[Book]: Rhymes With

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Tenzytile wrote: »
    I like a physical book if I can swing it, and my local library has that translation, so I might bite when I'm swinging back to Russian lit (I tend to alternate my reads in patterns based on nationality and format and I just did a Russian book right before the Steinbeck). Nice to know it's there and that it's a relatively short read.

    I never had an adverse reaction to a particular book in high school, but I really hated novel studies as a whole: going through a book chapter by chapter with the rest of the students, reading in class, quizzes, papers and bullshit projects. I actually didn't take up reading as a pastime until a few years ago because of how much of a negative experience it was for me---so I feel some facet of that held teenage resentment for sure. I actually don't really hate much of the literary canon; I've found something to enjoy in most of the classics I've read.

    I didn't like class discussions of books in high school very much--my english teachers were not good, I think. Grapes of Wrath was one of them and I remember being told I couldn't write about the communism that I felt really enthused about and being forced to write about Rosasharn as a woman or whatever. I was p salty about that. (My 16 y o self also had no taste or subtlety, so it's possible I would find those chapters and themes overly didactic or poorly done if I read them today).

    Dead Souls I read with a class in college though, a really close reading, and with maybe 5 students total in the class, and it was a fantastic experience. I like being in a situation where you can actually talk about the text in detail. Taking lit classes in college has really enhanced my enjoyment of books in adulthood.

    Oh I should mention this translation also includes at the end the surviving bits of Volume 2 of Dead Souls. I elected not to read them, at least not right now, because I feel weird about reading novels not intended for publication. Although Gogol was definitely having problems when he burned the manuscript so, what did he really feel about the manuscript in this form--who knows (and regardless it's incomplete, just 5 chapters).

    I got a shipment today that contained A Memory Called Empire, Harrow the Ninth, and The Raven Tower, so I'm pretty hype. I did not like Provenance, but I am willing to give Leckie the benefit of the doubt since Ancillary was so great, so let's see how her fantasy book is.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    durandal4532
  • flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    I also read Dead Souls in a small college lit class and really enjoyed it, though we read the older Constance Garnett translation. I bet the P&V version is even better. Anna Karenina and Brothers Karamazov on the other hand were just way too dense to get through in even a few weeks.

    Another supposedly hilarious Russian satire that I've been meaning to get around to is The Twelve Chairs by Ilf & Petrov.

    y59kydgzuja4.png
    credeiki
  • metaghostmetaghost Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    Monster Baru spoiler/question about Tyrant.
    Does it feel like Seth did a decent job bringing the weird cancer magic in in a reasonable way? The end of Monster Baru Cormorant felt a little out of left field.

    RE: Monster's end and Tyrant's beginning —
    I can't really speak to what made you feel like Monster's end was "out of left field", but certainly the Cancrioth are explored in detail, though I think Dickinson's difficulty writing the book led him to a greater supernatural inflection when explaining concepts within Tyrant (perhaps moreso than he would have liked).

    I'd also say he wants readers to be imbalanced by the attempt to discern the truth of the Cancrioth (and Trim for that matter) vis a vis "Magic or Science?", so doing "a decent job bringing the weird cancer magic in in a reasonable way" may not be a useful evaluative question.

    I finished Tyrant last night.

    Light Final Act spoilers:
    Sure felt weird (but nice) to experience "Trim-connected" Barhu; as Dickinson writes in his post-script, I don't think I'd mind if he transitioned into a somewhat lighter exploration of her world, if that meant he wasn't subjecting himself to the emotional turmoil the series is known for.

    And, uh, shout out to the Lightning City Mindflayers — surely a top Blaseball team if I ever did hear of such a thing.

    Absalon
  • mightyspacepopemightyspacepope Registered User regular
    Quick question for those of you that have read Lovecraft Country. My wife and I have a long car ride coming up and was considering it as an audio book to help pass the time during the trip.
    Without getting into it too deeply, anything involving pregnancies or babies is a bit of a trigger for her right now. With that being the case, are there any moments in the book centered around them?

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Quick question for those of you that have read Lovecraft Country. My wife and I have a long car ride coming up and was considering it as an audio book to help pass the time during the trip.
    Without getting into it too deeply, anything involving pregnancies or babies is a bit of a trigger for her right now. With that being the case, are there any moments in the book centered around them?

    I don't think it's a huge spoiler...
    as far as I can recall there's only ever mention of one pregnancy. It's references to someone decades in the past who has her child without any noted complications besides being black in America. None of the viewpoint characters or their friends and family are pregnant that I can recall and I don't think there's ever any reference to something bad happening to a pregnant person.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
    mightyspacepope
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Hot damn, just finished Harrow the Ninth. What a goddamn great book in an amazing series. That whole last 1/4 of the book is one sustained crescendo. I'm literally tired after finishing it, and I have no idea how the trilogy is going to resolve.

    I'm going to have to think for a while before putting down detailed thoughts.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
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    KanaPhillishereDevoutlyApatheticMahnmutAntoshkaA Dabble Of Thelonius
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    I just finished a chapter in Gideon and you, know I'd already been into it don't get me wrong- but the last line was "ghosts and you might die is my middle name," and I'm god damn in love with this.

    I Do Design | I PSN- Subtle_Ties | 3DS: 3840-5210-2008 (Subtle)
    webguy20BrodyAntoshkaAbsalonPailryderA Dabble Of TheloniusknitdanMoridin889Lord_Asmodeus
  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    My absolute favorite Gideon bit. Chapter 14 spoiler.
    “You want to fight it.”

    “Yep.”

    “Because it looked…a little like swords.”

    Yop.

    vm8gvf5p7gqi.jpg
    Steam - Talon Valdez :Blizz - Talonious#1860 : Xbox Live & LoL - Talonious Monk @TaloniousMonk Hail Satan
    webguy20credeikiMoridin889
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    My absolute favorite Gideon bit. Chapter 14 spoiler.
    “You want to fight it.”

    “Yep.”

    “Because it looked…a little like swords.”

    Yop.

    omg yes that was my favorite exchange in the entire book

    Gideon is a delight

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    webguy20
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    I really, really love the way Harrow revisits a lot of the events of Gideon and gives us alternate versions / perspectives on the book. It's just fantastic

    There are a couple of characters that I now love deeply and they only had like 2-3 lines in the first book before dying.

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
    webguy20AntoshkaDevoutlyApatheticMahnmutA Dabble Of Thelonius
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    I figured I remembered Gideon well enough to start reading Harrow, given I finished Gideon a couple months ago. I'm beginning to suspect I was wrong. Is there a rundown anywhere that I can look at for "Who is this person, generally, and what happened to them?"

    Also, is there a term for the way these books are written? The voice is very...modern. I'm not sure how to refer to it. I've read a couple of books by other people who are written in a similar style but I don't know what to call it. Like the spoiler-quoted passage a couple of posts up would seem weird to someone from 10 years ago. It makes sense in the current popular-vocabulary zeitgeist but I suspect will feel horribly dated in 20 years. What do I call that?

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  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    Anachronistic modernity

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    knitdan wrote: »
    Anachronistic modernity

    Is it really anachronism when it's the future?

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  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    Postanachronistic premodernism

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User regular
    Gideon is a millennial

    BrodyAntoshkaEchoDevoutlyApatheticcredeiki
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    Gideon is good at memes

    I Do Design | I PSN- Subtle_Ties | 3DS: 3840-5210-2008 (Subtle)
    BrodyAntoshkawebguy20credeiki
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    edited August 18
    I figured I remembered Gideon well enough to start reading Harrow, given I finished Gideon a couple months ago. I'm beginning to suspect I was wrong. Is there a rundown anywhere that I can look at for "Who is this person, generally, and what happened to them?"

    Also, is there a term for the way these books are written? The voice is very...modern. I'm not sure how to refer to it. I've read a couple of books by other people who are written in a similar style but I don't know what to call it. Like the spoiler-quoted passage a couple of posts up would seem weird to someone from 10 years ago. It makes sense in the current popular-vocabulary zeitgeist but I suspect will feel horribly dated in 20 years. What do I call that?

    OK the quick reminder course of what really happened to who in Gideon the Ninth. Spoilers, obv.

    Harrow and Gideon head off to a wrecked planet to join in the trials to become a lyctor, even though no one exactly knows what that is. All the other dread houses of necromancy come too.

    HELLA SPOILERS
    Cytherea, one of God's immortal servants, has decided she's a bit pissed at the old man and wants to fuck up this whole thing, and by screwing it up lure God down to the planet where she can kill him for reasons largely unknown.

    Cytherea smuggles herself about the seventh House's shuttle, kills Dulcinea and her cavalier Protesilaus, animates Protesilaus, and adopts Dulcinea's identity. She's behind everything.
    She kills Abigail Pent and her cavalier/husband Magnus first, because Abigail is a powerful spirit magician who can summon the dead. Then she kills Isaac and Jeannemary from the fourth house, the terrible teenagers.

    Ianthe spends almost the whole book in the background, but we get subtle hints that she's a genius. She ends up figuring out how to become a lyctor first, kills her brother/cavalier Naberius, absorbs his soul, and becomes a lyctor. Her hot sister Coronabeth is meanwhile just bummed that Ianthe didn't absorb her instead.

    Silas, the asshole puritan from the 8th house, views this none too kindly, and starts doing some nasty soul-sucking magic to kill Ianthe. It works pretty well, right until nasty ghosts show up, possess his cavalier, and kill both of them in messy fashion. Don't use soul magic in a creepy abandoned temple, idiot.

    Around the same time the very basic and military-esque second house has decided this whole thing is FUBAR and they should go fight Teacher, who's basically just the game-show host of this whole contest. They want to get a hold of the comms so they can call in backup and cancel this whole thing. Teacher and Marta the cavalier bite it in the fight, and Judith is left bleeding in a chair.

    Palamedes, the necro of the sixth house, has at this point figured out that Fake Dulcinea isn't really Dulcinea, because there's too many things that she doesn't know. He confronts her, and while he eggs her on into a villain monologue he uses his medical necromancy magic to give her ultra-cancer. Then he blows up because using up all your mana points with one spell has some pretty big downsides.

    And we end up with a big fight against a weakened Cytherea AKA Fake Dulcinea, versus Gideon, Harrow, Camilla (Palamedes' cavalier), and Ianthe. Even having to constantly regenerate from ultra-cancer Cytherea is still kicking their ass, so Gideon lets herself die so Harrow can scoop up her soul and become a lyctor too. Harrow ends up winning with their combined powers.

    They win and Ianthe and Harrow get scooped up by the Emperor. In passing they mention that they couldn't find most of the other bodies or survivors. Gideon and Judith's bodies are both missing. Coronabeth and Camilla are both missing, but last seen alive, so we don't know where they went.

    During this whole thing we also get some subtle hints that there's something real fucking weird going out with Gideon. Among other feats of insane toughness, she apparently survived a direct dose of nerve toxin as a little kid, which killed the whole rest of Harrow and Gideon's generation. And then she proceeds to survive several more things that everybody else says should, at the very least, fuck her up real bad.

    That whole nerve gas thing, btw, was because Harrow's parents killed off a bunch of kids, to release a bunch of death magic into the air right as Harrow was being conceived. Apparently it helped guarantee they'd get a super powerful necro as a child, and Harrow's known about this her whole life, which helps explain why Harrow is so... Harrow-y.

    At the close of the book Harrow is very sad and grieving, but also she's fully aware of what's happened and, well, not like she is when Harrow the Ninth starts.

    Kana on
    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
    CptHamiltonwebguy20Mahnmutcredeiki
  • metaghostmetaghost Registered User regular
    The question of Gideon/Harrow's style is interesting to me, as I had fairly intense revulsion to it on first glance, feeling like it hewed too close to the undeveloped work of a particular peer in undergrad that was desperate to modernize the style of Cormac McCarthy.

    That anecdote aside, I like @knitdan's first suggestion, but I'm not sure temporality has any meaning in context, as perceiving the world of Gideon's to be in the past or future seems irrelevant due to its fantastical foundations. Poking at the dictionary, I was sad to learn "anaculturalism" isn't an Oxford-accepted term (they prefer anatopism), but the idea contained within seems much closer: Muir has employed a distinctly modern and colloquial style effusive of OUR world, but not necessarily Gideon's, the juxtaposition of which can be really entertaining, but occasionally "very cringe".

  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    I definitely bounced off the Kindle sample, it seemed to be trying awfully hard to be cool, but I do want to give it another shot. I did love Small Angry Planet which also seemed to be trying to fit into a cool hip Firefly vibe, but that was just so nice and positive that I loved it, and hopefully there'll be more to Gideon to draw me in.

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited August 18
    Septus wrote: »
    I definitely bounced off the Kindle sample, it seemed to be trying awfully hard to be cool, but I do want to give it another shot. I did love Small Angry Planet which also seemed to be trying to fit into a cool hip Firefly vibe, but that was just so nice and positive that I loved it, and hopefully there'll be more to Gideon to draw me in.

    Gideon would still work without the trendy, tumblr-blog (yes, I'm old, I don't know what's hip now) style narration because the world is unique, the plot is an intricate and often surprising mystery story, and the character building mostly works. I could see a less competent novel relying on the anaculturalistic voice or whatever as a crutch. I think in Gideon's case I worry more that the trilogy won't have a long-lasting place in the fantasy/sci-fi canon just because I suspect that voice will age badly very quickly.

    Scalzi's most recent works dip in the same tonal pool but not quite as deep. They could similarly work without it, though.

    CptHamilton on
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  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    My absolute favorite Gideon bit. Chapter 14 spoiler.
    “You want to fight it.”

    “Yep.”

    “Because it looked…a little like swords.”

    Yop.

    omg yes that was my favorite exchange in the entire book

    Gideon is a delight

    I just got past this segment and it is correct that this was fantastic.

    To the broader convo I don't see it as something trying super hard to be contemporary that will age poorly. It reminds me a of a sense I got from Vonnegut where it feels effortlessly clever but not through an obsession with its own cleverness.

    Idk. I doubt I have the critical language to express it, but it's like, the counterpoint to my teenage angst period of thinking Palahniuk was such a clever writer.

    I Do Design | I PSN- Subtle_Ties | 3DS: 3840-5210-2008 (Subtle)
    A Dabble Of Thelonius
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Vonnegut always seems deeply obsessed with his own cleverness to me but I know I'm an outlier there.

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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Tamsyn Muir was originally a fac-fic writer. Its explains alot about her style.

    Its incredibly well written dense fanfiction. So it feels like it should be an easy read but there's a ton of depth hiding in it.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Vonnegut always seems deeply obsessed with his own cleverness to me but I know I'm an outlier there.

    I mean thats the whole joke of Kilgore Trout

  • flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    Vonnegut's work is filled with so much self-loathing that I have a hard time believing he thought of himself as very clever.

    y59kydgzuja4.png
    chrono_traveller
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    Two of the most fan fiction-y parts of Harrow were my favorite bits
    1, the ""harrow as an officer and Gideon as the hot barista she meets" sequence is just pure fanfic and its great

    And then in a reddit AMA Miur mentions how Ianthe is totally intended as a Draco Malfoy in Leather Pants tvtropes character, who's snooty and a jerk and better than you but is weirdly lovable anyway, except the female version, since normally that type of character is always male.

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
    DevoutlyApatheticSo It GoesMahnmutEchoAtari Soul
  • AntoshkaAntoshka Miauen Oil Change LazarusRegistered User regular
    edited August 19
    What I would like to know is, why can I not purchase Seth Dickinson's Tyrant yet. What an irritation it is to deal with regional restrictions on Book purchases.

    I ended up reading The Dawnhounds - by Sascha Stronach after it won the Julius Vogel award. I have to say, it's interesting - definitely has the first book feel to it, but is well written, and has some really interesting characters. I'd definitely say its worth a look

    Antoshka on
    n57PM0C.jpg
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Kana wrote: »
    Two of the most fan fiction-y parts of Harrow were my favorite bits
    1, the ""harrow as an officer and Gideon as the hot barista she meets" sequence is just pure fanfic and its great

    And then in a reddit AMA Miur mentions how Ianthe is totally intended as a Draco Malfoy in Leather Pants tvtropes character, who's snooty and a jerk and better than you but is weirdly lovable anyway, except the female version, since normally that type of character is always male.

    It's been probably 15 years since I really read any fan fiction... I think what "fan fiction-y" means must have changed a lot.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    There are some bits in Harrow that make me think the style and tone is more than just surface snark.
    Wake Me Up Inside’s full name makes me think that Earth pop culture has a sacred/radical place in this universe, albeit a mostly lost and hidden one. With the number of dead planets (nine), the Poe poem, and her name, my guess is that the war is about making the immortal God pay for killing the world.

    So It Goeswebguy20
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    There are some bits in Harrow that make me think the style and tone is more than just surface snark.
    Wake Me Up Inside’s full name makes me think that Earth pop culture has a sacred/radical place in this universe, albeit a mostly lost and hidden one. With the number of dead planets (nine), the Poe poem, and her name, my guess is that the war is about making the immortal God pay for killing the world.

    John also makes a few jokes and references which feel extremely earthy and goes over everyone else's heads

    Also like the way he says "oh god" to himself is totally in the way that one of us would say it

    Whereas everyone else says God referring to, like, the specific Immortal Space Emperor and Living God.

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
    PhillishereMoridin889So It GoesEchowebguy20
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Kana wrote: »
    There are some bits in Harrow that make me think the style and tone is more than just surface snark.
    Wake Me Up Inside’s full name makes me think that Earth pop culture has a sacred/radical place in this universe, albeit a mostly lost and hidden one. With the number of dead planets (nine), the Poe poem, and her name, my guess is that the war is about making the immortal God pay for killing the world.

    John also makes a few jokes and references which feel extremely earthy and goes over everyone else's heads

    Also like the way he says "oh god" to himself is totally in the way that one of us would say it

    Whereas everyone else says God referring to, like, the specific Immortal Space Emperor and Living God.

    His “that’s sad and funny at the same time” remark to her full name totally sold me that he’s someone from our era.

    Antoshkawebguy20
  • AntoshkaAntoshka Miauen Oil Change LazarusRegistered User regular
    Kana wrote: »
    There are some bits in Harrow that make me think the style and tone is more than just surface snark.
    Wake Me Up Inside’s full name makes me think that Earth pop culture has a sacred/radical place in this universe, albeit a mostly lost and hidden one. With the number of dead planets (nine), the Poe poem, and her name, my guess is that the war is about making the immortal God pay for killing the world.

    John also makes a few jokes and references which feel extremely earthy and goes over everyone else's heads

    Also like the way he says "oh god" to himself is totally in the way that one of us would say it

    Whereas everyone else says God referring to, like, the specific Immortal Space Emperor and Living God.
    Large Harrow spoilers:
    Commander Wakes full name:

    Awake Remembrance of These Valiant Dead Kia Hua Ko Te Pai Snap Back to Reality Oops There Goes Gravity


    John's later mangling:
    Commander Wake Me Up Inside

    Both contain references to current songs, and John certainly implies that they're related, so it's pretty safe to say he's implied to have been alive now.

    His dismissive attitude to the first string of words suggests that he knows what they mean, and finds it amusing, while Wake certainly implies that they are important not on meaning, but in the fact that they are connections to humanity prior to John's ascension, but that she doesn't really have any idea of their meaning, or significance.

    I'm still on the fence as to whether Augustine's conversation with him implies John is directly the cause of humanities downfall, or whether he's taking vengeance on an outside agency that caused it.

    n57PM0C.jpg
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Antoshka wrote: »
    Kana wrote: »
    There are some bits in Harrow that make me think the style and tone is more than just surface snark.
    Wake Me Up Inside’s full name makes me think that Earth pop culture has a sacred/radical place in this universe, albeit a mostly lost and hidden one. With the number of dead planets (nine), the Poe poem, and her name, my guess is that the war is about making the immortal God pay for killing the world.

    John also makes a few jokes and references which feel extremely earthy and goes over everyone else's heads

    Also like the way he says "oh god" to himself is totally in the way that one of us would say it

    Whereas everyone else says God referring to, like, the specific Immortal Space Emperor and Living God.
    Large Harrow spoilers:
    Commander Wakes full name:

    Awake Remembrance of These Valiant Dead Kia Hua Ko Te Pai Snap Back to Reality Oops There Goes Gravity


    John's later mangling:
    Commander Wake Me Up Inside

    Both contain references to current songs, and John certainly implies that they're related, so it's pretty safe to say he's implied to have been alive now.

    His dismissive attitude to the first string of words suggests that he knows what they mean, and finds it amusing, while Wake certainly implies that they are important not on meaning, but in the fact that they are connections to humanity prior to John's ascension, but that she doesn't really have any idea of their meaning, or significance.

    I'm still on the fence as to whether Augustine's conversation with him implies John is directly the cause of humanities downfall, or whether he's taking vengeance on an outside agency that caused it.

    Similarly large Harrow Spoilers:
    I've see a bunch of folks who are all on board the Fuck John train now. While I think he is very much an asshole on some stuff I'm not at all sure he's just flat out evil evil. Hiding the True Lictor process is pretty high on the Asshole List it is possible it has secondary issues. Like he hid Al away for some reason, right?

    Though him being some sort of super evil feels like it is more likely since we know who the third book centers on.

  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Vonnegut was very clever and experimented with what he could do in novels but I don't think it was ever to show off his own cleverness.

    QuidIcemopperSo It Goes
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited August 19
    Antoshka wrote: »
    Kana wrote: »
    There are some bits in Harrow that make me think the style and tone is more than just surface snark.
    Wake Me Up Inside’s full name makes me think that Earth pop culture has a sacred/radical place in this universe, albeit a mostly lost and hidden one. With the number of dead planets (nine), the Poe poem, and her name, my guess is that the war is about making the immortal God pay for killing the world.

    John also makes a few jokes and references which feel extremely earthy and goes over everyone else's heads

    Also like the way he says "oh god" to himself is totally in the way that one of us would say it

    Whereas everyone else says God referring to, like, the specific Immortal Space Emperor and Living God.
    Large Harrow spoilers:
    Commander Wakes full name:

    Awake Remembrance of These Valiant Dead Kia Hua Ko Te Pai Snap Back to Reality Oops There Goes Gravity


    John's later mangling:
    Commander Wake Me Up Inside

    Both contain references to current songs, and John certainly implies that they're related, so it's pretty safe to say he's implied to have been alive now.

    His dismissive attitude to the first string of words suggests that he knows what they mean, and finds it amusing, while Wake certainly implies that they are important not on meaning, but in the fact that they are connections to humanity prior to John's ascension, but that she doesn't really have any idea of their meaning, or significance.

    I'm still on the fence as to whether Augustine's conversation with him implies John is directly the cause of humanities downfall, or whether he's taking vengeance on an outside agency that caused it.

    Similarly large Harrow Spoilers:
    I've see a bunch of folks who are all on board the Fuck John train now. While I think he is very much an asshole on some stuff I'm not at all sure he's just flat out evil evil. Hiding the True Lictor process is pretty high on the Asshole List it is possible it has secondary issues. Like he hid Al away for some reason, right?

    Though him being some sort of super evil feels like it is more likely since we know who the third book centers on.

    My take...
    I don’t think John caused the end of humanity. It sounds more like climate change led to nuclear war, and the massive death led the last man alive (John) to become a super powerful necromancer. From there, he managed to bring humanity back and set himself up as Godking Emperor.

    That seems to be the rebel’s beef. Instead of bringing back humanity and its culture, he created a cult to himself.

    Phillishere on
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    I started rereading A Memory Called Empire, and gosh I really do just love this book. Like it is very space opera, the protagonist is from a little space station-nation on the edge of a bigass galactic empire, but instead of doing that typical vaguely fascist space opera thing where only the military can ever deal with anything, it's almost all just like, talking about cultural subtleties, an ambassador trying to seamlessly fit into a very foreign culture. And there's this complex balance between like, she's spent a decade+ learning the language and culture, so obviously she has a love and passion for this place, and her job as an ambassador is to bridge the divide between their two cultures for smooth communications, and at the same time it's also her job to preserve her own people's independence, both geographically and also keeping them from being washed away by the metropole's overwhelming and constant soft power flow of dramas and literature and poetry and art.

    Like I've compared to to Baru Cormorant before, and I'm not hating on Baru Cormorant by any means, but its concept of empire is a bit of a cardboard cutout, a hodgepodge of horrible imperialist policies from various empires to form a whole that is, at all times, morally odious but also distantly Over There, so that the book can talk about how Baru deals with her own learned self-hatred. Memory Called Empire is a bit less openly political (though its definitely still has politics) but it's also a bit of a wiser, more complex look at why someone would fall for a culture that is gradually but inexorably erasing their own.

    Anyway the book is also frequently quite funny, but often in that way of like a joke in a foreign language that requires copious translator's notes is. This scene, where Mahit the ambassador is settling into her first day of work - catching up on diplomatic mail - with her cultural attache, the imperial citizen Mahit Seagrass, I find just super charming. It's from quite early in the book, not spoilery:
    [...] Three Seagrass handed her the next infofiche stick, which turned out to be a thoroughly distracting mess concerning import fees on a shipping manifest that would have taken half an hour to sort out had it been answered when it was originally asked, back when Yskandr [the previous ambassador] had been alive. It took nearly three times that long for Mahit to solve, considering one of the parties had left the planet - that was the stationer - and another had married into citizenship and changed his name during the lag time. Mahit made Three Seagrass hunt down the new-made Teixcalaanlitzlim under his new name and issue him a formal summons to the Judicial Department of Interstellar Trade Licensing.
    "Just make sure he shows up to pay the import fees on the cargo he bought from one of my station's citizens, whatever his name is," Mahit told her.
    The name the man had chosen, it turned out, was Thirty-Six All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle, a revelation that produced in both Mahit and Three Seagrass a kind of stunned silence.
    "No one would actually name a child that," Three Seagrass complained after a moment. "He has no taste. Even if his parent or his creche was from a low-temperature planet with a lot of tundra in need of all-terrain vehicles."
    Mahit wrinkled her eyebrows in sudden puzzlement, remembering - vividly - the part of her early language training on Lsel when her entire class had been encouraged to make up Teixcalaanli names to call themselves while they were learning to speak. She's picked Nine Orchid, because the heroine of her then-favorite Teixcalaanli novel, about the adventures of the crechemate of the future Emperor Twelve Solar-Flare, had been called Five Orchid. It had felt very Teixcalaanli, picking a name based on one's favorite book. She'd thought the names the other children had chosen were much less successful, at the time, and had felt very superior. Now, in the center of Teixcalaanli space, the entire episode seemed not only appropriative but absurd. Nevertheless, she asked Three Seagrass, "Just how do you Teixcalaanlitzlim name yourselves?"
    "Numbers are for luck, or the qualities you want your child to have, or fashion. 'Three' is perennially popular, all the low numbers are; Threes are supposed to be stable and innovative, like a triangle. Doesn't fall over, can reach pinnacles of thought, that sort of thing. This person picking 'Thirty-Six' is just trying to look new-money City-dweller, it's a little silly but not that bad. The bad part is "All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle.' I mean. Blood and sunlight, it's technically permissible, that's an inanimate object or a piece of architecture, but it's so ... nice names are plants and flowers and natural phenomena. And not so many syllables."
    This was the most animated Mahit had seen Three Seagrass be so far, and it was really making it difficult for Mahit not to like her. She was funny. Thirty-Six All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle was funnier.
    "When I was learning the language," she said, deciding all at once to share, to offer something back for this little bit of cultural exchange - if they were going to work together they should work together - "we had to pretend to have Teixcalaanli-style names, and one of my classmates - the kind of person who scores perfectly on exams and has a terrible accent - called himself 2e Asteroid. The irrational number. He thought he was being clever."
    Three Seagrass contemplated this, and then snickered. "He was," she said. "That's hilarious."
    "Really?"
    "Enormously. It's like turning your whole persona into a self-deprecating joke. I'd buy a novel written by a Two-E Asteroid, it'd probably be satire."
    Mahit laughed. "The person in question wasn't subtle enough for satire," she said. "He was a dreadful classmate."
    "He sounds it," Three Seagrass agreed, "but he's accidentally subtle, which is even better."

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
    SummaryJudgmentMahnmutLeumasWhite
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited August 19
    Kana wrote: »
    I started rereading A Memory Called Empire, and gosh I really do just love this book. Like it is very space opera, the protagonist is from a little space station-nation on the edge of a bigass galactic empire, but instead of doing that typical vaguely fascist space opera thing where only the military can ever deal with anything, it's almost all just like, talking about cultural subtleties, an ambassador trying to seamlessly fit into a very foreign culture. And there's this complex balance between like, she's spent a decade+ learning the language and culture, so obviously she has a love and passion for this place, and her job as an ambassador is to bridge the divide between their two cultures for smooth communications, and at the same time it's also her job to preserve her own people's independence, both geographically and also keeping them from being washed away by the metropole's overwhelming and constant soft power flow of dramas and literature and poetry and art.

    Like I've compared to to Baru Cormorant before, and I'm not hating on Baru Cormorant by any means, but its concept of empire is a bit of a cardboard cutout, a hodgepodge of horrible imperialist policies from various empires to form a whole that is, at all times, morally odious but also distantly Over There, so that the book can talk about how Baru deals with her own learned self-hatred. Memory Called Empire is a bit less openly political (though its definitely still has politics) but it's also a bit of a wiser, more complex look at why someone would fall for a culture that is gradually but inexorably erasing their own.

    Anyway the book is also frequently quite funny, but often in that way of like a joke in a foreign language that requires copious translator's notes is. This scene, where Mahit the ambassador is settling into her first day of work - catching up on diplomatic mail - with her cultural attache, the imperial citizen Mahit Seagrass, I find just super charming. It's from quite early in the book, not spoilery:
    [...] Three Seagrass handed her the next infofiche stick, which turned out to be a thoroughly distracting mess concerning import fees on a shipping manifest that would have taken half an hour to sort out had it been answered when it was originally asked, back when Yskandr [the previous ambassador] had been alive. It took nearly three times that long for Mahit to solve, considering one of the parties had left the planet - that was the stationer - and another had married into citizenship and changed his name during the lag time. Mahit made Three Seagrass hunt down the new-made Teixcalaanlitzlim under his new name and issue him a formal summons to the Judicial Department of Interstellar Trade Licensing.
    "Just make sure he shows up to pay the import fees on the cargo he bought from one of my station's citizens, whatever his name is," Mahit told her.
    The name the man had chosen, it turned out, was Thirty-Six All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle, a revelation that produced in both Mahit and Three Seagrass a kind of stunned silence.
    "No one would actually name a child that," Three Seagrass complained after a moment. "He has no taste. Even if his parent or his creche was from a low-temperature planet with a lot of tundra in need of all-terrain vehicles."
    Mahit wrinkled her eyebrows in sudden puzzlement, remembering - vividly - the part of her early language training on Lsel when her entire class had been encouraged to make up Teixcalaanli names to call themselves while they were learning to speak. She's picked Nine Orchid, because the heroine of her then-favorite Teixcalaanli novel, about the adventures of the crechemate of the future Emperor Twelve Solar-Flare, had been called Five Orchid. It had felt very Teixcalaanli, picking a name based on one's favorite book. She'd thought the names the other children had chosen were much less successful, at the time, and had felt very superior. Now, in the center of Teixcalaanli space, the entire episode seemed not only appropriative but absurd. Nevertheless, she asked Three Seagrass, "Just how do you Teixcalaanlitzlim name yourselves?"
    "Numbers are for luck, or the qualities you want your child to have, or fashion. 'Three' is perennially popular, all the low numbers are; Threes are supposed to be stable and innovative, like a triangle. Doesn't fall over, can reach pinnacles of thought, that sort of thing. This person picking 'Thirty-Six' is just trying to look new-money City-dweller, it's a little silly but not that bad. The bad part is "All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle.' I mean. Blood and sunlight, it's technically permissible, that's an inanimate object or a piece of architecture, but it's so ... nice names are plants and flowers and natural phenomena. And not so many syllables."
    This was the most animated Mahit had seen Three Seagrass be so far, and it was really making it difficult for Mahit not to like her. She was funny. Thirty-Six All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle was funnier.
    "When I was learning the language," she said, deciding all at once to share, to offer something back for this little bit of cultural exchange - if they were going to work together they should work together - "we had to pretend to have Teixcalaanli-style names, and one of my classmates - the kind of person who scores perfectly on exams and has a terrible accent - called himself 2e Asteroid. The irrational number. He thought he was being clever."
    Three Seagrass contemplated this, and then snickered. "He was," she said. "That's hilarious."
    "Really?"
    "Enormously. It's like turning your whole persona into a self-deprecating joke. I'd buy a novel written by a Two-E Asteroid, it'd probably be satire."
    Mahit laughed. "The person in question wasn't subtle enough for satire," she said. "He was a dreadful classmate."
    "He sounds it," Three Seagrass agreed, "but he's accidentally subtle, which is even better."

    Between Becky Chambers, Ann Leckie, and this, I am enjoying watching a "humane space opera" genre coming into being in the last few years.

    Edit: Also Murderbot. Can't forget Murderbot.

    Phillishere on
    SummaryJudgmentLeumasWhiteBrodywebguy20Tofystedethchrono_traveller
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Kana wrote: »
    I started rereading A Memory Called Empire, and gosh I really do just love this book. Like it is very space opera, the protagonist is from a little space station-nation on the edge of a bigass galactic empire, but instead of doing that typical vaguely fascist space opera thing where only the military can ever deal with anything, it's almost all just like, talking about cultural subtleties, an ambassador trying to seamlessly fit into a very foreign culture. And there's this complex balance between like, she's spent a decade+ learning the language and culture, so obviously she has a love and passion for this place, and her job as an ambassador is to bridge the divide between their two cultures for smooth communications, and at the same time it's also her job to preserve her own people's independence, both geographically and also keeping them from being washed away by the metropole's overwhelming and constant soft power flow of dramas and literature and poetry and art.

    Like I've compared to to Baru Cormorant before, and I'm not hating on Baru Cormorant by any means, but its concept of empire is a bit of a cardboard cutout, a hodgepodge of horrible imperialist policies from various empires to form a whole that is, at all times, morally odious but also distantly Over There, so that the book can talk about how Baru deals with her own learned self-hatred. Memory Called Empire is a bit less openly political (though its definitely still has politics) but it's also a bit of a wiser, more complex look at why someone would fall for a culture that is gradually but inexorably erasing their own.

    Anyway the book is also frequently quite funny, but often in that way of like a joke in a foreign language that requires copious translator's notes is. This scene, where Mahit the ambassador is settling into her first day of work - catching up on diplomatic mail - with her cultural attache, the imperial citizen Mahit Seagrass, I find just super charming. It's from quite early in the book, not spoilery:
    [...] Three Seagrass handed her the next infofiche stick, which turned out to be a thoroughly distracting mess concerning import fees on a shipping manifest that would have taken half an hour to sort out had it been answered when it was originally asked, back when Yskandr [the previous ambassador] had been alive. It took nearly three times that long for Mahit to solve, considering one of the parties had left the planet - that was the stationer - and another had married into citizenship and changed his name during the lag time. Mahit made Three Seagrass hunt down the new-made Teixcalaanlitzlim under his new name and issue him a formal summons to the Judicial Department of Interstellar Trade Licensing.
    "Just make sure he shows up to pay the import fees on the cargo he bought from one of my station's citizens, whatever his name is," Mahit told her.
    The name the man had chosen, it turned out, was Thirty-Six All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle, a revelation that produced in both Mahit and Three Seagrass a kind of stunned silence.
    "No one would actually name a child that," Three Seagrass complained after a moment. "He has no taste. Even if his parent or his creche was from a low-temperature planet with a lot of tundra in need of all-terrain vehicles."
    Mahit wrinkled her eyebrows in sudden puzzlement, remembering - vividly - the part of her early language training on Lsel when her entire class had been encouraged to make up Teixcalaanli names to call themselves while they were learning to speak. She's picked Nine Orchid, because the heroine of her then-favorite Teixcalaanli novel, about the adventures of the crechemate of the future Emperor Twelve Solar-Flare, had been called Five Orchid. It had felt very Teixcalaanli, picking a name based on one's favorite book. She'd thought the names the other children had chosen were much less successful, at the time, and had felt very superior. Now, in the center of Teixcalaanli space, the entire episode seemed not only appropriative but absurd. Nevertheless, she asked Three Seagrass, "Just how do you Teixcalaanlitzlim name yourselves?"
    "Numbers are for luck, or the qualities you want your child to have, or fashion. 'Three' is perennially popular, all the low numbers are; Threes are supposed to be stable and innovative, like a triangle. Doesn't fall over, can reach pinnacles of thought, that sort of thing. This person picking 'Thirty-Six' is just trying to look new-money City-dweller, it's a little silly but not that bad. The bad part is "All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle.' I mean. Blood and sunlight, it's technically permissible, that's an inanimate object or a piece of architecture, but it's so ... nice names are plants and flowers and natural phenomena. And not so many syllables."
    This was the most animated Mahit had seen Three Seagrass be so far, and it was really making it difficult for Mahit not to like her. She was funny. Thirty-Six All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle was funnier.
    "When I was learning the language," she said, deciding all at once to share, to offer something back for this little bit of cultural exchange - if they were going to work together they should work together - "we had to pretend to have Teixcalaanli-style names, and one of my classmates - the kind of person who scores perfectly on exams and has a terrible accent - called himself 2e Asteroid. The irrational number. He thought he was being clever."
    Three Seagrass contemplated this, and then snickered. "He was," she said. "That's hilarious."
    "Really?"
    "Enormously. It's like turning your whole persona into a self-deprecating joke. I'd buy a novel written by a Two-E Asteroid, it'd probably be satire."
    Mahit laughed. "The person in question wasn't subtle enough for satire," she said. "He was a dreadful classmate."
    "He sounds it," Three Seagrass agreed, "but he's accidentally subtle, which is even better."

    Between Becky Chambers, Ann Leckie, and this, I am enjoying watching a "humane space opera" genre coming into being in the last few years.

    Edit: Also Murderbot. Can't forget Murderbot.

    That spoiler sold me on the book right there. Added to the queue.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
    Kana
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    Actually here's one more scene I really like. It actually comes right before the other one I posted. This is all from within the first like 10% of the book but I'll spoiler it anyway just to avoid spam:
    (Mahit's just finished the moving in process)

    "Not a single bit of contraband. You are a very dull barbarian so far."
    "Were you expecting excitement?" Mahit asked.
    "You're my very first barbarian," Three Seagrass said. "I am expecting everything."
    "Surely you've met noncitizens before. This is the Jewel of the World."
    "Meeting is not the same as liasing-for. You're my noncitizen, Ambassador. I open doors for you."
    The verb form she used was just archaic enough to be idiomatic. Mahit risked sounding less fluent than she hoped she was and said, "Door-opening seems beneath the responsibilities I'd expect of a patrician second-class."
    Three Seagrass's smile was sharper than most Teixcalaanli expressions; it reached her eyes. "You don't have a cloudhook. You can't open some doors, Ambassador. The City doesn't know you're real. Besides, without me, how will you decrypt your mail?"
    Mahit raised an eyebrow. "My mail is encrypted?"
    "And three months late in being answered."
    "That," said Mahit, standing up and walking out of the bedroom - this door knew her, at least - "is Ambassador Yskandr Aghavn's mail, not mine."
    Three Seagrass trailed behind her. "There isn't a difference. Ambassador Dzmare, Ambassador Aghavn," she said, tilting one hand back and forth. "It's the Ambassador's mail."
    [...]
    "And it's encrypted."
    "Of course. It wouldn't be very respectful to not encrypt an ambassador's mail." Three Seagrass retrieved a bowl brimming with infofiche sticks, little rectangles of wood or metal or plastic surrounding circuitry, each one elaborately decorated with its sender's personal iconography. She fished out a fistful, holding them between her fingers like her knuckles had sprouted claws. "What would you like to start with?"
    "If the mail is addressed to me, I ought to read it myself." said Mahit.
    "Legally, I'm an absolute equivalent," Three Seagrass said, pleasantly enough.
    Pleasantness wasn't sufficient. Just because Mahit wanted an ally - wanted Three Seagrass to be helpful and useful and not an immediate threat, considering the woman had to live in the next room and open doors for however long she'd been assigned to mind Mahit, considering that Mahit was beginning to realize how trapped she was going to be in the City, considering that she was not real to that city's panopticon eyes - just because Mahit wanted wasn't enough to make Three Seagrass an actual extension of Mahit's will, no matter what she said she was.
    "Perhaps by Teixcalaanli law," Mahit said. "By Stationer law, you are nothing of the kind."
    "Ambassador, I hope you aren't assuming I'm not trustworthy enough to guide you through the court."
    Mahit shrugged, spreading her hands wide. "What happened to my predecessor's cultural liaison?" she asked.
    If Three Seagrass was disturbed by the question, the disturbance didn't reach her face. Impassive, she said, "He was reassigned after his two years of service were up. I believe he is no longer in the palace complex at all."
    [they argue some more about the previous liaison, Fifteen Engine]
    "I would like to speak to him. Fifteen Engine."
    "I assure you," said Three Seagrass, "I have extensive experience and really unusually excellent scores on all the necessary aptitudes for working with noncitizens. I'm sure we'll be fine."
    "Asakreta-"
    "Please call me Three Seagrass, Ambassador. I'm your liaison."
    "Three Seagrass," said Mahit, trying very hard not to raise her voice," I would like to ask your predecessor about how my predecessor conducted his business here, and perhaps also about the circumstances of his extremely untimely, and based on the quantity of this mail, inconvenient death."
    "Ah," said Three Seagrass.
    "Yes."
    "His death was quite, as you say, inconvenient, but entirely accidental."
    "I'm sure, but he was my predecessor," Mahit said, knowing that if Three Seagrass was as Teixcalaanli as she seemed, a request to know the intimate details of the person who had held one's own position in society would be culturally compelling, like asking to know about a prospective imago would be on Lsel Station. "And I would like to speak to someone who knew him as well as we are going to get to know one another." She tried to remember the muscle memory of the precise degree to which [she should] widen her eyes in a Teixcalaanli-style smile, and imitated it by feel.
    "Ambassador, I have every sympathy with your current - predicament," said Three Seagrass, "and I'll have a message sent to Fifteen Engine, wherever he might be now, along with the rest of the answered mail."
    "... Which I can't answer myself, because it is encrypted."
    "Yes! But I can decrypt nearly any of the standard forms, and most of the nonstandard ones."
    "You still haven't explained why my mail is encrypted in a fashion I can't decrypt."
    "Well," said Three Seagrass, "I don't at all mean to be disparaging. I'm sure that on your station you are an extremely educated person. But in the City, encryption is usually based in poetic cypher, and we certainly don't expect noncitizens to have to learn that. And an ambassador's mail is encrypted for the sake of showing off that an ambassador is an intelligent person, well-acquainted with courts and court poetry - it's customary. It's not a real cipher, it's a game."
    "We do have poetry out on Lsel, you know."
    "I know," said Three Seagrass, with such sympathy that Mahit wanted to shake her.

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
    webguy20
  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    I got Harrow finally so i should blaze through that in the next day or so

    Already read Act One but I will read it again because this shit is dense and complicated despite also being fluffy goofy fun and my puny human brainmeat struggles to cope at times

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
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