Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

[Book] Thread 20XXAD

194959698100

Posts

  • MahnmutMahnmut regular Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    This morning I was listening to a podcast about how racist Lovecraft was, but also spent a lot of time talking about his works. Which now has me hankering for some good horror stuff, but maybe something a little less written by a Nazi sympathizer. Does anyone have suggestions?

    Winter Tide - Ruthanna Emrys
    Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
    The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe - Kij Johnson

    These are all progressive interrogations of the Cthulhu mythos and they absolutely slap.

    Steam/LoL: Jericho89
    tapeslinger
  • DecomposeyDecomposey regular Registered User regular
    edited May 9
    Brody wrote: »
    This morning I was listening to a podcast about how racist Lovecraft was, but also spent a lot of time talking about his works. Which now has me hankering for some good horror stuff, but maybe something a little less written by a Nazi sympathizer. Does anyone have suggestions?

    Whenever you feel like reading Lovecraft, but hesitate because of his horrible, horrible racism, just remember, Lovecrafts works were largely unrecognized in his lifetime and he died in poverty, so much so that no one even owns the copyright to his work and its all public domain. So it's kinda like insulting them by pirating their work, only with morality and legality 100% on your side. Any money you spend on Lovecraft stories doesn't benefit Lovecraft or anyone connected to Lovecraft ever.

    *edit Oh! The sequel to Winter Tide came out! I need to get that.

    Decomposey on
    Before following any advice, opinions, or thoughts I may have expressed in the above post, be warned: I found Keven Costners "Waterworld" to be a very entertaining film.
    Mayabird
  • CroakerBCCroakerBC regular YorkRegistered User regular
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    This morning I was listening to a podcast about how racist Lovecraft was, but also spent a lot of time talking about his works. Which now has me hankering for some good horror stuff, but maybe something a little less written by a Nazi sympathizer. Does anyone have suggestions?

    Winter Tide - Ruthanna Emrys
    Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
    The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe - Kij Johnson

    These are all progressive interrogations of the Cthulhu mythos and they absolutely slap.

    Someone recommended Tim Powers Declare a week or so ago, and now I am reading Declare and also recommend it for its blend of LeCarre-esque spy thriller and unknowable horror.

    BlackDragon480htm
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    INJ Culbard has adapted some of Lovecraft's best work as comics, and they're well worth a look. Alan Moore's Providence is a three volume distillation of Lovecraft's mythos, though sensitive souls may wish to avoid it, as it's quite graphic at times.

    BlackDragon480
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 14
    The Inhabitant Of the Lake & Other Unwelcome Tenants, by Ramsey Campbell. A lovely illustrated edition of his earliest Lovecraft-inspired short stories, all set around his invented English setting of Brichester. They’re not his best work, and plainly from a writer finding his own voice, but still fun.

    Possibly one for Campbell completists only, and even he seems slightly embarrassed by some of them. He was only 18 when the collection was originally published, though. There are photos of the original handwritten copies he sent to August Derleth for consideration and they have little pen drawn illustrations and it's impossibly charming that sending off a package filled with handwritten stories with a handwritten contents page resulted in a ruddy collection of stories being put out by a genuine publisher. Also included are editorial notes from Derleth, which are illuminating, as well as some early drafts of the stories.

    Bogart on
  • VanguardVanguard regular A wretched country of duskRegistered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    huh, i am enjoying A Conjuring of Light a lot more than I thought I would

    The relationship stuff is a little overwrought, but the book is, so far (~150 pages in) very tight in its plotting and feels as focused as the first

    wandering
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
  • Dizzy DDizzy D regular NetherlandsRegistered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    This morning I was listening to a podcast about how racist Lovecraft was, but also spent a lot of time talking about his works. Which now has me hankering for some good horror stuff, but maybe something a little less written by a Nazi sympathizer. Does anyone have suggestions?

    Some of Ramsey Campbell’s early stuff is Lovecraftian, and better written. He jumps off imitating Lovecraft pretty quickly and goes on to be probably the best horror writer alive. His short fiction is also superb.

    Clive Barker started off as a horror writer with his seminal Books of a Blood but soon went off in a weird new direction that combined horror and fantasy that was very much his own. His latest stuff is sadly under par and he can’t finish a series to save his life, but his good stuff is great.

    Lisa Tuttle is a short story writer I like a lot who gets across some deeply nasty ideas.

    Dan Simmons wrote some fine horror, like Carrion Comfort or Summer of Night.

    MR James is the great classic ghost story writer who can make your skin crawl ever so slightly with his understated style and his descriptions of the subtly awry.

    Seconding Ramsey Campbell.

    Love Clive Barker (recent stuff were some medical reasons and ghostwriting in play AFAIK? I liked Absolute Midnight, but Scarlet Gospels was dire. It started well, but it was noticeable that it had a ghostwriter and it was written over more than a decade.)

    Will check out Lisa Tuttle.

    Wanting to avoid Lovecraft for his politics and then recommending Dan Simmons is a bit ... eh. (Or I must be completely misinterpreting his recent books).

    Neil Gaiman has done some Lovecraftian short stories that I liked a lot.

    I actually like Brian Lumley's first Lovecraftian book (Burrowers Beneath), but then it completely went off the rails.

    Steam/Origin: davydizzy
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Simmons is absolutely off at the deep end of right wing stupidity after 9/11, and probably a bit before (though it doesn't seem to have infected his historical fiction since then), but Carrion Comfort and Summer of Night are from well before that and are fine, politically speaking (I think - it's been a while since I read them). Of course you may not want to buy anything from a writer who is off his nut these days, so fair enough.

    Carrion Comfort is a whacking great blockbuster horror novel that spans decades and feels like a well-written techno-thriller from the eighties crashed into a lurid horror novel. Summer of Night is maybe the most King-like novel that wasn't written by King, and has a small town setting, a gang of plucky kids, coming of age themes and so forth. It's great. Like IT with an editor and no unpleasant child gang bang. His short story collections from the same era are also excellent.

    Dizzy DKetarhtmwandering
  • ThatSwedishGuyThatSwedishGuy regular Registered User regular
    I'm reading Rivers of London now and I was enjoying myself so much I ordered the next three books in the series right away. The book was recommended to me after I read the first Dresden Files book, Storm Front, and I loathed it.

    But I have to ask, does all Urban Fantasy-themed stuff have to keep sex or sexiness or what you want to call it at the forefront? I get that it's supposed to humanize the characters because most of us are sexual creatures but I really don't need to be reminded quite so often that the main character is horny or that attractive, naked women gives him an erection cause I can figure that out entirely from my own experience that one time around a naked, sexy lady.

  • CroakerBCCroakerBC regular YorkRegistered User regular
    I'm reading Rivers of London now and I was enjoying myself so much I ordered the next three books in the series right away. The book was recommended to me after I read the first Dresden Files book, Storm Front, and I loathed it.

    But I have to ask, does all Urban Fantasy-themed stuff have to keep sex or sexiness or what you want to call it at the forefront? I get that it's supposed to humanize the characters because most of us are sexual creatures but I really don't need to be reminded quite so often that the main character is horny or that attractive, naked women gives him an erection cause I can figure that out entirely from my own experience that one time around a naked, sexy lady.

    I'm just going to flag now that I found the second Peter Grant book (Moon Over Soho(?) had a much stronger focus on that sexiness than the first, or any of the following sequels, where it calms back down considerably. That might just have been my read, of course - but if it's bugging you already, be aware.

    webguy20
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler regular Registered User regular
    If you like Lovecraft, I highly suggest picking up some Algernon Blackwood as well. He was a pre-Lovecraft author who laid alot of the groundwork for weird and horror fiction that came afterwards.

    His stuff is public domain so good collections can be found super cheap too.


    Morran
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Clark Ashton Smith is another Lovecraft contemporary whose work is similar in some regards. Gollancz released a good collection of his stuff as part of the excellent Fantasy Masterworks series.

    The Fantasy and SF Masterworks series were both outstanding introductions to classic (and some more modern) examples of both genres. A really good example of a curated list worth collecting. I'm certain I'd never have read some writers at all (like Cordwainer Smith) without it.

    Mahnmut
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva regular Registered User regular
    edited May 16
    Absalon wrote: »
    knitdan wrote: »
    Absalon wrote: »
    I am caught up on Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse thus far. Uplifting this series is not, but it is fascinating and replete with insights into psychology and society, evocations of dreadful mystery or concepts and the depiction of a real world affected by terrifying things, be they super-human, bestial, extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional. I hope he can get a publisher for the remainder. In a much cooler timeline than this there would be enough money and resources available to make fantasy series like this into TV or movies.

    I think I’ve read through 2 books of the 2nd trilogy and I have the 3rd but never read it and I guess it turned into a quadrology? I hadn’t heard he was having trouble getting the last book published though.

    Between the original trilogy and this one it’s probably the bleakest fantasy series I’ve ever read and it just.keeps.going.

    Seven books there are - the sixth book had to become two ones, making The Prince of Nothing a trilogy and The Aspect-Emperor a quadrilogy. The last one or possibly two books that will make up the third 'series' in the Second Apocalypse are not finished and do not have a publisher IIRC. The bleakness doesn't come so much from the corruption of the pure, the exploitation of the naive, the horrors of war or all the misconceived quests and loyalties - all those are common sources of darkness in fantasy literature. What is truly horrifying about the setting is the metaphysical context and the long drawn-out loss of mortals' control. The fate of the Nonmen in particular is like a constant spiral of misery that is basically intactile to a mortal mind in its extent and depth. Bakker is really good at conveying depravity both in detail and in the personal, and at larger scales.

    It's like Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson but only featuring approximants of the Whirlwind, the Tiste Edur, the Tiste Liosan, the Pannion Domin, the Crippled God, Kallor, Poliel, a douchier Karsa Orlong and the rest are a bunch of Toc the Youngers, basically. Someone will get what I mean.

    Honestly I am pretty sure the ending of the second trilogy was intended to be a cliffhanger but its pretty suitable as an ending given the atmosphere of the books if no more books get made.

    I do hope he gets a publisher just to see if he does pivot to a less bleak storyline or if he can actually manage to make things worse.

    Jealous Deva on
  • ThatSwedishGuyThatSwedishGuy regular Registered User regular
    CroakerBC wrote: »
    I'm just going to flag now that I found the second Peter Grant book (Moon Over Soho(?) had a much stronger focus on that sexiness than the first, or any of the following sequels, where it calms back down considerably. That might just have been my read, of course - but if it's bugging you already, be aware.

    Hmm, thanks for the heads up. I'll have to power through, considering I've already bought them! But as long as it calms down again, I think I can manage.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I'm reading City of Blades now and I'm starting to think maybe the Kaj really sucked at his job.

    jakobaggerCroakerBCtapeslinger
  • chuck steakchuck steak regular Registered User regular
    I'm reading all of Terry Pratchett's novels in publication order now as I buy them in the new hardcover editions (having previously just read all of the Watch books), and am currently at Carpe Jugulum. I think this one is my favourite so far, and I think I'm starting to like the Witches books the most in general. Until I read the next Vimes book, then he will be my favourite. Agnes/Perdita is so entertaining though, and Nanny Ogg is maybe my favourite character of all time.

    Also well into the second Mistborn book, and it's good I guess. I can't get over how bad he is at writing characters and dialogue, but I can't deny that I'm super engrossed in the world and want to know what is going to happen.

    Steam
    Switch: SW-3125-0050-8452
    PSN: Chuck-Steake
    XBL: Chuck Steake
    DON'T PANIC
    chrono_travellertapeslingerdylmanPowerpuppies
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Also well into the second Mistborn book, and it's good I guess. I can't get over how bad he is at writing characters and dialogue, but I can't deny that I'm super engrossed in the world and want to know what is going to happen.

    He can build some interesting mysteries. Sadly the first Mistborn book is probably his best there and the followups kinda go downhill.

  • chuck steakchuck steak regular Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Also well into the second Mistborn book, and it's good I guess. I can't get over how bad he is at writing characters and dialogue, but I can't deny that I'm super engrossed in the world and want to know what is going to happen.

    He can build some interesting mysteries. Sadly the first Mistborn book is probably his best there and the followups kinda go downhill.

    I just said I'm in the middle of the second book, why you gotta do me like that?

    Just kidding, I know it's not that great, but it's easy enough to read that I don't mind.

    I would LOVE a Mistborn show or movie that had somebody write the characters better. It is an incredibly interesting world that I wish I didn't have to read all this nonsense to see.

    Steam
    Switch: SW-3125-0050-8452
    PSN: Chuck-Steake
    XBL: Chuck Steake
    DON'T PANIC
  • pyromaniac221pyromaniac221 this just might be an interestin YTRegistered User regular
    I liked A Memory Called Empire well enough. The main character is well-constructed and her dynamic with her liaison develops in a natural and satisfying way over the course of the story, ending in an effective hook for the sequel. The book's other strength is the way it renders an alien culture out of elements familiar to our own but blown up or reduced or rearranged so that the main character's immersion feels fraught and uncertain and more thrilling for it.

    On the other hand, the overarching political intrigue plot is pretty scant, most of the few other major characters remain comfortably in their archetypes, and the central element of the pitch (the main character has a neural implant that gives her the memories of a younger version of her murdered predecessor as ambassador to this alien empire) is removed in the first few pages of the book and absent for the bulk of it, and her ensuing feelings of panicked incompleteness don't hit you with any particularity because you barely get to see what's meant to be her natural state of existence.

    All in all a good book, I'd check out the sequel, but a lot of what it plays with thematically is just done better in the Baru Cormorant books.

    psn tooaware, friend code SW-4760-0062-3248 it me
    chrono_traveller
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo But do you really believe him? Registered User regular
    I finished up the Luna trilogy by Ian McDonald

    It's fine. The libertarian nightmare world doesn't get explored enormously, in fact the first book is the only one that spends any time away from the ultra rich. There's a fairly interesting setting but the narrative never feels very exciting despite a large number of major events reshaping things.

    I'm now on The Strange Case Of The Alchemist's daughter which has an annoying gimmick where it includes meta commentary on the story every few pages. This had better pay off because it continuously breaks the flow. Also the font is positively hateful, thankfully you can just override such things in today's world of ereaders.

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • VanguardVanguard regular A wretched country of duskRegistered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 18
    I bought Shadow & Claw by Gene Wolf. I don't know why, but I really dislike combined editions of books. Would much rather have found a copy of just the first novel, even if it meant spending a little more. Looked at used copies tho and they are expensive!

    I'm about halfway through A Conjuring of Light. It's good. I'm still annoyed at the overall plotting of the trilogy with the first book being quite good, the second just being a horrible slog that feels like it's just finding itself when it ends, but this is good. Got some good ideas for my D&D game out of it too.

    Vanguard on
  • HevachHevach regular Registered User regular
    edited May 22
    A few years ago I broke my cardinal rule of stories: Never start reading a series the author hasn't finished. I've just been burnt so many times by series that go to shit a couple books in, or just never get finished, or the author dies and their son teams up with Kevin J Anderson to slap the characters names on some knockoff Star Wars shit.

    I broke the rule, though. Again. I started reading the Iron Druid Chronicles after being introduced to the first book in Audible form on a long car ride. And it was great. It held up really well. By the time I got caught up to where the series was at it was eight books and like twenty some damn shorter spinoffs and I wasn't disappointed by any of them.

    Probably no spoilers in this rant but to be safe:
    I usually hate the "urban fantasy" thing but it did it really well, it escaped so many tropes it could have fallen into (most immortal main characters fall into the "I'm from a different time" thing, Atticus is a character who developed with the times, he's from modern time he's just old as hell), its depictions of violence are brutal but also realistic, and it had a really good way of developing and segregating fundamentally incompatible magic systems in a way that makes it clear why the various characters can't just learn spells from each other (some are tied to true faith in a specific god, or are actually gifted from a god or demon, others require special rituals that can't be bypassed). It even incorporates Christian faith in a way that is respectful to the faith while criticizing he faithful. And it has a talking dog that's basically exactly what humans will do with dogs when we can start uplifting lower species.

    When I got caught up, I got side tracked with another series (that didn't break the rule!), so I only just got around to the last book, Scourged. And... Goddamnit, this is why I have the rule.

    Actual spoilers in this rant:
    My wife is mad that the main characters broke up at the end and Atticus had an unhappy ending. That doesn't figure into my complaints - the series made him a hero but also cast him as a perennial fuckup. At one point early in the series, Jesus Actual Fucking Christ (who he's occasional drinking buddies with), who sees and knows all possible futures, actually told him that if he went through with what he was planning, he could unleash the end of the world, possible multiple versions of it, and that even if he saved the world, in no possible future would he be happy with the outcome. But if he walked away, he would live a longer and happier life than any man could claim. And he looked Jesus Actual Fucking Christ straight in the eye and said, "Yeah, I'm doing it anyway."


    So, no, I'm not upset for the same reason my wife was. I'm pleased with where the story ended - a lot of authors are afraid to do something like that to a character, a lot of stories end without the hero ever reaping the consequences of their actions along the way, and this hero left a path of "the ends justify the means" that decimated several pantheons, laid total waste to two heavens, killed two respected werewolf alphas, sparked a civil war between the Irish gods, a war in the Norse realms, and a vampire war, and destabilized much of the magical and mortal worlds by weakening or forcing the relocation of powerful groups that kept stability and secrecy. He can get a pass on unleashing four different apocalypses simultaneously and still win biggest asshole in the history of ever.

    No, it's how it got there. There's three plots going on, one with each of the major characters dealing with different parts of the apocalypse - Grawnuale is dealing with some stuff from Buddhist mythology that I'm not familiar with, Owen is shifting around putting out little local fires and making friends with a sloth, and Atticus is in the main thrust of Ragnarok itself. The first two stories are pretty good - Owen's events are minor but rewarding enough, Grawnuale's is slow but it's a build up as she realizes that she's completely unnecessary where she is and that she was sent on a milk run to get her out of the way (the justification she was given, that she was being kept safe so that Druidry didn't potentially die with her teacher, didn't hold up, because Owen had a whole-ass grove of trainees a few years from binding, she was straight-up stuck in the corner while the grownups did the real work).

    That main plot though? One chapter, Jormungandr makes landfall in Ireland, eats a couple sheep, and like six paragraphs in a recurring character sacrifices herself and kills it. Surtr arrives, a group of minor characters kill him literally sentences later. The armies of Hel arrive, and there's a big battle involving several pantheons, and then in the space of like three pages, a Native American god shows up and kills Hel, then Grawnuale shows up with her invisibility spell and kills Loki, in doing so winning several hundred boxes of girl scout cookies. Really. (Ok to be fair, the cookies is a callback to something earlier - since gods live lives of utter decadence, the only way to really please one is with something they can't normally get, so at one point Atticus appeases Odin by obtaining 144 boxes of girlscout cookies out of season - the offer is initially a joke, but was met with genuine satisfaction). GG apocalypse is over everybody go home and go fuck yourselves. Book was shorter than a couple of the short stores connected with the series.


    So... Yeah, that's why I don't start series that aren't finished yet. I'm actually about to just burn my copies of A Song of Fire and Ice and Clash of Kings to get rid of the temptation.

    Hevach on
  • PailryderPailryder regular Registered User regular
    i'm going to have to give the Iron Druid another chance. When i read it I was heavy into the Harry Dresden stuff and ID felt like a really cheap knock off and i couldn't get past the first book. I've heard many other people really enjoy it so thanks for reminding me about them!

  • AntoshkaAntoshka Miauen Oil Change LazarusRegistered User regular
    So, I've finished Semiosis, and yes, Oranges are dicks.

    Also been reading The Prince of Nothing, which seems interesting, albeit at least in part because I don't really like any of the characters, and that seems the intent.

    Also, thanks to a random advertisment by our national airline, and response by GRRM, I now know that WorldCon is in NZ next year, and am now going to WorldCon next year. Yay?

    n57PM0C.jpg
    chrono_travellershrykejakobaggerwanderingQuidCroakerBCFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Just got Falling Free from the library, lets see how it reads.

    "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
    Powerpuppies
  • jakobaggerjakobagger LO THY DREAD EMPIRE CHAOS IS RESTORED Registered User regular
    Antoshka wrote: »
    So, I've finished Semiosis, and yes, Oranges are dicks.

    Also been reading The Prince of Nothing, which seems interesting, albeit at least in part because I don't really like any of the characters, and that seems the intent.

    Also, thanks to a random advertisment by our national airline, and response by GRRM, I now know that WorldCon is in NZ next year, and am now going to WorldCon next year. Yay?

    It's been a while but I feel like the wizard protagonist and his sometimes lover were both reasonably sympathetic, flawed and weak humans though they were.

    Lots of really terrible people in the series though, yeah. At least most of them are interesting though.

    bgg / steam / goodreads / Bnet: Bygasto#2537
    shryke
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I am intensely excited for the sequel to Semiosis

    MahnmutAntoshkaFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Falling Free finished. It was interesting. I hadn't really read a lot about the actual content, just knew that it was a fairly popular space opera. It felt really short.

    About to start Raven Tower.

    "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
    MahnmutCroakerBCDevoutlyApathetic
  • MorranMorran regular Registered User regular
    If you like Lovecraft, I highly suggest picking up some Algernon Blackwood as well. He was a pre-Lovecraft author who laid alot of the groundwork for weird and horror fiction that came afterwards.

    His stuff is public domain so good collections can be found super cheap too.


    I second this recommendation.

    A good place to start is the novella "the willows", available for free from project Gutenberg:

    https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11438

    BlackDragon480nexuscrawler
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler regular Registered User regular
    Morran wrote: »
    If you like Lovecraft, I highly suggest picking up some Algernon Blackwood as well. He was a pre-Lovecraft author who laid alot of the groundwork for weird and horror fiction that came afterwards.

    His stuff is public domain so good collections can be found super cheap too.


    I second this recommendation.

    A good place to start is the novella "the willows", available for free from project Gutenberg:

    https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11438

    Seriously one of the best horror stories ever written

    MorranDrovek
  • VanguardVanguard regular A wretched country of duskRegistered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Finished A Conjuring of Light yesterday. Thoughts and spoilers below.
    The early part of the book was fantastic. Osaron was a good villain and as he took over London the book felt like it was speeding towards a big conflict. This is short-lived, unfortunately, as a large portion of the book focuses on a sea journey to a market to get an item that will help the main characters defeat him. Betrayal is a plot device that gets used too often here, occurring both with the main characters and the royals back in London.

    The book manages to pull itself back on the rails, but the plotting feels obtuse. The potential political conflict with the Veskans isn't unbelievable, it's just that the focus of the book has been the characters and how magic affects the world, not deep political intrigue.

    Maybe I'm too used to the grittiness of ASOIAF, but there was no real loss coming out of the major plot points. Losing Kell and Rhy's parents, who were minor characters, felt a little inadequate given how ruinous Osaron was positioned as.

    This sounds like I dislike it more than I actually did. I would say it's more disappointment. For each really well-done element (the universe, the characters), it is matched by something equally less well-done: overwrought romance, roundabout plotting.

    It's probably fine if you want a light trilogy to read for summer.

    I have now begun The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf.

  • EchoEcho mod Moderator mod
    Me, thinking I have time to read just one more chapter before lights out and I have work tomorrow:

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
    Brodywebguy20jakobaggerAresProphetwandering
  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 27
    Vanguard wrote: »
    I have now begun The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf.

    From an article by Neil Gaiman.
    How to read Gene Wolfe:

    1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.
    2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. It's tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at any time.
    3) Reread. It's better the second time. It will be even better the third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.

    Bogart on
    BlackDragon480Dizzy DwanderingKana
  • VanguardVanguard regular A wretched country of duskRegistered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Vanguard wrote: »
    I have now begun The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf.

    From an article by Neil Gaiman.
    How to read Gene Wolfe:

    1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.
    2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. It's tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at any time.
    3) Reread. It's better the second time. It will be even better the third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.

    I read and re-read the first 3-4 chapters. I realized that I needed to slow down due to the density pretty quickly so I am now in the right headspace for it.

    Bogart
  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    I have only ever given up on a book a handful of times, absolutely less often than I should have. I find a reason to stick with even the most execrable novel: I slogged through Dan Simmons' Flashback solely because the setting is where I live so that was kinda neat despite everything else being awful.

    But I'm damn close to giving up on the second Expanse book. Cardboard cutout stereotypes of characters (with, like, one quirk that's played up to make them seem unique - swearing or PTSD or an accent or whatever), poorly-blocked action scenes straight out of a Tom Clancy paperback, and so much else is just bland.

    It has some neat ideas that I have only encountered a dozen or so times elsewhere, and it sticks as much as it can to "physics" while deviating just enough to be dramatic and make you suddenly wonder why the rules no longer apply (until they do again). A minor spoiler:
    This is the main trick of fiction: the principle of minimal departure is that the reader assumes a fictional world works like our own except where stated or implied. If you set up a world where space travel adheres strictly to the physics of acceleration and the speed of light matters for an entire volume, then suddenly in the third act something arrives which explicitly violates those rules as a plot point, you've made the entire thing hollow.

    Perhaps this gets explained in later volumes, but 400 pages after the deus ex shows up with no hint that an explanation lurks ahead, it all feels cheap and entirely too Hollywood straight-to-Netflix screenplay.

    That bit is what pulled me out in the first place, and then it all sort of falls apart once the characters start talking again. Perhaps the show is a better written sci-fi romp, but the books are so far uninspiring.

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I'm disappointed that you aren't enjoying it, I found them to be enjoyable reads. Although it's not entirely unusual for the genre to have alien tech that breaks human understanding, so I'm wondering what about it here is such an issue.

    "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
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    I have only ever given up on a book a handful of times, absolutely less often than I should have. I find a reason to stick with even the most execrable novel: I slogged through Dan Simmons' Flashback solely because the setting is where I live so that was kinda neat despite everything else being awful.

    But I'm damn close to giving up on the second Expanse book. Cardboard cutout stereotypes of characters (with, like, one quirk that's played up to make them seem unique - swearing or PTSD or an accent or whatever), poorly-blocked action scenes straight out of a Tom Clancy paperback, and so much else is just bland.

    It has some neat ideas that I have only encountered a dozen or so times elsewhere, and it sticks as much as it can to "physics" while deviating just enough to be dramatic and make you suddenly wonder why the rules no longer apply (until they do again). A minor spoiler:
    This is the main trick of fiction: the principle of minimal departure is that the reader assumes a fictional world works like our own except where stated or implied. If you set up a world where space travel adheres strictly to the physics of acceleration and the speed of light matters for an entire volume, then suddenly in the third act something arrives which explicitly violates those rules as a plot point, you've made the entire thing hollow.

    Perhaps this gets explained in later volumes, but 400 pages after the deus ex shows up with no hint that an explanation lurks ahead, it all feels cheap and entirely too Hollywood straight-to-Netflix screenplay.

    That bit is what pulled me out in the first place, and then it all sort of falls apart once the characters start talking again. Perhaps the show is a better written sci-fi romp, but the books are so far uninspiring.

    I honestly have no idea what you are talking about with a thing making the entire work hollow. Are we talking about the:
    aliens?

    Cause they are the backbone of the catalyst of the series' story and I'm not sure how that ruins anything.

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    I have only ever given up on a book a handful of times, absolutely less often than I should have. I find a reason to stick with even the most execrable novel: I slogged through Dan Simmons' Flashback solely because the setting is where I live so that was kinda neat despite everything else being awful.

    But I'm damn close to giving up on the second Expanse book. Cardboard cutout stereotypes of characters (with, like, one quirk that's played up to make them seem unique - swearing or PTSD or an accent or whatever), poorly-blocked action scenes straight out of a Tom Clancy paperback, and so much else is just bland.

    It has some neat ideas that I have only encountered a dozen or so times elsewhere, and it sticks as much as it can to "physics" while deviating just enough to be dramatic and make you suddenly wonder why the rules no longer apply (until they do again). A minor spoiler:
    This is the main trick of fiction: the principle of minimal departure is that the reader assumes a fictional world works like our own except where stated or implied. If you set up a world where space travel adheres strictly to the physics of acceleration and the speed of light matters for an entire volume, then suddenly in the third act something arrives which explicitly violates those rules as a plot point, you've made the entire thing hollow.

    Perhaps this gets explained in later volumes, but 400 pages after the deus ex shows up with no hint that an explanation lurks ahead, it all feels cheap and entirely too Hollywood straight-to-Netflix screenplay.

    That bit is what pulled me out in the first place, and then it all sort of falls apart once the characters start talking again. Perhaps the show is a better written sci-fi romp, but the books are so far uninspiring.

    I honestly have no idea what you are talking about with a thing making the entire work hollow. Are we talking about the:
    aliens?

    Cause they are the backbone of the catalyst of the series' story and I'm not sure how that ruins anything.

    Spoilers:
    I initially thought the alien protomolecule thing was pretty neat. A little bit Prometheus superweapon, a little bit Mass Effect hidden ancient technology, a little bit Gray Goo end of the universe scenario. Then it hijacks an asteroid, violates the carefully constructed laws of physics governing interplanetary travel for the following 400 pages. Then there's FTL communication from Venus to Jupiter which once more goes against everything set up to make this an interesting fictional world.

    This isn't "aliens with sufficiently advanced tech to be magic", it's just an unexplained loose end which isn't a compelling enough mystery for me to put up with the poorly fleshed out characters for however long it takes to find out why this happens.

    Perhaps this is a Xenomorph/Shivans/Covenant/Reapers/etc. deal but the interesting idea isn't backed up by sufficient writing. Which is my main point: there's a lot of "wouldn't it be cool if" going on around characters that feel like someone stole them from a screenplay left in the copy machine at Kinkos

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller regular Registered User regular

    shryke wrote: »
    I have only ever given up on a book a handful of times, absolutely less often than I should have. I find a reason to stick with even the most execrable novel: I slogged through Dan Simmons' Flashback solely because the setting is where I live so that was kinda neat despite everything else being awful.

    But I'm damn close to giving up on the second Expanse book. Cardboard cutout stereotypes of characters (with, like, one quirk that's played up to make them seem unique - swearing or PTSD or an accent or whatever), poorly-blocked action scenes straight out of a Tom Clancy paperback, and so much else is just bland.

    It has some neat ideas that I have only encountered a dozen or so times elsewhere, and it sticks as much as it can to "physics" while deviating just enough to be dramatic and make you suddenly wonder why the rules no longer apply (until they do again). A minor spoiler:
    This is the main trick of fiction: the principle of minimal departure is that the reader assumes a fictional world works like our own except where stated or implied. If you set up a world where space travel adheres strictly to the physics of acceleration and the speed of light matters for an entire volume, then suddenly in the third act something arrives which explicitly violates those rules as a plot point, you've made the entire thing hollow.

    Perhaps this gets explained in later volumes, but 400 pages after the deus ex shows up with no hint that an explanation lurks ahead, it all feels cheap and entirely too Hollywood straight-to-Netflix screenplay.

    That bit is what pulled me out in the first place, and then it all sort of falls apart once the characters start talking again. Perhaps the show is a better written sci-fi romp, but the books are so far uninspiring.

    I honestly have no idea what you are talking about with a thing making the entire work hollow. Are we talking about the:
    aliens?

    Cause they are the backbone of the catalyst of the series' story and I'm not sure how that ruins anything.

    Spoilers:
    I initially thought the alien protomolecule thing was pretty neat. A little bit Prometheus superweapon, a little bit Mass Effect hidden ancient technology, a little bit Gray Goo end of the universe scenario. Then it hijacks an asteroid, violates the carefully constructed laws of physics governing interplanetary travel for the following 400 pages. Then there's FTL communication from Venus to Jupiter which once more goes against everything set up to make this an interesting fictional world.

    This isn't "aliens with sufficiently advanced tech to be magic", it's just an unexplained loose end which isn't a compelling enough mystery for me to put up with the poorly fleshed out characters for however long it takes to find out why this happens.

    Perhaps this is a Xenomorph/Shivans/Covenant/Reapers/etc. deal but the interesting idea isn't backed up by sufficient writing. Which is my main point: there's a lot of "wouldn't it be cool if" going on around characters that feel like someone stole them from a screenplay left in the copy machine at Kinkos

    Yeah, sorry to hear you're not liking it either. Its not exactly a series that has amazing prose, but I definitely found it a kind of fun space adventure with a enough realism that it deals with social issues that has some weight to them, unlike a lot of space sci-fi. I mean sure, characters are a bit on the nose at times, but
    Like shryke said, the question of "what does the protomolecule do?" and "how does humanity react to it?" are, in my opinion, two of the central questions of the entire series (the latter probably actually more important than the first). I don't see what you're asking for as far as what kind of writing would "justify" it. The premise of the protomolecule is exactly that it does seem to break all known laws of physics. So, "how does humanity react when such a large destabilizing discovery happens?", is what the books explore.

    Also, I'd say the tv show does flesh out some of the characters better. The villains tend to be a bit mustache twirling, as you said and I agree some, and the show has done a pretty good job of making them a bit more 2 dimensional. But I enjoy both for what they are.

    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
This discussion has been closed.