very well handled; while Dragonflight hasn't aged too well, and I very quickly got sick of Lessa and F'lar, Dragonsdawn, the origin story of Pern, remains a solid sci-fi/fantasy crossover novel, as do the short stories from that period. I think, at the time they were written, and for the audience they were pitched at, they did very well. I *suspect* that the same would be true if they were pitched at the same young-adult audience today - but if you grew up with them (as many of us did), you msy find they have not aged gracefully.

    This makes sense. My favorite book was The White Dragon, BTW, which would make a pretty good YA book today.

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  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Anyone here read Gormenghast? I am embarking on a mission to not hate fantasy.

    Currently in the middle of the third GoT book, have the first Lankhmar book, and a collection of Conan stories.

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    Librarian wrote: »

    I think with Drood he pretty much nailed it. It's my favorite book of his and I think it had a great ending. Drood is one of his horror novels though.

    With Drood or The Terror, he could've lost a couple hundred pages and the books wouldn't be the weaker for it.

  • themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    I'm about halfway through Sharpe's Tiger which is the first (chronologically) of a long series of genre Napoleonic war fiction. Highly recommended so far.

    “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
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  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    I'm about halfway through Sharpe's Tiger which is the first (chronologically) of a long series of genre Napoleonic war fiction. Highly recommended so far.

    The whole Sharpe's Rifles TV series is a ridiculous amount of fun

    History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    I always have trouble with this particular WoT discussion.

    I had no trouble finishing any of the books. At worst it took me a few weeks to finish book nine.

    I feel so out of place.

    You're really not out of place. I loved every single book. all of them. we can have hugs over our apparently self-flagellation!

    I liked most of them, except the last one or two that came out right before he died. It's not so much that they were bad or anything, it's that I used to re-read the whole series each time for the previous ones (and I came onto it late so I had like 5 I could read in a row when I first started), but for that last one (or those last ones, not sure), I did not do that I and I was pretty lost. With the new bunch coming out, I've been buying the hardcovers but not reading them. Once it's 100% all done and out I will re-read the whole thing from start.

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    Also, I'm sure I'm not the first to say it but Rand's little harem thing he's got going on is nerd wish fullfillment at full blast.

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Echo wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Now try a book in second person present tense with multiple characters.

    I'm looking at you, Charlie Stross.

    I can't remember if Rule 34 did this or not.

    It's the sorta-sequel to Halting State, so it wouldn't surprise me. Haven't read it yet.
    The Autumn of the Patriarch takes the cake for funky point of view writing for me.

    edit: ... didn't the forum used to combine into one congruent posts of one person??

    Smrtnik on
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  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    So I'm not quite 25% of the way through "The Family" and I'm already just... It's mindblowing in some ways and in other ways not very surprising.

    I'd be interested to read Sharlett's other work, the book that he was working on when he got introduced to The Family.

    But alas, money I do not have. I'll have to wait for my birthday or something.

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  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    I just started "Salt: A World History." It's kind of a dry read.

    Professor Phobos on
  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    Finished The Handmaid's Tale. I enjoyed it, although it didn't turn out exactly how I was anticipating. I think a lot of its impact trades on you feeling sentimental about the same things as the main character, but fortunately I did, so the book definitely worked. It does expertly move between time periods, telling you just enough at a time to keep your interest piqued.

    Took that back and moved on to Dauntless by Jack Campbell. I've been enjoying it so far. I also picked up Hammered by Elizabeth Bear. Inside it was a quip from Peter Watts' (easily my favourite author) to the effect of "I hate this woman. She makes the rest of us look like amateurs." So hopefully that'll be good too.

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  • MusicoolMusicool Registered User regular
    I just started "Salt: A World History." It's kind of a dry read.

    Has it left a bad taste in your mouth?

    Burtletoy wrote: »
    I disagree completely.
    Spoiler:
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    I'm currently in the process of rereading Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa. It's a really interesting book, not just because it's Miyamoto Musashi goin' around choppin' dudes up - although there's plenty of dudechopping - but it's set right at the end of the warring states period in Japan, pretty much the first time the country had peace after a continual civil war between bunches of different warlords. Yoshikawa's father was a samurai before the class was finally abolished in the 19th century, and he wrote Musashi in the 1920s, which was a time of rising militarism in Japan and an urge to reclaim some of those samurai military virtues. Between all those social factors, it's a story where the "why's" of what's being written is at least as interesting as the story itself.

    History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
  • chrisnlchrisnl Registered User regular
    I think I may have decided that I hate myself, because I can't think of too many other reasons I would pick up reading Atlas Shrugged again. The book continues to use caricatures instead of characters at nearly every turn, and is just badly written. Why am I doing this to myself?

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Kana wrote: »
    I'm currently in the process of rereading Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa. It's a really interesting book, not just because it's Miyamoto Musashi goin' around choppin' dudes up - although there's plenty of dudechopping - but it's set right at the end of the warring states period in Japan, pretty much the first time the country had peace after a continual civil war between bunches of different warlords. Yoshikawa's father was a samurai before the class was finally abolished in the 19th century, and he wrote Musashi in the 1920s, which was a time of rising militarism in Japan and an urge to reclaim some of those samurai military virtues. Between all those social factors, it's a story where the "why's" of what's being written is at least as interesting as the story itself.

    Coz I live in Japan, I get very tired of the self-mythologising some people do here about history and bushi. I liked Book of the Five Rings for many reasons, one of which was that it showed that Miyamoto, the samurai of samurai, was clearly an unsentimental cold-blooded killer with no interest in honour. Does this come across in the book you're reading?

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    Has anyone read this Mongoliad thing? Is it any good? I found out about it when it was just an online collaborative thing, but now it's been edited down into a normal book-type thing, and it's $7.99 on kindle (or free with prime). It sounds interesting but reviews are sparse and I'm leery of the "many authors, one narrative" aspect. Anyone with Amazon Prime want to read it and write a 500 word review for my benefit?

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    At long last, after meaning to read it for years, I have Algys Budris's Rogue Moon on its way to me from Amazon (entirely too fucking expensive, though, and it beggars belief that it's still out of print). Really looking forward to reading this.

    Rogue Moon is an excellent, nasty little book. I rate Budrys quite a bit, even though he kind of became a shill for Scientology later on in life. Michelmas and Who? aren't quite as good as Rogue Moon, but are solid reads.

    My favourite comment about Michelmas comes from Gene Wolfe, who referred to an old adage that a sword is a fine thing, but a penknife is finer, because it is a secret sword. Michelmas is about a President, and although a President is a fine thing, Michelmas is finer because he is a secret President.

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    Also, just finishing up the third volume of HP Lovecraft's collected works. The Colour out of Space is probably his best short story, and he flubs the final reveal of the monster whenever one occurs (Cthulu seems very silly indeed wading after a boat), but as always, his terrible prose and over writing combine to somehow create something memorable. It's a weird alchemy of sorts.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    So I'm about halfway through Alloy of Law. It's fun, but strangely...amateur. It reads more like Elantris-era Sanderson than post-Mistborn Sanderson. The foreward says that he wanted to write a trilogy-of-trilogies set in the same fantasy world but at different historical eras to show the world's social and technological progress, which seems like a cool idea, but then goes on to say that Alloy of Law is not the start of a 'modern-era' trilogy for the world, but rather a divergence somewhere along the way. Maybe I'm tainted by knowledge, but it really reads like that. It's like he sat down with the world he'd created for Mistborn and started charting a future history for it, got to the equivalent of the 1800's, and said "Dude! Trains and 6-Shooters!" and had to stop to write a book. The characters are reasonably fun and the plot isn't uninteresting, but it keeps smacking me in the face with "Look at this thing! Remember that from Mistborn? Look at how it changed a little with the times!" in a way that's annoying. The book also seems to repeat itself a lot more than I recall him doing in his more recent works that I've read.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Kana wrote: »
    I'm currently in the process of rereading Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa. It's a really interesting book, not just because it's Miyamoto Musashi goin' around choppin' dudes up - although there's plenty of dudechopping - but it's set right at the end of the warring states period in Japan, pretty much the first time the country had peace after a continual civil war between bunches of different warlords. Yoshikawa's father was a samurai before the class was finally abolished in the 19th century, and he wrote Musashi in the 1920s, which was a time of rising militarism in Japan and an urge to reclaim some of those samurai military virtues. Between all those social factors, it's a story where the "why's" of what's being written is at least as interesting as the story itself.

    Coz I live in Japan, I get very tired of the self-mythologising some people do here about history and bushi. I liked Book of the Five Rings for many reasons, one of which was that it showed that Miyamoto, the samurai of samurai, was clearly an unsentimental cold-blooded killer with no interest in honour. Does this come across in the book you're reading?

    You probably wouldn't like Musashi, to be honest. It's kind of THE source for most of the Musashi legend, pretty much any movie or whatever that's been done since the 1920s is drawing off of that book. He does start out though as pretty much just a murdering asshole, the entire system of wandering around to dojos and basically trying to kill anyone with a good reputation. It really comes across that this's a society which's been in constant war and most of the samurai just have no goddamn idea what to do with themselves now that there's peace, so they go around murdering each other for honor. Unfortunately there's no translators notes, and it's hard to tell sometimes how much the author is pointing out that Shit Be Crazy, and how much is him legitimizing the craziness. Especially since the time he was writing the whole warrior honor thing was making a really nasty resurgence. It's a similar issue with his female characters - most of them only really have motivations in relation to the men in the story... But there's also some pretty great scenes where a Buddhist monk is lecturing about why women are evil, and the prim and proper Japanese lady totally calls him out on his bullshit.

    History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Also, just finishing up the third volume of HP Lovecraft's collected works. The Colour out of Space is probably his best short story, and he flubs the final reveal of the monster whenever one occurs (Cthulu seems very silly indeed wading after a boat), but as always, his terrible prose and over writing combine to somehow create something memorable. It's a weird alchemy of sorts.

    I think it is because horror is more conceptual, or at least for me it works this way. Because with Lovecraft, you're not only getting past the purple prose, but also the racism, etc.

    But it's his conceptual ideas for monsters that stick with you. What if there was this secret society...what if the backwoods hid more than just yokels...what if history hid more than we thought...etc.

    It's why I'll forgive a poorer made horror film if it brings up truly frightening ideas. What is scary is more important to me than how well it is executed, if that makes sense. Something my brain can chew over when I'm sitting there alone at night, something I can extrapolate on, works for me.

  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo When life gives you lemons... ...eat your delicious lemonsRegistered User regular
    I finished off KSR's climate change trilogy. It always is on the edge of becoming something really interesting. Still, it was pretty good.

    A few spoiler-y comments
    Spoiler:

    Now I'm on Drive by James Sallis. The novel that the film with the amazing soundtrack is very loosely based on. So far, so good. Interesting writing.

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  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    Just remembered I have a copy of Michael Shea's sequel to the Colour out of Space lying around here somewhere, which is pretty nifty. Shea is a writer who should be a damn sight more famous and succesful than he is, like the dude who wrote Bridge of Birds. Shea's short stories are excellent, and he's an incredibly gifted writer, able to turn his hand to ace Dantean journeys into hell with his Nifft stories and also produce books like his Lovecraft sequel and a book set on the Dying Earth of Jack Vance.

This discussion has been closed.