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[Book]: Rhymes With

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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Really happy to hear about empress of salt and fortune winning. That thing is sharp.

    Ideas hate it when you anthropomorphize them
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  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    edited December 2021
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    credeiki wrote: »
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    The Hugos are all awarded. I was surprised that Murderbot made off with best Novel and Series, if only because Novel had both Harrow the Ninth and the City We Became in it. For Series, it was not so much of a surprise there (given how much folks love Murderbot around here).

    The other winners were mostly ones I voted for, like Empress of Salt and Fortune, the creepy and weird Two Truths and a Lie, and the T. Kingfisher short story (along with the Lodestar award for her YA book Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, which was just a delight). Hades definitely deserved Best Video Game, but I was sad to see Spiritfarer not win that category because of just how emotionally intelligent and kind it is.

    I didn't read the latest murderbot novel (I still have only read the first novella--bookshop.org doesn't have the second one in paperback for some reason)--but I'm flabbergasted that it would win over Piranesi, which is SUCH a high quality novel (and while potentially not as enjoyable as Harrow the Ninth or The City We Became, is tighter and more artistic and arguably more creative, which all to me mean higher quality.)

    You keep mentioning Kingfisher and I gotta read this YA book just based on the title! I will write it down so I don't forget it again.
    I haven't read anything by T. Kingfisher until this year... until I found out it was the pen name of Ursula Vernon, and I've read a LOT of her books (she was my late wife's favorite author). She's delightful. T. Kingfisher is the name she uses when she wants to write stuff that doesn't fit under her typical "brand" (whimsical YA fantasy with furry creature protagonists).

    She's really prolific under both names at this point! "Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" is indeed fantastic and feels very Pratchett-YA. Some other standouts for me are "The Twisted Ones" which is horror in modern rural North Carolina, and the "Saint of Steel" series, which is planned to be (iirc) seven fantasy romances (I believe they are formally examples of the romance genre, with an HEA etc, not just fantasy-with-romantic-subplots) centered on an order of paladins whose god recently and traumatizingly died.

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    How likely is it a reader might like Piranesi if they didn't like Strange & Norrell? I read the latter without really hearing any hype, and I found it not to my tastes. I was often bored and felt it never really came together as a story, with many important aspects of the characters being barely fleshed out despite so much time devoted to them. I found out this was the minority view only after I had read it, so that didn't really influence me. Of course, now I'm a bit prejudiced against reading more of her work.

    I'll also put in that I'm usually not that hard to please. I've enjoyed plenty of books that other people panned, along with the books that other people raved about. I've only severely clashed with one writer (China Mieville) and in four decades of reading, the number of books I've abandoned before finishing numbers in the single digits.
    Strange & Norrell was so boring that I never finished it. ):

    In response to the Hugo awards, big mystery that Sad Robot Just Like Us won. I don't get the appreciation at all.

  • PailryderPailryder Registered User regular
    http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2021-hugo-awards/

    i enjoyed all the novellas the murderbot stuff. i enjoy how she takes something that should be unsympathetic and makes it sympathetic. Also the subtle world building in a sci-fi setting is pretty good.

    joshgotrowebguy20dennisThe Zombie PenguinN1tSt4lkerMoridin889
  • skippydumptruckskippydumptruck begin again Registered User regular
    Asthariel wrote: »
    Madeline Miller, author of Song of Achilles and Circe, revealed that her next book will be about Persephone, wife of Hades.

    I finally got motivated to order those first two books for myself, I know what I will be reading in a next weeks.

    these two books are so fucking good, I'm really excited for her next book

    LeumasWhiteThe Zombie PenguinKhepra
  • BogartBogart Turn Around, Bright Eyes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Finished Death in the Afternoon.

    Are all his books so overbearingly self-satisfied, so endlessly strutting and so self-important? I have to hope there’s rather less of Hemingway himself in his novels and short stories, because this was maybe the most unbearable example of author intrusion I’ve ever read. The simultaneous smallness of the man and his never-ending chest puffed out posturing and self-aggrandising bullshit.

    htm
  • BogartBogart Turn Around, Bright Eyes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I’m now reading A Master of Djinn, which seems, in spite of numerous glowing reviews, to be very badly written.

  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    edited January 4
    Brody wrote: »
    htm wrote: »
    So I’m reading the latest Alastair Reynolds that came out this week: Inhibitor Phase. It’s a welcome return to his Revelation Space setting, and I re-read Revelation Space and a couple of its sequels to get me in the mood for it.

    It’s pretty good so far, but something about it was bothering me and I finally figured it out: it’s first person and not third person. The change in perspective isn’t exactly ruining the book, but it definitely detracts. Most of Reynold’s best characters are seriously weird and/or unlikeable and the extra FoV that third person provides is really helpful in capturing that.

    I just finished it. I enjoyed it, but it did feel a little bit like canon backfill. Not retcon, per se, just coloring in lines that were already alluded to in all the other books. I'd prefer to see what happens after the established chronology.

    Spoilers just in case!
    That said, a lot of it was very cool. The first person perspective definitely got a little weird later in the book when *plot things* happen, but it was ok otherwise. I never really attached to the initial protagonist, but Lady Arek, Glass, and the pigs were enough fun to carry the load. The weapon was a little hand-wavy, but most of the bigger tech in Revelation Space usually is. The explanation of getting to *that ship* within the atmosphere of *that place* was killer - just great stuff.

    Straygatsby on
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    Not sure if that was supposed to be spoiler tagged and got messed up. Trying not to focus on the message to much to find out.

  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    I think it's safe! I used generic *stuff happens* rather than spoilers, but let me just spoiler the whole thing just in case. Sorry! =)

  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I’m now reading A Master of Djinn, which seems, in spite of numerous glowing reviews, to be very badly written.

    That is disappointing! I quite loved Haunting of Tram Car 015.

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  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I’m now reading A Master of Djinn, which seems, in spite of numerous glowing reviews, to be very badly written.

    That is disappointing! I quite loved Haunting of Tram Car 015.

    If it’s any consolation, I liked A Master of Djinn. I don’t think that it was great, but it was a solid three to three and a half stars out of five for me, good enough that I’d pick up more in that universe.

    Remember, safety is everyone's concern. We have gone five days without a workplace death.
    htm
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    I forget if it was this thread or SE++ (or christmas?), but somebody recommended Elder Race and now I'm seconding it. That story is really great! My only real complaint is that it's very much a novella and it's pretty lean, it has like 3 ideas, handles them really well, but you don't get anything else and I was definitely left wanting just more in general of that world.

    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.
    Grudge
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    edited January 5
    Kana wrote: »
    I forget if it was this thread or SE++ (or christmas?), but somebody recommended Elder Race and now I'm seconding it. That story is really great! My only real complaint is that it's very much a novella and it's pretty lean, it has like 3 ideas, handles them really well, but you don't get anything else and I was definitely left wanting just more in general of that world.

    Yup, I read it too and it was fun, but it has a specific story it wants to tell, focuses on it and you don't get much of a wider view of things.

    Spoilers for when I was speculating mid book
    I was almost positive that the "creature" that was the demon was actually an evolved humanity coming to colonize in their new form. This would also explain why his compatriots never came back and there was no communication.

    webguy20 on
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  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Kana wrote: »
    I forget if it was this thread or SE++ (or christmas?), but somebody recommended Elder Race and now I'm seconding it. That story is really great! My only real complaint is that it's very much a novella and it's pretty lean, it has like 3 ideas, handles them really well, but you don't get anything else and I was definitely left wanting just more in general of that world.

    Yup, I read it too and it was fun, but it has a specific story it wants to tell, focuses on it and you don't get much of a wider view of things.

    Spoilers for when I was speculating mid book
    I was almost positive that the "creature" that was the demon was actually an evolved humanity coming to colonize in their new form. This would also explain why his compatriots never came back and there was no communication.

    I think the author didn't want to distract with specific explanations, when what really mattered was that
    Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The anthropologist/wizard is super frustrated by his little simpleton companions who think he can do magic just because they don't understand / don't have the context to understand what he's doing.

    So like in the end all he can do is shrug and go, "Yeah, it was a demon" because whatever the fuck that thing was he didn't have any way to understand it either. So therefore... Might as well call it magic.

    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.
    webguy20Grudge
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    How likely is it a reader might like Piranesi if they didn't like Strange & Norrell? I read the latter without really hearing any hype, and I found it not to my tastes. I was often bored and felt it never really came together as a story, with many important aspects of the characters being barely fleshed out despite so much time devoted to them. I found out this was the minority view only after I had read it, so that didn't really influence me. Of course, now I'm a bit prejudiced against reading more of her work.

    I'll also put in that I'm usually not that hard to please. I've enjoyed plenty of books that other people panned, along with the books that other people raved about. I've only severely clashed with one writer (China Mieville) and in four decades of reading, the number of books I've abandoned before finishing numbers in the single digits.

    I finally got around to reading Piranesi during the Holiday Forums Collapse. It was really good and also, as others have said, very, very unlike Strange & Norrell. I don't think anything about your opinion on the latter would really inform your opinion on the former.

    I'm now reading There Is No Antimemetics Division, which I can't recall whether I saw recommended here or if I just happened across it on Amazon... it's enjoyably weird so far but I somehow entirely missed that it was a novelization/collection of serialized fiction from the SCP wiki. I like the SCP wiki so it's not a big issue but it was a bit of a surprise when I cracked open the ebook and ran into SCP-55 referenced on the first page or two.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
    dennisBrody
  • htmhtm Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Finished Death in the Afternoon.

    Are all his books so overbearingly self-satisfied, so endlessly strutting and so self-important? I have to hope there’s rather less of Hemingway himself in his novels and short stories, because this was maybe the most unbearable example of author intrusion I’ve ever read. The simultaneous smallness of the man and his never-ending chest puffed out posturing and self-aggrandising bullshit.

    Yeah, that’s Hemingway for you. I find him far more interesting (and important) as a stylist: simplified, journo-style writing in works of fiction maybe isn’t the best thing, but it was definitely novel back when he started doing it. That, combined with his outrageous biography, has made hugely influential in American lit.

    Hemingway the man was ridiculous (in a fun-to-read-about if not necessarily good way) and contained multitudes.

  • htmhtm Registered User regular
    Shadowhope wrote: »
    Bogart wrote: »
    I’m now reading A Master of Djinn, which seems, in spite of numerous glowing reviews, to be very badly written.

    That is disappointing! I quite loved Haunting of Tram Car 015.

    If it’s any consolation, I liked A Master of Djinn. I don’t think that it was great, but it was a solid three to three and a half stars out of five for me, good enough that I’d pick up more in that universe.

    Yeah, the setting and characters in A Master of Djinn are delightful.

  • DrovekDrovek Registered User regular
    It's 3:30am and I just finished "The 7 1/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle."

    It just left my mind racing and spinning in circles and I can't get back to sleep.

    It's awesome, by the way.

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  • BogartBogart Turn Around, Bright Eyes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I've finished Master of Djinn. Despite an interesting concept for the setting (pre-WWI, Djinn and other supernatural creatures are real and somewhat integrated into society, making Egypt one of the great powers) the writing remained distractingly iffy. Badly in need of an editor, or a better writer.

  • SurfpossumSurfpossum A nonentity trying to preserve the anonymity he so richly deserves.Registered User regular
    I blitzed through the Foundation Trilogy and three things struck me:

    1. The first two books apparently made almost no impression on me the first time I read them, apparently. It seems the only Foundation related information that stayed in my head was all from Second Foundation.
    2. The use of exclamation marks in old sci-fi is so quaint, I love it.
    3. Having just recently reread Dewn it's kind of incredible that the book with dream visions and giant monsters and magic words feels so much more realistic.

    I may be inventing this entirely but I feeeeeeeel like I once read an interview where Asimov was asked to comment on inconsistencies between his books regarding the history of his world or w/e and he said something like bruh I'm just making shit up as I go. That may not be real but it definitely feels true; the Foundation series feels like a fantasy adventure where outside of the plot things exist only as backdrops, while the world of Dune feels solid and fleshed out and three dimensional.

    Which is not to say that the series was bad; it was still good fun and the setting is great, and Second Foundation still has some very neat ideas in it, I was just surprised at how different it felt from Dune.

    htm
  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller Registered User regular
    Yeah, I haven't reread Foundation in ages, but it was originally a magazine serial, so I don't hold it against Asimov in the "making things up as I go along" is perfectly suitable for a monthly(I think?) serial. Foundation was always more about setting up a puzzle/problem and then using smarts instead of brawn to solve it. Whereas Dune has a much more coherent story and point(s) to get across.

    The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. ~ Terry Pratchett
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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited January 18
    I just learned my new favorite fact. I'm sure some of you already knew this, but it's new to me and if I can share this joy with even one person who was unaware, worth the post.

    Back in the day the dude who got the job to translate Bram Stoker's Dracula into Icelandic was basically like "nah, I'm a better writer than this shit", so instead of translating it, he wrote Dracula Fanfiction and passed it off as a faithful translation of the original. And nobody found out about this until 2014. And apparently it's really good! "The resulting narrative is one that is shorter, punchier, more erotic, and perhaps even more suspenseful than Stoker’s Dracula."

    it's called Powers of Darkness now, might have to check it out.

    Raiden333 on
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  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    edited January 18
    Been meaning to write something about reading The Light Brigade a while back. That one really knocked my socks off. It felt like it drew on Starship Troopers, The Forever War, Memento, 12 Monkeys, Slaughterhouse-Five and Full Metal Jacket. But it made something that felt new and wonderful, even so.

    I'm glad, too, because I really enjoyed her The Stars are Legion. Then I totally bounced off of The Mirror Empire. Enough to make me put it down only about a quarter into it. I began to wonder if my liking The Stars are Legion was going to be a fluke.

    dennis on
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  • SurfpossumSurfpossum A nonentity trying to preserve the anonymity he so richly deserves.Registered User regular
    Me at 9pm, starting This Is How You Lose the Time War: let's just take a peek before going to bed, ugh this writing verges on tumblresque but maybe it gets better.

    Me at 11pm, finishing This Is How You Lose the Time War: oops

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  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    I got a bit curious about Stross' latest thing. I've read the first Laundry Files book, but it felt a bit too British for me to be able to fully enjoy it. Apparently these last three books are a spinoff from the Laundry Files? Do I need to read all of those or are these three somewhat standalone?

  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    I got a bit curious about Stross' latest thing. I've read the first Laundry Files book, but it felt a bit too British for me to be able to fully enjoy it. Apparently these last three books are a spinoff from the Laundry Files? Do I need to read all of those or are these three somewhat standalone?

    There are major story things that set up this new run of books. The setting will make more sense with the context. I'm reading the current one and while the new books are fine, they don't quite have the charm of the originals. Bob is a great character and I miss him.

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  • CormacCormac Registered User regular
    edited January 18
    Echo wrote: »
    I got a bit curious about Stross' latest thing. I've read the first Laundry Files book, but it felt a bit too British for me to be able to fully enjoy it. Apparently these last three books are a spinoff from the Laundry Files? Do I need to read all of those or are these three somewhat standalone?

    I've not cared for any of the books without Bob as a major character. The whole each character with their own super power quasi-superheroes thing just totally doesn't work for me and none of the characters are as engaging or as entertaining as Bob.

    Cormac on
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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Cormac wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    I got a bit curious about Stross' latest thing. I've read the first Laundry Files book, but it felt a bit too British for me to be able to fully enjoy it. Apparently these last three books are a spinoff from the Laundry Files? Do I need to read all of those or are these three somewhat standalone?

    I've not cared for any of the books without Bob as a major character. The whole each character with their own super power quasi-superheroes thing just totally doesn't work for me and none of the characters are as engaging or as entertaining as Bob.

    the one I liked was the first one after Bob
    The One Dorky vampire dude and the bloodthirsty elves. I thought that was a fun one and done well.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited January 19
    Echo wrote: »
    I got a bit curious about Stross' latest thing. I've read the first Laundry Files book, but it felt a bit too British for me to be able to fully enjoy it. Apparently these last three books are a spinoff from the Laundry Files? Do I need to read all of those or are these three somewhat standalone?

    The last two books are set in the world of the Laundry Files but really after the events of the Laundry Files. Bit complicated that the last Laundry Files book hasn't been written yet.

    The latest one was good but I'm not sure it's gonna be less british.

    It riffs on:
    Mary Poppins
    Sweeney Todd
    Teletubbies

    The first one is mostly Peter Pan, but the book and not the twee Disney movie. Judge for yourself how overtly british such things are.

    Probably more stuff that isn't popping into mind. It also heavily features satire about the current mood regarding late stage capitalism. On a positive note it also has strong themes about found family.

    It should be fairly accessible to start with Dead Lies Dreaming, just start from the premise that the PM is an actual eldritch monster and not just a regular Tory.

    Edit: New POVs: Eve is fairly good, Imp is sort of eh, Mary is hilarious. The rest of the lost boys are kind of eh when they get POVs which isn't that often.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
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    htm
  • htmhtm Registered User regular
    Surfpossum wrote: »
    Which is not to say that the series was bad; it was still good fun and the setting is great, and Second Foundation still has some very neat ideas in it, I was just surprised at how different it felt from Dune.
    Which is ironic, because during the recent simultaneous hypefests for the Dune movie and the Foundation TV series, I had the Shower Thought realization that the two are very close to being the same story: lone genius envisions disastrous long-term future for humanity and takes drastic steps to change the course of future history.

    But yeah, Asimov was never a great world builder.

    Shadowhope
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    I used to be a "You start a book - you finish a book" person. It's only in recent years I've decided that life is too short for bad fiction.

    To that end, I've quit two books recently:
    The Enceladus Mission by Brandon Morris
    The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull

    The former was just terrible writing. I didn't make it far. People didn't talk like humans and the non-dialog portions were just blunt, short sentences declaring points of action. I couldn't do it.

    The latter had competent writing but was just not interesting. Partway into the book (which is centered around alien first contact) there's a brief bit about a literature class studying post-first-contact fiction where it talks about a story about a couple which centers on their reactions to first contact without actually including aliens at all, outside of references to news stories. It feels like the story was trying to lampshade itself, where the presence of aliens is almost incidental. Which could be okay except the story outside the aliens was just utterly banal and boring.

    Now I'm on to The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitch, which is pretty good if a bit florid at times.

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  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    Yeah, I've abandoned more books in the last five years than in all my previous decades of reading. It helps to have gotten them from the library, so essentially the only thing I'm doing is delaying the time until I do read something I like. It's a less than zero investment.

  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    You know what book it feels like I almost never talk to somebody who's read it? A Confederacy of Dunces.

    The best way I can describe it is Always Sunny in Philidelphia, but 60 years in the past. Every character is an irredeemable jerk who thinks they alone have the sole understanding of the world. It was way before its time IMO.

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  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    Every now and then I try reading non-fiction, but I just can't.

    CptHamiltoncredeiki
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    You know what book it feels like I almost never talk to somebody who's read it? A Confederacy of Dunces.

    The best way I can describe it is Always Sunny in Philidelphia, but 60 years in the past. Every character is an irredeemable jerk who thinks they alone have the sole understanding of the world. It was way before its time IMO.

    I read it about 10 years ago. I didn't feel like it lived up to the hype, but I don't feel like that was its fault. This may be my literary ignorance speaking, but it feels like Dunces had an influence on a generation of writers that I wound up reading or seeing onscreen before reading Dunces. By that point, Dunces didn't feel as original as it probably could have. In this sense, it feels like when I watched Citizen Kane. It feels like it was ahead of its time because it birthed its time.

    Not to say it wasn't enjoyable. I just didn't find it to stand out.

  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 21
    dennis wrote: »
    I read it about 10 years ago. I didn't feel like it lived up to the hype, but I don't feel like that was its fault. This may be my literary ignorance speaking, but it feels like Dunces had an influence on a generation of writers that I wound up reading or seeing onscreen before reading Dunces. By that point, Dunces didn't feel as original as it probably could have. In this sense, it feels like when I watched Citizen Kane. It feels like it was ahead of its time because it birthed its time.

    I think we had this exact discussion in the chat thread about Dune when the movie came out.

    Echo on
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    I read dunces when I first went to college and I basically just don’t remember much about it. I enjoyed it question mark

  • GrudgeGrudge blessed is the mind too small for doubtRegistered User regular
    I've started reading The Night Land, A Story Retold, which is a rewritten version of the 1912 classic that kind of invented the dying earth genre. The original seems to be more or less unreadable (haven't really tried myself, but the samples I've seen are... difficult and tedious), but this remade version is... well interesting anyway. Still pretty archaic, but it gives off some Lovecraftian vibes, and here and there you can find things that definitely have inspired later sci-fi and fantasy writers.

    dennis
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    edited January 21
    Grudge wrote: »
    I've started reading The Night Land, A Story Retold, which is a rewritten version of the 1912 classic that kind of invented the dying earth genre. The original seems to be more or less unreadable (haven't really tried myself, but the samples I've seen are... difficult and tedious), but this remade version is... well interesting anyway. Still pretty archaic, but it gives off some Lovecraftian vibes, and here and there you can find things that definitely have inspired later sci-fi and fantasy writers.

    Let me know what you think when you finished it. I read the first section that was posted online (before he re-visited it and did the rest of it), and I thought it was such a massive improvement. I really dig the setting and the overall vibe. And I've really enjoyed Greg Bear's "The Way of All Ghosts".

    I haven't just grabbed it because it's obscure enough that no libraries around have it. I'd probably wind up buying it on Kindle. I am loathe to buy actual Kindle titles, but it's mostly an irrational irritation with how Amazon treats non-Amazon e-books.

    While looking this up again, I noticed John C. Wright has written four novellas in the setting, collected in Awake in the Night Land. Same issue with obscurity, but I should probably pick it up as well.

    dennis on
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