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The D&D [Book] Thread

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Posts

  • Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    Books I read over break:

    The Confusions of Pleasure, an economic history of Ming China (which was really interesting as a public policy student because Ming china is an example of what really really weird policy goals end up doing to a country and how they end up failing)

    Words like Loaded Pistols, which (despite my efforts) is the closest thing I got to read this month that came close to 'philosophy', it's a primer to reading about rhetoric and oratory and is really REALLY accessibly written (he quotes Troy McClure, Eminem, and AC/DC for examples of oratory besides the obvious Shakespeare/Cicero/Gorgias)

    I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks..
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    I have read Blood of the Zombies in a sudden and unaccountable burst of nostalgia for my gamebook playing youth. It is hard.

  • V1mV1m regular Registered User regular
    I found an old copy of Planet of Adventure in a box while I was looking for my gloves. So now I'm re-reading it because Jack Vance, bitches.

  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    When I was at primary school, about seven years old, every term or so a table in the foyer would, for a few days, be covered in shiny, pristine books. As part of a scheme called (I think) the Puffin Club, the publisher Penguin would schlep a bunch of books round to schools and kids would have a browse and hand in an order form and the dough for anything they wanted. Obviously, it was a filthy trick to get kids reading, and it worked more often than you'd think. Not having a real library in the school it was often the only way of getting books into kids hands that didn't involve a trip to the town library or the use of books specifically purchased by the school for English classes.

    One particular selection sticks in the memory more than others, because it contained the first gamebook I'd ever seen. It had a gorgeous cover, a dragon materialising out of crystal ball at the behest of a sinister bearded wizard, and the title sounded as though it would deliver magic, fighting and all the stuff a boy who'd just read The Hobbit wanted: The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain. But wait, this wasn't a normal book. Oh no. This was something new. In this book, you decided what would happen, and would fight stuff with dice and a pencil and scores and there were all kinds of different things you could do so maybe you could draw a map (man I loved maps when I was a kid) to keep track and you had to find treasure and solve riddles and oh my look at the pictures.

    WarlockOfFiretopMountain_zpsfc275c09.jpg

    And they were hard. You couldn't retrace your steps unless you cheated (everyone cheated) and if you failed to pick up the right bits and bobs along the way you could get to the end, kill everything in your path, and still fail because the keys you collected were the wrong ones. And also if you went down the wrong path sometimes you just died automatically (YOU ARE DEAD). If that happened you turned back to the previous reference and avoided doing the thing that killed you, and carried on as if nothing had happened, but you knew in your heart you were dead and if you won it was a tainted victory.

    After many years of being slowly replaced in the hearts of kids by them thar vidya games they recently released a new one, Blood of the Zombies, and since I bought about 40 of these things back in the day (and the amazing Sorcery series, that was even harder and had spells like ZAP and POW and DIM and crazy John Blanche art) I thought I'd pick it up. Zombies aren't my thing, and it's not a classic, but what the hell. I drew detailed maps of all the books I had, with little skulls denoting dead ends and certain death, what monsters were encountered and where, what treasure was hidden in what chests, and what the answers to the riddles I encountered were. The name of the book was written in florid script at the top, and suitable maplike symbols (marsh, trees, rivers) was added to give it authenticity. I was tempted to fray the edges and soak them in tea leaves to make them look old, but baulked at the idea, because some of the maps were for books with an SF setting so old maps weren't right, and besides, I liked uniformity. Most of the maps made sense, geographically, and few seems to cheat and describe places that couldn't exist (like the hotel in Kubrick's The Shining) because this door led to that place but that place was also in this place. I also blatantly hand-copied the introduction for the book House of Hell for a piece of English homework, so you see.

    deathtrapdungeon_zpsa268820d.jpg

    Most people's favourites are from the first ten or so titles (though the Sorcery books, Trial of Champions and Creature of Havoc also get a lot of love): evergreen stuff like City of Thieves, The Forest of Doom or Citadel of Chaos. But the creme de la creme for me was Deathtrap Dungeon. It was amazing, and the setting was one that shone in gamebooks: a dungeon of traps, monsters and hidden treasure, with others (a ninja! barbarians!) competing for the glory of being the first person to make it through alive. Many, many tombs and mazes I created in later years for RPG groups can trace their origin back to Deathtrap Dungeon. Just like many cities in those campaigns were also Port Blacksand and Khare and many ultimate bad guys were also Zagor, Balthus Dire and Zanbar Bone.

    Anyway, I just wanted to blather on about them because I was feeling nostalgic and I've been thinking about them a lot in the last week.

    BobCescaJacobkoshSilas BrownMahnmutMorran
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    We even had those in Brazil!
    But my favorite series were Lone Wolf... And there is the most amazing Let`s Play Lone Wolf thread in this very forum!~

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
    camo_sig2.png
    Kana
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Spoilered so I don't gum up the thread with more posts about FF books.
    Although Deathtrap Dungeon will always be my favourite, the Sorcery! books are the best (and I think they're becoming an iPad app sometime in the future). Longer , harder, more complex (three letter spells whos names and ingredients you should memorise) and more ambitious: they are the most impressive gamebooks ever made. Four of them, the shortest of which is longer than any other FF book (the last book has 800 entries instead of the usual 400), you keep the same character throughout each one, keeping our ystats, items, clues and mistakes from the previous book and then discovering only at the last minute you missed a locket in book one that would have saved your life when you were caught by the captain of the guard in book four.

    Gloriously illustrated by John Blanche, one of the stalwarts of Games Workshop's golden years, and played so often the books are practically falling apart on my shelf, Sorcery! had some lovely ideas. Hiding a vital page reference in an illustration, or giving you a special cheat code number that you would deduct from certain references in the last book if you managed to kill all the bad guys who tried to warn the big bad of your coming, allowing you to find a new reference in which you could pass guards unnoticed that were otherwise expecting you, and riddles that would only be answered or even useful two or three books hence.

  • EchoEcho mod Moderator mod
    edited January 2013
    Christmas presents via gift certificate! Late since Wool was only out last week and I chose to have it all sent as one package.

    Also bonus cat doing Jacob's Ladder impression.

    books.png

    Echo on
    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
    skippydumptruck
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton regular Registered User regular
    Started reading The Poisoner's Handbook per someone or other's recommendation. I say thank you and thumbs-up to that person. It's pretty neat.

    So, Book Thread, can anyone recommend me some first contact sci-fi novels that I might not have read? Preferably more toward the near-future-speculative/hard-sci-fi end of the range? I really enjoy first contact stories but there don't seem to be a huge number of good ones.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • CroakerBCCroakerBC regular YorkRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Echo wrote: »
    Christmas presents via gift certificate! Late since Wool was only out last week and I chose to have it all sent as one package.

    Also bonus cat doing Jacob's Ladder impression.

    books.png

    FWIW, both Wool and the James Corey books are outstanding. The latter are easily inside the best sci-fi I read last year.

    ETA: Also the wife wants your cat. Sorry about that.

    CroakerBC on
  • EchoEcho mod Moderator mod
    CroakerBC wrote: »
    FWIW, both Wool and the James Corey books are outstanding. The latter are easily inside the best sci-fi I read last year.

    ETA: Also the wife wants your cat. Sorry about that.

    I read the premise for Wool and had to get it. :^:

    Bonus kitty:
    538700_10152100704895597_787154356_n.jpg

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • CroakerBCCroakerBC regular YorkRegistered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    CroakerBC wrote: »
    FWIW, both Wool and the James Corey books are outstanding. The latter are easily inside the best sci-fi I read last year.

    ETA: Also the wife wants your cat. Sorry about that.

    I read the premise for Wool and had to get it. :^:

    Bonus kitty:
    538700_10152100704895597_787154356_n.jpg

    Read the first part (mine came in separate parts, I'm seeing your doesn't?), then come back...it really is quite clever. Compulsive, and easy to read, and surprisingly good from a sci-fi angle, too.

    Also, you are not helping me avoid a cat acquisition. Not helping.

  • EchoEcho mod Moderator mod
    As I have for a silly little habit: memorizing the first sentence of books.
    The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • SlicerSlicer regular Registered User regular
    I finished up the Maltese Falcon. It's a damn good book! I especially loved the use of body language. Character movements, mannerisms, etc were all described in great detail, which is helpful because you're never told outright what a character is thinking (and most of the cast tend to, if not outright lying, avoid telling the complete truth). It was my first foray into detective novels from that era and it was absolutely a great starting point. It's definitely considered a classic for a reason.

    N1tSt4lker
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    As I have for a silly little habit: memorizing the first sentence of books.
    The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.


    man, that is a great first line. does what a first line should do, makes me want to read the first paragraph at least.

  • EchoEcho mod Moderator mod
    The structure of Wool felt a bit weird, and checking Wikipedia it's actually a collection of shorter novellas. Seems this is a collection of the first six, just called Wool, which explains why it was released just last week.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    A couple decades ago I read a suggestion that a good way to decide if you want to read a novel was to take a look at the first and last lines. Sometimes that can be a bit spoilery ("He loved Big Brother"), but in general I've found it a fantastically useful policy.

    VanguardMadCaddy
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Back in Uni while taking the creative writing courses that I used to fill up random requirements, we spent a good 2 weeks on crafting the 'first line' of our Final.

    under the belief that the first line should be something that grabs your reader, pulls them in, and then never lets them go. profs used to say that if you can write a great first line, back it up with a good first paragraph, and then carry that through to a fantastic first page/chapter, then your reader will be more likely to finish the story overall.

    Which was the same thing that my 8th grade writing teacher taught me. I swear I learned more about writing from that woman than I did in 4 years of uni.

  • poshnialloposhniallo regular Registered User regular
    Last lines? No way.

    First lines, I used to care about more, but it was China Mieville who really changed my mind on that. I just could not stick his books, and then one day I pressed on with one and finally started to love it. That made me give up on judging books by their openings.

    I figure I could take a bear.
    Mike Danger
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] regular Registered User regular
    I finished re-reading Snow Crash. Pretty good on the second run. It was a lot less funny than I remembered, but when I was chuckling I suspect it was at completely different things than when I'd first read it like 6 years ago. It was interesting to view his world as a sort of libertarian dream/nightmare. For a book published in '93 it certainly makes an awful lot of relevant comments about modern society. It also had a fairly decent ending, which is very unlike Cryptonomicon and apparently ever other book Stephenson has written.

    mvaYcgc.jpg
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    I finished re-reading Snow Crash. Pretty good on the second run. It was a lot less funny than I remembered, but when I was chuckling I suspect it was at completely different things than when I'd first read it like 6 years ago. It was interesting to view his world as a sort of libertarian dream/nightmare. For a book published in '93 it certainly makes an awful lot of relevant comments about modern society. It also had a fairly decent ending, which is very unlike Cryptonomicon and apparently ever other book Stephenson has written.

    Man, what?

    AresProphet
  • webguy20webguy20 Spends too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    I love the Wool series. Eagerly awaiting the last book in the shift trilogy right now.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
  • EggyToastEggyToast regular Registered User regular
    I thought Snow Crash had a decent ending, too. At least a climax and resolution.

    Also, and this is not spoilery, but the Wool novellas aren't really novellas, but more like simply long sections of the same book. They work well together as a novel, actually, and could easily be split up into Part 1, Part 2, etc.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson regular Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    They were that way originally, IIRC. They only got combined into a single book later.

  • Old Red InkOld Red Ink regular Registered User regular
    Stephenson's recent books have had more complete endings (with denouments and everything!). Especially Anathem, where he almost seemed to be overreacting to critics' complaints about his lack of endings and put in a whole "and they all lived happily ever after" epilogue.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton regular Registered User regular
    You know, I have no recollection whatsoever of any Stephenson ending besides Cryptonomicon for some reason. Like, I have zero idea how Diamond Age or Zodiac ended. At the end of Snow Crash, didn't
    Hiro blow up the internet or something? Or did he upload instructions for hacking people's brains to the public? I really don't remember anything that happens after the virtual bike chase with the bomb guy (Raven? Raiden? Something with an R?)

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • chuck steakchuck steak regular Registered User regular
    EggyToast wrote: »

    Also, and this is not spoilery, but the Wool novellas aren't really novellas, but more like simply long sections of the same book. They work well together as a novel, actually, and could easily be split up into Part 1, Part 2, etc.

    The first five are very much one cohesive story, just seen from the perspective of 4 or 5 (can't quite remember) different characters. The next three work together as a prequel of sorts.

    Has anybody read any of his other stuff, and does it live up to the greatness of Wool? I've never been very interested in sci-fi, but Wool has changed that, and I'm not too sure what I should read next.

    Steam
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    XBL: Chuck Steake
    DON'T PANIC
  • EggyToastEggyToast regular Registered User regular
    Yeah, I read the "omnibus" which was the first 5 stories collected into 1 book. In many ways, it's almost like a serialized novel, which I think works well for the flow of the story.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • fshavlakfshavlak regular Registered User regular
    You know, I have no recollection whatsoever of any Stephenson ending besides Cryptonomicon for some reason. Like, I have zero idea how Diamond Age or Zodiac ended. At the end of Snow Crash, didn't
    Hiro blow up the internet or something? Or did he upload instructions for hacking people's brains to the public? I really don't remember anything that happens after the virtual bike chase with the bomb guy (Raven? Raiden? Something with an R?)
    If I remember it correctly, Hiro uploads the virus that immunizes people to being hacked. It's a second Babel event, Hiro makes it impossible for people to understand the language that made them vulnerable to neural hacking.

    also, uncle Enzo goes toe to toe with Raven and they both get fucked up, but Enzo has the upper hand when the scene ends. YT escapes and goes home, Hiro gets the girl, and presumably becomes pretty successful again. It ended pretty quickly but there weren't a whole lot of loose ends.

  • EchoEcho mod Moderator mod
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Yeah, I read the "omnibus" which was the first 5 stories collected into 1 book. In many ways, it's almost like a serialized novel, which I think works well for the flow of the story.

    The "twist" is obvious just from reading a summary of the setting, but it's very enjoyable nonetheless.

    (big spoiler, obviously)
    Oh, they're the last remnant of humanity in an underground silo, where going outside to clean the cameras is a death penalty. Gee, I wonder if it'll end up with someone surviving and discovering The Truth and/or outside survivors.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • poshnialloposhniallo regular Registered User regular
    I enjoyed Wool but gave up on Shift very quickly. About a third of the way into the first book.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo But do you really believe him? Registered User regular
    I saw Wool in an actual book shop and it looked interesting. As a result, I've just started reading it.

    And now you lot are talking about it too.

    How exciting.

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • poshnialloposhniallo regular Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Now I'm reading Fevre Dream by GRRM.

    It's really good. Must check to see whether Ann Rice was ripping him off or vice versa.

    Unfortunately, I've recently become gaming mates with some professors of literature, and it's really reminding me that I have only read F/SF or classics for the last 15 years or so.

    I wanna read something else, I think. Something pithy and stylistically innovative. The opposite of Pynchon or DFW. Maybe something translated - I used to read a lot of Italian authors in the old days.

    Any ideas?

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
  • jakobaggerjakobagger LO THY DREAD EMPIRE CHAOS IS RESTORED Registered User regular
    Cloud Atlas as a bridge between SF and srs bsns Literature?

    bgg / steam / goodreads / Bnet: Bygasto#2537
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    David Mitchell qualifies as being stylistically innovative. He's an amazing writer.

  • Old Red InkOld Red Ink regular Registered User regular
    The first name that comes to mind when I think of innovative modern writers is Tao Lin, which is odd because I absolutely hate his style. Some people seem to like him, though, and he's certainly doing something different than anything else I've read. Richard Yates seems to be his best-reviewed book, if you're interested.

  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson regular Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    I love Cloud Atlas, but it makes me sad that no one talks about Ghostwritten, which I thought was more emotional and compelling.

  • EggyToastEggyToast regular Registered User regular
    Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet is also great, and is a more straightforward story.

    George Saunders is getting a lot more press than usual for his latest short stories. Civilwarland In Bad Decline is great, and will probably still appeal to someone who likes SF but wants something more "literary."

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] regular Registered User regular
    fshavlak wrote: »
    You know, I have no recollection whatsoever of any Stephenson ending besides Cryptonomicon for some reason. Like, I have zero idea how Diamond Age or Zodiac ended. At the end of Snow Crash, didn't
    Hiro blow up the internet or something? Or did he upload instructions for hacking people's brains to the public? I really don't remember anything that happens after the virtual bike chase with the bomb guy (Raven? Raiden? Something with an R?)
    If I remember it correctly, Hiro uploads the virus that immunizes people to being hacked. It's a second Babel event, Hiro makes it impossible for people to understand the language that made them vulnerable to neural hacking.

    also, uncle Enzo goes toe to toe with Raven and they both get fucked up, but Enzo has the upper hand when the scene ends. YT escapes and goes home, Hiro gets the girl, and presumably becomes pretty successful again. It ended pretty quickly but there weren't a whole lot of loose ends.
    Pretty much this, though I don't think Hiro uploaded a counter-virus. Raven was trying to infect the metaverse[internet] with a visual virus, but at the last minute Hiro replaced it with basically his business card.

    I found it interesting how the fight between Raven and Enzo was never really completed. Raven loses... I suppose? Odd to leave something hanging like that, unless a sequel was in mind.

    mvaYcgc.jpg
  • skippydumptruckskippydumptruck and yet it moves Registered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    Christmas presents via gift certificate! Late since Wool was only out last week and I chose to have it all sent as one package.

    Also bonus cat doing Jacob's Ladder impression.

    books.png

    James SA Corey is I guess the sf pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck together

    Daniel Abraham wrote the Long Price Quartet, which is excellent fantasy and I love him and want everyone to read it, so go buy it

  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    @Poshniallo:: are you looking for older works? because I am a huge fan of early novels like "Moll Flanders" and "Tom Jones". Also, check out the Night Watch series (no not discworld). Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch. They're very good books a really unique world setting, and translated from Russian.

This discussion has been closed.