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[Book]: Rhymes With

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  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I read Lev Grossman's children's book, The Silver Arrow, because I was curious (also, it turns out, an adult person can read even a long children's book in a couple of hours, so it wasn't a lot of effort)

    It's about a 10-year-old girl and her younger brother who are gifted a magical train for her birthday; they don't really know what's up with it but it ends up magically driving around the world and picking up animals and helping them move to safer/relatively untouched environments.

    Pros: amazing cozy steam train aesthetic (the train has a library car and a candy car and cute little bedrooms. It's a very well-described and appealing fantasy); unusual talking animals (a green mamba! a baby pangolin! a fisher cat!) who give animal facts about themselves; environmentalist message; no bad morals/dumb gender roles or anything like that. I think an elementary schooler would be into it. Very cute illustrations, especially the ones with animals holding train tickets in their mouths.

    Cons: the characters are weirdly realized. Grossman so, so much wants to tell a story about someone who is emotionally unfulfilled and then goes on a magical adventure, and he tries to sort of sketch out this ennui and put it on the 10-y-o protagonist, and it doesn't work and doesn't make sense and also, apart from the couple of paragraphs where he mentions it, has no bearing on the rest of her thoughts and actions. So there's a weakly/inconsistently characterized protagonist (which shouldn't be an issue; you can make a really simple child protagonist and it's fine! But he clearly couldn't bear to). The language is also not quite there--there's a bit too much of old guy trying to use language that appeals to kids. "omg that was awesome" is a phrase used too much and somehow very awkwardly.

    So overall I'd say--you as an adult person certainly don't need to read it; if you have elementary-aged kids, I think it could be fun to read to them and they'd probably like it, but it's not going to be a big children's classic or anything. But it could be a kid's personal classic, if they really like trains.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
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  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    Thanks for the recommendations, folks

    I've read There Is No Antimemetics Division and loved it (except the ending; he has trouble bringing his grand, fascinating metaphysical ideas to a meaningful or satisfying close); I enjoyed the two Gideon books as well, especially Harrow, which had great cosmic horror vibes

    Revelation Space got pretty weird at the end and I'm not really interested in reading the next one; there are plenty of interesting ideas but the actual characters and events weren't very compelling

    Blindsight has been suggested a number of times so I might go for that

    CptHamilton
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Blindsight has been suggested a number of times so I might go for that

    Literally finished that up last week. It is fucking weird and hurt my brain, but in entertaining ways.

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
    CptHamiltonBrody
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited April 17
    Thanks for the recommendations, folks

    I've read There Is No Antimemetics Division and loved it (except the ending; he has trouble bringing his grand, fascinating metaphysical ideas to a meaningful or satisfying close); I enjoyed the two Gideon books as well, especially Harrow, which had great cosmic horror vibes

    Revelation Space got pretty weird at the end and I'm not really interested in reading the next one; there are plenty of interesting ideas but the actual characters and events weren't very compelling

    Blindsight has been suggested a number of times so I might go for that

    the damning thing about Revelation Space to me was how little of it felt revelatory. They get to a
    hollow neutron star with people living inside

    at the end and my only reaction was a confused shrug. I keep thinking about what Dan Simmons in his heyday could have done with an idea like that, mining it for all its strangeness and thematic oomph.

    Jacobkosh on
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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Blindsight has been suggested a number of times so I might go for that

    Literally finished that up last week. It is fucking weird and hurt my brain, but in entertaining ways.

    Some of the ideas from Blindsight have stuck with me for like a decade since I first read it. And I feel like I stumble across Chinese Room references a lot in the past few years, which is a thing I’d somehow never heard of prior to reading the novel but is a fascinating philosophical puzzle.

    Watts’ other work is decent and sometimes very weird but I think he really struck gold with that one.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudDevoutlyApatheticAntoshkaBrody
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Thanks for the recommendations, folks

    I've read There Is No Antimemetics Division and loved it (except the ending; he has trouble bringing his grand, fascinating metaphysical ideas to a meaningful or satisfying close); I enjoyed the two Gideon books as well, especially Harrow, which had great cosmic horror vibes

    Revelation Space got pretty weird at the end and I'm not really interested in reading the next one; there are plenty of interesting ideas but the actual characters and events weren't very compelling

    Blindsight has been suggested a number of times so I might go for that

    the damning thing about Revelation Space to me was how little of it felt revelatory. They get to a
    hollow neutron star with people living inside

    at the end and my only reaction was a confused shrug. I keep thinking about what Dan Simmons in his heyday could have done with an idea like that, mining it for all its strangeness and thematic oomph.

    I think it was more of a
    cross-temporal omnicomputer made from a black hole that looked like neutron star, which was simulating a world and also controlling its surface to be temporarily habitable
    ??

    But I was much more interested in the more concrete stuff — the relativistic travel with cryo sleep leading to massive gaps between societies and individuals, the way relativistic alienation made everything seem surreal and uncertain, with people achieving a kind of relative immortality, the bizarre integration of AI and smart tech into societies that didn't invent or really understand them, massive augmentations and transhumanism (although this was less developed than I'd like)

    I like hard scifi that tries to engage with far future tech but not so far future that it might as well abandon the strictures of hard scifi

    dennisredxEcho
  • PhantPhant Registered User regular
    I, too, love the Ultranauts and am always a little disappointed we don't get more of them. And I've read every Revelation Space thing that he's ever published.

    Evil MultifariousredxFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    Revelation Space got pretty weird at the end and I'm not really interested in reading the next one; there are plenty of interesting ideas but the actual characters and events weren't very compelling

    Ultranauts kind of are that way in all the Inhibitor books. He has other non-Inhibitor books with actual characters.

    He has a handful of short stories with a character named Merlin who does the same "sleeping through centuries" kind of thing but is way more human.

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited April 17
    Blindsight has been suggested a number of times so I might go for that

    Literally finished that up last week. It is fucking weird and hurt my brain, but in entertaining ways.

    Some of the ideas from Blindsight have stuck with me for like a decade since I first read it. And I feel like I stumble across Chinese Room references a lot in the past few years, which is a thing I’d somehow never heard of prior to reading the novel but is a fascinating philosophical puzzle.

    Watts’ other work is decent and sometimes very weird but I think he really struck gold with that one.

    I really liked Blindsight and felt like Echopraxia was a decent follow up. I liked the rifters saga ok but was not as much of a fan of it, I wasn’t as big of a fan of the last book in general, I felt like the idea that
    The driving cause of apocalypse was solved offscreen and the only thing keeping it going was some asshole dictator that didn’t want everyone discovering his crimes
    was, while realistic, a bit of a deus ex machina.

    In general I felt like the story ended in a better place after Maelstrom than Behemoth, which isn’t great for a trilogy.

    Jealous Deva on
  • BogartBogart Turn Around, Bright Eyes Registered User, Moderator mod
    The End of the Affair goes too far into Greene’s Catholic obsession halfway through for my tastes but the writing about love and jealousy and hate is excellent.

    Jacobkosh
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    I picked up either bas lag or the scar from a yard sale at the end of the fall but I wanted to see if there was an order or if it didn’t matter and then it got sidetracked by my 2021 reading goal to diversify my shelf’s away from just dudes

    Iron council is a more direct sequel to perditio st. Scar is mostly a side story

    Really the order doesn’t matter that muc

    DevoutlyApatheticFeloniousmozDizzy D
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I just found out about the punk rock memoir Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys today and I'm noting it here so I might remember it when I check my post history later. It sounds great.

    rRwz9.gif
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I picked up either bas lag or the scar from a yard sale at the end of the fall but I wanted to see if there was an order or if it didn’t matter and then it got sidetracked by my 2021 reading goal to diversify my shelf’s away from just dudes

    Iron council is a more direct sequel to perditio st. Scar is mostly a side story

    Really the order doesn’t matter that muc

    Scar is almost a gazetteer of the world as much as a book, like he had all these ideas for wild places laying around and wasn't sure how to stitch them together so just opted for an 80 Days-style travelogue instead, which ends up mostly working

    I wasn't overly taken with his experiment writing a non-heroic protagonist - I feel like he overshot the mark and just went straight into someone who wasn't very interesting - but the book has enough other stuff to recommend it

    rRwz9.gif
    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudEchojakobaggerschuss
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I picked up either bas lag or the scar from a yard sale at the end of the fall but I wanted to see if there was an order or if it didn’t matter and then it got sidetracked by my 2021 reading goal to diversify my shelf’s away from just dudes

    Iron council is a more direct sequel to perditio st. Scar is mostly a side story

    Really the order doesn’t matter that muc

    Scar is almost a gazetteer of the world as much as a book, like he had all these ideas for wild places laying around and wasn't sure how to stitch them together so just opted for an 80 Days-style travelogue instead, which ends up mostly working

    I wasn't overly taken with his experiment writing a non-heroic protagonist - I feel like he overshot the mark and just went straight into someone who wasn't very interesting - but the book has enough other stuff to recommend it

    Yeah, it was an interesting book, as it very much was a meditation on the world while being a thin weave that connects disparate story lines. While I love the worlds Mieville creates, he's not quite the writer he thinks he is and doesn't quite stick the landing on a few things in every book. Also - I read the scar before Perdido and nothing was really lost reading them in that order.

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Thanks for the recommendations, folks

    I've read There Is No Antimemetics Division and loved it (except the ending; he has trouble bringing his grand, fascinating metaphysical ideas to a meaningful or satisfying close); I enjoyed the two Gideon books as well, especially Harrow, which had great cosmic horror vibes

    Revelation Space got pretty weird at the end and I'm not really interested in reading the next one; there are plenty of interesting ideas but the actual characters and events weren't very compelling

    Blindsight has been suggested a number of times so I might go for that

    the damning thing about Revelation Space to me was how little of it felt revelatory. They get to a
    hollow neutron star with people living inside

    at the end and my only reaction was a confused shrug. I keep thinking about what Dan Simmons in his heyday could have done with an idea like that, mining it for all its strangeness and thematic oomph.

    I think it was more of a
    cross-temporal omnicomputer made from a black hole that looked like neutron star, which was simulating a world and also controlling its surface to be temporarily habitable
    ??

    But I was much more interested in the more concrete stuff — the relativistic travel with cryo sleep leading to massive gaps between societies and individuals, the way relativistic alienation made everything seem surreal and uncertain, with people achieving a kind of relative immortality, the bizarre integration of AI and smart tech into societies that didn't invent or really understand them, massive augmentations and transhumanism (although this was less developed than I'd like)

    I like hard scifi that tries to engage with far future tech but not so far future that it might as well abandon the strictures of hard scifi

    The transhumanist stuff was interesting to me because a lot of it is in a weird post transhumanist fall sort of situation with the Melding Plague (I don't think that's at all a spoiler, it's a pretty central historical plot point). I feel like Chasm City was definitely big on providing more back story/world building. But also I can't really differentiate any of the three main books in my brain at this point. So who knows.

    "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
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I'm part way through Jade War
    Woon you little shit get the fuck over yourself.

    Kanafurlion
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I picked up either bas lag or the scar from a yard sale at the end of the fall but I wanted to see if there was an order or if it didn’t matter and then it got sidetracked by my 2021 reading goal to diversify my shelf’s away from just dudes

    Iron council is a more direct sequel to perditio st. Scar is mostly a side story

    Really the order doesn’t matter that muc

    Scar is almost a gazetteer of the world as much as a book, like he had all these ideas for wild places laying around and wasn't sure how to stitch them together so just opted for an 80 Days-style travelogue instead, which ends up mostly working

    I wasn't overly taken with his experiment writing a non-heroic protagonist - I feel like he overshot the mark and just went straight into someone who wasn't very interesting - but the book has enough other stuff to recommend it

    Yeah, it was an interesting book, as it very much was a meditation on the world while being a thin weave that connects disparate story lines. While I love the worlds Mieville creates, he's not quite the writer he thinks he is and doesn't quite stick the landing on a few things in every book. Also - I read the scar before Perdido and nothing was really lost reading them in that order.

    He's not afraid to take a risk and I like that.

    Echoschuss
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    johan-grenier-blprocessed-the-magos-b-format-pb.jpg?1512046134

    I finished this the other night and it was really, really good. It's a short novel (the titular The Magos) prefixed by a collection of every Eisenhorn/Ravenor short story so far in chronological order, and featuring a couple of delightful new shorts with a new character - Magos Biologis Valentin Drusher, an awkward, peevish, slightly nebbishy naturalist who definitely 100% is not Warhammer Dr. Maturin, and his comedic and unexpectedly sweet-natured and romantic adventures trying to catalog alien life-forms.

    The shorts, of course, vary in quality. Some of them are the best writing Abnett's done, particularly "Missing in Action," a genuinely wonderful Eisenhorn murder mystery that would be at home in any collection of non-40K science fiction; "Playing Patience", where Ravenor investigates a sinister orphanage, is similarly good, and drenched in atmosphere. They're both just really good yarns. There's one called "The Strange Demise of Titus Endor", about the fate of Eisenhorn's erstwhile friend from the first novel, that's a trippy, somewhat moving (and unsettling) style experiment with a haunting ending.

    On the other hand, there are a few stories that are very short and where not much particularly happens except to fill in some detail or other that will come up in one of the books - a story where Eisenhorn and Ravenor meet so one of them can impart plot information to the other for the latter's upcoming novel. These aren't bad but just feel somewhat unnecessary.

    The actual novel, The Magos, is wonderful. Eisenhorn isn't the narrator, which is a bummer as I really relished the wry first-person voice Abnett found for the character, but that's made up for by just being a delightful story. It feels heavily influenced by...of all things, Doctor Who? It's about a protagonist (Magos Drusher) who's a relatively ordinary person whose life is turned upside down (and, arguably, nearly ruined) after becoming involved with a strange visitor from another world (Eisenhorn) and being caught in a hair-raising and extremely lethal adventure. The action climax, which features a lot of characters running up and down hallways in a bad guy lair that's a giant tower with about three people in it, feels so much like a low-budget old-Who climax that I'm 90% convinced it was deliberate.

    That might sound at odds with my calling the book "wonderful", but it's actually not? Abnett makes it work. He mines a lot of comedy out of the spectacle of a deeply ordinary person trapped in the insane murderous world of a Warhammer Inquisitor, but switches it up at key moments and uses the new perspective to add an extra dimension of pathos to the goings-on, and the book kind of turns and morphs in your hands like a puzzle box until this dumb action laser story turns into this surprisingly meditative character study. A character study with a good central mystery, hair-raising action, some gnarly horror, some laughs, and a very satisfying ending. I really dug this book! I can't believe tie-in fiction can be this good.

    I'm a few chapters into the next one, Bequin, and...it seems to be a Gothic horror novel? I don't mean Gothic in the Warhammer sense, I mean it's like the Bronte sisters writing 40K?? There's a sinister orphanage and graveyards and wildly discursive first-person narration that reminds me of, of all things, The Quincunx. I'm 100% positive the unapologetically Victorian prose (all those "connexions" etc) has alienated some of the usual 40K audience and it's the sort of thing that a writer absolutely could not get away with unless he was the rock star of the franchise. I love to see it. Why not write sci-fi pulp tie-in novels with style and verve? Why does stuff have to be forgettable garbage just because it has a lightsaber on it?

    rRwz9.gif
    A Dabble Of TheloniusBlackDragon480V1mshrykeMechMantis
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    V1m wrote: »
    schuss wrote: »
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I picked up either bas lag or the scar from a yard sale at the end of the fall but I wanted to see if there was an order or if it didn’t matter and then it got sidetracked by my 2021 reading goal to diversify my shelf’s away from just dudes

    Iron council is a more direct sequel to perditio st. Scar is mostly a side story

    Really the order doesn’t matter that muc

    Scar is almost a gazetteer of the world as much as a book, like he had all these ideas for wild places laying around and wasn't sure how to stitch them together so just opted for an 80 Days-style travelogue instead, which ends up mostly working

    I wasn't overly taken with his experiment writing a non-heroic protagonist - I feel like he overshot the mark and just went straight into someone who wasn't very interesting - but the book has enough other stuff to recommend it

    Yeah, it was an interesting book, as it very much was a meditation on the world while being a thin weave that connects disparate story lines. While I love the worlds Mieville creates, he's not quite the writer he thinks he is and doesn't quite stick the landing on a few things in every book. Also - I read the scar before Perdido and nothing was really lost reading them in that order.

    He's not afraid to take a risk and I like that.

    100%. The world is better off with half formed stories of worlds in someone's head than none.

  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    edited May 1
    Here's a quick short story Katherine Addison wrote, which she describes as a sort of prologue/sidebar to Witness for the Dead

    https://www.sundaymorningtransport.com/p/min-zemerins-plan?s=w

    knitdan on
    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
    The Zombie Penguin
  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    That's pretty lovely

    Ideas hate it when you anthropomorphize them
    Steam: https://steamcommunity.com/id/TheZombiePenguin
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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    Finished The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Solid 8/10. The only reason I docked two points (MAJOR SPOILERS)
    I saw the Sudden Yet Inevitable Double Cross coming from like 6 miles away.

    Started the 2nd one, and, if this gets explained away throughout the story don't tell me it does, just let me find out on my own, but this seems like a REALLY clunky element of this world:
    So this Cryptarch is entirely reliant on all these people being granted super-override governmental powers being held in check by a Critical Living Blackmail that they can't betray... But Baru breaks that tradition and has no such leash around her. Why wouldn't the Cryptarch immediately be like "well okay you did us a real solid snuffing out that rebellion but you're resisting our attempts to control you fully like literally all of us are controlled, so heeeeeere's a knife in the back"

    Like Baru herself even thinks she's about to get assassinated for that very reason for a second, and then it just seems to get dropped.

    There was a steam sig here. It's gone now.
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    Finished The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Solid 8/10. The only reason I docked two points (MAJOR SPOILERS)
    I saw the Sudden Yet Inevitable Double Cross coming from like 6 miles away.

    Started the 2nd one, and, if this gets explained away throughout the story don't tell me it does, just let me find out on my own, but this seems like a REALLY clunky element of this world:
    So this Cryptarch is entirely reliant on all these people being granted super-override governmental powers being held in check by a Critical Living Blackmail that they can't betray... But Baru breaks that tradition and has no such leash around her. Why wouldn't the Cryptarch immediately be like "well okay you did us a real solid snuffing out that rebellion but you're resisting our attempts to control you fully like literally all of us are controlled, so heeeeeere's a knife in the back"

    Like Baru herself even thinks she's about to get assassinated for that very reason for a second, and then it just seems to get dropped.
    Because they know she's gay so they have that. Also they're holding her homeland hostage. 2/3 leashes isn't as good as 3/3 but there's multiple redundancy in their Ne Plus Ultra cultural imperialism model, and she's proved herself useful & effective and her only 'fault' so far is being too loyal.

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • DrovekDrovek Registered User regular
    Finished Harrow over the weekend. I liked it, though I'm sure there's lots of tiny details I missed the first time around that makes things make more sense

    Started Wizard of Earthsea and it seems good so far

    steam_sig.png
    ( < . . .
    Satanic Jesus
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    I have finally tried to make a real go at Ursula Le Guin, having only actually finished her Omelas short story. I think I started Left Hand of Darkness a decade ago and dropped it after about a chapter. I'm now 25% of the way in and... thinking of dropping it. Almost nothing at all has happened, and 20% of it seems to just be describing geography. It's like those tedious bits of Lord of the Rings. Does it really get better at some point?

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as an author, but I'm just not sure if she's for me.

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited May 3
    The free e-books from Tor this month are (available until May 6):
    https://ebookclub.tor.com/

    A Psalm For The Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

    Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi

    An Unnatural Life by Erin K. Wagner

    I haven't read the latter two, but I've definitely read the first one and highly recommend it. It's a short and cozy read.

    Hahnsoo1 on
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    PSN: Hahnsoo | MH Rise: Hahnsoo, Switch FC: SW-0085-2679-5212
    Satanic Jesus
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    edited May 3
    Left hand of darkness:

    I’d say it took me a little bit of ways to understand what was happening. The first part is definitely a “I’m a tourist look at this sightseeing thing” but it does expand from there

    And then there’s a final piece of the puzzle kind of feeling I got towards the end that reframes everything.

    It’s harder for me to explain without getting into specific themes and plot. And I will say I didn’t like it nearly as much as the dispossessed until I got to the later parts but I had a very strong “oh hell I understand everything now” reaction

    initiatefailure on
    dennisDizzy D
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    Okay, thanks. I can keep slogging if there's hope of payoff. Again, like Lord of the Rings. :grin:

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    The sequel for the new Adrian Tchaikovsky series came out! Maybe today..... Idk when I actually preordered but I just noticed it on my Kindle.

    CptHamiltonswaylow
  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    Left Hand of Darkness suffers a bit just by virtue of how old it is and having previously read more interesting and better written books that it no doubt inspired.

    I'm trying it again and what I notice most are the constant folk tales and "These people tell a story about [x]" where [x] is an allegory for darkness or death or some other philosophical concept.

    But in the back half you start to see the author just spell out her theses and I'm not sure which I prefer

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    edited May 4
    knitdan wrote: »
    Left Hand of Darkness suffers a bit just by virtue of how old it is and having previously read more interesting and better written books that it no doubt inspired.

    Yeah, I considered that might have been the issue. Really I think that causes it to drag so much is just so much talk about this lake or that mountain or this road or that monastery. Without actually getting into the details, or how that's significant to the society, or how it relates to a character. I've read 25% of the book so far, and I feel like it contained about one solid chapter's worth of character development, worldbuilding and plot advancement.

    dennis on
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    To me I remember feeling like that spoke a lot to the sparseness of a world that is largely covered in ice most of the time but yes as an exercise in grabbing the reader, I can see that not doing the best job.

    Also kind of related I just finished black leopard red wolf tonight and am gonna do a couple shorter things because I need a breather after that doorstopper and am gonna read lathe of heaven either next or after italo calvino’s invisible cities (have had a friend on me for months about that one)

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    I have finally tried to make a real go at Ursula Le Guin, having only actually finished her Omelas short story. I think I started Left Hand of Darkness a decade ago and dropped it after about a chapter. I'm now 25% of the way in and... thinking of dropping it. Almost nothing at all has happened, and 20% of it seems to just be describing geography. It's like those tedious bits of Lord of the Rings. Does it really get better at some point?

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as an author, but I'm just not sure if she's for me.

    I don’t love Left Hand of Darkness—there is never a lot of characterization and I’m not interested in the wilderness adventure part (although the ideas in it are top notch)

    I highly recommend instead The Dispossessed, which has a tighter and more character focused narration and an incredibly compelling social/political theme.

    A weirder recommendation is The Lathe of Heaven, which reads like PKD, if you like him. It is not so lifechanging as the Dispossessed but it’s an interesting novel and fun to read

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    DevoutlyApatheticinitiatefailurejakobaggerredxhtm
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    To me I remember feeling like that spoke a lot to the sparseness of a world that is largely covered in ice most of the time but yes as an exercise in grabbing the reader, I can see that not doing the best job.

    Also kind of related I just finished black leopard red wolf tonight and am gonna do a couple shorter things because I need a breather after that doorstopper and am gonna read lathe of heaven either next or after italo calvino’s invisible cities (have had a friend on me for months about that one)

    huh I started invisible cities and dropped it

    I was uninterested in what looked like an entire book of short descriptions of ambiguously exotic oriental cities with no plot or characters

    I’m sure there’s more than that going on but it did not seem apparent to me! (and at the same time, it felt like you were going to be given a very weighty and symbolic reveal that you were meant to ooh and aah over)

    I don’t necessarily like Calvino though—idk, I read his ‘cosmicomiche’ when I was a kid and they were intriguing (and probably had more going on than I noticed) but they also had this simultaneous feeling of ‘so what?’ and yet also ‘you are trying too hard to have a moral or central piece of symbolism in this story’.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    Solomaxwell6
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    I like PKD, but mostly when he writes short stories. I've come to realize that his novels just leave me feeling worried about his state of mind (which wasn't great).

    htm
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Calvino isn't really a fiction writer. Some of his stuff has the appearance of narrative fiction but he's a poet

    credeiki
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Calvino isn't really a fiction writer. Some of his stuff has the appearance of narrative fiction but he's a poet

    oh wow I think that's exactly my issue, yes
    very good encapsulation of what was happening in these books

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    Moridin889
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    Nice to frame it like that before I jump into it. I think that also makes a lot of sense for the friends who have recommended it

  • SurfpossumSurfpossum A nonentity trying to preserve the anonymity he so richly deserves.Registered User regular
    Oh hey my good friend recommended Invisible Cities to me years and years ago and I loved the sound of it but never got around to it. I bought it and a couple of other books just the other day, funny to see it popping up here as well.

    Over the last few weeks I read:

    Books 1 and then immediately 2 of the Scholomance, they're by Naomi Novik of Spinning Silver fame in case anyone hasn't heard yet. They were delightful, a highschool drama given meaning by the threat of constant death. It was very refreshing to read a story about a main character who is OP and knows it.

    This was followed by Gideon the Ninth, which had characters so cool that it gave me the same melancholy wistfulness as the first season of the Witcher. Very excellent, and even though there are like three other books coming I feel like it's a perfectly good little story on its own.

    Spoilers regarding the ending:
    I felt completely gut punched by the (obviously coming) ending; it was The Traitor Baru Cormorant all over again, just over and done with more quickly and flippantly (true to form).

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    I need to reread Harrow. There's a lot going on in that book.

    Moridin889KamirohtmDrovekEchoknitdanFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
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