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[Book] Thread Soon Will Be Making Another Run

245

Posts

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I just reread Goodbye, Columbus, by Philip Roth. It’s possibly the best novella ever, or at least the best novella of its kind. It is so evocative and emotionally nuanced and well-described and sensual and specific to a time and place.
    I love authors that really focus on how unspoken cultural/class/social/ethic affiliation governs relationships, and Roth is always so good at this, and specifically at evoking shades of how people are/were Jewish, and ugh it’s just such a good story. And speaks to me pretty profoundly/feels evocative of some stuff from my past. The other short stories that come packaged with it in most editions I’ve seen vary from good (Epstein) to extremely fucking good (Eli, the Fanatic).
    Now I’m reading more Philip Roth because he was so wonderfully prolific and consistently marvelous that I haven’t remotely exhausted his catalogue.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
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    wandering
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    A Wind From Bukhara, by MJ Lengh. Oof the first chapter is a tough proposition to get down. More brutal and disturbing (though not gratuitous or titillating) than I was expecting, it's about a small town in Illinois waking up one day to find it's under martial law enacted by an foreign invading force. I think the American title was Arslan.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Mayabird wrote: »
    I think I only said it in the SE++ thread, but the The Illuminatus! Trilogy did not age well at all. Humor is said to be the most perishable of writing, and yeah. It's a lot of bad stoner humor mixed with stuff that a sheltered white boy just going off to college and wanting to be an asshole would think is 'edgy' (white girl getting banged by a big black dude! Prison rape! Homophobia and transphobia!) Maybe it was all transgressive and wild when it was written in the 70s, but now it just comes off as gross (like...a lot of stuff from the 70s). If you haven't read it, I really don't recommend reading it. Just look up the things about 23, hailing Eris, and fnords so you get the references.

    Yep this sums up my experience too. I had similar feelings about A Stranger in a Strange Land. No doubt it pushed the boundaries of the time but now it just oscillates around embarrassingly regressive

    Maybe they are academically interesting but you can't ever recommend them

    Yeah. American SF in the 70s was mostly transgression as filtered through privileged white dudes experiencing sexual liberation via lots of convention-based sex and sexual harassment. It's all pretty gross when you look at it nowadays.

    The actually interesting, diverse, and progressive stuff was taking place in what's become the New Wave canon.

    tapeslingerMayabird
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Mayabird wrote: »
    I think I only said it in the SE++ thread, but the The Illuminatus! Trilogy did not age well at all. Humor is said to be the most perishable of writing, and yeah. It's a lot of bad stoner humor mixed with stuff that a sheltered white boy just going off to college and wanting to be an asshole would think is 'edgy' (white girl getting banged by a big black dude! Prison rape! Homophobia and transphobia!) Maybe it was all transgressive and wild when it was written in the 70s, but now it just comes off as gross (like...a lot of stuff from the 70s). If you haven't read it, I really don't recommend reading it. Just look up the things about 23, hailing Eris, and fnords so you get the references.

    Yep this sums up my experience too. I had similar feelings about A Stranger in a Strange Land. No doubt it pushed the boundaries of the time but now it just oscillates around embarrassingly regressive

    Maybe they are academically interesting but you can't ever recommend them

    Yeah. American SF in the 70s was mostly transgression as filtered through privileged white dudes experiencing sexual liberation via lots of convention-based sex and sexual harassment. It's all pretty gross when you look at it nowadays.

    The actually interesting, diverse, and progressive stuff was taking place in what's become the New Wave canon.

    Idk, Stranger in a Strange Land was definitely an interesting read as high schooler in the late oughts. It "helps" that I was still escaping my evangelical upbringing at the time.

    "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
    spool32
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo But do you really believe him? Registered User regular
    I started Shadow of the Torturer.

    I'm most pleased I'm reading it on an ereader so I can look up words as it's often not clear which are nonsense fantasy words and which are actual esoteric terms for things.

    So far so good but it seems much less obvious that The Fifth Head of Cerebus

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    I don’t think any of the words for things are made up, though they’re often very arcane or obscure.

  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo But do you really believe him? Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I don’t think any of the words for things are made up, though they’re often very arcane or obscure.

    Too arcane for the kobo dictionary in places then!

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
    DrovekJazzjakobagger
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I don’t think any of the words for things are made up, though they’re often very arcane or obscure.

    so, occult or occult?

    This machine kills threads.
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    There’s a chapter in the book he wrote about the books on the words, with entries for the majority of obscure ones.

    Mojo_JojoPailryder
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Bogart wrote: »
    I don’t think any of the words for things are made up, though they’re often very arcane or obscure.

    Too arcane for the kobo dictionary in places then!

    Yes. A ton of them are like latin words or from some other old obscure non-english language.

  • Satanic JesusSatanic Jesus Hi, I'm Liam! Registered User regular
    I'm about to start Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

    my backloggery 3DS: 0533-5338-5186 steam: porcelain_cow goodreads
    Thawmus
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Mayabird wrote: »
    I think I only said it in the SE++ thread, but the The Illuminatus! Trilogy did not age well at all. Humor is said to be the most perishable of writing, and yeah. It's a lot of bad stoner humor mixed with stuff that a sheltered white boy just going off to college and wanting to be an asshole would think is 'edgy' (white girl getting banged by a big black dude! Prison rape! Homophobia and transphobia!) Maybe it was all transgressive and wild when it was written in the 70s, but now it just comes off as gross (like...a lot of stuff from the 70s). If you haven't read it, I really don't recommend reading it. Just look up the things about 23, hailing Eris, and fnords so you get the references.

    Yep this sums up my experience too. I had similar feelings about A Stranger in a Strange Land. No doubt it pushed the boundaries of the time but now it just oscillates around embarrassingly regressive

    Maybe they are academically interesting but you can't ever recommend them

    Honestly this is pretty true of Heinlein in general, there are a couple of his books on my shelf but it's unlikely that they will be handed off to anyone like, gosh you just need to read this, unlike a lot of things on my shelf

    He still garners a lot of breathless praise in certain circles, but the Long Conversation has moved on, I feel like

    #

    In reading a book news, capped off my Black Company run with Port of Shadows, which I enjoyed as an intriguing little puzzle-box nightcap of sorts
    I richly appreciated the nudge and wink in the afterword that clearly states, if only in opaque language, that you are absolutely being trolled by the canon and your own expectations

    It was fun to see Silent again, that evil old bastard

    It's a very weird book that is somewhat kludgy about sex in a way that much of the series avoids despite the trappings of grimdark, but I think it's at least in part because of the flavoring of the bits of the series this specific thing deals with, the Dominator etc, etc, anon

    There are definitely some bits of this book that play with the naming tricks of true names and I think that was a fun bit of work but I can also see why there are so many whiny Amazon reviews about Cook forgetting his own canon :rotate:

    I arrived at the conclusion that Ardath and Sylith in this text are being used to refer to the same people as Ardath and Sylith refer to in the text of Soldiers Live, but that's only after doing some very precise refrigerator math in digesting this book, and I enjoyed the puzzle of it a great deal more than I would have expected. I couldn't tell if this Dorotea was meant to be the sister murdered by Ardath or if there was another; the story was always foggy on that.

    I seem to remember reading somewhere else that he has one more book planned for the series and I hope it's some other interstitial thing like this

    Mahnmut
  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    So Every Day by David Levithan is a pretty good YA novel about a teenager who wakes up in a new body every day. It's mostly about how we're all human and we should have empathy for each other, etc. Except there is one hilariously fatphobic chapter about how gross fat people are. I double checked the other day to see if it was as bad as I remembered it, and yep:
    I must weight at last three hundred pounds...It's as if sacks of meat have been tied to my limbs, to my torso...I'm fat. Flabby, unwieldy fat...When I finally take a look around and take a look inside, I'm not excited by what I see. Finn Taylor has retreated from most of the world; his size comes from negligence and laziness, a carelessness that would be pathological if it had any meitculousness to it. While I'm sure if I access deep enough I will find some well of humanity, all I can see on the surface is the emotional equivalent of a burp.

    ...And there are the looks I get – such undisguised disgust. Not just from other sutdents From teachers. From strangers. The judgement flows freely. It's possible that they're reacting to the thing that Finn has allowed himself to become. But there's also something more primal, something more defensive in their disgust. I am what they fear becoming.

    atcwebmqawjl.png
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    I’ve been rereading the Harry Potter series of books and I’m at the end of book 4. Forgot how much I enjoyed them.

    Are any of the post book 7 things good?

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I'm about 70% of the way through Monster Baru. It's definitely an interesting book, although I liked Traitor a lot more.

    "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
    Honkjakobaggerchrono_travellerQuid
  • Satanic JesusSatanic Jesus Hi, I'm Liam! Registered User regular
    Drez wrote: »
    I’ve been rereading the Harry Potter series of books and I’m at the end of book 4. Forgot how much I enjoyed them.

    Are any of the post book 7 things good?

    The Cursed Child is terrible and shouldn't exist (and this is from a hp fan).

    my backloggery 3DS: 0533-5338-5186 steam: porcelain_cow goodreads
    DrezColanut
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    edited July 8
    So. 99% according to the Kindle app, and I feel like I'm not going to be happy waiting for the next book. Also, this took a real hard turn compared to what I was anticipating...

    Edit: Yup, reached the end...


    Monster Baru spoilers.
    I'm not sure how I feel about the cancer magic addition. I really enjoyed the first novel as something that was relatively plausible as occurring in alternate geography Earth, but the switch to more fantasy elements was unexpected. It also makes me wonder lots of things. If the Oriati Mbo is 1,000 years old, how long ago were the Cheetah and Jellyfish Eater empires? Is it possible that the Cancrioth intentionally let themselves fade, and only really come out when they feel the need to make sure the rest of civilization stays locked down? Are they from the other continent? There were some hints about acheological digs that made it sound like maybe humans colonized this continent some time in the past, before the "supercontinent" exploded or w/e. Idk. I wish the next book was out already.

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

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
    DevoutlyApatheticjakobagger
  • PailryderPailryder Registered User regular
    just an fyi, not sure how long but amazon/comixology is giving away the x-men first run (i think). If you have an amazon account you can get these for free or you can create a new comixology account if you don't want an amazon one. The comics load on anything that can view kindle apps. There's other free stuff but the x-men stuff is new.

    ThawmusDrovek
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo But do you really believe him? Registered User regular
    Having enjoyed most of the Fifth Head of Cerebus I moved on to The Shadow of the Torturer which I've just finished

    Again, it's about two thirds excellent and one third that feels like a half arsed first draft (the botanic gardens I'm looking at you). The narrative itself is fairly mundane but the writing and setting are both incredibly interesting in that they make you feel like you should transparently understand them despite having so few reference points

    So straight onto The Claw of the Conciliator it is

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
    BlackDragon480
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Mayabird wrote: »
    I think I only said it in the SE++ thread, but the The Illuminatus! Trilogy did not age well at all. Humor is said to be the most perishable of writing, and yeah. It's a lot of bad stoner humor mixed with stuff that a sheltered white boy just going off to college and wanting to be an asshole would think is 'edgy' (white girl getting banged by a big black dude! Prison rape! Homophobia and transphobia!) Maybe it was all transgressive and wild when it was written in the 70s, but now it just comes off as gross (like...a lot of stuff from the 70s). If you haven't read it, I really don't recommend reading it. Just look up the things about 23, hailing Eris, and fnords so you get the references.

    Yep this sums up my experience too. I had similar feelings about A Stranger in a Strange Land. No doubt it pushed the boundaries of the time but now it just oscillates around embarrassingly regressive

    Maybe they are academically interesting but you can't ever recommend them

    I feel like at least giving Heinlein the benefit of the doubt in that I feel like he is at least making an effort to be socially progressive but never really can escape his background of being a really old white guy.

    I can’t really say the same about Illuminatus, there’s some really problematic and terrible shit in there, I read it as a teen and thought it was the coolest thing, then tried to reread it recently and was absolutely horrified.

    jakobagger
  • pyromaniac221pyromaniac221 this just might be an interestin YTRegistered User regular
    Finished The Remains of the Day and liked it quite a bit. It’s my second Ishiguro after The Buried Giant and this novel, as that one was, is defined as much more more by the outline of what’s missing than what’s actually present in the text. I have mixed opinions on unreliable narrators but his are not so much unreliable as they are themselves deceived by rationalization and retreat into trivialities as a way to avoid painful conformation of the important issues of their lives. It’s a sad book, though I found it a little more brain-sad than heart-sad, because of the hyper-reserved English sensibility and the narrator’s precise intellectualization of everything.

    On to Han Kang’s Human Acts.

    psn tooaware, friend code SW-4760-0062-3248 it me
    tapeslingerwandering
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo But do you really believe him? Registered User regular
    Finished The Remains of the Day and liked it quite a bit. It’s my second Ishiguro after The Buried Giant and this novel, as that one was, is defined as much more more by the outline of what’s missing than what’s actually present in the text. I have mixed opinions on unreliable narrators but his are not so much unreliable as they are themselves deceived by rationalization and retreat into trivialities as a way to avoid painful conformation of the important issues of their lives. It’s a sad book, though I found it a little more brain-sad than heart-sad, because of the hyper-reserved English sensibility and the narrator’s precise intellectualization of everything.

    On to Han Kang’s Human Acts.

    Never Let Me Go is the one that I thought was actually good

    Although the book feels like a first draft of the film, which is superior in all respects

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Finished the second Ile-Rien novel, just started the third. Its been an ok series so far. I don't know if the overarching plot will deliver, and its not got the amazing turns of phrase of Baru Cormorant, but its still a very pleasant steampunk/fantasy fusion.

    "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
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    edited July 13
    I'm reading Space Opera by Cathrynne Valente. I was already blown away by how well she did two completely different styles in Deathless and Radiance, and in this one she is writing in the style of Douglas Adams completely perfectly. It's a story that is Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision, and it's very funny and irreverent, and the aliens are very weird, and she perfectly nails that Adams-y narrative tone, omniscient and directly speaking to the reader, sometimes arch and sometimes condescending and always quite funny. Her stuff has a bit more emotional nuance than hhtg; the characters have some interiority and there have been interesting thoughts about how their demographics and histories have led to them being the way they are.

    Really fun book so far!

    credeiki on
    Steam, LoL: credeiki
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    MahnmutknitdanMayabirdredxDrovekHonkJazzHefflingFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Finished all of the Ile-Rien novels (or at least, the last of the trilogy). I really liked the series. As usual I would have really like a little more thought/insight into the actual mechanics of the magic system, but I at least didn't notice any glaring flaws or anything. The world otherwise felt well constructed, and although I always want to know more about all the deep confusing meta-physics aspects of these things, she did a decent job of keeping the action going enough that I didn't really get bogged down in wondering if she was going to get into what the different worlds were/why they were different/why all Syprian wizards seem to be evil, stuff like that. I'd certainly be interested to see novels that dive further into all sorts of things, but I still feel like the series did a good job of providing a contained narrative.

    Looking at her wiki page, I see she has a background in anthropology, which I seem to find in a lot of authors whose works feel really lived in/having a strong historical background.

    "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
    Mahnmut
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I'm about 60% through Ancestral Night. I like the setting a lot because it reminds me of a more resource limited Culture and the plot's good so far, but the first person narrative method is really grating for me since the main character is awash in constant, unceasing second guessing and side tangents.

    I know that's the thought process for a lot of people but it's not much fun to read.

    tapeslinger
  • A Kobold's KoboldA Kobold's Kobold He/Him MississippiRegistered User regular
    So, I think enough time has passed since finishing A Memory Called Empire to have at least processed some of my feelings about it. I haven't been doing this regularly, so my thoughts are messy and kinda malformed. But they exist!
    - Given that it is a political thriller, it lends to being dense with characters and relations and implications and it's a lot to take in. If I was going to read this a second time, I would take some notes, not because I thought I missed everything, but because I want to keep everything straight.
    - This book discusses language and linguistics a lot and I had no problem with it, but I can see how others might find it weird or alienating
    - I really like the characters and the chemistry between them. This is the real highlight of the book for me. Just listening to the characters talk and joke around is great and I love it. If you want to check out this book, check it out for this reason.
    - There's a character death in there that seems like it was a real blatant attempt to up the stakes and it kinda sticks out to me because of it. Not saying that it was completely unexpected, but it's still one of those things where you can look at it from the outside and it seems kinda trite next to everything else.
    - On that note, the book wraps up really neatly. I would guess that there's people out there who would say that it wraps up too neatly, too quickly, too conveniently, but I think it was mostly apropos. Also I enjoy finishing a thing and not have it be a part of some larger series, but that's a personal thing.
    - I know I've been kinda negative about this book, but most of the negatives I've had are really nitpicks and such. I found this book to be engaging, tense, and, at times, pretty funny. I would recommend it, but with the caveat that this book is extremely up my alley because it's a political thriller space opera about culture and language. It's the sort of good trash that I would want to write if I was an author.

    I don't know the next book I am going to read, but I think I should consider some sort of palate cleanser that doesn't have an umpteen million things to keep track of. :razz:

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  • CoinageCoinage The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    I'm about 60% through Ancestral Night. I like the setting a lot because it reminds me of a more resource limited Culture and the plot's good so far, but the first person narrative method is really grating for me since the main character is awash in constant, unceasing second guessing and side tangents.

    I know that's the thought process for a lot of people but it's not much fun to read.
    I ended up skimming the last 100 or so pages because I could not even with it anymore. With the hard work of an editor, it could be an entertaining book with some what I would generously call questionable ideas that I would still recommend, but as it is, it's a rambling, repetitive mess with incoherent themes.

    s586cu2r93hr.gif
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    So I’ve been hearing about ‘Vancian magic’ for ages and finally checked out the Dying Earth series by Jack Vance and...huh. In the first 5 pages we got a wizard preparing Prismatic Spray before he leaves the house; and this was published in 1950, so I guess it seems true that is quite directly the origin of the whole d+d magic concept, right?

    It also seems kinda pulpy and maybe not the best, but I’m not too far in yet so I’m reserving judgment. I haven’t read straightup sword and sorcery stuff for years, so it takes a bit getting used to again.

    (And Space Opera was great, and at the end she thanks Eurovision and Douglas Adams and David Bowie, and I was like yepppp those influences came through loud and clear heh. The writing is genuinely really funny and worth reading, and the ending made me emotional. Recommended if you like hhgttg and antirecommended if that sort of humor annoys you)

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
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    DevoutlyApatheticknitdantapeslinger
  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller Registered User regular
    I think that Space Opera (and probably Hitchhiker's Guide) are probably best read than listened to. I am a fan of Hitchhikers, but I got Space Opera on audiobook, and it really just didn't do it for me at all.

    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

    George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. ~ Neil Gaiman
    credeiki
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    ....but Hitchhikers started as an audio drama!

    Though I know he polished it up some in book form. I think the whole B ark thing was initially in the book? I dunno, I just read Gaimen's Don't Panic like a month ago and I've already forgot most of it.

    Drez
  • JazzJazz irregular Un-UKRegistered User regular
    Speaking of Valente, I still need to get to Mass Effect Andromeda: Annihilation one of these days.

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Valente literally pitched Space Opera as "space Eurovision" when it was still in its concept phases, it's been fun to see how literal a lot of that has been

    Re: A Memory Called Empire
    JUSTICE FOR TWELVE AZALEA NOW he was my favorite

    I have the Compleat Dying Earth sitting in the on-deck position at home but haven't gotten more than a few pages in due to work reading and other things but it's another one I've been looking forward to.

    MahnmutMayabirdFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Valente literally pitched Space Opera as "space Eurovision" when it was still in its concept phases, it's been fun to see how literal a lot of that has been

    Re: A Memory Called Empire
    JUSTICE FOR TWELVE AZALEA NOW he was my favorite

    I have the Compleat Dying Earth sitting in the on-deck position at home but haven't gotten more than a few pages in due to work reading and other things but it's another one I've been looking forward to.

    It's...not good. Or, well, it is a great example of a certain style of 50s pulp fantasy that is interesting just because it feels so different than how well-regarded genre authors write now, and I don't really like it. But it feels like I should read it in order to be more familiar with the canon/with classics.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Vance's The Dying Earth is good. It's just not, imo, what one might expect given how much some people talk it up. It's a fun original idea for a setting, some of the elements are neat (you can see why Gigax was inspired by the depiction of spells) and the stories are pulpy fun. Cugel's stories (which take up like half the stories) are fun protagonist-is-a-terrible-person comedy-adventures. But it's also kinda ... insubstantial? They are just fun mid-century pulpy stories. There's nothing, like, deep there. And that's not a bad thing exactly. It's light and fun. But it can also not be what one was expecting given some of the hype.

    Bogart
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    They're witty, baroque and interesting stories, but not, as Shryke says, substantial. Enjoy the style.

    Mahnmut
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    I am something of a pulp fiend and revel in this stuff so none of these things are an active deterrent (insert "let me tell you about" meme but make it Elric)

    It's one of the many things I haven't gotten to yet that scratches a particular itch so far
    (all the classic pulps I have not gotten to yet get recced to me most frequently because I am working on a sword and sorcery pulp series where the latent homoeroticism of the format is uh, made rather more overt)

    credeiki
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    I'm a bit of an Umberto Eco fan, and I came across a copy of another one of his books: The Island of the Day Before. The book is written as a commentary about a selection of writings by a lost Italian nobleman Roberto della Griva which had been found on a 17th century shipwreck. If you're already losing interest, this book is not for you.

    This book is slightly more action packed than Foucault's Pendulum, which is to say that there is little plot and excitement except in a series of flashbacks. It's more for getting a sense of that awkward transition phase before science came into its own, around the time the Church was calling Galileo a heretic and people were a bit unsure about where that line between scholarship and magic was to be drawn, if there was such a line. Think like Isaac Newton figuring out laws of motion and gravity, then studying occult writings to predict the End of the World and turning to alchemy to figure out how to make the philosopher's stone. I personally thought it was hilarious*, but I fully recognize that this book is not for everyone. I checked reviews and there seem to be a lot of people who loved it, a lot who hated it, and not much in the middle.

    If you do come across this, maybe try it out, but if you can't get past the first couple chapters, don't worry too hard about it.

    *
    There's a series of chapters where Roberto is trying to learn to swim to get off the boat and gets into intellectual debates with a Jesuit priest to pass the time. At one point, Roberto comes up with a proof that Chinese people are free of Original Sin, since China dates back to times before Adam and Eve according to the official chronologies, so it didn't affect them. The priest can't think of a rebuttal and tries to let Roberto drown. I was giggling through this entire sequence. Again, this book is not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

    tapeslinger
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I am something of a pulp fiend and revel in this stuff so none of these things are an active deterrent (insert "let me tell you about" meme but make it Elric)

    It's one of the many things I haven't gotten to yet that scratches a particular itch so far
    (all the classic pulps I have not gotten to yet get recced to me most frequently because I am working on a sword and sorcery pulp series where the latent homoeroticism of the format is uh, made rather more overt)

    Ah, then you will probably very much like this book. I definitely don’t like it—I am not super into characters with no interiority; I’m not interested in just watching empty shells navigate a fantasy landscape fulfilling little quests, and I don’t like the structure wherein the book is a series of short stories (I mostly don’t read short stories). Also the way of writing women is annoying, of course, but comes with the territory. And I somehow don’t find the descriptions super evocative, although that does give it all a dreamlike sort of feel, which might be intended.
    I do like the way that all the magic and setting stuff is very much immediate and unexplained and intense. It’s good when an author doesn’t feel like they have to justify themselves to you.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
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    tapeslinger
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    The setting stuff sounds like a significant percentage of why I keep getting that rec, haha.
    I'm working on a thing where latent "magic" is decaying and causing a form of pollution called the Rot; it's very fun to not explain too much about it, heh. It's sort of like Area X by way of Michael Moorcock

    And yeah I honestly basically assume latent sexism and racism and binarist bullshit in everything unless proven otherwise but it's good to have that confirmation out front tbh

    credeiki
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