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[Book]: Rhymes With

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  • KamiroKamiro Registered User regular
    My wife is doing a reading of Misty of Chincoteague. Save me

  • furlionfurlion Riskbreaker Lea MondeRegistered User regular
    How does harrow compare to gideon? I mean I loved Gideon and have been thinking about it regularly. I have harrow but am waiting for some time off to read it all in one seating.

    sig.gif Gamertag: KL Retribution
    PSN:Furlion
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    furlion wrote: »
    How does harrow compare to gideon? I mean I loved Gideon and have been thinking about it regularly. I have harrow but am waiting for some time off to read it all in one seating.

    I think it's very good, but its a good bit heavier, it's not as fun a reread. Its also a bit more opaque, as you try to figure out wtf is going on with Harrow.

    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.
    furlionPeewiN1tSt4lkerredxFuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudCptHamilton
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    It fits. Gideon is a straight forward meathead. Harrow is craazzzzyyyyy af

    furlionhtmKanaDrovekEchoBrodyDevoutlyApatheticknitdanPeewiBlackDragon480StraygatsbyFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloudschuss
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    I read Elder Race tonight. It certainly deserves the praise it has received from this thread and others on the PA forums. I like that it was a straightforward read that cut right to the chase of its central premise (the whole lol advanced technology is magic thing), and I enjoyed that it tells you right away that, yes, it’s going to be one of those kind of books so you should just sit back and enjoy the ride. :) The chapter which had both POV characters side by side in columns made me laugh out loud.

    Di87pOF.jpg
    PSN: Hahnsoo | MH Rise: Hahnsoo, Switch FC: SW-0085-2679-5212
    V1mEcho
  • SurfpossumSurfpossum A nonentity trying to preserve the anonymity he so richly deserves.Registered User regular
    Started reading Invisible Cities and normally I think it would be right up my alley except he clearly wants to fuck these cities and I'm just not in the mood right now.

    Also started reading Perdido Street Station and every few pages I find myself thinking about Gideon the Ninth again.

    Might end up just re-reading it to try and get it out of my system.

    BlackDragon480
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    I finished A Desolation Called Peace last night. It was fun to dip into that world again and visit with those characters, although I felt that there was a bit too much angsty culture clash stuff going on (It's not difficult! Just KIIIIIISSSSS and fuck! Jesus.). It's a first contact book, of sorts (which as a Star Trek nerd, is totally my jam), and I think part of my issues with the book is that the reveal of the One Weird Trick that the aliens have (there's always one) is revealed a bit too early to the reader, and the characters spend a LOT of time before they catch on to this (frustratingly so, given how capable and intelligent the characters behave otherwise). Also, there's a lot of Faster Than Light communication going on that I had to turn off my brain for (especially since the book goes out of its way to describe the very slow non-physics-breaking courier system they normally use to communicate).

    I'm not sure where the book series will go from here. The end of A Memory Called Empire had a fairly clear direction of how the sequel will go, but there's nothing that really portends how a future novel will go, plotwise. There are some easy strands the author can pick up (any of the POV characters, really, have a story to tell), but the main conflict ends, and there isn't much of a direction after that.

    Di87pOF.jpg
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    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    I liked Shards of Earth (Adrian Tchaikovsky) as a fun vacation read. I don't think it broke any super fresh ground on the space opera front, but I dug the whole disparate team against impossible odds (though Olli was a bit hard all the time which didn't feel true), and the unspace stuff had a nice ring of cosmic horror. I was a little disappointed in the ending and transition to book 2, but so far I'm liking it (Eyes of the Void). I'd like a side story with Kris and Scintilla, but other than that, I'm good to keep on reading and see how it goes.

    I feel like it's a gabillion years until we get Nona, so somethin's gotta fill the void.

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudBrody
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    I'm currently reading Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki. I'm not done with it yet, but the book deals with aspects of violin performance, especially at the highest levels. I was the concertmaster of two orchestras in high school and the principal second violinist in orchestra in undergrad, and the author did their homework. I feel like the violin sections were written specifically FOR me. Right down to "Shall I put Dominants on this cheap-o Chinese violin you got from eBay?" and someone going "No, you are going to use Evah Pirazzi Golds." Like, the details are so exactly right for a modern violin student (cheap rosin that tips out of a plastic container, etc.). Like, I had the practice book mentioned in it, and they talk about touchstones in the Suzuki method and the shitty music you are forced to play every Xmas.

    The book itself reads like a Cinderella story, except that the fairy godmother is trying to sell Cinderella's soul to the actual literal Devil in exchange for violin talent (like the Devil Went Down To Georgia style). Also, there are actual literal space alien refugees involved, and a large donut shop sign that doubles as a stargate. It's a weird book. There probably should be trigger warnings for queer folks, though, since the protagonist is an Asian-American trans woman and the book does not shy away from the sexual violence and sex work that trans women face, and that part's a rough read (despite the tone of the book being lighthearted overall).

    Di87pOF.jpg
    PSN: Hahnsoo | MH Rise: Hahnsoo, Switch FC: SW-0085-2679-5212
    chrono_traveller
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    I liked Shards of Earth (Adrian Tchaikovsky) as a fun vacation read. I don't think it broke any super fresh ground on the space opera front, but I dug the whole disparate team against impossible odds (though Olli was a bit hard all the time which didn't feel true), and the unspace stuff had a nice ring of cosmic horror. I was a little disappointed in the ending and transition to book 2, but so far I'm liking it (Eyes of the Void). I'd like a side story with Kris and Scintilla, but other than that, I'm good to keep on reading and see how it goes.

    I feel like it's a gabillion years until we get Nona, so somethin's gotta fill the void.
    I am also reading Eyes Of The Void right now. I really enjoy Kris chapters. I wish there were Kit chapters because I enjoy the Hannarian race and would love to know more about them. Idris whining forever is annoying but also it is very Idris to whine into the void so like I get it and it is good character work but also still very annoying to read over and over. I am enjoying the look into the Essiel so far as well. I love the Essiel!!

  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    Oh right, I preordered that, should have shown up on my Kobo already. Working through Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler -- it's a re-read, because it turns out I managed to buy it again when I bought it and the sequel because I got it into my head that I hadn't read it before.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Reading Max Gladstone's latest Last Exit. Its a bizarre genre mashup of post-apocalyptic multiverse road trip story. A bit Stephen Kingish. Enjoying ti so far.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Surfpossum wrote: »
    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.

    I had a hard time with the first Scholomance book because it felt like it was just wandering in circles over the same ground for much of the running length. "Everything is so deadly. I have to watch out because monsters could appear from X. Now I'm going to sit down and feel bad for myself because everyone hates me. They might not hate me if I were more outgoing, but I hate being outgoing so fuck them for not liking me. I wish anyone liked me. Everything is so deadly. I have to watch out..." etc.

    Is the second one any less repetitive? It felt at the end of the first one like the second one would have to have a more active plot instead of the N Days Until End of Term holding pattern but I haven't brought myself to buy it yet.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    Surfpossum wrote: »
    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.

    I had a hard time with the first Scholomance book because it felt like it was just wandering in circles over the same ground for much of the running length. "Everything is so deadly. I have to watch out because monsters could appear from X. Now I'm going to sit down and feel bad for myself because everyone hates me. They might not hate me if I were more outgoing, but I hate being outgoing so fuck them for not liking me. I wish anyone liked me. Everything is so deadly. I have to watch out..." etc.

    Is the second one any less repetitive? It felt at the end of the first one like the second one would have to have a more active plot instead of the N Days Until End of Term holding pattern but I haven't brought myself to buy it yet.
    I would like to know this as well because this is largely how I felt. I did not enjoy the first one very much but the ending was quite cool so I am wondering if the second one was better.

    CptHamilton
  • SurfpossumSurfpossum A nonentity trying to preserve the anonymity he so richly deserves.Registered User regular
    I would say the second book has more stuff going on BUT it also ends on a massive cliffhanger fyi

    I also didn't find the repetition annoying in the first one, tho. This might just be because I blitzed through it but also I felt it was a good way to introduce changes in perspective slowly. I did think the narrator was a little bit toooooo accurate and... insightful? about why she feels the way she feels but I didn't mind it much.

    But yes the second one starts introducing several other threads to get tugged on.

    Antoshka
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited May 12
    Is it just me or is it becoming more difficult to reliably find old books of decent quality on Amazon? I've been looking for paperbacks of a few old-school political economy books (JS Mill and Keynes, most recently) and when I read the reviews I see stuff like "missing fifth part of the book" or "doesn't include graphs or all of the footnotes" or other unacceptable problems. Shitty paperback mills printing halfassed versions of the texts. Not the first time I've encountered such problems on that site either.

    Kaputa on
    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    I know it's not a trilogy in the standard sense but I noticed the other day when scrolling various goodreads lists that it had Achebe's Things Fall apart listed as #1 in a trilogy. I read it in college and tbh don't remember it beyond remembering that i really liked it, but anyway when i stopped past the used bookshop on the way from the gym tonight I immediately noticed they had a copy of No Longer at Ease, apparently the #2 book in the trilogy though standalone. It's funny how little bits of perceiving things string together like that. I've glossed over the A section a lot in my life.

  • EtiowsaEtiowsa Registered User regular
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    I finished A Desolation Called Peace last night. It was fun to dip into that world again and visit with those characters, although I felt that there was a bit too much angsty culture clash stuff going on (It's not difficult! Just KIIIIIISSSSS and fuck! Jesus.). It's a first contact book, of sorts (which as a Star Trek nerd, is totally my jam), and I think part of my issues with the book is that the reveal of the One Weird Trick that the aliens have (there's always one) is revealed a bit too early to the reader, and the characters spend a LOT of time before they catch on to this (frustratingly so, given how capable and intelligent the characters behave otherwise). Also, there's a lot of Faster Than Light communication going on that I had to turn off my brain for (especially since the book goes out of its way to describe the very slow non-physics-breaking courier system they normally use to communicate).

    I'm not sure where the book series will go from here. The end of A Memory Called Empire had a fairly clear direction of how the sequel will go, but there's nothing that really portends how a future novel will go, plotwise. There are some easy strands the author can pick up (any of the POV characters, really, have a story to tell), but the main conflict ends, and there isn't much of a direction after that.

    I think the next one is gonna deal with the schism that seems to be forming in Lsel station, at least a bit. Maybe the proliferation of imago stuff.

    Automautocratesredx
  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    Oh man. Girlfriend went overboard for my birthday this year. I don't have a kickstarter account due to bad history with them, and she knows Brando Sando is my favorite fantasy author, so she got me the Brandon Sanderson kickstarter audiobook + 8 mystery boxes tier.

    There was a steam sig here. It's gone now.
    DrovekMechMantisAutomautocratesPailryderSolomaxwell6Cormacwebguy20Antoshka
  • swaylowswaylow Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Is it just me or is it becoming more difficult to reliably find old books of decent quality on Amazon? I've been looking for paperbacks of a few old-school political economy books (JS Mill and Keynes, most recently) and when I read the reviews I see stuff like "missing fifth part of the book" or "doesn't include graphs or all of the footnotes" or other unacceptable problems. Shitty paperback mills printing halfassed versions of the texts. Not the first time I've encountered such problems on that site either.

    I've taken to shopping local for old books with surprising success. At least where I'm at near a major city, it has been surprisingly easy to find what I want and many stores have reciprocity agreements and will call around to find something for you specifically and then ship it straight to you. For new books it's Bookshop.org all the way unless I am buying digital.

  • skippydumptruckskippydumptruck begin again Registered User regular
    edited May 13
    I read _the riddle master of hed_ by patricia a mckillip from 1976 and it was pretty good! the vibe of it reminds me of _the wizard of earthsea_

    the title is amazing but there are like, no riddles in the book! bamboozled

    she really cranks through the plot too, sometimes paragraph after paragraph with no breathing between them, just like A then B then C, blammo!

    but I enjoyed it enough to order the next two yellowed mass market paperbacks

    edit: okay sad, I just read that patricia just died on may 6

    skippydumptruck on
    jakobagger
  • BogartBogart Turn Around, Bright Eyes Registered User, Moderator mod
    David Abulafia's The Great Sea, a history of the Mediterranean.

    It’s pretty good, but the guy recently wrote to the Times about how white males from private schools have it bad in terms of university admissions so how smart can he be?

    I hate it when the widely lauded expert in A turns out to be dumb as shit about topics B to Z.

    jakobaggerV1mMoridin889
  • SurfpossumSurfpossum A nonentity trying to preserve the anonymity he so richly deserves.Registered User regular
    Finished Perdido Street Station and during the big climactic thing where they're connecting up long chunks of cable and the guy goes, "this first bit is the hard part, each other piece it's just wire to wire," well, I nearly broke into a cold sweat having flashbacks to tracing wires through various junction boxes.

    Anyway I ended up liking it but it felt very... A leads to B leads to C? Which isn't really a complaint, more just an observation. The characters were interesting and well written but for some reason I didn't end up feeling attached to any of them? And the setting seemed cool but felt kinda... D&D campaigny?

    Looking back over that paragraph I wonder if it's less the book's fault and more me having been too exhausted to get into it.

    I will say that it kind of reminded me of Diamond Age at times (my favorite book ever) but I didn't feel very emotionally hooked by it.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Surfpossum wrote: »
    Finished Perdido Street Station and during the big climactic thing where they're connecting up long chunks of cable and the guy goes, "this first bit is the hard part, each other piece it's just wire to wire," well, I nearly broke into a cold sweat having flashbacks to tracing wires through various junction boxes.

    Anyway I ended up liking it but it felt very... A leads to B leads to C? Which isn't really a complaint, more just an observation. The characters were interesting and well written but for some reason I didn't end up feeling attached to any of them? And the setting seemed cool but felt kinda... D&D campaigny?

    Looking back over that paragraph I wonder if it's less the book's fault and more me having been too exhausted to get into it.

    I will say that it kind of reminded me of Diamond Age at times (my favorite book ever) but I didn't feel very emotionally hooked by it.

    The characters are kinda horrible people, and it's sorta the better at world building than telling a particularly... emotionally engaging story.

    This machine kills threads.
    SurfpossumcredeikiQuidMoridin889schuss
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Surfpossum wrote: »
    Finished Perdido Street Station and during the big climactic thing where they're connecting up long chunks of cable and the guy goes, "this first bit is the hard part, each other piece it's just wire to wire," well, I nearly broke into a cold sweat having flashbacks to tracing wires through various junction boxes.

    Anyway I ended up liking it but it felt very... A leads to B leads to C? Which isn't really a complaint, more just an observation. The characters were interesting and well written but for some reason I didn't end up feeling attached to any of them? And the setting seemed cool but felt kinda... D&D campaigny?

    Looking back over that paragraph I wonder if it's less the book's fault and more me having been too exhausted to get into it.

    I will say that it kind of reminded me of Diamond Age at times (my favorite book ever) but I didn't feel very emotionally hooked by it.

    Bas-Lag is absolutely "OK let's take my lightly homebrewed Unearthed Arcana-era AD&D setting, accelerate it into Steampunk technology and use it to critique mercantalist/oligarchic capitalism (and also take some cheap shots* at Libertarianism)".

    PSS is often clunky and tryhard and raw, and shows that Meiville was still a rather inexperienced author when he wrote it, but it just powers past any concerns about irony or cliche by doubling down every time you start to raise those concerns.

    (Also I bet it would make a belting campaign setting if you were lucky enough to get one of those really committed DMs.)

    If you would enjoy a much slicker, tighter, more knowing, less rapey, less body-horrory version of the concept, allow me to recommend The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick.


    *Because that the rational market price for taking shots at libertarianism.

    DevoutlyApatheticdurandal4532
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    This is old hat, but I just read "Use of Weapons" and I liked it more than "Consider Phlebas". I'm excited to read more Culture books.

    Also for some reason the setting clicked more for this one, just basically "this is Star Trek, that's why there are so many humanish people".

    The dual tracks for the narrative worked well for me, Zakalwe was an interesting POV character, and it was a good exploration of the ... use of weapons whooooa title drop by a society that considers itself above all that.
    I gotta admit I semi-guessed the twist, then I was like oh nevermind he didn't kill his childhood friend I thought it'd be that they swap places or something after a tragic childhood accident. Then after an entire book being like okay chair, I get it what's so exciting about a chair you get a lesson in how a chair can be pretty fucking terrifying! And it's a good final nail of just... he's willing to literally use a person as a weapon, and the Culture for all that they are in fact good people as far as they're able to be are also willing to use a person as a weapon.

    Take a moment to donate what you can to Critical Resistance and Black Lives Matter.
    credeikiSurfpossum
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    edited May 16
    This is old hat, but I just read "Use of Weapons" and I liked it more than "Consider Phlebas". I'm excited to read more Culture books.

    I liked pretty much every Culture book more than Consider Phlebas. It just didn't click with me. I do need to go back and reread it now and see if I'd like it more now that I've soaked up the whole Culture. Maybe I'd enjoy it more know because I get how everything fits together. Still, I'm not sure I need to revisit the Island of People Who Eat Shit...
    Also for some reason the setting clicked more for this one, just basically "this is Star Trek, that's why there are so many humanish people".

    This isn't a spoiler but more of the worldbuilding: in general "The Culture" is a bunch of humanish people that all sorta merged together because they were all so humanish to begin with. All the non-humanish people keep to their own cliques. Which they should, because they're gross.

    dennis on
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    Am I wrong in reading that the various systems that are aren't part of the Culture are generally the Star Wars/Trek/Farscape style humanoids with ridged noses or different ears and such unless specifically described as an eight-legged balloon or a giant crab? Specifically there's a bit in Use of Weapons where someone mentions Zakalwe has a thicker skull than the natives of a planet he's on, but that's it.

    I mean narrative-wise I assume it's partly so that every single transition doesn't require "and also they disguised themselves using the disguise field".

    Take a moment to donate what you can to Critical Resistance and Black Lives Matter.
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Am I wrong in reading that the various systems that are aren't part of the Culture are generally the Star Wars/Trek/Farscape style humanoids with ridged noses or different ears and such unless specifically described as an eight-legged balloon or a giant crab? Specifically there's a bit in Use of Weapons where someone mentions Zakalwe has a thicker skull than the natives of a planet he's on, but that's it.

    I mean narrative-wise I assume it's partly so that every single transition doesn't require "and also they disguised themselves using the disguise field".

    I think to a certain extent, although there are definitely some crab people and shit too.

    Also the primary drivers of the Culture aren’t humans.

    V1mMoridin889Brodydurandal4532
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    There's a line somewhere that for unclear reasons humanoids are just the most common phenotype.

    EchoMoridin889credeikidurandal4532
  • Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    Which is ridiculous, since everyone knows that in the long run all species become crab

    dennisMoridin889initiatefailureEtiowsaBrodyschussDrovekshrykedurandal4532
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited May 16
    I forget the exact phrasing, but one short story has a character remove an extra joint on their fingers and remove a foot of height or somesuch in order to blend in with the local yokels. Some other book describes some faintly lizard-like traits. So it's definitely "human-ish", but less so than Star Trek.

    Echo on
    dennisMoridin889QuidBrody
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    Also if you're into giant crabs there's always Neal Asher's Polity novels.

    dennisBrodyV1m
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    There's a line somewhere that for unclear reasons humanoids are just the most common phenotype.

    Remember also that the Culture wasn't 'human' founded. It was founded by a dozen or so races that were all humanoid and part of the initial Culture thing was all of them altering their genetics so they could interbreed. Banks doesn't really dwell on the differences from human very much. The majority of characters in Hydrogen Sonata are vaguely reptilian but it's mentioned once or twice and then just sort of moved on from because it isn't really important.

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
    dennisEchoQuid
  • dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    Am I remembering it wrong, or was it a thing in The Culture where you could change to any body form you wanted to? I am vaguely remembering that in one book, a Special Circumstances chief had decided to be a fractal bush or something. And also I'm pretty sure I remember a certain important character in Hydrogen Sonata trying out numerous body forms and living on different worlds.

    DevoutlyApatheticredx
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Am I remembering it wrong, or was it a thing in The Culture where you could change to any body form you wanted to? I am vaguely remembering that in one book, a Special Circumstances chief had decided to be a fractal bush or something. And also I'm pretty sure I remember a certain important character in Hydrogen Sonata trying out numerous body forms and living on different worlds.

    Yup. The limits are basically what you can get people to help you do. For the weirder shit that probably means getting a Mind onboard with it. The ones who people interact with regularly generally want the best for folks so if it isn't actually harmful to folks you'll probably get folks onboard with it.

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    There's at least one who essentially turned himself into a drone to the absolute horror and disgust of other drones.

    redx
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited May 17
    IIRC the “normal” stuff you’d think of is pretty much considered a basic right - gender reassignment, repairing disabilities or injuries, anti-aging and cosmetic treatments, etc. In some cases people might be restricted from things that are considered self-harm, but the definition is pretty broad - IIRC there are examples where people declining anti-aging or safety procedures and protocols under grounds that they have lived too long or consider a life with no risk to be boring is a-ok.

    If you’re planning to turn yourself into a sentient gas cloud or strap your head into a giant robot body like a space marine dreadnought that might raise some eyebrows and require some convincing but wouldn’t generally be disallowed if you can convince a mind that it is really what is best for you.

    Also within the culture there really isn’t any punishment per se - if you are a psychopathic wanna be ax murderer the most the Culture is really going to do is assign a drone to keep an eye on you to make sure you don’t hurt anyone and encourage you to get mental health care.

    Now if you are on a primitive planet and are a dictator abusing people and/or getting in the way of the culture’s political goals (they are not really big Prime Directive fans) you probably are going to have a lot rougher time of it.

    Jealous Deva on
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    There was the one pretty fucked up Ship Mind in surface Detail that possessed people who we "into it"It was still considered fairly fucked up

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    edited May 17
    I finished Vita Nostra, by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko*.

    It is very, very interesting. The blurbs and description do not do it justice. It is sort of a book about a girl who goes to magic school, but that is not quite the way to think of it, necessarily. The magic in the book is less sorcery than occultism or personal transcendence; the (university-aged) students at the institute attend under coercion (explicit threats to their loved ones); there is little overt at all and little explained. Lots of scenes of studying utter gibberish and perhaps getting a glimpse of something more; and very much present is fear in the face of an uncaring post-soviet world where there is no security and no personal agency.

    But also, yes, the shitty roommates who won't stop smoking in your room, some interestingly realistic and messy teenage relationships, the redefinition of a 17 year old within their family unit--it's not all this rather abstract and surreal magic.

    I loved this book and it was just so interesting to see how skilled writers can create a protagonist with little to no agency. It isn't for everyone, and it certainly makes more sense when you think of it in the post-soviet cultural context. The translation is not great--stiff and unnatural; the translator is not a professional nor a native english speaker (it was her passion project because she loved the book so much). Still--absolutely worth reading. Extremely cool. Belongs on your bookshelf next to kafka rather than harry potter.

    *they are married Ukranian authors living in California and writing in Russian. Sergei I think just died very recently, sadly.

    credeiki on
    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    durandal4532
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