Currently reading "Tales from the Texas Woods" by Michael Moorcock. I obsess over authors and read nothing but a single author for vast swathes of time. At the moment it's Moorcock (specifically his recent work). After finishing Earl Aubec I ripped through his utterly awesome Second Ether trilogy and am taking a side-trek into the Texas Woods before heading back into the Multiverse graphic novel. He should keep me busy for the rest of the year, following which I am planning a Clive Barker extravaganza (have had Galillee, Coldheart Canyon and the two Abarat books sitting waiting on my shelf for a while now), with an occasional foray into Vance, Zelazny and Eddison as the fancy takes me.
|Ed Healy Contributor|
|Oliver von Spreckelsen|
After reading the whole of Valdemar novels for nearly the last year (interspersed with some other books, Xanth, Diskworld, Myth etc.) I have now begun Iain M. Banks' "The Algebraist".
How he manages to describe these absolutely fantastic sites, eludes me again and again (just an example: a space battle in the eye of a storm in the atomsphere of a Gas giant, brilliant). There's more action than in 'Look to Windwrd', but less than in 'Consider Phlebas'. In my opinion it is set in the Culture Universe about two thousand years after the other novels. Any book by (M.) Banks is definitely worth reading. This is one of the superior efforts.
PS. I have done some small reviews about the books I've read this year so far. If there's any interest I will also post them here
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
Its good but its thick. Its sort of like a Dickens novel but with Magicians. I'm about 100 pages into it and, although its admittedly a little slow, I find it fascinating and very intriguing. Clarke can turn a phrase too, here's an example:
"the spell broke. . . (which they) knew by a curious twist of their senses, as if they had tasted a string quartet, or been, for a moment, deafened by the sight of the colour blue"
I'm always looking for descriptions that can get under your skin, and that one really tickled me.
|Oliver von Spreckelsen|
After Banks "The Algebraist" - impressive, most impressive... - I've sunk my teeth into Terry Pratchett's 'Thud!' - not as funny as other ones, but a really good story...
After Richard Pett's Styes adventures caught me in their rusty jaws, I decided to read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which is the novel Mr. Pett ascribes much of the Styes' flavor.
I've only just started, but I can really see where he's getting his ideas. Perdido Street Station is so visually rich that I wish I could make it into a movie or a comic book or just a series of illustrations.
I'm on to you, Pett.
I'm pretty much Eberron-ing it up with "Voyage of the Mourning Dawn" by Rich Wulf, and I just got "The Queen of Death" by Matt Forbeck which i'm just itching to finish! The Lost Mark Series has been great!
Finished reading "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media..." by John Stossel, excellent book, I tells ya!
"Working for the Devil," b Lillith Saintcrow
You might think that a futuristic mob-controlled psi-active vaguely dystopian drug-addled future setting might seem a bit overloaded if you toss in gods, demons, magic, and the Devil himself - almost as though the story couldn't decide whether to be an urban fantasy, an urban sci-fi, or an occult somewhere-in-the-middle. And, really, you'd be right. "Working for the Devil," however, does deliver a few really solid characters that keep you interested despite the almost mish-mashed setting. Basically, the set-up is thus: Necromance - a psi who deals with dead souls - Dante Valentine is hired by the Devil to recover a stolen object and to kill an escaped demon. Said demon also happens to be the fella that killed someone she loved very much. Oh, and the Devil is giving her a demon body-guard, too. So, while she mixes her high-tech gadgets, ultra-powered guns, and psi powers with her worship and gods (Anubis is actually quite cuddly) and a few rune-spells, she hooks up with said demon, some friends, and goes hunting.
Was this great? Well, no. But I did enjoy it enough from the character point of view that I'll try book two. Mostly because of Japh - the demon - who has this intensely enjoyable alien feel to him in his thoughts and discourse. I'm not sure if I'll stick to the series, but it was interesting to see someone attempt to blend that many ideas and settings into one - I'm just not sure the slickboard (a hover skateboard, a la 'Back to the Future') really flew for me.
I just finished Perdido Street Station, and I think it was really great. More than enough ideas to base a New Crobuzon inspired campaign around. I'm looking forward to the article about the setting.
I felt the last few chapters could have used a bit of revision, though. There's kind of a Deus ex Machina thing going on and the visitor at the end didn't make much sense for me. I'm not going to spoil anything, so that'll be all on that. Definitely worth picking up, and I'm considering getting other books he's written.
|Clown Prince of AAAAAGH!!!|
Going back to the basics and reading "Arabian Nights" Vols. 1 & 2, the Richard F. Burton unexpurgated translation (quite different from the children's version) and my favorite author- Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn". Guess I'm on a classic kick right now. Anybody else have any suggestions for obscure or forgotten classics?
|Oliver von Spreckelsen|
"Grave Sight" by Charlaine Harris
I read this one in a day, and quite liked it. Harper was struck by lightning as a child, and it left her damaged: she has spiderwebbed marks on her skin on her left leg (which is weaker than her right), she gets terrible headaches, is terrified of thunderstorms, and.. oh, yeah, when near a dead body, she can feel them like little "pings" on an internal geiger counter. And if she gets close to a body, she can feel how the body died, through a kind of vision where the last moments replay with her starring as the lead role.
So, she and her step-brother make a living helping people clear up how folks died, and by helping people find lost bodies. Is it a merry life? Gosh no. People don't really like being around someone who can feel the dead, but Harper figures this is something she can do, and thus, she should.
When hired to track down a corpse in Sarne, things get complicated - the apparent murder-suicide feels to Harper like an old-fashioned murder-murder, and the little town seems to have about a thousand secrets, each one buried, and unfortunately, Harper's skill with things buried makes her a target as well.
Well crafted, with a good mystery, I'm happy to say that Harris has just as solid a story and character set as in her Sookie series, and if you liked Sookie, you'll like Harper.
"Born in Death" by J.D. Robb
If you're anything like me, you're not reading the J.D. Robb books for the actual mystery anymore - you're reading them for the absolutely wonderful cast of characters - and especially the slice of humour that Robb manages to place in the conversations. There's plenty of fodder for them in this book: Eve has to suffer through Birthing Coach Classes with Roarke for her best pal Mavis, who is ready to pop out her child. When the murder comes along - two financial workers in a strong financial firm - you almost don't care, you just want more Mavis, and Roarke, and Peabody and the rest of the secondary characters, but this time, I must admit, I found myself trying to figure out the mystery involved. Did I get it right? Well, let's just say you don't go into a Robb book expecting to be flummoxed, but I was pleasantly surprised that it took a little while for me to figure it out. Enjoy!
|Thoth-Amon the Mindflayerian|
Actually, i am reading 5 books at the moment:
WARHAMMER: Gotrek & Felix 'The First Omnibus' Wicked fight scenes with a non-linear storyline. Very gritty and dark.
DRAGONLANCE: The Annotated legends of the Twins. Caramon and Raistlin becoming name level and beyond. Good stuff!
CONAN: Lord of the Black River. What more is there to say.
GREYHAWK CLASSICS..brings me back to the days when i played these 'classic' modules. Not too bad, overall.
RETURN TO QUAG KEEP: Yes, i realize the first one sucked arse, but i simply could not resist.
I am reading Stone of Tears by Terri Goodkind
|Oliver von Spreckelsen|
I am on a Star Wars diet now...
Star Wars - Labyrinth of Evil (prequel to)
Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars - Dark Lord - Rise of Darth Vader (follow-up)
"Labyrinth of Evil" had some good moments and some really convoluted storytelling, basically every time I got into the story, feeling the mood, something would come up and break the flow.
"Revenge of the Sith" - marvelous storytelling, some really good explanations that weren't given in the movie and great connections to other novels (Shatterpoint, Jedi Trial, Labyrinth of Evil and so on). Stover really sets a good mood in the novel though he gives away the "Big Reveal" very early in the novel. One thing troubled me though. The turning point for Anakin during the fight of Mace and Darth Sidious still wasn't explained satisfactorily - one of the major downturns of the movie for me, because the scene does not really bring the reason for his actions into the foreground, there is an explanation (to save his beloved), but the way he reaches the decisions against the other arguments does not ring clear to me.
"Dark Lord" - I have just dived into the first part of the novel, so I cannot really say anything about it yet. It is penned by James Luceno who also wrote "Labyrinth of Evil" (which I did not like too much) and "Cloak of Deception" (which I really liked). The first part features some surviving Jedi and Darth Vader coming to grips with his clumsy armor. Standard fare to me. I will give an update, when I finish the novel
|Fiendish Dire Weasel|
I'm bouncing between 3 books at the moment, depending on my mood, and which bathroom I'm in. :)
The Universe in a Nutshell - Stephen Hawking - Advanced Astrophysics for the average Joe...it's a really well written summary of what top astropysicists believe about the origins and future of the universe, and why, but without all those crazy formulae in the way. I mean, everybody knows that most scientists believe that the universe began with a "Big Bang", right? But WHY do they believe that? And what does that mean about the way things are now?
Serpent Kingdoms - FR Supplement I'm reading to get geared up for the Savage Tide adventure path I'm running there. I don't know much about that area, a lot of my pervious FR adventuring has occured on the Sword Coast and in the areas around the Sea of Fallen Stars. I'm one of those completist types that tries to be 100% prepared with all the possible background knowledge I can possibly soak in before the campaign starts, despite the fact that I know my players will still find ample ways to throw curveballs at me anyway. At least I can react on the fly with confidence that I'm a lot less likely to screw it up entirely.
Ivan's War - Catherine Merridale - Really good account of soldier's stories from the Red Army during WW2. It's easy to find accounts and memoirs from the Western Front, but nobody even seems to talk about the Russians, who really did most of the work when it comes to defeating Nazi Germany. Highly recommended. I'm about to finish this one, and I'll be sad when I do.
Paul McCarthy wrote:
A nerdy type of guy, rich, well dressed but obviously not cool, sees a beautiful girl sitting at the local bar. Mustering up all his courage, he saunters across the floor to her, sizing her up as he goes.
"Well, hello beautiful," he says. He catches her attention and she looks at him with a sneer and disgust. "Get lost, creep"
Determined to play out his hand he replies, "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?" The woman's head perks up and she looks at him with newfound respect and coos, "Why certainly, handsome."
The nerd smiles mischieviously, "Would you sleep with me for five dollars?" The look of disgust and the sneer returns to the woman's face, "Five Dollars!! Are you crazy? With a nerd like you? What the hell do you think I am??!!!"
Which the nerd replies coolly, " We already established what you are my dear, now we are just haggling over the price."
I have heard this story ascribed to George Bernard Shaw.Not that anyone cares, but if you're ever on jeopardy and the answer is: Victoria Era Whore Stories
the answer is probably either, "Jack the Ripper" or "George Bernard Shaw"
just FYI. . .
As I understood it, the story is attributed to Groucho Marx, but he may have vic'ed it from someone else.
Tam, I loved Ishmael and the follow up book "Story of B"
I am currently reading "The Craft of the Cocktail" by Dale DeGroff, "What the Bleep do We Know", "Tales of the Dervishes" by Idries Shah (great ideas for adventures and twists therein) and rereading the "Cryptonomicon", by Neal Stephenson, having recently finished the Baroque Cycle.
|Richard Pett Contributor|
Just picked up Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, several pages in.
Just finished The Hanging Mountains by Sean Williams, third in the Books of the Cataclysm series, a good read.
Also re-reading Gateway by Fredrick Pohl.
Hoping to get Fiendish Codex 2 and/or the latest Fiest novel for christmas!
Just finished Salvatore's Promise of the Witch-King
Working on Weis & hickman's Legends series in the annotated version
Read the latest by Turtledove last week in his Alternate WWII with the Confederate States series, whatever that is called.
Reading a book called Non-violence by some guy from New York whose name escapes me.
Read a book called the Secret Supper, a spinoff book from the Da Vinci Code furor that passed recently
Looking forward to reading Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, which is sitting under my coffee table right now and is a new Weis and Hickman in between the Autumn and Winter books of the Chronicles
Lord Vile wrote:how are you doing on this book; sheesh I really had to pound my way through it and read it just because it was expected in the old days.
I finished it sometime ago. I really enjoyed it!!! It gave me a whole new perspective on the role and importance of the Elves and Dwarfs in Middle-Earth.
Just finished up The Bonehunters written by Steven Erickson. A great series that isn't getting its' due in the U.S. To all those who loved Glenn Cook's the Black Company this series is for you.
My next read is Peril's Gate (Part of the War of Light and Darkness/Alliance of Light series) by Janny Wurts another overlooked series.
Stephen Erikson's series is on par with Martin's and better than Goodkinds..well worth the read as long as you can keep up with all the characters and timeline switches.
Speaking of which, read Phantom by Goodkind and thought finally, he is wrapping things up. Final book should be good. I then read stone of tears and blood of fold again as had to familiarize myself with some secondary players who he hadn't used in the last 4 books..
I'm currently on Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee.
Now imagine that as a campaign.
|Aubrey the Malformed|
Just finished The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt - a sort of alien archaeological mystery set in the future. I enjoyed it - makes a bit of a difference from the usual wham-bam space opera.
Just starting This Immortal by Roger Zelazny.
And filling in any gaps with the Gotrek & Felix Omnibus 1 - Warhammer FRP novel collection. Excellent brain-switch-off reading.
|Aubrey the Malformed|
how are you doing on this book; sheesh I really had to pound my way through it and read it just because it was expected in the old days.
Not his best. But then it was only really intended to be his personal notes, and his family published it just to cash in, really. But you can't be a serious fantasy afficionado until you have read - even if it is something of a feat of endurance to do so.
Lord Vile wrote:
The Silmarillion.Valegrim wrote:how are you doing on this book; sheesh I really had to pound my way through it and read it just because it was expected in the old days.Not his best. But then it was only really intended to be his personal notes, and his family published it just to cash in, really. But you can't be a serious fantasy afficionado until you have read - even if it is something of a feat of endurance to do so.
You'll be all ready to The Children of Hurin coming out next year then? Christopher Tolkienb has been slaving away on it for years, putting his Dad's opus together from his notes and fragments.
Neil Stephenson's the Confusion is my poison right now- no one does left field historical fantasy like him. Has already given me plenty of new ideas for a new campaign.
And as a shameless plug, I recommend Ares: God of War and Scarface: Scarred for life - the perfect Christmas gifts for your Granny.
Star Wars and Philosophy
It's a collection of philosophical essays dealing with the Star Wars universe. Very weird but funny at times.
Realms of the Dragons
A collection of short stories set in the Forgotten Realms, set during the 'Year of Rogue Dragons'. Each story has a dragon in it somewhere, but so far there have been more misses than hits IMHO.
Just recently read:
The Gates of Night (Dreaming Dark Book 3) by Eberron creator Keith Baker. Damn him for the ending. Awesome trilogy that I recommend for any Eberron fans out there.
Born to Run, Poison Agendas, Fallen Angels by Stephen Kinson. A trilogy set in the Shadowrun setting. All about a poor girl named Kellan Colt. I recommend them if you love Shadowrun.
Drops of Corruption by Jason M Hardy. Another Shadowrun novel about a man named Bannickburn. Hysterically funny and worth hunting down.
Aftershock by Jean Rabe & John Helfers. Yet another Shadowrun novel and the best of the five if I do say so myself. I had to force myself to put it down and go back to work, lol. Definitely worth reading - it's about what happens when a run gets completely f***ed up.
|Sebastian Bella Sara Charter Superscriber|
|Erik Mona Publisher, Chief Creative Officer|
I'm currently switching between "The Anubis Murders" by Gary Gygax and "Almuric" by Robert E. Howard.
The first is much better than you'd expect and reveals a much more polished and comfortable novelist than some of the Gord the Rogue books. The second is the best of the "Earthman magically transported to fantasy world" science fantasy books I've read, but I hear there's a point near the end where many people believe Howard stopped writing and someone else (probably Otis Adelbert Kline) finished it up with a slightly different voice.
Speaking of OAK, I'm also reading a full-length novel called "The Secret Kingdom" written by Kline and his brother Allen. It appeared in a 1929 issue of "Amazing Stories," and has never been subsequently republished.
Sometimes it's sweet to have the entire run of Amazing Stories in the office.