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[Book]: Rhymes With

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  • BogartBogart Gonna Be A Man In Motion Registered User, Moderator mod
    Graham Greene's Our Man In Havana, billed as an entertainment, not a novel, which I guess means he's not really aiming for anything weighty. Still, he's such a fine writer he can't help but make a light comedy feel like it's also dishing out painful human truths.

    Anyway, it's about a vacuum cleaner salesman in Cuba who is recruited into SIS, something he goes along with to pay for his daughter's exorbitant spending. There's an Alec Guinness movie, apparently, and I can already see him as the main character, simultaneously bemused and hapless.

    GrudgeV1m
  • GrudgeGrudge still hereRegistered User regular
    Yay, Wisdom of Crowds is out! *clicks to order*

    A Dabble Of Thelonius
  • SummaryJudgmentSummaryJudgment The purity of angry tambourine. Registered User regular
    Hail Mary Project is lovely:
    “Wow…” I stare at him. “Humans spent thousands of years looking up at the stars and wondering what was out there. You guys never saw stars at all but you still worked space travel. What an amazing people you Eridians must be. Scientific geniuses.”

    The knot in the tape comes loose, recoils wildly, and smacks Rocky’s hand. He shakes the affected hand in pain for a moment, then continues messing with the tape measure.

    "Yeah. You’re definitely a scientist.”

    Pailryderknitdan
  • SummaryJudgmentSummaryJudgment The purity of angry tambourine. Registered User regular
    Yeah, that was a great book. Nice to see Weir back on form again. Rocky is awesome and that might be a midnight showing for the movie for me.

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    edited September 14
    I'm reading Spinning Silver, and its interesting how its a little uncomfortable reading, since I'm not used to being exposed to the racism Jewish people have experienced in everyday life. It feels like it would be a really racist novel, if it was written from any other perspective, and also maybe if it was written by someone else? Is that racist? Idk. Like I appreciate the story, and its written very well, but its not something I'm enjoying per se. I'm also very early in, so I'm not sure how much of that is going to continue through the story? I expect a lot.

    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

    Steam: Korvalain
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited September 14
    Brody wrote: »
    I'm reading Spinning Silver, and its interesting how its a little uncomfortable reading, since I'm not used to being exposed to the racism Jewish people have experienced in everyday life. It feels like it would be a really racist novel, if it was written from any other perspective, and also maybe if it was written by someone else? Is that racist? Idk. Like I appreciate the story, and its written very well, but its not something I'm enjoying per se. I'm also very early in, so I'm not sure how much of that is going to continue through the story? I expect a lot.

    I have not read that book, but I wonder if a good comparison exists between it and Huckleberry Finn. The latter was written by a white man, but is usually only considered racist by people who blame the author for the (historically accurate) words, attitudes and actions of the characters.

    dennis on
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    edited September 14
    dennis wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    I'm reading Spinning Silver, and its interesting how its a little uncomfortable reading, since I'm not used to being exposed to the racism Jewish people have experienced in everyday life. It feels like it would be a really racist novel, if it was written from any other perspective, and also maybe if it was written by someone else? Is that racist? Idk. Like I appreciate the story, and its written very well, but its not something I'm enjoying per se. I'm also very early in, so I'm not sure how much of that is going to continue through the story? I expect a lot.

    I have not read that book, but I wonder if a good comparison exists between it and Huckleberry Finn. The latter was written by a white man, but is usually only considered racist by people who blame the author for the (historically accurate) words, attitudes and actions of the characters.

    Its been a long time and I've grown a lot since I read it, so I don't have a strong memory of it, but I feel like Spinning Silver is leaning less into overt racism, and also its primary viewpoint is a Jewish character. Like, I haven't read any slurs yet that I recall, but in an early exchange, the pov remarks "no one shakes hands with a Jew, and anyway I knew it would have been a lie if they had." Its still making the racism (is anti-semitism racism?) clear, but its not itself racist? But then the main character is a Jewish moneylender which is the definition of a racist stereotype?

    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

    Steam: Korvalain
    dennis
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited September 14
    Brody wrote: »
    Like, I haven't read any slurs yet that I recall, but in an early exchange, the pov remarks "no one shakes hands with a Jew, and anyway I knew it would have been a lie if they had." Its still making the racism (is anti-semitism racism?) clear, but its not itself racist?

    I don't think so. I think racism has to include an element of prejudice. If the person is remarking on how people treat the character and not endorsing is, I don't see how it can be racism. I mean, the characters might be racist, but not the book itself.
    But then the main character is a Jewish moneylender which is the definition of a racist stereotype?

    With that, it's both a combination of a stereotype but also a very real outcome of specific laws that limited Jews to very specific professions.

    dennis on
    DevoutlyApatheticShadowhope
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    edited September 14
    Brody wrote: »
    I'm reading Spinning Silver, and its interesting how its a little uncomfortable reading, since I'm not used to being exposed to the racism Jewish people have experienced in everyday life. It feels like it would be a really racist novel, if it was written from any other perspective, and also maybe if it was written by someone else? Is that racist? Idk. Like I appreciate the story, and its written very well, but its not something I'm enjoying per se. I'm also very early in, so I'm not sure how much of that is going to continue through the story? I expect a lot.

    It feels like a super real and unflinching depiction of antisemitism to me (a jew)
    It makes sense for this smart, bitter young lady to be super realistic about how people feel about her and her family. She knows what the score is.
    Writing about what your people actually experience/d is not racist--but it can be uncomfortable to read about for sure, and it should be

    But don't worry, there's also Romance and more uplifting bits

    wrt the moneylending--yeah, that's a thing that happened historically for various reasons. It's not antisemitic to show a jewish moneylender, especially a symapthetic and nuanced and personal view. Like, whatever, some people are bankers as their career; you're allowed to show that.
    And it is such a confident writer move to be like, yeah, let's examine the feelings that comes with all that, let's examine the antisemitism head on, and then let's tie it all to a fairy tale. Really strong work imo. I loved this book.

    credeiki on
    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    MahnmutjakobaggerKanaBrodyFuzzy Cumulonimbus ClouddennisQuid
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    I'm reading Spinning Silver, and its interesting how its a little uncomfortable reading, since I'm not used to being exposed to the racism Jewish people have experienced in everyday life. It feels like it would be a really racist novel, if it was written from any other perspective, and also maybe if it was written by someone else? Is that racist? Idk. Like I appreciate the story, and its written very well, but its not something I'm enjoying per se. I'm also very early in, so I'm not sure how much of that is going to continue through the story? I expect a lot.

    It feels like a super real and unflinching depiction of antisemitism to me (a jew)
    It makes sense for this smart, bitter young lady to be super realistic about how people feel about her and her family. She knows what the score is.
    Writing about what your people actually experience/d is not racist--but it can be uncomfortable to read about for sure, and it should be

    But don't worry, there's also Romance and more uplifting bits

    wrt the moneylending--yeah, that's a thing that happened historically for various reasons. It's not antisemitic to show a jewish moneylender, especially a symapthetic and nuanced and personal view. Like, whatever, some people are bankers as their career; you're allowed to show that.
    And it is such a confident writer move to be like, yeah, let's examine the feelings that comes with all that, let's examine the antisemitism head on, and then let's tie it all to a fairy tale. Really strong work imo. I loved this book.

    I actually picked it to read next because of how much you've talked it up.

    Also, I think I fumbled my words. I wasn't asking if the novel was racist, but I guess worried the idea that it would read different if it was written by someone else might be racist? I'm getting a little farther and it's gotten into more stuff, and its really interesting. It was just very striking reading about this prejudice from a Jewish perspective (outside of Nazi Germany stuff, which I've read some of for school, but always gets sort of held up as "this only happened because a sick man gained power", but ofc it was there in the background all the time). I've grown up pretty sheltered in the PNW as a white male. Its not like there is a whole lot of ethnic variety, and not nearly as much vitriol towards minorities as might exist elsewhere, so its just not something I've been exposed to a lot in either direction.

    And with the moneylending thing, I guess I'm more used to stuff more on the fantasy side, and then you end up with like, JK Rowling's goblins, or something else that feels more aggressive, and so its just weird coming at it from a much more sincere, not antisemitic angle. A character that is clearly coded as Jewish (I think Naomi avoids the word for a while), as a moneylender, immediately triggers something in my brain, like "oh great, so this obviously has some issues." Its clearly not the case here, but combined with the other discomfort of reading such a perspective of receiving antisemitism just jolted me a little.

    "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
    credeiki
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    Also, I think I fumbled my words. I wasn't asking if the novel was racist, but I guess worried the idea that it would read different if it was written by someone else might be racist? I'm getting a little farther and it's gotten into more stuff, and its really interesting. It was just very striking reading about this prejudice from a Jewish perspective (outside of Nazi Germany stuff, which I've read some of for school, but always gets sort of held up as "this only happened because a sick man gained power", but ofc it was there in the background all the time).

    Just an aside, but it wasn't even in the background. In Europe, there was a long history of massacres, expulsions, and forced conversions. These weren't just unorganized mobs doing it, but state pogroms. White supremacy, Social Darwinism and eugenics were the "in" thing both in Europe and in the US. The massacre part of the Holocaust (rather than just expulsion and work camps) was pretty widely known at the time, yet America and Europe for the most part didn't lift a finger to accept the attempts of hundreds of thousands of Jews to flee the region. They weren't interested in having more Jews in their country.

    Hitler wasn't exceptional. He was just another link in the chain, only this time the post-Industrial Revolution mechanisms were implemented to increase the scale to new heights. Stalin used similar large scale tactics in his gulags and pogroms to kill millions. Hitler didn't hate the Jews any more than a sizeable portion of the populace. He just used the state to follow through on those feelings.

    credeikiMahnmut
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Another related aside: they actually had a big summit of 32 nations in 1938 in France to figure out how to respond to the Jewish refugee crisis. Only the Dominican Republic agreed to accept more Jews. "How noble!", you might think. You might think that, until you find out that their dictator did that because Jews were "whiter" than the Black Haitians on the other half of the island. People that he had massacred in genocides already. He accepted the Jews in order to raise the "quality" of the population of his country, because he bought into eugenics as well, just from a different angle.

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    Also, I think I fumbled my words. I wasn't asking if the novel was racist, but I guess worried the idea that it would read different if it was written by someone else might be racist? I'm getting a little farther and it's gotten into more stuff, and its really interesting. It was just very striking reading about this prejudice from a Jewish perspective (outside of Nazi Germany stuff, which I've read some of for school, but always gets sort of held up as "this only happened because a sick man gained power", but ofc it was there in the background all the time).

    Just an aside, but it wasn't even in the background. In Europe, there was a long history of massacres, expulsions, and forced conversions. These weren't just unorganized mobs doing it, but state pogroms. White supremacy, Social Darwinism and eugenics were the "in" thing both in Europe and in the US. The massacre part of the Holocaust (rather than just expulsion and work camps) was pretty widely known at the time, yet America and Europe for the most part didn't lift a finger to accept the attempts of hundreds of thousands of Jews to flee the region. They weren't interested in having more Jews in their country.

    Hitler wasn't exceptional. He was just another link in the chain, only this time the post-Industrial Revolution mechanisms were implemented to increase the scale to new heights. Stalin used similar large scale tactics in his gulags and pogroms to kill millions. Hitler didn't hate the Jews any more than a sizeable portion of the populace. He just used the state to follow through on those feelings.

    Yeah, I guess I didn't know the depth or breadth of the atrocities committed prior to WWII. I did know that the US specifically told all the refugees to fuck off.

    "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
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Grudge wrote: »
    Yay, Wisdom of Crowds is out! *clicks to order*

    I’d love to read a book about a country with a collection of incompetent and ruthlessly amoral leaders completely fucking up everything leading to strife and pointless misery but I’ve kind of already started the Afghanistan papers

    dennisGrudge
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Ok I finally finished reading Agency, and man, what a mess of a book. I'm sad about it and arrogantly feel like I know what could have been done to fix the major structural issues. Spoilers below.
    This book has a few giant structural problems:
    1. it alternates between Verity and Wilf every few pages, but there is NOTHING interesting happening on Wilf's side (unlike in The Peripheral). We just see him teleconferencing from his couch and filling other people in on events we just witnessed in Verity's part (we spend SO MUCH TIME watching characters recount events that just happened to other characters who happened not to be there, in a way that is not particularly illuminating or character revelatory or interesting)
    2. We devote the middle 250 pages of our book to Verity being shuttled between point A and point B in northern california. It's all mechanically well-executed, like always enjoy reading Gibson writing about people riding motorcycles or interacting with various flavors of techwear fabrics, but...it's simply not very interesting. Nothing much happens or progresses the story in terms of plot, suspense, character, or theme
    3. Unless there's something I'm missing, Verity has pretty much nothing going on. No idea what she wants in life in general both before this and after this, or what drives her, like, at all, and if she has any sort of problems or joys. She pretty much just is ferried from point A to point B and is ok with it. People seem to basically like her when they meet her, so ok? She's like, pleasant? Sometimes Gibson's characters take a reread to see what their deal is, so maybe I just missed it with Verity but...yeah I did not feel like I cared about her.
    4. I did care very much about Eunice, who was super interesting from the get go. Too bad she just disappears on like page 50! Then comes back at the very end due to no particular efforts by anyone. Just, y tho. And do I believe that everyone is so thoroughly enmeshed in her network and so trusting of her and each other after knowing her for only 2 days? Really not sure about that.
    5. Why does all the interesting shit happen offscreen? Eunice making waves; whatever's going on with the nuclear war, which the president just fixes by herself, I guess; the Russian klept in the future subplot. While it's kind of cool to have all this stuff happening in the background, it's very very weird that the book focuses on NOTHING in the foreground.
    6. There's a big sense of 'getting the gang together' but it doesn't go anywhere. The book is sort of about recruiting a bunch of interesting people, the tech millionaire, his aide, the cool mute barista, a random game designer like 40 pages from the end (what weird pacing), in order to....? Not clear, and then nothing actually happens with them but maybe they're all friends now? It feels like a prologue to something.

    I think that what needed to happen here was:
    1. ditch the conceit of alternating between now and future london. Or make the sections a lot longer; do not alternate every 3 pages. Worked in the peripheral because there was action and cool setting shit in each but does not work here.
    2. Make Lev the perspective character in future London. He's the one actually doing interesting stuff! He's having feelings about his wife, moving about, finding out information about the klept plot against Lowbeer, having family drama. He can check in on Wilf and be like ok cool nice to see you've stabilized, but he can actually do stuff of his own volition (instead of just sitting on the couch and relaying messages) and show us some cool new future scenery.
    3. Cut a good 80% of Verity being transported back and forth. We legit don't need that content.
    4. Maybe zoom in on the 2035 people finding out Eunice's past and focus more on the emotional content there? It all happens in the background and then she just reconstitutes out of nowhere.
    5. Give the reader a hint of what is going on with Verity and what she is doing with her life. I mean nice to see a low drama encounter with an ex but maybe a little more drama to provide literally any insight into why we care about these people?
    6. Show anything about Eunice+co working to affect the nuclear situation

    yeah idk, I know Gibson was in a weird place mentally with this due to trump and brexit, but it doesn't really justify the total structural collapse. The Peripheral is still great though. But maybe I'll reread Idoru to read a better story about introducing AI to the world through a couple alternating perspectives working together :/

    I can't remember who was talking about this when it came out, @SummaryJudgment for sure

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    SummaryJudgmentMahnmut
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Man, this book keeps getting crazier and crazier, and I keep looking down at the percent complete thinking "and here's where it will end," but ofc I'm like, 30% in.

    "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
    dennis
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited September 19
    Finished reading Wisdom of Crowds.

    Ending spoilers:
    I honestly thought it was probably the weakest of the trilogy and probably his weakest book of his since the First law trilogy. I know what he was going for, but it ended up just falling too far into grimdark territory. Like even the end of the first trilogy I felt was more earned in a way because it was clear Jezal wanted to be a good person but surrendered the just going with the flow because it was pretty much impossible not to. In previous books there were bittersweet endings and people died but at least you could somewhat sympathize. Abercrombie for me took every remaining living character deep into unredeemable bastard territory and frankly I could give a shit if Euz or Glaustrod or whoever it is in Rikkis vision just straight up rises from the sea and murders everyone. As much as Leo is a throroughly corrupted bastard at the end he’s totally right about Savine when he gives her the “you’re no better than me” speech and Rikki is absolutely no better than Clover or Leo or Glotka and Bayaz other than the fact that Clover and Leo and Glotka and Bayaz are more honest with themselves about what they are…. She could have always just told Orso to fuck off and save himself if she didn’t want to risk having him around rather than just selling him out to Leo for magic beans… *shrug*.

    Jealous Deva on
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited September 19
    I finished Network Effect today. Another great entry in the series. Definitely worked as a (shortish) novel, giving it a bit more time for a more intricate plot and more character work, even if it kept the breakneck finale that characterizes the series.

    Also, I found that she did a prequel Murderbot (extremely) short story, and you can read it:
    https://www.wired.com/story/future-of-work-compulsory-martha-wells/

    No matter where you're at in the Murderbot series, it's spoiler and continuity free.

    I also just finished reading Holes to my son. A pretty nice read, and I can see why it's won the praise that it has. It definitely kept my sons attention more than a lot of other (good) books that I've read. Enough so that he requested I put him to bed several nights in a row (mom is reading Harry Potter to him) through the finale.

    Now I started reading Where the Red Fern Grows to him, because I am a masochist.

    Edit: Oh, and apparently another short story here:
    https://www.tor.com/2021/04/19/home-habitat-range-niche-territory-martha-wells/

    It comes after Exit Strategy in continuity, so you'll want to be read up that far.

    Both were interesting little snippets, not even short stories per say so much as brief interludes. But enjoyable in fleshing out the characters.

    dennis on
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Holy shit Spinning Silver was a crazy ride. I did not expect any of the endings.

    "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
    AutomautocratesdenniscredeikiThe Zombie Penguinjakobagger
  • FrozenzenFrozenzen Registered User regular
    Finally got around to reading The galaxy, and the ground within.

    What a delightful book. Some small every day drama (and some not so small) with a bunch of likable characters.

    I really enjoyed getting some insights into races that haven't been large part of earlier books. And I keep enjoying how Becky Chambers insists on doing something new in each Wayfarer book.

    dennisDevoutlyApatheticN1tSt4lkerFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloudswaylow
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Frozenzen wrote: »
    Finally got around to reading The galaxy, and the ground within.

    What a delightful book. Some small every day drama (and some not so small) with a bunch of likable characters.

    I really enjoyed getting some insights into races that haven't been large part of earlier books. And I keep enjoying how Becky Chambers insists on doing something new in each Wayfarer book.

    Which makes it such a shame that it's the last one!

    Hopefully she'll come back around in a decade or so. Though maybe not. I did read an article in which she talked about what she wanted for her stories:
    But even Chambers is unsatisfied with her progress thus far. “The Galactic Commons … it’s postcolonial,” she says, “but it’s still born out of this really deep-rooted idea of what an intergalactic society is, that the natural arc of civilization is just to go out there and spread as far as you can. Can we tell a similar sort of story without that basis? What’s the alternative model?”

    I wonder if that dissatisfaction with the underpinnings is what's leading her to call an end to the Wayfarers series. The issues she's talking about definitely had more prominence in Galaxy than in the previous books.

  • zipidideezipididee Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Frozenzen wrote: »
    Finally got around to reading The galaxy, and the ground within.

    What a delightful book. Some small every day drama (and some not so small) with a bunch of likable characters.

    I really enjoyed getting some insights into races that haven't been large part of earlier books. And I keep enjoying how Becky Chambers insists on doing something new in each Wayfarer book.

    Which makes it such a shame that it's the last one!

    Hopefully she'll come back around in a decade or so. Though maybe not. I did read an article in which she talked about what she wanted for her stories:
    But even Chambers is unsatisfied with her progress thus far. “The Galactic Commons … it’s postcolonial,” she says, “but it’s still born out of this really deep-rooted idea of what an intergalactic society is, that the natural arc of civilization is just to go out there and spread as far as you can. Can we tell a similar sort of story without that basis? What’s the alternative model?”

    I wonder if that dissatisfaction with the underpinnings is what's leading her to call an end to the Wayfarers series. The issues she's talking about definitely had more prominence in Galaxy than in the previous books.

    Really I just want more Jenks and Kizzy. And Dr. Chef.

    *ching ching* Just my two cents
    denniswebguy20Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Holy shit this kid in the Where the Red Fern Grows really loves murdering animals and peeling off their skins!

    Okay, I explained to my son that while I'm not for that now, that in the setting this made sense and they ate the meat and sold the furs and people used them and and and...

    Still. It's like A Christmas Story only replace the BB gun with a racoon abattoir. The things you forget about those books you read 35 years ago.

  • FrozenzenFrozenzen Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Frozenzen wrote: »
    Finally got around to reading The galaxy, and the ground within.

    What a delightful book. Some small every day drama (and some not so small) with a bunch of likable characters.

    I really enjoyed getting some insights into races that haven't been large part of earlier books. And I keep enjoying how Becky Chambers insists on doing something new in each Wayfarer book.

    Which makes it such a shame that it's the last one!

    Hopefully she'll come back around in a decade or so. Though maybe not. I did read an article in which she talked about what she wanted for her stories:
    But even Chambers is unsatisfied with her progress thus far. “The Galactic Commons … it’s postcolonial,” she says, “but it’s still born out of this really deep-rooted idea of what an intergalactic society is, that the natural arc of civilization is just to go out there and spread as far as you can. Can we tell a similar sort of story without that basis? What’s the alternative model?”

    I wonder if that dissatisfaction with the underpinnings is what's leading her to call an end to the Wayfarers series. The issues she's talking about definitely had more prominence in Galaxy than in the previous books.

    I rather like that she is moving on, although I thought it was more due to having told the stories she wants to tell rather than not being happy with the setting itself.

    Too many authors get mired into retelling the same stories over and over. A direct squal to Long Way might have been good, but it might also have been kinda boring on account of treading old ground.

    V1m
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited September 21
    Frozenzen wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    Frozenzen wrote: »
    Finally got around to reading The galaxy, and the ground within.

    What a delightful book. Some small every day drama (and some not so small) with a bunch of likable characters.

    I really enjoyed getting some insights into races that haven't been large part of earlier books. And I keep enjoying how Becky Chambers insists on doing something new in each Wayfarer book.

    Which makes it such a shame that it's the last one!

    Hopefully she'll come back around in a decade or so. Though maybe not. I did read an article in which she talked about what she wanted for her stories:
    But even Chambers is unsatisfied with her progress thus far. “The Galactic Commons … it’s postcolonial,” she says, “but it’s still born out of this really deep-rooted idea of what an intergalactic society is, that the natural arc of civilization is just to go out there and spread as far as you can. Can we tell a similar sort of story without that basis? What’s the alternative model?”

    I wonder if that dissatisfaction with the underpinnings is what's leading her to call an end to the Wayfarers series. The issues she's talking about definitely had more prominence in Galaxy than in the previous books.

    I rather like that she is moving on, although I thought it was more due to having told the stories she wants to tell rather than not being happy with the setting itself.

    Too many authors get mired into retelling the same stories over and over. A direct squal to Long Way might have been good, but it might also have been kinda boring on account of treading old ground.

    It might have been both. If you're not 100% happy with the setting, your mind may come up with ideas and stories for a different setting rather than thinking up stories in the one you're not totally happy with.

    I also think she's proven she doesn't need to make direct sequels to make great stories in the setting. The third and fourth novels minor connections to the first didn't really add much. They could have stood alone without them.

    dennis on
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Well, I finished Fugitive Telemetry. I didn't realize going into it that it was set chronologically between the previous book and the one before that. I guess Wells isn't quite ready to tell where Murderbot goes from the ending of Network Effect. Also, I see that we're back to the novella length, with this one comparable to the first four and half the length of Network Effect.

    Before I get into my thoughts, I'll just say that if anyone is deciding the reading order, this one could definitely be just fine for reading before Network Effect, even though it was written after. There is zero interaction with the "later" plot and definitely no spoilers.

    Okay, so first off something that's not really spoiler-y enough to be a spoiler, but if you're sensitive, you probably want to check out of my post now. It's not about the particulars of the plot, just generalities.

    Even though the Murderbot series are characterized by their fast paced action-packed finales, this one wasn't. And yet, I thought it was really good. I very much enjoyed Detective Murderbot and his mystery-solving story. Yes, the other Murderbot books also have some mystery in them in that they don't tell you who the bad guy is and/or why/what they are doing exactly. But this was more full on detective novel.
    Even though I did figure out the culprit a ways off (basically when they said "we have a traitor in the Port Authority"), there was the extra wrinkle of why they turned traitor and the nature of that person that I didn't guess. And figuring it out didn't decrease my enjoyment at all.

    Double-spoilered for those who haven't read Network Effect:
    To some degree it's a shame that we know Murderbot won't be on Preservation for much longer (though it will probably return). I wouldn't have minded a few more Detective Murderbot novellas. Of course, it might run into the Murder, She Wrote trope (why the hell are there so many murders in this small town??) Especially since they set up that major crime like that on Preservation Station is rare enough to put everything into lockdown whereas on other (corporate) stations it wouldn't. The format probably works better when Murderbot is going out looking for trouble and then finds it.

    And now the wait for the next sequel sets in.

    I think next I'll start on Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, based on zero knowledge of the plot and just the recommendation of an old, trusted friend.

  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited September 22
    I just finished The Devil in the White City.

    It wasn't bad, but... It felt almost like the author just wanted to write a book about the World's Fair, and his editor or someone was like "Dude, nobody's ever going to read this, can't you spice it up by weaving in that one serial killer from then every few chapters, so we can frame the book around that?"

    Or, like, two different manuscripts got dropped on the floor and mixed together and published without anyone catching it because they were in the same location/time period.

    Raiden333 on
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  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    It’s kind of sad to me that they built all that stuff and did all that crazy landscaping and then basically all of it was gone almost immediately afterwards.

    At least when Spokane held a world’s fair they got a nice downtown park out of it.

    The only lasting contribution of the Chicago World’s Fair was the design of the Ferris Wheel.

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
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  • SummaryJudgmentSummaryJudgment The purity of angry tambourine. Registered User regular
    Spinning Silver was really good! I saw a few different people mention that here. The author has published a ton of stuff?

    credeiki
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    Spinning Silver was really good! I saw a few different people mention that here. The author has published a ton of stuff?
    Naomi Novik is mostly known for the Temeraire books, which is basically "What if the Napoleonic Wars had DRAGONS?", and it's a fun romp with a lot of books. She's actually a former employee of Bioware, and there are Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide scripts in the game that are attributed to her. As in, not the dialog, the NWScript AI scripting language. :D

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  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    She also wrote A Deadly Education, which is a pretty amusingly dark take on the whole Harry Potter magical school thing, and the sequel is coming out in a few days.

    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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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Kana wrote: »
    She also wrote A Deadly Education, which is a pretty amusingly dark take on the whole Harry Potter magical school thing, and the sequel is coming out in a few days.

    Oooh I've been meaning to read this.

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Kana wrote: »
    She also wrote A Deadly Education, which is a pretty amusingly dark take on the whole Harry Potter magical school thing, and the sequel is coming out in a few days.

    She also wrote Uprooted, which was extremely bland and by-the-numbers and I would have never read anything else by her if I'd read it first! I guess she was just warming up with the fantasy old timey eastern europe setting. After reading Spinning Silver I totally believe Deadly Education could be great (and I suspect the temeraire books are fine/fun)

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    Uprooted was weird, I kept expecting it to subvert things, and then it kept going and I was still waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me, and then it was over and nothing happened.

    Also I was super sure the main character was gay in the first half or so of the book, but nope guess not?

    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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  • AntoshkaAntoshka Miauen Oil Change LazarusRegistered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    Kana wrote: »
    She also wrote A Deadly Education, which is a pretty amusingly dark take on the whole Harry Potter magical school thing, and the sequel is coming out in a few days.

    She also wrote Uprooted, which was extremely bland and by-the-numbers and I would have never read anything else by her if I'd read it first! I guess she was just warming up with the fantasy old timey eastern europe setting. After reading Spinning Silver I totally believe Deadly Education could be great (and I suspect the temeraire books are fine/fun)

    Uprooted pretty heavily subverted a number of standard fantasy tropes, I thought?

  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    I loved Uprooted in a comfort food sort of way.

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Antoshka wrote: »
    credeiki wrote: »
    Kana wrote: »
    She also wrote A Deadly Education, which is a pretty amusingly dark take on the whole Harry Potter magical school thing, and the sequel is coming out in a few days.

    She also wrote Uprooted, which was extremely bland and by-the-numbers and I would have never read anything else by her if I'd read it first! I guess she was just warming up with the fantasy old timey eastern europe setting. After reading Spinning Silver I totally believe Deadly Education could be great (and I suspect the temeraire books are fine/fun)

    Uprooted pretty heavily subverted a number of standard fantasy tropes, I thought?

    maybe by-the-numbers isn't the right way to put it (and I don't have a problem with people using common themes or tropes--there's a reason they are common and well-used, after all). I think what I mean is that it felt rather lifeless. There was no one and nothing in it that particularly sparked my interest--I hoped that the central romance would be something other than what it was, or, that it would be what it was but more...urgent or lively or something? The course the protagonist's magic took was very boring to me, and not appealing. The setting didn't quite come to life, either. Subverting expectations is one way that a book can feel more lively, but certainly not the only way. Specificity of detail is another way, and this book had a lot of fairly general parts, that I remember.
    Kana wrote: »
    Uprooted was weird, I kept expecting it to subvert things, and then it kept going and I was still waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me, and then it was over and nothing happened.

    Also I was super sure the main character was gay in the first half or so of the book, but nope guess not?

    also yes I thought the book was going to do something with the best friend but like...it just didn't, really? Not every character has to be gay--I love the way in which the characters in Spinning Silver are straight; it is done so very thoughtfully. But I would have liked to see something a bit more interesting about their relationship, whether even just more detail or nuance in the friendship feelings.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    Kana
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I'm now reading a (non-genre, gasp) book called A Terrible Country, by Keith Gessen, about this aimless academic guy (russian jewish american dude) in his early 30s going back to Russia in 2008 to take care of his grandmother. It's very slice of lifey so far (I suspect nothing happens the whole book) and super interesting and easy and fun to read, if you want to read about someone going to a coffeeshop across the street from the FSB in order to get wifi to spitefully facebook stalk more successful people from his grad program--and, I very much do, of course.

    It's kind of like if you wanted to read another book by Gary Shteyngart but a lot chiller

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
  • KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    edited September 23
    knitdan wrote: »
    It’s kind of sad to me that they built all that stuff and did all that crazy landscaping and then basically all of it was gone almost immediately afterwards.

    At least when Spokane held a world’s fair they got a nice downtown park out of it.

    The only lasting contribution of the Chicago World’s Fair was the design of the Ferris Wheel.

    The Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Chicago are both housed in World's Fair buildings that were built to last.

    Jackson Park is gorgeous and you can read all about it at that wikipedia link.

    The Midway Plaisance remains a nice long parkway that I've enjoyed quite a bit. It also gave us the term midway as it's used today with regard to carnivals and amusement parks and whatnot.

    Other buildings and structures were moved to other locations and still exist today.

    Ketar on
    dennis
  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    Ah!

    Well, nevertheless…

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