[Book]: Rhymes With

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  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    I don't remember who it was that recommended Ashes of the Sun by Django Wrexler in the holiday book thread, but I devoured 80% of it in one sitting.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
    MahnmutBrody
  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    The Murderbot Diaries are like 2 books as well, in total length. The first four are novellas. Try to get them from a Library if you can, or used. Places like Amazon are charging full book prices for them. Murderbot book 5 is full length though.

    They were briefly free through Tor.com’s eBook of the Month Club last year.

    Everyone should sign up for their eBook of the month club, and download everything they offer, even if you have no immediate plans of reading it. Like in December, they had the first five books of Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series.

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I just finished Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem. I knew it was a famous Russian movie but that's about it. Lem is Polish (...and my edition was double translated from French apparently? Just get a polish translator jfc); the book is from 1961.

    I'm going to talk about it and nothing I say in the review will present spoilers (if you can really 'spoil' a 60 year old work that is considered a classic, although let's be real I had no idea what it was about even, before reading it) beyond what's on the back cover of the book.

    It is a moody painting of a book. It's extremely visual: there's all sorts of lighting effects in red and blue, both bright and shadows; we see scientific apparatus and industrial fixtures; we observe complex, dynamic organic formations. The formations are phenomena of a planet-sized, living, perhaps conscious ocean which has intrigued the scientific community for decades but has ultimately proven unexplained. The first person protagonist arrives on the expedition station to find that one of the three scientists there is recently dead, and the other ones are bizarre--there's somewhat of a horror movie feeling to it. Soon his girlfriend from 10 years ago, who committed suicide, appears to him, in the flesh. It's not her, but it has her memories and is a physical entity.

    Throughout the book, a lot of territory is devoted to dry expedition logs, discussions of the academic consensus and lack thereof and history of scholarship of the planet Solaris and its ocean. At first I wondered if those were there just because exploration/academia records are a typical genre element of the time and especially, I think, of the decades prior, but there's definitely something more. There's a contrast set up between the rationality of the academic study and the completely irrational circumstance that the protagonist can hold his dead girlfriend. Interestingly, we don't actually get all that much about how the (first person!) narrator feels about any of this. There's maybe a paragraph or two in the whole book showing his thought process; otherwise the closest we get is a brief but evocative statement like 'something snapped inside me', and then a narrative of his action. The protagonist also does not care about the interiority or motivations of the other scientists. We do not ever get to see who their 'visitors' are. And since simultaneously the reader is wondering--does Rheya, the girlfriend, have any interiority? Does the ocean think? it's all...well, I can't really put my finger on why it works so well to also deny us that direct access to the protagonist's inner thoughts.

    The book doesn't move forward much--it evokes some feelings and brings up and deepens some themes (but doesn't fully develop them) and nothing is quite resolved, at the end. You're left with a thoughtful and somewhat unsettled impression. It's very melancholy. I found it intriguing and it is extremely well-written (...the polish-->french-->english version is, anyway...) although I found the expedition logs parts a bit too dry, and some of the technobabble touched on stuff I knew, which wasn't ideal, but doesn't bother me much, as I've covered before in this space.

    It's the sort of book you could write essays about, although I think it would all be about the aesthetics and the expressions of themes rather than the resolution of any theme or any core message.

    I'm not generally into movies but I think I will watch the Tarkovsky movie some time and see how it sits.

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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    The Soderbergh movie is worth watching as well.

    Jacobkosh
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    I just finished Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem. I knew it was a famous Russian movie but that's about it. Lem is Polish (...and my edition was double translated from French apparently? Just get a polish translator jfc); the book is from 1961.

    I'm going to talk about it and nothing I say in the review will present spoilers (if you can really 'spoil' a 60 year old work that is considered a classic, although let's be real I had no idea what it was about even, before reading it) beyond what's on the back cover of the book.

    It is a moody painting of a book. It's extremely visual: there's all sorts of lighting effects in red and blue, both bright and shadows; we see scientific apparatus and industrial fixtures; we observe complex, dynamic organic formations. The formations are phenomena of a planet-sized, living, perhaps conscious ocean which has intrigued the scientific community for decades but has ultimately proven unexplained. The first person protagonist arrives on the expedition station to find that one of the three scientists there is recently dead, and the other ones are bizarre--there's somewhat of a horror movie feeling to it. Soon his girlfriend from 10 years ago, who committed suicide, appears to him, in the flesh. It's not her, but it has her memories and is a physical entity.

    Throughout the book, a lot of territory is devoted to dry expedition logs, discussions of the academic consensus and lack thereof and history of scholarship of the planet Solaris and its ocean. At first I wondered if those were there just because exploration/academia records are a typical genre element of the time and especially, I think, of the decades prior, but there's definitely something more. There's a contrast set up between the rationality of the academic study and the completely irrational circumstance that the protagonist can hold his dead girlfriend. Interestingly, we don't actually get all that much about how the (first person!) narrator feels about any of this. There's maybe a paragraph or two in the whole book showing his thought process; otherwise the closest we get is a brief but evocative statement like 'something snapped inside me', and then a narrative of his action. The protagonist also does not care about the interiority or motivations of the other scientists. We do not ever get to see who their 'visitors' are. And since simultaneously the reader is wondering--does Rheya, the girlfriend, have any interiority? Does the ocean think? it's all...well, I can't really put my finger on why it works so well to also deny us that direct access to the protagonist's inner thoughts.

    The book doesn't move forward much--it evokes some feelings and brings up and deepens some themes (but doesn't fully develop them) and nothing is quite resolved, at the end. You're left with a thoughtful and somewhat unsettled impression. It's very melancholy. I found it intriguing and it is extremely well-written (...the polish-->french-->english version is, anyway...) although I found the expedition logs parts a bit too dry, and some of the technobabble touched on stuff I knew, which wasn't ideal, but doesn't bother me much, as I've covered before in this space.

    It's the sort of book you could write essays about, although I think it would all be about the aesthetics and the expressions of themes rather than the resolution of any theme or any core message.

    I'm not generally into movies but I think I will watch the Tarkovsky movie some time and see how it sits.

    Melancholy with a thoughtful and unsettled impression is pretty much how I'd describe the Tarkovsky film. It's one of my favorite science fiction movies, I'd be curious to hear your view on it after reading the book.

  • TenzytileTenzytile Registered User regular
    Ever since I got into reading for pleasure a few years ago, I've tried to do a Dostoevsky every year, but I failed in 2020 because it was a weird year that took away my most fruitful reading environment (the public). I managed to finish Humiliated and Insulted the other day, however, and I liked it a lot. In spurts, anyway.

    I think the main thing that struck me about it is how verbose and repetitive it is for the first couple acts. Dostoevsky likes a passive protagonist, but the one in this case is basically running between three or so locations to act as a kind of surveyor for a greater story he's witness to. Several of the characters are very talkative, and often say less than the insightful and emotional observational prose they're captured in by the eye of the protagonist. While it can be a little tiring, the book does a good job in giving each of its characters a coherent voice and outlook in its larger web of deceit, spite, and unrequited love.

    The exception is the book's greatest asset: Nellie, a 12 year old orphan who's taken in by the main character. Because she spends a good deal of her arc barely speaking at all, Dostoevsky is able to illustrate her story through gesture and emotional intuition that bespeaks a history of pain---one that's later drawn out in dialogue. The relationship between the protagonist and this character is very moving, and it's through this character that the novel finds much of its power, and its involving and resolute last third.

    Overall I liked it. Maybe I'll read another of his books this year to make up for not finishing this one in time.

    Currently watching: 1960/unseen Criterions
    credeikiMahnmutJacobkosh
  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    I also took some recs from the holiday thread to heart, here's my reviews:

    Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse - Just what it says on the tin, an exciting and imaginative fantasy (/SF) epic inspired by pre-Columbian civilizations. Really liked it; in comparison to other Big Fantasy Epics, what stands out for me is its ruthless efficiency -- it doesn't carry any dead weight on its drive to the big dramatic conclusion. A handful of well-chosen viewpoint characters spring into action immediately; nobody wastes time repeating themselves; every chapter hits with something memorable.

    The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence - This was just okay for me. The other day I was reflecting on some YA titles that don't seem particularly YA to me; this isn't YA but sometimes felt like the worst side of that genre. Specifically, once it settles into its main situation, I was like oh -- this is The Maze Runner, isn't it? Mysterious adults stuff unfortunate youths into a dangerous bottle level that's full of Mystery Boxes; they must learn the rules of their new world to survive, while contending with both internal strife and external dangers; they must venture regularly into the Maze caves while dodging mysterious deadly constructs of unknown origin called Grievers hunters, etc. At its best it's colorful and suspenseful; at its worst it feels mechanical as it doles out new mysteries and twists ("oh word we found out what the hunters are but it only points to a deeper mystery?") at a steady pace.

    But, comparing it to The Maze Runner is definitely unkind -- the level of craftsmanship is overall higher for sure. We got memorable characters, we got explosive set-pieces, and unlike The Maze Runner I have total faith that there's coherent worldbuilding backing up the layers of mystery box.

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  • joshgotrojoshgotro Queen CityRegistered User regular
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    I also took some recs from the holiday thread to heart, here's my reviews:

    Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse - Just what it says on the tin, an exciting and imaginative fantasy (/SF) epic inspired by pre-Columbian civilizations. Really liked it; in comparison to other Big Fantasy Epics, what stands out for me is its ruthless efficiency -- it doesn't carry any dead weight on its drive to the big dramatic conclusion. A handful of well-chosen viewpoint characters spring into action immediately; nobody wastes time repeating themselves; every chapter hits with something memorable.

    I have this in my queue. Can't wait.

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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    joshgotro wrote: »
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    I also took some recs from the holiday thread to heart, here's my reviews:

    Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse - Just what it says on the tin, an exciting and imaginative fantasy (/SF) epic inspired by pre-Columbian civilizations. Really liked it; in comparison to other Big Fantasy Epics, what stands out for me is its ruthless efficiency -- it doesn't carry any dead weight on its drive to the big dramatic conclusion. A handful of well-chosen viewpoint characters spring into action immediately; nobody wastes time repeating themselves; every chapter hits with something memorable.

    I have this in my queue. Can't wait.

    Just added it to mine!

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  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    edited January 10
    I finally finished Harrow the Ninth. On the whole, it was fine, but not great, and not nearly as good a read as Gideon. I feel like a lot of the strengths of the book come down to that Muir has a very distinctive writing style, and has created a very distinctive and unique setting. She gives the reader a lot about a small group of crazy mostly-immortals, and just lightly touches on the universe that they live in, whereas other authors would have given us considerable detail about how the world works and why. But while Muir's writing style is distinct, I don't think that it's always good, and I think that the plot was held up more by misdirection and writing style than it’s own strengths.

    To maybe try to get too cute with how I feel about the book, I feel like the flesh and spirit of the book are wonderful monstrosities with the occasional spot of gout, but the bones that they're laid upon aren't particularly great.

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  • EnigmedicEnigmedic Registered User regular
    I just finished Gideon myself. I would say I liked the middle of the book. The beginning kind of read like a fanfic. The end fell flat to me. I saw what was going to happen a mile away, but the path to get there was a bit forced. Action scenes are not the author's strong point. The way she eluded to the world and history made me want to read more, not the characters or their problems. Probably won't read Harrow.

    Next up is the first high republic book. I don't have particularly high hopes because books about things I like seldom are very good (see all mtg or warcraft books). But I'm all for a new setting in star wars that doesn't have skywalkers jammed into it, or to my knowledge a bunch of sith empire stuff like the old republic.

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  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    I don't remember who it was that recommended Ashes of the Sun by Django Wrexler in the holiday book thread, but I devoured 80% of it in one sitting.

    Just finished it! Tons of fun. My only complaint might be pacing -- felt like the highs and the lows generally didn't get enough time to breathe, especially on Gyre's side? Though maybe I was reading too fast personally, who knows.

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  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    interesting seeing a few people mention not liking the actiony bits of gideon, as I had thought they were pure cinematic experiences. I could see the choreography and cinematography of how those bits would play out in the movie version very clearly, which is not a feeling i get from a lot of writing.

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    interesting seeing a few people mention not liking the actiony bits of gideon, as I had thought they were pure cinematic experiences. I could see the choreography and cinematography of how those bits would play out in the movie version very clearly, which is not a feeling i get from a lot of writing.

    Yeah, I think her action writing is some of the best I've read in my life. Really exciting, visual scenes.

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I finished reading Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. This is a collection of 4 novellas, which makes the pacing unusual.
    I very much enjoyed this book/collection and think it's excellent; I recommend it.

    Binti is about a young woman from a small ethnic group in future north Africa* who is accepted to Space MIT** and elects to go against her family's wishes (they would like her to stay home to take over the family's future phone design business, since she's a naturally gifted mathematician).

    The book is however not a school story; it is instead about the fallout from what happens when her transport to Space MIT is attacked by jellyfish aliens. Her natural gifts are both in mathematics and 'harmonizing', which extends to diplomacy--there's some really weird and interesting intersection of like math, transcendental meditation, and mystical empathy--and she's put in a position to try to negotiate a way out of future violence.

    The novellas then mainly deal with themes of culture and belonging (I still feel like a member of my people although they think I abandoned them; what does it mean to go to such a diverse university that my identity as a member of a small tribe is irrelevant because my classmate is a crab made of diamonds; when is it time for a culture to turn outwards instead of inwards; if I discover my mixed heritage or become of mixed heritage through science fictive methods, who am I), and the story also focuses a lot on dealing with trauma (from the violent alien attack).

    Okorafor's writing is really direct and bold: people dance and scream and have big feelings; it's also very personal in scope. There are a lot of nonhumanoid aliens and we don't worry a lot about how they all came to communicate or what sort of finicky accomodations they need or if there's a galactic government or if there's any places on earth other than future africa. Instead we know tons about the appearance and cultural norms of Binti's people, and of the dominant north african culture that surrounds them, and, later, of some other people who live in the desert, because this is what really matters to the story. I really like that a lot.

    *I think, but not completely sure where precisely the story is situated
    **Oomza Uni. But it's space MIT for sure.

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    Mahnmut
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    I finished reading Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. This is a collection of 4 novellas, which makes the pacing unusual.
    I very much enjoyed this book/collection and think it's excellent; I recommend it.

    Binti is about a young woman from a small ethnic group in future north Africa* who is accepted to Space MIT** and elects to go against her family's wishes (they would like her to stay home to take over the family's future phone design business, since she's a naturally gifted mathematician).

    The book is however not a school story; it is instead about the fallout from what happens when her transport to Space MIT is attacked by jellyfish aliens. Her natural gifts are both in mathematics and 'harmonizing', which extends to diplomacy--there's some really weird and interesting intersection of like math, transcendental meditation, and mystical empathy--and she's put in a position to try to negotiate a way out of future violence.

    The novellas then mainly deal with themes of culture and belonging (I still feel like a member of my people although they think I abandoned them; what does it mean to go to such a diverse university that my identity as a member of a small tribe is irrelevant because my classmate is a crab made of diamonds; when is it time for a culture to turn outwards instead of inwards; if I discover my mixed heritage or become of mixed heritage through science fictive methods, who am I), and the story also focuses a lot on dealing with trauma (from the violent alien attack).

    Okorafor's writing is really direct and bold: people dance and scream and have big feelings; it's also very personal in scope. There are a lot of nonhumanoid aliens and we don't worry a lot about how they all came to communicate or what sort of finicky accomodations they need or if there's a galactic government or if there's any places on earth other than future africa. Instead we know tons about the appearance and cultural norms of Binti's people, and of the dominant north african culture that surrounds them, and, later, of some other people who live in the desert, because this is what really matters to the story. I really like that a lot.

    *I think, but not completely sure where precisely the story is situated
    **Oomza Uni. But it's space MIT for sure.
    What were the names of all the novella's? Trying to get it from the library, because this sounds super interesting.

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  • joshgotrojoshgotro Queen CityRegistered User regular
    edited January 13
    @Brody
    Binti, Home, The Night Masquerade


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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Binti, Binti:Home, Binti: The Night Masquerade
    Or all three of those and Binti: Sacred Fire, in Binti: The Complete Trilogy.

    I read the first one and Home. They're interesting at very least. The Akata books aren't bad either, sorta more fantasy and maybe YA.

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  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    Binti, Binti:Home, Binti: The Night Masquerade
    Or all three of those and Binti: Sacred Fire, in Binti: The Complete Trilogy.

    I read the first one and Home. They're interesting at very least. The Akata books aren't bad either, sorta more fantasy and maybe YA.

    I don't mind YA adjacent stuff. Or even full YA as long as it doesn't go too hard into ridiculous love triangles or w/e.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

    Steam: Korvalain
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    redx wrote: »
    Binti, Binti:Home, Binti: The Night Masquerade
    Or all three of those and Binti: Sacred Fire, in Binti: The Complete Trilogy.

    I read the first one and Home. They're interesting at very least. The Akata books aren't bad either, sorta more fantasy and maybe YA.

    I don't mind YA adjacent stuff. Or even full YA as long as it doesn't go too hard into ridiculous love triangles or w/e.

    Binti is YA adjacent in that it's about a 17 year old, but it doesn't feel YA in terms of writing style. It's partially there themewise but not entirely. No love triangles!

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  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    edited January 14
    Yeah I mean, I enjoyed Mistborn and Skyward, and the Hunger Games trilogy was mostly readable. Although now I'm realizing that I'm having a hard time discerning internally what is "YA" and what isn't. Like, is Who Fears Death YA? Cause it felt like it was written about a mid/late teen, but also has some really adult themes. I'm going to have to go back and read a lot of this with an eye towards internal ratings, because its stuff I would like to share with my daughter when she is older, but I also don't want to drop a book that needs a page of care warnings before you read it on her lap.

    Brody on
    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I just picked this up -

    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2021-01-12/vampira-hollywoods-original-goth-emerges-in-new-biography

    It's a new biography out about Maila Nurmi, aka Vampira, the actress and model who starred in "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and originated the genre of late-night TV hosts presenting horror movies in a campy persona.
    “There isn’t much to tell,” she said. “I was born in Lapland …. I have an owl for a housepet. I have a 19-inch waist, 38-inch bust and 36-inch hips. My earliest recollection as a child is that I always wanted to play with mice. I’m very antisocial. I simply detest people. I don’t like snakes; they eat spiders, and I’m very fond of spiders.” Asked how she felt about children, she didn’t miss a beat: “Oh yes … delicious.”

    rRwz9.gif
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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I just picked this up -

    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2021-01-12/vampira-hollywoods-original-goth-emerges-in-new-biography

    It's a new biography out about Maila Nurmi, aka Vampira, the actress and model who starred in "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and originated the genre of late-night TV hosts presenting horror movies in a campy persona.
    “There isn’t much to tell,” she said. “I was born in Lapland …. I have an owl for a housepet. I have a 19-inch waist, 38-inch bust and 36-inch hips. My earliest recollection as a child is that I always wanted to play with mice. I’m very antisocial. I simply detest people. I don’t like snakes; they eat spiders, and I’m very fond of spiders.” Asked how she felt about children, she didn’t miss a beat: “Oh yes … delicious.”

    Ok I don't have the biography of course but this is a great article

    "By far her longest relationship was with James Dean, especially if you count the seances through which they stayed in touch after his death"

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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Allie Brosh’s Solutions And Other Problems. Very like her first, so pretty good. My favourite bit was the bit about her cat.

    3eg8azr3ayc5.jpeg

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud friend pelican soft and relaxing mouthRegistered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    I finished reading Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. This is a collection of 4 novellas, which makes the pacing unusual.
    I very much enjoyed this book/collection and think it's excellent; I recommend it.

    Binti is about a young woman from a small ethnic group in future north Africa* who is accepted to Space MIT** and elects to go against her family's wishes (they would like her to stay home to take over the family's future phone design business, since she's a naturally gifted mathematician).

    The book is however not a school story; it is instead about the fallout from what happens when her transport to Space MIT is attacked by jellyfish aliens. Her natural gifts are both in mathematics and 'harmonizing', which extends to diplomacy--there's some really weird and interesting intersection of like math, transcendental meditation, and mystical empathy--and she's put in a position to try to negotiate a way out of future violence.

    The novellas then mainly deal with themes of culture and belonging (I still feel like a member of my people although they think I abandoned them; what does it mean to go to such a diverse university that my identity as a member of a small tribe is irrelevant because my classmate is a crab made of diamonds; when is it time for a culture to turn outwards instead of inwards; if I discover my mixed heritage or become of mixed heritage through science fictive methods, who am I), and the story also focuses a lot on dealing with trauma (from the violent alien attack).

    Okorafor's writing is really direct and bold: people dance and scream and have big feelings; it's also very personal in scope. There are a lot of nonhumanoid aliens and we don't worry a lot about how they all came to communicate or what sort of finicky accomodations they need or if there's a galactic government or if there's any places on earth other than future africa. Instead we know tons about the appearance and cultural norms of Binti's people, and of the dominant north african culture that surrounds them, and, later, of some other people who live in the desert, because this is what really matters to the story. I really like that a lot.

    *I think, but not completely sure where precisely the story is situated
    **Oomza Uni. But it's space MIT for sure.
    Im at 2/4 and I love them!!

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  • skippydumptruckskippydumptruck begin again Registered User regular
    I finished _the city we became_ by nk jemisin

    it feels very current, but despite her usual high quality writing, I got tired of it by the end! I don't know if the book felt too big, or if it felt slow, or if I was just over the idea after a while - for me, it worked better as a short story and I don't know if I'll pick up the next when it drops

    also this is the first time I've used the little take-a-book, leave-a-book free library thing one of my neighbors has in their yard and it was so delightful! I dropped off a book I had a duplicate of, found this one, and was so excited -- and when I went to drop this back off, I saw that the book I'd left before was also gone, so it found a new home! I feel like a little book bee, pollinating!

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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    I sorta wonder how much it loses for someone else ho doesn't have a reasonable familiarity with New York and, I don't know, Sad Puppies? Ehtics in Art Journalism?

    This machine kills threads.
  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    I sorta wonder how much it loses for someone else ho doesn't have a reasonable familiarity with New York and, I don't know, Sad Puppies? Ehtics in Art Journalism?

    Yeah, I did genuinely like it, but I was sure I'd feel it more if I'd spent more time in NYC.

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  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    Finished up the first in Robin Hobb's secret trilogy: Fool's Assassin

    She is so much better at the Fitz stuff than anything else. It's a real return to the original trilogy and it is wonderful. Lots of Fitz dealing with running a medieval household while political intrigue and mysteries dance around him.

    It also has one of the most upsetting scenes I've read in a book. Probably just below the bits of American Psycho that I had to skim over
    The merchant proudly cutting a live dog to pieces was horrendous

    Also it has a strong ending which isn't really true of many of her novels, they tend to be written as a series and broken by word count rather than having a proper satisfying structure.

    Straight on to the second.

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  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    God I think Robin Hobb’s real talent is upsetting me so I keep turning pages in a fugue state of horror and rage

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    ShadowhopeKhepra
  • ChaosHatChaosHat Trick of the lightRegistered User regular
    Shadowhope wrote: »
    I finally finished Harrow the Ninth. On the whole, it was fine, but not great, and not nearly as good a read as Gideon. I feel like a lot of the strengths of the book come down to that Muir has a very distinctive writing style, and has created a very distinctive and unique setting. She gives the reader a lot about a small group of crazy mostly-immortals, and just lightly touches on the universe that they live in, whereas other authors would have given us considerable detail about how the world works and why. But while Muir's writing style is distinct, I don't think that it's always good, and I think that the plot was held up more by misdirection and writing style than it’s own strengths.

    To maybe try to get too cute with how I feel about the book, I feel like the flesh and spirit of the book are wonderful monstrosities with the occasional spot of gout, but the bones that they're laid upon aren't particularly great.

    I actually also just finished these while I was in Korea for family reasons and I thought Gideon was good and Harrow was amazing. Changing the book so drastically had to take a lot of courage and I really just enjoyed Harrow's perspective a lot. The book does a good job of also making ME feel insane, multiple times I was like "wait none of this happened did I miss some other secret book or what?" I also really enjoyed the world building a little more than what we got in Gideon. I got caught up in trying to remember all the houses, who was from what, and what they did and it was kind of a lot to hold in my head and it's all just banal to the characters in it. In this book you're also learning shit with Harrow and it's presented more linearly instead of big shotgun blasts of info like in Gideon.

    I loved Harrow, I think it's one of my favorite books of all time. I get the sense that it's kind of polarizing though.

    Brody
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    I just want the author to release a novella version of her "Harrow is a space naval officer and Gideon is a space hot barista" AU

    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.
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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud friend pelican soft and relaxing mouthRegistered User regular
    I am rereading Baru and Baru II so I can read Baru III. I listened to the first two on audiobook but bought all three on trilogy. Kind of hilarious to see the written names like Xate Yawa. Did not expect that spelling from the narrator's pronunciation.

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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    All the ladies call me Agonist

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  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    Reading Book 3, I appreciate that early on someone says “who the hell is this Shate person” letting me know that I have been saying it wrong in my head for years

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    knitdan wrote: »
    Reading Book 3, I appreciate that early on someone says “who the hell is this Shate person” letting me know that I have been saying it wrong in my head for years

    ...it doesn't rhyme with latte...?

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    MahnmutBrody
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    I'm reading Dune because of the movie trailer and board game release (Dune Imperium, not the original.)

    I'm digging it, but I have no idea how the film is going to capture all the internal thoughts of all these characters. Every character is thinking "JUST AS PLANNED" every other line, its getting silly.

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  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Finally read Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, about when he tried to fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War, took a sniper bullet through the throat for his trouble, and then had to flee the country when the government forces decided to waste their energy, time, and resources suppressing anarchist allies instead of fighting the damn fascist enemies, contributing to the eventual fall of the republic and the fascist takeover that oppressed Spain for the next 36 years.

    It's not a pleasant read, but it is an important one.

  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    edited January 17
    Mayabird wrote: »
    Finally read Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, about when he tried to fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War, took a sniper bullet through the throat for his trouble, and then had to flee the country when the government forces decided to waste their energy, time, and resources suppressing anarchist allies instead of fighting the damn fascist enemies, contributing to the eventual fall of the republic and the fascist takeover that oppressed Spain for the next 36 years.

    It's not a pleasant read, but it is an important one.

    Listening to behind the Insurections (From Behind the Bastards) and they were going over Benito Mussolini's rise to power. The bolded is pretty much what happened in Italy.

    webguy20 on
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  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    One of the movie threads was talking about the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels, and after singing the praises of its writing I had to go back and revisit one of the battle sequences. It's the pursuit of our heroes by a murderous Dutch heavy frigate, the Waakzaamheid. Aspects of the captain's determined, murderous pursuit of our heroes ends up being adapted into the movie. The enemy captain refuses to give up the chase, and so Jack takes his overmatched ship southward, into the lower latitudes where a massive swelling storm threatens to sink both ships. The Dutch ship, slowly catching up, has just opened fire on Jack's Leopard. Jack wasn't intending to fight in this storm, as any serious damage would immediately result in the total destruction of the ship to the storm, but now they must fight back, and I think the few pages of the battle is one of the most beautifully written sequences I've ever read:
    They cast loose the guns, removed the wing deadlights, and looked out on to a soaring green cliff of water fifty yards away with the Leopard's wake trace down its side. It shut out the sky, and it was racing towards them. The Leopard's stern rose, rose: the enormous wave passed smoothly under her counter, and there through the flying spume lay the Waakzaamheid below, running down the far slope. 'When you please, Mr Burton,' said Jack to the gunner. 'A hole in her foretopsail might make it split.' The larboard gun roared out and instantly the cabin was filled with smoke. No hole: no fall of shot either. Jack, it starboard, had the Dutchman in his dispart sight. A trifle of elevation and he pulled the lanyard. Nothing happened: flying spray had soaked the lock. 'Match,' he cried, but by the time he had the glowing end in his hand the Waakzaamheid was below his line of sight, below the depression of his gun. From down there in the trough she fired up, a distant wink of flame, and she got in another couple of shots before the grey-green hill of water parted them again.
    'May I suggest a cigar, sir?' said Moore. 'One can hold it in one's mouth.' He was acting as sponger and second captain, and his face was six inches from Jack's: he was encased in oilskins and there was nothing of the Marine about him but his fine red face and the neat stock showing under his chin.
    "A capital idea,' said Jack, and in the calm of the trough, before the Waakzaamheid appeared again, Moore lit him a cigar from the glowing match in its tub.
    The Leopard began to rise, the Dutchman appeared, black in the white water of the breaking crests high up there, and both nine-pounders went off together. The guns leapt back, the crews worked furiously, grunting, no words, sponged, loaded, and ran them out again. Another shot, and this time Jack saw his ball, dark in the haze of lit water, flying at its mark: he could not follow it home, but the line was true, a little low. Now they were on the crest, and the cabin was filled with wind and water mingled, unbreathable: the gun-crews worked without the slightest pause, soaked through and through.
    Down, down the slope amidst the white wreckage of the wave, the guns run out and waiting. Across the hollow and up the other side. 'I believe I caught his splash,' said Moore. "Twenty yards short of our starboard quarter.'
    'So did I,' said Burton. 'He wants to knock our rudder, range along, and give us a broadside, the bloody-minded dog.'
    The Waakzaamheid over the crest again: Jack poured the priming into the touch-hole with his horn, guarding it with the flat of his hand, the cigar clenched between his teeth and the glow kept bright; and this bout each gun fired three times before the Leopard mounted too high, racing up and up, pursued by the Dutchman's shot. On and on: an enormous switchback, itself in slow, majestic motion, but traversed at a racing speed in which the least stumble meant a fall. Alternate bursts of fire, aimed and discharged with such an intensity of purpose that the men did not even see the storm of flying water that burst in upon them at each crest. On and on, the Waakzaamheid gaining visibly.
    Here was Babbington at his side, waiting for a pause. 'Take over, Moore,' said Jack, as the gun ran in. He stepped over the train-tackle, and Babbington said, 'She's hit our mizen-top sir, fair and square.'
    Jack nodded. She was coming far too close: point-blank range now, and the wind to help her balls. 'Start the water, all but a ton; and try the jib, one-third in.'
    Back to the gun as it ran out. Now it was the Waakzaamheid's turn to fire, and fire she did, striking the Leopard's stern-post high up: a shrewd knock that jarred the ship as she was on the height of the wave, and a moment later a green sea swept through the deadlights.
    'Good practice in this sea, Mr Burton,' said Jack.
    The gunner turned his streaming face, and its fixed fierce glare broke into a smile. 'Pretty fair, sir, pretty fair. But if I did not get home two shots ago, my name is Zebedee.'
    The flying Leopard drew a little way ahead with the thrust of her jib, a hundred yards or so; and the switch-back continued, the distances the same. It was the strangest gunnery, with its furious activity and then the pause, waiting to be fired at; the soaking at the crest, the deck awash; the intervening wall of water; the repetition of the whole sequence. No orders; none of the rigid fire-discipline of the gun-deck; loud, gun-deafened conversation between the bouts. The dread of being pooped by the great seas right there in front of their noses, rising to blot out the sun with unfailing regularity, and of broaching to, hardly affected the cabin.
    A savage roar from Burton's crew. 'We hit her port-lid,' cried Bonden, the second captain. 'They can't get it closed.'
    'Then we are all in the same boat,' said Moore. 'Now the Dutchmen will have a wet jacket every time she digs in her bows, and I wish they may like it, ha ha!'
    A short-lived triumph. A midshipman came to report the jib carried clean away - Babbington had all in hand - was trying to set a storm-staysail - half the water was pumped out.
    But although the Leopard was lighter she felt the loss of the jib; the Waakzaamheid was coming up, and now the vast hill of sea separated them only for seconds. If the Leopard did not gain when all her water was gone, the upper-deck guns would have to follow it: anything to draw ahead and preserve the ship. The firing was more and more continuous; the guns grew hot, kicking clear on the recoil, and first Burton and then Jack reduced the charge.
    Nearer and nearer, so that they were both on the same slope, no trough between them: a hole in the Dutchman's foretopsail, but it would not split, and three shots in quick succession struck the Leopard's hull, close to her rudder. Jack had smoked five cigars to the butt, and his mouth was scorched and dry. He was staring along the barrel of his gun, watching for the second when the Waakzaamheid's bowsprit should rise above his sight, when he saw her starboard chaser fire. A split second later he stabbed his cigar down on the priming and there was an enormous crash, far louder than the roar of the gun.
    How much later he looked up he could not tell. Nor, when he did look up, could he quite tell what was afoot. He was lying by the cabin bulkhead with Killick holding his head and Stephen sewing busily; he could feel the passage of the needle and of the thread, but no pain. He stared right and left. 'Hold still,' said Stephen. He felt the red-hot stabbing now, and everything fell into place. The gun had not burst: there was Moore fighting it. He had been dragged clear - hit - a splinter, no doubt. Stephen and Killick crouched over him as a green sea gushed in: then Stephen cut the thread, whipped a wet cloth round his ears, one eye and forehead, and said, 'Do you hear me, now?' He nodded; Stephen moved on to another man lying on the deck; Jack stood up, fell, and crawled over to the guns. Killick tried to hold him, but Jack thrust him back, clapped on to the tackle and helped run out the loaded starboard gun. Moore bent over it, cigar in hand, and from behind him Jack could see the Waakzaamheid twenty yards away, huge, black-hulled, throwing the water wide. As Moore's hand came down, Jack automatically stepped aside; but he was still stupid, he moved slow, and the recoiling gun flung him to the deck again. On hands and knees he felt for the train-tackle in the smoke, found it as the darkness cleared, and tallied on. But for a moment he could not understand the cheering that filled the cabin, deafening his ears: then through the shattered deadlights he saw the Dutchman's foremast lurch, lurch again, the stays part, the mast and sail carry away right over the bows.
    The Leopard reached the crest. Green water blinded him. It cleared, and through the bloody haze running from his cloth he saw the vast breaking wave with the Waakzaamheid broadside on its curl, on her beam-ends, broached to. An enormous, momentary turmoil of black hull and white water, flying spars, rigging that streamed wild for a second, and then nothing at all but the great hill of green-grey with foam racing upon it.
    'My god, oh my god,' he said. 'Six hundred men.'

    Like the imagery is incredible, "a soaring green cliff of water... It shut out the sky, and it was racing towards them.", but he's also such an incredible writer at like constructing a sentence and paragraph. It's certainly the most colons and semicolons I've ever read in an action sequence, but when you're just reading through it you don't really notice that. Every paragraph break feels very purposeful, marking a change in time or consciousness or mood. If Jack's in the middle of the fight and it's all a blur and several people say something, he won't break that up with a paragraph just because you're supposed to, it's all edited to maintain this incredible flow. I looove these books

    @Jacobkosh

    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.
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